What Is The Best Age To Start Riding A Motorcycle?motoplex | August 10, 2020 | 0 | History , Riding
I might be the wrong person to be talking about this, because I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t riding. I was one of 4 boys, raised by a father who I can’t remember not owning a bike. It was just a thing we did. It was part of growing up.
We learned to swim by being thrown into a pool. We learned to catch by having a ball thrown at our heads. We learned to run by being chased by our older sister. We learned to ride because if not, we were going to be left behind by everyone else.
The first motorcycle I remember riding didn’t have a name. Nothing to identify where it came from or who made it. It was green, ugly and had a motor that I could only assume came from a lawn mower. My Dad was a mechanic so I wouldn’t be surprised if he built it himself. A rope-pulley starter, maybe went 10 miles an hour, no shocks and a seat covered with electrical tape. It wasn’t comfortable to ride but I can remember never wanted to get off it. I was in.
My second bike was a Gemini 50. Like a pair of jeans, it was a hand-me-down bike from my older brother. At the time, it felt like the biggest bike in the world. When I wanted to stop riding I had to make sure it was on grass as I knew every attempt to stop and firmly place my feet on the ground was going to leave me on my side.
I knew two speeds. Stopped, and “going as fast as the bike would go”. Sometimes, I was barefoot. Mostly in shorts. Always without a helmet. It was the 70’s. A time of lead paint, no seatbelts and lawn darts. No one really knew better. I was usually sporting cuts and bruises. Often competing with my brothers to see whose were the biggest. Occasionally I won.
The Gemini was a tank. No matter what I did to it, it continued to run. It was shining as I handed it down to my brothers who’d spend the next few years attempting to put dents in it. I had just graduated to a Honda 70. Welcome to the world of the 4 stroke. This bike taught me there was no place I couldn’t go. I conquered mountains (as high of mountains as you could find in LA). I jumped everything that was in my path. I rode to friend’s homes that were too far away on my Gemini. That bike turned into an appendage for me.
As I made new friends, friends who didn’t have motorcycles, I went out of my way to teach them to ride. I learned something quickly in that time. Getting on a bike in your early teens wasn’t the same for someone as it was for me, growing up on one. It never was as easy. It didn’t seem as natural for them. Most rode a few times and gave up. None of them still ride today.
Who knows if I would have kept riding if I hadn’t got on my first bike until I was almost an adult. Maybe I wouldn’t have had that connection. Perhaps riding wouldn’t be fun. I mean, I didn’t take up tennis until I was in high school and I was pretty good but I only played just enough to learn I didn’t like the tiny white shorts. If I had started when I was 3, I’d probably still be playing today.
I should point out that if you’ve hit adulthood and you haven’t started riding yet, it doesn’t mean you’ll hate it. You most-likely will love it. But it’s not as simple as your dad throwing you on a motorcycle and shoving you down the road. The confidence you gain now will be related to your safety. A great way to quickly get excited about riding, and having the education to not give up is a motorcycle training course. Being taught by a professional who probably started riding when they were three will do wonders.
I love to ride and some of my best memories are from riding. And some of the best of those, are from barely being 3 feet tall. The best time to start riding is the second you can (barely) reach the handlebars.