We’ve all been there – out on the road and you stop for a Coke and a smile and they come out of the woodwork.
Posers, Wannabes, and the genuinely curious – all with questions about bikes and bikers and “how do I learn to ride a motorcycle?”
Some of them I tell just to get on a bike and try it while others I actually try to explain what it takes to learn to ride a Harley.
Little kids are the best since they are so honest – I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had some little boy or girl ask me something like “what’s it like to be in a biker gang?” just because I’m sitting on my bike in the corner of the gas station parking lot and smoking my lunch on a long ride. On the other end of the spectrum are the guys my age who finally have a little discretionary income and want to get out on the road and relax a few days a month.
The real problem for a lot of people who really do want to learn more about riding is that it really is a chicken-or-egg discussion.
Do you buy a bike and learn to ride it or do you learn to ride a motorcycle and then buy a bike? If you don’t know how to ride it, you can’t get home with it when you buy it and if you know how to ride it, then you likely already have access to someone who knows how to responsibly teach you how to ride a bike.
…And we wonder why our numbers are shrinking each year!
I know that all of you guys feel the same way and get the same questions all the time – “How do you learn to ride?” “Where can I learn to ride?” “What kind of bike should I get?” – and you and I both know that those are hard to answer. I physically cannot remember what it’s like to not know how to ride a motorcycle and no matter how hard I try, I still struggle with trying to teach skills that I no longer even think about using.
After all, how do you teach rolling into a hard turn without using the brakes since you’ve already slowed down enough to actually accelerate into that same turn? In a world where fewer and fewer people understand what it means to know the “feel” of a mechanical instrument and make decisions based NOT on a computer but on subtle hints your own senses, the relationship between a rider and the bike involves a lot of that most intangible of the senses – “touch”.
The good news is that the team at the Bikers’ Den actually took a lot of those lessons we’ve all tried to give to new or interested riders and condensed it into a downloadable book – “Ready To Ride” – just for new riders or those folks that want to learn more about how to get started riding.
Is it going to turn a lifetime cage driver into Easy Rider?
No. But it is going to walk them through the many options they have available to learn to ride a motorcycle, the safety gear they’ll need, and the basics of what they can expect when they start to seriously think about learning to ride a bike, from a Road King to a crotch rocket.
The next time you get asked how to learn to ride, you don’t have to give out a bunch of esoteric answers, you can just tell them they can start here and once they’ve got the basic understanding of what it takes to learn to ride a bike safely and effectively, then you can explain it even better.
No matter what, though, remember, the main lesson is this one – keep the shiny side up!