Do Not Lean by Norm Brown

Ever since I bought a new motor trike, I’ve had my older one for sale on Craigslist. I haven’t managed to sell it yet, but I have talked to some nice people who were at least interested. Most of them have been Baby Boomers who, like me, rode the two-wheeled variety of motorcycle at some point in their life. Now they’re interested in a trike conversion as a safer, more stable alternative. As you would expect, the conversation always turns to the difference in steering the two types of vehicles. Those who have actually taken a test drive have usually commented on how odd it feels at first. They almost found themselves turning the wrong way.

Motor Trike

A motorcycle converted to have two rear wheels steers exactly as that little tricycle we each rode as a kid. No matter what your speed, it always goes in precisely the direction you point the front tire. Push on the left handlebar, you go right and vice versa. When it was time to move up to a bicycle there was a learning curve. At speed, making a turn was a little more mysterious. It seemed to me as a kid that I was leaning the bike to make it change direction. A motorcycle is like a bicycle on steroids—much heavier and faster. A lot of the fun is making the motorcycle lean on a curvy road. This is actually accomplished by “counter steering.” If you push on the left handlebar, a motorcycle will lean (try to fall) left and turn in that direction. Just the opposite of my motor trike.

The MotorTrike salesman explained to me way back in 2007 that I would have to “unlearn” the motorcycle method of steering. Stuck to the windshield was a little clear plastic sticker that said:


It didn’t seem very macho to ride around town with that little sign on my rumbling motor trike, so I pulled it off. However, the little reminder seemed so simple and profound. I brought it in and stuck it on my refrigerator. It’s still there.

One use I have in mind for whatever money I get from the sale of my older trike is to help my adult son pay for school. He is not making what he would like and has been talking for a while about starting a new career. So far, that hasn’t gotten past the talking stage. As unhappy as he may be with his current job, it is easier to drift along rather than finding and enrolling in a training course.

Would it be too subtle if I sneaked over and put my little sticker on his fridge?  Then every morning he could read:


Norm Brown is the author of the suspense novel Carpet Ride, published by Secondwind Publishing, LLC.


Filed under Humor, life

56 responses to “Do Not Lean by Norm Brown

  1. “Do not lean…steer through turns” may just be my new mantra in life — and I need one, based upon the crazy soap opera that my life is becoming!

    I’m so thankful for the ability to blog about it all — and to share from the amazing insights offered by fellow bloggers. Loved your post!

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed… 🙂

  2. it would be less subtle if you placed an envelope with the cash from the trike sale underneath the sticker!

  3. I would love to try it. It does seem much safer. I am digging the two wheels in the rear 🙂 Thanks for the lesson in case I ever have the opportunity to ride one.

  4. That could actually be an awesome motto for life: “Do not lean, steer through turns.” When facing a rough patch, don’t rely on on simply “leaning” through a difficult phase…take the reins and steer your life back into a better direction! I may just use this idea in my blog later on today…if I do, I will certainly direct credit back to your blog for inspiration! Thanks!

  5. sayitinasong

    Love your motor-trike! :o)

  6. cmblake6

    Excellent segue through from mechanics to application of mechanics to philosophy!

    And, nice scooter. If I was going to go three wheels, I’m thinking Spyder from Can-Am though.

  7. roycrosse

    I am still riding a two wheeler but I suspect I will want to switch to the Trike sooner than later. Thannks for the blog.

  8. Great message but I am not sure I would want to drive a three wheeler like that. I like the lean. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  9. “It didn’t seem very macho to ride around town with that little sign on my rumbling motor trike…”

    You’re riding a trike… but you’re worried about the SIGN hindering your macho-ness?? Really?

    Safe? Sure. Fun? Probably. Macho? Not quite.

  10. christinehusom

    What a funny, true summary of so many things in life, Norm! Oh my, the times I have leaned when I should have just steered through the turns 🙂 Great post and congrats on being a featured blog.

  11. Shanna VanNorman

    i wish. i wish i wasn’t clumsy. i wish i wasn’t petrified of high speeds. i wish i was more attentive. Until these three wishes come true, I can only keep dreaming of owning my own motorcycle.

    Thanks for the post, I’ll have to check out the book, kudos on making freshly presssed!

    Best —


    When you have a moment, please take my quiz to find out what fear, if any, is holding you back:

  12. Wonderful article, Norm. Reminds me of when my mother got a grown-up tricycle. She never got the hang of bicycle riding, and I never got the hang of riding her tricycle. The thing had a mind of its own. I wonder if I could have ridden it if I’d know not to lean and to steer through turns.

