Anxious Starter

by Jenny

OK ladies, I've bought a 250 Suzuki to practice my riding skills or lack of skills. I've ridden in the parking lot for awhile. Now I want to venture out onto the neighborhood streets. My question is "how do you get over the nerves"? I enjoy my practice in the parking lot once I go but am always anxious before I start. Once I go, I'm fine. Figure anxious on the street is not a good thing. Any advise on how to get over these feelings. Do they go away in time? or do I have to learn to deal with them? Sometimes I let these feelings stop me from going then regret I did that. I see and hear of other beginner riders who just seem to get on their bikes and go with no nervous feelings. I want to be one of those women but guess it isn't in my DNA. This makes me feel like I am the only one that feels this way although I know that can't be true. I've taken the MSF course and did not pass. I want to get rid of these feelings so I can take it again without feeling like I am going to throw up before starting. Not passing, was a big confidence killer. But, I know I can do this; if I could just get rid of these feelings. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Or is it just, practice, practice, practice? Do it anyway!

Comments for Anxious Starter

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Mar 16, 2011
Me too!
by: Anonymous

I think I'm exactly like you. I didn't pass the MSF class the first time either. I was basically too slow and over-cautious. I then bought a Kawasaki Eliminator 125 (smallest possible motorcycle), and practiced for a few months with my boyfriend's help. He would drive it to a parking lot and then I'd do figure-8s, swerves, emergency stops, etc. for an hour or so. I would always feel anxious before practicing too. By fall, I was riding around the residential neighborhood and feeling ok about it. I re-took the class in late October and actually got the best score in the class thanks to practicing all the skills a million times. Then it got too cold to ride, but I'm looking forward to getting out there this spring. I think the anxiety will get less and less with time and practice. I'm nervous about cars too, but I think I just have to keep getting out there and doing a little more and a little more, and I'll feel more and more comfortable. Good luck!

Dec 06, 2010
Anxious Starter
by: Jenny

I went back in October and retook the MSF course. PASSED!!! this time. Second time around was fun. Still nervous, still stressful, but fun this time around. Riding around the neighborhood did help my confidence. I now have my endorsement and ready to really start riding.

Don't give up if you really want it. First time was a disaster since I had absolutely no skills. Almost gave up but didn't so don't you give up either. It can be yours. No one told us how hard the course was really going to be. If I can do this, anyone can. Get familiar with the bike. Take what you did get from the course and use it to practice. Then go back when you are ready and you will do it.

Dec 05, 2010
Same Here
by: Emma

I recently took a MSF course and failed.dumped the bike twice in the same slow maneuver. Never ever have ridden before and of course being a silly newbie chose the wrong bike.Way too tall for my small stature. 5ft 110lbs on a Kawasaki tu250x. Too Tall and way too heavy. Didn't realize this until it was too late and the instructor wouldn't let me switch or trade for a smaller bike. VERY MUCH NOT GOOD FOR MY CONFIDENCE. It's taking me awhile to get back into the spirit of wanting to ride. I have chosen a bike I'm going to go buy tomorrow to practice on until I take the course again, pretty quick. No fun practicing if you cant take the test cause your deployed. I am very, very nervous and yet excited that I get a second chance to get my endorsement.

May 28, 2010
by: robin


Yes..at the beginning cars scared me too...I was like really afraid and it makes me feel good to hear you voice that. I feel much better now...and it has only been since March that I have been riding. Am going away from June to Sept so won't be riding until Oct. I hope I won't go through the whole fear thing again lol.

Hang in there..it sounds like you are doing great!


May 28, 2010
Anxious Starter
by: Jenny

Since I stalled on takeoff and made the right turn too wide on my venture out into the neighborhood, this morning I went back to the parking lot and practiced my take off and right hand turns. My plan is to continue to ride in parking lot, ride in neighborhood then back to parking lot to practice whatever I don't do perfect in the neighborhood. Someone ask "what I was afraid of". Think my biggest fear is CARS. I'm not afraid of the bike and I know I have some skill but will car drivers see me, will I see them. Won't attempt real traffic until I feel very comfortable with my skills. It seems to help me to be able to post my feelings, failures and accomplishments here. Hope I don't bore you and thanks for listening and encouraging.

