Rev. Kenn Blanchard provides some old school advice on getting a motorcycle. Check out this podcast episode.
Who Else Wants A Motorcycle?
- What’s The Best Motorcycle For You?
- How You Can Pay For This Motorcycle.
- How To Get Your Spouse To Let You Buy One.
Have you ever walked outside and thought it was the perfect day for a motorcycle ride?
There is something magical about motorcycle riding. It just makes you feel good. It doesn’t matter if it is a work day or the weekend, riding makes you feel connected to life. Going to work doesn’t even feel bad when you ride in. It doesn’t matter if your bike is more fuel-efficient than your car or not. You don’t have to worry about carrying anyone extra or anyone begging for a ride. It’s just for some “me” time before or after work. Don’t you want to get the wind in your face? When is the last time you enjoyed the blue sky overhead? It’s as much about the throaty rumble of power every time you blip the throttle as it is about endless vistas and the freedom of the road.
But wait, you don’t have a motorcycle yet. You’ve thought about it, and in your head you’ve said, “The kids are grown and moved out. I need to challenge myself with something fun and different. How about a motorcycle? I just need to get my wife behind me, and get the money together…” Two very big “ifs” indeed…
I’ve been riding motorcycles since 1976. It’s been an on-and-off love relationship that I have recently heated up again in with the creation of the Indian Motorcycle Radio podcast.
“What’s The Best Motorcycle For You?”
Today, motorcycles are better than ever and also more specialized than ever. When I started they were almost all the same. You either had an American bike or a Japanese bike. It was a street bike or a dirt bike. Nowadays, the key is finding the motorcycle that’s right for you and figure out the kind of riding you want to do.
I started out liking motorcycles because my father rode a Honda Chopper back in the 70’s. I didn’t know anything more than that. It is like that for a lot of us. If you have friends that ride sport bikes, you may lean that way. If you have older friends that ride long distances, you may be in the BMW adventure or touring bike crowd. If you are a fan of the bad boy Harley-Davidson culture, need I say more?
The choice you make is really up to you. Whatever your style, there is a bike that suits you. An inexperienced rider may be able to safely ride a large, powerful machine from point A to point B, but he or she may not enjoy the experience if they find the bike difficult to maneuver on the wrong surface. The size of the bike you choose is relative. The two things most likely to add to a new rider’s confidence level is the weight of the bike and one’s ability to get both feet on the ground at a stop. Weight and seat height figures are almost always included among the specifications listed for new motorcycles on the manufacturers’ websites, so that’s a good place to start sorting through which bikes are most new-rider-friendly. I suggest that you start at a local dealership and just sit on (literally) different types to get an idea of where you are. Until you do, the measurements you will hear and see on websites may not mean much. Where do you plan on riding? Are you planning to ride long distances, around town, or on a track? Are you into speed or does off-roading interest you more?
I just recently met a grandmother who rides a Harley-Davidson Road King. She stands five feet tall. The motorcycle that is best for you will depend greatly on what type of trips you plan on taking. Cruisers and touring bikes are designed with comfort in mind and can often be ridden for miles on end. Sport bikes are cool. They go fast. They are hundreds of groups that ride together with them. They are not as expensive as some other bikes, but they require a riding position that can be more physically demanding over the course of several hours of riding.
Some bikes may be too tall for your feet to comfortably reach the pavement when stopped. Others may be too small to ride comfortably for an extended period of time. As a general rule, cruiser style bikes have low seat heights that accommodate a wide range of rider sizes, while dirt bikes and dual sport bikes are taller. Hybrids and sport bikes fall somewhere in between depending on make and model. The two things most likely to add to your confidence level are the bikes weight and your ability to get both feet on the ground at a stop. Lighter bikes are always better when you’re still learning to balance, steer, accelerate, and brake. And while experienced riders often learn to become comfortable just getting one foot down at a stop, it’s more reassuring to plant both feet when you’re just getting started. Everything comes with time. We can get used to anything. It is all personal preference.
