Thursday, February 24, 2011
Who here owns a vehicle that gets upwards of 75 miles to the gallon?
A few days ago I took a basic rider course from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. (It's required, and free, for Army soldiers who wish to ride on post.) In Colorado, like many other states, completing the written and skills portion of this course waives your need to take a separate test at the Department of Motor Vehicles. I had never ridden a motorcycle in my life, and in just two days, I became now a licensed motorcyclist. Plus, if you're military, you're required to take one before you ride, and so Uncle Sam covers the bill.
I admit I was a little intimidated. I wasn't sure if I'd even like riding, and figured taking the course would be an easy, safe way to find out. Speaking of safe, a few people -- you know, including my Dad -- kept telling me that motorcycles are unnecessarily dangerous. That's Dad Stuff, of course, reminding your progeny not to do things like run with scissors or ride around on two wheels. But the reality is that riding, like flying an airplane, has a little to do with luck and a lot more to do with skill and situational awareness. If you can "Be A Lert!" to what's happening around you, riding really has a low probably of killing you. Much lower than tangling with that two-year-old colt your cousin just dumped in your pasture. As the saying goes, the world needs more lerts.
Truthfully I've always wanted to learn to ride. I passionately despise Harleys. I'm not fond of college kids on crotch rockets. But little, old-school models like you see pictured above intrigue me. It's like a bicycle, except you can take it on the highway. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized how perfectly practical it is. Like many of you, I have a day job that takes me off my homestead on a regular basis. My little truck still drinks in a whopping 17 mpg, and gas up here in the mountains is hovering near $3 a gallon. Any vehicle that can claim 50-75mpg, or more, deserves my attention for purely economic reasons.
And then there's the added bonus that it's a helluva good time.