You’ll love motorcycles like I do

If the record-setting heat is any hint, summer is on its way. And with summer comes motorcycles.

If the record-setting heat is any hint, summer is on its way. And with summer comes motorcycles. I’m entering my 29th year of riding street bikes and couldn’t be happier. I’m always happy to encourage others to jump into this lifestyle that really is like no other.

If you’re a beginner, let’s take first things first: get your license. Getting a motorcycle license is supremely important, as the way a rider learns about street bikes tends to lay a foundation for how they’ll ride. Growing up out in Oyen, my options were limited, but readers of The Pipestone Flyer are luckier. Motorcycle training courses are available for reasonable fees nearby.

I know what some of you are thinking: “I ride dirt bikes, I can ride a street bike.” Dirt biking is not street riding. Yes, I admit you likely have most of the skills necessary to operate the bike, but street or sport biking involves intersections and traffic that couldn’t care less about you. And landing on pavement at 60 km/hr is different than landing on sand at 15 km/hr.

Okay, so now you have your license and a sound skill basis. Now you need a bike. What type do you want? Style is up to you: sport is high-speed and flashy, cruiser is straight and steady, while adventure is a sport bike and dirt bike hybrid. There are also three-wheel options too, meaning you have hundreds of bikes to choose from.

When you’re new to cycling, start small. Smaller bikes tend to be affordable and easy to control. I started on a 1982 Honda CM450a, perfect for beginners. For a sport or adventure bike, a 250 or 300 cubic inch engine is a good starting point while with a cruiser it looks like roughly 500 to 750cc seems to be popular. Plus the smaller the engine, the cheaper your insurance.

Second hand bikes are an option, but from my experience people who own motorcycles tend to value them much more than they’re actually worth. Last summer I was in the market for a bike and looked at a number of used bikes online; brand new bikes were in the same price range. If you buy second-hand, a good indicator of the bike’s condition tends to be how many kilometers it has. A few years ago I bought a 1983 Honda Sabre with 70,000 kms on it. The bike lasted one year and broke down permanently. Generally, a bike with under 20,000 kms should be in excellent shape, above 40,000 may need work.

Remember, pick a style of bike you are physically comfortable with. If you’re on your tippy toes when standing still, the bike may be too tall for you. A final note: before you buy a bike, think about how you’re going to store it next winter. It’s best if the bike can be sheltered from the elements. Garages are always best.

You need protection. Helmet, a jacket and gloves are mandatory for street riding. Wonder why? Do a search on Youtube for “road rash.” Equipment doesn’t need to be expensive; You can find a good helmet, jacket and gloves for $300 if you’re motivated. If you can afford riding pants, buy them too.

Now you’re ready to roll. Where to go? For beginners, it’s probably best to stick close to home on simple roads with less traffic and stay away from gravel. Riding on some of the county paved roads gives valuable experience because secondary highways have lighter traffic, but remember the secondaries also tend to have narrow or no shoulders. When you get a bit of experience, then move up to busier highways. In town, remember to watch your speed, keep an eye on traffic ahead of you, shoulder check and use your signal lights.

Oh, one more thing. Riders, when they see each other on the road, wave at each other. Except the Harley guys. They only wave at other Harley guys.

Whatever. Suit yourself.

Stu Salkeld is the new editor of the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.

 

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

Storm clouds gathered in Mulhurst, Alta., just before noon June 15, 2021. Photo/ Dan Moster.
Areas of County of Wetaskiwin remain under severe thunderstorm watch

Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for areas of the County.

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday June 12th, 2021

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

Manluk Centre/ Impress
Manluk Centre re-opens to the public

Drop in and registered programs will be available; one-third facility capacity to be followed.

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Most Read