The first step toward figuring out which bike is right for you is understanding the categories of motorcycles and their pros and cons, from the perspective of a new rider.
Standard / Adventure bikes
- Light, Simple,
- Inexpensive To Buy And Insure
- Riding On And Off Road
- Speed And Handling
- Insurance Maybe Higher
- Racing Posture May Be Uncomfortable For Long Rides
- Built For Relaxed Rides
- Low Seat Lets Rider Get Feet Down
- Low Center Of Gravity Offsets Heft
- Made For Long Rides On The Open Road
- Comfortable, Has Many Accessories
- Good Weather Protection
- Integrated Luggage
- Generally Heavier
- More expensive Than Average
- And there are hybrids of all of these bikes as well as types by brand that specialize in certain type of riding.
“How You Can I Pay For This Motorcycle?”
I asked a few friends what was keeping them from getting the motorcycles they want. Money was the number one answer. So, you would buy a new motorcycle if you had the money, right?
There are several options to pay for your next motorcycle. One can pay in cash, or choose from a variety of financing options offered through local lenders. In some cases you may be able to finance directly from the manufacturer of your new bike. And the obvious, a used bike from a private seller might be ok, too. Just make sure you can get it checked out by a motorcycle mechanic and rider before you buy.
Being able to afford your dream bike may seem impossible, but you can do this. It just takes a little effort. One way is to gradually save the money you need over time. Believe it or not, saving money for this bike can make you happy. It is goal setting. Saving money is one of the best habits people can take up. Second only to living healthier, the more you save, the more likely you are to be happy. Don’t you want to be happy? I know saving is tough but it is also like the constant drip of a faucet. It can add up after awhile. And once you get started, the momentum can carry you. Make a bold move and open a new savings account for your new bike. It takes a few steps, but the inertia will solidify your action. Make yourself a plan, and give yourself a realistic timeframe to save as much as you can to put towards your bike. Savings rates are s-l-o-w these days, but you can still earn interest. I suggest a savings account because it can be harder to access money in these accounts than in other transaction accounts. That will prevent you from using the money for other things.
Paying for your bike outright will always be cheaper than buying it on finance or taking out a loan through a bank, but if you do need to take out a loan make sure you shop around. Every financial institution is trying to sell you a loan nowadays. You can sometimes do better than the dealership at credit unions. One of the new things available today is that you can apply online at lending institutions now. They consider this a non-auto vehicle loan. Sometimes it helps if you have an account at the lending bank. All you will need is:
- Personal and contact information
- Employment and income information
- Collateral information (year, new or used, make and model, and other details)
One of the easiest ways to save to this account is to have it directly deposited into the account. Arranging for a portion of each paycheck to be deposited directly into a savings account takes the stress out. It makes it automatic and easily forgotten.
•To set up an automatic deposit, talk to the payroll staff at your job (or, if your employer uses one, your third-party payroll service). If you can provide account information for a savings account separate from your basic checking account, you should generally be able to set up a direct deposit scheme with no problems.
•If for some reason you can’t set up an automatic deposit for each paycheck (like if you support yourself with freelance work or are paid mostly in cash), decide on a specific cash amount to manually deposit into a savings account each month and stick to this goal.
Almost all of us have a side hustle. You know, that thing you do, that earns you extra money? Some of us do it regularly and spend it on gasoline, coffee, or fun on the weekend. What if you took that money and put it into your savings account? Consider working a few hours a week to earn some money. Take the extra and put that in the bank.
Jump start your savings account by selling some junk. You know you have some stuff you don’t use but that is of value to someone. Get rid of it. Go to eBay, Craigslist, or put together a yard sale and start your savings account today.
These are not overnight fixes to your motorcycle “jones” but anything worth having is worth working toward. Plus, this effort can be social proof of your intent, seriousness, and desire if you have to sell this idea to a spouse (more on that later). Give it some thought and start today. It’s not about how much money you make. It’s how you save it.
How Do I Get My Spouse To Let Me Buy One?
