Swallow Your Pride

I think it probably started with my mom back when I was a wee lad with visions of motorcycles dancing in my head. It began with the ever popular “motorcycles are dangerous!” and evolved into full newscast reports of every accident in the known universe where a motorcycle may have been involved.

Now sitting in the editor’s chair of this little newspaper of ours, it continues, although not so much from my mom, but from email, newsletters and other forms of media. I have an account set up with Google to send me daily links of things related to motorcycles. My original hope was it would help keep me informed of changes in the world of motorcycles, everything from new laws to new companies and products and everything in between. It has become a daily barrage of the grim and heart wrenching things we never want to happen to anyone. I am amazed at the continuous stories of death and injury our fellow motorcyclists and their families and friends have endured. It never ends.

One of the most disturbing articles I read happened some time ago. A teenage girl had just gotten her license and for her first bike she purchased a beautiful Yamaha R1. If you could see me now I would be shaking my head side to side and sighing loudly. According to the article she had picked up the bike at the shop and proceeded on her first ride as a licensed rider. 10 minutes later, 10 MINUTES, she was dead. A terrible mixture of inexperience and too much speed.

I have mixed feelings about limiting the size of bike a new rider can ride, I know of one person who had a Suzuki GSX R 750 for their first bike. They have ridden safely for years. On the flip side I know another individual who had a nice little Honda XL 185 and ended up with an erector set in his leg. It’s all about riding at your abilities and not overstepping them I suppose, but you really have to swallow your pride.

This past spring I started training to become an instructor, hoping to pass on to some of the new riders the experience I have had. I spent a weekend working with a class of individuals as diverse as the bikes on the market today. All wanted to experience the freedom and lifestyle we all share. All the participants passed the course and are all licensed to ride on the road now. However I have this incredible fear in my heart that some of them will end up being statistics. Some of them passed just by the hair on their chinny chin chins. The regular instructors arranged for the few that really shouldn’t have passed to receive extra training.

One thing the training course really pushes is to start small, no more than a 250. However some of these students had their own visions of motorcycles dancing in their heads. One woman had bought a 750 because a “friend” told her a 500 would be too small. Another had purchased a big Harley touring bike. She could barely hold up the tiny Honda CM 250 she was training on and refused to own anything other than a Harley. Maybe a nice 883 would have been a better choice? I’m not sure. When her husband rode in to see how she was doing a lot was explained; he had a full dress Harley and fancy leathers, the whole nine yards. He also just about dropped it in the parking lot. But he had “the image.”

This is the one time you need to swallow your pride, start small, become a safe and skilled rider, then move up to that bigger bike you’ve been dreaming about. That way you won’t end up a statistic and you’ll appreciate that dream bike even more.

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~ by cdnrider on December 23, 2009.

3 Responses to “Swallow Your Pride”

  1. thanks for bringing some reason to the sport. I rode for a good ten years, moving from a 70cc to a 125 off road machine. 20 years later I decided to get back on the saddle and went to the local bike shop. After about an hour of looking at all the shinny bikes I decided a 250cc was a good place to start again. I want to ride, not to die.

    slow down and enjoy people.

  2. Hi l have read your story, and l was blown away by it.
    l was in a accident in 1987, where l was hit by a driver who was on med’s, head on . l was driving a 250 honda, less the 30 days old. l am some one who has driven motor bikes, since l was 14 years old, big bikes and small.
    l will not go into what all took place, how ever lf l was to ride again l would start small.
    Why they sell these big bikes to teens just learing to drive, blows my mind…. l have asked the question many times to dealers, why do you sell major power bikes to these young drivers who just end up wheelchair bound or past away…..They don’t care, all they care about is the money thay make, never mind the sadness that comes with it.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this article. I agree with you most people need to swallow there pride and not worry about what others think. Get your training and experience before you get out there and start to show off. We made our son watch videos from http://www.powersportsdirectorycrashes.com before he could take his bike out. We want him to rethink his actions before he does them. When he gets home he will be reading this too. Thank you again this is the best article I’ve read all week.

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