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Five Reasons Bikes Are Better Than Cars

Posted in Guide, Motorcycle, Scooters, Tips by Kurt Ernst | November 1st, 2010 | 15 Responses |

Another reason? Hot women pose for photos like this.

While the majority of the country prepares for winter, we here in Florida are preparing for the best riding season of the year. The temperature is down, reducing the likelihood of spontaneous human combustion at a traffic light. Most of the bugs are bedding down for the winter, which means you can actually complete a ride without burning through a hundred tear-offs. Finally, the snow birds are returning to their winter homes, which adds an element of challenge to your daily ride. Rolling chicane, anyone?

Sure, cars have an advantage over bikes in a lot of areas. Cars keep you dry when it rains, they keep you warm in the cold, they keep you from roasting alive in the summer time, but they also eat a little bit of your soul each and every time you get behind the wheel. Here are five reasons why bikes are better than cars:

Smaller Radar Profile

I was out for an morning ride last weekend, somewhere north of the speed limit, when a Florida State Trooped stepped out of the shadows, pointed at the car behind me, and waved him down. A second trooper motioned to me to slow down, but didn’t wave me over. It was, perhaps, divine intervention, or karmic payback for some past good deed. More likely it was the fact that a bike has a very small radar profile and a car has a very large one. Whatever the reason, the net result was this: in a car, I’d have been waved to the side of the road while the nice officer wrote me up for fifteen over in a construction zone. On a bike, they waved me off with a clear and understood warning to slow down. Motorcycle FTW.

Economy Car Price, Sports Car Performance

Used Cadavalier or nearly new SV650S; which would you rather have?

Bikes are amazingly affordable, and even the cheapest bikes accelerate, stop and (generally speaking) turn far better than the ordinary car. It was this very economic justification that got me into bikes in the first place. For the price of a ten year old Plymouth Champ, I bought a low mileage Suzuki GS750, which went like stink, attacked canyons with relative competence and didn’t break the bank on insurance.

Bikes Sip Gas

Okay, not ALL motorcycles sip gas...

You can look at this from two different perspectives: either bikes are good for the planet because they use less gas than cars, or bikes are good for your bank account because they use less gas than a car. My BMW K1200RS gets around 40 MPG without really trying, but it also makes about 130 horsepower at the crank and gets from zero to sixty in less than three seconds. Every time I whack open the throttle, I feel like I’m doing my part to save the spotted owl or the polar bear, and it makes me feel all fuzzy inside. Or maybe that’s just the thrill of acceleration.

You’re Part Of The Environment, Not Isolated From It

Ever wonder what a sunset smells like?

When I lived outside of Boulder, Colorado, there was a hill I needed to cross on the ride home. Cool, dense air settled at the foot of the hill, and the air would warm up and dry out as I climbed the hill. After a long day at work, it was one sign that I was close to home, close to cracking a beer and close to calling it a day. You see things on a bike, smell things on a bike and sense things on a bike that you miss entirely in a car. If life is a journey, isn’t it better to take that journey with your eyes open?

Bikes Fit Places Cars Don’t

No matter how tight parking may be for an event, I’ve never had a problem finding a spot to put a bike. I can’t fit more than two cars in my garage, but I can easily fit a bike or two, without significantly impacting usable space. Even better: if traffic is jammed up bumper to bumper, bikes give you the ability to navigate through or around traffic that you just don’t have in a car. I rode to my college graduation, with my roommate on the back of my bike, in a cap and gown. Traffic parted to let me through like I was Moses and they were the Red Sea; in a car, I’d have been just another lemming.

I’m not going to start spouting “cagers suck” rhetoric on you, so don’t worry. I’ve still got as big of a car jones as I’ve ever had, and that’s not going away anytime soon. Cars are necessary, cars are good and cars can be entertaining as well. They’re just not bikes.

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15 Responses

  1. BigRuss says:

    damn i miss living in cali… thats one of the best/worst states to own a bike… splitting lanes all day long, twisties around every corner, and college girls givin it up cause you peg the redline goin round the corner… but im glad to be home cause theres some killer roads to take care of a lazy afternoon

    • Kurt says:

      Sadly, my bike is down for the count until I can get a new battery for it. Since the battery affects the linked brakes, you don’t want to take chances riding on a low battery. Sometimes, technology is a pain in the ass…

  2. Bike Envy says:

    BIG advantage….bikes can cut through traffic. I was recently sitting in a 15 mile backup for over three hours, and some bikes came up through the traffic, weaving in between cars, and kept rolling down the road…lucky!….made me wish I was on 2 instead of 4.

  3. BigRuss says:

    same here kurt…. im in the process of repainting the frame and upper plastics…

  4. Jim says:


  5. Kurt says:

    Thanks Jim!

  6. Shahroz says:

    oh winter….. :(

  7. BigRuss says:

    winter makes us all cry…

  8. Larry says:

    Livin in San Diego sucks…so many downsides…billions of dollars in debt, taxes off the chart, high cost of living…save one thing: I can ride year-round and split lanes. Kinda worth it in the end.

  9. Uncle B says:

    Gasoline prices on the rise! Dollar in being mangles by the Uber-Rich once again! Expect astounding inflation – they do! Two wheels are the only way to go gasoline! Expect new diesel bikes soon! They exist in Europe to avoid high fuel costs. Watch for three-wheeled, Uber-fast, bike based commuter cars. Beware the angry American with and empty fuel can, especially if he is walking away from a gas-guzzler car. America’s next great paradigm shift – away from cars! Here come the nuclear/electric bullet train networks, They are in use in Asia as a solution to the oil shortage problem that even America faces.

  10. Kurt Ernst says:

    Uncle B, I’d love to see some diesel dual purpose or adventure bikes, but I’m not aware of a major manufacturer working on them. The company that builds the multi-fuel KLRs used by the USMC used to sell to the public, but the bikes were ridiculously expensive (mid $20k, if I remember correctly).

  11. Keith says:

    Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. Biking can be great BUT, I’ve also seen and heard of more deaths and dreadful injuries from bike accidents(including my brother’s death last year) than I would ever have imagined when I started riding at the age of eight, 48 years ago. There’s a down side to bikes that wise riders should never forget. Even a low-speed off can have serious and costly consequences. If it’s truly in your blood, seek out the best training you can get from those who have been there, NEVER drop your guard, especially on a cruiser or at leisure, do your fastest riding on track or salt, get the best safety gear you can afford and use it to work and even down to the local store. You are not a hero because you ride, and no one is impressed by loud pipes, loudmouths and beer-bellied louts wearing Nazi-style helmets.

  12. mike says:

    Nice post, too bad I live in Canada, bike’s been put away for the winter…. makes me sad

  13. Jack Jones says:

    Other way to show your love towards the environment is through sharing your ride. Visit http://www.joyaride.com for a unique ridesharing experience.

  14. adelola says:

    thank helped this help out on my paper