If you’re yearning to be transformed, or just want to expand your inner circle of riding pals, here are Nine ways to meet other motorcyclists.
1. Take your helmet with you. Everywhere.
Thanks to the explosion of moto-fashion in the hipster universe, you can’t rely on vintage t-shirts with logos from obscure, circa-60s Hollywood motorcycle clubs to spark a conversation with like-minded individuals anymore. Still, but few riders can resist the open invitation of a helmet dangling by it’s chinstrap from your fingers without blurting out, “nice helmet; whaddya ride?” The helmet under the arm is appropriate in any setting, and has the added bonus of automatically jettisoning you to the top of the-most-interesting-person-in-the-room list, no matter where you are. No single accessory under the sun packs this kind of swagger.
2. Find a twisty road, a sandwich shop, and wait.
You won’t have to wait long. Plunk your helmet down on the table and order lunch. Another rider is likely to come straggling in before you’re ready for one of the homemade brownies by the cash register you’ve been eyeballing. Something like Cafe Kevah at Nepenthe, Hwy 1, Big Sur, California. You’ve probably gone flying by it three or four times (either because you missed it tucked away in the redwoods on the cliff-side of the Pacific ocean, or you’re just having too much fun riding up and down this gorgeous strip of motorcycle bliss), but it’s the stuff legendary day-rides are made of.
3. Troll the beer tents at a NASCAR race.
Really. Most riders will check out any event where there’s motor oil and a checkered flag, but when it comes to America’s love affair with the smell of burnt rubber and weak beer, unwitting motorcyclists duped into attendance can be readily found at any given beer tent.
4. Go camping. Motorcycles + camping = ultimate freedom.
More and more riders are discovering the exhilaration that comes from touring on two wheels and not having to search for a motel room when your butt finally gives out on you in the middle of nowhere. Fellow riders will gravitate to your campfire like moths to a…well, you know.
5. Go to Italy.
This is a no-brainer. Literally everybody in that country rides motorcycles. Everybody. I’m talkin’ grandmas on scooters going to the bakery. Just like you can stumble around this country blindfolded and NOT find bad food, stand still and close your eyes within twenty yards of a paved road (cobblestones count) and you’re likely to hear the unmistakable rumble of a Ducati above a swarm of buzzing Vespas.
6. Open your laptop.
If going to Italy’s out of the question, riders in any corner of the world are only as far away as an a Wi-Fi connection. Google the phrase ‘how to meet other motorcycle riders’, and you’ll get 86,000,000 links to sites that will help you do just that. You’re likely to find a website that features smart, interesting articles written with unusually adroit wit and clever candor with a remarkably well-read, highly interactive readership. Jump into the comments section and away you go.
7. Learn some new tricks.
One of the best ways to meet new people is to take a class or attend a lecture on a topic that interests you. Check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (msf-usa.org) for all kinds of riding-related classes. If there’s a track in your area, check out it’s website for companies that provide track day instruction. Even local dealers provide classes and instruction. Into something more epic? World-class venues that offer instruction you’ll never forget and friendships you’ll forge forever include The Ducati Riding Experience (Europe), the BMW Performance Riding School* (South Carolina, USA), or the California Superbike School (everywhere).
8. Show up.
Motorcyclists are notorious for…(wait for it)…philanthropy. Riding makes you feel good. Feeling good makes you want to make others feel good. Ergo, riders are always thinking of ways to do both at the same time. This usually takes the form of an organized ride. Sometimes there’s a t-shirt, sometimes there’s prizes, but always, you’ll meet fun and generally decent people. Even if you’re not into group rides, showing up for the pre and post ride events guarantee a good time. And probably a hot dog.
9. Turn the key.
Really, the best way to meet other riders is to get out there and ride. Leave NASCAR behind, grab your helmet, synch your headset to some music, head out on a twisty road with a pup-tent and a toothbrush for a charity ride or a track day a hundred miles away. Or, go to Italy. When you get back, log on to your favorite, smart, savvy motorcycle website (the one with the highly-interactive readership) and tell us all about it.
Photo by: Hackaday