Ladies and Gentlemen of the Motorcycle Safety ClassÖWear your helmet.

 

If I could offer you only one tip for your future, a comfortable DOT approved, Full-faced helmet would be it.

 

The survivability benefits of helmets been proven by scientists whereas the rest of my advice is a mixture from other riders, both old and young, and my own rambling experience.

 

I will dispense this advice now:

 

Enjoy the power and beauty of your first motorcycle. Never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your motorcycle until itís sold. But trust me, in 20 years youíll look back at photos of your bike and recall in a way you canít grasp now how cool that little bike was, and the possibilities that lay before you and how fabulous you really looked on it.

 

Your gear does NOT make you look as fat as you imagine.

 

Donít worry about winding up in the middle of a 20 car pileup; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to perform low speed maneuvers while looking down at your speedometer. The real dangers on your ride are apt to be things that you should be practicing for; like a little old lady doing a left turn in from of you at 4pm on some idle Sunday back road ride.

 

Do one thing every year that scares you Ė on a closed course.

 

Sing into your helmet.

 

Donít be reckless with other peopleís commutes. Give wide berth to those who are reckless with yours.

 

Floss and brush before you put your helmet on.

 

Donít waste your money on aftermarket performance parts; sometimes youíre ahead, sometimes youíre behind. The race is long, and in the end, itís only with yourself.

 

Remember the waves you receive, forget rude drivers; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

 

Keep your old mapquest routes, throw away your old gas receipts.

 

Stretch before and after a long ride.

Donít feel guilty if you donít know what kind of bike you want. The most interesting people I know werenít sure if they should get a sportbike or a dirt tourer, some of the most interesting riders own motards.

 

Get plenty of Caffeine.

 

Be kind to your passenger. Youíll miss her if she falls off.

 

Maybe youíll marry someone who rides, maybe you wonít, maybe youíll have children that ride, maybe you wonít, maybe youíll buy a Goldwing Trike at 40, maybe youíll win the Honda TopGun on your 75th birthday. Whatever you do remember how motorcycling has enriched your life,. Enjoy your riding style, perfect it every chance you get. Donít be afraid to get a cheek off the seat, or to drag knee - Itís the greatest rush youíll ever feel.

 

Do offset weaves. Even if you have nowhere to do them but a parking lot.

 

Read the owners manual, even if you never work on your own bike.

 

Do NOT read custom motorcycle magazines Ė they will make your motorcycle seem plain.

 

Get your parents into an MSF class Ė donít try to teach them how to ride yourself.

 

Be nice to the guys in the shop; they know the workings of your bike like nobodyís business and are most likely to keep it running years down the road.

 

Understand that bikes come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to keep them dry and well maintained, donít let old oil sit for more than 6 months just because you didnít ride very many mile.

 

Ride on a flat tire once; but pull over before you damage the rim. Run out of gas once, but make sure you can walk to help.

 

Tour.

Accept certain inalienable truths, engine sizes will rise, dry weights will go down, your fast bike today will seem like a beginner bike one day and youíll fantasize that when you were young you were Freddie Spencer, and you could outride all but factory racers.

 

Respect your Riding Instructors.

 

Donít expect everyone to get out of your way. Maybe you eek out the last little bit of traction on public roads Ė maybe you have good luck, but you never know when either one might run out.

 

Donít curse your hair when you take off your helmet, or it might fall out to spite you.

 

Be careful which discussion groups you frequent, but, be patient with those who run them. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of pulling parts off of a junker, sanding off the rust, painting them over with krylon engine paint and hawking them on Ebay with a huge hidden handling charge.

 

But trust me on the helmet.

 

 

 

Donít waste your time on jealousy; sometimes youíre ahead, sometimes youíre behind. The race is long, and in the end, itís only with yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.