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  14. nearlynormalized

    What about the trike that has two wheels in the front? Saw a couple riding down the road, it looked a tad different, she had the two wheels in front, he had the the single wheel in front. What is the steering behind that?

  15. umar mukhtar

    very nice trike 🙂 ı love it.

  16. Lovely piece of advise. Seemingly meant for bikes only, and you had the rare insight to apply it to life! Love it! 🙂

  17. roakian

    Learning to ride a motorcycle has been on my to-do list for a long time….mostly because of the leaning actually. It looks so exhilarating – although I’m sure quite unsafe.

    You’re a sweet dad to sell your bike and want to help your son out. Kudos to you!

    • I’ve always thought leaning a motorcycle through the curves on a twisty road is about as close to flying as you can get without leaving the ground. A lot of fun. It’s as safe as the skill level, reflexes and attention of the person riding it. If any of those things are lacking, due to age or whatever, a trike is a fun alternative. It’s more like driving a fast, tiny sports car.

  18. Sherrie Hansen

    Great blog. Norm. Congrats on your feature! I think you’ve coined a new phrase!

  19. thanks for your post-it put a smile on my face! and I will try to remember those words!
    BTW–have you seen the new motorcycles with the two wheels in the front instaed of the back? I’m told they are way fast.

  20. Van Skeens

    Put it on your adult son’s refrigerator. PLEASE????
    LOL! I loved your blog. I always do!
    Now, as the Mom of that adult son, I’m asking again… please put it on his fridge. 🙂

  21. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! But you know, there are times when you have to lean–not on 3 wheels, though. Take care and have fun with your Pretty Baby!

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  23. Pretty profound thought at the end, I love it!

    That said, I’ve see the trikes where the two wheels are up front and the back drive wheel is just a single wheel.

    I also thing they look pretty damned cool. Never rode a motorcyle. Well, there was that mini bike that I like to pull wheelies with when I was a kid! But I could seriously dig a trike.

  24. Love the post and the advice which could work for my teens as well as your adult son. Take the advice above, and put the sticker on your son’s fridge! 🙂

    Maybe you could have him do the selling with the thought that he would get the money….instead of you doing the work to sell it, and him gaining the benefit. Might show if he really cares. Just sayin…

  25. love the trike 🙂 but not sure about the spyder though dont fancy the two wheels at the front . I love the cruiser type bike’s myself x

  26. sileighty

    Love the post! I can’t imagine how hard it would be for me to not lean through a turn.

    Interestingly, I also just wrote a motorcycle related post too!

  27. Very interesting and entertaining post. It sounds like you have much wisdom to impart to your son.

  28. good bike. so far i’ve only seen this type of bike on the road once only in my whole life

  29. vijay

    good and informative

  30. Nice bike. I find it amusing that the manufacturer or dealer found it necessary to put a decal on the windshield explaining to riders not to lean and to steer through turns. Kind of obvious, don’t ya think. Don’t get me wrong, i’m no expert and I don’t even ride. Yes, I do have a bike (Harley Davidson 1200 Custom Sportster) that I inhierited but I must admit that I’m a little intimidated by the weight of the bike. Maybe the trike is a better solution for me, or even one of those jobs with the two front wheels and one rear drive wheel. (forgot what they’re called, but i’ve seen a few and they look pretty cool. Anyway, love the post. You’ve given me food for thought as to what I should do, or could do in order to fulfil a dream of riding without the risk of dropping the bike. Thanks.

    • What’s interesting to me is that the warning was aimed at experienced motorcycle riders, rather than novices. I agree, if you haven’t been riding a two-wheeler, it would never occur to you to lean on the trike.

  31. Very nice post! The sticker is a great quote as everyone has said! Good for you, I do agree you should let your son sell the other bike since he’ll be getting the $$, let him get the experience, too!

  32. allovernews

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed from all of us here at consider it an honor to be Freshly Pressed .

  33. I myself built my own trike from the ground up; It was fun for me to get this trike done. I started out with a 750 vulcan, and a rear end out of a 2002 chevy tracker, I sent the spindles out to Moser engineering and they turned the spindles down to size for me, and then I shortend the housing my self and put it all to gather, I repainted the bike added grafics, and flames, and stared rideing it the next week, it was different rideing than a bike but it felt like I had my own personal bike that I built taht no one else has that will match it. total build time was about 6 weeks.

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