But I want to get taken for a ride!
September 6, 2010 11:08 AM   Subscribe

How can I go for more motorcycle rides when I don't own a motorcycle, won't own one any time soon and don't have any local friends who own motorcycles?

Possibly owing to some recessive dog-related gene (see: car windows must be rolled down so I can blast the sun and wind on my face at all times) I really like going for motorcycle rides. Sadly, my one friend who has a bike and would take me out often has moved to faraway lands. Without buying my own bike, how and where can I find opportunities to be asked to go for rides?
posted by hapax_legomenon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can rent one! (I just googled this, and have no idea if this is the best place to rent from.) There are also a bunch of local-ish clubs who might be able to help you out.
posted by rtha at 11:15 AM on September 6, 2010

I hope this isn't a sexist suggestion but guys who own bikes seem to like taking dates out for a spin and it says in your profile that you're a girl.
posted by XMLicious at 11:15 AM on September 6, 2010

Seconding XMLicious. You might try craigslist. I've seen postings from guys in the past who want to take a girl out for a ride. If riding with someone you don't know well, meet them for coffee first. You could also try going to places that advertise bike nights. I don't really recommend this. Drinking and driving don't mix. It's even worse on a motorcycle. Perhaps meet them and then set up a time later to go for a ride.

Please please be safe. You may or may not have had this talk already with your motorcycle friend but it's worth saying again. Always wear a helmet. If possible, wear a riding jacket as well. Discuss hand and tap signals so you can communicate. This could include sudden stop, hang on tighter, you need to get off, make a turn here etc. Don't ever try to help with turns by leaning. However, my boyfriend has commented it really helped him when I turn my head and put it over/behind the shoulder on the side he is turning. I ride too and it was a natural move.
posted by vilandra at 11:35 AM on September 6, 2010

Buy your own gear, so you aren't having to both ask for a ride and borrow gear. That means helmet (ideally full-face), jacket, gloves, and boots; ideally you'd get some protective pants, too. This doesn't need to be expensive -- you can buy a well-regarded helmet for under $100, for example, and there are plenty of places online to buy gear at budget prices (New Enough gets recommended often for a good reason).

Then, there are a million motorcycle-specific forums that have local meet-ups, get-togethers, and group rides (example; there are countless others, organized around specific brands, types of riding, geographical area, gender, etc). As mentioned above, riders skew male, which can make it easier for a woman to get offered rides. But also as mentioned above, don't combine your riding along with boozing. A lot of get-togethers happen at bars, and (stupidly) a lot of those people are careening home on two wheels when they should be walking or taking a taxi. Have fun at the bar, and go for the ride another day.

Lastly, don't totally rule out learning to ride yourself. Many places offer women-only beginner classes if that matters to you; perfectly fine used bikes can be found dirt cheap. And this way you aren't having to trust that the nice person you met is actually a safe and skilled rider.
posted by Forktine at 12:01 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not all bike nights happen at bars. My vintage motorcycle club (Time Warp VMC) meets at a coffee shop. Vintage clubs tend to have older guys on older bikes, making for more experienced riders with less desire to measure their dicks. It would be totally not-weird to hang out at the Tea Room on Tuesday nights and just get to know people. When you know a few, pick one to hit up for a ride.

And yeah, over-the-ankle boots, jeans, jacket, helmet, jacket and gloves should not be negotiable. And please wear a full-face helmet. Don't be lulled into complacency - the asphalt doesn't care if you're a rider or passenger.
posted by workerant at 12:22 PM on September 6, 2010

You might consider posting this to BARF, or at least taking a look at the forums there. At the very least it'll probably give you ideas for how to meet riders.

And what vilandra and Forktine said. Gear is important.
posted by asterix at 12:23 PM on September 6, 2010

OH god. Be very very wary of posting on BARF. There have been a couple of women looking to passenger and bragging about their passenger skills and specifying fast riders only. See this thread, specifically.
posted by mollymayhem at 12:35 PM on September 6, 2010

I probably should have said "look for meetups on BARF" rather than "post there".
posted by asterix at 1:04 PM on September 6, 2010

I would join a local bike forum and lurk around for a good while before posting up any ride requests. Even better to get to know the members in person and have some idea of their riding styles before hopping on the back of anyone's bike. All riders are not equal, and what you're proposing could be very, very dangerous with the wrong rider. There are plenty of newbs eager to show off their shiny new liter bikes, especially for a pretty girl, who might jump on your request.

And yes, buy your own gear. Buy a *new* helmet that has been sized and fitted properly for your head. It is extremely unlikely that a borrowed helmet will fit well enough to give you proper protection in the event of a crash. At a minimum you should also have an armored jacket, riding gloves, and boots that cover your ankles. If you don't have riding pants, heavy jeans. No shorts or yoga pants.

I also urge you, as a female motorcyclist myself, to learn to ride your own bike if you've been bitten by the bug! There's nothing like having 100 horsepower between your legs, at your beck and call. Ride safe and have fun!
posted by keep it under cover at 1:41 PM on September 6, 2010

This is a little out of the box, but have you considered taking an MSF course? They often supply you with a bike and knowing the basics of riding will make you a better passenger, as well as preparing you for a bike of your own (should you ever go that route). Also, it will be a place where you are more likely to meet riders who place a priority on safety.
posted by TedW at 2:34 PM on September 6, 2010

Why don't you want to buy a bike?

You can probably find a decent 250cc bike for less than what you will pay for a good set of gear.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:48 PM on September 6, 2010

Why don't you want to buy a bike? You can probably find a decent 250cc bike for less than what you will pay for a good set of gear.
posted by b1tr0t

Well, yeah, but then you have to buy the bike and the gear. Besides, riding really isn't for everyone. If all hapax-legomanon wants to do is ride pillion, nobody should pressure her to ride.
posted by workerant at 3:30 PM on September 6, 2010

I certainly don't want to prevent hapax_legomanon from riding. Just that you can have a hell of a lot of fun on a cheap bike. A Ducati or Harley is good for the ego, but you can have a lot of fun on a a $500 bike.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:49 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks, everybody, for the great advice/suggestions. (The thread on the barf board was especially enlightening, mollymayhem.)

As far as me owning/piloting my own bike goes, I did actually take a motorcycle safety course a LONG time ago and had my dad's small bike to mess around on. That was out in the middle of nowhere Kansas, though, and my riding took place mostly in pastures and on dirt roads. Now, I guess, it's more a matter of not wanting one more possession (I already have a car I plan to sell as soon as I don't need it for school) as well as I just plain like sitting on the back of a bike and watching the world go by without having the responsibility of not crashing it!
posted by hapax_legomenon at 7:18 AM on September 7, 2010

As a woman who rides, I wouldn't ride bitch with 80% of the people out there. I'll ride in a t-shirt, jeans and a half helmet, so I'm obviously not the most safety conscious rider out there, either.

You need to meet riders. Then you can sort the squids from the experienced, safe riders. I don't go to many bike nights myself, but that is one place to meet riders. There are probably local boards where rides are posted - you could hang out at the end points and meet folks there. Many HD and BWM dealerships have quasi-social events.

Are there any women's motorcycle organizations out there? Or even a WMC? Not all women riders are safe riders, but many of us are older and a bit more safety oriented.

I come out of the cruiser world, which may not be where you want to hang. But, if you hang around places where we congregate, are respectful and get to know folks, getting rides wouldn't be difficult. Folks love to show off their bikes.
posted by QIbHom at 12:26 PM on September 7, 2010

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