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10 things they never told you about becoming a biker!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by robsalvv, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Shamelessly stolen from one of the worlds largest forums:


    So, after months of nothing but Ramen Noodles, you’ve saved up enough loose change to put down a deposit on your first motorcycle. An exciting new world with leather jackets and without traffic, right? Sure, but there some other…stuff, too. Stuff no one else has told you about becoming a biker.

    1. Bees & Animals
    Bees are a pretty innocuous creature, so long as they’re in the backyard. Sure, if you hassle them, you might get stung, but in general, they leave you alone if you leave them alone. Get on a motorcycle, though, and the humble bee is transformed into a weapon of mass destruction.

    At anything over 10mph, a bee in the face/neck/any exposed body part will feel — and this isn’t an exaggeration at all — like you’ve just been shot with a rubber bullet. And, in its final throes, the bee will sting you. Probably in the face, because it’s trapped inside your helmet.

    All of that takes place while you’re attempting to operate a relatively complex machine in busy traffic with absolutely nowhere to pull over safely.

    Bees have also evolved the extraordinary ability to find gaps in your waterproof, hermetically sealed riding suit that nothing else, not even a drop of water, can penetrate. The bee will always find a way. Normally, it’s around your neck, plunging down your chest and stinging you as many times as possible before your frantic self flagellation manages to squash it. But sometimes, it’ll find its way in around your waistband, then proceed to sting you on the genitalia. Really, this does happen and likely will happen at some point in your riding career. Car drivers will pass by flummoxed by the odd, leather-clad man frantically stripping on the roadside while hopping around with a swollen face.

    Animals, too, have been put on this planet for the specific purpose of performing Kamikaze missions on passing motorcyclists. In rural areas, deer will wait in the roadside undergrowth, listening for the approach of a bike. At the very last second, when it’s far too late for you to take evasive action, they’ll fling themselves into your path, or maybe just leap straight for your head.

    Even domestic animals like to get in on the act. Cats will test your reflexes by bolting from underneath cars to underneath your wheels. Dogs will feel it’s their duty to hunt you down.

    2. You’re Now An Expert Meteorologist
    Forget the TV weatherman, you’re going to develop a better ability to read weather radar maps, cloud formations and wind patterns than anyone with an actual degree in the field. And that’s because the weather is now absolutely critical to your day-to-day life.

    Can you make it home from work before the storm hits? If so, what’s your latest time of departure, chosen route and necessary average speed to make that possible?

    Will it dip below freezing on your commute tonight? If so, should you pack your heated gloves or is the ride short enough for simply your heavy duty winter ones?

    Is the rain today going to be light, meaning you can get away with leather or heavy, meaning you need that Bibendum suit?

    Slicks, road tires, intermediates or full wets at the track day next week? You’d better know for sure, because that deposit is non refundable and it takes four days for tires to arrive.

    3. Say Goodbye To A and B
    Before you had a motorcycle, you always tried to find the quickest and most direct way to get around. In a car or truck, it was efficient and practical to do so. Now that you have a bike, you’ll be willing to go 100 miles out of your way to visit a store or restaurant that has the same stuff as the one in your neighborhood. You’ll find yourself with entire States between you and home, amongst strangers and in strange places that you never knew existed, just because. You’ll tell your family you’re just going out for a quick ride, then return hours, sometimes days later, not entirely sure where you have been. And it won’t matter, because you were riding.

    4. Manholes, Paint and Tar Snakes
    Utility companies go around placing large, slick metal plates in the road, precisely where motorcyclists need to ride or, in intersections, put their foot down. In the dry, that’s no big deal. But, in the rain? A wet manhole (no s******ing, please) becomes a deadly skating rink. Put a foot on one and your boot instantly slips, meaning you’ll drop your bike. Hit one while turning and you’ll be laying on the ground.

    Road markings take on a new life in the wet, too. Nearly as slippery as manhole covers, they can make the back end of your bike weave around as the tire hunts for traction. Even under the gentlest of acceleration.

    And then there are tar snakes: cracks in the road filled with liquid tar. In the winter, that tar freezes and becomes strips of black ice. In the summer, it melts and feels pretty much the same. The cracks they’re installed to patch tend to be in the heaviest sections of wear on the road. You know, like the apex of a corner or downhill, approaching a corner, where you want to be braking. They couldn’t have been designed to catch you by surprise any better.

    5. Friends & Strangers
    So scrimped and saved to buy your first bike, and now your friends are going to want in on the action too. No, not by going out and buying their own, but using your new pride and joy. Most are just going to want to pose for a new Facebook profile picture on it, but some are going to swear riding competency and want to take it around the block. Don’t let them, they’ll inevitably return holding only a par of (now detached) handlebars and a story about how it’s not their fault.

