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Posted: 4/14/2002 1:39:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2002 1:40:24 PM EDT by AlClenin]
I'm thinking of getting a motorcycle to use to commute to work. 20 miles each way, 5 times a week. So what do you think? Is this a dumb idea? i.e. does motor cycle + city traffic = death? The gas savings sure would be nice. (plus bikes are damn fun.)
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 1:45:40 PM EDT
What does the organ-donor centers call a motorcycle: "Donorcycle"
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 1:48:54 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 2:02:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2002 2:04:01 PM EDT by Aimless]
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 2:16:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Aimless: ... Motorcycles, except at slow speeds, are turned by countersteering-push the handlebars away from the direction you want to travel, i.e. push forward with your right hand and the bike will turn right. ...
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Can you explain this a little more? It doesn't make sense to me.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 2:36:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2002 2:41:11 PM EDT by Aimless]
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 2:56:17 PM EDT
What you should do is contact your State Highway Patrol, and take the basic safety course. Even if you can't ride, they will teach you. A lot of people say riding is dangerous that don't ride. What they don't tell you is there are ways to mimimize the risk, and mimimize the injurys when they occur. That's what the classroom sessions are all about. You'll will waive the DMV riding test when you get your license. And you can also find out if this is for you before shelling out for a bike.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:00:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:03:04 PM EDT
I now live in a small town, so riding an M/C is cool. I have spent extensive time riding a M/C in Vegas and in Phoenix and I can't say I liked it much. There's something about doing 70 on a crowded freeway with traffic on all sides and realizing that if anyone makes a mistake, you die.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:17:14 PM EDT
Been there, done that, wouldn't want to have to do it again. If you're going to do it, replace the factory horn with an air horn. It'll look stupid but it's worth it; when you hit the button you'll sound like an 18-wheeler and the nimrods who don't see you and move to cut you off will quickly get back in the other lane where they belong.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:24:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AlClenin: I'm thinking of getting a motorcycle to use to commute to work. 20 miles each way, 5 times a week. So what do you think? Is this a dumb idea? i.e. does motor cycle + city traffic = death? The gas savings sure would be nice. (plus bikes are damn fun.)
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Go for IT!!! The great thing is on a bike, you learn all the "other" ways to get to work. You end up searching for the twisty, least traveled roads. You learn to avoid the freeways during rush hour and take city streets. Reason? Nothing sucks more than sitting on a bike in rush hour on a freeway that is bumper to bumper and not moving. Riding is alot like shooting. Once you get the techincal things down, you live off of instinct. Your mind clears and you live off the primal part of your brain. Very very Zen like! I personally end up more relaxed and more productive after riding to and from work. I have ridden most of my life. I took time and sold my bikes for a pickup, dumbest thing I ever did (did it to appease my family, they were worried about my safety). I know it sounds dumb, but I actually feel safer, more aware when riding my motocycle than in a cage. If you haven't ridden before, [b]HIGHLY[/b] recommend taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. A good deal of them provide a motorcycle for the course, also they sometimes are the riding portion of your motorcycle license. Then you just have to take the written. If and when you do pick up a bike, don't start off right away using it to go to work. Build up to it. Ride around your neighborhood on side streets, then move up to busier streets, then to the freeways. Take a couple of months to do this. Always keep your head moving, looking around. Study other drivers, look at THEM not their cars, learn to anticipate their dumb moves, for they will make dumb moves. Learn to ride defensively AND offensively. Twisting the throttle is sometimes the only way out of an ugly situation. When in a turn, never look at the road right infront of your front tire. If you get into that habit, you will go down! Learn to look ahead of the turn, the bike will naturally to in that direction. Never fixate on something in the road (rock, pothole, road gator) thinking you will drive around it, you WILL hit what you are looking at. Look past the object (or to the side), again the bike will naturally go where you are looking. Have more, but tired of typing... Oh, yea. Exercise your right to choose, choose to wear a helmet!
