299 Club by D.M.

I start the day by throwing my leg over over my most prized possession. As it begins to heat up I can feel my heart beat faster and faster. The temperature is about 60 degrees but feels freezing with the wind chill. Luckily I am in full gear and the wind isn’t slicing right through me. As the tires start to warm I feel connected with the machine. I dip and dive into corners at incredible speeds. Underneath me I can feel the 600 cubic centimeter inline 4 rumbling. It is begging me to give it more.

As I approach Cherryvale, the real fun starts to begin. I hug my knees close to the tank and rip through the gears. I hit 100 in seemingly no time at all. As I lean into the suggested 35 mph turn area at about 70 mph. I feel as free as ever. I grab the clutch and downshift coming into the turn. As I hit the apex of the turn I am on full throttle, letting the small, yet powerful Japanese engine go to work. Climbing through the gears, I throw my body inches from the ground. My goal is to reach 299.

     As of recently I have been very into motorcycles. I think that they are fascinating machines that harness incredible amounts of power. The story above is something that I have not yet done but something that I wish to do in the future. While extremely fun, motorcycles can be death traps if they are used the wrong way, or even the right way. Unlike a car there is nothing to protect you when you crash. It is just you the bike and the road. Which I believe is part of the thrill of riding. It is truly addicting.

Motorcycle riding isn’t just a way of transportation, it’s a hobby, a way of life. People ride because they feel alive while doing. The near death experiences make them appreciate life even more. According to Jesse Kiser of rideapart.com his close calls when riding have pushed him to become an even better rider and put his skills to the test. Unlike driving a car, a motorcycle requires you to be completely focused on every aspect of the road. Dirt and potholes on the road become obstacles for a motorcycle. Small animals pose great dangers. Almost any obstruction on the road poses a great hazard for a motorcyclist. These hazards cause you to become one with your bike. Your bike is an extension of your body. You are the machine. For some people this is scary. But motorcycles should not be feared. The danger on them is very present but fear is an illusion.

Despite the bad rap that motorcycles have they are not inherently dangerous. Yes, of course, riding motorcycles poses more risk than riding in a car. However the likelihood of getting in a collision on a motorcycle is much smaller than that of getting in one in a car. Motorcycles are smaller and more maneuverable than their counterparts. According to reference.com the average car weighs around 4,100 pounds while the average motorcycle weighs around 600 pounds. This goes to show that motorcycles can fit in areas that cars can’t. When stuck in a tough situation motorcycles can power out of the situation and have multiple escape routes.

Blind spots. There are none on a motorcycle. You can see the entire road. People in cars call motorcyclist dangerous, however, in cars you can’t see everything. There are blind spots. I interviewed one of my lifelong friends that has been riding motorcycles for a long time. “Despite not being protected by a metal shell on a motorcycle, I feel safer on one. I can see the entire road.” He also mentioned that “Motorcycles aren’t to be feared. They are powerful machines that harness a lot of fun in the engine. When I get on the road I don’t ride scared, I ride like my life depends on it.” And that is what you have to do on a motorcycle. You have to ride differently than the way you do when you are in a car. The surroundings of a car can protect but they also cause blind spots that simply aren’t there when operating a motorcycle. The chances of getting in an accident in a car are much larger than getting in an accident on a motorcycle.

Despite the smaller chance of getting in an accident, if a motorcyclist is involved in an accident it has a very high potential of being fatal. Don’t be confused however, this does not mean one should fear riding it should only make them realize that there are dangers when on a bike. Because they are so light compared to cars, when a motorcycle is involved in a crash it is thrashed around quite a bit. When this happens the rider can be thrown off their bike with nothing to protect them except their gear. Gear is one of the most important parts of riding. A helmet, jacket, gloves, and other various protective equipment can turn a fatal accident into one with minimal injury. When ridden properly and with all the necessary gear the danger of motorcycles decreases ten fold.

Later in my life I upgrade. I realize there is more to motorcycles than what I have had in the past. 600 isn’t enough to satisfy the soul. Something lighter, faster, and more powerful is in need. I need a liter. My joy for riding is through the roof. I have new gear, I have taught myself the safety of riding. Tough and dangerous situations have confronted me but I haven’t ridden scared. I know my capabilities and I am ready for the liter. The dealership is near my apartment in San Diego. I have a friend drive me to the BMW shop. There it is. The top of the game. The s1000rr. Weighing in at 489 lbs and 189 horsepower under the seat, this bike is an animal. As I scope the bike it shines in the window. The metallic black curves and the red accents go together like bread and butter. Realizing I can’t wait any longer I ask for a test ride. They get me set up with the keys and I throw on my gear. I am lead outside with the bike and they open the doors to the open California road. I start the engine. It screams. I pull out onto the street and waste no time. Approaching redline at almost every shift I realize the true power a liter bike has. I roll down the coastal highway at incredible speeds. As I weave in and out of traffic I spot wide open highway up ahead. Now on a bike that can hit 299 I have to take my chance. I drop a gear and clench the throttle. I have never experienced something so powerful yet smooth in my life. I climb up past 150 with plenty of bike left to go I push even harder. I am now fully crouched behind the tinted windscreen. 200. I just reach fifth gear and I am still chugging. 250. I can’t stop. 280. Nope not yet. I see the speedometer slowly count up from 290. It’s going to happen I’m going to hit 299. My dream is becoming a reality. I lean in closer for the final push. 299 km/h. I have joined the club and have only touched the true limits of the incredibly, addicting, and soul satisfying capabilities of what motorcycles can do.

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