Good Vibrations


As you may remember in a previous post about my writing style it was mentioned that I am deaf which has brought up a question from time to time by fellow readers asking how did I managed to learned to when it was time to shift the gears on a motorcycle if I can’t hear the engine.

To be honest at first I was a little bit stressed out about it since the TW200 does not have a tachometer.  When I learned to drive a car with a stick shift, I relied on the tachometer as my indicator.  So how was I going to figure when it is time to shift on a motorcycle without a tach?  So we looked into finding an aftermarket tachometer to put on the bike but couldn’t find one that would work.  Then my late husband had an epiphany, looked into my eyes and then asked me how do I listen to music?  Well, at first I was little peeved at him for even asking, he should know by now the answer to that question. Then it dawned on me why he was asking me so I could be reminded.  When I go to a bar, I take out my hearing aids because it picks up too much background noise to appreciate the music.  So basically, I listen to music by feeling the vibration.  So he said I should learn how to shift the same way.

In the beginning, I rode as a pillion with my left hand on his left leg trying to feel the vibration of the bike and feeling the movement of his leg when he shifted gears.  Then we would switch roles and he would put his left hand on my left leg and when it was time to shift, he would just tap my leg to let me know that it was time to shift.  It was awkward at first but I finally got the hang of it.

So I can ride or drive any motor vehicle just like anyone else in most countries.  Believe it or not, there are 26 countries that do not allow a deaf person to acquire a driver license such as Egypt, Ukraine, Morocco and Haiti.

However, I do have to admit that if there are strange noises going on that could indicate a mechanical issue with motor vehicle, I’m at a lost there.  So I have to rely on a family member to let me know or be religious about getting the maintenance done on a timely manner.

7 thoughts on “Good Vibrations

  1. Gina, If you need a place to stay along the route: I am in Salome, Arizona ( about 100 miles west of Phoenix on Route 60.) I am 75 years old – so you are safe! I also have a pickup truck and a utility trailer for emergency pick-ups. I have been stranded (and resecued) in the past so am ready to “Pay it Forward” if you need help within 1,000 miles of Salome. Sincerely, John Mander (541) 891-6788


  2. Shifting by feel of the engine vibration is a great plan. I’ll bet you are in tune with your bike well enough that you will feel a mechanical problem in much the same way.


  3. It makes perfect since to me that you can feel when it is time to shift. I am hearing but I still shift when my truck feels like it is time to shift, not by any sound but by the vibrations.


  4. Reblogged this on Deaf NWA and commented:
    It is crazy to me that there are so many places that would not allow a Deaf person to have a license.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with shifting.
    I hope to read many more blogs from you.


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