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Anyone here ride motorcycles?

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luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 19, 2008
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I''m considering taking a job where I''d have to drive a 45 minute commute each way. I do well with ~20 minute drives, but much more has really worn on me in the past. I drive an SUV for convenience and it gets 21mpg, which isn''t bad considering it''s an SUV. But this past summer, I had a 35 minute commute along with the $4/gallon gas prices. It was absolutely killing my bank account, plus the drive itself just wore on me. I pretty much need to take the job, because with the economy and all, there''s not much variety being offered right now.

I''d like to look into getting a motorcycle and learning to ride so I can commute most of the time with it instead of the SUV. Save on gas, more fun, FI can use it too when he wants... seems like a good idea to me. FI used to ride all the time and loved it. He sold his before we met and was really close to buying a new one a few years ago, then he ended up getting his Jeep instead. I''ve always wanted to ride one but never known anyone with one.

I can''t drive a stick shift so that kind of worries me, but I''ve been told the manual is easy to pick up with a motorcycle. I do also wonder if it''s a smart thing to commute with one if most of the drive is interstate driving. Everyone recommends the safety courses, which I''d definitely try to take - they say even experienced riders can learn from them. I also have some different kinds of bikes I''d like to look at, but I won''t tell them yet. (Haha coming up with the money is also an issue, but I''m not thinking about that right now!)

So I''m curious what kind you guys own (or would like to own
) and why, if some are better for women or men, if you prefer to commute with it or not and why, any accessory or clothing recommendations... anything!!
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
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37,365
Hubby rides, I don''t but I''d love to learn. My concern is with the interstate driving. My windshield has been damaged numerous times with the large trucks kicking up the stones that I would worry about getting hurt by flying objects at high speed.
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Date: 2/3/2009 11:59:09 AM
Author: Chrono
Hubby rides, I don''t but I''d love to learn. My concern is with the interstate driving. My windshield has been damaged numerous times with the large trucks kicking up the stones that I would worry about getting hurt by flying objects at high speed.
Yeah I got a rock (er, something hard, no telling what!) in my windshield the other morning on the way to work. Haven''t thoroughly checked it out yet. I asked FI the other day if you get hit with a lot of stuff when you ride, his only response was "Yeah all kinds of stuff"... haha thanks. I asked him if he''d ever hit a bird, he said no but he''s sure some people have. (Sad... I only asked that b/c my big wall of a grill has taken 2 poor little birdy''s lives before I even realized it before
)
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
I hate motorcycles, but I am biased. I lost a loved one in an accident, and family member suffered a severe head injury and leg amputation while riding a bike. Both of these were the result of the other guy "just not seeing them".

I am not scared of motorcycles, but what scares me is the OTHER PEOPLE ON THE ROAD. Now roads are getting more congested and with cell phones and every other distraction, I just dont think the savings is worth it.

I am not trying to discourage you from doing this, but I highly recommend a training course and a LOUD motorcycle. Buell, Harley, etc. They make noise and other drivers can HEAR them. The crotch rocket motorcycles, dont make as much noise, and the drivers can sometimes be a little wreckless.

I have a friend who rides his to work every day. He gets to ride in the commuter lane, and saves on gas. He thinks it is very worthwhile and loves every minute of it!

Oh, and watch out for snakes! Best wishes!
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
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Thanks tlh for the response. I do worry mostly on the interstate driving about the "other guy" - it''s what I worry about even in my own SUV. I know I''m paying attention, but is the guy next to me? So even more so on a motorcycle. And you''re right about all the people driving 80mph while on the phone, reading, messing with their kids, looking at the map, etc.

I wish the interstates here had commuter lanes, but no one''s doing that yet. We''re so behind the times.

And I never thought about snakes. Good to know.
 

bebe

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 20, 2007
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2,845
DH has been riding motorcycles for over the 30 years I have known him. 2 years ago he sold both of his bikes, he felt the risk
was something he could no longer take. While he didn''t ride to work, he rode often and he rode with friends too. He also
enjoyed cross country trips. luvthemstrawberries, while you may be a safe driver, it is the other drivers on the road that pose
the largest risks. DH had many close calls over the years, all of them leading up to him selling his bikes. He loved his bikes and
the adventure he had on them. He had friends that had horrible accidents, but they always got back on. He just couldn''t do that.
DH has had Yamaha (huge bike), Honda''s, Gold Wing and a Harley. He has also had off road bikes. he now has a Jeep that provides
those thrills.

