It’s decided. You’re getting your first bike. Now all you have to do is share that little tidbit with those closest to you. If you’re from a family of riders who’ll hoist you into the air and cheer, you can stop reading now, you lucky punk. For the rest of us, conveying your motorcycle needs can be a difficult conversation. Here are some dos and don’ts for broaching the subject with your significant other/parents/friends/dog.
Do: Drop hints in advance.
Sure, you could just shout “WOW LOOK AT THAT AWESOME BIKE” every time you pass a motorcycle, but subliminal messaging is your friend here, buddy. Maybe you casually share an article about why motorcycles are better than cars over breakfast or pick up some sheets, socks, undies, etc. emblazoned with little bikes. Slip a motorcycle film or ten into your movie queue (Motorcycle Diaries or On Any Sunday are great), and work riding terms into your daily lexicon. I.e.: “Honey, you really went full throttle on dinner tonight!”
Don’t: Bring up your prior bad decisions.
It’s never good to lead with, “Okay, this is totally different from that time I convinced you that adopting a family of ferrets was a good idea.” Ignore any past transgressions to separate those moments of stupidity from the mature, informed, and ever-so-cool decision to buy a bike. Instead of reminding others about your strikeouts, revisit your grand slams (like the fact that you always force people into karaoke and they always have an amazing time).
Do: Emphasize all the ways to save.
The first objection you might have to confront is money. Lucky for you, this isn’t an obstacle so much as an opportunity. Bikes cost a fraction of a car, help you save tons at the pump with their absurdly high MPGs, and reduce the costs of parking and tolls. If your loved one is eco-conscious, you can tell them that the polar bears would want you to buy a motorcycle. Wait for their skeptical eyebrow raise then hit them with this truth bomb: lower emissions will help slow down the erosion of the ozone layer. Ergo, ice caps melt slower and bears live longer. Boom. Buying a bike is practically like adopting a baby polar bear.
Don’t: Try to sneak one into the garage.
If you’d prefer that your loved ones continue to love you, don’t go for the element of surprise. It’s not going to be met with similar enthusiasm of, say, a new puppy (or baby polar bear). You could, however, double down and put a new puppy on top of your new bike and hope no one notices the bike…?
Do: Tell them you’ll learn from the pros.
You’re not going to learn the basics from any old bearded motorcycle dude. Ease your loved ones’ worries by showing them Honda’s Learn to Ride site that walks you through everything you need to know to ride your new mechanical steed with confidence. It even helps you find the nearest Motorcycle Safety Foundation (or MSF) class where you’ll learn things like how to ride in the rain and braking techniques. There are MSF classes all across the country, so why not butter up your boo while learning the riding ropes? Bring her/him along on a romantic(ish) getaway: you’ll ride during the day and you explore a new city or town — like, say, the San Bernardino area (home to Honda’s Colton, CA Rider Education Center) — together during the evenings. Win-win.
Don’t: Issue an ultimatum.
The quickest way to raise your loved one’s hackles is to get all defiant and gung-ho about your new purchase. This is a conversation, not a declaration. Make sure you’re doing a fair share of listening, and be prepared to answer their questions and respond to their concerns. Otherwise, you’ll be on the receiving end of another ultimatum: “You get a motorcycle and I leave.”
Do: Ask them to do it with you.
Be careful with your phrasing to avoid getting distracted here, but you get the gist. You’re about to embark on a lifetime of riding — what could be better than having a partner who’s also your co-pilot? Don’t assume you know the answer, either. Ask anyway. You may be pleasantly surprised. If it all shakes out, you might get blessed with not one, but two motorcycles.
Don’t: Glorify reckless riders.
We’ve all seen some hoons on motorcycles. Should you encounter one, make a point of noting that you don’t condone the speed-demon approach to riding. I.e.: “How dare that dude pull an endo at this stop light. I would NEVER do that.”
Do: Talk about how safe you’ll be.
Give them specifics by focusing on a great starter bike: Honda’s CBR300R and/or the CB300F. These optimal bikes have the killer styling you want along with engine displacement and riding position that are great for helping you learn the basics. And with MSF training, offered at places like Honda’s Rider Education Center, you can get top notch education about your new ride. Cap it all off with the right safety gear and your loved ones’ fears will be eased.
Don’t: Make motorcycle sounds with your mouth
This won’t help you illustrate why you want a bike. There is one exception to this rule and he is right over here.
Stick to those rudimentary guidelines and you should be well on your way to getting your butt on a bike like the Honda CB300F or CBR300R.
Sean Evans is a writer living in New York who is as shocked as you are that it’s still possible to make a living as a writer. He’s big on all things automotive, whiskey and heinous reality television. He tweets here.