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:39:49 PM EDT
Sounds like a lot of fun, except it depends on what city. In Baltimore, I doubt you'd own the bike very long! And if you had to get out of the city after dark, you might have a problem in MOST neighborhoods, so that leaves only the freeway, which would suck. I'd say it might be fun on occasion, but not on a daily basis.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:42:58 PM EDT
As a lifelong motorcycle rider, I would strongly advise you *NOT* to buy one for commuting to work. People don't pay enough attention, and even the ones who do try to pay attention can't see you as easily (particularly in traffic). In my opinionm if you plan on commuting to work each day during the standard shift you will probably be dead or disabled within a year. Spend the money on a 10 year old Saturn or Honda civic if gas savings is that important. Bikes are fun, but they're no way to commute. Don't do it if you want to live.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 3:56:30 PM EDT
I ride to work everyday, and live in a big city, and haven't went down yet. After many years of riding, almost 18 now, I think I've got it down. Take the MSF course, and you'll be a lot better off. They bring you up to a 2 year riding level, in one weekend. Don't buy the biggest bike you see, and don't buy the smallest. Crotch rockets suck to ride everyday, and you'll get tickets. Guaranteed. I ride a cruiser style bike, and it's not too bad for commuting, although I wish it had more power. You'll need eyes all the way around your head, and don't ever, I mean EVER, assume somebody can see you, because they don't. Ride on the far side of the lane, so you can see brakelights way ahead, and be ready to get out of the way instantly. My biggest fear is getting rear-ended on the freeway. If you need more advice, or have specific questions, feel free to email, Ill do the best I can to help you. Oh yeah, most of the people who tell you you're gonna die on a bike, don't ride, so don't listen to them.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 4:08:31 PM EDT
"Oh yeah, most of the people who tell you you're gonna die on a bike, don't ride, so don't listen to them" That's right.If you don't ride,you do not possibly understand.When people question my sport,and say it's dangerous,I just let them talk.It takes a certain person,to ride a motorcycle day-in,day-out.Not everyone can do it.I ride my sport-bike to work everyday,including today,and I love it.Watchout for DUMB-PHUCK people driving cars.They WILL suprise you with their idiocity.After riding,driving a car seems like child's play. TAKE THE MSF COURSE,TAKE IT NOW.Ride within your limits,your skills will grow with riding time.Ride with other bikes,it's a ton of fun even if you don't do anything but look around.Wave at other bikes too.I always do. If you see a Silver/black '02 Suzuki SV650-S sport-bike in Orlando,it might be me. Also,watchout for people in cars who attempt to race you.They obviously don't realize that most crotch-rockets can go 0-100 and back to zero again before they reach 90mph.Picking up chicks is so easy it's almost biziarre.....COOLNESS!! Have fun,YOU WILL!!!!
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 4:21:31 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Aimless: A motorcycle is turned by pushing the handlebar away from the direction you want to travel (except at walking speeds). This is called "countersteering." If I am sitting on the bike and I want to turn to my right I push the right end of the handle bar forward, the left end, of course, comes closer to me and the right end of the handlebar is far away from me as I turn right.
