When do you start feeling like a real rider?
When you've completed a long journey through bloody awful weather.
When you've crashed, and walked away without a scratch.
When you've climbed the capacity or power ladder to the top, and then realised that there's more to motorcycling than sheer aggression.
When you've completed your first DIY service or fixed something that was broken, and the bike runs better afterwards.
When you've had to push the bike either home or to somewhere where you could leave it, or a petrol station.
When you've owned enough bikes to hold your own in a conversation about the merits of different types.
When you've ridden in a foreign country.
When you've received a speeding ticket.
When you've ridden at least three of the following: a Ducati, a BMW, a two-stroke of over 250cc, a bike more than thirty years old, a 50cc moped or scooter, a sidecar outfit.
When you've been to a motorcycle race meeting.
When you've been to a bike rally and spent at least two nights under canvas.
When you know that the answer to "How can I stop my bike misfiring?" is not: "Clean the carbs."
When you've ridden in summer in T-shirt and jeans and to hell with ATGATT.
When you've stopped to assist a broken-down rider by the side of the road.
When someone has stopped to assist you by the side of the road.
When you've found the perfect long-term pillion partner (of whatever sex).
When you've learned how to change tyres quickly.
When, on a journey of more than 100 miles, your average speed has been higher than the limit.
When you've dropped a bike at low speed or a standstill, in a panic picked it up without a thought, and then wondered: "How the hell did I lift that?"
When you've scraped the undercarriage of your bike, even if it's a Harley or cruiser.
When you've ridden in temperatures below freezing, even though you have a car.
When you realise that most of your long-term real friends ride motorcycles as well.