Running the numbers
As I've mentioned before, the biggest challenge I face in this whole motorcycle saga is financial. Motorcycles are cheaper than cars but when you've got almost no money, how much less one thing costs than the other can be academic. I suppose I shouldn't be thinking about motorcycles at all right now – at least, not any more than I think about buying holiday homes in Montana. But I can't not think about it.
So, it seems the best thing to do is try to be practical about what I'm up against – get to know the face of the beast I'm trying to slay. And that means being honest with myself about what all this is going to cost.
The first thing for which I'm going to have to fork out money is training and licensing. There's no getting around those costs, which I've calculated to be £895.50 (US $1,434), based on the prices listed by the 1st Class Rider Training school on its website. You'll note that I've allotted myself four days of Direct Access training. There's always the possibility I'd be awesome and need only three days (thus saving £160 [US $256]). But considering how long it's been since I was last even on a bike, it's wise to budget that extra day; I only hope I won't require five days of training.
That's a huge amount of money, but it will navigate me all the way through the bureaucratic maze to the point that I will be licensed to ride any size bike in the UK. And thereafter the costs become far more variable. I've spent a lot of time thinking about these costs and the word that comes to me again and again is "dependable." I want the best-quality motorcycle and kit that I can possibly afford.
I've got my eye on a handful of bikes, new and used (more on those in future posts), but my absolute maximum spend will be £3,500. Motorcycle forums are full of people criticising one another's choice of bike and saying, "For only XX more you could get an XX, which is sooooo much better."
To which my response is: shut your cake hole. I don't have XX more. If your argument involves me spending even a penny more than I've budgeted, your argument is invalid.
And after that there's the gear. I've got a leather jacket that will suffice for the timebeing, as well as jeans and boots. Yes, I want better gear eventually, but I'm just talking about getting myself on the road. I will need a helmet and gloves, of course. It appears a reliably good (full-face) helmet can be had for around £120, and good gloves for about £40.
So, let's put it all together: ignoring – temporarily – the insurance costs, to get me on a bike and on the road I need £4,555.50 (US $7,295).
Whereas presently I have just £50 in savings. This is going to be tricky.