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Old 29 Apr 2006
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Location: London, England
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Unhappy Other people being strongly against you riding a motorcycle

I'd like to hear people's experience of meeting resistance to, or having difficulty in convincing friends/partners/others of why motorcycling is such a great idea. Safety seems to be the first concern that is brought up.

My situation: I have been considering for some time to take my motorcycle licence. Later I'd like to buy a BMW F650 GS. I live in West London and I would occasionaly do a short commute as well within central London. I also dream of doing longer trips through various countries later on when I feel more safe in the saddle. I'm 28 years old.

As my girlfriend (5 years going) is now realising that I'm serious about riding a bike, she is not at all happy about it. She says she will be worried sick each time I'm out and has even said she is no longer that happy getting that mortgage with me. I have heard the word "inconsiderate" and "deathwish" a lot.

So I guess I'm turning to you all for some reassuring words...
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Old 29 Apr 2006
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If you want to stay with your girlfriend.... Get her to do her CBT, it doesn't cost a lot and an instructor will show her the practicalities of motorcycling. There's a womens bike school in Fulham (can't remember the name right now). She'll hopefully see that we don't ride with a deathwish, just the opposite. Avoid quoting 'saftey' statistics, they're a a bit pointless.

My honest opinion though is to get on and do it, get your bike. See what happens with her. As to the mortgage, it's a bit underhand to use that to stop you getting a bike. Life's too short to let someone else's fear (let alone your own) keep you wrapped in cotton wool.

enjoy your new freedom....
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Old 29 Apr 2006
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Use the mortgage money for a new bike .

Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light. - Spike Milligan
"When you come to a fork in the road ,take it ! When you come to a spoon in the road ,take that also ."
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Old 29 Apr 2006
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I too am 28, I've been riding on a full licence for about 8 months, I have ridden 125s on and off for about 10 years and now ride a ktm 620.

I think that to convince people you will need to educate them, discuss what you learn about safety with them as you go along, there are many ways to improve your riding skills, it will be a steep learning curve but it's one that's very addictive, get a good sound bike and keep it well maintained, GET GOOD TUITION and ride like your taught to, you can also take advanced riding lessons, a good set of protective clothing, this should go a long way in convince people how seriously your taking it.

Learning to ride in London I imagine will be interesting I'm sure, if you drive a car you will have a large advantage as you will already know what the driving enviroment is like, you will only need to learn to ride the bike competently and seeing as you like the f650 I can only assume that you are very sensible so you should have no problem
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Old 29 Apr 2006
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Unhappy wrong order...

Best is to have the bike before you get engaged. No questions asked. Bike just comes as part of the package.

I think the fear will ware off quickly, but I can imagine that going foreward brings some acute stress in the relationship. And the situation being what it is, I can imagine that your GF is not real kean to do a few familiarisation outings.

I guess its your choice. I'm sure that, if you can make a motorcycle part of your daily life, all will be back to normal in a few weeks time.
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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As DougieB said get her to do HER test too(at least the CBT) then she can make up her own mind about whether her perception of the danger is real or not.Spouting on about safety stats is pretty hopeless as if she's got this "danger" sign hanging over the thought of bikes then really the only person who can remove said sign is her.One way maybe to start the ball rolling is to take her along to a bike dealer's showroom and show her the type of bike you like;ie not the latest road rocket.If she thinks that you're not going to turn into one of the head down,bum in the air at 180mph brigade then she might be a bit more open minded.
If all else fails,say ta-ta and go explore the world.You only live once and it's better to regret something you have done than something you havn't done.
Just going for a short ride on my bike....
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Owen2dogs and dougieb both make excellent points - not that the others don't

Primarily it's all about training - motorcycles CAN be very safe, but they can also be very dangerous - and it's ALL down to the rider - you have to learn to AVOID the accident that in a car is just a fender bender - and "his" fault - doesn't matter who's fault it is on a bike - YOU lose - AND it's ALWAYS partly your fault AT LEAST - because YOU have to lean to watch and pay attention much more than in a car - and AVOID the situation in the first place. ALL accidents are avoidable.

