Ren and the art of Motorcycles

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Safety is My Choice

A lot of people look at motorcyclists as rebels. In some instances that is true. But you never know who a motorcyclist is. It may be the kid next door; it may be the 35 year old guy down the street, or the 50 year old woman in the grocery store.

One thing all motorcyclists have in common is the acceptance of risk. Yes, riding is more dangerous to me than driving in a car. I have taken many precautions to make it as low risk as possible but it is an activity, like most in life, that can never be made risk free.

One of the agreements I made with my family when I started riding was to always wear full protective gear. ALWAYS. Sometimes, riding in the hot summer months, I regret that I made that promise. Certainly it would be cooler to ride, as I see others doing, in shorts and a t-shirt, bare hands and sandals on my feet. Fate seems to take care of those thoughts, though. Whenever I start thinking that way, I get hit with a rock thrown up by a passing vehicle, a stinging insect starts buzzing around me, or I see pictures of those who have fallen off the motorcycle without full protective gear on. And, let me say, for those who haven't experienced it--the same rock that cracks your windshield can really hurt when it hits exposed skin...or even skin protected like mine. I have gotten bruises through my gear, had face shields cracked (better the shield than my face) by those rocks.

What is full protective gear? For me, it is a full-face helmet, with the shield down (I hate the feel of the wind on my eyes, even in a convertible car). Riding jacket and riding pants I have a mesh jacket and pants for summertime wear, a fully lined jacket and pants for cooler weather. I don't own a leather jacket and pants because they are too expensive for my budget so I bought gear made specifically for motorcycle riders. I always wear full gloves, and boots that go over my ankle.

Like wearing a seatbelt every time you get in a car, I have gotten to the point where anytime I sit on the motorcycle, even to move it in the garage, I feel "wrong" if I don't have my gear on. Twice my gear has saved my skin, and I have several friends who can say the same thing. As I often point out to those who laugh at me for my jacket and pants in the summer, my skin looks a lot better on me than on the asphalt!

So, the next time you are on the road and see a motorcyclist, wave. Who knows, it might be me, and if I can safely do so, I'll wave back!


  • At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Merza said…

    You go, girl! I want you around for a long time, serving as a wonderful example to others . . .

  • At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Chief Scientist said…

    A friend and mentor in his 60s still makes a six-week cross-country ride every year. Last year he lost it in Death Valley, of all places and ended up in the hospital. He was wearing his gear, of course, or it would have been worse and he bounced back nicely.

    I'm pretty sure this is his last year doing it. He had something to prove to Death Valley one last time though.


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