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To turn right, you pull the right handlebar to you, not away. Granted, the faster you are going, the less you pull, in fact for high speed sweepers, you hardly steer and mostly lean. What you describe sounds like on a dirt track while racing.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 4:59:00 PM EDT
I have been riding for about 5 years. I ride to work once or twice a week. I recomend taking the Rider Safety Course.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 5:05:03 PM EDT
I would advise against commuting this distance every day on a motorcycle. I know several people in this thread have said that those that will warn you about death and injury don't ride. I have only ridden a bike a few times. However, I am a surgery resident and am trauma call this weekend (in fact, I'm typing this during a lull in the action.) We have had 4 people come in this weekend that I have seen involved in motorcycle accidents (and call isn't over until 0700 Monday morning.) Almost to a man folks on a motorcycle end up in worse shape with more severe injuries than folks in cars. It doesn't matter if they are wearing helmets either. Saw a guy Friday night that had an intracranial bleed despite the fact that he had a helmet on. In fact when his face skidded down the road after his accident, he completely lost his right ear. I think that commuting that distance each day on a motorcycle will significantly increase your risk of injury/death as compared to a car, despite what your riding skill might be. Sorry. Didn't mean to get 'preachy' but it gets tiresome seeing people wheeled in in such poor condition. It's fun for us surgeons, but sucks if you are the patient.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 5:08:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2002 5:09:30 PM EDT by Aimless]
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 5:14:39 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 5:20:23 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 5:22:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 5:31:07 PM EDT
I had a little 100cc dirt bike when I was a kid, but didn't ride it as often as I should have. I think I'm going to see if I can borrow a friend's bike (he doesn't ride it much), see if I can take a class, and maybe drive a few times to work before I shell out the bucks to get my own. Thanks for the advice.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 5:35:22 PM EDT
20 miles in the rain would suck ass.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 6:25:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2002 6:37:56 PM EDT by Kingme]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Originally Posted By Aimless: A motorcycle is turned by pushing the handlebar away from the direction you want to travel (except at walking speeds). This is called "countersteering." If I am sitting on the bike and I want to turn to my right I push the right end of the handle bar forward, the left end, of course, comes closer to me and the right end of the handlebar is far away from me as I turn right. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Then LarryG said, "To turn right, you pull the right handlebar to you, not away." No LarryG, Aimless has it correct: Above the threshold point push right to go right. Below the threshold, then pull right to go right. If you stay right at the threshold point, you'll know it. There will be a feeling of complete lack of control. The only way to get out of it is to either hit the gas or back off the gas. Also, the link, www.msgroup.org/TIP048.html does good in their explanation of counter steering forces on the front wheel but their argument fails when they try to explain why the bike actually turns. They try to make an analogy of the smaller and greater radii of a round tire with some tire which has a footprint shaped like a trapezoid. Can't do it. The tire footprint either has the larger radius on the ground or the smaller radius: not both. To correct and continue their explanation.... The reason the bike actually turns is still that same gyroscopic principle. The effect is not only felt by the front wheel but also on the rear wheel. The gyroscopoic effect on the front tire causes the bike to lean. This leaning, in turn, causes the gyroscopic effect to be felt on the rear wheel which causes the bike to actually turn. Remember, the applied force is transfered to a point 90 degrees in the direction of rotation. If you take the rear wheel and try to "lean" it, that leaning force, which is in effect applied on the top side of the wheel, will actually be felt on the front side, 90 degrees in the direction of rotation, of the wheel. Consequently the bike will turn. BTW, I rode my bike for years in Chicago's traffic nightmare. That place was an accident wainting to happen, specially during rush hour. I didn't have any accidents (except one - not critical), but I was always on guard. Sometimes I think I was just lucky. Also, you won't save any money with a bike: the parts and repairs will eat up the gas savings
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 7:16:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2002 7:25:11 PM EDT by trickshot]
By the time you purchase a motorcycle, insure it, pay the taxes and the licensing fees and have it inspected, you are going to have to ride it for 50 years to realize any savings on fuel alone. Do not buy a motorcycle and expect to "save" money, it will never happen. It is just as much of a headache as owning a car. Buy it because you like riding motorcycles, PERIOD. City traffic is not the issue. Most motorcycle crashes involve operator error and are single vehicle accidents--i.e. the rider fucked up. So take the MSF course or some other training course. That isn't to say that other drivers are not a menace--I've had enough close calls with them to know otherwise, but you sort of get a sixth sense and learn to anticipate what some idiot is going to do long before they do it. Still, you can be surprised, but hey, that's life. Aimless--how does leaning [b]not[/b] play a part in turning a motorcycle? I'm really curious. I've seen guys ride without touching the handlebars and turn it just by leaning. Leaning the bike is everything--the countersteering stuff is just what they teach you to get you to lean the bike over harder when you are just a newbie. Go out and ride a bicycle down a big hill (or over 5mph, basically) and the way you "turn" is exactly the same as on a motorcycle. One more item--I never understood why the fuck bikers wave at each other. Do you wave at total strangers from your car wherever you go? Then why the hell do it on a motorcycle?
