Finally Feeling Better on the Bike!

I want to let other women know that yes, the fear WILL pass, and yes, you CAN get used to a bigger bike. And there ARE limits! I decided right in the beginning that I was not going to be pressured into getting a big, wide, heavy motorcycle just to show off. (I am 61 and just got my license last year!)

I have seen other women on them, and I guess it takes a lot of years, but for me,the stress isn't worth it, wondering when I am going to dump it.

I learned on a 1991 Honda 250 Nighthawk and now drive a 2009 883 Sportster. (It is not a low bike because I am 5'8"..I actually had Baer's in Pa. put longer shocks on it as it was originally an 883 low.)

I just want to say that after 5 months of practice, usually alone and scared beyond belief, I finally feel comfortable on my Sportster...and yes, I did drop it, just walking it around, turning the front wheel too sharply, not holding on strong and tight to the handlebars, or hitting the front brake., etc..three times!!

I remind myself every time that, 'my legs are strong, my arms are strong, and I am strong'... and, the bike and I are united, I hold it up and it holds me up.

For me the difference came in being more aware of my arms and hands holding the handlebars, as silly as that sounds, and always being careful to be aware of turning the front wheel and of which brake to use(or both).

I will always do parking lot practice, too, and that helped SO MUCH with my self confidence, knowing that I can make a slow speed turn and do a figure 8.

Mind you, it's not Jerry Palladino quality maneuvering, but maybe someday it will be.

So, I will summarize by saying, don't overdo your bike size for status or because you are trying to impress someone. There's nothing impressive about going down!!!

Safe riding, be aware, alert, and don't let your mind wander, and before you know it, you will be having fun too!

Beth, Sag Harbor, NY

Comments for Finally Feeling Better on the Bike!

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Sep 21, 2010
One week's experience...
by: Anonymous

I hope to finally feel better SOON!

My 2009 GS500f is one week old, and I just dropped her on my fourth ride out. I'm SO upset, but also glad I got it over with before I got a season under my belt. I'm 25, and my boyfriend rides too.

I think I pushed myself too hard too fast. I was doing 3 km loops around my neighbourhood, reaching up to 60 km/hr. Barely any traffic (I live in the country). Then I went out with my boyfriend for a longer ride, back roads, but still with some traffic. I got nervous the other cars thought I would be driving a lot faster than the speed limit, or annoyed at me taking my time at a stop sign. I stalled at a stop, and started her up again, went to make a left hand turn, and stalled again - and dropped her. I strained a lot of muscles because I was trying desperately NOT to drop it! But it happened..... and I cracked the fairing.

I'm very determined to be very good at this. I love my bike, I love the feeling I have when I'm in control - at slow speeds, and minimal traffic. I just hope I can get over that soon. It makes me feel better reading other women's stories about learning to ride, and the saying 'this too shall pass' comes to mind!

I want to go parking-lot practicing.. but I have a few intersections to get through before I can get to one.. I'll stick to my neighbourhood loops for a little while longer.


Sep 16, 2010
by: Mary

I just got my license last July. Been practicing every opportunity I could with supervision, and about a month ago started riding to work on my own. Everyday before I would get on the bike, the nerves would start. I hated it because with me it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy (if I fear I would drop the bike, I probably would). Fast forward a month later, and the nerves went away. I even got the balls (lol) to start practicing splitting lanes (at a red light for now). My coach/boyfriend has been taking me on some rides around the area to get my confidence up. And it's getting there! I now ride on familiar roads as comfortably as if I were in my car! So hang in there newbies! I'm still one too, and you just have to be patient and keep riding! You will get better and gain confidence even if you're only riding 5miles at a time!

Sep 15, 2010
Not to Impress Anyone
by: Laura

Hi Beth,

Well, I didn't get my new bike to impress anyone. I got it because I couldn't stop dreaming about it! It is big. Really big and I never thought for a minute I could handle such a big bike. It does intimidate me still - but it's only been a few weeks since I brought her home. I did wind up breaking down my rides to short, more manageable rides to 'get to know her' and learn what she feels like around the corners and...just sitting at a stop light. I remember being intimidated by my first bike, a little 250. I thought I'd never get used to riding on my own. But I did and then I never wanted to go home! I know I'll get there on this bike too. BTW, I dropped my bike on my the very first day I rode her...I was stopped in a parking lot and forgot to put the darn kickstand down!! Argh!! Ladies...remember that kickstand! Good news, I got her right back up ( thank God for the engine guards!!)

Thank you for writing your story! Peace! LM

Sep 13, 2010
I appreciate your support.
by: Beth

It's wonderful to read the responses of other women who have learned, or who are struggling to learn, to ride a motorcycle.

All of a sudden, sometimes when you feel that you will NEVER 'get it', you will!

It will almost be like magic--you won't be intimidated by the weight of the bike and you will be able to watch and handle hazards like gravel, turns--and your hand will instinctively stay off the front brake and your foot will naturally go on the back brake. I was very impressed with myself when I found myself doing that.

Everyone goes down at low speed. I didn't want to believe it, but it happens and you are right to get back on.

Keep practices short, 15 min to 1 hr is plenty, depending on what you are doing. I only do 10 min of circles and figure 8's, as getting tired is counterproductive to success.

Sep 12, 2010
Find my comfort on the bike...
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your story. I just had my second lesson today on the bike and I almost laid it down. It really freaked me out. Luckily I have a great instructor who talked me down afterwards and explained what I did wrong and got me back riding within a few minutes. It was tough, but I did it. And I will continue to ride till I find my comfort zone.

Sep 06, 2010
You're Right!
by: Sassy2731

Congratulations for sticking it out! You are so right that the fear does finally go away and the maneuvers do get easier with lots of practice. That is what I always try and tell new riders. Some do continue, but others have given up and stopped riding. If you really want to be a rider you will never give up. I've had some friends that went and bought a bike first and wanted to learn to ride and would try riding first so they wouldn't be embarrassed at a training class. They would lay the bike down and then not take the class and sell the bike. I try to tell them all to go take the class first! Then look for a bike for just you! Then practice, practice, practice! I practiced in a large cemetery. It has nice roads with curves, cross roads to practice stopping and starting and NO traffic. It is nice a quite so you can think. At I always thought there was lots of souls to help hold me up. No pun intended. If you have such a place to practice I would suggest it. Usually nice and shady also.

Sep 05, 2010
Right on!!!
by: Julie

Every new rider should read this!! Happy and safe riding:)

Sep 05, 2010
What she said : )
by: Rene L

I will just say, Amen Sister! : )

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