By Jennifer Warren
But not in this case.
Greeting a visitor in the front of his 111-07 Atlantic Ave. store in Richmond Hill, Ramcharitar, 35, a man of medium build and boyish excitement, offered a kind but crushing, iron-vice handshake, warmly explaining the significance of a strong grip.
“You can tell a lot about people by their handshake,” he said, apologizing for any inadvertent injuries he might have caused. His own solid shake betrayed a long history of revving and breaking behind a bike.
But while Ramcharitar has raced motorcycles in the past and boasts a fat album of photos from his racing circuit days, more recently he has become a strong advocate of motorcycle safety.
This year while still selling motorcycles, Ramcharitar launched Cycle Rescue Racing Center, a program that teaches cyclists safe riding skills, among them improved breaking, acceleration and peripheral vision.
With his new endeavor, Ramcharitar takes clients to race tracks in the Poconos and New Hampshire to teach them the basics of cycling, skills which transfer to the city street, he said.
“Do you know why people get in car accidents?” Ramcharitar asked. “Because where you look, that's where you go,” he said, explaining that when driving, most motorists mistakenly focus on the car in their path.
“The brain is telling you that's the only possibility. You don't have another option,” he said. But if a driver looks instead to the gap behind the car, the “escape spot,” he or she can avoid collisions.
Motorcycle technology, Ramcharitar said, has advanced tremendously in recent years. Fifteen years ago a motorcycle with a 600 cubic centimeter cylinder would travel 100 mph. Today, a bike with 600 cc's can travel up to speeds of 175 mph.
“The motorcycle industry is developing bikes. What they're not developing, what they're not doing is spending money on good riders,” he said.
Ramcharitar's love of motorcycles came as an outgrowth of the usual childhood affection for bicycles. But his somehow remained.
As a teenager in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, he put his hobby to use, riding through the city as a bike messenger. And at 17, he bought his first motorcycle, a black Suzuki 100. From there it was a slow and steady climb through motorcycle mechanic shops and dealerships until he established his own in 1993.
“It's something that just hit a spark in me,” Ramcharitar said, reveling in his parts-cluttered office, “whether rain or shine.”