FWIW - I wouldn''t do it.
 

mausketeer

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 20, 2007
Messages
380
Hi Strawberry - yes, I ride. I got my motorcycle license about ten years ago (through a very intensive three week safety course. I believe they should be mandatory. They said the course was equal to about four years of riding so it was very informative. It's one of those things where "you don't know what you don't know". I never would have known some of the things they taught me unless I had taken the course)

I used to own a vintage (1973) Honda CB350. I was never that great with shifting gears so I ended up with a couple of scooters after I sold my Honda. That's something else you could look into maybe (a scooter) No shifting! If you're going to ride on the interstate, you'd need one with a larger engine than the regular 50cc. I wouldn't go with less than a 200. As far as motorcycles go, there are a lot of different styles now (cruiser, sport, something in between called "naked" style, touring) They have different riding stances (cruisers have the foot pegs out in front and you reach forward to the handlebars, sport bikes have the pegs directly below you but you have to lean forward to reach the handlebars. Not too comfortable for most people for long trips but it's an individual choice) For a woman I think the cruisers are probably best because they have a very low centre of gravity (you don't want to buy something that is so heavy you can't pick it up! That's one of the first things you're supposed to learn - how to pick up your bike if you've dropped it!) Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha all make smaller cruiser styles that you can pick up used for a couple grand. And a lot of them were owned by women so.... hey, they've been babied!

Hope any of this helps.....

- Jodie -
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
2,107
Date: 2/3/2009 4:08:08 PM
Author: bebe
DH has been riding motorcycles for over the 30 years I have known him. 2 years ago he sold both of his bikes, he felt the risk was something he could no longer take. While he didn''t ride to work, he rode often and he rode with friends too. He also enjoyed cross country trips. luvthemstrawberries, while you may be a safe driver, it is the other drivers on the road that pose the largest risks. DH had many close calls over the years, all of them leading up to him selling his bikes. He loved his bikes and the adventure he had on them. He had friends that had horrible accidents, but they always got back on. He just couldn''t do that. DH has had Yamaha (huge bike), Honda''s, Gold Wing and a Harley. He has also had off road bikes. he now has a Jeep that provides those thrills.

FWIW - I wouldn''t do it.
Thanks for the response bebe. I really appreciate the input - all things I''ve considered, and I love to hear your thoughts on it, so thank you. The other drivers are definitely what I worry about. FI even said that last night - that there are too many stupid drivers on the road and he wouldn''t want me doing that.

Hehe I find it HILARIOUS that your husband has a Jeep now.
My FI used to ride and sold his (a street legal dirt bike) and was SO close to buying a street bike... but then he went and looked at Jeeps (he already had one at the time) and bought a new one and sold his old one. He still has the Jeep now - so much fun!!
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
Date: 2/5/2009 8:30:05 AM
Author: luvthemstrawberries

Date: 2/3/2009 4:08:08 PM
Author: bebe
DH has been riding motorcycles for over the 30 years I have known him. 2 years ago he sold both of his bikes, he felt the risk was something he could no longer take. While he didn''t ride to work, he rode often and he rode with friends too. He also enjoyed cross country trips. luvthemstrawberries, while you may be a safe driver, it is the other drivers on the road that pose the largest risks. DH had many close calls over the years, all of them leading up to him selling his bikes. He loved his bikes and the adventure he had on them. He had friends that had horrible accidents, but they always got back on. He just couldn''t do that. DH has had Yamaha (huge bike), Honda''s, Gold Wing and a Harley. He has also had off road bikes. he now has a Jeep that provides those thrills.

FWIW - I wouldn''t do it.
Thanks for the response bebe. I really appreciate the input - all things I''ve considered, and I love to hear your thoughts on it, so thank you. The other drivers are definitely what I worry about. FI even said that last night - that there are too many stupid drivers on the road and he wouldn''t want me doing that.

Hehe I find it HILARIOUS that your husband has a Jeep now.
My FI used to ride and sold his (a street legal dirt bike) and was SO close to buying a street bike... but then he went and looked at Jeeps (he already had one at the time) and bought a new one and sold his old one. He still has the Jeep now - so much fun!!
I had a wrangler... LOVED IT. But if you''re looking to SAVE on gas... this is not the vehicle I''d recommend!
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107
Date: 2/5/2009 2:04:08 AM
Author: mausketeer
Hi Strawberry - yes, I ride. I got my motorcycle license about ten years ago (through a very intensive three week safety course. I believe they should be mandatory. They said the course was equal to about four years of riding so it was very informative. It''s one of those things where ''you don''t know what you don''t know''. I never would have known some of the things they taught me unless I had taken the course)

I used to own a vintage (1973) Honda CB350. I was never that great with shifting gears so I ended up with a couple of scooters after I sold my Honda. That''s something else you could look into maybe (a scooter) No shifting! If you''re going to ride on the interstate, you''d need one with a larger engine than the regular 50cc. I wouldn''t go with less than a 200. As far as motorcycles go, there are a lot of different styles now (cruiser, sport, something in between called ''naked'' style, touring) They have different riding stances (cruisers have the foot pegs out in front and you reach forward to the handlebars, sport bikes have the pegs directly below you but you have to lean forward to reach the handlebars. Not too comfortable for most people for long trips but it''s an individual choice) For a woman I think the cruisers are probably best because they have a very low centre of gravity (you don''t want to buy something that is so heavy you can''t pick it up! That''s one of the first things you''re supposed to learn - how to pick up your bike if you''ve dropped it!) Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha all make smaller cruiser styles that you can pick up used for a couple grand. And a lot of them were owned by women so.... hey, they''ve been babied!

