Rush-ing down I-64

The riding life of a high schooler


Achyuta Ambal

Junior Carter Rush hops on his motorcycle and starts the engine. Rush decided to take his bike to school at the beginning of the school year because it was convenient and fun to ride. “I like my bike. It gives me a thrill that I can’t find in anything else,” Rush said.

Careening down the hill, his 2006 Yamaha R6 roaring and shattering the calm of the chilly morning, junior Carter Rush rides his motorcycle to the pit.

Rush first felt a connection with motorcycles when two sports bikes roared past him on a car drive home, going more than 150 mph.

“They blew past us, and I just kept watching them as they rode off. I was confused about what had happened at first, but I realized that it would be my [calling],” Rush said.

Rush’s dad purchased a 2013 Yamaha WR 450 F dirt bike to teach Rush on the land the family had recently bought in late 2021. His dad has experience driving dirt bikes and three-wheelers from growing up on a farm, but he stopped riding until Rush started showing an interest.

“The dirt bike was the closest thing I could learn on because it was lower power, but then I wanted to start driving on the street more, and the dirt bike can only do that for so long. It can only go up to 80 [mph]. I wanted a bike that could keep up with traffic,” Rush said.

In March, Rush bought a 2006 Yamaha R6 for $2,600 with his own money. With a top speed of 165 mph, the bike exceeded all Rush’s needs in a motorcycle.

“It’s an apples-to-oranges comparison because [the bikes] are so different. [With the dirt bike], you can go fast and have a loud bike, and then [with the WR 450 F], you have a different riding position. It’s way more comfortable, and you can stand up on the pegs,” Rush said.

Carter Rush’s top tips for learning how to ride a motorcycle. (Achyuta Ambal)

Ultimately, the best part of riding for Rush is not the motorcycle he is riding; it is the connections that come with it. Rush goes riding with his friends and the people in the motorcycle circle often while riding down a mixture of highways and local roads.

“I’ve noticed that the more threatening the stereotypes are, the more welcoming it is once you get there. That’s also proven true for the motorcycle community,” Rush said. “It’s full of fun people [whose] only connection is that they ride, and it’s a great community.”

When the group gets together, it can be anywhere from five to 100 people, all with unique bikes and personalities. People with a new motorcycle license and 10 years of experience drive side by side.

“Networking is really simple in the motorcycle community because it’s just ‘Oh, you’re fun to ride with’ or ‘Oh, can I have your phone number,’ and then eventually that’ll lead to you networking with the people. [It] snowballs into having a group of people you ride with regularly,” Rush said.

However, riding motorcycles is not always glamorous. Most cars drive recklessly around motorcycles, which can lead to complex situations. 

“People not watching, not looking around for anything and not being aware of their surroundings is frustrating. [It’s] annoying and dangerous when people merge into you without looking just because you are smaller [than a car],” Rush said. “I have almost been hit a couple of times because other drivers are being reckless.”

Rush does not plan on stopping riding anytime soon. He plans to buy a more powerful bike, a liter bike or a bike that is at a power level of 1000 cc and is looking forward to getting better at riding.

“There’s still a lot of things I need to do to get comfortable with sport bikes in general before I move up to a more powerful vehicle, but I’m ready for the ride ahead,” Rush said.