First Time Rider Tips

by Victor Krueger
(Central Illinois)

Hello everyone;

I am a man... ooooooooh but don't condemn me for that alone :)

I have ridden tens of thousands of miles on two wheels. I am also a retired truck driver with over 2.5 million miles of "over the road" driving under my belt, so I consider myself to be somewhat of a "professional" when it comes to traveling and driving.

I taught my wife to ride a couple of years ago and I have this to say.

There are indeed many accurate and wonderful comments on this site. However, not all comments and/or advice that is posted here is worthy in everyone's varied situations.

Let's start here:


!!! YOU ARE INVISIBLE !!! Even if another motorist seems like he is looking directly at you - YOU ARE INVISIBLE - HE CAN'T SEE YOU !

2. If possible, be a passenger first. Ride behind your hubby or boyfriend or someone else that you "trust with your life". Let's call this person a MENTOR. Be willing to listen to EVERYTHING they say - because you will be doing just that, TRUSTING THEM WITH YOUR LIFE.

3. Pay attention to everything that you see, everything that the lead rider does, i.e. when he shifts, where he's looking, when he brakes... EVERYTHING.

A word about this. When I used to ride with my wife, while riding, I gave her descriptions of everything that I was doing and WHY I was doing them. I took it slow at first, getting her to notice traffic habits. Then I started throwing in information about the pavement, my acceleration, how I was shifting / braking and so on. This really enlightened her to what she would expect and gave her some initial practice at watching the other vehicles while on the bike.

This experience was absolutely invaluable.

4. Take the MSF course. Bare in mind though, these people are human too, and as such, they are subject to their opinions and mistakes the same as everyone else. Use your head and remember that old adage about the grain of salt.

5. After the course, if you really still want to ride then start looking at bikes and sitting on them. Size them up. Sit on as many different bikes as you can. You'll want to pick out a bike that fits your body and personal style. Your feet should be flat on the ground... AND THERE IS A REASON FOR THIS TOO... however !!!

Read this article... read the entire site. It's a real good place to start.


Pay special attention to the section labeled "Really, Really Bad Bikes for Beginners:"

Take this stuff to heart people. It's life saving information... and may save a few dollars in your wallet too.

6. If your hubby or riding mentor tells you not to try and ride that bike home from the dealer... DON'T DO IT.

Overconfidence can be a real killer. I've seen it happen. My student went to the dealer (without me) and picked up his shiny new ninja. He twisted the throttle, the bike shot out of under him and across the street and wrecked in the lot across from the dealership. Needless to say, it cost a few bucks to fix the (Brand NEW) bike, and the guy was permanently scared (actually scared to death) for riding. Two weeks later he sold it back to the dealer and took a major bite in the bank account. He still cannot ride.

7. Power - how much is too much ?

See rule # 5. If you have mastered the smaller bike, my wife started on a Honda Shadow 750cc, you'll want a bike that is big enough to comfortably handle the open roads and interstates with speeds of up to 65 and even 75 mph, depending where you live.

This is going to require a bike with at least 650cc or more. But then again, this is also dependent upon the cylinder configuration - whether it is a V-Twin or a straight 4 cylinder. The straight 4 cylinder bikes (mainly crotch rockets) can rap out some serious power using considerably lower cc ratings, but be careful here because the torque that they put out can be really surprising... like the bike jerking clean out of under you. My wife is now looking at buying herself a Yamaha V-Star 1300cc... the test ride went great too.

This means simply this: do not let anyone intimidate you or make you think that you have to keep up with them. Ride at a speed that you feel comfortable with... AT ALL TIMES.
Everyone's skill sets are not the same, and some people really don't have a clue that your a beginner or that you just can't take that particular curve at 95 mph like they did. It's all about you, not them.

Be your own boss and ride your own ride.

9. All hubbys/boyfriends/mentors, regardless of how much they may love you, may not be the best teachers. If your teacher isn't patient with you and very descriptive of his/her actions, by all means - GET AN NEW MENTOR, even if it hurts hubby's feelings.

10. Once your up and riding, do just that... RIDE, RIDE, RIDE. Be careful too. Remember rule # 1. You are invisible. Watch EVERYONE - EVERYWHERE. It only takes a second to make a mistake.

Always turn your head and check for clearance before changing lanes. Mirrors are NOTORIOUS for their blind spots. I can hide an entire Cadillac from a driver/rider in their mirrors, and they would never see it unless they turn their entire head around to check.

