Segways aside, I love two wheeled transport. I’ve always enjoyed cycling and to me, motorcycling was just a natural progression of this. I still enjoy riding an “acoustic motorbike” – even if I don’t ride as often as I once did. (I’m more of the baggy T-shirt kind of cyclist, rather than the lycra clad streamlined type) I only mention this as I don’t want any potential cyclist to think I’ve got something against their chosen mode of transport…
From time to time, I end up having conversations with people who would otherwise not have contact with the motorcycling community. Invariably, it’s when I’m doing something that you’d never have seen Marlon Brando do in “The Wild One“. Things like turning the motorcycle around in a confined space on uneven ground. I weigh just under one third of what my motorcycle does and I’m not likely to represent Australia in any weight lifting competitions. So it’s fair to say that it can take me some effort to move the motorcycle on soft or uneven ground. Occasionally, if the ground permits, I’ll do the “cool bike shop” maneuver of pulling the motorbike onto the side stand and pivot it with the wheels in the air – but this was definitely an easier trick with my previous bike (a CBR929) as it was about 40kg lighter. I’m no civil engineer and this sort of behaviour does make you wonder how strong the side stand really is.
This is the first thing that surprises the non-motorcycling community. The statements go like this: “It’s doesn’t turn around quite as tightly as I was expecting“. This is quite likely the first time they’ve even really considered the size of the bike you are riding. You can tell by their next question: “Is it easy to pick up when it falls over?” (the question never seems to be *if* it falls over…) Then come the questions of “How often have you fallen off?” as if remembering summer days of grazed knees from their childhood. Strangely enough, no-one ever asks me how often I’ve crashed a car… (Mind you I’ve never tried to push a car around someone’s front yard, either!)
For as long as I ride, I don’t think I’ll ever be free of such lines of questioning. I suspect I’m not the only motorcyclist who is asked such questions. Quite frankly, I’d rather answer those sorts of questions than be run out of town by an angry mob who thought “The Wild One” was a documentary. But before you join that crowd, remember there’s one answer that takes care of most of your questions: “It’s not a pushbike”