Motorcycles have always had a place in my heart, but before it was more or less feelings of awe and fascination. Whenever I saw a bike I’d admire it. I’ve been a shadow admirer for a while, but I never mustered up the courage or took any steps to get one. Finally, last month, everything felt right and I decided the time had arrived and it was my turn to ride. I signed up for a MSF safety course and went through the whole (boring) process towards my M1 license. Convincing the parents took a combination of persistence and good timing… they knew I was committed. I had been riding bicycles for about 2 years prior to this point. The whole tight spandex wearing, constant and sweaty pedaling in mostly straight lines was starting to wear off on me. At least it was a good stepping stone, if not to only make me more aware of traffic elements as a rider.
Fast forward a few more weeks, my license was slowly coming into the mail from the DMV… and I had ordered up some gear. The time came to obtain an actual bike. After looking around at Japanese brand motorcycles, I wasn’t particularly impressed by them. Their build quality, looks, and that 4-cylinder engine note didn’t appeal to me. I initially wanted a Triumph 675 Daytona, and then started looking into Ducati 746’s. A bit of deliberation later, it was down to a red 746… and this white 2008 848. The latter was significantly higher priced, but it was without a doubt a better bike. While the 848 was at a far higher league than what I was initially looking for, I knew that it was the one I wanted. I pulled out literally almost all of my savings at the time and went out and bought it. A risky choice at the time, but there is no regrets. Especially because it’s so beautiful, and I keep finding myself making trips into the garage just to look at it. :D
Here’s the machine that I essentially sold my car for (car was sold after):
I remember the first ride was fairly intimidating. I just got on and went around the neighborhood, but when I realized just how much torque the bike had… I had a moment where I thought I really got myself in too far. This might be attributed to my OCD, I couldn’t claim to bike to be mine unless I cleaned/detailed it.
So it was into the garage, and off with the fairings:
I did what I could and gave everything a good scrub underneath, and then put the fairings back on. Next came a claybar of the exterior followed by some polish and wax.
Finally, it was time to actually ride it, so after lunch the next day I hopped on and went out into the streets for the first time. The stopping and going took some getting used to, but I felt relatively comfortable afterwards. The day after that I decided to try out the local twisties, and I now hope to keep developing my skills on the bike and eventually attend a track day.
After reaching this point, and riding the Ducati… I firmly believe that I’m not going to want a fancy sports car anymore. The thrill of riding and the freedom that entails it is incomparable by sitting inside a metal box with 4 wheels. The sense of turning and cornering just doesn’t feel as fun. Driving a motorcycle is very highly dependent on the rider and his skill. You turn by shifting your weight and making the bike lean with you, its so much more connected. I can’t say the same thing about turning a steering wheel while sitting upright in a car, however…