Hope any of this helps.....

- Jodie -
Hey mausketeer - thanks for your response! The safety course is definitely something I would do if I decided to pick it up. I actually looked online at the few manufacturers that make automatic transmission motorcycles, and at scooters as well. But most of the scooters didn''t go above 60 mph, and around here typical highway speed is ~75-80 mph. Do they make scooters for those speeds? I just don''t know how safe I''d feel so exposed around tractor trailers going those speeds.

My FI was really close to buying a new bike a few years ago. He was set on the Ducati Multistrada - it was more of a sport bike but with an upright stance like a touring or cruiser, so you didn''t have to lean forward. That''s the first one I''d want to look at - he said it was SO comfortable.

Thanks so much for the recommendations and everything! I''ll definitely keep it all in mind - even if I don''t commute, I''d still like to learn to ride.
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107
Date: 2/5/2009 8:33:17 AM
Author: tlh
I had a wrangler... LOVED IT. But if you''re looking to SAVE on gas... this is not the vehicle I''d recommend!
Hehehe yeah his is a 2005 and still isn''t good on gas at all. Granted, it''s not like 10 or 12 mpg, but only about 16-18, somewhere in there. I drive an FJ Cruiser - I LOVE it, and it gets about 21 mpg, which is pretty darn good considering its size and weight.

But we love the Jeep. It''s our around town vehicle, and the FJ is the long trip vehicle. We strip down the Jeep in the summer - so nice.
 

TheDoctor

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2005
Messages
371
Learning to ride is recommended, but I wouldn''t suggest that commuting with a bike could save you any money over time nor would it reduce your stress on the road. Interstates are dangerous places and you need full armour for commuting on them. By this I mean a full steel cage around you. Think of all of the close calls you may have had on the road in previous years, and how being far less visible might have affected those outcomes.
I have been riding on and off for more than 30 years and would never consider commuting on any sort of motorcycle. The other drivers are on autopilot and totally distracted by their electronic devices, too-hot coffees, and busy applying makeup or reading meeting agendas while trying to make up time on the road because they are nearly always leaving home too late, or in a hurry to get home or to pick up kids. Too dangerous.
Motorcycling should be an experience which provides pleasure. Commuting closely resembles combat, and the risk of injury or worse is simply too great to accept.
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
5,184
My husband rides...I don''t...and never would.

First of all, as someone who has been on the back of a motorcycle on the expressway...let me tell you...OUCH!!! I was bruised for weeks. The pain was almost unbearable. The way your cervical bone bounces on the seat makes you want to die...it''s awful, and incredibly painful.

Secondly, most motorcycles are incredibly gas friendly, however most don''t have gas gauges....so, riding on the highway is a scary thing when you don''t know how much gas you have...

Thirdly, you can get an equally gas friendly used car for the same price as a new motorcycle. Sure, it will be basic and probably very vanilla, but it will do its job.

Lastly, gas prices are cheap right now (under $2.00 here in Chicago, which has the highest fuel costs in the nation). You''d have to fill your SUV up many, many, many times over inorder to equal the cost of buying a motorcycle, gear, classes, ect....
 

Steel

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
4,884
DH and I originally had matching motorcycles (awh). I really want to get a tee shirt made up with a picture of my 2nd last bike. With the caption ''one careful lady owner''. I even have the perfect photo - left over from my insurance claim - the bike was a write-off. I was hit side-on by a Looney SUV driver and could not walk for months. Luckily I was going slowly and in almost full protective gear. The road rash was the worst - grit and raw flesh...shudder. Not fun.

Would I ever ride again? We have discussed this and yes. I loved my bikes and really miss it. We said we would do it, but only if petrol prices were so bad that the % of road users dramatically decreased. I would never worry about our driving - but since my crashI do not trust other road users.

So, I recommend it. But have full safety gear - AT ALL TIMES! (My safety boots saved my right foot and ankle which were crushed between a car bumper and my bike. I had the steel reinforcement imprints imbedded in my foot for a long while after the crash.)

Finally, make a conscious decision. If you take the bike you may be killed or seriously maimed in a situation where had you been driving a car you would probably walk away. If you can live with that choice to save money on your MPG then you are good to go. But please get professional bike lessons ideally from trainers who have had police training. They are the best.