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 7:35:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2002 7:39:36 PM EDT by trickshot]
Originally Posted By drjakeb: I would advise against commuting this distance every day on a motorcycle. I know several people in this thread have said that those that will warn you about death and injury don't ride. I have only ridden a bike a few times. However, I am a surgery resident and am trauma call this weekend (in fact, I'm typing this during a lull in the action.) We have had 4 people come in this weekend that I have seen involved in motorcycle accidents (and call isn't over until 0700 Monday morning.) Almost to a man folks on a motorcycle end up in worse shape with more severe injuries than folks in cars. It doesn't matter if they are wearing helmets either. Saw a guy Friday night that had an intracranial bleed despite the fact that he had a helmet on. In fact when his face skidded down the road after his accident, he completely lost his right ear. I think that commuting that distance each day on a motorcycle will significantly increase your risk of injury/death as compared to a car, despite what your riding skill might be. Sorry. Didn't mean to get 'preachy' but it gets tiresome seeing people wheeled in in such poor condition. It's fun for us surgeons, but sucks if you are the patient.
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You're full of shit and here's why: You don't ride motorcycles and all you see is the aftermath of the accidents, not all the thousands of successful rides that take place. You're just like the cops and doctors who hate guns because all they see are the trauma injuries and DOAs. HELLO! You are missing the bigger picture! Thousands of people are out riding and you saw four or five accidents in your hospital. What's that, like .000001% then? Same logic as gun controllers always try to use. How many car accident victims came in? Second, the guy wearing a "helmet" was obviously not wearing a full-face helmet with any actual safety certification but rather one of those stupid brain bucket skullcaps that are the legal minimum standard (or not even) that many Harley guys wear. Finally, your risk of injury does not go up because you ride [b]more[/b] it goes down--way down, in fact. The biggest percentage of accidents happen to new riders who learn to ride from a family member or friend. People who have ridden their whole lives have fewer accidents and most have none at all or very minor "tipped it over in a parking lot" type incidents. So tell Dr. Douchebag to stick to his own body of knowledge and kindly remain silent in discussions of subjects he only thinks he knows something about.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 7:38:07 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 8:00:02 PM EDT
Very interesting, I've been thinking about this myself lately. It would also be a nice ride out to the range(for handguns). Taking a rider safety course will definitely be at the top of my list. Don't forget to join the AMA!! Anybody have any opinions on the Triumph Adventurer?
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 8:23:40 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 8:25:07 PM EDT
Do it. I have for 15 years. I don't do it when its pouring down rain or its freezing out, but I am out there every other day. I have a 40 mile round trip commute. I wouldn't sell my car to get a bike just to "save money" because you probably won't. Take the course, take your time and enjoy it.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 8:29:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Aimless: I can turn a bike without leaning at all-countersterring turns the bike and it works on a bicycle if you are going fast enough.
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Sure, but I guess my point was the bike must lean to turn--anything off of the 90 degree vertical is leaning to me, doesn't matter how it got that way.
The waving thing I guess is a sign of comradery. Motorcyclists are usually pretty friendly with each other, warning of police ahead, stopping to help another motorcyclist who is having mechanical problems and stuff like that. When I have broken down or (duh) ran out of gas, the people who stop usually ride. I do that too, I've stop in pouring rain wearing a suit to help a guy get his bike that crapped out out of an intersection, I've lugged bikes home in my truck for guys who had trouble too and most of 'em would do the same for me.
