7 Things I’ve Learned From Reading RideApart

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Meet Curtis. He’s a longtime reader of RideApart. He rides an ATV all day at work in Canada’s booming energy industry, and has a 2013 Street Triple R as his daily ride. Aside from his degree in English and the technical manuals he has written, he also lives and breathes all things motorcycle. So we’ve hired him as our new intern. – ED

The guys at RideApart pulled me in as a regular reader from their tangible enthusiasm for motorcycling, along with that that Bonneville video. These guys were crazy about riding good bikes, and wearing good gear that looked as good off the bike as on. Plus, they were closer to my age and I could relate to the way they felt about bikes. So long story short, I sent a tweet and now I’m an intern. Here are the top seven things I learned from reading RideApart before my apprenticeship began.

1. You can ride safely without looking like a Power Ranger.
When I started riding, I was most interested in bikes with character, low horsepower, air-cooled bikes with strong potential for brat, café, and tracker modifications. All of the people riding these bikes were sporting ¾ lids, denim vests and looked a bit like an urban lumberjack. I thought it was cool, and then I read, 10 Things I’ve Learned From 10 Crashes and started combing the gear reviews. There was so much out there that looked cool, but at the same time helped keep you safe. So, I’ve put down my Schott jacket and that well-worn pair of jeans and traded them in for ICON D 30 Armor and Kevlar lined denim. I’m also the proud owner of a made-to-measure Aerostich riding suit.

 

ICON Alliance
For $150, the ICON Alliance Dark is a lot of helmet.

 

2. Spend time researching the right helmet for your head. 

I spent a misguided first year of riding toggling between a Dirt helmet that fit a round oval head shape, a dual sport helmet that whistled like crazy and was a size too small, and a ¾ helmet that fit fine, but was a ¾ helmet. Those are never the right option for keeping your face in place. I’m now happily wearing an Arai RX-Q after spending time with other readers in the comments section of Ask RideApart: What Should I Look For In a Motorcycle Helmet?

3. Riding finesse matters.
Alertness, body position, throttle control, and brake control are all crucial to being a better, safer rider. Turns out, being a fast guy in the corners is much more rewarding than hitting WOT in each gear down the freeway. One of the best things I did was follow more skilled and experienced riders in technical riding scenarios. By mimicking their body position, I had better body and bike composure in turns.

 

triumph street triple r
The Triumph Street Triple R is excellent for all purposes.

 

4. I don’t need that 1000 cc sport bike.
I have to ride four hours to get anywhere with corners. Most of my riding is done on city streets or secondary highways. My Street Triple R can break every speed limit in Canada in first gear, and what I get as a compromise is a bike that I can ride pretty much everywhere with pavement or firm gravel.

5. Protect your bike, too.
Frame sliders, bar ends and bark busters did wonders for my confidence. They’re cheaper than a deductible and if you or your bike takes a spill, you can rest assured that your bike probably won’t be FUBAR when you pick it up.

6. Pretty much every motorcycle is cool.
This isn’t to say I necessarily want to own every kind of bike, but I think most sectors of motorcycling have an appeal. I’ve ridden 11 second Dynas with composite brakes, café racers, street trackers, dirt bikes and supermotos. There are few things that are more exciting than getting on a different bike, or spending a day swapping bikes with your friends.

 

XR400
Few bikes look like more fun to ride.

 

7. Learn in the dirt.
While techniques may vary slightly, one of the best ways to learn and improve riding skills is by getting off-road. My second year of riding, after many failed attempts to “fix” my CB750, I broke down and bought a Cruiser, and an XR400R. Take a wild guess which bike I had more fun on? Which bike I learned more on? Which bike I crashed, picked up and rode away with a grin instead of as a write-off? Which one do I still have? You guess.

So that’s a bit about me and the things from RA that made a difference in my riding. What did you learn here that helped you?

Related Links:
Learn: 11 Tips for Riding Off-Road
Learn: 10 Things You Need To Know About Motorcycle Body Position For Sport Riding
Safety: How To Ride a Motorcycle In The Rain

  • Guy

    Second page link down bros.

    • Dan

      Why the move to two-page articles anyway? Surely no one is bandwidth limited at this point. Are advertisers considering these two distinct ‘views’ rather than one?

      • runnermatt

        Try Hughesnet Satellite internet. 1Mbps speed AT BEST. There are still rural country roads that don’t have good internet or cell phone reception. There is cable internet 1 mile down the road from my house and the only reason it isn’t run down my section of road is because it would take probably 10 years for the cable company to recover the cost of putting in the line to the number of houses. The only real hope for people in my situation is to move somewhere else or wait for the government to pay the cable or phone company to put the line in.

        Oh and our current hughesnet plan cuts your bandwidth back after you download and upload a combined 250 Mb per day. Once the cut the speed it is almost pointless to try and load just the google search page, not to mention actually performing a search.

      • Chris McAlevy

        two pages means every article counts as two pageviews for advertising purposes.

      • 200 Fathoms

        Uh, yep.

    • jpan08

      Click the number 2 instead of the read more link

      • Guy

        8.) click the “2″ instead of the “Read More _ Page 2 >>” link.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      Thanks bro. fixed.