    Complete strangers will start approaching you, too. Normally old men, who will want to recount stories of the old Triumph or Norton they once rode. They’ll tell how your bike reminds them of it. Well, until they realize your bike is Japanese, at which point they’ll look shocked and walk away.

    6. You Become A Better Car Driver
    Before you bought your bike, you were content to be a sheep. You’d complain, of course, other people’s driving was never as good as your own, but you were seemingly powerless to do anything about it. You just say stuck in the flow, merrily texting and tailgating away.

    But now that you’ve ridden a bike? You’re suddenly hyper aware. Not just of the risks and the bad driving and that nasty pothole six corners ahead, requiring a specific line begun now to avoid, but of the utter ridiculousness of it all. That guy in the $100,000 Porsche? What a poseur, that thing is slow. That guy driving the eight-passenger SUV all by himself? How unnecessary. All these thousands of people sitting in a traffic jam? That’s it, this car’s going on Craigslist.

    7. Waving Etiquette
    Visit any forum and you’ll find novel-length screeds on the rights and wrongs of whome you should acknowledge while out on your motorcycle, and how. Should you wave at people on scooters? Will that thug on the sportsbike come chasing after you should you fail to salute? Do cruiser riders count?

    You could spend every moment of your ride waving at anyone and everything, which is just mental. It’s probably best just to get on with the task in hand and ride your bike. Unless you see another riding unwittingly approaching a speeding trap, in which case it’s your sacred duty to tap the top of your helmet. Got that?

    8. Working On Your Bike
    Your new motorcycle likely came with an owner’s manual, full of specifications, technical drawing and suggestions on how to not end up with a worthless pile of parts stacked up in your driveway. You can see engine and all of the important bits and how hard can changing your oil be, anyways?

    Take the time to read up about any work you want to do online, talk to knowledgeable friends and spend some money on acquiring the correct tools. And yeah, it’s not that hard.

    There’s no obligation to take your bike to an authorized dealer and working on it yourself won’t invalidate your warranty, provided you don’t screw it up. If you don’t, you’ll end up with an enormous sense of accomplishment, along with fresh oil.

    9. Your Bike Is Stronger Than You Think
    Oh my god, you hit the rev limiter! Forgot to adjust the chain! Your tires are 2psi off! Relax. Your motorcycle is a lot tougher than you would think. It’s a highly capable feat of modern engineering and, part of its design process is devoted to making it stand up to your ham fisted abuses. Yes, you can take your bike on a trackday. Yes, you can take it on that weekend road trip. Yes, you can ride it fast and hard and put it away dirty. Your bike’s not going to melt in the rain.

    10. The Boogers
    Probably the least glamorous part of riding a motorcycle is the stuff that’s going to start coming out of your face. Live in a city? You’ll be inhaling so many carbon particulates that your nose will quickly clog up with black goo, then start leaking it down your face. Ride in the cold? Your nose will run the entire time. Kicking the snot off your upper lip will keep it from spreading across the rest of your face, then drying into a crusty mess. After every ride, you’ll blow your nose and it will come out black, brown, yellow and, if you’ve been riding anywhere dusty or around a nasty chemical plant, likely red too. You need to carry a hanky and you’ll need to wash that hanky every couple of days, because you will be using it, heavily. Look forward to explaining that no, you don’t have a cold to first dates.
    • Like Like x 5
  2. That's awesome... and 100% true .. The bees have targeted 2 of my riding mates @666damo and @trd2000 .. so cruel for a little bitty insect..

    Thanks for the share (y)
  3. Kamikazi Galahs ...oh HELL they hurt! (n)
  4. I particularly like 2 and 3.
  5. I have struck most of these at some time or other especially the angry bee. Another was being stuck behind a cattle truck when a cow or sheep decides to empty it's bladder or a cager emptying his throat out the window.
  6. Back "in the day", a galah got me in the side of the chest while I was heading along the Illawarra Hwy between Moss Vale and Macquarie Pass. Was doing maybe 105, 110 tops. Anyway, 2 broken ribs later....

