Confidence Level

by Stephanie
(Cincinnati, OH)

My Bike

My Bike

Have any of you had this before? I have my license but I'm still in the parking lot. Have been for about 15-20 hours of seat time. I was so full of confidence the other day that I had my hubby pull the bike out of the parking lot into the neighborhood and I drove all through the neighborhood until we got to the busy street again. But I was so happy that I finally went on the road. We went to the parking lot again yesterday and there was someone there riding on a scooter and people there watching...it just made me uncomfortable. I did the neighborhood thing again but I was so shaky! It was like all the confidence I had was sucked out of me. I felt like I was starting over. I feel so good about it all day then I get there and just fall apart.
But I feel determined and I'm going again tonight. How long is too long to stay in the parking lot?

Comments for Confidence Level

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Aug 06, 2010
Visualize Success!
by: Leabo

I logged at least 100 miles through neighborhoods with a few short jaunts on busy streets before riding main streets and the interstate. Prior to taking the Rider's Edge course and buying a bike, I visualized what I would be doing on my bike while driving in my car. I rode dirt bikes in the 70's (I'm now 52), so I had some experience with maneuvering a bike. Practice your shifting skills along with "being one" with your machine. I am 5'4" and 120 lbs. and ride a Honda Shadow 750. I've ridden the interstate and many "twistys" in the mountains here in Colorado. With the support of my husband on his Road King and other long time riders I have put on many miles in the saddle around town also. Visualize success!!

Jul 27, 2010
Still Get Nervous - Every Ride
by: Sandra

We KNOW we need experience; we KNOW a mistake could be a disaster; we KNOW...too much??

Each time I decide to go for a ride (I have less than 1000 miles seat time), as I'm putting on my boots, I get a nervous stomach and make excuses NOT to go...one more load of laundry or some other chore, oops! time for my favorite show soon, etc.

Sometimes, I talk myself right out of the ride. But most of the time, I gear up, saddle up, and somewhere between swinging my leg over the bike and getting her out of the garage and turned toward the street the nerves give way to excitement.

I go through my mental checklist: hair up, gear on and secured, license and phone packed/ pocketed, tire pressure checked, gas & oil checked, FINE-C (start-up procedure), final check of mirrors, etc., and I'm all about the RIDE.

I used to be nervous for the first 15 minutes or so of the actual ride; then just to the main road; then just to the stop sign; then just bouncing onto the street from the drive; now it's just until I get on...

I guess I'm saying it gets better, and the joy of riding really helps get through the fear of being imperfect.

Shiny side UP!

Jul 26, 2010
Go at YOUR Own Pace
by: Anonymous

I'm going to be 40 this year and I just got my license in May... I did have confidence problems to begin with (my previous experience on motorcycles had only been at the passenger level and that was years ago) and still do get nervous when I haven't ridden for a few days but I try not to let myself go too long without riding.. It really depends on my mood to tho.. and whether I am tired after a long day or if I am fresh from a night of sleep and a cup of coffee... I bought my 1st bike in the beginning of June (650 V Star classic) and spent 2 weeks afraid to get out in the traffic... I finally just made myself get out there... I was so frustrated about buying the dang bike and not even using it like I wanted too... No way was I gonna make a payment on something that I wasn't gonna use!! but one thing I did do that may help (and I still do it) is pick my time of day.. My absolute favorite time to ride is on Sunday morning before church traffic. There is almost no one on the road and by the time church traffic does start up I've been out there long enough to be comfortable.. And that worked for me... but the one thing I have learned is that you have to go at your own pace and with what you are comfortable with... if you aren't comfortable pushing yourself then don't.. take your time, be safe, and enjoy it

Jul 25, 2010
Learning to Ride
by: Dia

Bought my bike 2 years ago for my 61st birthday. First day on it fell over stopping and sprained my wrist really bad so I could not ride again for 6 weeks. Bummer! So after that it took several months to get comfortable enough to really ride but the wait was worth it! I did a lot of practicing and just this week returned from a trip to Arkansas and riding the Ozarks. Take your time and don't worry about what others think. Do it at your own speed.

Jul 11, 2010
You can do it!!!
by: sharon

I learned to let the fear drive me. I had rapid heart beat, sweats the whole bit every time I approached a stop sign,a corner, a car. I just remembered what it was like when I was 16 and driving my dad's 70 impala.sheer terror!! But I wanted that license so bad I just drove through the fear. At 50 I got my bike permit, the same terror returned, A lot harder to get through, but definitely doable. Did a lousy job my first day out of the parking lot, Didn't look in the direction I was turning and ran out of road. crashed, got back on and drove through the fear!!!

