by Melanie

I took the rider safety course in mid September and shortly after bought my first bike. I bought the bike I wanted and my husband was for it, but someone told him I would not be able to handle it. An HD 2011 Night Rod Special 1250cc and a little over 600 lbs. About 2 weeks later I was practicing in a parking lot going in and out, working on slow look press and roll, I get nervous turning. Well, I was looking where I didn't want to go...right at the curb...went over it and into a tree, not sure why I didn't brake, but I flew off came down on my head and did a few rolls onto the pavement. Since then I have ridden only a few times, one of being today. Our plan was to go thru the neighborhood and on to some back roads to country roads. I didn't even make it out of the neighborhood, my husband made a left hand turn and i couldn't even do it. I came to a stop walked her around and went back to my house. Geez, not even on her for 5 minutes and had to quit. My husband asked me if I was going to be able to get over this?? I don't know!! I haven't even ridden her over 35 mph. Too scared keep thinking about what happened, my husband keeps saying look where you want to go and you will be fine...but I still get really nervous.

Any suggestions?? pointers?? stories??

Thanks in advance!


Comments for Scared

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Feb 05, 2011
by: Myracle

Keep up the faith...when I first went down I was so scared I almost gave up...So I went to the cemetery with a friend and It sounds morbid but I could do so many things. Turns, circles and a lot more....When I got up the confidence I went to the street. Oh my was I terrified. I stalled but after getting my pride hurt and getting over the embarrassment of stalling and taking wide turns I am finally riding a lot...I can't right now because of the weather but I will first of spring. I am 53 yrs old and single and I found out my bike became my best friend...I take off and enjoy, enjoy and enjoy....Be safe and please don't give up.....you won't regret it.....bless.

Nov 19, 2010
Geometry is Critical
by: Susie in Nehalem

Melanie, keep at it! I started riding at the tender age of 61 and because I'm short, began with a sweet little 250 Rebel named Roxie. In the first 18 months, I put 10K miles on her. Loved that bike but my hip joints would get cramped after a while. I was afraid of getting anything bigger but my husband encouraged me to try out a 750 Shadow Aero (the lowest of the Shadows). It looked so huge and intimidating, but fit me like a glove. The handle bars pull back a bit so I'm not leaning forward (VERY hard on your lower back). And the angle of my legs now is more relaxed -- no more hip joint cramps. My new 750 is a dream and remarkably, handles more easily than the 250. The point is the bike's geometry must fit you. If it's too big and you aren't comfortable, you aren't as safe as you can be. Keep practicing and don't listen to the people who urge you to get the biggest, loudest, or whatever -- it has to work for YOU. There's nothing as gratifying as mastery of something scary -- so give yourself the best chance of mastering it, by getting a bike that fits you.

Nov 18, 2010
Keep doing it!
by: Rebecca Anne

Girl you can do it , I took the course with my husband and brother did everything great! Until the test, then I slammed on the breaks and went flying right over the handle bars! Both my husband and brother ( and 10 other people) we watching! I went back a week later and got my permit ( Sept. 19,2010) It was my birthday, I was turning 39 and I was dying to go out riding with the girls.... My point find some girls that will ride with you, men seem to have a different style then us women... and we women are much more supportive. Stay strong and Oh I am in Ohio too! Hope to see you riding this summer!

Nov 17, 2010

I have been riding for over 35 years; around 500,000 miles. I think I have seen and felt it all and I still get into situation that I should have avoided with a little more thought.

I currently ride a Yamaha FJR 1300. Great touring bike. First bike was a Yamaha 650 Special then a 750cc and now a 1300 BUT I would instantly go for a 650 VSTROM for dual sport activities. My point is the desire to MOVE UP to a larger and larger displacement bike has a lot more to do with image and less to do about actual use.

If you are afraid to really use you current bike then it is just too big. Get one that you can easily learn to ride and RIDE. Take the courses, the more the better but experience comes from RIDING and you will get that experience if you ride without fear.