Get those miles in. Miles = Experience. The more the better too.

Best of luck to all new riders, and ladies...

Welcome to the ride!

It's nice to see you out there. I love to see my wife riding.

Comments for First Time Rider Tips

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 25, 2012
by: Anonymous

Hi Victor,
Thanks for all the great points you listed. You could be my hubby with every single thing you hit on. He's been doing a running commentary with me on the back of MY bike and I've really appreciated it!
I can't wait to be solo, but won't do it until I'm ready...whenever that is!!

Nov 29, 2011
take the course...
by: Anonymous

...it's the best way to really learn how to ride. While there are some awesome riders and teachers who aren't licensed instructors, there are too many self-appoined experts out there who can interfere with your learning to master motorcycling by giving you bad advice.
You would be amazed at the number of "experienced" riders who have not mastered basic skills and of the ones who have, many don't understand how they do what they do.
When you take the course, it gives you a filter for some of the things you hear and enables you to put advice in perspective.

Oct 09, 2011
What is this person's problem ?
by: Vic

Well, besides saying thank you for the support from all the other posters, I can only say that a person isn't a "real" rider until you've learned to ride. Learning to ride safely and understanding EVERYTHING that your up against is the first part of learning to be a "real" rider.

I do not go around looking to coax females riders to riding with me. I am married and I have only taught my wife to ride so far. The other rider mentioned in my initial post was a man, and he petered out ( because of fear ) after he did exactly what I told him not to do. He only learned one thing from me... that he should have listened.

Concerning the safety course:
I would not trust any person or organization that started out their lesson with the politically correct manner with which to refer to a kill switch or kick stand.
My wife took the safety course ( after I taught her to ride ) and the first thing they taught ( and stressed ) was that the "Kill Switch" is NOT a kill switch... it is a "Shut off" switch and the "Kick Stand" is not a kick stand... it is a "Side Stand"... now get it right people.

The moron that was teaching that class needs to open up an actual shop/service manual for his bike... where it specifically refers to the kill switch as a "kill switch" and the kick stand as a "Kick Stand."

If this is what they think is important, then I am so glad that I taught my wife to ride before she was exposed to those idiots.

Happy trails ladies,
I wish you all the best of the fall season's riding. I am laid up with an injured back... 3 surgeries this summer and not allowed to ride yet. My wife is enjoying her bike though.


Oct 08, 2011
Give the guy a break, he was only trying to help
by: Lark

I'm willing to listen to anyone who's trying to help me. You can file it away, but if the intentin is to make someone safer, then listen with courtesy. Just my opinion.

Oct 08, 2011
by: Sandra

What is this person's (anonymous) problem?? GEESH!

Oct 08, 2011
Guy who crashes women rider site
by: Anonymous

Unbelievable. How about we condemn you because you're an egotistical NEanderthal?
TAKe the course, ladies. Some guys with self esteem issues are always looking for naive new riders to "advise" and persuade to ride behind and do what they say.
A real rider is not going to dish out this guy's kind of crap.

Sep 11, 2011
great advice
by: kimber

I 'rode' dirtbikes' when i was younger, up and down the driveway. I have been riding as a passenger on my hubby yamaha R6 for 6 months now. I got my permit last week, and find I learned alot from riding as a passenger, alot of mistakes I know i would make if i did not feel the way he corrected and watch how he shifts up, and down, and swerves around gravel and potholes. I dont find this a sexist comment at all, i find it to be absolutely correct and great advice.

Aug 17, 2011
Responding to Vics article
by: Skigirl

I agree with all you say, very well put!
I can add to respect the motorcycle every time you throw your leg over that seat!
Motorist are not looking for motorcycles! One has to be visible and make smart judgements. I wore a work reflective vest for the first few months of riding and now I wear a high vis long sleeve or short sleeve shirt. I may look like a geek but I feel I can be seen better by other bikers and motorists!
Another piece of advice, if you are not in the right frame of mind to ride stay home! Riding takes 100% of your thoughts and concentration!
Most of all have fun!

Aug 03, 2011
The Rules of Riding
by: Cindy

Overall great points for every rider out there. Like driving a car or learning to skateboard, learning to safely ride a motorcycle demands knowledgeable instruction/mentoring, lots of practice, and attention to caution- regardless of the gender of the rider.

Aug 01, 2011
Thanks, "brother"!
by: Sandra

You literally COULD be my brother and mentor. He's been riding motorcycle since the '70's and has been/is a semi driver/instructor, too.

