More motorcycle riding advice for Ramona

Last week, Street Smarts sought the advice of motorcycle riders regarding Ramona's idea to park her car and invest in a gas-frugal motorcycle. Below are the emailed thoughts of long-time rider Gary McCourt, also known as "Skully." "I noticed that you were interested in becoming a motorcycle rider -- cool! I have been riding since June 1967. After many years of riding Japanese bikes, I was finally able to get my dream bike in April 1999 -- a Harley Davidson. I have been a member of the local H.O.G. Chapter since May 1999 and an officer (within the organization) for many years. I just started my job as secretary (for the group) after 5 years as sergeant at arms. Way back in '67 -- the Summer of Love -- I bought a Honda 150 Dream in San Francisco. I've been riding since then. I have learned a lot over the years, mainly how to survive. You have to ride with the mindset that all car drivers are out to get you. A hand poised over the brake lever buys you precious extra reaction time. Riding is a way of life for me and my riding friends. It is such a high to be a part of a pack of riders out enjoying a beautiful day. "The training course that you must pass to get a motorcycle license will teach you a lot. After that, you will learn from your riding. I also rode dirt bikes for many years, I think this helped me to learn the control of a bike better. We have many women riders in the H.O.G. Chapter. Some are some of the best riders that I have ever ridden with. "I wish you luck in your endeavor to join the riding ranks. Maybe I'll see you out on the road!"
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6 Responses to More motorcycle riding advice for Ramona

  1. former santa cruzan says:

    Santa Cruz is the worst, most dangerous place there is to ride, too many cars with very poor unattentive drivers. The same advice I give to prospective new riders, don`t even think about it, find a safer hobby. From an owner of 5 harleys and bmw`s

  2. Pat Kittle says:

    Is Disqus working or not?

  3. Pat Kittle says:

    Ramona,nnSorry about my previous comment — most Sentinel Disqus forums apparently aren’t working.nnAnyway, I rode my neighbor’s new little Honda 50 in 1963 and don’t plan to quit riding motorcycles.nnMy best friend is a serious bicycle rider. She asked me about getting a motorcycle. I figure much of bicycle riding experience translates over to motorcycles — “countersteering,” “reading” the road surface, interacting with much bigger vehicles, etc. She’s already got a lot of things going on in her life, so I told her she should plan on setting aside serious time to get motorcycle experience before venturing into the heavy traffic we have. She agreed, and so far hasn’t been willing to make that time. nnIf I was starting out now, I’d go take a motorcycle-riding course (as it was, I learned in the “school of hard knocks”). I think Cabrillo has a good one.nnMany motorcyclists complain about car drivers, but I don’t. Maybe interacting with other vehicles has become 2nd nature to me. I like have a good ol’ time on a motorcycle, without annoying others. I choose motorcycles with stock (not modified) exhausts that are efficient (not power-robbing) and attractive. Many completely unmodfied bikes today are capable of quarter-miles in the “9’s,” which is enough to keep up with traffic.nnA couple excellent standard street bikes for newbies (that you won’t soon “outgrow”) include a Suzuki SV650 and Kawasaki’s Versys. Mike Rotkin seems to like his Kawasaki EX500, another good choice. Japanese bikes (not surprisingly) give you by far the most reliability, performance, features & dealer back-up for your money (most riders acknowledge that even if their bike isn’t Japanese). I save a bundle by buying a well-maintained used bike from a private party on Craigslist (have someone trusted & experienced help you if you buy used). nnAs for a local mechanic, many of us are happy with Wayne at “Cycle Revolution” on Bonita Avenue.nnBest wishes, whatever you decide.

  4. Vespa traveler says:

    I have been riding something 2-wheeled most of my life. I prefer small, efficient, quiet Vespas and ride every day – 70 mpg. I do not ride with the attitude that all cars are out to get me, but with the knowledge that I am less visible than a big car, therefore I try to always wear clothing that makes me more visible and I keep myself alert and aware. I do have a car but use it less than 1,000 miles per year, which gives me another discount on insurance. When parking lots are crowded, there is always a little corner for a small scooter to park. We also have a scooter club – we ride together at least once a month, share ideas and safety tips, and have a lot of fun.

  5. Rich says:

    I am a former Santa Cruzan now living in Seattle. I’ve been riding a scooter for over 4 years now. Does it take up less room than an automobile? Yes! Does it use less gas? Yes! (70mpg). Is it funner to drive than an automobile? Yes! (I’ve driven Mustang GTs, BMWs, and my scooter wins hands down). Does it ease traffic congestion on the streets and highways? Yes! Does it make me happy and improve my mood? Yes! Does it look fun and cool and catch the eyes of passerby? Yes! Can you get hurt riding one, even if you are careful? Yes – and you can also get hurt walking down the street or climbing the stairs in your home, with much less chance for the joy you get riding a scooter. According to the CDC, in 2007 over 20,000 people in the USA died from falling accidents in the home, at work and while walking on the streets. There is risk in everything. But not everything gives you the pure joy that riding a scooter or motorcycle does.nnRich V.

  6. Marion says:

    I’d never ridden any motorized two wheeler until four years ago when I was OVER 60 YEARS OF AGE and I bought my Vespa and joined the local Vespa club, now called the Scooter Club of Santa Cruz. The motorcycle safety class at Cabrillo is a must for new or returning riders. Defensive biking is essential but 70 mpg and the joy of being in nature while riding…nothing beats it!! If an older female like myself can do it, a scooter is doable. I don’t use it for a work commute but know some who do. For scooter sales and service I recommend the helpful nice people at il Motorino, Vespa Santa Cruzn2650 Research Park Dr Soquel CA 95073 Phone: 831.479.9075.nSafe and Happy Riding,nMarionn

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