Top 10 life lessons I learned from riding a motorcycle
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There is no better place to ride motorcycles than the Adirondacks. OK, I haven't actually ridden a lot of other places, but I do know that the Adirondacks are a great place for it. There are tons of scenic, back-road loops that can take you an hour or a day, or even multiple days, if that's what you're looking for, and there's so much to learn from riding. 

Bike by lake

1. Always keep an open mind.

The first time I rode a motorcycle, I hated it. My dad was driving and I had to ride on the back, and it terrified me. I told myself I would never climb on another one for as long as I lived. But a few years later, I decided to stop being so closed-minded and give it another try. I took a motorcycle safety course, and I found that when I am driving and have more control, I really enjoy riding.

Poulin on Harley

2. Travel light.

This is a hard one for me. I'm usually the one who packs several extra suitcases worth of stuff, just in case. But motorcycles are small and the storage space on them can be quite limited, so I've learned to only bring the absolute essentials with me when going on a bike trip. It's not easy, but when I start asking myself, "Do I really need this?" I figure it out pretty quickly. Get rid of that unnecessary baggage. This is a lesson I'm still working on using in other parts of my life. 

Rob on Triumph

3. Always take back roads.

Part of the point of riding a motorcycle is that you're more "in it" — without a cage of glass and steel around you, you're more connected to and a part of the world around you as you buzz through it. So what's the point of taking a highway, where you're separated from everything interesting and everything looks the same? Get on those back roads and get to really know the place you're riding through. 

Jay view

4. The easiest way is not always the best (or the most fun).

Twisty roads are WAY more fun than straight ones. A straight, easy path tends to be pretty boring, so maybe try something a little more interesting next time.

Top of Whiteface

5. Plan ahead.

Unless you've got a nice phone mount on your bike, you can’t check your phone while you're riding. For those of us who rely on our phone's GPS far too often, that becomes a problem when riding on rural back roads that you're not super familiar with. So check a map before you head out and get an idea about where you're headed, the best route to get there, and what you might be able to see along the way. 

Lake view

6. But be spontaneous.

Sure you had a route planned out in your head, but you see something that looks interesting, or you meet up with other riders who are going on a different trip that might be worth joining for a bit, or you want to stop and enjoy a view or get some ice cream. Whatever it is, if you get that urge to deviate from the original plan, give it a shot. 

Jay view

7. Take a good opportunity when you see it.

Gas stations tend to be a little scarcer in the Adirondacks than they are elsewhere. If you see one, it might be a good idea to stop and fill up. 

Bike parked

8. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the ride.

Motorcycle riding is not always about getting to a destination (although it is a very affordable way to do that!). It's also about enjoying the journey and everything you see along the way. 

Jay view

9. Protect yourself.

I always ride with full protection: pants, boots that cover my ankles, gloves, a DOT-approved helmet, and a long-sleeved shirt if not my armored jacket. Bikes are small and other things on the road are big, and riders are very exposed to whatever is around them, so make sure to always wear the correct gear and be cautious of those around you. 

Kim and Kevin in Speculator

10. Carpe diem. 

The riding season is limited in the Adirondacks, so on nice days, you have to get out there and make the most of it!

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Jess Collier
autumn, spring, Summer

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