One of the best things I ever did was buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle. It was a gift for my husband’s 50th birthday, and boy was he surprised.
He loves it. I love it. We’ve been riding together for six years and it’s a blast.
We now have two.
And our son just completed the ABATE of Indiana basic riding course. He’s hooked. Maybe that’s why his latest Instagrams look like this #riderforlife
You may ride.
You may want to ride.
Or, you may never want to get on a motorcycle, to sit or otherwise.
But please say this when you talk to a rider, especially if you don’t ride or ever plan to ride yourself.
“I know that you enjoy motorcycle riding. Tell me more.”
At least, that’s what Eric says people MEAN when they say things like
“You’ll never find me on one of those things. They’re just too dangerous.”
“I trust myself. It’s all the other crazy people out there driving that I don’t trust.”
or my personal favorite and the most frequent
“Let me tell you all about a bad motorcycle accident I saw/heard about/read about/thought about, and that’s why I’ll never ride a bike.”
Eric reminds me that people saying these things are just trying to keep the conversation going and are doing their best to contribute in a helpful manner.
He’s so nice.
I understand that many consider motorcycle riding to be a high risk activity. I also understand that many are not interested in motorcycle riding as a matter of personal preference. I get that. I love roller coasters but am terrified by rides that go way-up-high and then drop. Don’t like those. one. little. bit. My palms are sweating just thinking about it. But when I meet someone who likes those kinds of attractions, I don’t recite a list of all of the amusement park accidents and fatalities that I can recall. That would be a joy breaker. Literally Downer Deb.
As an alternative, acknowledging a rider’s love for the road and asking about their experiences encourages conversation, learning, and new perspectives for everybody. And that’s so much better. Trust me on this one.
You just might learn that most riders have taken at least one motorcycle safety training course and intentionally practice and refine those skills for their riding lifetime.
You just might learn that they are acutely aware of the health of their bikes’ engines, brakes, and tires, and meticulously clean and monitor all bike systems for wear and performance. One of Eric’s favorite things to do after a day of riding is to polish his bike, putting his hands over every square inch of that motorcycle, and then he sits there at looks at it. For hours.
You just might learn that riders are focused and serious while on the bike. And that they can do this while fully enjoying every part of the ride experience too. Eric compares his mindset on the bike to that of his private pilot training. Know your bike. Know your skills. Know your road. Search. Evaluate. Execute.
And as an aside, you just might learn that we all have a greater probability of demise as a car occupant, or by falling, or as a pedestrian, or by unintentional poisoning than as a motorcycle rider, as reported by the National Safety Council. Probably also a Debbie Downer, but heck, I had to throw that in there.
Hey, we know that you love us. And that you care. And that you’re looking out for our best interests.
Just try it. No horror stories. No graphic details.
Your next biker buddy will love you for it. Guaranteed.