You would like a motorcycle but your spouse doesn’t want you to have one. Here are the top three reasons for this:
- They fear losing you.
- They have lost someone in a wreck/accident.
- They think you are immature and reckless.
- Trust issues
- a.Your past
- Their past
- They don’t have enough information about it.
There are a lot of fellows in and outside of the church who are not real happy at home. We have PhDs who are experts in some pretty interesting subjects but who have not mastered the most important–home. If your wife/spouse lost someone close to her because that person died in a motorcycle accident, it is going to be pretty tough to get past that. If that is not it, there’s hope.
I say that because if you can communicate with your spouse, that this is not a hair-brained scheme, and that you know what you are talking about, you have a very high chance of getting this motorcycle. How can I be so sure? I say this because she lives with you now. She sleeps with you. She puts up with stuff from you that nobody else would. That is a plus. All you have to do is fix what is broken. That is done by expressing this desire to her and meeting her needs. It is often a matter of communication and/or trust.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Marriage to me was designed by the Creator to meet our core needs for companionship. It can be a beautiful thing, but it takes effort that most don’t want to give. Marriage is like taking two people and making a new life form. When cells merge, they make a unique cell. The emphasis is on unique. Marriage should mean that you and your wife have a unique relationship. It should be completely different from the relationship you have with anybody else on the planet (in a good way) past or present.
There is no perfect wife or husband. Each partner brings both merits and faults to the table. The key to making it work is in knowing your mate and desiring to put their needs ahead of your own, unselfishly.
If your wife, for example, knows you like food and wants to meet this need, whatever she does to meet it should be appreciated. She may dislike cooking or simply not be a good cook, but you eat the food and express gratitude. That is how I believe it is possible for you to get a motorcycle even if your spouse said “no” last year. It’s the love thing. It can overturn her ruling no matter how adamant. It’s her prerogative.
One of the most important things in your relationship is understanding. Assume nothing. Most of our arguments, disagreements, and frustrations are about small things, misunderstandings, and miscommunication. She said “no” to your motorcycle idea not even for the reason you thought. She may be thinking that you are going through a phase, a midlife crisis, and with it comes the redhead, the extramarital affair, or that you no longer appreciate her and are looking to “trade up.” Nothing is as it seems.
People are the mathematical equations you studied in school and wondered what relevance they had in the real world. I believe that each of us represents a number. Some of us are “whole” and some are not. Multiply our past, present, and self-image and you have a factor that represents us now.
To get what you want, you have to make sure she is taken care of first, and that requires self-sacrifice. She doesn’t know you want a motorcycle. She doesn’t think you need one. There is some underlying issue between you two and you, as a team, are out of sync. You are like a beautiful instrument out of tune. It happens to us all but the only crime is not working to change it.
Real love requires sacrifice. As a married couple, you have already begun a process of compromise. You are already evolving into “one flesh.” Your marriage is one of your most sacred expressions of love. Well, it is supposed to be. It is on this premise that I believe you can get your wife to go along with and even champion your case to get a motorcycle. For this to happen you have to be treating her correctly. There must be honor, respect, compassion, communication and trust. If you can improve your quotient of these factors, you will be riding soon.
How and why do I think this?
- She married you
- She loves you
- Location, location, location
The lack of communication is the number one reason marriages fail. We are not mind readers, but we expect each other to be just that. We get frustrated and angry when we miss the cues (and when our spouse misses the cues) and the signals to trying to get what we want.
Communication is not talking. When a married man comes home, his wife sometimes asks him all sorts of questions to dialog with him. Contrarily when the wife comes home, the husband is just glad she is back physically and rarely asks questions. We are missing an opportunity every time that happens. To some men, the wife is interrogating him. To the woman, she is trying to share her feelings, clear her head through conversation, and talk to the one person she can trust. We miss that. She loves you and married you. If you talk to the dog more than you do your wife, guess whom you will sleep with more? The more you allow the conversation to progress the better everything else becomes.
