There are plenty of pieces of pop culture that aim to make motorcycles look cool. From Easy Rider to Ghost Rider, you don’t have to look very far for validation if you’re a motorbike rider. Of course, actually riding the vehicle – mastering it and riding it skilfully – is a different thing entirely. It’s not easy to become a motorcyclist, and in many ways doing so is a more challenging process than learning to drive a car. Here are 10 things we think you’ll need before you consider riding a motorcycle.
- High-quality equipment
You won’t get very far as a motorcyclist if you don’t have high-quality equipment to ride with. Assembling a raft of great gear is of paramount importance when you’re learning to ride. Luckily, there are a host of excellent websites dedicated to providing motorcyclists with the gear they need. If you need a website that offers good rates on top-notch equipment, then go here. It’s not worth skimping on quality when you’re buying gear for your bike.
Whether you’re coming straight from driving a car or this will be your first vehicle, a motorcycle is a very different beast to its four-wheeled alternative. If you’re going to learn how to ride a motorbike, you’ll need to be committed and dedicated to the process. Getting a motorcycle license is much more difficult than it used to be, but that just means only the most dedicated individuals manage to obtain their license. Make sure you don’t get into motorbikes on a whim.
- Driving experience
While it’s not essential to have experience driving a car before you go for your motorbike license, it will give you a valuable understanding of how the roads work. If you know your way around your most regular routes, then you’ll have less to contend with while you’re still getting to grips with controlling and riding your bike. The process of gaining a motorcycle licence doesn’t involve driving a car at all, so this isn’t a prerequisite. Still, it is inordinately useful to drive before riding a bike.
- Directional training
Let’s break down what this means a little. When you’re driving a car, the steering wheel is your primary means of movement. You won’t be able to move the car if you don’t move the wheel first. A motorcycle is much smaller and more easily moved, so all you need to do is nudge the handlebars. This means you’re much more likely to drift if your gaze happens to move away from your target. Motorcycle riders often struggle with target fixation, so training yourself not to do this is crucially important.
- Increased perception
When you ride a motorcycle, you’re infinitely less visible to many motorists on the road. This isn’t because they’re not trying to see you, it’s because cars are far easier to perceive than motorbikes. As such, you’ll need significantly better perception as a motorcyclist than you would usually employ as a car driver. Check every single corner carefully. Don’t pull out at junctions where you’re not absolutely sure you have right of way. Stay safe on the road.
- Heightened security awareness
It won’t come as a surprise to you that it’s far easier to steal a motorcycle than it would be to steal a car. There’s less involved logistically in simply taking someone’s motorbike because they weigh less, are smaller, and require fewer resources to transport. When you buy your motorbike, it’s important to also consider the security you’re going to need to keep it safe and away from thieves. Consider disc locks, chains, and other security measures. Don’t let your bike be taken if you can help it.
- A sense of adventure
There’s no real reason to ride a motorcycle over driving a car if you’re not going to take advantage of the benefits of doing so. Feeling the wind in your hair (through a helmet, of course), a greater sense of control, and the chance to filter through traffic when things get bad – these are all advantages of riding a bike, but you need to put them into practice to feel their effects. You can take your bike to places cars would find it hard to go, but you need a sense of adventure and exploration to do so.
- Good local knowledge
Laws change from region to region when it comes to motorcycle riding. Taking your bike out for a spin in France involves a very different set of rules and regulations to taking the same trip in the UK. Naturally, this will affect you at different levels depending on to what extent you’re planning to travel with your bike. Still, it’s a good idea to brush up on local laws if you can; you should at the very least know everything about riding a bike in your hometown, but knowing other areas’ laws can’t hurt.
- Better safety awareness
As we’ve alluded to multiple times, riding a motorbike tends to be a less safe experience than driving a car. While it’s true that it’s largely also up to the rider to ensure their riding technique allows for safety, the fact is that a motorcycle provides far less protection to a rider in a crash than a car does. It’s up to you to make sure you’re riding as safely as possible and being extra-observant, because your fellow motorists won’t do this for you.
- A sense of when repairs are needed
Since you’re only riding on two wheels, you might find tyre punctures or damage more common than car drivers might. You’ll also probably start to feel these changes earlier than a driver would, since the other wheels on a car can pick up the slack of one that might not be functioning as well. Start getting a feel for when your bike needs maintenance. Check your fuel gauge often, give your tyres a once-over each time you ride, and keep your eye out for leaks or other damage.