Motorcycle Beginner Diary: What I Love About Being a Motorcyclist

Three things I've learned to love about riding

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Hey folks, it’s Dennis here, Motorcycle.com‘s Designated Newbie. As documented in our Motorcycle Beginner articles (and if you haven’t read them yet, check out the Related Reading links below!) we’re taking a look at the new rider experience and what it means to be a motorcyclist.

I’ve had a couple of weeks’ worth of riding on the new Honda CBR250R (more on that in our next Motorcycle Beginner article) and so far I’m having a blast. For the first time in, well, ever, I can honestly say I enjoy the commute to work every day.

Though I’m still a new rider, I’ve already discovered a couple of little things that I love about being a motorcyclist that I had never really thought about until I started riding. I’m sure this list will grow the more I ride, but here are three so far:

3) When People Ask Me About The Bike – I was approaching a red light on my way to work one morning, and slowed to a stop. The lane to my right was ending and a blue Honda Fit ahead of me wanted to merge. I let him in and came to a smooth stop behind him. To my surprise, the driver got out of his car and began to approach.

I was wondering if I had done something wrong. Did I leave my backpack open? Did I cut him off earlier? Was I about to experience an episode of road rage?

The driver, an older gentleman I’d guess to be in his sixties, walked up to me with an eager smile and asked:

“Is that the new 250?”

“Yes sir,” I replied with a grin.

2) Riding With Your Shadow – I was riding across a long bridge after work one evening with the sun setting off in the distance to my left. I was all alone with no other vehicles within a few hundred yards when I suddenly noticed a dark shape moving alongside me to my right.

I looked over and realized it was my shadow projected against the road beside me. I realized that even when you’re riding by yourself, if the sun’s out, you’re never riding alone.

1) Acknowledging, and Being Acknowledged by Other Riders – one piece of advice I’ve received from a number of people is to ride like I’m invisible; to assume that other drivers on the road can’t see me and will dart in front of me at unexpected moments.

That being said, there are some commuters that almost always notice me: other riders. Whether it’s with a head nod or a gesture with their clutch hands, there’s a moment of recognition from one rider to another. When we’re stopped at an intersection or passing each other on opposing lanes, those small gestures acknowledge that we both belong to the same motorcycling community.

Got something to add to this list? Leave a comment and let us know.

Related Reading
Motorcycle Beginner: I Want to Ride
Motorcycle Beginner: Buying Riding Gear
Motorcycle Beginner: Rider Training

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  • Eric Cherry

    I’ve been riding for about 3 years now, totally hooked and has become my 99% of the time transportation. The bug bites and hard.

    Something I noticed when I was new to riding that you’re insantly a part of something bigger as a group you now have access too. Hard to explain but I’ll try.

    When I was a kid it was skateboarding, it’s all I did as a kid (and most of my adult life too). Back in those days not a whole lot of kids skateboarded, but if you ever saw another dude skateboarding. He was insantly your friend, you could hang out, skate together and have a good time.

    I got that feeling again when I got my first bike, and still get that feeling. As you said, you get recognition from other riders. Get to stop and talk shop with anyone on their ride and made a lot more friends.

    It’s helped my self esteem a bit, I’m not exactly rolling in money and always had a crappy car or a cheap Korean 4-door hatchback. I always felt a car is just a car, just transportation. No one ever says to me “Hey, nice Kia” unless they’re being sarcastic. But I get plenty of compliments on my Hondas and Harley. Even tho my Harley is a complete POS mechanically and laden with problems, it’s still nice to hear “That is such a cool bike man!”. Lets me ride away feeling good about something, rather than hear nothing and put away in my cramped sub-compact.

  • http://HondaNC700X Bud

    I first started riding at the age of 16. It was a Triumph 650 T 120 I think; single carb model. Riding a morotcycle is one of the most fun things I have ever done. I’ve owned road bikes and dirt bikes. I started riding again about 4 years ago. My wife loves riding with me too. Now I’ve got my eye on the new Honda NC700X. For me it seems like almost the perfect motorcycle. Low RPM, good torque, low center of gravity, good cruising speed and top speed and very good MPG. Soon I’ll be 68 years old. This will be the last motorcycle I buy. I plan on riding with friends for 2 or 3 day trips; my wife and I going for a few days into Canada (Sarnia and London, Ontario) and riding up to Michigan’s UP for a few days each time we go. If I feel up to it I’d love to ride up to Alaska. I really enjoyed reading your articals. Keep the rubber side down. Ride safe my friend.
    Bud

  • Zac

    Hello, I just wanted to share something I enjoy about riding. I’ve been riding motorcycles sense I was 14 or so, I am now 25 and still have a burning passion for motorcycles. What I love is that no matter how crappy of a day I am having at work,(which happens a lot) as soon as I get on my bike it all goes away. It’s just me and my bike. Everything stops and I am happy. All the annoyances of the day and noise of the world disappears. There are no distractions, no phone, no radio, no conversation, just the peaceful sound of my bike and the wind. That’s what I truly enjoy about riding. Ride safe everyone.

  • aaron khoo

    compared to you folks i’m much younger [altho chronologically considered “senior citizen” i started biking 2 years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed riding thus far to melaka. Don’t enjoy my van as much as my dr 200 suzuki and now am not satisfied with just 200 cc. have also learnt an expensive lesson not to change my spark plug until i learn mnore from my mechanic. D first time i tried to change my spark plug costs me $150 to restore the crossed threads. ha ha.

  • Doug Shrimpton

    Don’t feel bad about the stripped spark plug threads. I stripped the drain plug on a Kawasaki 200 I had once. Been riding for almost 50 years now. Doesn’t matter to me what bike or size of bike you ride. Am a Pensioner who rides a Hayabusa but not like a Pensioner! The Hayabusa and my Wife are what keeps me young! Listen to that inner voice/sixth sense. It might well save your life!

  • Carl Vale

    Hi there. My contribution to the “what I like about riding a bike (Suzuki DL650 for me) :
    - experiencing accelerations that only expensive sports car can provide (can’t afford and don’t need them
    - being committed to the riding, a mistake, distraction or excessive enthusiasm can send you down and cost a lot
    - having the 70kg of me carried by a vehicle that weighs 220 kg instead of a 1400 kgs car, just feels more appropriate, more reasonable.

    Cheers, ride safe

  • Antonio

    I’m 43 and I purchased my first bike in ’09 – 2001 Honda CBR929rr after arriving in Seoul. Riding there is crazy (i.e. – insane) fun. I sold it in ’11 before I came back home. I’m in Afghanistan now and if it’s not my girlfriend I’m thinking about it’s my 2nd bike. I bought a ’06 GSXR 1000rr 4 months ago. I had two weeks before deploying but I missed riding so much I found a decent used bike and hit the road! Even with a sport bike, you can still enjoy the scenery lonely mountain roads have to offer. We don’t have as many in WA state, but the border is right there….

    Stay safe!

  • JvR

    Nobody mentioned the awesome sensation of having the forest inside your helmet, or the sea if you’re riding nearby. Those smells… Gotta love them. Greetings!

  • Isabel

    One of my favorite things is when another rider catches up to me at a red light, We lift up our shields on our helmets and were friends for a moment or two. Sometimes I’ll even have someone ask where I’m headed and ride with me for a little ways. Great community, I feel welcomed instantly.