- We learn something every day, and lots of times it’s that what we learned the day before was wrong. Bill Vaughan
Ride a Harley-Davidson
Riding and owning a Harley Davidson motorcycle is an honor and a privilege. There are some basic tenets that you should remember to keep the ride safe and memorable.
Hardcore Harley Davidson riders are adamant that their bike is different than any other motorcycle on the road. If you cast aside the brand identity, is there any real truth to that? Are the actual dynamics of riding the bike truly different than any other motorcycle? In a word, yes. If you’ve never ridden a Harley before, you may be in for a shock the first time you saddle up. Even riders with lots of experience on cruiser style motorcycles have an acclimation period with a Harley.
How to Ride a Harley Davidson
Find a suitable and rideable Harley Davidson motorcycle. Not every Harley is suitable for 'cruising' or riding distances shorter than a few blocks or miles. If you really want to enjoy all a Harley has to offer, find a Harley that runs well, is comfortable, and one that you can handle. If you find the bike too heavy, drop down a level or improve your riding skills on another, smaller bike first. In general, the bike "heaviness" runs in the following order, from heaviest to lightest:
- Touring. (Includes Road King, Street Glide, Ultra Classic, Limited and Road Glide).
- Softail (Includes Fatboy, Heritage, Slim, Deluxe and Breakout)
- Dyna (Includes Street Bob, Low Rider, Fat Bob, Switchback and Wide Glide)
- Sportster (Includes 883's and 1200's)
Decide how you're going to get your Harley, either by borrowing, renting, or buying. Sometimes renting or borrowing (provided that you have a motorcycle license) is the best way to introduce yourself to the world of Harleys without a huge financial commitment.
Observe the bike. Look at the subtleties and richness of the chrome, or lack thereof, and special features unique to the design of the particular Harley you are going to ride. Prep the bike for ride by checking the gas level, tires, lights, and any obvious flaws or defects.
Get on the bike. Remember, "right is wrong." Get on the bike from the left side, as it is good etiquette. (BS. Getting on from the right is the only "correct" way. It is how professionals are trained, and if you slip, you will not shove the bike over) Feel the handlebars, feel the weight of the bike underneath you. Pull the choke if need-be.
Ride the bike. See the road scurry underneath you. Feel the wind in your face and on your body. See how it's just much better when on the bike. Feel the rumble in between your legs. Lean back. See the blur of the side road as you look straight ahead.
Enjoy the ride. Harley Davidson motorcycles enjoy a rich and storied tradition. Riding one is not about the speed or handling of the bike per se, but rather, the enjoyment of the feel and embodiment of the entire experience. Look at the scenery, hear and feel the engine. Look to your right... to your left. Even look up at the sky - all the while making sure to keep another eye on the road to stay safe. Beware of car drivers.