The buzz word here is intimacy. When I heard the word intimacy I thought of sex at first but these words do not necessarily mean the same thing. Both share some common principles but they are different. Intimacy is the condition of being close as in an acquaintance, association of familiarity, i.e. knowing one’s deepest nature. That is where the sex part comes in. To be naked is to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable to your spouse is not a weakness. It takes courage and how you handle that soft delicate part builds trust.
You can’t have secrets and keep trust alive. Every secret you have is a possible deal breaker. You have to move passed the common thoughts of “she is my friend.” Your wife should be your friend and more. The big difference between a wife and a friend is the “know” factor. Knowledge is power. You could have been married before, but the new wife should know more about you than the old one. You are to entrust power to your wife so that she can give you power over her. The power of intimacy between a man and a woman demands that what you share be the latest and deepest understanding of one another.
Give her the information gradually. With respect to her time, and willingness to receive it, talk about safety, show your maturity. Find out her objections and slowly and repeatedly provide information to refute. The magic here is in the delivery. Remember when you wanted a special toy and your mother said “no?” It is with that type of persistence and innocence that you have to do this.
When I got married I had two motorcycles. My wife wasn’t a big fan so I decided to sell them when my son was born. I learned later that she never had a problem with my bikes. It was all in my head, and I found out only after I spoke to her about it. After I realized it was my issue I started a “campaign” to show her I missed riding. Every day that it was nice outside for the next few years, I would say, “It sure is a nice day for a bike ride.” I would talk incessantly about motorcycles during the summer. Then one winter’s eve, a friend of mine was traveling overseas and had to sell his motorcycle immediately. I explained to the wife that it was a good deal and would help him out. I went the credit union route and financed a quick personal loan and got the bike before Christmas. My wife didn’t care a bit. I later traded it in for the bike I have now.
Today, my bike is paid for and I am eyeballing a new motorcycle. I know what she will say when I present it to her. I also know what has to be done so she doesn’t think I am doing something contrary to our family rules. You just have to know what they are and take care of home first.
The fear of loss, the fear of losing you or a learned fear about motorcycles will make your desire tougher but not impossible. Remember that everyone is different. Don’t put the stress of time on this even though you want to be riding by next season. Be patient. Love is patient…
“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.”- Margaret Thatcher
Respect and love your spouse. Listen to her and express your desires. In time, the same desire she has to cook you a meal will be the one that takes you to the dealership. Earlier I said “location, location, location.” What I meant there is that you have the blessing of proximity. You can be the gentle dripping faucet that begs to be turned off. Begging can be fun. Do this with the intention of not giving up. Your sincerity is important. Don’t be surprised if this positively affects other avenues of your relationship. Communication is the secret sauce. I look forward to your feedback, success stories, and questions.
“Without communication, there is no relationship, without respect there is no love, without trust there is no reason to continue.”
I hope that something you read or heard here gives you encouragement to try to get your dream motorcycle, next bike or ride again. Money is always an issue. It is the love of it that builds and destroys empires, marriages, and businesses. That’s a shame. Don’t lose hope; keep saving. It may take awhile, but as you build your savings, you can keep the dream alive by learning as much as you can about safe, responsible riding. And of course, keep looking for safety gear – it’s often on sale at a reduced price – somewhere.
The longest section of this post dealt with marriage and that may or may not be applicable to your situation. I’ve been married for 28 years and officiated at least fifteen weddings. Marriage is a big deal to me. I’ve wrecked some. And salvaged the one I have now only by the grace of God. I’m a fan of happy people but don’t see enough of them.
Take what works for you, share it and pass on the rest. Motorcycle riding is one of the greatest experiences I have had. I have ridden from coast to coast, saw the ever-changing landscape and more sunrises and sunsets than I can count. But riding is also about people – it’s not just about thundering over hill and dale on two steel wheels. It’s about the fellow traveling souls you encounter – some that merely pass by and others you keep in your head and your heart. It’s a great community, and I want you to join us.
Check out these podcast: Black Man With A Gun Show , Speak Life church , and Indian Motorcycle radio The Books, Kenn has written.