May 27, 2010
Persistence - Page 3
by: Anonymous

persistence: page 3

Getting the wrinkles out...it's a new relationship...but hot damn, I felt good. I did it. Stay persistent. Perfect practice makes it perfect.

Dedicate yourself, don't give up and keep getting out there.

Get instruction, pass the MSF course, then maybe look for a traffic course. But at some point, you gotta get out there alone. Because, in the road test you are alone. So, you need to add the miles..on your own in preparation. But, before your road test, ride with yourself as your only companion, and others. Ride, ride, ride and the confidence and the skills and the joy will increase at every single ride.

And....I gifted myself. I promised myself when I passed the road test, I would buy for myself a nice lightweight summer riding jacket..and I did........

Be kind to yourself...and set off. Even baby birds have to get out of the nest sometime.....prepare and do it....don't look back. Keep looking forward....

Warm regards,


May 27, 2010
Persistence - Page 2
by: kim

persistence: page 2

Test day, I only had to pay attention to the rules of the road, read the road test books again the night before and practice along 1 hour before the test.

I also came to the realization that I can drive a large 1 ton dually and pull a 40 foot horse trailer and never had to get special license and training for that unit, so I was a bit annoyed at all the hurdles for a motorcycle license.

But, then, about 1 week before the test, I had a revelation. The tester isn't testing my ability to fail or pass me, I am putting myself out there for a tester to assess my riding and skills to see if I am a danger to myself.

If there is anything I am not doing right, it is only myself I will hurt, so Test Day, is a day to go drive a road test and see if you are ready to have wings to fly....

If not, your saving your own life and the tester will give you tips on what to do to be safer to yourself.

It worked for me.

The day after I passed my test, I stared at my lovely 2003 purple colored yamaha 650 v star and I knew that now, I was ready to upgrade to THAT.

I was waiting.

Yesterday, my partner rode the purple bike to a parking lot. With a bit of nerves and jitters I sat on the bike, started it up, and did what I know to do, what I have practiced.

I let go of the clutch slowly, rolled the throttle lightly and put my foot on the back break. I had the bike in the friction zone and I moved it slowly. The bike moved with grace and ease and I tried a turn. The bike responded with a lightness and weightlessness that I sure didn't expect. Feeling delightfully romanced, I put the bike through figure eights and u turns and found that it maneuvered as well, or better than the 250 virago.

I did a few emergency stops from 2nd gear that I was taught to do in my courses. I looked at my partner and he had already got himself onto the 250 virago. He knew I was ready and it was his way to say, let's get on with it.

With me leading, we went off and drove through lovely ocean view scenery through windy curvey roads to stop for lunch.

My confidence was great because I worked so hard for a couple months to get here, to this place.

There were some minor challenges of getting to know the bike, named "Jacinta", meaning purple in spanish.

Gearing down, I often put the bike into neutral, rather than first, but I recalled doing that on the 250 and on the bikes I rode in my courses.

page 3 to follow:


May 27, 2010
Persistence - Page 1
by: Kim

I took the MSF course, and didn't pass the first time. The bike I was being trained on was too tall and I fell quite a few times. Dismayed and with real fear after that, I purchased a used 250 yamaha virago and I enrolled myself in a 5 day novice course and through that experience, I passed my MSF course with ease. 2 days later, I was in a traffic course, riding for 8 hours/day with 4 other folks from the MSF course, with an instructor. The instructor took us out on all sorts of riding we would come across, so highway, merging at high speed, switch backs, roundabouts, tight winding roads, slow cruises along the ocean. In the traffic course, we took turns leading and we practiced some of the maneuvers we would be required to do in our road tests.

After the 2 days in traffic course, I booked my rode test for 3 weeks later. A good lady friend took me out a few days the first week and the next 2 weeks I faithfully went out on my own. I chose a destination, usually a spot to go for coffee and I would ride out. I made sure that my route would take me through town, speed zones, hills, blind corners, curves and I went out in whatever weather. I made sure that I worked hard, practiced and rode at least 1 hour each day.

