Five things motorcyclists know that car drivers don’t

If you’re making the leap from driving a car to riding a motorcycle, here’s five things you’re sure to quickly learn about the brave new world of biking:

1. While car drivers and some hospital staff rather cruelly nickname bikers ‘organ donors’, motorcyclists call car drivers ‘cagers’ who are to be pitied like the sad, trapped animals they clearly are. This immediately stops when it’s cold, raining and they need a lift.


2. Foggy-spectacled urban bikers soon develop an inhuman ability to hold their breath for long periods. Using the deep breathing techniques of the professional free diver, some riders can cease breathing for entire red-amber-green traffic light cycles before riding on in zen-like, fog free clarity.

 Image Courtesy of Christian Arp-Hansen
Credit: Christian Arp-Hansen

3. Never mind windscreen wipers, motorcyclists can clear their visors of rain without even touching them. If you see a rain-soaked motorway rider looking left and right like a Friesian looking for its calf, don’t assume they’ve lost their mind (unless it’s a working courier – in which case they almost certainly have). What they’re actually doing is using the high wind speed blast to deflect some rain from their visor. 

Credit: BCMTouring

4. While drivers safely sit in silence, motorcyclists remain at heightened risk of early onset deafness. At motorway speeds a biker hears little more than a 115 decibel racket of turbulent air passing over their helmet. Imagine sitting next to a chainsaw on your next commute and you’re about there. Sensible riders wear ear plugs, which is why it’s pointless trying to talk with them in car parks.


5. Finally, at least, there is one similarity. Despite being an activity which in all respects should be done awake, motorcyclists, like drivers, can still fall asleep while riding. Try not to think about how I know this.

sleeping courier

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