Jul 02, 2010
They ARE looking at you.
by: Yo-yo


You are just worried you are going to do something wrong and one of two things is going to happen, everyone's going to laugh or its going to leave a mark. Realize one thing, yes, everyone is looking at the girl riding the motorcycle. Once you get used to putting on the show, you will enjoy yourself and relish the fact you are riding for the trill of the ride and then you will forget about everyone else who wishes they had the kahunas to go down the road you are already on.

If you are worried about dropping it, learn how to pick it up. (butt to the bike)

Jul 02, 2010
Confidence..on the road
by: Stephanie

Okay, I left the parking lot and went out on the road. I didn't go far but it included one busy street and then through the neighborhood. All my turns were right on and my hubby said the only thing is I need to pick up the speed. Used to driving in a parking lot so...... I just keep thinking I have to stop ahead anyway, why go fast just to have to slow down. Silly logic, I know, but I'll work on the speed thing next. It is comforting knowing he's behind me though... he sacrifices every night just to watch me ride around a parking lot. What a nice guy!

Jun 28, 2010
Thanks for the feedback.
by: Stephanie

Thanks everyone for your comments. They do help! I know I shouldn't care if someones in "MY" parking lot and from now on, I'm just ignoring them. Like my husband said, they are probably looking at you wishing they could ride as good as you do on your bike instead of on their scooter! As far as the bike goes, I do great maneuvers on this bike. Might not be the smallest to learn on but I didn't want to invest in a 250 and then turn around and sell that and buy another one and learn that bike all over again. I figured I'd just get the bike I want to ride and learn on that. I can do slow u-turns on it and stop fine. The bike doesn't worry me, cars do! And, you're right, I have great confidence in the parking lot but how long can I stay feeling good there? I do need to build my confidence on the road. This week my goal is to drive home from the parking lot with my hubby behind me in the car. I'll let you all know how it goes. Can't wait.
And again, THANKS!

Jun 27, 2010
Don't wait too long.
by: Mojo

Find a group that is willing to go slowly, let you ride in the middle of the group and take frequent breaks. Go for a couple hours, max. Do it again i a few days. The important this is to GO.

The one and only thing that gets you confidence is butt-in-the-seat time. You need to be cautious and ride smart, but it's time to leave the parking lot, girl.

No idea where you are, but if you're in West Michigan - let me know. You're welcome to ride with us.

Jun 27, 2010
I call it Smart!
by: Anonymous

I finished my riding school course last week after years of driving "illegally?". I was shocked to see how much I learned and how uncomfortable I felt knowing that I had been on the roads for so long before taking my course. The most important thing that I've found is that it's EASY to go fast on the Freeways etc. - that the true test of your control over your bike is on slow speed maneuvers. I'm heading back over to the parking lot today! Just make your tests a little harder - challenge yourself!

Jun 26, 2010
Practice vs. Confidence
by: Carey

I know exactly how you feel. My husband takes me to parking lots to get use to the new bikes we buy. He encourages me to ride ride ride, but I want to practice as if I'm on the street (stop and goes, etc). It's pretty easy to ride in a parking lot. I have no confidence problems there...or even when I took the intermediate MS course. I've enjoyed doing both, but I don't need to work on my confidence levels there. So I find myself wanting to leave the parking lot and head out to the streets because that's where I need to get the experience. Parking lots are great to practice maneuvers, but not so much to improve on your confidence. The streets are great to build on your confidence, but not where you want to practice maneuvers for the first time. Hope this helps!

Jun 25, 2010
I still haven't left the neighborhood.
by: Jenn

I don't think there really is a time. At least I hope not. :) I bought a bike in May after I took the MSF class. I've been staying in the neighborhood. I have yet to take it into traffic. I keep hoping to get the courage to ride. My brother has told me that I'm treating it like a moped. He's such a smart a$$. :) But good luck to you. I'm sure you'll have the courage back in no time!

Jun 23, 2010
by: Robin

Hi. Got my license recently and got my bike in March. I have spent hours. Yes hours and more hours in the parking lot. It was so helpful. We are gone for the summer and know that when we get back in Fl I will practice there again. Still struggle with u-turns from a standstill. You will be fine. We all take a different amount of time to be comfortable. When I got into the street all that practice made a huge difference. Hang in there!

Jun 22, 2010
Go at YOUR Own Pace
by: Quicklimegirl

I think you shouldn't be worried about others' progress or that someone else was there at the lot. You need to do what feels comfortable for you w/o worrying whether others feel your progress isn't up to a standard you're not ready for.

I would also suggest trying to find something a lot smaller, lighter and more maneuverable than the heavy cruiser you're starting with. The fork rake and type of chassis they have make for slow steering and really don't seem like a good bike to learn on. What about a street legal trail bike like a Yamaha TW125 or 200?

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