  • Jason 1199

    Go Canada!

  • Michael Howard

    “Read More — Page 2″ link points to “”things-i-learned-from-reading…”. Individual link to page 2 points to “things-learned-from-reading…”.

    • Guy Simmonds

      Which is why one link works and the other doesn’t…

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      doh! thank’s for the assist.

  • Blake Harrison

    XR400R is a sweet bike. I’d love one.

  • BryonCLewis

    8. All recommended gear costs half as much as a well sorted used SV650.

    I’m kidding….sort of.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      The gear I commute in is within twenty dollars of how much I paid for my 15 year old sportsbike. While it is true I got a heck of deal on the bike, good gear is worth the entry fee. I can replace that whole bike, I can’t replace that whole me.

      • Rob

        I see a guy on an expensive bike with cheap gear, I think n00b;

        expensive bike with expensive gear, Poseur;

        cheap bike with expensive gear, Rider!

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          what’s wrong with expensive bikes?

          • Aaron

            I think like most folks, I’ve bought the nicest bike ( or bikes ) I could afford, nothing wrong with that at all.

          • Kevin

            Envy. I’ve been twenty-something and hard up for cash; now I can afford to buy what I want. May all of you have the same good fortune.

          • Rob

            Umm.. I don’t know, but it’s usually something.
            And the part is on back-order.
            Actually, might make a good subject for a Ride Apart article, no?

        • artist_formally_known_as_cWj

          Cheap gear and cheap bike?

          • Rob

            Gotta start somewhere!

  • David
  • ThruTheDunes

    After reading the brief bio, I am a lilttle confused – his bio is in the present tense (works in Canada, Rides ATV all day, etc.), but he is also an intern. Is he in SoCal for the winter, and we will be hearing from him on the Canadian side during the summer? Is he still in Canada and interning digitally? Do you have a Canadian branch office? I am thrilled that you are expanding RideAparts’s perspective to include someone with connections to the Great White North, but I am trying to establish a geographic context in which to place his perspective, eh?

    • Curtis

      I’m in Canada full-time. Spending the winters in SoCal would be fantastic!

      • ThruTheDunes

        Thanks for clearing that up for me. Went to college with some hockey players from the eastern prairies, and boy, did they have some good American jokes! My high school was about 12 miles from the PQ border, and a lot of Quebecers came to school in our town because it was closer; pretty rural up there.

    • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

      The internet is a magical thing

  • zion

    Curtis, you allude to yourself and the staff being “young”. Remember this, though. No matter how old you get (myself being an example), you never stop learning and progressing when you ride. I may not be as fast in a corner anymore, but riding keeps me on a never ending learning curve. If a grizzled veteran tells you otherwise; that he’s done it all or knows it all—– he’s full of crap.

    Keep enjoying the ride…learn on.

    • Curtis

      Part of what makes riding so great is that there is always something to improve on. I’ve got tons and tons left to learn, and I’ll be glad to keep doing so!

  • darngooddesign

    What I’ve learned is that Ride Apart is now using lists like it wants to be Buzzfeed.

    • Mark D

      Listicle syndrome is spreading!!

  • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

    Striple and a xr400r? I can totally see the appeal there.

  • TP

    Welcome Curtis! I always like when they add new writing staff

  • Bones Over Metal

    Congrats Curtis, Great article and I look forward to some Canadian perspective and content, and maybe even open some of the contests to Canadians.
    Look forward to every new R.A. article.

  • Aaron

    nice work.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    8: California is the best place for motorcycle lovers in the US.

    • http://instagram.com/real_jason_ip Jason Ip

      so true

  • maxkohl

    Today I learned the author is the dude who took the intern position I have always wanted.

  • Bret Prins

    Hey Curtis, welcome to the team from a fellow Canadian (Edmonton). I feel your pain and the 4 hour drive into the mountains. Really sucks on a Naked. But still worth it.

    • trmpt

      Looks like we are all the same 4 hours away from the mountains…except I usually am out there in 3.5 from Edmonton! :)

      • Bret Prins

        Haha yah if you go to Jasper it’s an easy 3-3.5. Canmore/Banff is always a good 4hr slog :(

        • trmpt

          Well, you just have to take the more scenic route and go through Rocky Mountain House on to David Thompson. That is one of the best roads into the Rockies around. Then it’s only a couple hours and you are in perfect scenery with great corners!

  • Dan

    The more I see the new street triple, the more I like how it looks. Especially (mildly) tarted up the way Curtis’s is with the bellypan and flyscreen. Only thing that seems out of place is the gold color on the calipers, but that’s such a minor issue on an otherwise amazing bike.

  • drivin98

    #8 Writing posts that are essentially numbered lists of mostly useless information is easy and a lot less hassle than telling a story.

    • JP

      #9 People that complain about lists, still come back to read more lists. (directed at me)

  • SteveNextDoor

    I learned a new word: Hardley.

    • Piglet2010

      Or more properly, The Hardley-Abelson Motor Company.

  • Jono

    A sweet go-everywhere-do-everything road bike and a sweet go-everywhere-do-everything dirt bike. This guy’s got it sorted!

  • Josh M.

    Rockin’ article!