If you've been considering a two-wheeled adventure of your own but thought it was too difficult or intimidating, think again.
as U.S. motorcycle sales have risen for 11 straight years, the
population of riders has grown more diverse and mainstream. Long
perceived as the domain of biker gangs and others on the fringes
of society, today's community of riders includes people from
virtually every walk of life.
seeing all different types of people getting into motorcycling
today, including women, professionals, empty-nesters and others,
says Eddie James, road riding director for the American
Motorcyclist Association. It's really all about
individuality and freedom. A big part of the thrill is not knowing
what you'll find around the next corner.
just about anyone can enjoy two-wheeling, with the right approach
and preparation. Most new riders grow into it gradually,
starting with short day trips and then taking longer tours over
time, he says. All you really need is a comfortable
bike, good balance and a sense of adventure.
right bike at the right price is another key part of a rider's
initiation to the hobby.
Buying a motorcycle is an emotional
process, but riders can't afford to overlook the financing
part of the deal, and the Internet can be a huge help, says
Brian Reed of Capital One Auto Finance, which provides consumer
motorcycle loans on the Web. Approximately one-third of all new
motorcycles were made with a loan.
itching to explore the world of motorcycling, experts offer the
following tips for getting started the smart way:
a Training Course. The
Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a Basic RiderCourse that provides
the motorcycle, helmet and 15 hours of classroom and on-bike
instruction. Courses for beginning and experienced riders are
offered at 1,000 different sites in all 50 states.
What Type of Riding You Like Most. Motorcycling comes in
a wide variety of forms, ranging from dirt bike riding to long-distance
touring to sport riding. How you plan to ride will determine
what type of bike you select.
a Budget. The price you pay for your motorcycle will depend
on several factors. For example, a nice reliable touring bike
that's a few years old can be found in the $3,000 to $5,000
range. A new, top-of-the-line model with all the extras can
run upwards of $20,000.
a Bike that Fits You. Focus on identifying a bike that feels
comfortable to you. Start by researching different makes, models
and styles on the Internet. Then visit a few dealerships in
your area and throw your leg over a few different models to
see how they feel. Remember, even the coolest-looking bike in
the world will end up collecting dust in your garage if you're
not comfortable riding it. Bring your motorcycle license and
riding gear to the dealership so you can take a test drive.
for the Occasion. Find gear that will protect and feel comfortable.
Riders have traditionally worn leather for protection and rain
gear for inclement weather. But new textile garments offer more
versatility, with their light weight, abrasion resistance and
breathability. Helmets are not required by law in every state,
but the AMA strongly recommends them for all riders. Don't
forget the gloves and boots.
motorcycling, how you get to your destination is just as important
as where you're going, says James. On a bike,
you experience the landscape in a much more exhilarating way than
you do in a car, but you can still be safe and comfortable.
More about motorcylces for beginners around the Web: