To people who have never ridden motorcycles it probably seems like it would be the
ultimate in freedom. A cool breeze blowing in your face, warm sunshine shining
down from a cloudless blue sky, and the freedom to bask in your reverie. I love
riding bikes, and a lot of that is very true. At least most of the time.
If you only ride on days like that you won't put many miles on a bike though. If
you are realistic you will see that there are more days when it's hot or cold or rainy
or snowy. But when everything comes together on a nice twisty road it is truly
a magical feeling.
Apparently there are some people who live in a fantasy world or something. I see
a lot of posts on some motorcycle-related forums regarding things that make me
wonder if some people have any sense of reality. So, here they are: The Motorcycle
Facts Of Life! You may not like them, you may not agree with them, you may not want
to hear them, but they are still true.
- Riding When It's Hot: Fact of life: If you ride a motorcycle when
it's hot you are going to get hot. Motorcycles are hot in the summer. They
normally don't have air conditioning and the engine heat makes them even hotter. You
can complain all you want, you can try different things, but the fact of
life is that if you ride when it's hot you are going to get hot.
- Riding When It's Cold: Fact of life: If you ride a motorcycle when
it's cold you are going to get cold. Motorcycles normally don't have heaters even
though the engine heat helps a little bit. Just like Riding When It's Hot above, you
can complain all you want, you can try different things, you can get heated gear or insulated
gear, but the fact of life is that if you ride when it's cold you are going to get cold.
- Riding In The Rain: Fact of life: If you ride a motorcycle when
it's raining you are going to get wet. This shouldn't need any more explanation
than that, but apparently a lot of people think the rain will just go around them. It
doesn't work that way. The spray comes up from the front wheel, the rain comes over the
windscreen (assuming you have one), and if you stop it comes straight down on top of you. Fact
of Life: If you ride when it's raining you will get wet.
- Riding In The Snow: I haven't been foolish enough to try this one out,
but I have heard from some people who have. The general consensus is that snow is slick
and riding in snow (or ice) is not the smartest thing a person can do unless they have spiked
tires (yes, they do make them because some people race motorcycles on ice). To each their
own, and if you try it out let me know how it works. My bikes stay home when it's snowy
or icy outside.
- Wind: Fact of life: If you ride a motorcycle when
it's windy it is going to blow you around some. Wind hitting the bike from the side
will move it sideways. Simple laws of physics, it's going to happen. Even if it
isn't windy, when you are moving you are going to create your own wind. You can put big
huge windscreens on your bike, you can add fairings and bags and panniers and everything else
to try and block it, but the Fact of Life is that if you ride a motorcycle you are going to have
to deal with some wind so just get used to the idea.
- Sand / Gravel / Dirt / Mud: Fact of life: These surfaces are slipery. Just
because a lot of people ride on them and make it look easy does not mean that an inexperienced
rider can do the same thing. If you look at a true dirt bike you will see that it has been
dropped or it's new, one of the two. It happens, it's a fact of life. Just because a
motorcycle is advertised as a dirt bike or a dual-sport bike does not mean that a brand new
inexperienced rider can ride it on those types of surfaces without falling. Fact of Life: Riding
on surfaces like these takes experience and if an inexperienced rider tries it the odds are good they
will drop their bike. Don't plan on suing the manufacturer for false advertising because you
were stupid. If you have very little experience on these surfaces you had better
be careful or you will probably drop your bike.
- Traffic: Fact of life: If you ride a motorcycle you are going to end
up in traffic sooner or later. About the only way around this is to ride dirt bikes offroad
only, ride only on a track, or never get out of your driveway. Learn to flow with the
traffic, keep your eyes open, and anticipate what is going on around you. The bottom line
is just deal with it.
A lot of these may seem self-evident or absurd, but I have honestly seen people complaining about
every single one of them. Fact of Life: Motorcycles do not have plastic bubbles around them,
they are exposed to the elements. They will not automatically float you over slippery
surfaces. If it's hot you are going to get hot; if it's raining you are going to get wet. If
you can't deal with that then drive a car or take a bus. If you want to ride a bike you can
expect to have to deal with the elements. They are all around us, they are part of the
experience, and they are not going to go away just because you want them to. The sooner a rider
learns to accept them the better off they will be and the more they will enjoy the ride.
I've been so hot I thought my helmet was going to melt and I've been so cold I thought my toes or
fingers would break off. I just keep thinking about how good it's going to feel when I stop
and cool off or warm up. I think about how a cool shower is going to feel or how good a hot
cup of coffee is going to taste. Bottom line, I just deal with them. I hate getting wet,
I hate getting hot, and I hate getting cold. But I love to ride motorcycles and just because
it's hot or cold I'm still going to ride (rain does sometimes keep me home though!).
You can agree with all the statements above, or you can disagree with them. That's up to you and
these are just my own personal opinions. I am, in some ways, an open-minded person though so if
you want to add your two cents worth Drop Me An
EMail and I'll add your comments to this page. Keep it clean though or I won't post it (my
web site, my rules!). If you don't want your name included please be sure to let me know or
I'll add a line something like "Comments from Alex:"