Jay Leno has been riding for nearly 40 years. We caught up
with him at “Jay’s Garage,” where he stores his collection of
rare bikes, and asked him to share his passion—and peeves
MOTORCYCLES & ME
I REMEMBER THE MOMEN T when I
I couldn’t have cared less about the
saw a motorcycle and said, “I want to
ride one of those.” It was 1956, and
I was six years old. My aunt’s boyfriend
had an early Harley with a split
windshield. On the tinted part of the
windshield he had a decal of a bathing
beauty in a two-piece suit. I said,
“Oh, look at that.”
My mother immediately thought I
was looking at the decal. “Get away
from that!” she shrieked.
woman in the bathing suit. I was
trying to look at the motorcycle.
I was intrigued with motorcycles
from that point on. They’re light,
they’re efficient, they don’t take up a
lot of room on the freeway. With their
electric starters and antilock brakes
and such, today’s motorcycles are very
automobilelike, so biking is a lot safer
than it used to be.
Never buy a motor-
cycle on a whim.
Maybe you hear the siren
call of adventure, but ask
yourself, “Is riding really for
me?” All too often, the first
time a bug blasts a new
rider between the eyebrows, the bike gets sold.
So ride and then decide.
Don’t be seduced
New riders often purchase
a bike that is too powerful
for them. It’s better to buy
motorcycle to learn the
basics —then move up
Find out what
insurance will cost.
The faster your bike can
go, or the bigger its engine,
the more you will pay for
Once you decide on a make
and model, check with your
insurance agent to see
what it will cost to insure
the bike before you buy.
Some insurance providers:
Foremost (AARP), GEICO,
Progressive, State Farm.
Take a rider’s course.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Rider Course
.org) is the best way to
learn to ride. You’ll need a
motorcycle license before
you can take test rides, and
an MSF course will help you
get your license (and
possibly discounts on
TAKING THE USED ROUTE
Thanks to the bad economy, the preowned-motorcycle market is rife with fantastic
deals. Visit a used bike shop—or go online to Cycle Trader, Craigslist, or eBay. We found
a customized 2002 Harley Fat Boy cruiser online for $8,250. A 2011 model: $15,999.