The world of motorcycling is an understatedly exciting one. Between the selection of machines, modifications, gear and colorful members of the biking community, it is no wonder that this classic past time appeals to so many.
Though for someone new to the scene, finding your footing and feeling like you fit in can be a challenging ordeal, often feeling like you have to be born with an iron horse under your ass to be able to feel at home in the community.
However, this is simply not the case.
There are new additions being brought to motorcycle clubs all the time as people from all walks of life experiment and indulge in this rather pricey way of life.
So if you have been interested in buying a bike, leathering up and taking to the open road, here are a few essentials to get under your belt before joining motorcycle culture.
What Exactly is Meant by "Motorcycle Culture?
To use the term motorcycle culture is to do a discredit to the field. This is because there is no single, unified and uniform culture behind the way of life.
There are indeed, various cultures and communities, and each one can be differentiated by the types of bikes their riders have, gear, skill, location and activities that make each and every motorcycle club unique and appealing to different kinds of riders.
You might want to consider yourself an off-roader, a superbike rider, or a leathered-up member of a Harley chapter.
You might be looking for a group that casually rides on weekends as a group of friends who get together, or you might be interested in joining a club that sees biking as a way of life and has a closer resemblance to a family than a club.
The kind of biking community that you end up falling into will have a lot to do with your personal interests, your riding style, and the sorts of groups and gatherings that you might prefer finding yourself in.
But before you go looking for a community to be a part of, you need to get a bike, some gear, and of course, experience with handling your chosen steed.
So where do you start?
Getting the Engine Running
Getting started in the biking community is fairly straightforward, what you need to do is get yourself a decent bike, some good protective gear, and get practicing to build your confidence, and of course to test the waters to see if a biker’s lifestyle is really for you.
Start with the Bike
Getting the bike is obviously the most essential of first steps in this regard:
While you may be tempted to splash out all of your savings on the biggest, most powerful bike that you can, you should think twice before doing this.
Beginner riders are likely to drop their bikes a few more times than those with experience, and may also not be able to handle the raw power of a superior engine at first, which can be deadly in the wrong situation.
So, it is a far better idea to go for a smaller bike with a less powerful engine.
Start with a 150cc or a 250cc if you are new to motorcycling. Lighter bikes are easier to handle, far more maneuverable and less devastating to drop.
Your mid-life crisis might be pestering you to get the biggest,
DO NOT COMPROMISE ON GEARS!
When riding, the only thing that stands between you and the fast-approaching asphalt of the road when you fall, is your gear.
It is best to try and get all of this gear in one go.
Since it is quite expensive, purchasing gear together might make it easier for you to parlay a discount, meaning you can spend the necessary money on quality gear that will protect you properly.
If you’re on a budget, prioritize to spend money on gear rather than anything else, because even the most experienced riders fall from time to time.
You’ve got what you need, now learn how to ride...
Becoming a skilled motorcyclist requires plenty of practice and experience, so don’t expect to feel comfortable on that leather seat right away.
1. Know what you are getting into
Do your homework.
Find out what different types of rider’s clubs exist out there. Speak to people, join forums and online groups or check community groups like those on meetup.com.
Through doing this, you can find out what is expected of you, you can link up with riders of similar skill, or you can ride with those who have enough experience to show you the ropes.
2. Do a foundations course
Once you have your bike and leathers, don’t expect to get on your bike and simply be able to ride.
Obviously, if you have had plenty of experience on bikes in the past, and possibly have already had ample training on the matter, then this doesn’t really apply to you.
You can do a safety foundation course over a weekend that takes you through the theory, practice and possible situations involved in riding safely.
3. Avoid taking passengers
The thought of riding off into the sunrise with your girlfriend on the back might be an appealing one, but it isn’t recommended for beginners.
Taking a passenger on the back of your bike makes riding it significantly more difficult since it limits your maneuverability and also changes the way the weight of your bike is distributed.
Be sure to get plenty of practice before taking passengers on the back.
4. You are likely to drop your bike
Every biker has scores of storied about hard falls and close calls during their rides, and this is because just about everyone who rides a bike will drop it or have an accident at some point. Expect that a lapse in concentration or an unseen event will have you on your back at some point.
With this in mind, take it easy, don’t show off, and don’t try and keep up with fellow riders who are doing speeds and stunts that you are not comfortable with.
Take it at your own pace, be vigilant and careful, and your first few accidents will likely be minor scrapes that you can laugh off.
Bite off more than you can chew, however, and a motorbike accident can be fatal.