First Motorcycle
First Motorcycle Pages: Getting Started | Choosing a Bike | Selecting Gear | Cost of Ownership | Wind & Rain | Theresa Wallach |
Kawasaki KLR650: Index | Maintenance | Chain Lube | Chain Tension | Oil Change | One Year Review |
Stories and Maps: Ride America 2005 | American Southwest 2005 |
Picture Sets: Arkansas - Texas | Austin | Chicago | New Mexico - Arizona | Santa Fe | Thorndale |
About Paul: Bio | Chicago Guide | Taxi Driving |

First Motorcycle

Choosing a Motorcycle

Selecting Gear

Cost of Ownership

On the Road



First Motorcycle

Getting Started on Two Wheels

Energy costs are increasing. Motorcycles and scooters are becoming more-and-more popular. To this observer, it seems unlikely that the two phenomena are not related.

While mythology and folklore shape the popular opinion of motorcycling, reason dictates an effort to obtain accurate information, professional training and appropriate gear prior to "throwing a leg over" for the first time. In this context, what you don't know might very well kill you.

What follows is an initiation into the most critical aspect of riding: decision-making. The expressed aim of this document's author is to encourage the reader to begin to think about the problems of motorcycling -- prior to encountering them on the roadway.

This treatment of the myriad choices facing the new rider begins with the selection of a motorcycle. And it presupposes enrollment in, or recent completion of, a State or Military approved training course.

But the greater part of the information presented on this page is relevant to all forms of two-wheeled travel: motorcycle, scooter and bicycle too. Regardless of the mount, the weak link in the system is always the person in the saddle...

Date of First Edition: August 16, 2007.
Date Today:
Copyright: Paul E. Germanos
Contact: paulgermanos(at)
Home Page:

p.s. Cut to the chase? 
(1) Read everything that you can get your hands on;
(2) Complete at least one of the basic safety courses offered by an organization such as the MSF or TEAM prior to obtaining your operator's license;
(3) Purchase and wear protective gear, ATGATT: all the gear all the time;
(4) Find a lightweight, low-horsepower motorcycle that fits your body;
(5) Practice your riding skills in a controlled environment -- such as an empty parking lot -- prior to hitting the street;
(6) Continue your education. Take another course, read another book, practice the fundamental skills, spend a day at the track or in the dirt, become [more] involved in your motorcycle's maintenance, and keep learning;
(7) Don't rush;
(8) In time, give something back to motorcycling.

p.p.s. What to read?
I suggest the following, in the following order:
(1) The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycling by Darwin Holmstrom
(2) The MSF's Guide to Motorcycling Excellence
(3) Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough
(4) How to Ride a Motorcycle by Pat Hahn
And back issues of the following -- probably available in the periodical department of your local library -- contain a wealth of information:
(5) Motorcyclist Magazine
(6) Cycle World Magazine

That's the whole thing in a nutshell; that's the advice that I'd give to a family member or friend.

T O P   |   N E X T


This is a document that reflects its author's personal experience. The information presented on this page is not a substitute for any factory manual, or professional service. Go to the MSF, the SMF and the AMA; they want to help you. Read the Hurt Report. Do your own research; formulate a hypothesis; test it. Read the material linked from this site. Take responsibility. Ride to be alive.


Copyright: Paul E. Germanos
Contact: paulgermanos(at)
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