Dave Heinemann

Learning to Ride a Motorcycle at 31

This is my first post in nearly three months. Nearly all my free time lately has gone into achieving a long-term goal: becoming a motorcyclist!

I had tried motorcycling once before in my mid-20s, but found it intimidating due to lack of experience. At that time I hadn't even ridden a bicycle since I was a kid, so learning to maneuver a 150+ kg motorcycle was more challenging than anticipated.

Now at 31 I decided it was time to give it another shot. The rising cost of petrol was a major factor1, and next best option, riding an escooter, is so heavily restricted in Australia that it's barely worth considering.

To make things as easy as possible, I decided to buy a bike in advance of my Pre-Learner training so I could get some practice in my backyard. After looking at the options, I settled on a third-generation Honda Grom. Lightweight at 105 kg, small, and dirt cheap—I got one of the last ever new Groms in Australia2 for just $4,800 AUD ride-away at my local dealership.

Buying a bike to practice in advance paid off. I was able to get fairly comfortable with low speed maneuvers in my backyard, and breezed through the Pre-Learner training. Then I spent a month practicing on the road under a friend's supervision3 before completing the Learner to Restricted training. I was now able to ride unsupervised!

Learning to ride has been one of the best things I've ever done, and feels far more rewarding than driving a car ever did. The satisfaction of carving up corners, and feeling the wind in your hair. The Honda Grom is pretty gutless as far as motorcycles go, but I think its small weight and size perfectly capture the feeling of riding a bicycle, but without the sweat and sunburn. A lot of people seem to advise against starting out with such a small bike lest you quickly outgrow it, but I'm stoked with the Grom and looking forward to riding it for a good while.

Do you have any thoughts or feedback? Let me know via email!
  1. Motorcycling isn't necessarily cheaper that driving a car by the time you factor in protective gear and the more-frequent service intervals. But I'll be damned if it doesn't feel good to pay $10 for a full tank of petrol.

  2. The Honda Grom, like many other 125 cc bikes, are discontinued indefinitely in Australia due to not meeting new safety legislation that requires dual-channel ABS in all new bikes.

  3. In the state of Queensland, Learner riders must be supervised at all times by another rider with an Open license.