Thank you for the encouragement, and I don't think anyone will hold it against you being a guy and all...

I wish my own husband was as enthused about my riding as you are about women taking to their own bikes...he's too worried I will get hurt, and it doesn't appear he will get past those concerns anytime soon. It's too bad, but bikers ARE invisible, and bikers get hurt every day - not always because of their own poor habits.

I can't argue with any of the advice you shared. Thank you for the post.

Aug 01, 2011
by: Vic

Anon quotes:
Do you tell all the males to be passengers on their wives bikes before they ride their own.

You have a valid point here.

Many MEN should be passengers FIRST TOO, but there is nothing "sexist" implied. Most women, my wife included, learn differently... I am referring to a psychological issue here, nothing sexist about it.

Joan writes:
I'm thinking that you didn't mean to put the word 'not' in there.

I should rephrase this; If your mentor tells you to avoid trying to ride the bike home, then by all means, listen to him/her, and do not attempt to ride it. It might not be very far, but you still are not ready to ride yet.

Thanks for the comments ladies.

Aug 01, 2011
No apologies necessary...
by: Laura M

Thank you Victor. Man or women (don't apologize for being a man on this site!), I believe all riders appreciate good advance from an experienced rider. Love the referral to the website as well. Brought me to a couple of valuable resources - so again, I thank you.

I agree with you 100%, practice, practice, practice - it's been my motto to my children all of their lives. I have only 2500 miles under my belt. The most important think I've learned in that time is to...take my time, no matter who I'm riding with and continue taking a safety course every year. This is my second year riding and my second year taking a safety course.

I started riding on a VStar 250 and graduated quickly to a HD Deluxe..large bike but I feel like I can handle the Chicago traffic better on it - and it doesn't hurt that she is a beauty and so comfy to ride. Took me a while to get used to moving the extra weight around but I practiced...going out early mornings to practice until I felt comfortable with the size of the bike under me and then, and only then did I venture out into the crazy traffic.

Thanks again for your words. Peace to you and all the riders on this site! LM

Aug 01, 2011
Good Information
by: Joan

Victor, you have a lot of good information here. Comment #6 states, "If your hubby or riding mentor tells you not to try and ride that bike home from the dealer... DON'T DO IT." I'm thinking that you didn't mean to put the word 'not' in there.

I know not every state requires helmets as ours doesn't, but I would encourage new riders to wear one. I admit that I don't always wear mine when I'm riding two-up with my husband, but I do wear it when I'm riding my sporty. Also, when I'm riding my own, I like to wear a hi-vis shirt. Hopefully this will help get the other drivers attention a little better, but I don't rely on that, I am still very cautious.

Aug 01, 2011
Riding On the Back Helps
by: Fran

Well, I did not take his comment about getting on the back on his bike sexist. It is good advice. I got my license late last year and then bad weather set in so have not had much riding. This year again bad weather, I purchased a Triumph Bonneville and I have gone back to having trouble changing gears. I live on a road that has hills and twists. Just yesterday I asked him to take me out so I could sit again on the back. I paid attention how he handled the throttle and clutch and when he switched up gear and down. And when we got home we talked a little about it. It really helped. Going out this morning and I will NOT have any problems!

Aug 01, 2011
by: Anonymous

Great advice, just one question. Do you tell all the males to be passengers on their wives bikes before they ride their own. In theory it is a great idea, however, quite sexist to assume a woman should be a passenger before she rides her own bike, when I am betting you would not suggest a man ride passenger for a while before conquering his own bike.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Advice for Beginners.

Her Motorcycle

Our Newsletter



Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Her-Motorcycle.com Ezine.

Most Popular Discussions
All Forums Her-Motorcycle Forum Ask A Motorcycle Question Women's Motorcycle Clubs

Guest Content

Your Bikes
The Bikes Women Love To Ride

Just Ride!
Learn to Ride Best Motorcycle For A Woman Sport/Touring Bikes New Bikes Used Bikes Bike Values Insurance

Road Trips
USA Road Trips Europe Road Trips Motorcycle Friendly Accomodation

Gear & Gadgets
Helmet Hair Motorcycle Riding Gear Online Partners Parts & Gear Search Motorcycle Accessories

Archives & Resources
Guest Articles History Maintenance Winterizing A Motorcycle
[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines

| Home | What's New | Site Search | About | Contact | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy |

Return to Top
Copyright© 2007-2013 Her-Motorcycle.com. All Rights Reserved.