The Future of Motorcycles

Long Haul Paul on his YamahaHaving a progressive and often disabling diagnosis certainly makes me wonder about my future. My financial future and retirement, my physical and mental decline and how multiple sclerosis (MS) may affect my relationships with family and friends. As an avid motorcyclist now using my riding passion for a purpose, one of the questions I often get asked as I travel the country sharing my story is, “What will you do if you can no longer ride your motorcycle?”

It is a legitimate question for a man whose disease often presents itself with numbness, weakness and dizziness and creates balance and mobility issues. Canes, walkers and wheelchairs are common devices people with MS often need to rely on after years of disease progression.

My answer usually involves talking about the variety of options out there, such as attaching a sidecar, using trikes or new multi-wheel vehicles that do not require balance. There are a few companies that specialize in customizing vehicle controls for people who have disabilities but still want to enjoy the freedom, excitement and fun of motorcycle travel. Riding for me is medicinal, and whatever happens to my body in the future, I will do everything possible to continue taking my Motomedicine as prescribed.

I used to wonder if there would be motorcycles in heaven, or wherever I might end up. Lately, I have to wonder if motorcycles will still be a form of transportation here in the United States a decade from now. I understand motorcycles are not for everyone, and without the proper training, gear and frequent practice, they can certainly be a more dangerous way to travel than other means. I would argue though, for those who do learn to ride and ride often, the incredible experience and benefits are unlike anything else.

Motorcycle sales are way down, accessory companies are going out of business, and attendance numbers at big rallies such as Daytona and Sturgis are way down. Millennials are not interested in bikes or even cars when compared to generations past, and no one is buying their grandchildren mini-bikes for holidays or birthdays. Heck, kids today don’t even ride bicycles around their neighborhoods anymore. The average age of a motorcyclist is increasing, and as they die off, no one is stepping in to fill their boots. The industry is scrambling to find ways to introduce new and younger riders to motorcycles and to reverse this abrupt decline in interest, but will they be able to save motorcycling in time?

There are lots of reasons for this alarming decline. Riding a motorcycle is not inexpensive. Buying a bike, getting good training, proper gear, garaging, maintaining and finding the time to ride make motorcycles an infrequent, expensive hobby at best for most people who own them.

Some employers and communities view motorcycles as loud and obnoxious toys that disturb the peace. This leads to banning all motorcycles from their property or cities. Loud pipes do nothing but lose rights.

Virtual reality is a cool toy, but when people believe sitting on a couch in 3D with a group of imaginary friends can compare in any way to getting out of the house and experiencing the world by interacting with real people and traveling on incredible adventures, we are indeed in trouble as a society. We work from home, play from home, learn from home and shop from home. Sadly, we have scared ourselves into never venturing out into the world without our survival kits containing sunscreen, sanitizer and a tracking device pre-programmed to dial 911.Long Haul Paul Yamaha sunset

I believe one of the biggest reasons interest in riding motorcycles has declined sharply is ...
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by Longhaulpaul

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