Five reasons to ride a motorcycle
I have friends who ride motorcycles as a first choice of transport, for them the bike is an extension of self in a way non motorcyclists do not understand. In most, though not all, cases the ones I know have an unassuming car which they chose because you can't put your kids on a motorcycle in the UK. Then I have friends for whom their car is the 'thing', this group squawk with friendly derision if one of the bikers arrives for a meet up soaked and frozen and say 'Why didn't you come in the car you daft (insert expletive here)?' Having discussed this at length in that cruicble of all true debate, the pub, and researched the subject these seem to top five reasons why.
1. The pure thrill of it
The bikers I know contend that the thrill of riding a motorcycle is largely that you become part of the machine. Your weight and movement affect it, you are a component in its performance. The concentration needed, the complete focus on the task due to the risks involved sometimes heightens the enjoyment as they forget about everything else and are in the moment.
Riding a motorcycle can be a white knuckle ride. No doubt you have a decent helmet and that proper bike clothing you are hopefully wearing might take some of the initial impact, but that's not a lot between you and the road if it rushes up to meet you. But life is a risk, you would never leave the house if you did not accept that. I'm persuaded that rIding a motorcycle gives you a buzz, or fizz, of happiness, that it is fun and a thrill, and we all need that if we want to live life to the full.
If you ride motorcycles you will have, or make, friends who also ride motorcycles. There is a level of fellow feeling that the shared experience brings. It is supposed to be the case that all bikers acknowlege each other as they pass, but bikers are human and some are grumpy, so we can't be too dewy eyed about it. Having said that, the shared frustrations of having had your plans foiled, by a blocked carburettor or a dodgy starter, builds a shared understanding that breaks the ice a lot quicker than it might otherwise have.
You seldom see a lone biker out for a pleasure ride, there are nearly always two, possibly a group. If you turn up somewhere on a motorcycle usually other bikers will talk to you. The shared experience can build friendships between people that may otherwise have little in common, and that can never be a bad thing.
3. Sense of Freedom
I am told that there is a sense of freedom in setting out on a motorcycle that is greater than that experienced by car drivers. It has been likened to flying, as you hurtle along, at the legal speed limit or below obviously. Bikers certainly have an experience of being in the elements, outside in a way you are not when you travel by car.
Your senses take in the places you pass through first hand, and so the world is somehow more vivid. The smell of spring in the air is just that, not a jelly bean air freshener. You have the wind in your your face, possibly the flies too if you have an open faced helmet and all this gives a sense of freedom.
4. It's good for your mind
The total concentration needed when riding a motorcycle can mean that a bikers brain is more actively focussed than a car drivers' when on the road. It has been suggested that the need to concentrate fully on the task in hand, in order to ride safely, is almost like a form of meditation. This lowers stress as any other concerns fade into the background at least while you are riding.
Riders often refer to riding their bike as a therapy. It lets you have your own space away from that bit of work you have to have in by Thursday or that row you had with your other half and just let go of everything that has been bothering you. As Dan Ackroyd said 'You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle! '
5. Commuting can be easier
In general you can make your way to work, or anywhere else, a little quicker on a motorcycle because you can ride past the long queues of frustrated car drivers stuck in traffic jams. I had not realised until very recently that 'lane splitting' is illegal in some countries, but I am in the UK and it is common practice here.
There is an argument to be had over whether bikes are more fuel efficient than cars. I've seen statistics that support both sides of the debate and certainly there is an outlay in addition to the cost of the bike in buying the corect gear. So commuting by bike may not be cheaper, but it may well be more fun than being stuck in long queues of traffic and parking can be a lot easier. None of that stress of squeezing into a tiny car parking space marked out in the 1970s in your oversized SUV.
So there are five common reasons for riding motorcycles cited by bikers. Let me know if you agree, or disagree. Maybe you have other reasons, I would be glad to hear them, then I can spark debate in the pub again.