The Joy of Riding a Motorcycle

Motorcycles offer the rider a unique sense of freedom that is impossible to duplicate with a car. While this freedom comes with a greater responsibility to stay focused on the road and aware of your surroundings, it is worth it for those that love riding. With that being said, motorcyclists are 24 times more likely to be killed in a crash than those in passenger vehicles (NHTSA 2021).

The first motorcycles were converted bicycles with gas engines attached. The earliest known to be constructed are the French Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede and the American Roper steam velocipede, built in 1868. These early bikes were very tall with a high center of gravity, but manufacturers soon began to slop the engine forward to lower the bike’s overall height and improve handling. Today, most modern motorcycles are still considered to be fairly top-heavy, but the use of good clutch and throttle control can overcome this concern.

After World War II, motorcycles became popular among GIs returning home from the front and starting new careers. These riders formed motorcycle clubs that offered a sense of purpose and belonging as well as an opportunity to socialize with like-minded people.

The most common motorcycles are designed for urban and paved road riding with cruisers and tourers offering comfort and convenience while on long trips. There are also sport bikes made for canyon carving and race-winning speed, and dirt bikes designed to handle off-road conditions. Within each of these categories, there are many brands and engine sizes that create a wide variety of motorcycle styles.