Finally test day arrived and what was for sure, is that I could actually handle the bike really well. I was able to concentrate on the direction the tester wanted me to go and not to have to worry about my skills riding. I made sure I practiced and practiced every day, u turns and tight slow turns so that my balance with the bike was a dance. I practiced in my gravel driveway every day before I went out on the road. I made sure I could do figure eights and turns from stops and u-turns from stops with comfort and ease and I made it a game to myself to go as slow as possible and make every thing as small as possible.

page 2 to follow....


May 26, 2010
Anxious Starter
by: Jenny

Thank you ladies for your comments. Came home from work tonight, decided I was going to ride. And I did. Did not have the anxious feelings I had last night. Only slightly. Don't know why. Maybe due to the kind of day I have at work, maybe just thinking about it too much. But! Rode in the parking lot for about 45 minutes then rode about 12 blocks one way around the neighborhood then back home. It was awesome. Best advise was to relax my shoulders. I did notice right away I tense my left shoulder when turning. Just kept telling myself to relax my shoulder and look where you want to go. Once I felt comfortable, took off down the street where there is little to no traffic. Stalled a few times at a stop sign on a slight hill but kept with it until I got it going. Made one right turn a little too wide but, no traffic so made it. The feeling of accomplishment is great, thank you. I do plan to take the MSF course again very soon. Will keep you posted on my progress. Thanks for your encouragement, it does help.

May 26, 2010
Nervous Rider
by: robin

Hi...so many great comments..inspiring to me too..I am new to riding so can relate. I don't think you can get rid of your feelings. What you can do is practice and practice and practice some more. I passed my test and I still go to the parking lot. I am finding U-turns from a stop a challenge.

Anyway...you have the desire so it will happen...trust yourself! And suddenly those nervous feelings will be transformed to... wow..I can do this feeling! Keep us posted.

May 26, 2010
Face the fear and do it anyway- my motto.
by: Judith

OMG, you could be me. I have a bike, Honda Shadow 650 VLX Deluxe and I have only ridden this bike once in a parking lot. I laid it down going too slow and trying to put my feet on pegs. I got back on the bike and rode another half an hour going at 35 mph in first gear. Too scared to do anything else. Took the bike home and there it sets. Took two classes this past weekend on a 250 to get used to bike again. Am confident I will be able to take bike out around the house or drive to this parking lot to practice. Went out to start my bike and my husband had the key. I think he likes to have a little control because he worries. Monday night got son and he was going to ride with me to practice. Can you believe it, after a few minutes the bike died. Now battery getting recharged. Argh.... I think its a conspiracy to keep me from riding, but by gosh I will ride. I can certainly empathize with your fear because I think that was what was going on for me before I took those classes. We did slow turns, stopping starting, shifting gears etc. It refreshed my skills from MSF course and I didn't dump the bike once, which I did at the MSF course, though I passed. The guy was a professional and he assured me that based on my performance I should have no problem riding the bike. That was a great confidence booster. I hate to think I bought a bike just to let it sit in my garage. The summer is coming up and I want to ride the darn bike. We have a trike, but that is not the same as my little bike.

May 26, 2010
Practice Makes Perfect
by: Jennifer

Keep practicing until you are not giving it a second thought & you react on your own, you can do it, just keep practicing time after time until it comes to you without thinking about.

May 26, 2010
by: Anonymous

What your experiencing is very normal , and if others say they didn't go through what your going through, they are liars, or stupid. It will take time, and a lot of seat time. Just go at a pace that is your comfortable zone, don't let anyone push you where your not ready to go. Nerves equals safety, and awareness that you are not experienced. As for the course, if you are one of many that don't pass the first time around, you'll get it the second time. I applaud you as many give up and don't go for the second time. It took me almost three seasons to get over those anxious feelings your talking about before going for a ride. Now, I don't even think about it, just check my bike out and get on and go. Hang in there you'll get it . Important to know your pre-check inspection before you leave the yard. Also cleaning your bike gives you an intimate view of your scoot, and may pick up on things you may not with a pre-trip inspection. Happy trails, and keep the shiny side up.

May 26, 2010
Get a Mentor
by: Sally W

Find a mentor that not only knows how to ride, but also knows how a bike works from top to bottom. Ask lots of questions, especially what your afraid of happening. I started riding at 46 almost two years ago. I started in the parking lot of a college and I failed my first MSF riding test. But I went out every night after work, and then started riding the 5 miles to work everyday. I went back to MSF two weeks later, riding my own bike to the class and passed it. My reward was riding home by myself. Now almost two years later, I have put 13,600. miles on my bike and I love road trips. I still get nervous once in a while, but the experience of riding down a highway with the wind and sun in your hair, is well worth a little nerves.

May 26, 2010
Anxious Start
by: jen

I highly recommend a riding course for all beginning riders. That's how I started. I've been riding for 8 years now and have had four incidents where what I learned in that course came back instinctively. The last was a couple of days of go. The nervousness and anxiety will always be there which is great because it keeps you alert to your surroundings, keeps you thinking. Like everyone said just get out there and do it the practice will give you confidence.

May 26, 2010
More Advice
by: Anonymous

My advise is to have someone ride with you, on their own bike behind you. That way you are not worried about going faster than you feel comfortable with, and you have someone who will guide you and give you confidence. My poor husband rode his Harley behind my 250 Honda for over 1000 miles on the back roads while I got comfortable with the handling on the bike. He still rides behind me so that I can set the pace. It was much better than when I was out there by myself at first, because then you also worry about being too slow and having cars behind you. I now have been riding 5 years and have over 30K on my own Harley. Well worth it. Good luck and keep at it.

May 26, 2010
Some Nerves are Good.
by: Rhythm

Hi Jenny, I know the feeling. When I first started riding; it was in the neighborhood... No major roads, just my subdivision; until the day my boyfriend asked me to roll with him around the corner to a friends house... OMG... 2 miles felt like 20. 2 pieces of advice; or rather just something to pass along to you; that was passed along to me! You have to learn your bike; in order to enjoy your bike.... Your bike was meant to move.... If you trust your bike; you'll feel comfortable on your bike... The moment you feel that you no longer have respect for your bike.... That's when it's time to get off your bike. Talk to it, praise the bike when your turns get better. Pat the tank when you're sitting at the light. Relax your shoulders; let the bike do what it's meant to do...lean and don't resist. Don't be scarred to stall.... Everyone stalls.. Oh and in my opinion... Riding the highway is the best... People I. Cars are LESS focused on the local street... Pulling out of parking lots, side roads... They're on auto pilot. However most people driving on the highway are paying more attention, using signals and give respect to their surroundings. Lastly... Both street and highway gives skill level... Traffic for throttle/friction control, quick breaking and finding your power gears... Most of the time it's 3rd. Highway...it's you and the wind... When you see your stretch to hit it... You will.... Always check your mirrors.... But focus on relaxing your shoulders... It's all in your shoulders and wrist.... Ask your bike to take over and let it do what it's suppose to.....and Pray before you get on; and give praise when you return! I hope that's motto much; and please excuse the typos... I'm sending this from my phone and spell Check isn't an option. Oh, BTW... I'm a Suzuki girl myself ... GSXR 750 :-)

May 25, 2010
Just Do It
by: Lisa

Like the others who've commented, I agree that the only way to ease your fear is to just do it. Practice really does make it easier, and after a bit you won't even be thinking about what you're doing, you'll just be doing it. I got my license and my first MC last summer, at 50 years old :) (a 2008 Victory Vegas Low). I was a parking lot troll too :)

I hit the parking lot every nite, until I got so sick of riding in circles I decided to hit the road & give it a try. Go out in the late evening when traffic is lightest, and stay near your home on roads you're familiar with until you get comfortable. Find a friend to ride with you, it will make you feel much better just knowing someone else is with you in case something happens. Take small steps and soon you'll be comfortable handling the bike and you'll be surprised to find one day you're not thinking about each thing you do, everything will become second nature. But practice is def the key. The end result...you riding your own bike.. is worth pushing yourself now. Good luck, stay positive, you can do this!

May 25, 2010
You can do it!
by: vickawgirl

Practice, practice, practice, and then more practice. Start out going around your own block. As you get comfortable with 1 block, do 2 blocks and keep expanding the blocks. If you're able, get some 1 on 1 training w/a professional.

Being nervous can be a good thing. We've all been where you're at now. I had to have someone ride my bike home for me. We stopped at a industrial parking lot and I rode it around. I was scared! But, I was excited. I ride in New England, and our riding season is short. So, I went to a cemetery and practiced. It had the interactions, turns, some curves, and pretty much everything you would deal with on the roads.