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There is no cameraderie. Harley guys snub sport riders, sport riders snub BMW fans, white sport riders snub black sport riders, everyone hates scooter and moped jockeys. The cameraderies is only superficial. Stopping to help someone in trouble is a completely different issue. I've helped out other riders in the past. But I don't wave anymore (I did when I first started riding years ago and felt all cool and special), it just seems gay now.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 9:08:16 PM EDT
Trickshot said, "...your risk of injury does not go up because you ride more it goes down...". I agree. There's a T-Shirt out there saying "$15,000 and 15 miles doesn't make you a biker".
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 9:42:55 PM EDT
AlClenin: I agree with those who say don't do it just to save money on gas; there are many other costs to factor in. However, it is a time-saver in big-city, rush-hour traffic. I commuted about 30 miles one way/60-mile round trip for 18 months in Los Angeles traffic for a couple reasons: I hated sitting in traffic (lane-splitting is not illegal in L.A., and it's not really that dangerous if you're very heads-up), and it was part of my job. I could count on being cut off an average of once a day because of dimwits in their cars. You certainly don't have to ride a bike to know that most people in cars have no business being on the road because they zone out. They're completely unaware of what's going on around them (especially beside or behind them). That makes it your job to be ultra-aware and become very good at predicting who's going to cut you off and when. I rode all year-round, even in what passes for the rainy season in L.A. (lots of water in a short period of time). True, lots of rain suits aren't exactly rain-proof, but they're better than nothing. You may want to have a change of clothes in a waterproof container or else stashed at work. Counter-steering, by the way, is just like Aimless says. Having gone through one of the first classes that Keith Code did, I learned first-hand that it works. I've also found out that pressure on the pegs also helps initiate turns very quickly, whether on dirt or street bikes. Lean is what helps keep the bike on your chosen line in a given turn at a given speed, IMHO. Funny, but most of the riding I've done away from cities is where I find the most biker-to-biker waves. The sole exception seems to be the Harley riders--unless you're riding a Harley. That's their problem. As for the Triumph Adventure, I rode one for three straight days two weeks ago while on a multi-bike adventure-tourer evaluation. Love the engine. Very smooth, excellent power, shifts nicely. Feels sort of long, like most of the Triumphs I've ridden, so it imparts stability. Yet with the comparatively tall and wide handlebar, you can flick it pretty quickly. Didn't like the levers; too big and funky shaped for my medium-size hands (plus I'm more used to dirt bikes). Don't think you're going to venture too far off the beaten track on the Adventure; the tires and weight pretty much guarantee that hard-packed dirt roads suitable for a Winnebago are about as challenging as you'll want to go. MSF courses are excellent. Sorry I don't have a phone number or Web address for you right now. Lots of good advice I've seen so far on this thread; Aimless almost sounds like an MSF instructor. [:)]
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 9:57:23 PM EDT
You're full of shit and here's why: You don't ride motorcycles and all you see is the aftermath of the accidents, not all the thousands of successful rides that take place.
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I *do* ride bikes, and have ridden since I was 9 years old (xr75), got my MC license at 13 (in Alabama at the time that was the legal age) and hit the roads on a dual-purpose honda xl125.
You're just like the cops and doctors who hate guns because all they see are the trauma injuries and DOAs. HELLO! You are missing the bigger picture! Thousands of people are out riding and you saw four or five accidents in your hospital. What's that, like .000001% then? ..blah.blah.blah...How many car accident victims came in?
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Got a better question for ya smartguy. How many accident victims came in that were on the *other* side of the car/motorcycle collision. Do the math knucklehead.
Second, the guy wearing a "helmet" was obviously not wearing a full-face helmet with any actual safety certification but rather one of those stupid brain bucket skullcaps that are the legal minimum standard (or not even) that many Harley guys wear.
