Motorcycles: modes of transportation, personal statements, or ways of life? Most likely, they are a little bit of each. The motorcyclist is long entrenched in American mythology, but just what are motorcycles—and motorcyclists—all about? There are resources on the Web to shed light on all of this and help out any rider or aspiring rider looking for motorcycle advice, places to buy, or other riders to commune with.
Everyone knows how being cool works: you get on a motorcycle, and it just happens. But how does that motorcycle work? Largely immune to the computerization of modern cars, motorcycles are still extremely mechanically accessible. Use these sites to learn about the nuts and bolts of these beautiful machines and everything else you need to know before you ride.
- The motorcycle world is inundated with the do-it-yourself philosophy. As such, many of the sites and resources you’ll find are provided not by a big organization or company but by ordinary riders with lots of experience and goodwill. These sites are the heart of the motorcycle world, so don’t be put off by the simple design of some sites. Basic—even unattractive—design can belie great insight.
- Tutorials and Web guides can get you started with an understanding of motorcycles, but nothing replaces some hands-on experience. If you have a friend who has a bike, ask if you can help the next time he (or she) is servicing it. Experience is always the fastest way to learn.
For information on how a motorcycle works …
How Stuff Works
has a motorcycle entry with a comprehensive overview on the basics of a motorcycle, including its parts, history, riding dynamics, and even its future. Excellent animations and pictures complement the well-organized and well-written explanations. Explore the related articles and sites for more information on motorcycles and automotive mechanics.
For rider resources …
provides this “Biker’s Dictionary,” an extensive alphabetical listing of motorcycle-related terms here. You’ll even find diagrams for some terms, including several under the “hand signals” entry. But don’t stop at the dictionary; TotalMotorcycle.com, though not especially pretty, contains a bevy of other useful information for beginner and veteran alike.
The American Motorcyclist Association
has resources for every aspect of riding, including a section and advocacy page about motorcyclist rights, which includes a clickable map database of state laws. For articles on riding, maintenance, racing, buying, touring, storing, and just plain enjoying your bike, dig around on this site.
Ride My Own
is billed as a site for women riders, but most of its content is useful to any motorcyclist. You’ll find articles on riding, safety, gear, repair, and more, as well as long lists of links for motorcycle resources and gear. The design of the site is simple and straightforward, though the organization can seem a little haphazard at times.
For road safety and routes …
Best Biking Roads
is a user-generated database of well-traveled motorcycle routes in Europe, the United States, and the Asia Pacific region. Route entries can include descriptions and reviews, maps, GPS data files, photos, and videos. Browse the routes using the clickable map, or add your own route.
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