8 Reasons Why Motorcycles Are The Best Drug

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8 Reasons Why Motorcycles Make The Best Drug

8 Reasons Why Motorcycles Make The Best Drug - Motorcycles Come With Friends
Motorcycles Come With Friends

Photo by Woody

5) Motorcycles Come With Friends

Is there any family more closely-knit, as immediately welcoming, as endearingly awkward or as ready to help out its members than that of the biker? I know there’s not one that involves more spooning.

8 Reasons Why Motorcycles Make The Best Drug - Motorcycles Expand Your Consciousness
Motorcycles Expand Your Consciousness

Photo by kamikazekyle10

6) Motorcycles Expand Your Consciousness

The sights you see will become more intense. Nature isn’t just a vague concept, it’s something we feel and smell and something which causes us both intense pain and intense pleasure. And in a way outsiders will never get to experience. Motorcycles change your perspective on life, they expand your horizons and they alter the way your mind is wired.

8 Reasons Why Motorcycles Make The Best Drug - Motorcycles Make You Forget Your Problems
Motorcycles Make You Forget Your Problems

7) Motorcycles Make You Forget Your Problems

Bad day at the office? Girlfriend dump you? Is there any more life-affirming experience than just hoping on your bike and going for a ride? They make you focus on nothing but the ride and, by the time you’re done, all those problems just don’t seem so big anymore.

8 Reasons Why Motorcycles Make The Best Drug - Motorcycles Justify Their Cost
Motorcycles Justify Their Cost

8) Motorcycles Justify Their Cost

Drugs? Money down the drain. But a motorcycle? It’ll likely cost you less to buy and own than a boring old car. You’ll save money on the purchase price, you’ll save money on gas and you’ll never sit in traffic or pay for parking again as long as you live. Heck, you could likely sell your car today and use the proceeds to fund an entire year of riding, a decision that will actually improve your life.

What would you add to this list?

  • MichaelEhrgott

    Of all the gateway drugs there are, your first bike is the worst. ;)

    • cocoaclassic

      Looking for my third bike now…

      • Jason 1199

        Bought my third yesterday. SXV 550!

        • Justin Cole

          That’s gonna blow up.

  • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

    “But, it’s one of the most statistically dangerous things a person can do in this modern age.”

    Not even close. Motorcycle fatalities are near the bottom of causes of premature death. Let’s not confuse the severity of an incident with its likelihood.

    Total Number of Premature Deaths in 2002: 2,403,351

    Major Cardiovasular Diseases | 936,923 | 38.98% of all premature deaths

    Cancer | 553,091 | 23.01%

    Chronic Lower Resperitory Disease | 122,009 | 5.08%

    Diabetes | 69,301 | 2.88%

    Influenza and Pneumonia | 65,313 | 2.72%

    Alzheimers | 49,558 | 2.06%

    Motor Vehicle Accidents (all vehicle types) | 43,354 | 1.80%

    Renal Failure | 36,471 | 1.52%

    Motor Vehicle Accidents (just cars) | 34,105 | 1.42%

    Septicemia | 31,224 | 1.30%

    Firearms | 28,663 | 1.19%

    Unspecified non-transport accidents | 17,437 | 0.73%

    Falls | 13,322 | 0.55%

    Poisoning and Noxious Substances | 12,757 | 0.53%

    Pedestrians | 4,851 | 0.20%

    Drowning | 3,842 | 0.16%

    Exposure to Smoke, Fire, Flames | 3,377 | 0.14%

    Motorcycles (all) | 3,270 | 0.14%

    Other Land Transport Accidents | 1,492 | 0.06%

    Complications of Medical/Surgical Care | 3,059 | 0.13%

    Motorcycles where the operator wore a helmet (approximate) | 1,799 | 0.08%

    Accidental Discharge of Firearms | 776 | 0.03%

    Source: CDC

    This is an older table of data (2002) from a piece I wrote years ago. I haven’t had a chance to crunch the more recent numbers, but the proportions are what matters. Yes, motorcycling is dangerous business, but so is the rest of life, and most of it is far more dangerous than motorcycling. The statistics are actually in our favor.