Don't give up. The very best way to see the world is on the seat of a motorcycle.

Nov 08, 2010
by: Sandra

Wow, Melanie; you sure have a lot to digest here! I agree w/at least part of what each response says; and I disagree w/some, too. That will be the trick for you - to find what will work for you and work with that, letting the rest go.

Is the bike too big for you? Not for me to answer - some people trade bikes and are very happy - some people, like me, buy a bike before they know what they want or need and make it work. I happened to start out on Suzuki C50, and she dumped my @$$ all over the neighbor's front yard. Took the class on a Suzuki TU250 (250 cc's versus my cruiser's 800, but taller and harder for me to control w/confidence - go figure!) I passed my course, and went straight home to my C50. We're best of friends now...my husband's HD Heritage is off limits for now. He does not want me on it, more than I'm afraid to try it...but regardless, that first year or first 1000 miles or so should be on ONE bike - the one you intend to ride. Each ride's handling is unique, and I would not enjoy learning the nuances of a new machine every trip I made.

I WANT to ride - EVERYWHERE. My husband wants me home, safe and sound...I don't ride as much as I would like because of that. I'm hoping he relaxes as my skill and confidence increase. Many people think THIS is "the wrong way"...but it works for me. As much as I WANT this, I would get little panic attacks those first few months, just gearing up, and more than once took all the gear right back off after putting it on because I let my husband's fears eat away my confidence. In the end, I wanted it MORE than I wanted to be talked out of it.

My riding season is over for now - the weather is getting colder and I'm not prepared for that. I've put enough $$$ into my first year's riding with bike and gear. But I'm looking forward to next spring - and fully intend to take the Advanced Course as a refresher, and to learn just a few more tips on riding, but this time riding my OWN ride.

Bottom line? If it's not fun, what's the point? If it's fun, then go practice until you are ready for that next mile. Best of luck to you!!

Nov 07, 2010
by: Her Motorcycle

Thanks for posting the image along with your response. I modified the original so that it would show as intended.

To get an image to display, use standard HTML.

img src="yourpic.jpg" Of course, you need to add the < > I could not type it in as it should be as it would display as HTML and it would not show.

Nov 07, 2010
One thing many don't realize...
by: Quicklimegirl

..is that fact that so many new women riders (especially on this site, it seems) start out with huge, heavy Cruisers because many are inseam-challenged and the Cruiser genre have such low seat heights. IMO these type of bikes are TERRIBLE ones to learn on, excepting the seat height issue.

Why? Because the heavy weight, long wheelbase, and fork rake combine to make them not very good turning nor are the chassis very responsive, especially at slower speeds. Ideally, a learner bike should be something very, very easy to handle at ALL speeds; very slow, slow, medium and fast speeds. Something YOU can "manhandle" easily instead of vice-versa.

I've mentored and taught many riders who had ZERO experience. One was my Nephew. He was greener than my front lawn. I wouldn't even let him start on the little Ninja 250 I bought for him..as good as starter bike those are, it was too much for him to handle IMO. So I started him on a vintage '75 Yamaha RD60. Because the bike was SO light (< 200 lb.) and only had about 4-5 hp, he was able to master the basics w/o any intimidation and easily move up to other bikes. See pic:

Get yourself a TW200 or other small, light, street legal trail bike. Something you can easily flick around and learn what real handling is. When you have mastered the basics on something so less daunting, you can eventually move up. I think you should sell (or store) your bike for quite awhile. There's no way you are ready for something like that yet.

Nov 07, 2010
by: Anonymous

Some people start with a smaller cc bike to learn the handling and gain confidence. My husband started with 300cc bike and commuted to work and went to do errands a year later he is now on a 750cc bike. Our rider course mentioned that it is better to start with a smaller bike to gain confidence and control.

