Sometimes you need to do something a little out of the ordinary to feel alive. To do something unexpected and out of your usual comfort zone can make you feel ten years younger. Whether it’s going for a dramatic new haircut or getting a tattoo that you’ve always wanted – doing something extraordinary can revitalize, energize and give you a whole new lease of life.
Slowly but surely the number of female motorbike riders has been on a steady increase over the past decade: between 2003 and 2014 the numbers doubled. Riding motorbikes has stereotypically been a male dominated pastime, so why are so many women taking to the roads?
The freedom of traveling by motorbike is supreme, you can go where you want, when you want, and you are not governed by routine. Perhaps the most liberating aspect is that it is just you and your machine: there are no children asking you what is for lunch, or what time the baseball is on TV. There is also no boss asking you about deadlines, and you can’t see the laundry that needs doing or the floor that needs sweeping from the comfort of your ride. The adventures you can have are limitless.
Enhanced travel experience
Whether you are going on a road trip or making shorter local journeys, the exhilaration of a bike ride removes all day to day stresses. When you are riding out in a car, you experience life looking through a screen, on a motorbike you are breathing the outside air, smelling the countryside and being involved with your surroundings. You’re living in the now, and the bike ride allows you to center yourself, and de-stress. You are part of the picture, and not just viewing it.
Yes, really! Motorbiking is a low impact form of exercise, and riders have improved insulin sensitivity for up to eight hours after a ride out, which promotes weight loss: 600 calories an hour are burnt by riders. Riding a motorcycle exercises the brain’s cognitive ability, and releases the endorphins that are mood boosters and allow us to feel happiness. Not only is your mental health improved but orthopedic surgeons have noted that riders have reduced knee problems as the key muscles that hold the patella and other bones together are strengthened. While you are riding a bike your core muscles in your abdomen are strengthened as you steer the bike – you really can get a full mental and physical workout.
The car window restricts the view of the landscape, you are caged in and have limited vision of your surroundings. On a bike, you have an unobstructed view of 180 degrees. You can look straight ahead and take in the surroundings on the left and the right. No other form of mechanized transport gifts this. Your vantage point confirms your sense of freedom. How many times have you been on a journey and seen a beautiful view that you want to stop and gaze at, or perhaps take a photo, but you can’t because the bus doesn’t stop there? On a motorbike, you can just stop, when and wherever you want to.
The price of owning and running a motorbike is dramatically less than an automobile. An average motorbike can achieve 50 miles per gallon, whereas an average car only 25 mpg. Although motorbikes require more maintenance than cars, the average cost is approximately $150 per annum; however, they do require new tires more frequently than cars, and so potentially the costs are equal for the maintenance – and having safe tires is not optional.
You also need to consider the initial costs of buying all the safety equipment that is essential for bike riders: you will need a helmet, gloves, boots and leathers, and that can cost up to a thousand dollars. You cannot afford to skip getting the correct protective gear, accidents do happen, and you need to reduce the risk of harm as much as possible, and this means getting the right insurance too. In the worst case scenario, and you are involved in an accident, you need to seek legal advice from a Baton Rouge motorcycle accident attorney, who will be able to take you through the process of making a compensation claim for your injuries and other losses if the accident was not your fault.
Before you even think about buying a motorbike, you need to get a license. You don’t need a motorbike to learn how to ride one, and instead, you can sign up for a Motorcycle Safety Foundation class. You can also book classes that allow an instructor to talk to you through a headset while you are learning. The more supervised instruction you get, the better rider you will be. Besides, you may have lessons and decide that motorbiking isn’t for you.
The fear of having an accident is more than likely the key aspect of motorbike riding that is stalling your decision whether you should hit the open road; however, there are things that you can do to reduce the chances of accidents, and you will learn about these during the lessons.
Be aware of your surroundings
You remember the section about the panoramic view you have from riding a motorbike? Not only does it provide an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the landscape, but it provides you with the greatest tool for keeping safe: it is essential for you to be aware of your surroundings. You need to clock the car coming in the other direction, and is overtaking the car in front. You need to clock the car in your mirrors that is speeding up behind you, and ask, has it noticed you? You need to clock the dog that has slipped its leash in the near distance.
Observe the road ahead
It seems obvious, but rather than just looking out for other vehicles, you need to keep an eye out on the road too. Pot holes and debris can cause issues for bikers, as can gravel patches, oil spills and puddles. You do not have to make any last-minute decisions how to overcome these obstacles, plan ahead and be aware of how any reaction you have can be affected by other road users: last minute swerves are dangerous and unnecessary unless in an absolute emergency.
Assume that cars haven’t seen you
If you always assume that the drivers that are sharing the road with you haven’t seen you, you will always be prepared in case they genuinely haven’t. Be aware of the blind spots that car drivers have by riding in front or behind them – never alongside unless overtaking. If a car is joining your lane, give them more space than they theoretically need: assume that they haven’t seen you.
Observe the wheels of other vehicles
By having heightened awareness of the actions of other road users, you are helping yourself to stay safe. The car in front may be signaling a right turn, but if their driving suggests otherwise, give them space, slow down and wait until their actions are clear. The angle and direction of a vehicle’s wheels show you the way that they are going to turn – you do not want a car to turn in on you; you will also be able to see if a car is going to change lane on the intersection, and if they are backing up, you will see the direction they intend to go in.
Check your mirrors
There is temptation is just to look forwards while you are riding out; however, what is going on behind you is equally important as what is going on ahead. If a car is speeding towards you, you may be startled when it appears next to you, but if you know it is there you can expect it, and avoid the shock.
As a new rider, it will feel daunting for you to have to have such heightened awareness of your surroundings, but the more you practice, the more skilled in being hyper valiant of your actions and those around you, you become. This is a great skill that will transfer over to other aspects of your life. Self-awareness and responsibility are skills that money can’t buy, and your abilities will grow as you clock up the miles. You cannot afford to be complacent, and biking requires a level of self-discipline that usually diminishes when driving in the safety of a car.
The benefits of riding a motorbike far outweigh the negatives. You can experience a whole new world of adventure. It may not be your first idea for a way to de-stress from the toils of daily life, but a study undertaken by Harley-Davidson shows that women bikers are happier and satisfied with their lives than their non-biking counterparts. Having a hobby that gets you out of the family home, and allows you to meet new people and go new places can only be a good thing. This could be an opportunity to open not only a world of adventure, but a world of self-learning.