Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's in My Garage

My husband would probably be the first to admit that he's the spender of the household. But he usually clears purchases with me ahead of time. Not for small stuff, of course, but for bigger items we'll always check with each other. Not in a sick controlling way, just to sort of figure out whether the thing is worth the money.

But the other day I walked in the garage and saw this....

Okay it wasn't a total surprise. He did say that he was thinking about a motorcycle. But I tend to think about things for a long time, so I was a bit surprised.

And what led him to this spontaneous purchase? A 26 mile one-way commute each day.

Yep. Motorcylce purchases are no longer for the young and wild or the middle-aged in crisis.

More commuters are turning to two wheels everywhere. There are more bikes and motorcycles on the road this summer than ever. In Colorado motorcycle and scooter sales were up 24% this spring and are rising still. It's not hard to guess why.

Our Honda Nighthawk has a 3.2 gallon tank that fills up for around $12 currently. It gets 75mpg or about 240 miles per tank. It should be a vast improvement even over the good mileage Saab.

The only "but" in all of this is that motorcycle popularity has a pitfall. According the the Colorado highway patrol, in order to get a motorcycle license you must either:

1- Pass the written test at a Driver's License office, purchase a motorcycle instruction permit, pass a drive test at a Driver's License office or with a 3rd-party tester and pay the fee to add the endorsement to your license.The following is for the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles office list where each office lists the services provided, including whether or not they offer motorcycle drive tests. http://www.revenue.state.co.us/MV_dir/wrap.asp?incl=dlolist

2- Enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) training course and, after successful completion of the course, present your MSF certification card at a Driver's License office. When you present your MSF certification card at a Driver's License office, the written and drive tests are waived. Pay the fee to add the endorsement to your license. Colorado law requires minors under 18 to purchase and hold a motorcycle instruction permit for 12 months before adding the motorcycle endorsement to their license. Minors under 16 must be under the direct supervision of the MSF motorcycle instructor at all times while driving a motorcycle.

If you choose option 2 there is currently a 3-week waiting list for an open class. That's astounding even to the facilities that offer the courses. Usually you buy a bike and sign up for a class right away. So unless Neil goes for option 1 summer will be nearly over before he can start commuting.

Meanwhile us 4 wheel-enclosed drivers (that's cars--though sometimes my bike counts for 4 wheels with trailer in tow) need to be more aware than ever for the safety of our 2-wheeled friends.

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