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Biking the Budget

Why ride a motorcycle?

Years ago we used to think it was a cheap way to get to work whilst still having something that put a smile on our dial every other moment of the day. Well the later still rings true, I’m not so sure it’s cheap anymore! Riding is something that most people don’t have to do, but rather many feel compelled to do.

One of the most distinct things about riding is that nothing feels quite like a motorcycle; the thrill of being at one with a two-wheeled machine. Perhaps Robert Pirsig said it best in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: “You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

We also tend to be more individualistic than the next person. Whether that’s expressed through our personal style or the way we trick out our bikes, motorcycling can be an outlet through which we can reveal our personalities. All of this cost money (our budget!)

However, money is only one part of the motorcycling budget! You seem perplexed! Yes, there is one very important part of the motorcycling budget with which we all must concern ourselves: time!

Biking the Budget

Just because the economy’s depressed, you don’t have to be. You don’t have to spend masses of cash to keep having fun on your bikes, there’s plenty you can do to keep your riding fresh and exciting without breaking the bank. You don’t even have to resign yourself to not having any new toys to play with for a while (oh what a relief!).

Explore your local patch
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStruggling to summon up the funds for a weekend away? It’s easy to overlook your local area which often reveals surprises in your backyard. The joy of your local patch is that it’s personal, yours to experience in all seasons and there for the taking with minimum effort and expense.

Recently, I was talking to a few mates who were all AGM 2014 bound and I wasn’t. Well, that’s kewl but what was a small child to do? Find some fun in my own backyard. Two events that were pre/post the AGM (by days) were the Historic Speedway and the Ray Owen Classic Bike Shows. Not to everyone’s taste, but certainly to mine. I grew up around all this and it has been a very large part of me for a very long time.

Both days gave me a few hours of interest (for a mere $5.00 entry), a few hours of talking with like-minded people, and time to meet up with some I hadn’t seen for decades (reminds self to do this more often). It also gave me the opportunity to ride in ever-diminishing circles to get there and back (half a tank of petrol each day). A full day on each occasion was done with a cut lunch, a thermos of coffee, half a tank of petrol and $5.00 in my pocket. I might add, both times I had the best days!

Getting out for the weekend (for those who are time deficient!)

Again, it doesn’t have to break the bank to go out and explore. It might take a little planning to get the time! I’ve had to work an extra hour here and there to take a Friday afternoon off and get to my destination. Then I have to get myself back to work sometime Monday morning. What are in between are the moments you cherish: time on a bike, doing the things you want.

There are many options including camping etc. That’s not for all of us – note ME! My savings will not be in my accommodation! I like comfort! Remember, how you spend your budget is up to you – nobody else.

That aside, it’s still possible to get out and about with a bike and find new places over a weekend of riding. Add into that a few local events happening in the area – maybe a Ulysses Ride!

Utilise Google! Explore places you’d like to visit! Find that central location, a good place to stay that you can afford and simply, GO DO IT! Ring up the local Ulysses Branch and see what they are doing – join them. There’s nothing like local knowledge!

I love photography and history – so I’m always off into little towns and hamlets looking for what will surely disappear in years to come. Add to that, sitting back with some old bugger, talking B/S and I’m a happy little pig in mud.

Again, how you spend your time on these trips is up to you. I like alone time or time with a few – I’ve done the big rides with many and truthfully, I grown into a love of smaller numbers. You maybe the opposite – that’s your choice!

Get the bike and you right on a budget

I’m lucky I do my own mechanical work but for many that’s not an option. Some things simply can’t be done by many and the bike shop is it! If you can do some work for yourself, great; if not, the cheapest method is letting someone who is trained to do it, do it!

Don’t scrimp on the important things! I will always spend the dollars when it comes to good rubber, brakes, fuel etc. and I make sure the insurance is the best I can get for the price I’m willing to pay. And seriously, never forget YOU! What’s making you safe is highly important – there is no such thing as wasting money on your safety!

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