51 Lessons at 51: Happy birthday Willy!

It seems like only yesterday I was zipping through the trails on a Honda Z50.  Oh wait, it was yesterday…

Turning 50 did very little to diminish my zest for life — so today, on my 51st birthday, I thought I’d share a little of the wisdom I’ve collected in my 40-plus years riding a motorcycle.

51 things I learned while riding a motorcycle: 

1. Always leave your passenger foot pegs in the down position. That way your spouse won’t notice they are suddenly now down and start asking questions.

2. Always wear a bandana around your neck. It can be used for many purposes.

3. If you think you want the black bike, buy the black bike.

Of course you want the black bike.

4. Never let your friend ride your motorcycle unless you’ve actually seen him or her ride a motorcycle. Recently.

5. Don’t leave loose aluminum beverage cans in the same saddlebag as your jacket.

6. The police have a helicopter now.

There’s a bear in the air!

7. Get on the bike, take it off the stand, start it up — then let the passenger get on.

8. Rain-X your glasses and visor and windshield. They make a version for plastic. Amazing stuff.

9. Always wear gloves, and have a spare pair in case it rains.

You don’t want this. Really, you don’t.

10. Don’t order the daily special. Restaurants often pre-make the special and it sits there all day in a warming tray collecting bacteria.

11. If the mosquitoes are bad at the bush party the deer will be loitering on the road for your ride home. They don’t like mosquitoes either.

12. If someone else wants to lead the way — let them.

13. Check your tire pressure daily.

14. Check your oil daily.

15. Don’t overfill your oil.

16. Check your belt or chain daily.

17. If you aren’t sure you want the red bike, don’t buy the red bike.

18. Wear a full-face helmet.

19. Costco stretchy-jeans shred like Kleenex in a crash.

20. If you have room, bring an extra jacket.

21. Carry your phone in your jacket pocket. Otherwise, if you crash on a deserted road and can’t make it back to the bike where your phone is, how are you going to call for help?

22. When your rear tire is almost ready for replacement, peel out here and there. It is good practice.

Honestly, it’s good practice.

23. Never touch your front brake in a parking lot. Ever.

24. Pump your own gas.

25. Keep your licence and registration in your jacket or vest pocket. When you get pulled over by the police it will be handy, and the less time you spend being pulled over, the better.

26. When you are pulled over by the police, stay on your bike with your hands on the grips and keep your helmet on.

27. Ask the police for help when they pull you over. They are way too busy to help you and will likely tell you to get lost.

No really – they’re here to help you.

28. Turn down your music at stop-lights and in parking lots. Not everyone enjoys Carly Rae Jepsen as much as you do.

29. Use the bathroom at a roadside restaurant before you order food. If the bathroom is disgusting, the kitchen probably is too. Remember Rule #10.

30. Loud pipes may not save lives. But they also never killed anyone.

31. Don’t try and miss a deer. Aim right at the rib cage. It will be gone when you get there.

Remember – right for the rib cage.

32. If there’s dew on your seat, there’s dew on the street.

33. Upgrade your headlight and add fog lights.

34. Don’t follow too closely behind your buddy on that trike, those things spray the road with dust and gravel.

35. Leave your saddlebags open to air out when the bike is parked in the garage.

36. Always back into a parking spot.

37. Don’t wave at scooter riders. They aren’t used to it and nearly crash trying to wave back.

Go on – wave. You know you want to.

38. If someone says your bike is nice always say thank-you. Then be prepared for them to tell you all about their uncle who had a motorcycle but is dead now.

39. Riding a snowmobile improves your motorcycle riding skills. Buy one.

40. Riding a dirt bike improves your street motorcycle riding skills. Buy one.

41. If you can take your shoes or boots off without untying them, they will fall off when you crash.

42. Avoid the Toyota Prius at all costs.

43. Ride as if your days are numbered. Because they are.

Costa always rides as if his days are numbered.

44. Stay hydrated.

45. Sometimes it’s nice to ride alone.

46. You are invisible to other motorists.

47. Never listen to Billy Idol while riding. He’s cursed.

48. Never sell a mini bike.

49. Always have a spare pair of glasses.

50. Order the clubhouse and fries. They make that many times per day and it is made to order. Hold the mayo. Remember Rule # 10.

51. Have your gloves, glasses, jacket, helmet etc. ready to go at all times. Making your friends wait while you dig through your bags when departing a pit stop is lame.

Willy’s garage. You can never have too many motorcycles. Happy birthday, Willy!

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