Saturday, April 7, 2012

An Exercise In Motorcycle Man-ing Up

I recently inherited a motorcycle and decided to pursue biking as my main form of transportation. It's good for the environment (kinda) but more importantly it makes you look like a Badass.  Let the following serve as the ultimate guide on how to Man-Up while getting into riding.

First go to a two day course to get certified.  The course ensures that you can drive around an empty parking lot at breakneck speeds up to 20 mph.

Thats about it.  Not very badass. The guy just keeps going on and on about valuing your life, and practice practice practice.

Yeah you should do that by the way.  

If you've never ridden before...just mixing it up in traffic on your average 30 mph street will probably be nerve wracking in the beginning.  The first time I took my small Honda Rebel 250cc on the highway was pretty much like staring death in the face.  So just take it at your own speed and comfort level.  The minute you find yourself in a situation that you don't think you can handle…you will be crushed into oblivion.  Or maybe just lay the bike down.  But either way…you don't want that to happen. Not very badass.

Then you gotta gear up. 

I was shopping online and realized that a highly reputable dealer was located in Dallas off Royal lane called Moto Liberty. So I drove down one afternoon before my flight left for Lubbock. 

I was so hypnotized, and mesmerized…by what my eyes had seen….that I stayed about thirty minutes too long and missed my flight.  Not very Badass.

( 100 % pure Japanese right there.  Guess what size I am in Japan?  XL )

They had a large selection of jackets, helmets, gloves etc...great service from their staff, and I walked outta there for under $450. I thought I was going to drop around $400 on a good helmet alone. Word to the wise...even if you get a free bike…count on it costing you a nice chunk of change just to get going safely on it.  

Once I started riding around, I could tell that the hog could use a tune up.  A carburetor overhaul and couple of valves later, and I was $500 deep in repairs.  My free bike had now cost me about $1100.  But with gas reaching for $4 a gallon, and the bike getting me 50 plus mpg…I wasn't feeling too bad.  

I drove around town for a few weeks before finally unleashing my beast onto the highway.  The wind beat the hell out of me and sadly the Honda Rebel 250cc just isn't built for speeds over 60 mph.  Even the cars, trucks and 18 wheelers that were doing the speed limit blew past me.   Not very Badass.

I started having visions of a bigger bike dance through my head.  This is apparently very common for new riders.  But most riders that lay down their bikes do it in the first 6 months of riding. Did I want to get a newer, bigger bike only to wreck it a couple of months later?  Now that's Badass.

No not really.  But I tried getting on the highway again last week and the hog failed me.  I broke down halfway to Lewisville. I don't want to spend a few hundred dollars to repair the bike again, and I know that I want a bigger bike anyway…so I decided to shop around a little.

I visited Rising Phoenix near Argyle which is mainly a repair shop but has a few bikes for sale on consignment.   They put me on a couple of Honda Shadows...And Jasmine, it was like a whole new world…it was like I had been riding a lawnmower before. And not a riding lawnmower...a push. 

( Official biking outfit of the Hell's Angels )

( Or maybe just what I wore to work that day.  Man I can take time off to do just about anything during the day)

I wasn't wild about either one of the paint jobs however.  And they couldn't give me what I was looking for on trade-in value for the Rebel.  So I moved on to Cycle Center of Denton.

( Yamaha Vstar )

( Yamaha Vstar plus dude trying to sell me Yamaha Vstar )

( Blacked out Honda Shadow.  Future bike of me.  Badass )

They have a ton of inventory and are also helpful and friendly.  I jumped onto a Yamaha V star 650cc and also another Shadow 750cc.  The Shadow already has some accessories like removable windshield, saddlebags and a backseat rest for a passenger.  This is the bike I have to have.  

So in the end, my free bike is now going to cost me another $3500 as I upgrade to a real beast that can take me to Lewisville or anyone else I need to go.  I just hope I don't kill myself on this thing….Not very Badass.

Credit to my awesome co worker Kevin Mcginnis for taking most of these pictures!

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