By Staff Writer
Motorcycles are two-wheel vehicles patterned after the bicycles but improved with an engine on it and heavier frames. They have difficult controls that are operated by both hands and feet that require harmony and skill not needed when driving a normal automobile.
Motorcycles have been a part of transportation for a very long time. They were once much more widespread than automobiles in the early era of transportation until Henry Ford mass produced cars at lower prices. But still, over the years, motorcycles have come to fit needs of mankind as a means of transportation, used for commuting, some ride as part of their lifestyle, and even just for everyday use.
There is a lot of evolution with regard to this vehicle; trikes among one of them, which is basically a motorcycle with three wheels. Sometimes, they even have sidecars, and smaller version of the motorcycle called scooter and motorbikes.
In the United States, only Harley-Davidson has survived over the past 100 years, creating models every year since its first model in 1903. And to note, to most non-motorcyclists, the words “motorcycle” and “Harley-Davidson” are used interchangeably. The most prominent besides Harley-Davidson are Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW, and Victory.
Motorcycles, the Basics
Most motorcycle riders according to polls indicated 79% of them are self-trained or just learned to ride a motorcycle from a friend or family member. As of now, there are courses that would help train a person to ride a motorcycle, but still, others would rather train themselves or ask help from an experienced rider. Most courses though are usually given over 2 1/2 days with both classroom instruction and field exercises. The motorcycles are provided as part of the class. The student just needs to show up with long sleeves, jeans, gloves, and heavy boots. They supply the rest including the helmets. During the training, they take the apprentice to each step carefully, getting acquainted with the motorcycle and teaching him on how to ride and handle it.
Some states even provide a motorcycle endorsement on the student’s license after successfully finishing the course. However, this training would let the learner ride to the bike in a parking lot or closed ways, which would not give enough experience like in high-speed traffic. Basically, the student still needs to practice more and gain enough experience by driving in open ways and high traffic.
The classes teach you how to carry a motorcycle, but more importantly, they teach the street survival skills. A learner needs to know the proper way on how to ride a motorcycle in traffic and avoid events where you are vulnerable. Being alert needs to be taken into consideration when riding a bike.
Basic Gear for a Motorcycle Beginner
Essential Motorcycle Gears
First would be the Legal Stuff, of course, a rider must have a Motorcycle Driver’s License, and for future use, an insurance.
Second would be for Clothing. These are what a rider needs to wear when riding a motorcycle at times. Here they are:
- Almost all riders wear a t-shirt or turtleneck sweatshirt usually printed with pictures and other motorcycle related text and images.
- Helmets are another requirement for safety. Most motorcycle casualties result due to failure of wearing a helmet. Best would be a full-face helmet to get rid of hazards like rain and insects.
- An authentic motorcycle jacket would be another necessity. A rider must buy a jacket carefully since they are not just sold in regular stores. Brands such as Hein Gericke, Aerostich, Joe Rocker and Roadgear would be the best options. These jackets would make the air circulate around the body even during summer.
- A pair of jeans is another essential when riding a motorcycle. Some wear normal jeans, or leather jeans, while some go well with armored ones for protection. No one is advised to wear shorts since you might scratch your skin when riding.
- Always wear gloves when using your bike. These would serve as protection, and for heating purposes such as during cold weather conditions.
- Boots would be the preferred outfit for motorcycles, usually without laces to avoid being caught up by the bike when riding.
- Wearing long socks would be the best idea. It would serve as another shield and for safety purposes. You should always be prepared by bringing a rainsuit. This would always keep you dry when riding, which would further avoid accidents.
- A cellphone would be a necessity. This would keep the rider always in contact with important persons and departments that can help in times of accidents.
- A bike rider should always bring a Flat Kit for emergency purposes with regard to motorcycle wheels.
- A First Aid Kit would always be a need.
- Bringing of water would be a good habit. This would prevent a person from being dehydrated especially on long trips.
- A reflective vest would help the rider to be seen especially at night. This would prevent accidents and avoid collision with other vehicles.
- An ear plug would be a better option to consider especially for persons with hearing problems. This would prevent riders from developing hearing problems especially those not wearing windshield helmets.
Miscellaneous and Other Accessories
- An important tool to consider would be grabbing a manual for the bike to see the tools recommended for the motorcycle model. A tool kit always come with the bike, thus, a careful examination of the tools needed would be required. Assorted screwdrivers, pliers (vise grip pliers, needle nose pliers), wrenches (Allen, Torx, sparkplug, open-end, adjustable), and loc-tite would be some of the tools a motorcycle rider needs that must be included in the repair tool kit.
- Miscellaneous gears such as kickstand plate, bungee cords and nets, helmet extender, bike cover, tire gauge, Swiss army knife, small flashlight, duct tape, electrical tape, and rags are most of the essential needs that a biker should have when riding, especially on long trips. These gears would help in fixing the motorcycle and for the rider’s own survival.
- An accessory to consider would be a windshield; this is a must for winter riding. Another would be a saddlebag, this is where to put all your accessories and tools needed when riding a motorcycle.