The road I ride most often is Angeles Crest Highway in Los Angeles, and that typically means a stop at Newcomb’s Ranch to hang out, grab a bite and chat with fellow riders. What surprises me is the number of people drinking beer and other adult beverages at 9:00 AM, some of them having arrived on their motorcycles.
Riding a motorcycle requires balance, coordination and concentration well beyond what’s required to drive a car, so adding alcohol to that equation is a terrible idea. Not to mention on a twisty canyon road like Angeles Crest Highway, you need to be sharp so you don’t end up over a cliff or hitting another vehicle head-on.
Save the beers and bloody marys for when you’re not riding.
u/zetrhar on Reddit just posted some photos on imgur of his trip across the Canadian Rockies aboard a Kawasaki Ninja 300. It’s arguably the best starter bike around, and makes an awesome distance bike as well. Check out his pics and definitely make sure the Ninja 300 is on your short list if you’re looking for a starter motorcycle.
One of the joys of motorcycling is riding to a friendly biker hangout, getting some greasy food, meeting other riders and checking out the other bikes. This can be a little intimidating though, especially if you don’t know anything about the place and what kind of people hang out there. Here are some tips for making it happen. Continue reading “How to visit the local biker hangout”
Hearing protection is one of the most overlooked safety precautions when it comes to motorcycle riding. It’s not uncommon to meet older bikers who have tinnitus or have suffered some sort of hearing loss due to the constant wind noise while riding. Ear plugs have two distinct benefits for beginner riders:
1. The noise reduction is very calming while learning. It wasn’t until my 2nd week of riding that I tried them out, and they made the learning process much less stressful. I didn’t realize how much the wind noise was bothering me.
2. It’s a good habit to start using them early, and they will save your hearing in the long run.
I prefer the long mushroom shaped plugs; they’re easier to remove from your ears. The brand I buy has a 33 decibel noise reduction rating, which I equate to riding inside of a newer car with the windows rolled up. You can still hear sirens, your own bike, other vehicles around you, etc.
If there’s one place where you can sit on all of the motorcycles you want to check out without a salesperson breathing down your neck, it’s the International Motorcycle Show. More manufacturers have brought their bikes to the show than ever, so it’s definitely worth the trip if you can make it. It’s a beginner’s dream, as bikes like the Yamaha R3, Kawasaki Ninja 300 and KTM RC390 are all there waiting for you to throw a leg over the seat.
I’m starting to see more and more of the Yamaha YZF-R3 out in the wild, whether it’s on the road or at track days. I’m not exactly sure why I’m seeing more of them than the Kawasaki Ninja 300, but I suspect it has to do with its very sharp looks and 25cc engine size advantage over the Ninja. It’s definitely hard to tell it apart from a 600cc supersport, and I came away impressed from a test ride late last year. If you’re an aspiring sportbike rider looking for your first motorcycle, the R3 is a really good choice.
Anytime I take my motorcycle out for a ride, I’m hitting a back road in the southern California countryside. Fortunately it’s not that far of a ride before I’m away from the city and in some beautiful area that makes me forget I live in a huge metropolis. If you want to ride some nice back roads yourself, here are a few tips before you head out to unfamiliar territory. Continue reading “Riding the Back Roads on your Motorcycle”