Best of luck.
 

princesss

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
8,035
Do NOT buy a bike to commute on. It''s a terrible idea. As a new rider, you need to do most of your riding on roads without too many drivers, and a crowded interstate is not the place to do it. I took a safety course in October and got my certification, but I''ve been on the back of bikes for ~18 years, and I trust very few people I know to commute on their bikes. You need a level of comfort on your bike and the knowledge and skill to avoid bad drivers and save yourself in any number of situations before you commute on a bike.

You also have to think about all of the road conditions you''ll be riding in. Does it snow where you live? Have you ever tried to walk on a road slick with wet leaves after a storm? Riding in that would not be fun, especially as a new rider.

Look, I''m all about motorcycles. But there is serious risk, and I don''t think it''s worth it to rely on a bike as your main transportation without years of experience under your belt.

And when you do ride, always ride in full gear. I know people who have been launched off of their bikes and only survived because they were in full leathers and kevlar, and a full-face helmet. Without the steel cage around you, you need all of the protection you can get.

Your best protection right now is knowing your limitations.
 

luckystar112

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
3,962
My DH had this same idea with the same commute time on the freeway (about 25-30 minutes). He rode it to work TWICE and said never again. The bike has been collecting dust in our garage since. He just couldn''t handle the other drivers. Luckily he didn''t buy the thing brand new so it wasn''t too much of an investment.
 

snogirl17

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
355
I do ride and i love love LOVE it! It is something you have to have respect for and even pay more attention to everything around you than you do in your car/suv. I do use it in the summer to commute to work, but thats because i work like 10 mins away and i dont have to do any interstate/highway riding. Plus I work at a harley dealership, so its fun to pull up to other bikes!

I have only been riding for about 3 years and honestly have only been on the highway maybe 5 times, i do not do it unless i have to. I enjoy riding for the simple fact of getting lost on old country roads... I do it to relax and spending more time on the highway increases that stress for me.
Now i do know some women & men who do commute to work each day. They have a motto you are going to go sometime, and if it is your time its your time. Each to their own.

I would certainly take a safety class!! When i took it i never had driven a cycle before let alone a stick shift car... but that didnt matter. I clunked out a few times but everyone in the class was very supportive. It was a great learning experience for me. It made me a better rider. So dont let fear stand in your way if you want to do it.

Another thing to add, I am not sure where you live, but some dealerships... like H-D dealerships have what is called a "garage party" and these are just for women. So you can feel more comfortable asking about different bikes, the proper gear, how to pick up a bike when it is down ( this is good to know if you are even a passenger) and some dealerships have virtual riding, so you can actually go through the gears on a live running bike... the bike is strapped down on the dyno machine. it is so much fun! Just some food for thought.
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,038
Please, please be careful. DH almost lost his arm from a motorcycle accident. Doctors don''t call them donor mobiles for nothing.
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
2,107
TheDoctor, Italia, Steel, princess, luckystar112, beanie, and Tacori - thank you guys so much for your input!!

The safety class is something I''d definitely do if I ever started riding. FI has even said he''d even take it even though he rode for years before. And safety gear would be a definitely always. FI always comments on people we see on the road who are wearing tennis shoes or something and how stupid that is to not be wearing the right footwear even, let alone a full suit.

I think we''ve decided I wouldn''t commute with it. FI already said he wouldn''t want me doing it so far on the interstate. So maybe one day we''ll get some bikes and do it for fun and relaxation. Maybe, hopefully, at that time my commute won''t be 45 minutes to an hour every day anyway. That would be a totally different story then.

So thank you guys so much! I really appreciate all the input and advice, it''s so much better than just reading articles on the website.
 

justjulia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
2,308
Late to add here...sorry,...but I kind of tried the same thing a while ago.

Dh got me a scooter. One with enough power to go on the interstate. It wore me out. You have to be on every second. Road conditions (bumps and holes) happen sometimes without warning. Animals chase you. You get really bad helmet hair. You have to pull over in rain. You can''t haul pine straw. I could go on, but won''t.

For pleasure it was fun. Still, even the side roads were hazardous because of crazy other drivers. If I could do it over, I''d get a smaller scooter just for in the city trips for pure fun.
 

princesss

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
8,035
Sounds like you made a good choice.

Where in NC are you? I took my safety course at an HD dealer here in Charlotte and can''t praise it highly enough!
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107
Date: 2/6/2009 5:09:23 PM
Author: princesss
Sounds like you made a good choice.

Where in NC are you? I took my safety course at an HD dealer here in Charlotte and can''t praise it highly enough!
Hey princess! I didn''t know you were in Charlotte - how cool!!
I went to school there. I''m in Raleigh. I think FI has said the HD dealer in downtown Raleigh is supposed to have a good safety course - thanks for that info! HD must be good all around to learn from. Good to know!
 
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