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Welcome to Florida, the state where all the 'ride free' morons can now ride without helmets. Personally I don't give a sh1t about their ugly mugs, but when they're only required to carry $10k worth of personal injury insurance and then get smacked upside their thick heads it costs the taxpayers (like moi) a hell of a lot more than that to wipe their asses and spoon feed them pistachio pudding the rest of their life because they wanted everyone to see their ugly mugs while they were riding around.
Finally, your risk of injury does not go up because you ride more it goes down--way down, in fact. The biggest percentage of accidents happen to new riders who learn to ride from a family member or friend. People who have ridden their whole lives have fewer accidents and most have none at all or very minor "tipped it over in a parking lot" type incidents.
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Yes there is a learning curve and at some point (like I alluded to previously, somewhere between one and two years) your probability of an accident each time you ride does start going down. That said, an awful lot can happen to a guy who's learning to ride, doing it in morning/rush hour commuter traffic, and doing so in a major city. Good effing luck! lol. No doubt about it, the chances that he will pay a higher price for that knowledge and experience than someone out driving around the countryside or farting around on a dirtbike is much greater. Kinda like learning to walk a tightrope, you don't start out with the cable strung between two buildings. [continued]
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 9:57:59 PM EDT
[continued]
So tell Dr. Douchebag to stick to his own body of knowledge and kindly remain silent in discussions of subjects he only thinks he knows something about.
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Now, lest you think I'm some dilettante who's never twisted a throttle and say something stupid like "You're full of shit.."...I've seen both sides of the cycling equation. They're a blast to ride, and I wouldn't give up experiences on them for anything. The freedom I had at 13 to go practically anywhere 'adults' could go was incredible (and made most of my friends quite jealous). Finally bought a nice bike in 91 and rode it for 2 years before a drunk turned left in front of me on a completely clear road (just me and him) and I piled into the side of his car. So $25k in surgery, ten months of recuperation and with half my left kidney missing and rest of it patched back together with stents and sutures, I started rebuilding the bike I crashed on. After a couple more months I was riding again and never looked back. The only bad thing was that the guy who nearly killed me was a repeat offender, no insurance, no license, etc and only got 8 months and paid $750 restitution. Lol. Other than that I regret nothing about riding. But I also wouldn't advise anyone to ride a bike on the street without a firm understanding of the potential risks involved (around here with all the blue-hairs in Lincolns it certainly wouldn't be for commuting). For me, it's just not worth the risk now that I'm older and have more to lose. But Hell...if you're 18-24 without a wife, kids or anyone else depending on you then I'd say go for it! Although my 'street cred' may be damaged since technically I'm an 'ex-rider' since I stopped riding about 3 years ago after my bike got stolen. I just never replaced it, but I still haven't sold my helmet or leathers...who knows, one of these days when I'm out of the city....
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 10:21:29 PM EDT
Originally Posted By trickshot: You're full of shit and here's why: You don't ride motorcycles and all you see is the aftermath of the accidents, not all the thousands of successful rides that take place. You're just like the cops and doctors who hate guns because all they see are the trauma injuries and DOAs. HELLO! You are missing the bigger picture! Thousands of people are out riding and you saw four or five accidents in your hospital. What's that, like .000001% then? Same logic as gun controllers always try to use. How many car accident victims came in? Second, the guy wearing a "helmet" was obviously not wearing a full-face helmet with any actual safety certification but rather one of those stupid brain bucket skullcaps that are the legal minimum standard (or not even) that many Harley guys wear. Finally, your risk of injury does not go up because you ride [b]more[/b] it goes down--way down, in fact. The biggest percentage of accidents happen to new riders who learn to ride from a family member or friend. People who have ridden their whole lives have fewer accidents and most have none at all or very minor "tipped it over in a parking lot" type incidents. So tell Dr. Douchebag to stick to his own body of knowledge and kindly remain silent in discussions of subjects he only thinks he knows something about.
