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Dear Editor
Ellensburg Daily Record

I have been a serious motorcyclist nearly all my life, buying my first small motorcycle in 1962. My wife and I have logged 300,000 motorcycle touring and camping miles, including nearly every signature scenic ride on this continent -- and some in Europe. The motorcycle has brought us great joy and a quality of life we could not have afforded by any other means. We work at safety, and in all this time we’ve suffered just one serious accident, when a Michigan whitetail deer suddenly popped into our path....sending both of us to the hospital for five days. Even then, we were riding cautiously, and well under the speed limit. This sensible rate of speed and the quality safety apparel we were wearing probably saved our lives.

Recently there has been a spate of single rider fatalities in our local newspapers. Experienced riders know the scenario well: an aging boomer, hearing the footsteps of his own mortality, cashes in some hard-earned, nest egg funds and goes out and buys a shiny new, impossibly large, American-made motorcycle, and promptly loses control and runs it into a barrier wall, experiencing the reality of his mortality sooner than he expected. Nothing wrong with becoming a re-entry rider, or starting late – but not on an 900 pound bike with more power than you can handle. If you are going to ride, please start small, on a 250cc-500cc learner bike, and avail yourself of some of the excellent motorcycle instruction classes now offered nearly everywhere. Get a season's experience under your wheels, and then go out and purchase that chrome-plated dream. There is no shame in a gradual entry or re-entry into this wonderful sport and lifestyle. Ride smart; ride safe; ride far......

Thanks for listening,

(Cousin Jack)
 

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It aint rocket science
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The Editor is not in, would you like his voice mail?

I for one hear ya.

JD
 

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Just one mistake on the letter imho :),, you should have stated instead of 250cc to 500cc learner bike ,it should have been LOW POWER BIKES , A cbr 250 can do over 100mph and accellerate faster than most harleys and wings .. here in Ireland we base the learner permit on kilowatt power ,that is horspower divided by weight and it works out much better ,,much safer .
 

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Junior Grue
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Like you Mel I started small, 100cc, 40+ years ago.

Unlike what you're seeing I'm seeing young people buying the fastest bike they can find then being immortal riding it to it's limits, some live to tell about it some don't.:sadguy:
 

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1993 gl1500, 1976 gl1000
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Nobody home, Mel. Good advice if they just would take it. Lots of those same Mid-life crisis folks get a bike just so they can say "look at me! I ride a shiny new American made motorcycle and I don't need no stinking helmet". No way they are going to get a learner bike. Just not cool.
 

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Good stuff, sadly the only ones who will read this are......seasoned experienced riders.
I see the exact person you described too often. WITH a passenger!
Feeble, frantic turns, over steer, under steer, reminds me of ME when my first real street bike (kz400) was learning the ropes after a couple of summers on 100cc dirt bikes.
Old fat guys on crotch rockets, in full and matching attgatt are just as bad.
+1 to the OP
 

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I actually met a smart late starter, 50 ish. This was his second summer of riding. He started last year with a 250 Virago and liked it so he moved up to a older 550 (I think) Virago.

I talked to him for quite a while sitting in our local parking lot on the weekend. There are usually 100 to 150 bikes here at any time. It is a meeting place before or after a ride.

He had lots of questions about my Wing and any other bike he saw. Later I saw him talking to others. What I saw was others giving him advice no matter what they were riding.

I asked him what bike he was looking to buy for a keeper. He replied that he was not sure but was leaning toward a tourer. He said a ST 1300 would be nice.

Refreshing to see someone with their head screwed on right.


.
 

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A year and a half ago, when selling my first Wing, I had a tip on a guy who was looking for one. I called him to see if he was interested. While talking, he told me this would be his first bike. Along with telling him basically what you just said, I told him I wouldn't sell him my bike.
If I had, and he died, I couldn't accept that.
 

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Gregarious Greeter
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Wisdom comes with age.

If only we could get it to people sooner.
 

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Good advise and great topic... My story...After a many year layoff I started riding again on a 750 For a few years ....then bought
a Goldwing and quickly realised I should take an advanced rider course tailored to the wing ... Best thing I've ever done for improving my riding skill ,convidence and safety with riding that 900 lb beauty
 

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Not sure how to respond to this one as it really hits home for me...while I agree with the overall advice I guess there are always "exceptions" so maybe I am one of those. Over 50,000 safe miles (1 up, 2 up and with a trailer) since I bought my first bike (GL1800) just over 2 years ago. I'm not saying that it should be done, just that it can be done. So, what does thatmake me?

http://www.goldwingfacts.com/forums/forum4/112883.html

http://www.goldwingfacts.com/forums/forum3/133316.html
 

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One of a kind ?


