11 things they don't teach you in motorcycle safety class

by Thomas Brady


  1. How exactly to do that salute thing that motorcyclists gesture to each other on the road. Oh they mentioned it in class, but only in passing. Is it an upside down peace sign? 
  2. Sometimes you just can’t do that salute because you’re shifting. Don’t feel bad.
  3. If someone doesn’t salute you back, it’s either because a) they’re a snob, b) they didn’t see you, or c) see previous point.
  4. It feels really funny when you do that salute to a police officer. It’s cool when they do it back.
  5. It’s really hard to fart on a motorcycle.
  6. Once you arrive at your destination, motorcycles become somewhat inconvenient, unless you have big saddlebags. Where do you put your helmet? Jacket?
  7. Your sense of smell becomes an active sense while riding, in ways that it just can’t in a car (unless maybe this happens with convertibles or jeeps, too). You will smell that rain is about to start falling before you feel the first drop. You’ll smell bird crap before you’re all the way under a bridge.
  8. On that note, even if you wisely decide that you will only be a fair-weather rider when you first start out, you will get caught in the rain sometime. Be ready. Know what you’re going to do ahead of time. Pull over? Roll on? Cry?
  9. You will become, if you weren’t already, a weatherbug (see previous point).
  10. The first time you hit 50 MPH or above, you might really believe that the wind is going to pick you up and throw you off your bike. It won’t. But it sure feels like it will. A full-face helmet with a shield helps, but you’re still going to feel like your chest and shoulders are a mainsail.
  11. When you find your motorcycle’s sweet spot it will sing to you. Mine seems to be right around 65 MPH.