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I'll bet your happy that you're safely tucked away behind your computer screen in some dark room. I'll bet you wouldn't have the balls to say that crap face to face. I really don't care much for the Dr. Douchebag comment. Most third graders I know can carry on a more civilized debate/discussion than the bullshit you just posted. So the more time you spend in heavy city traffic on a bike the less chance you have of being injured? Come on. Use some common sense. But judging by the logic you use in your argument above, that may be lacking too.
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 10:25:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By trickshot: One more item--I never understood why the fuck bikers wave at each other. Do you wave at total strangers from your car wherever you go? Then why the hell do it on a motorcycle?
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You have to ride to understand. Mainly, we are a different breed of people. Let me try to explain. Cagers are cagers. You are in a box, away from the elements, wrapped in your little cacoon. We are open (really open as drjakeb said above) to the elements. We know that we are taking a chance, we can die in an instant, our odds are higher than you. When I see another biker (on anything, BMW, Honda, Harley, Suzuki, even a moped) especially when I can tell that is one that rides because they can, I know they have some experience in their riding that I can relate to, or may have experienced myself. The "wave" is an acknowledgement of every crappy thing that has every happened while riding, I have "been there done that" just as they have done. Also it is a reassurence that if I ever see them in trouble on their bike, I WILL stop and render aid. Just as I hope they will for me if the need every arises. Think of how many cars you have seen on the side of the road, steam coming out from under the hood, or a tire that isn't up to par, or whatever, with that person just sitting there wondering "Who will stop to help me?" or "When will highway patrol come by?" or "Damn, it will take forever for my friend/towtruck to get here". But when a bike breaks down, we don't worry as much. Because we have better odds of the next rider pulling over to lend a hand. I can't remember the number of times when I have stopped to help another rider. Or had a rider stop to help me. Sometimes we roll up late, they have already made arrangements for a friend, family member to come out (this happend more now with the advent of cell phones). A good deal of the time the assisting rider will just sit with them and keep them company and tell the tale of "I remember when..." It is a brotherhood (women too). Until you join us and ride because you can, you won't be able to appreciate the subtleties of the "wave".
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 10:35:09 PM EDT
FWIW, I've been riding for over 25 years, and commuting for most of those years (21 yrs. on the same Gold Wing out in the garage). I've been down *once*, in almost 400,000 miles of two-wheeled transit - long story, not germaine to the topic at hand - and I rode away from that mishap with no scars on me and slight cosmetic damage to the Old Girl... I say "gopher it", as long as you: A.) Sign up for an MSF* Ridercourse, or other similar motorcycle safety course. B.) Ride paraniod for a while; most accidents happen to riders in their first year. C.) Don't try to start out your riding career with the biggest Land Yacht or the baddest Crotch-Rocket on the dealer's floor; something middle-weight and agile for traffic would probably suffice for commuting, while still having enough horsepower and "road legs" to get you across the state (or states?) on a weekend jaunt. (the Kawasaki Concours, Honda ST1100, Suzuki Bandit 1200 or SV650, BMW R-series, etc. are fine bikes, and don't require the skill level of an Ultra Glide, 1800cc Gold Wing, or BMW K1200LT.) Once you get some experience under your belt & feel more confident in your skill level, then feel free to move up to whatever machine makes your heart go pitty-pat. D.) Every year thereafter, or couple of years *at the longest*, take a MSF Experienced Rider's Course. You'll be surprised/disgusted at the number of bad riding habits you'll pick up along the way. The MSF motto is true: "The more you know, the better it gets." *Motorcycle Safety Foundation Good luck & see ya down the road
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 10:37:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By trickshot: One more item--I never understood why the fuck bikers wave at each other. Do you wave at total strangers from your car wherever you go? Then why the hell do it on a motorcycle?
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Why the hell not?
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 10:54:09 PM EDT
We wave because we are bikers... If (in a perfect world) we could walk around with our favorite rifles I would "wave" to all the Ar-15 guys, just to say "hey, nice rifle". Its called being friendly...