    • MichaelEhrgott

      Can you please send this exact post to my Mom?

    • Aaron Baumann

      You’re ignoring deaths per capita. Everyone’s at risk for cancer, for instance, so that’s 553k deaths per 7 billion people. So really in order for cancer to be as dangerous as riding a motorcycle there would need to be about 28 million people riding motorcycles while wearing a helmet. It’s most certainly more dangerous than most things. Trying to manipulate the data to prove otherwise is just dishonest.

      • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

        I was referencing 2002 US statistics, not global, so that’s 287.63M, not 7B in total.

        Also, I’m not manipulating anything.

        Let’s look at it per capita. Helmet-wearing motorcycle deaths accounted for 0.000625% of the total US population at that time. Cardiovascular disease killed 0.32% of the population. So per capita, cardiovascular disease was still 511 times more deadly than motorcycles over all.

        More significant is what that works out to per motorcycle (which I think is what you actually meant by “per capita”). There were 5,004,156 registered motorcycles in the US in 2002 according to the NHTSA. So the approximately 1,800 helmet-wearing motorcyclists killed that year represents 0.036% of registered bikes (unfortunately the NHTSA does not give us an average number of how many bikes are owned per person). That’s roughly 36 deaths for every 100,000 bikes. Extrapolated out, if there were one bike for every man, woman and child in America in 2002, cardiovascular disease would still be roughly 9 times more deadly than motorcycles.

        As is, the list is relevant because it’s a mix of both voluntary and involuntary activities. Choosing not to ride a motorcycle doesn’t make you “safe” from premature death. Riding a motorcycle is disproportionately more dangerous than driving a car, but not so much so that it puts it anywhere near the top of that list, even per-capita, and even if nearly every living human in America rode a motorcycle. However, the perception of the danger of riding a motorcycle is way out of proportion to the statistical reality.

        I’m not defending motorcycling as a “safe” activity. I’m simply disagreeing with the statement that “it’s one of the most statistically dangerous things a person can do in this modern age.”

        Sure, motorcycles are dangerous, but there are a ton of things out there trying to kill you. Some with your permission, and many without.

        • Zanpa

          You’re not even close to being right and you know it. Why bother? Your argument is completely flawed.

          • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

            I love the Internet.

            “You’re wrong! Not because of facts or logic, but because I said so!”

        • Stef

          what you should calculate is this:

          100 / Number of motorcyclist * number of deaths among motocyclists = % of deaths among motocyclists.

          then do this:

          100 / Number of population * number of deaths of cardiovascular disease = % of deaths by cardiocascular disease.

          now we finally have numbers we can work with. it’s that simple

          • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

            That’s not how you calculate how something is a percentage of something else.

    • Bubbles

      I think the more relevant statistic for quantifying how dangerous it iswould be percentage of people that participate in motorcycling who have sustained a serious injury/death.

      The other things you list are (mostly) not the result of a particular activity the person has chosen to partake in.

      • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

        Yes and no. Many of the things on the list aren’t exactly things we opt into. At the very least, most people riding a motorcycle have a basic sense of it being dangerous, and so approach it with a level of mindfulness that most of the other things on this list wouldn’t even bring to mind. Cars, for example, bring a lot of dangers with them that people just don’t think about anymore because they drive so much. If people really understood the danger there, they wouldn’t be talking on their phones, eating breakfast and putting on their makeup all at the same time. As motorcyclists yes, we are choosing to do something that has a big element of danger, but we’re also in control of a lot more of that risk than we are in most of the other items listed. I can choose to wear a helmet and not ride like a jackass.

