On friday I got a call from Danish morning TV, (TV2, Go Morgen Danmark), that apparently had seen Helmet Hair Motorcycle Blog, and wanted me to explain a bit about motorcycles the following monday (March 5, 2012). I told them there is probably just as many opinions on motorcycles as there are riders. What I could say wouldn’t be a divine answer, but my personal opinion. They where fine with that, and we put together a list of motorcycles that they would bring in. I had an idea that I wanted to keep the selection to bikes costing less than 200.000 danish kr. (that’s around $35.000. Yes, motorcycles in Denmark are insanely expensive because of taxes, but that’s a different story.) We got a Yamaha XJ 600 Diversion, Honda CBR 600RR, Ducati Monster 696, and a Harley Davidson Sportster Seventy-Two. All very good motorcycles that each has their own characteristics.
Here’s a link to the video from the program http://go.tv2.dk/morgentv/id-48659498.html. It’s all in Danish, so it’s probably gibberish for most of you.
What you see in the end is the host asking if I will start my bike, the 73 shovelhead, and of course the old boat was so cold that it wouldn’t start. I rode it in the same morning. But close to two hours in around 0 degrees was enough to make it quit all together. I got it started later with some extra power, but of course not while the camera was rolling. That’s more or less bound to happen on live TV right, so what the hell.
During the interview, I recommend beginners to take extra driving courses also known as track days. I think that’s the best advice I ever got, and it’s the sole advice I always give to anyone who ask. There are many safety issues to consider when riding a motorcycle. How much you concern your self with safety will always be a personal matter and what the rules dictate in your area. It’s doesn’t take a doctors degree to figure out that there are safer ways of transportation. So in my opinion you should take the precautions you feel comfortable with. But no matter what it can never hurt to get more skilled in handling your vehicle.
I’ve had a few track days over the years, and it has always been great fun. There are many providers to choose from, but as a beginner you should consider a few things. Make sure they have a riding classification for beginners. This usually involves a driving master riding in front at all time, and absolutely no overtaking allowed unless signaled by the driving master. You also need to check with your insurance provider if that particular track day is covered by your insurance, and what the rules are. Typically the insurance covers riding on street legal bikes in the beginner classification. If in doubt, ask the track day provider what they recommend.
One of my favorite track day providers in Denmark are Racing4fun.dk. Not saying the others are no good, but these guys I’ve had personal experience with, and it has always been very well organized and great fun.
Ride safe, enjoy, and have a great season.