Long seen as a vehicle for rebels and non-conformists, the motorcycle is a symbol of freedom and independence and an icon in modern popular culture. In almost every part of the world, motorcycles can frequently be found on roads and highways. Worldwide, it is estimated that there are approximately 200 million motorcycles currently in use, including all powered bikes with two or three wheels such as motor scooters, motorized bicycles, and mopeds. If you love the feeling of the wind in your face and the rumbling of the motor beneath you, you’re not alone.
Leader of the Pack
Of those 200 million motorcycles in the world today, most of them are located in Asian nations like India, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Because mopeds and scooters are more affordable than cars, they are often the primary mode of transportation for people in developing countries. Without a better alternative, riders transport their entire families or large amounts of items on their small motorbikes. In these countries, motorcycles are operated more out of necessity than pleasure, although the rise of the middle class in developing nations is resulting in a transition from practical form of transportation to leisure activity. On the other hand, there are over eight million registered motorcycles in the United States and nearly all of them are used for leisure purposes by people who regularly drive cars in their daily lives.
Safety and Protection
When you think about motorcycles, you inevitably think about the reports of motorcycle accidents and fatalities on the news every so often. There’s no getting around it – motorcycles can be dangerous. Unlike car and truck drivers, motorcycle riders are constantly exposed to the elements without much protection if something goes wrong. However, if proper safety precautions are taken, you can enjoy your leisurely bike ride in peace. There’s plenty of gear and equipment out there you can invest in to enhance your experience, and here are a few of the essential items you will need. For more information, see this site.
- Although you may find helmets uncomfortable and sweaty, they are required by law and preferable to suffering a severe head injury. There are many styles from which to choose that will suit you both practically and aesthetically. When selecting a helmet, make sure to look for one that doesn’t move too much in any direction, either up and down or side to side. It should fit squarely on your head.
- Everyone knows about the classic leather motorcycle jacket, but take it a step further and go for maximum protection in the form of an armored coat. These have tough pads at the shoulders and spine that can be removed if you want to wear it elsewhere, like a fancy dinner party or your child’s graduation ceremony.
- As you’re cruising down the highway gripping the handlebars, everything that is airborne will hit your knuckles along your travels. A sturdy pair of gloves will protect you in many ways while you ride, providing a stronger grip while shielding your hands and fingers from flying objects, insects, raindrops, and other debris.
- Investing in some protective eyewear will keep your eyes – and therefore, your vision – safe and sound. On a speedy bike, protecting your eyes against the wind will prevent them from drying out. Sun, rain, gravel, and insects are other hazards to your eyes that can be blocked by the right pair of safety goggles.
- Worn over your pants, leather chaps are another iconic element of biker gear. Not only do they look cool, chaps offer protection against bugs and dirt while also keeping you dry in a rain shower. If you happen to take a spill off your motorcycle, chaps will lessen the impact of road rash on your legs.
- Safety Vest. In suboptimal weather conditions and at night, motorcycles present a challenge for other drivers sharing the road in cars and trucks. If it’s foggy or drizzling, it can be harder to see you roaring down the street on your bike. Wearing a bright, reflective vest over top of your leathers will keep everyone safe.
Reasons To Ride
As a motorcycle enthusiast, there are many reasons that you enjoy hopping on your bike and hitting the open road. Here are just a few of the positive benefits of riding your motorcycle.
- Escape and Adventure. As depicted in the classic film Easy Rider, motorcycles offer a sense of complete freedom and total independence from your everyday life. A motorcycle ride is like a mini-vacation, allowing you to temporarily escape your work stress and personal problems while discovering new locations and destinations that may be unreachable in a car or truck. Best of all, there are no windows or blind spots to block your view.
- Inner Peace. While gliding along on the road, the constant monitoring and concentration of your situation can produce a zen-like state that mixes with endorphins released by your brain to bring you tremendous joy and happiness. As a rider, you must remain focused on your body posture, angle, speed, lane positions, road conditions, and possible hazards. This serves as a meditation that clears your thoughts, boosting mindfulness and inner peace.
- Lose Weight. Did you realize you are getting a dose of exercise right from your seat? Riding a motorcycle requires vigorous physical effort, especially when compared to driving or riding in a car. Just being a passenger on a motorcycle can burn up to 50 calories. It increases your insulin sensitivity and aids your metabolism, which helps burn more calories and store less fat.
- Build Strength. In addition to burning calories, riding helps build your core strength, neck strength, and stability. With just a simple ride to the store, you can improve your strength because you must work your core to keep upright. Add some wind, and your workout becomes even more strenuous. If you have neck and back problems or joint pain, riding can help strengthen these areas without straining too much. Before you know it, you’ll be building muscle over time while getting rid of those nasty aches and pains.
Avoid Distracted Driving
The best part about being on your motorcycle is that it’s impossible to hold onto the handlebars while texting, and it’s far too windy anyway, so you never have to worry about engaging in distracted driving. The only thing that will be distracting you on your motorcycle will be the miles of glorious scenery that is yours to behold.