      • devillock

        Cardiovascular disease and cancer are usually brought on by what choices a person makes. They’re mostly not random. Smoking cigarettes is an activity that causes cancer and other diseases. We have a choice to smoke like we have a choice to ride a motorcycle. Living off an unhealthy diet will kill you. It causes cardiovascular disease. It is also a choice wether you eat vegetables and lean meat or live of off burgers, pizza and Pepsi. Not everyone smokes, not everyone eats poorly and obviously not everyone rides motorcycles. so by that logic, those states my not be 100% accurate but they will give you a good idea as to what is going on.

    • sharper86

      And 1 + 1 = 3

    • A P

      BRAVO, APPLAUSE…

      I’d rather live, riding until I die, than die drooling in a rest home, having avoided all risk.

      • Tupack Shackur

        Who the fuck downvoted this?? Baffling.

        • A P

          Probably one of the stat-sticklers. No bother, to each their own.

    • Justin McClintock

      Nathaniel, what you’re ignoring here (beyond deaths per capita as somebody pointed out) is the risk association. You can CHOOSE not to ride a motorcycle. You can’t choose not to get cancer. Therefore the two are completely incomparable. The accidental discharge of firearms is a much better comparison, but even then it has to be taken as a per capita statistic.

      • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

        Not ignoring that at all. I’m not even trying to make a direct comparison, as people keep accusing me. Seeing motorcycle fatalities in the context of other recorded causes of premature death is important perspective. That’s all I’m trying to take from the numbers: perspective.
        My disagreement is not with the idea that motorcycle’s are dangerous, but rather with the article’s statement that they are, statistically speaking, the MOST dangerous. For all of you guys’ critiques of this or that regarding the CDC numbers I shared above, nobody has actually brought forth any information to support the original assertion in question. Where in the data does it show that motorcycles are more dangerous than anything else I might choose to do? That’s the ONLY point I’m actually trying to make.
        I’m not trying to make any direct comparisons to cancer or even cardiovascular disease, but the numbers offer valuable perspective. Also, between environmental factors such as where you choose to live, and lifestyle factors like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, we all have an impact on our cancer risk. Likewise, how active we are and how well we eat also impacts our risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other illnesses listed by the CDC in the list I shared. In fact, the majority of the things on that list have at least some aspect of behavior input. I can’t fall off a ladder I don’t climb up onto. So saying that motorcycles are special because “you choose to do it” isn’t a complete picture of that risk.
        I also came back to per capita in my follow-up comment.

        • Justin McClintock

          You do make some good points there, even if I don’t completely agree. One thing that was left out was flying a small airplane. I should look it up, but I do believe that (again, per capita) it’s FAR more dangerous than riding a motorcycle. And you typically don’t get to walk/limp away from those accidents.

    • Randy S

      Whether riding is extremely dangerous or just a little dangerous, I’ve decided I can’t live my life for safety. For me that would be a good way to be full of stress and bored. I don’t think I’m close to being alone in this. Just maybe a lot of people don’t know it about themselves.

      • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

        Completely agree.

    • Geert Willem van der Horst

      Uh oooh! As a motorbike riding diabetic I might be in big trouble :)

  • Aaron Baumann

    Ugh! Number 8 is dangerous. Sure, I only spent about $800 on gas last year, and another $100 on insurance. The bike only set me back $4000, and maintenance is pretty cheap as well…

    …but every penny saved went to riding gear. You can’t have just one helmet, or jacket, or pair of riding boots. And, of course, you need a pair of gloves to match every jacket, and layers for cold weather riding.

    • SniperSmitty

      Biker logic: A $1,200 track suit will keep me safe. $40 for dinner out with my girl……too expensive.

  • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

    And so as to not just turn up and complain, let me also say that I love the rest of this post. Motorcycling is consistently the best thing in my life. That is, except for my wife, but even that counts because she bought her first motorcycle before I did and a lot of her family rides. Bonus!

  • http://turnerart.la/ Justin Turner

    Drugs are the best motorcycle.

  • Piglet2010

    Drugs are better than motorcycles if you have a headache or cold that affects your balance.

  • Mariofz1

    One of the reasons I ride is to try and keep my sanity….