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Mandating the 2 day safety course to obtain a MC endorsement some years back was one of the few constuctive things our legislators have ever done. Still see too many Florida riders in tank tops and flip flops. One " unplanned dismount " and they will understand why proper riding attire is important.
 

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Buy the biggest fastest bike your pocketbook will allow and ride it like you stole it, is my advice!!!!

Dubs
 

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Halfling wrote:
Not sure how to respond to this one as it really hits home for me...while I agree with the overall advice I guess there are always "exceptions" so maybe I am one of those. Over 50,000 safe miles (1 up, 2 up and with a trailer) since I bought my first bike (GL1800) just over 2 years ago. I'm not saying that it should be done, just that it can be done. So, what does thatmake me?

http://www.goldwingfacts.com/forums/forum4/112883.html

http://www.goldwingfacts.com/forums/forum3/133316.html
At first lucky..... then with experience, a motorcyclist. You could still benefit from an advanced riders course.
 

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Thank you Cousin Jack for this thread. We all have friends that look at this as something they have all dreamed about and we should be responsible and help them with this bit of caution.

Years ago, Washington state had an above 500cc or below 500cc endorsement.... or was that South Dakota. Hell I can't remember, but an above 500cc could ride a smaller bike but not vice versa. (I have had my endorsement 25 years here in Washington but moved here with a SD endorsement.)

I have seen ads on Craigslist where big bike riders are looking for a scooter to take the test on because they couldn't pass it with the big bike. The cones are only 10 points total.....it is the low speed maneuvers that "disqualify them."

Personally, I always liked the 750cc size bike. Big enough to do the job, but not so heavy to keep upright. My last bike is already in my stable.... my 600cc Silverwing. When the Goldwing gets too heavy to handle, I will just sell it and be happy to continue riding my Silverwing Maxi Scooter with the step through comfort.


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You are correct Larry, WA once did have a tiered motorcycle endorsement system. I passed it on my KZ650, but failed the first time on the 180 degree turn, (had to put a foot down, took it too slow). Went to the parking lot and practiced, then made it fine the second time through. It wouldn't be a bad system again, I feel.
 

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Halfling wrote:
So, what does thatmake me?
Now, a good rider. Then, a very careful rider. You did well to learn what you learned on a bike that big.
 

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Halfling wrote:
Not sure how to respond to this one as it really hits home for me...while I agree with the overall advice I guess there are always "exceptions" so maybe I am one of those. Over 50,000 safe miles (1 up, 2 up and with a trailer) since I bought my first bike (GL1800) just over 2 years ago. I'm not saying that it should be done, just that it can be done. So, what does thatmake me?

http://www.goldwingfacts.com/forums/forum4/112883.html

http://www.goldwingfacts.com/forums/forum3/133316.html
This hits home for me as well. My wife and I decided to liquidate some toys we were not using for bikes that we could use in touring. She bought a '95 Virago 1100 and I got the SEi. When we made this decision in Jan of this year neither of us had an endorsement and she had never ridden a bike at all. It was likely 20 years ago I road a bikeand the engine size was likely less than 250 cc. In fact we had to get the seller of the Virago to ride to our home because we were not licensed or trained at that point.



We both took a MC class in February. And I decided if we were going to travel (tour) then I would get something that fit that need. I am not a fan of loud so air cooled V twins was not something Ieven looked at. When I bought my SEi 75 days ago, I had about 500 practice miles on my wife's 1100 and the MC class training on a 250. I flew to Michigan and picked up my new to me 26 year old touring bike. Then rode back to AZ about 2000 miles in 2 and a half days.



I like the larger bike. I am sure it can go fast and that's not the pointfor me. A big bike has the comforts I wanted totour. Radios, fat seat, air suspension, lots of storage, this one has foam grips, big screen and a trip computer.



If there was a requirment to tier up in displacement I would have done it. And I am glad I did not have to. I did buy a non-running Honda Nighhawk 450 back in April. It got too hot for me to finish putting it togetherthis summer. I will have ittogether later this year and sell it next spring when peeps are getting excited to ride.



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