Not long ago my day went something like this: wake up at 4:30am, get some exercise, walk the dog, get ready for work, kiss the wife and kids, drive 15-20 minutes to the bus stop, find parking, walk to the bus, get on the 60+ minute bus ride, walk 15 minutes to the office, work all day, do everything in reverse on the way home, dinner, bedtime, Netflix n' pass out on the couch, bed. Is your mind numb yet?
I worked it out that I was spending, at minimum, 1 1/2 hours commuting each way, to and from work, every day. WHAT A TIME SUCK! That much commuting meant less time with my family, less time surfing, less time being productive, less time doing the things that make me happy.
Overhearing a friend talk about how quickly he gets to work on his motorcycle, I knew what the answer was. Obviously, to get one, something I have wanted to do most of my life, but have been too terrified to do because I have lost two friends to motorcycle accidents. The fear of all the bad things that could happen flooded my mind, and so I spent the next month or so speaking with people who ride. Taking into account the stories, and adding up the plusses, the benefits clearly outweighed the cost, yes, wind blowing in my face at 80km/hr instead of sitting next to smelly people on public transit was one of those benefits!
From there I pursued getting my license. Luckily it is quite a process getting a motorcycle license in NSW, one that requires a two day, hands on course, and a written test, all of which helped set things up to ease my fears a little more. I took my course with Honda HART in St. Ives, they provide the bike and the gear ($96), check out their website here: http://hart.honda.com.au/New_South_Wales overall it was a great experience. Once you get your certificate you are then allowed to signup for and take the written test - I STRONGLY suggest taking the online practice test (multiple times) which can be found here: https://practicetest.rms.nsw.gov.au/pages/practice-tests?init=true and have a read through all of the sample questions, the margin for error is slim and you can't retake the test for 2 weeks, and pay more money ($47), so best to get it right the first time! Once you pass, you pay a fee ($25), you get your license.
This is when a normal person might explore buying a bike. I did this two weeks before my test. If you know me, you know there is only one bike for me, and that is Harley Davidson, of which they only have one option for LAMS (Leaner Approved Motorcycle Scheme) the Street 500, so that narrowed down the selection process. HD enthusiasts have an issue with the Street Series, another topic for another day. Anyway, very thankful that Harley Northern Beaches in Brookevale was kind enough to deliver the bike to my house, so she (yes she is a she) was waiting for me at home when I returned with my shiny new license. Luke, you are the man.
Prior to the big day, I also bought my kevlar lined jeans and jacket, gloves, and helmet. I bought my jackets from Merlin an English brand that makes some very stylish stuff. I went with one of very few skinny style kevlar lined jeans, REVIT Lombard 2 Jeans, pricy, but comfortable and safe - definitely a gap in the market for people to be served and money to be made..
So, I have my license, I have my gear, I have my bike. Day one, I will never forget the fear I felt climbing on my new bike to take it for her inaugural spin around the neighbourhood, it is a fear I vow to never let go of, because this fear will keep me safe and alive on the roads filled with mindless, zombie drivers. Seriously, wake up people, get off your phones and pay attention to what is going on on the road!
Over the next two weeks I slowly expanded my riding perimeter to longer distances and on streets with higher traffic patterns. I have now been riding the 40ish kilometres, to and from work, for the past 4 weeks. Let's just say the decision to trade in the long bus ride for a loud and windy ride is all I expected and more. I now get at least an hour back in my day to do things I enjoy, AND I actually enjoy my commute. Talk about transferring fear into freedom!