Grab a friend who is a good rider, and go! You can do it!

May 25, 2010
All of us were a novice rider at one time.
by: Debbie from Ohio

Just give your self time to get over the nerves. Ride, ride and ride and the nerves will become less. I preferred to ride alone when I first started out three years ago.When I ride alone can go at my pace, go on the roads that I wanted to and stop when I wanted. I found that riding alone helped me with my nerves. Even after three years and 35,000 miles later I still at times have nerve issues. I want so much to take long trips, trips over 400 miles, but I have fears of super highways, the bridges, the tunnels and then the extra fast heavy traffic that is on the super slab. I Just keep riding, getting and doing more miles on the highway, eventually I will become more comfortable on the interstate and will be able to make those long distance trips on our vacation. Good luck, and keep on riding.

May 25, 2010
Anxious Starter
by: Katherine

I took the MSF course also and it help put me at ease, but I was still a nervous wreck and hit a truck with my signal light, neither myself nor the bike suffered any real damage, and I realized that I was the one in charge of the bike not the other way around. It has taken some time but I not only ride on the neighborhood streets but on the highways also. Give yourself a break don't be so hard on yourself when you are ready you will break out of the parking lot - because the fun is on the road not the parking lot. Take care and ride safe.

May 25, 2010
by: Lorraine

Same way you get to Carnegie Hall....practice, practice, practice! The only way in my experience to get over the fear of being on a motorcycle is to drive through it. It does get easier! Lorraine

May 25, 2010
Nervous Rider
by: Patti

Have you thought about "What" you are afraid of? In order to face a fear--you have to know what it is..Afraid you'll put the bike down (that was one of my problems when I went to a bigger bike--found out I could pick-up the new one just as easy) Afraid of traffic (do you drive a car?) Are you afraid of the bike itself? (This is the easiest--if you can ride in the parking lot--no problem--just pretend you are among the cars--) All aside--Give yourself some time....There's nothing like having your own wheels...or Whow--Woman her own Wheels. Will send a guardian angel to sit with you while you get used to traffic. Nothing like your own bike....

May 25, 2010
Find a Friend
by: MissT

I did all of my beginning riding by myself - back and forth to work, running errands around town, etc. and I was nervous just about every time in the beginning. However, in Florida you have to pass the MSF before you can get your endorsement and even get near a bike. I barely made it because of my nerves but the instructor was patient and told me I just needed to get the miles under my belt and I would do fine.

The best thing that ever happened was meeting up with another female rider. We've gone across state several times and now I don't even hesitate about going thru the construction zones in downtown Orlando! It's easier on the bike then in the car! Having someone else there "just in case" made a big difference for me. Find a group, a friend, anyone who will ride with you and get the miles under your belt. The confidence will come and go back to take that course. You'll feel much better knowing your skill levels are finally acceptable.

May 25, 2010
Totally Understand
by: Jo

I took my MSF course and passed, however, I was chosen at my DMV to be retested and failed! What a bummer. I own a different bike than the kind I trained on. Buell vs Vulcan 900! Mine's much bigger! I know I can ride, just not comfortable in traffic, unless I have another more experienced biker with me, or my husband following me. I was told this is a good way to get practice and get over my nerves, and it's slowly working! I won't ride alone for a while, so it's nice having friends willing to "tag" along with me. My permit is good for a year, so I have some time to get more practice in. Don't give up! Keep trying. You'll get it!

May 25, 2010
With a Ninja
by: Amanda

I was very, very terrified too. I had a friend who had a bike, that I rode to the parking lot with on the street after I learned to ride in a parking lot! At the time I was terrifying. My friend was a really nice guy, and just let me stall for as long as I wanted. But eventually I rode the 2 miles on REAL ROADS to get to a parking lot.

It took a very, very long time to get out of the parking lot. Basically, when we were leaving, I wanted to turn right and go home, but my friend put himself in the way, so I could only go left. There was about 20 minutes of "I want to go home." "No, you're going down the mountain."

It's still scary for me though. I'll hop on and ride, but not alone yet. But, you know, it's my damn bike and if I just want to park it outside my house and look at it, that works for now! =D

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