Joys and sorrows of owning a motorcycle

Motorcycle ownership should be all fun right? It’s what the spirit of motorcycling is all about. The cool wind in your face, the rush you feel in your belly when you rev the accelerator, the nods you get and give to fellow riders who otherwise may have nothing else in common with you. There are all aspects of motorcycling we love.

How many motorcycle riders have you heard say ‘I ride for pleasure’. You may think speed and adrenalin is the first reason but it’s not. Motorcycle gives the feeling that you belong outdoors. The wind, smells and sights are integral part of riding. As you not in closed doors, you smells things – fresh cut grass, damp soil, fresh bread, sometimes some unpleasant smells too. You see things better too compared to being in a car.

For me it’s a joy to get up every morning, see clear skies and know that today I will ride to work. There’s nothing worse than waking up to see rain and realise that today is not the day I’m riding. Those days are absolute worst for me – I do not feel like getting out of the house. Tim Huber said in his article ‘Riding can turn commuting from a necessary evil into the highlight of one's day.’

Owning a motorcycle also makes you understand mechanics. If you’re like me I like to fix things myself, that’s when I learn most. Cleaning the chain, changing the oil, installing new parts (that’s my favourite) are all small joys. But you may ask, what about major servicing and repairs?

Let’s now talk about the ‘sorrows’. The fun factor of motorcycles would amplify 10 folds if maintenance were not required. Maintenance as a word, only means maintain i.e. condition of the motorcycle does not improve than it was the day before, but it only been maintained. Paying large sums of money only to maintain an asset that sometimes depreciates more than you spent in the same year!

I remember until few months ago I used to own a Ducati Streetfighter. Great looking, sounding and performing motorcycle. I owned it for over 5 years. People used to look, congratulate me, acknowledge the beast she was. But every couple of years it asked for a major service. At 20,000 kms it asked for a super major service. Not only did I have to leave to work early, hop on to a bus to get to work, leave work early and get to the mechanic but also pay $2,400 as cost of maintenance. It was painful.

The joys a motorcycle brings to a rider are incomparable. The feeling cannot be measured, cannot be articulated. I wish there was a way to remove the sorrows – painful and inconvenient maintenance process. Perhaps an all inclusive option similar to cheap motorbike rental could bring some respite.

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