There are a few skills that a man should have and most of them are covered here on ROK. Here’s one more: ride a motorcycle. If you can’t ride a bike, you are forever gonna be part pussy. Period. Same thing if you can’t drive a stick but that’s another article. Looking cool is a benefit not to be discounted, but the better reason is that riding will make you a better man by forcing you to confront and overcome fear, learn and use new skills, and to ignore social disapproval. All of those are central to and necessary for a successful life.
1. Overcome Fears
Overcoming normal fears is essential if you want to get anywhere, at anything, in this life. Put fear aside and do what you came for.
This happens. Get over it.
Riding a motorcycle is frightening. That’s a fact. Any rider that tells you otherwise is lying to you, to themselves, or both. Sailing along with nothing much between your soft self and the road at speed had damn well better scare you—it’s fucking dangerous. Your own mistakes, and those of others, have at a minimum Very Serious Consequences. Throw the bike down the road and you will at best wake up the next day feeling like you took a mob-grade beating. But it’s also fun as hell. So you have to learn to overcome your fears and get on with the task at hand.
2. Learn A Skill
Learning to understand a skill set, master it, and employ those skills under stress is another key to success at anything. Instincts are what your brain automatically does, skills are learned responses to situations. Skills are what make us the smart monkeys we are; without the skills learned, refined, and passed from man to man, we are capable of nothing.
Not crashing is a skill.
Riding a motorcycle is a skill. A very technical learned skill that includes mental and physical components. Learning to read the road surface and camber, the topography of the land, the clues to usable hazards are all high level mental process that have to become automatic. The physical act of moving around on the bike requires strength and balance. Learning to make yourself look where you want to go and not focus on a road hazard, to push yourself down toward the road rushing past to get the thing around a corner, to brake progressively in an emergency, not just grab in a panic—those are mental and physical skills.
3. Take Some Heat
Knowing who you are, and what you want, and standing up for it in the face of disapproval, is yet another key skill.
Safe. But you’ll die of boredom.
Announce that you bought a bike and at least half the people you know are going to tell you about their friend/neighbor/family who had a cycle and crashed it and how badly they got hurt. Some of the stories will even be true. And they’ll work around to that smug, superior tone and ask “Don’t you know how dangerous those things are?” And you have got to just look them in the eye and say: “Yep.”
You cannot learn to ride, even at a novice level, without investing significantly in controlling your fear, skill acquisition, and the self-confidence to put that to use.
In the Pantheon of Badass, there are exactly zero men who had access to and didn’t ride motorcycles. Zero.
Here’s how to start:
Get some training. You rode dirt bikes as a kid at your cousins farm sometimes means you know not a damn thing. Find your local MSF class and sign up. It takes one weekend in most places to go from zero to licensed, and they provide bikes. You’ll need much more practice to get really competent. Figure one solid season if you make a study of riding.
Get some gear. Don’t turn it into a faggy fashion splurge, and don’t let the safety freaks oversell the dangers. Got a decent, heavy leather jacket? Great, you’re halfway there. If not you can pick up reasonable textile jackets for less than $200. Get some good gloves and a sturdy pair of boots for another $200, and a helmet for $100. Get a second one to later to lend out to girls. In the beginning you are going to be a fair weather rider, so skip raingear for now. What, how, where, and when you ride is going to dictate your eventual collection of stuff so for now just buy halfway decent or used equipment (except for helmets).
The near-perfect Basic Bike.
Get a bike. This is the part most people get wrong. A bigger bike is not a better bike; you do not need 1000cc crotch rocket and you’ll look like a dipshit on one until you really know what you’re doing. Look for an older dirt bike of 400-650cc or inexpensive Japanese naked bikes. These types do not hold value well at all, and often get ridden very little and traded in on bigger machines so dealers have them cheap. $1500-3000 is plenty to budget.
If you buy from a dealer, you have a sense that the machine is mechanically safe. Most dealers will do a basic safety check and offer a 30 day warranty, but you’ll pay more. If you want to buy used, take along a good friend that’s been riding for a few years. Again, and I cannot overemphasize this, don’t buy a big ass bike, a super cool vintage Euro bike, or a fucking HD. You are going to drop the thing. Fact. A cheap bike falls over better. Nobody but you (and you shouldn’t) and insecure posers give a shit what you ride. Ride a fast bike slow and you look like a fool, ride a slow bike fast and you’re a god.
So there you go, for a couple grand you just got the chance to practice some of the most important skills you’ll need in life. Oh yeah, and women love a man with a bike.
Read More: The Thrill Of The Mountain Makes You A Man