Note: This is a guest post by Chris of HappyWrench.com
Riding a motorcycle versus driving a stick shift car. Does being able to do one mean you can easily transition to doing the other?
What are the similarities and differences between the two activities, making the transition easier or harder, respectively?
I have been a long time reader of Wind Burned Eyes and decided it might be fun to write a guest post here. Wade is the man. This topic came to mind from personal experience and seemed like a perfect fit for the site. So here goes....
Which One First?
When it comes it riding a motorcycle versus driving a stick shift car, my gut tells me that most people probably start with the car first and then transition to motorcycles - especially in countries outside North America where manual transmission cars are still readily available.
Anyways, my experience was the opposite of most and will be a fun story to tell. My dad bought his mid-life crisis car (a used, manual transmission Toyota Celica) around the time that I started driving. We went to a large parking lot and he tried to teach me to drive stick. Needless to say, my father was not a great teacher and after three stalls on his new prize possession, the lesson was sadly over.
Fast forward many years and I was in college. I had always dreamed of riding motorcycles as a kid - my favorite activity as a boy was taking my bicycle and racing it down the steepest hill I could find. With that in mind and no transportation of my own as a young collegiate, I scraped together $400 and bought a non-running Kawasaki KZ440 off Craigslist (back when the website was new and cool and not weird and creepy). I pushed it home and once functioning, I set about teaching myself to drive the thing despite having no idea what I was doing.
I was alone and all I had was that tiny little rectangular manual that comes with old bikes. (like the one pictured below)
This was also in the days before the internet was the vast resource it is now (with a million YouTube videos on every subject). So, I relied on the couple page explanation of what a clutch is and how it works in that tiny manual - and then I hopped on and gave it a shot. It is funny the things you will try in your youth that are stupid in hindsight. Punchline is that it took about 50 stalls before I got the hang of it, and the experience of that first ride (as we all know) was thrilling.
Fast forward another couple years and my buddy Nate was off to South America for a few weeks and needed someone to baby sit his stick-shift Toyota Tacoma truck. His comment to me, "Well if you can drive it, you can borrow it during the time I am gone." My response, "well I can ride a motorcycle, come down early before you leave and let's see if I can figure it out." Same deal as with my father, we went to a parking lot and low-and-behold, I didn't stall once! Hence the idea for this article. That said, there are both similarities and differences that impact the transition, and this is the information I want to share.
Motorcycle Versus Stick Shift Car - Similarities and Differences Impacting the Transition
Similarities or Things Making the Transition Easier
Differences or Things Making the Transition Harder
Other than that, like I said, if you can do one you are a prime candidate for doing the other. I maybe stalled my buddy Nate's truck twice during the two weeks I had it - mostly due to losing my cool on a hill at a stoplight or just not focusing. I am a very competent stick shift driver now, as the only vehicles (outside bikes) that I will buy are stick-shift Jeeps
I honestly believe if you focus and really pay attention to what you are doing, the transition from bike to car is maybe easier. The transition from car to bike requires the newbie rider to tackle the additional challenges that are inherent to motorcycle riding itself - balance, road conditions, and other drivers!
I want to thank Wade for letting me write this post on his site about riding a motorcycle versus driving a stick shift car. It was super fun and hopefully you found it enjoyable. My blog is HappyWrench.com. I focus predominantly on DIY Motorcycle Repair and issue new content multiple times a week. Please visit my site and sign up for my newsletter for new post notifications.