Three things I’ve learned from riding a motorcycle

I left New York in 2011 and bought my first motorcycle.

In the subsequent four years, I’ve ridden every day that I can, year round. I’ve ridden every bike that I can get my hands on (big thanks to my next-door neighbor Scoot Richmond for tolerating a year of test rides before buying a bike), and I’ve met some excellent people.

Mistakes have been made, and the unanticipated has happened in the blink of an eye — but, that’s part of learning.

Here are three things I’ve learned so far:

Number One: Get out of your bubble.

On the road, your car is a psychological barrier to the world around you, but on a bike you are in the world. Immersion in smells, sounds, and sights quickly breaks through one’s preoccupation with one’s own thoughts and worries.

Number Two: Find joy in the seemingly mundane.

On a bike, running out for lunch or heading to the grocery store can be the biggest adventure of the day, and your spirits are lifted. It’s made me mindful of the little moments in between the “things” that make up my life. Go ahead and park a half mile from your next meeting. That seven or eight minutes of walking will lift your mood.

Number Three: Use your fucking turn signal.

This is the most important thing that I’ve learned riding. A car that signals in traffic is ten times (95% of statistics are made up, but this one feels right) safer than one that doesn’t. Even if you’re alone on a two lane road, signal the turn because you simply do not know what or who is around you. When riding in traffic, I assume everyone will hit me all the time, so I stay out of blind spots and do all the things that I know to do to stay out of a car’s way, but sometimes you end up in the wrong place, and a car that signals gives you a split second advantage to get out of the way when they change lanes or make a quick left through traffic.

There you go. Three things I learned on my motorcycle, so you don’t have to ride one — although I highly recommend it.

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