December 19, 2013 - San Diego, CA
Five New Year's Resolutions for Riders (That You'll Actually Keep)
New Year’s Day is finally here, and with it comes that old annual tradition – making New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never been a big believer in resolutions myself. I’ve always figured that if it’s important enough to do, I don’t need to wait for a January 1st to roll around in order to do it; and if its not, I probably won’t follow through with it anyway. Besides that, the most discouraging thing about New Year’s resolutions is, of course, that most people don’t follow through with them at all.
But we know we’re probably going to end up making them anyway, so we’ve been trying to think of constructive goals we can set that we riders can actually keep - by combining them with our passion for riding, something we already love doing. We know that when you actually enjoy the little steps you need to take to achieve a goal, it becomes so much easier to reach. So with that, here are five New Year’s resolutions we riders can actually keep this year – and enjoy doing it!
5) Plan a Major Motorcycle Road Trip
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to travel more, but flying places is expensive and often a big hassle. One of the best ways to enjoy the freedom a motorcycle gives you is to plan a true motorcycle road trip to a destination you’ve been meaning to visit. Riding somewhere is all about the journey itself, and the experience of getting there is often even better than the destination.
Since its winter and many of us are limiting our riding, take these cold months to plan an epic motorcycle trip when the weather becomes nice again. There are numerous resources available to help you plan a motorcycle-specific trip; you can check out the Destination Guides on our site, browse user-generated route planning guides like www.motorcycleroads.com or Pashnit.com's forum, or consider a motorcycle-specific map from www.butlermaps.com. The road is calling you!
If you have the budget however, nothing can beat a true motorcycle dream vacation. A number of companies arrange all-inclusive motorcycle adventures through exotic destinations; for example, MauiMoto Adventures offers an exciting trail ride through the mountains and tropical forest of beautiful Hawaii, and EagleRider provides touring bike rentals and guided tours through amazing destinations throughout the country and all over the world.
New Year’s Resolutions Covered: Travel More
4) Do a Track Day (or Take an Advanced Skills Course)
Motorcycles are incredibly capable machines, so it’s most often the case that the limiting factor in what they’re able to do is not in the bike, but in the rider. The way to overcome this is in enhancing your own riding skills; a true investment in your abilities that will make every ride safer and more enjoyable, and will help you get the most out of your machine.
Signing up for a track day is one of the best ways to see what you and your bike can really do. But while race tracks are usually only the domain of superbikes, there are actually a number of riding clinics that will allow you to put bikes of all styles aggressively through their paces, such as the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Advanced RiderCourse. Learning to ride faster and with more control should be priorities of every rider, and courses like this will teach you how to set up your suspension, corner aggressively, and develop exceptional control at both low and high speeds. Don’t be surprised if you see guys on Goldwings dragging floorboards through corners at these courses!
Advanced courses aren’t limited to the pavement either; if you’re a dirt or dual-sport rider, there are also courses available to enhance your off-road skills as well, like the training course put on by RawHyde Adventures or the PSS Off-Road Training Camp. The best thing about keeping this resolution? It'll continue to pay off for as long as you continue riding.
New Year’s Resolutions Covered: Learn New Skills
3) Clean Out Old Gear and Donate To New Riders
One of the best parts of being a rider is building our gear collection – we all do it, and it’s fun. But inevitably, as that gear collection grows, older stuff gives way to newer models that we just can’t resist. Before you know it, it’s been years since you’ve worn your old favorite helmet or a jacket that just doesn’t match a new bike you’ve purchased.
You could sell old stuff on eBay; but consider doing an act of charity toward another rider and donating it. Many motorcycle-related online forums have some kind of “goodwill” section where members can offer up unused gear to other riders, usually ones who are less experienced or just less fortunate. Let’s face it, we usually just get tired of gear long before it actually wears out, and donating it will give it new life to a fellow rider who will really appreciate it. Paying it forward – consider it an investment in karma. (And you can always use it as an excuse to buy new gear, too.)
New Year’s Resolutions Covered: Donate to Charity; Get More Organized
2) Learn How To Maintain Your Own Bike
Riding is an incredibly fun sport, but it can be alarmingly expensive as well. Most bikes are not primary vehicles, meaning we already have cars and pickups that require costly maintenance; learning to do basic maintenance and repairs on your own bike can help offset ownership costs tremendously. Depending on your bike and how often you ride, even something simple like changing your own oil can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Besides, there’s nothing like the feeling of satisfaction of taking care of your own bike your, knowing no corners were cut. Motorcycles are often much easier to wrench on than autos, and it usually only requires popping off a few fairings to get access to anything you need to work on. Grab an owner’s manual and flip through it, and you’ll be surprised how much you can probably take on by yourself. If you get stuck, there is a vast amount of information on the web in forums and discussion boards to help you out. Give it a shot this year; you’ll never go back!
New Year’s Resolutions Covered: Save Money; Learn New Skills
1) Give The Gift Of Riding To a Loved One
Lets face it – a lot of us ride to get away. Our engines drown out the noise of everyday life, and focusing all our attention on the changing scenery or on taking the next corner means there’s none left over to focus on the problems stressing us out. But the whole “getting away” thing is sometimes not the best thing for our relationships; spending precious weekend time out on the road with your bike leaves less time to spend with a spouse, a girlfriend/boyfriend, or our little ones, many of whom are fascinated by the fact that we ride.
So this year, consider sharing the hobby you love so much with a loved one. Send your wife to a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course; buy your girlfriend her own set of gear and plan a weekend ride; or send the little one who looks up to you to a beginner's dirt bike course like Motoventures Kid's Day Camp. You never know how much sharing the gift of riding might mean to the person you give it to. (And hey, if it doesn’t catch on, you can still enjoy riding solo - and just not feel as bad about it!)
New Year’s Resolutions Covered: Spend More Time With Loved Ones
Do you have a great New Year’s Resolution idea this year? Know of a great course or resource that can help other riders fulfill their own? Share it in the comments below!