You can also get the book " Proficient Motorcyclist" by David Hough. I myself started with my friends 125 cc Suzuki and it helped a lot, then just move up. My friend rode that bike for a year and then moved up to her Harley an then went to Stugis and did a cross country road trip. Her husband had been riding for years and he suggested to start on the smaller bike and then move up. I know there are many who have started on bigger bikes. Smaller cc bikes are a lot of fun and a good way to get comfortable. You will be ready to ride your 1250cc but sounds like you need to have some fun on a smaller bike first. Many may disagree, it all depends on your learning curve. You need to get out there and keep up your skills and if you are scared this 1250 cc bike may not be the one to do that.

Just my 2 cents.

Keep the shinny side up.

Nov 07, 2010
Less Power to Start
by: Rene L

Hi Melanie,

The ladies have given a lot of good advice and encouragement. In addition, my two cents is that you have likely started on a bike that is way too powerful for a beginner. The size, height/weight might be manageable but that is way too much engine for the average beginner. I don't necessarily think the first bike needs to be a 250 Rebel but 500 or 600 cc's to start and get good practice on the street is plenty.

Good luck.

Nov 07, 2010
Hang in There
by: Nina

You might have gotten the clue that there are many riders out there that are scared and underestimate the skills they actually have.

I remember well the many times I panicked as soon as I put my gear on and the many times I froze at the end of the driveway, in tears and freaked out. Point is, you can get over that. I took private motorcycle lessons, just me, my bike and my instructor. He showed me that I could! Biggest thing he had to teach me was riding slow and still have complete control of your bike.

That is how he taught me: First gear, clutch squeezed, foot firmly on the rear brake, now give it gas (and not just a little bit) slowly release the clutch until you are in the friction zone (not further)and just slightly reduce the pressure you put on the rear brake until you creep forward. Do not take back on the gas. You control the speed only with the amount of pressure you put on the rear brake. That is something I had to get out of my car-driver brain: To give gas (lots of it) and to step almost fully on the brake at the same time.
Giving gas will give you stability. If you reduce your gas, you will start to wobble. Try it next time on a parking lot.

My motorcycle instructor also drilled into me: ?Look down and you will go down!? This is no myth! He repeatedly stood almost in my path and told me not to look at him as he did not want to get hit! I learned to keep him (the hazard) in my peripheral vision only. Everyone needs to learn to look away from hazards and to look for the escape route (or in your case where you want to end up after the turn.) Hang in there, have patience with yourself and treat yourself to some private lessons with a certified instructor.

Nov 06, 2010
Advanced Motorcyle Safety Course
by: Dino

Hi Scared..first welcome to the world of riding, second welcome to the world of falling.

The best thing I could tell you is LEARN from your mistakes. I was once told there are 2 types of riders: those who have gone down & those who will go down. Difference is how you handle it. Personally I am a member of the former, but it has never stopped me from getting back in the saddle. In 2001 I was hit broad side by a kid in a BMW, I got hurt pretty bad & it took me a year before I got a new bike and got back on the road. The biggest thing that helped was and is that I take the "Advanced Motorcycle Safety Course" every time I get a new bike. This course lets you use YOUR bike during the whole course. It helps you become familiar and confident with your bike in a controlled environment.

Good Luck, Good riding,


Nov 06, 2010
by: melanie

Thanks harleyval!! I can place my feet flat when I am at a stop. I don't think the bike is too big for me either. I didn't have my little spill because the bike was too big for me, I made a mistake (one that I don't think I will make again) and was looking down right at that curb. Because of that, I'm nervous just like I think anyone else would be after getting into an accident. I think I will be able to overcome, just like you said go at my own pace...thanks again and also to everyone else!!

Nov 05, 2010
Don't give up yet!
by: HarleyVal

Melanie, I have been where you are. Everyone is different, but I don't think the size of the bike is as important as some people. I took my class in lat July 2010. I bought a HD Sportster 1200 (a little over 500 pounds). I spent almost 3 months practicing in the parking lot of a closed mall near my house. My husband would ride it over and I'd follow in our car. I practiced all the things I learned in the class.

