Gas prices have gone back down to reasonable levels, but in the back of everyone’s mind, there’s the fear that they may go back up to the $4.00-a-gallon range of 2008. It seems that this helped bring our economy to a screeching halt, and the thought of it happening again makes us a little more frugal. Hopefully, we’ve all become painfully aware of our dependence on foreign oil, because not only has this dependence come to shape our foreign policy, but its’ adverse effects on our environment have been well documented. If you think there’s some kind of debate about pollution or climate change, then you’re either naive, or you’ve been brainwashed by the propaganda put out by the big oil machine. I’m not here to preach on the evils of internal combustion, because I myself am a user, but it’s something to think about. Especially if you have kids.
Carpooling has been pretty well phased out in my area, but I think this is something we should reconsider. Consider the benefits of sharing a ride with a friend or neighbor. Not only could you save on gas, and reduce pollution, but we could also save on parking. We’d all benefit from less congestion on the roadways during rush hour, but more than that, I think as a society we could benefit from being a little more friendly with each other. With the internet, cable tv, and video games, we’ve all become a little more detached from the people around us. This might be what brings us together again, to discuss what’s on our minds, or current events, or the issues of our day. Who knows, you might even meet your next spouse.
But my favorite method of reducing my carbon footprint involves using two wheels instead of four. Motorcycling is a growing mode of transportation, and one that should be even more popular than it already is. Not only will we be saving on fuel by motorcycling, but parking and traffic problems will also be positively effected. In case you’ve never tried it, motorcycling is a blast. If you can remember the fun you had bicycling as a kid, imagine it being increased exponentially. The season isn’t as long as I would like it to be in my area, but there are plenty of opportunities to ride.
Many people point to the issue of safety when advised of the advantages of motorcycling, and it’s true they don’t offer the protection of an automobile, but with the proper equipment, and some experience, the risk diminishes rapidly. As more people become riders, the road gets a little safer for the others, because we get an understanding of riding, and even when we get back behind the wheel of a car, we are more aware of the riders around us. It’s a bit of a brotherhood, and we try to look out for one another.
Motorcycles come in different sizes and have different purposes, but a beginner might want to stick with something a little smaller, and less powerful, just because it will be easier to handle. With practice, the rider can move on to whatever bike they want, or just hang on to the one they’ve got. Scooters may be good place to start, since they are a little more manageable, but there’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment you feel from learning to control a motorcycle. There are training programs available, and they are well worth the low cost involved. Many programs will grant the participant a motorcycle license upon completion of the course, and this eliminates the need to go back and take the test at the DMV. When looking for a first motorcycle, you might want to consider a used model in good running condition, this way if you decide to upgrade, you won’t take such a big hit on depreciation. Just make sure you have good tires, lights, brakes, and a horn, because these features are more important than cosmetics, especially for the beginner. There’s plenty of information available, both online, and in print form, with various motorcycle magazines featuring bike and product reviews, along with riding tips, and other valuable bits of info. It pays to do a little research, and the skills you can pick up from reading can help you out on the road, which is where I hope to see you come springtime. If we all just use less gas, the price is bound to come down!