    Miserable little pink bar steward...
  7. Kittens don't pose much of a danger.
  8. Now that I have started riding I've realised how inaccurate weather forecasts are.
    • Funny Funny x 1

  9. We live in Melbourne you always need your wets :)
  10. Around 6 months ago I walked outside after being promised by the BOM of a fine sunny day only to find a wet miserable shit of a day. Normally I would go out if I was commuting or had to be somewhere but because this was a pleasure ride I wasn't going to get soaked. So I re-entered my house turned on the laptop, opened up my email account and sent a rather abrupt and abusive email to the cocks at the BOM. It went something along the lines that they should forget trying to guess what will happen for the next week and maybe try to at least get one days weather forecast right at a time. I received an email about a fortnight later stating the usual crap about meteorology not being an exact science etc. Made me feel good on the day :D
  11. I do the vast majority of my riding in the country. Too many 'near misses' with the wildlife to count. I've 'punched' a cockatoo once - bloody thing was slow to take off and hit my hand - how the hell it didn't hit the mirror, or brake lever is beyond me.

    Other than that, it's all been close calls. I've seen the offending animal in time to either slow and /or swerve/duck before impact. Pays to scan the bush - constantly - for movement.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. Emus are bad, tiny little brains and no road sense they try and run along beside you. Have had a cockatiel hit me between the chin bar and cracked visor. I was spitting green feathers for the next k :)

    And always take locust swarms below 80k/h those buggers hurt even through riding gear.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Can confirm. Then just when you've got them settled into a rhythm, they'll turn 90 deg in front of you.

    And Roos are even dumber. They will always, always take the least obvious escape route. If you slow down for them, confident they will hop away from you, they will always hop in front of you. You just just have to stop for these stupid fcukers.
  15. Wasps and hornets are worse. Bees hit like a bullet and sting, but they die when they sting you. One sting. Got a wasp in your helmet? You are going to have a very bad day. A hornet? They hit like a bullet AND sting you over and over again like a wasp. Got either one down inside your gear? That's it, you're boned.
  16. I thought the sign for cops was a finger twirled in the air. Is a helmet-tap a straight alternative, or does it mean something a bit different?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Last week I passed a fellow rider going in the opposite direction, who was waving frantically at me, so gave him a quite confused look and "the nod", turns out the nice boys in blue pulled someone over about a k up the road. Then went "ohhh that's what he was waving oddly about".
  18. Roos; dumber than dog shit. After just missing being turned into mince by a fellow rider, the roo doubled back again instead of just heading off the road in the same direction. Just missed for a second time by the same rider.
  19. Shamelessly ripped apart by boingk:

    1. Bees & Animals
    Insects are deflected by my full face helmet, or shatterproof glasses when wearing dirtbike helmet araound town/MX track.

    Animals are summarily approached at regular speeds until the f*** off or I run them over. My size 11 feet also get some good use, as does the length of chain I use to lock my bike. Talking to an ex postie here.

    2. You’re Now An Expert Meteorologist
    I carry a garbage bag in a pocket or under the seat. Raining hard? No worries, rip holes in the thing and ride fast... preferably behind a large vehicle like a semi. Otherwise disregard and look hardcore instead.

    3. Say Goodbye To A and B
    I actually agree with this, although its not a problem. You ride because you want to.

    4. Manholes, Paint and Tar Snakes
    Around town a hooligan machine like a dirtbike/sumpermotard deals with these well... pesky animals as well. Once your ninja senses kick in you'll be right, anyway. You can sense the smallest rock or piece of loose tarmac down to about 5mm with ease.

    5. Friends & Strangers
    Friends are welcome to come for a ride... but must buy their own bike if they want to actually be in control.

    Strangers become friends as you realise a whole 'nother circle of people who do awesome things and you never knew existed. Invite to the local trackday/dragstrip/MX track? No worries!

    6. You Become A Better Car Driver
    Bingo. Still keeping my Valiant, though.

    7. Waving Etiquette
    Twirling the index finger while pointing it upwards means police, and is mandatory. Everything else is up to you, including a nod, which is the most you should do to acknowledge outside of a 'cops ahead' finger twirl.

    8. Working On Your Bike
    Wholeheartedly agree. Also, don't argue about the price or quality of workmanship if you aren't prepared to DIY. I couldn't give a flying f***, nor could anyone else.

    9. Your Bike Is Stronger Than You Think
    Also agree. In fact, running your bike hard is the best way to get it working at its peak, especially when used as a breakin routine. 5 min half throttle, half redline, 5 min 3/4 throttle and redline, 5 min full throttle and redline... including backing down on part of zero throttle from redline. This beds in your piston rings before the fragile and temporary cyluinder honing pattern is erased from your bores forever, keeping pressure better and letting less blowby happen - you'll make more power and use less oil than a bike not run in in this way.

    10. The Boogers
    Maybe, for the first little bit. Then you grow a man's nose lining and start breathing properly. From time to time you may experience slight inconvenience, but this is outweighed in full by the awesomeness and brilliance of riding a two-wheeled conveyance.

    Be awesome - boingk
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  20. The bee thing has me completely freaked out.