  • Eric Shay

    Come winter you will sit in a dark cold basement balled up in the corner shaking.

    • brian fleenor

      I really gotta get out of Wisconsin..

      • http://www.motard.ca/ Guillaume Béliveau

        I really gotta get out of Canada…

        • Justin Cole

          Portland…

          • Ben Mcghie

            I ride year round in BC, usually 5 days a week. Vancouver’s weather is damp, but not cold!

    • Ryan Kiefer

      Unless there’s ice on the streets, just add layers and keep riding. My personal limit is when the air temp reaches single digits F. I once tried commuting on a 5F morning, and while I made it safely, the numbness in my fingertips and toes was painful, and they ached for the rest of the day. That tells me that if I just got some heated gloves and socks, I’d be good for at least another 10F colder.

    • Gareth Hill

      Ha! I live in the NE USA and ride all year, get an Aerostich roadcrafter and away you go Mate.

  • zedro

    Except motorcycles are a gateway drug to more powerful more expensive motorcycles.

    • ChiMagic

      … and more expensive GEAR!!

  • El Isbani

    One of the first things I noticed on a motorcycle is how my senses opened up. I can smell restaurants before I see the exit sign, I smell exhaust, people smoking weed, animals, air. Pedestrians, bikers, I can give them a high five if I want. Sun’s brighter, rain is wetter, girls are prettier. Not a bad way to get around.

  • Lee Scuppers

    Pretty sure a bottle of Eagle Rare will do all them things.

  • Paul Stevens

    Good drug? Yes. Definitely yes. But like all drug use, you start off hesitant, a little snort here, a little puff there, and before you know it, you’re hoovering up bucket loads of the good stuff through a f**king garden hose while plugged into a drip mainlining the chemical equivalent of a fever dream. Dirt, road, two stroke 250 or four stroke 450, superbike or naked, who gives a damn? You ride every day, flood Facebook with bike posts, talk bikes, dream bikes, live for two wheels, and you know, you just know, that come the day someone tries to hold an intervention, the claret will flow, even if the only person left standing between you and your two wheeled magic dragon is your dear old gran.

  • james

    The only thing better than motorcycles is motorcycles while on drugs, nothing like sparking a bowl then going for a twisty ride.
    Ask anyone who races for fun not money, they are all blazing in the pits. At least thats the case in australian road racing.

  • DerekB

    I love decsribing to friends that don’t ride how every worry just disappears as soon as you set off. If more people rode motorcycles the world would be a much cooler place.

  • Brian

    to quote Mr Mackey, ” Drugs are bad, M’kay “

  • Tupack Shackur

    I didn’t even need to read the article, I already agreed with the premise. Can’t wait to get my next high, you guys.

  • Arno

    I couldn’t agree more, so true. I’ve spent more cash, time, and good times and motorcycles over the years than anything else.

  • KeithB

    I was in Arizona and Utah in July….FKN hot!

  • KeithB

    I used to smoke, drink, do drugs, got cancer (all good now) AND ride bikes (still ride).
    Not dead yet :-)

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      I often think of Steve McQueen. Dude rode and raced motorcycles. He raced cars in an era where there was NOTHING safe about it. What killed him? Asbestos-related lung cancer, probably on a 30-year delay.

  • devillock

    Absolutely, some people are predisposed with cancerous genes. Some types of cancer run in certain families, but most cancers are not clearly linked to the genes we inherit from our parents. *(American Cancer Society) Most people have brought it on themselves through choices made in life. And there may not be a gene that makes you more likely to get into an accident but there is something called attitude. Every rider has a choice on how he or she wants to ride. A cautious rider is less likely to be in an accident than a reckless one. Just like chain smoking and living of off junk food and no exercise will put you at a higher risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and many other diseases and health problems that will potentially shorten your life.

  • Beale

    “endearingly awkward”

    Gooble gobble, we accept you, one of us, one of us!

  • Paul Baird

    Read this one somewhere: Driving a car is like watching a movie. Riding a motorcycle is like being in the movie.