Let me start this off by stating the obvious: motorcycles are awesome. We could talk for a long time about how ridiculously dangerous and inconvenient they are, but anyone who has ridden one knows why they continue to be popular. Riding a motorcycle is like riding a horse that obeys your every command and can run faster than any living beast on earth. Cruising on a Hog is the best therapy some people will ever know.
But when you rely on a motorcycle, it can quickly become a major annoyance. For a couple years, a motorcycle was the only vehicle I owned. It was what I relied on to get everywhere I needed to go. Let me tell you a few of the harsher truths I learned about depending on a bike as your only means of transportation.
You Can’t Ever Be In a Hurry
If you’re the kind of person who always seems to be rushing out the door to their car, you can forget about riding a motorcycle. Getting on a motorcycle requires way more preparation than most people realize, especially when you actually need to be somewhere, or have a series of errands to run.
You’ve got to be dressed appropriately. You’ve got to let the bike warm up if it hasn’t been ridden recently or it’s too cold out. If you’re bringing anything with you, you’ve got to stow it properly or harness it to the passenger seat. All of these steps, even when you’ve been doing the routine a while and have optimized the process, will almost always add several minutes to your journey every time you head out the door. That might not seem like a big deal, but all those extra steps begin to add up.
Get Used To Carrying Stuff
I can’t even tell you all the innovative methods I tried for getting as much cargo as possible on my bike at a time. Saddle bags, tank bags, backpacks, messenger bags, oversized jacket pockets, tethering large objects to the passenger seat… sometimes all at the same time. As you might imagine, riding performance is severely affected by adding a lot of weight and bulk to a bike that already weighs a few hundred pounds, and which relies upon your ability to balance to keep it upright and moving when you want it to go.
This means you generally have to ride slower and be more cautious. If you’re a California rider, it might mean you can’t lane share. It means not being able to get out of the way as quickly the next time some driver fails to notice the motorcycle in his blind spot before changing lanes. It means not being able to buy more than 2 bags of groceries at a time. If you transport anything valuable, it means having to carry it with you every time you get off the bike, just in case someone feels like rifling through your saddlebags while you are at the mall. It turns out to be a lot to keep in mind, thus largely negating the stress-relieving aspects of riding.
Hope You Like Leather
For safety’s sake, there are basically only two acceptable choices in motorcycle attire: full leather, and what I have come to call “motorcycle suits.” You know—the colorful and reflective synthetic body armor that basically screams “hardcore street racer” to the world. These are the only things that will offer any decent amount of protection in a crash, or cut down on the impairing effects of the elements.
This might not seem like it matters all that much, but it basically means that unless you bring a change of clothing with you (Yay! More stuff to carry!), you are going to go everywhere either looking like either a greaser or a Power Ranger. Maybe you don’t mind that. I love the way a slick black leather jacket makes me look. But if you have a job or plan to go anywhere where your appearance will matter (not to mention the helmet hair, smell of exhaust, and profuse sweating), this will quickly put a damper on your professionalism.
They Stop Being Fun
This might be the worst thing about riding a motorcycle every day. It’s no longer something you do for fun. The exhilaration stops being something you spice up your life with as an exception to your otherwise monotonous routine. It becomes the routine. It’s what you have to do to get around, instead of what you get the luxury of choosing to do on the weekends or for recreation. Riding a motorcycle becomes a chore, and that is something that should never happen.