In my continuing efforts to better myself as a motorcyclist, I’ve come up with five things to do this year that will not only help development as a motorcyclist but help promote motorcycling in general. So I thought I’d share with the class and maybe get a few of you to take part as well. I wouldn’t call these New Year’s resolutions, exactly.
- Install something on your bike: I’m not talking about taking your bike to the mechanic down the road, I’m talking about doing it yourself. Doesn’t have to be a big job, either. Maybe put some new grips or install a new piece of chrome. The point is to get out to the garage and get your hands dirty. Hell, if you’re feeling froggy, go ahead and change your oil or tires. Maybe put in a big bore kit — go nuts. Working on your own machine is very therapeutic. It’s like bonding with your motorcycle. And it saves you money to boot.
- Learn how to ride your bike: It sounds funny, but this could be the most important of the five. Most people (especially if they have been riding for a while) consider themselves good riders — experts even — but this isn’t always the case. This doesn’t mean you have to take the typical safety course. Instead, go do a track day, read a book, watch a DVD. Do anything to gain better confidence and control of your machine. Besides, practicing is fun…
- Visit a motorcycle museum: I’m lucky enough to have the National Motorcycle Museum just a stone’s throw away from my house, but there are other such museums scattered around the country as well. Do yourself a favor and take the time to visit one. This is a great way to educate yourself with some motorcycle history, while at the same time gaining some knowledge about the innovation and engineering that brought motorcycling to where it is today.
- Attend a motorcycle event or rally: This one’s easy. Find a local rally or race and just go have fun — even make mini-vacation out of it. Besides the big ones like Sturgis, Daytona, Laconia, etc, there are hundreds of smaller local rally all across the country. You won’t find better people to hang out with anywhere and there are always great bikes to gawk at. And I’ll bet if you look hard enough, you can even rustle up a cold drink. I prefer to find a road race, flat track race or a hill climb because I like to watch the guys and girls duke it out on the track. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it (Winter sucks.)
- Take time to share motorcycling with someone younger than yourself: It might be your son or daughter, niece, nephew or the kid next door. Doesn’t matter. Just take the time to introduce them to our culture. Show them some old pictures, tell them a story or just let them sit on your bike. And they don’t have to be little ones either. Take a minute to have chat with the 19-yeur-old who just scored his first bike and maybe give them a few tips on where to buy the best parts *cough* J&P *cough* or tell them where the best roads are. And if you’re one of the young ones, take a minute from your busy schedule and listen up. Some of you can learn a lot from us old guys.
So, you have all year but don’t procrastinate — get out there and get to it. It ain’t like I’m asking you to go to the gym or give up cookies.