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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them

Riding Right: Why People Ride a Motorcycle

Top 10 reasons (you may be surprised!)

By Susan Rzepka Orion, MSF RiderCoach

Why do you want to learn to ride? How can you convince a friend to learn to ride? There are nearly as many individual answers to that question as there are individual people in the world. I conducted an unscientific poll of students in new rider courses and came up with the 10 most-commonly cited answers to the question: "Why do you want to learn to ride?"  

1) It looks like fun!
Gliding down the highway on two wheels, cruising through traffic, bending the twisties on a country road. Not only does it look like fun, it is! Chances are, if you enjoy driving, you'll enjoy riding, too. Some people claim riding is the closest thing to flying. Most people agree that the excitement, exhilaration and total freedom just can't be beat!

Why People Ride a Motorcycle
A rider on a Suzuki Boulevard S40.

2) It looks cool!
The cool factor associated with motorcycling is real. Whether it's Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Sandra Oh (who can forget the beating she gave her boyfriend with her motorcycle helmet in the 2004 film Sideways), people who ride not only look cool, they are cool! 

Why People Ride a Motorcycle Smile
It's hard not to smile when you know you look cool on your motorcycle.

3) I'm tired of being a passenger.
Many women who learn to ride have spent a lot of time on the back seat of a bike. They love motorcycling, and they're ready to ride their own ride. Wanting to move up to the front seat is one of the most common reasons I hear from new women riders. 

Why People Ride a Motorcycle Passenger
After a certain amount of time in back, it's only natural to wonder what the view's like upfront.

4) I received a motorcycle as a gift.
Believe it or not, this reason to ride comes up fairly often. One new rider told me how winning two Harley-Davidson motorcycles in a raffle propelled the decision to learn to ride. More often, I hear how a bike has been given as a gift, usually by a spouse or significant other, but sometimes from parents to children or vice versa. Hey, nice gift!

5) My husband/boyfriend/significant other wants me to learn to ride.
I'm always a bit skeptical when I hear this reason. It sounds too much like my husband/boyfriend/significant other wants me to lose weight/quit smoking/stop drinking. There may be true desire on the part of the guy to share the sport with his woman, but beware—sometimes it's just an excuse to get the woman co-rider off the back, or give her the old bike so a new one can be purchased without guilt. Learning to ride should be one's own choice, not undertaken because a person feels she has no choice.

6) My son/daughter/father/mother wants me to learn to ride.
Same as above, but in a parent/child situation, the relationship dynamic is even less balanced. I've seen one too many father/son and mother/daughter teams where the poor kid, usually a minor, is under intense pressure to keep up with the parent. In one case, the child was petrified and Dad couldn't figure out why. Maybe it was attributable to Dad's 110 mph sprints on the highway with his son on the back, holding on for dear life. While riding can be a great shared parent-child activity, make sure you're not pressuring or being pressured to participate!

7) My boss/friend/coworker wants me to learn how to ride.
Same as above, but add a healthy dose of peer pressure. When you perform a task you don't really want to do because you think you'll look bad to your peers, you're ripe for disaster. Yes, it's fun to share experiences with friends, but true friends respect each other's boundaries, too!

8) I used to ride a long time ago and want to get back into it.
Returning riders who left the sport years ago usually suffer from rusty skills. If you don't use it, you do lose it. As life situations change—your kids grow, you divorce, remarry, reach mid-life, retire—you think about returning to motorcycling. It's great to retrain to get back in the saddle again.

9) It's been on my bucket list.
Some riders have dreamt of riding a motorcycle all their lives and as they've gotten older, with time ticking away, the desire to ride a motorcycle eventually makes it to one's bucket list, things she or he'd like to do before dying. The kids are gone, age 50 passes and still no motorcycle. Making it a bucket list prioritizes it, and often pushes people to start the process of learning, buying, and becoming a skilled a motorcycle rider

Why People Ride a Motorcycle Smile MSF Course
The MSF Basic Rider Course in session.

10) I want to save money on gas!
More and more, I hear this reason to ride. Most motorcycles can offer double or triple the gas mileage available by cars. And with the rising price of fuel, it's easier to swallow $15 at the gas pump instead of $50 or $75 for a full tank of gas. In addition to saving money, you get to do your part for the environment, too!

Why do you want to learn to ride? You can add your reasons in the comments after this article.

About the Author:
Susan Rzepka Orion is a certified MSF RiderCoach and Rider's Edge Instructor who loves to ride, write, and help others who want to do the same. You can find her on the road on her BMW F 650 GS.

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