I didn't drop it, but I did run up on the curb once. That had nothing to do with the size of the bike whatsoever. It was just object fixation (which is what your incident sounds like). I never felt comfortable on the bike. The center of gravity was very high, and it was just hard to ride for me.

Having never gotten out of the parking lot, I traded it for a HD Heritage Softail Classic (about 650 pounds). It's about 100 pounds heavier, but so much easier for me to ride. I've now been out on the road and ridden a few hundred miles.

My two points are these.

1) Don't stress so much on the weight of the bike. If you can put your feet down flat when stopped, don't worry so much about the size.

2) Don't get in a hurry to get out on the road. Everyone moves at a different pace. Passing the class just gives you enough skill to ride around cones in a parking lot. LOL I suggest going back to your parking lot and practicing your skills over and over until you feel comfortable. It's not a race. Take your time and go at your own pace.

Good luck to you.

Nov 05, 2010
You Can Do It
by: Anonymous

I dropped the Rebel in the class twice - both times looking down at the ground. I got my license in August this year. I had already bought a 2000 Honda Sabre 1100 on Ebay in May. It sat in my garage till I got my license even though I got my permit. I was scared to ride it. After I got my license, every time I took my bike out around the neighborhood, I would get sick to my stomach cause I was so scared. My hands would be shaking, but I grit my teeth and kept at it. After a couple weeks riding around the block, I tried going further. I rode a couple miles down a major road at night to attend bike night at a pub. Still scared. Eventually, after a month or so of riding to bike night, I got less scared and went on a 100 mile ride for Autism. After that, I felt so much more comfortable, but I still get challenged on hills and curves. Just keep trying...you can do it too.

Nov 05, 2010
Start Small
by: Yolanda a

You heard it over and over....start out small. My husband has a used car store and started selling scooters a while back. The first time I got on one (a few days after signing up for the HD rider course) I rode right across the parking lot and into a ditch. I didn't hurt myself, but it taught me right then that every action requires a thought. I rode a Yamaha 250 for about 2000 miles before I graduated to a Honda 600. I would love to move up, but I also ride alone quite a bit, since hubby works the weekends. I can pick it up by myself, and push it up the driveway by myself. You need confidence in handling the machine, start small.

Nov 04, 2010
Keep Trying
by: Anonymous

Keep going - like many said try something a little smaller to get your confidence back up and better to turn with. I took the course last year and just bought a bike that we are working on. My son had me get on his C50 and although I could go straight, trying to turn was difficult, due to the weight. My xv535 will be running soon and I can not wait to get on her and take a spin on something of my own and fits me JUST right! Have fun.

Nov 04, 2010
by: Anonymous

Dear Scared - suggest you park the big bike and get a smaller one for practice till you are more comfortable...Every gal I have talked to has told me this (from experience). Don't give up or in to your fears. Deal with it head on. You will be happy once you are able to ride the smaller bike.

Good luck!

Nov 04, 2010
by: Yvonne

You can do it, girl! I hadn't driven a bike in over 35 yrs. On Easter Sunday, 2009, I got on our scooter, 150cc, for the 2nd time and a truck pulled out in front of me. Crushed my left leg and broke my right wrist. I was out of work for about 9 mos. Bought myself a Honda Shadow 1100 while recuperating. In April & May of 2010, I rode it in the parking lot relearning. Went to SD in June for my 60th birthday, rode the Black Hills and I've been riding ever since. My husband didn't think I'd ever get on a bike again, showed him. lol I'm enjoying it more than ever. You'll be ok, just watch where you're going.