A good motorcycle rider is a VERY safe car driver. I wish everyone had to learn on a bike before getting their car licence, the roads would be much safer.

And of course riding gear is critical too - proper equipment reduces the risk of injury enormously - and adds to comfort too! Quality gear costs - don't cheap out on the gear, budget into the purchase - and if you want her to go with you, budget her gear in too. But get some miles before you take her out, she deserves to ride with someone with some experience.

Bring your girl friend to the HU Meeting in June - it will be a huge eye-opener for both of you. She'll get to meet normal everyday people who ride, find out why they ride, and you'll get inspired big time. See you there!
Grant Johnson

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Old 30 Apr 2006
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To be or not to be

I'm not sure trying to convince someone to ride a motorcycle if they are not interested. There are few happy endings when someone is pushed to do something. Take her to a HU meeting, yes, let her meet the freaks and she may have a change of heart.

You are just about to get married and buy a house and now you are talking about riding off on a motorcycle. ) What reaction were you expecting.

Look on the bright side you are only 28 and not married- yet. You need to decide what you want.

The safe motorcycle argument will never work and is really wrongheaded. It is dangerous. And that is why I ride will ever piece of safety gear. I feel safer, but I will never be safe riding a motorcycle. Search the blogs and you will find death and injuries strike like lightning.

If you still want go you are need to have loong talk with your partner. At least you don't have a mother who is crying that she may never see you again.
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Toby, once you get a bike you enter a whole new world. tell your girlfriend you are going to try it and see how it goes. you will eaither love it or hate it. then if u enjoy riding ( i know i do, i love my bike) well you will need to talk about things more. After a trail period, she might get used to you riding and realise you are now out there to break any land speed records and if lucky she might wasnt to ride with you.

i had huge problems when i first started riding 5 yrs ago (i was 19). my mum didn't speak to me for 3months just because i got a helmet and jacket. i didn't tell her when i got a bike. she didn't want anything to do with it. so i told my step dad everything, insurance, what type of bike etc. i had to keep my bike at my boyfriends house.

i can understand where mum is coming from, my dad is in a wheelchair from a bike accident. If he could, he said he would still ride, he loves my bike. No, ALL accidents can't be avoided. You can only try your best to avoid them. he was stopped ready to turn into work (full leathers etc) and a lady, asleep at the wheel ran into him. he was in a coma for 9 months. and she didn't even call to say sorry. how rude.

after a few years i broke up with my boyfriend and out ot the blue one night mum asked me about my bike... colour,type etc. and said i could bring it home. it's taken her 5 yrs to get used to me riding, she still worries everytime i go out, she would love me to get rid of it. but she sees how much i love it and realises i with out it i wouldn't enjoy life. i know it's a big call, but hate it when i can't ride, it's a huge part of my life and i will ride till the day the man above decides i ride no more.

like what JonStobbs said - "You only live once and it's better to regret something you have done than something you havn't done." i second that, thats my motto!

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Old 30 Apr 2006
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I was in a similar situation to you. Loved bikes, had a girlfriend who became my wife, who was terrified that I would be killed/maimed/whatever. I tried to persuade her it was safe and she boldly agreed to come on a two-week tour of Germany. We were having great fun, waving at other bikers, then came across the body of someone we had waved to only minutes before.

Not surprisingly she became even more concerned about biking, and even underwent counselling in an attempt to rationalise her fears. Ultimately, my only real choice was to give up biking, a state of affairs that lasted for 28 long years. I'm now riding again but I'm much older and thanks to the IAM I'm a much safer rider. Bikes are safer nowadays, but poor driving skills and road furniture made the roads more dangerous.

My advice, especially as you're in London, would be to get a low powered scooter and hone your skills for a couple of years. Balance and anticipation are key in biking and London would be great place to learn. Sign up to your local IAM group. Then see if you can wean her over to the idea of a larger bike.

