What Does it Feel to Ride a Motorcycle?

#riding is one of the greatest joys in life. But you need to check your emotional state, before getting on the saddle. As motorcycling is one of the biggest responsibilities while you are on the road. Motorcycle riding is a combination of exhilaration, fear, relaxation, and pleasure that changes you forever. It’s a physical & emotional pleasure, with a layer of anxiety & adrenaline.

You are always Engaged.

This might sound pretty obvious to any rider, but before I started riding, my entire knowledge of motorcycle riding was pretty much based on Excitebike and other video games. You know, Twist the throttle, make a turn, how hard could it be, right?

So when I realized how much you are engaged physically, it kind of took me by surprise. For the most part, there is no such thing as an automatic motorcycle, all motorcycles are manual. Your left hand is working the clutch and the turn signal, your right hand is working the front brake, your right foot is working the rear brake, and your left foot is working the gears up & down.

Acceleration, Extreme if you want it!

It varies depending on the type of bike you are riding, but generally speaking, motorcycles can accelerate much faster than most cars. As soon as you roll the throttle back, things start happening quickly. A good sportbike can reach 100 kmph in just 3-4 seconds. That’s fast enough in a car. But on a bike, it feels twice as intense, and it yields a deep appreciation and respect for the raw power of the machine between your legs. Of course, not every bike is a Ninja or Ducati. There are different bikes to suit different styles. Harleys, for example, make what are known as cruisers, which tend to be heavier, smoother, and have a more relaxed seat angle. Riding a cruiser is much different than riding a sportbike.

Managing the Lean.

One of the most fundamental rules in motorcycling is: Friction used for braking cannot simultaneously be used for turning, and vice-versa. In a nutshell, Unlike in a car, you can’t slam on the brakes and turn at the same time. You have to do one or the other, or you will fall. To ride a motorcycle, you need to carefully manage your acceleration, braking, traction, and lean angles all at the same time. This makes it significantly more involved than driving a car. Going too fast in a car and need to stop? Slam on the brakes. Going too fast on a motorcycle? If you slam on both brakes too hard you risk locking the brakes, which results in a skid. Jamming on the rear brake is safest, but you won’t stop in time. And if you slam on the front brake your inertia can easily cause you to flip head over heels. Great if you’re attempting a stunt. Not so great if you’re trying to stop.

You need to carefully apply increasing amounts of pressure to both the front and rear brakes, all while maintaining balance and control. There’s simply a lot more going on than in a car.

To add to the thrill, motorcycles can lean so far over in turns, it almost seems to defy gravity. When you’re leaning in a turn and feel that gravity will win, you have confidence in the physics of friction, knowing that a quick twist of the throttle will accelerate the bike and get you out of the situation nicely. Leaning heavily into turns adds a huge amount of fun to the experience of riding. There is nothing like it.

You feel Everything!

You’re exposed to the elements and will feel every nuance of weather. Temperature, moisture, everything. Moving through a tree-lined section of the road, you will feel that 2-degree drop in temperature. When you’re driving a car, you’re somewhat closed off, both protected from and thus immune to the rest of the world.

On a motorcycle, you essentially have no protection, so you start caring about everything in your environment that can affect you. Potholes, roadkill, even puddles. Windy day in a car? No big deal. Windy day on a bike? It completely permeates your thoughts until you arrive at your destination. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, All of these emotions are fueled by adrenaline, which feels good. While on the road, you learn to live in a state of hyper-awareness.

Never fully relaxed!

At least, you probably shouldn’t be. When you ride a motorcycle, you’re truly putting yourself at the mercy of the rest of the world. Your life can be snuffed out as quickly as flipping off a light switch. You are, at all times, keenly aware of your own mortality. And quite frankly, you should be. Once you start relaxing or acting carelessly, it’s over. This is why bikers generally prefer riding on wide-open country roads. Fewer vehicles, less traffic, less to think about, less to worry about.

You stop trusting people!

This is a key part of the motorcycle experience. All those small things that happen on the road which people don’t think much about, Motorcyclists notice them and are constantly making lots of small decisions accordingly. You notice the big things, the small things, and everything in between.

Is this guy in front of me texting? Is that guy going to pull out of his parking spot? Is that car going to cross my path to exit? When is this truck moving over? Am I out of his blind spot yet? You learn quickly that cars & trucks aren’t thinking about you at all. You learn to analyze other people’s agendas and try to predict their behaviour.

You need to plan your trips!

Driving a car doesn’t require much pre-trip planning. But every trip on a motorcycle requires that you spend time thinking about your gear beforehand. What is the weather like now? What is it going to be like in an hour? Is it going to be hot? Do I need to wear jeans or risk getting pelted by rocks if I wear shorts? What the heck am I going to do with my jacket once I get to the beach? Do I need to carry anything in my backpack? Will I have room for the stuff I’m picking up?

Weather is a huge factor. Have you ever seen someone motorcycling in the rain? Yeah, it’s exactly miserable as it seems. If you don’t cover up, from head to toe, you get soaked, plain and simple.

However you may feel, once you get hooked to Motorcycling, there is no turning back. So Happy Motorcycling to all my fellow Riders out there.

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