Link Posted: 4/14/2002 11:20:12 PM EDT
At least 100 to one odds against serious injury. If you stay alert. By 'serious' I mean permanent disability or worse - road rash and the odd broken bone doesn't count. There are a few rules of riding the urban trails: 1) The other guy IS trying to kill you. There is no substitute for paranoia when you're playing in traffic without a cage. More than two thirds of bike-car accidents are the car driver's fault. As you soon notice when you become invisible by hopping on a blaze orange motorcycle, car drivers don't signal, they don't obey traffic signs, they don't see you, and they're thinking about their neighbors' hamster. 2) When you crash, don't get mushed underneath or between anything - up and over, bounce and slide is the way to go. And the crash isn't finished until you and ALL traffic has stopped - get off the roadway ASAP. 3) You'll love to feel the breeze in your hair and lose that hot clothing so you won't bake in traffic. Don't. OK, do it, but do it in an off-road setting where the one ton lumps don't move about. Even a mild accident involving cars generates forces sufficient to twist and tear steel - and you're not made of stuff stronger than that, so your clothing had better be. Especially your helmet, boots and elbows - boots take it first in any side impact and your elbows are a popular spot to sacrifice skin for deceleration. I say go for it - just make sure you get good safety gear. Good safety gear is the reason why I still walk normally today, despite pounding a GSXR into the driver's door of a minivan driven by a guy who abruptly decided to do a U-turn in a no U-turn zone, from the far lane, with no signal or shoulder check, while eating a burger and chatting with his girlfriend. Kevlar boots - they're not just for driver education anymore. :)
Link Posted: 4/15/2002 6:58:19 PM EDT
'78-'84 in Miami, Florida...aka "the land that forgot turn signals". rode a bonnie, and an old H1, and then the first Katana. my 2c... 1) After a year, if it's still a thrill, you'll have your own answer. 2) Trade some macho for some visibility...at least consider a white or yellow helmet. 3) ALWAYS wear gloves. Unless of course you're already missing your hands. 4) Use the donning of your gear to get your head straight, too. 5) Take the MSF course...anyone who sez they didn't learn anything, already had a few helmetless accidents or is a deaf asshole. 6) Don't ride mad or drunk and try to avoid hurrying. 7) If you go down at night...no one will see you. Get off the road...any way you can. 8) 18 months and the second bike is the median for bad accidents..."I'm not a newbie. I know it all." 2nd bike usually is a big, maybe too big, step up, power-wise. 9) Actually #1...NO ONE repeat NO ONE is responsible for your safety but YOU. Stay Safe.
Link Posted: 4/16/2002 3:07:05 PM EDT
"You have to ride to understand" Yes indeed.The only thing better in the world besides riding a bike is riding with other bikes.Everytime I wave and get a wave back,I always am reminded of how cool this sport is.You might actually look forward to your commute.Take the MSF,and stay alert.It's easy to find other to ride with.You'll gain an understanding to all of these things once you join us.Join us! you know you want to.The second you enter the local bike dealership and look at all the pretty bikes,you will not be able to think of anything else except THAT bike until you get it.GOTTA LOVE IT!!!!
Link Posted: 4/16/2002 3:19:40 PM EDT
FWIW, when I lived in MA, I commuted from Billerica to Boston and back (about 45 miles round trip) on a motorcycle every day. Rain or shine. The only bad thing was snow. Once snow started falling and roads started freezing, the bike was put away and the car came out of hiding. But I remember November's where I was still riding. And February's where the bike came back to life. Traffic is not a problem if you're [b]very[/b] careful. Can't emphasize that enough. Maneuverability, gas savings, fun, and that whole macho thing. All definite pluses. Dose of irony: I live in SoCal and don't ride anymore because my (ex)wife made me give it up. I'm divorced now so what she wants is irrelevant. I think a new bike is in order...
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