Ultimately if she is still really worried about you it's a choice. If she's the one for you, you'll have to forget about biking.

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Old 30 Apr 2006
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bikes and partners

great points above, there was a saying when I got my first bike good riders are trained not born.Which as a bit of truth in it. do your cbt then advanced and off road course may show your partner your serious about safety.
you want to do a longer trip does she know about this?
A good point reguarding statistics if you took up horse riding would that be ok horse riding I think your find is more dangerous.
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Hi Toby,
What a fantastic response in such a short time.

IMHO everything said here is true in one way or another.

Grant has given some very valuable advice, it doesn't matter whose fault it was, you still hurt the most.

Are you mature enough in your attitude to other road users is what you have to ask yourself.

I had a KH250 many years ago (25 years in fact), I crashed it three times. Chances are if it had been a more powerful machine I'd be dead.

I don't have a bike now, I drive a Discovery, slowly, because that's all they do, go slowly. I also drive like Grant suggests, carefully. I've had lots of near misses through other people's fault, but at least they've been misses.

When we bought the Discovery in 2002 my wife wouldn't even go near an English greenlane in it with me. I should add that she doesn't drive. This December we (the whole family) are off for our third visit to the sand dunes of the Tunisian Sahara. And we all love it.
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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In fact, the chance of getting into an axident is far less with a motorcycle than with a car, I guess because riders often get their car license first and only get their motorcycle licence when they are a bit older, more experienced and wiser, and ride much like grant says. But whenyou do get into an axicent, the chances of fatality is about 3000 times higher.

I guess what it comes down to is your difference in opinion when it comes to acceptble risk. Besides old age, traffic is one of the greatest killers out there, but still only remotely so in comparison to all the natural causes. In fact, less tham 2.5% of us will get killed in an automotive acciden't, and that includes all the pedestrians, passengersm bicyclists, car drivers, motorcyclists, motor suicides, etc., amd controary to what sceptics want to believe, they don't all happen to young people, some get killed in their 90's. You may very well live to an old age and still beome appart of the statistics, all motor vehile fatalities don't happen at a young age. In other words, relatve to all the other causes of death, getting killed on a motorcycle is slim.

Causes of death:
37.8% of us will die of heart disease
19.3% of cancer
10.3% of stroke
3.0% of non auto related accidents
2.9% of influenza
2.4% of motor vehicle accidents
1.9% of diabetes
1.7% of liver disease
1.5% of Arteriosclerosis
1.4% of sucide

Please read my other omment on danger: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-courage-21095

The way for you to deal with this should be: 1) to eduate those that oppose. 2) to stand your ground and do it regardless, and hope that time and first hand experience will win them over. 3) to stick to your guns and keep doing it regardless if you win them over or not, if this is a very important aspect of your life (you should not need to justify riding a motorcycle, it is a right!).

As for the mortgage, take out a life insurance policy.
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Thankyou for all the great replies, it's good to hear this when surrounded by negative comments. I will of course go ahead and take my license (I do not think ultimatums should be part of any healthy relationship). Am planning to do the 4 day intensive course at BMW in South Wales, which is on the f650 and am very much looking forward to it.

Thanks again for all the great comments posted here, they have lifted my spirits and are much appreciated!
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Old 30 Apr 2006
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Congratulations Toby

Brilliant stuff,go for it.One of the few freedoms left in this grey eurogrot life is ahead of you.The best thing I did was get my first bike at 26 and I never tire of it.Like every aspect of life you meet all sorts but the common thread is freedom(unless you end up in a club!)and that comes with any size or make(I'm talking about bikes here...).Try to keep your options open when weighing up your choices and test ride as many as you can.Honestly,no-one can tell you which bike is best for you - rather like women your riding style etc.will suit some differently to others.
If your intended doesn't like your need for independance maybe there are other issues to address........
One day you and you only will be sat on a cloud looking down on this world thinking
a)I lived that life or,
b)I could have.....
Stay happy whatever the outcome,
Good Luck
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