Nov 04, 2010
by: Stephanie (Cincinnati)

Oh girl, I completely understand you being scared. I was sooo scared for sooo long. I stayed in the parking lot for almost four months! Just do it at your own pace! That's all. I got my hubby to drive the bike to a school parking lot and I just practiced and practiced! Don't worry about if you're taking too long, it's not a race. I live on a hill and have to pull out onto a 55 mph street from a grade, anywhere I want to go, I have to go down a windy hill...ugghh! I'm scared every time. Since it's cold now I'm just going to wait until Spring to pick it up again. Set small goals for yourself to build your confidence. That helped me a lot.

Nov 04, 2010
That Happens a Lot
by: Fiddler

I felt like the biggest dork in the world when I sold my 900cc bike and bought a 250. In retrospect it's the best thing I ever did for my riding. In a year with my 900 I rode only 2000 miles, but with my 250 I have already done 7000 this year, and I'm in Texas so I have a bit more riding to do before the year is over. The bigger bike was just to much for me, it killed my confidence, and robbed me of all the fun I had hoped to have. I no longer feel like a dork, I feel like a gal who is having way too much fun!

Nov 04, 2010
by: nie

Wow..I did too want a bigger bike..but I got a sporty and they said that is a small bike and it's easier to handle and maybe in a year or 2, I will be able to get a bigger bike...I haven't gone on long trips but I think when you do country roads you will be able to become a little expert on the road..Pray about it don't be afraid of it and go with someone that makes you feel comfortable...keep your spirits up..and make sure that's what you want..!

Nov 04, 2010
Learn to walk first
by: Gina

Hi Mel,

That story is the same I've herd for many yrs, even for the guys too. Ya need to learn to walk girl b4 ya can run. Git a smaller bike for short runs to the store etc. Learn the feel, It's kinda like riding a horse but yet ski-ing. I usta race bikes, it didn't happen over night to learn the feel. Take your time, you'll get back up on that Iron Horse in time. That is a big horse ya got, learn her feel, the slower ya go the tuffer its, but ya can't just letter rip just yet. Get a little bike both of ya can use, learn, then one day soon you'll wanna get back on the Iron Iron Horse. Been riding all my life,, small bikes and big ones, dumped a few times too, as well as the best riders in the world, you can do it.

Nov 04, 2010
Dont Give Up
by: Anonymous

The key to it is to just get out there and do it. I'm a new rider as well. I took the class in July and bought my bike in September. I too bought what I wanted, a 2010 HD Softail Deluxe. My boyfriend took me to a parking lot the first day and the highway the next. Its been a little over two months and I have put 875 miles on. Don't give up! You can do it!!! Safe riding.

Rochelle in Chicago

Nov 04, 2010
Its okay!!
by: Brenda Calhoon

Honey, its OKAY, I'm still that way!! been in the parking lot of my school lots since I just turned 50, this was a present to myself, and i took 3 courses here which was about 4 days. you can look at my fb and see the pictures, i just could not get the hang of the gears, i loved it and soooo wanted to ride my Yamaha 650, but scared and just could not think of going in traffic, i wish i had started years ago, so i traded it in for a 400 crossover, automatic, now it is bigger and heavier then my regular bike, Honda sells them, at least I made it out of the parking lot and got to 60!!! i need more practice still but that is okay its MY toy, and for my enjoyment and will take my time to be completely comfortable on it!! that is important. So take your time, so what if you have to practice more, its your LIFE!!! and you don't want to give up or quit to early, or go get a used bike that is maybe 250 or something they usually sell them cheat on Craiglist or dirt bike, and play around on them, do what YOU feel is right.

Good luck!

Nov 04, 2010
Relax don't be scared.
by: Katt Smith

I took my riders course years ago. I remember my 1st trip out on the road. I was freaked out. Then I remember that it is a machine and I tell it what to do and where to go. I control how fast or slow I went. Yes, I had a line of traffic back up behind me for over a mile but I didn't care. It was all about becoming one with the machine.

Best thing i can tell you is to just relax.

Nov 04, 2010
by: Anonymous

That's a really big bike for someone as little as you!

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