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When Worried Family Members Ask Why You Ride...

It's happened so many times by now you can see it coming. It might be your mom, your grandmother, that concerned aunt, even a sibling. You're gathered around the holiday turkey or yule log or whatever. Things are going great. Then he or she brings up the fact you ride a motorcycle. Usually it involves a news article about some tragic situation or a friend of a friend of a friend who used to ride.

You know behind their disapproval is worry, but it irritates you for several reasons. You've worked to achieve the level of riding skill you have. You've invested in a well-maintained bike and the necessary safety gear. Plus, your Harley® is something you love. There's no freedom like the open road, no sound like the throaty roar of the engine.

Be proactive this holiday season. Recognize it's in our soul to worry for our family members and we have an innate need to keep loved ones from harm. The conversation doesn't have to revolve around horror stories. When it comes up, before the conversation turns to accident statistics, focus on these positives.

Central to Motorcycle Riding is Self-Discipline

People who don't ride sometimes get the wrong idea. Step back for a minute from what you know and try to view riders from a different perspective. On movies especially everyone who gets on a motorcycle races through traffic running from the cops or bad guys spraying bullets. Groups go to a bar, get in a fight then roar off to cause problems down the road. It's all stereotypical, but it may be all your family members know.

Motorcycling develops self-discipline. The first thing you learn is that you are vulnerable and it takes keen reflexes to control your bike. Soon after you learn it takes practice, hard work and investment in a bike that's the right fit to become the kind of rider you want to be. Discipline in one area spills over into all of them.

Riding a Harley® Builds Self-Esteem

Life is stressful and reality challenges our view of ourselves. Part of what most riders love about the time they spend on their Harley® is how everything negative that tries to cling to them falls away with each passing mile. They become simply who they are, a person with deep, quiet strengths and flaws they can typically work around.

Shy and quiet personality types come out of their shell. Extroverts have the perfect means of self-expression. At Harley-Davidson® events the two mix and form deep bonds. Try explaining the positive emotions riding makes you feel.

Riding Improves Mental Focus and Physical Fitness

Talk about what happens in your mind the moment you start your bike. Most of us are constantly bombarded by phone calls, email, media, work demands and family priorities. There's nothing like a ride to clear your head, because you become focused on the road, your bike and what you're experiencing.

You're constantly scanning the road ahead and potential obstacles on either side. You visualize potential problems and instinctively plan escape routes and alternates. That mental exercise is powerful, and it also spills over into other areas of life.

Motorcycling is physically and mentally demanding. If your family member thinks it isn't, pull up the statistics on what your bike weighs. That adrenaline rush you get when you crank the throttle is caused by endorphins. Those feel-good chemicals improve your mood, as does exposure to sunlight.

Science Supports the Benefits of Motorcycle Riding

There's research to support the benefits of riding your Harley®. Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, author of Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old is Your Brain studied riders to evaluate their brain activities. He compared people who rode regularly with people who once rode but hadn't been on a bike for at least 10 years. He found current riders and ex-riders used their brains in dramatically different ways. Current riders had a higher level of concentration and more activity in the right hemisphere of the prefrontal lobe. 

In another study he tested how regular riding improves brain function. He found when subjects used a motorcycle for their daily commute, their mental health changed. They had higher cognitive function, a better memory and improved spatial reasoning. They also reported lower stress and an improved mental state. 

If you ride, your brain is healthier. If you stop, that benefit goes away. 

These reasons might not convince your mom to get her own bike, but they might calm some of her fears. At Dallas Harley-Davidson® we wish you the happiest of holidays and look forward to serving you in the year ahead.

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