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An Investment

Michael Oher's moving story of how he beat the odds to become drafted as a left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens is well described in the award winning 2009 movie "The Blind Side" with Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. Based on the book by Michael Lewis, it chronicles Michael's life from school through the 2003 NFL draft.

Although movies tend to use some literary license during production, additional details and clarifications were revealed in a couple of follow-up books by the major players in this story. Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy, with Sally Jenkins, shared their own version of their life with Michael in their book "In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving."

Michael Oher, with Don Yaeger, reflected on how he went from being homeless to playing in the NFL in his book, "I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond." Among the many inspirational messages Michael delivers is, "Each good choice you make is an investment in your future."

As motorcyclists, you're faced with a lot of choices and any or all of them can determine just how enjoyable your rides will be and how long you'll be able to ride. What riding style have you chosen? Do you ride with a more relaxed and laid back style or are you more aggressive in your riding? Are you always in a hurry to get somewhere or are you simply just out to enjoy the ride? On longer trips, do you ride from gas stop to gas stop or do you take more frequent breaks to reduce fatigue?

What about your approach to learning? Are you content with your current riding skill set or have you chosen to continue to learn more and get even better? There are more training opportunities available now than ever before with more advanced and challenging programs coming. Do you take the time to read motorcycle safety books and articles? Do you critique and learn from every ride or are you simply content to just get home. After a close call do you choose to evaluate what you might have done differently that could have avoided the situation or do you tend to blame the circumstances?

Even what kind of gear you are going to wear while riding and determining who you are going to ride with are choices. Do you choose to wear all the gear all the time or do you feel like your experienced enough that you won't crash? Will you wear a full coverage helmet, a three quarter, a half shell or no helmet? Will you wear a weather appropriate jacket (with or without body armor) or decide it's too hot for gear? Deciding to ride impaired or alcohol free is also a choice.

Who makes your riding choices? Do you make them yourself or are they dictated by peer pressure? Who determines how you ride? Who determines what you wear while riding? The decisions you make can affect how much fun you have while riding. As Michael says, good choices are investments in your riding future.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!