Needing Encouragement

by Rachel
(Austin, TX)


This isn't a discussion topic as much as my attempt to reach out to experienced women riders for a bit of encouragement. I just bought my first bike, a 1981 Honda CX500. I've wanted a bike since I can remember, took the motorcycle safety course and learned to ride, and now I have my bike!

It is so exciting, and I'm also scared shitless. I learned to ride on a 125cc, and this bike feels like a heavy beast in comparison. I'm also trying to learn to ride in a busy, car heavy city and finding that quite terrifying.

That said, I've taken it out 3 times, and have done just fine. Minor mistakes I've recovered from unharmed so far, and I am getting more comfortable with the logistics. A lot of people (men) say "you're a little lady on that big bike, be careful!" and I start to worry it's too big for me.

I guess I'm hoping there are other women riders out there who might tell me that of course it's scary at first, but that with time it will become more and more fun. True?


This site is awesome!


Comments for Needing Encouragement

Click here to add your own comments

May 07, 2011
I Feel Your Pain
by: Raquel

My boyfriend introduced me to sportbikes about 4 years ago. I fell in love with riding. But after a while, I started getting tired of being a passenger. I wanted my own bike, damn it. I wanted to drive. My boyfriend Had a Yamaha R1 crotch rocket. There was no way he was going to turn me loose on his "baby". So, without ever riding a bike, I bought a Honda CBR 600RR. I love this bike. I started out in a school parking lot. Getting the feel of the bike. Learning to stop and start, getting the feel of the clutch, throttle, and brakes. I actually did pretty good on it the first 2 days. However on the third day, I gave a little too much gas, let the clutch out a little too quick and the bike got away from me, resulting in my first crash. Nothing really hurt...just a road rash on my hip, a "beauty mark" on my bike, and a huge dent in my pride and confidence. But this was NOT going to stop me. Even though at this point, my boyfriend was ready for me to sell my bike. Not...I was not giving up. He said that he was not going to teach me to ride, because he was too afraid that I would get hurt.

So....I would catch him gone, and I would go out in that middle school parking lot and practice without him knowing. We live in a subdivision, so I practiced riding in the neighborhood. I hated it! Stop...go....stop....go! "For heaven-sakes, just let me ride without all this stop and go!"

One day, Brian came home early and caught me. He saw that I was actually getting pretty used to the bike, so he took me on my first open road ride. I felt sooooo much more relaxed and in control when I was able to just go without all the stops, without worrying about traffic.

I haven't gotten my bike out yet this year, but I can't wait until weather permits. I am still nervous and afraid of the bike. My trouble seems to be releasing the clutch without killing the motor when pulling out. That's why I hate the neighborhood drives and traffic. Someone please tell me that it gets easier with practice. Because THAT is what is holding me back from riding.

Apr 17, 2011
Needing Encouragement
by: Shauna

I can relate to your dilemma. I wanted a bike for 10 yrs, I am now 42 just bought my first Harley, an XL883C. I took the writing part of the test, got my permit and started looking at bikes. I had my boyfriend test ride the bike before I bought it because we had discussed in length what I was looking for. I definitely got lots of opinions of what bike I should by, but in the end, when i watched him ride it, heard how she sounded, and when I sat on it, I knew right then, that was my bike. Got it delivered the next day and it sat in my garage for 2 days then I finally started it up and rode it to the corner of my street and back into my garage. I was totally intimidated by it. A week later we finally got a sunny day and I waited until nobody was around and rode it in my neighborhood for about an hour, just feeling the bike out. Once I felt the power and realized I could do it I was OK. I just kept telling myself I could do this, and I haven't even taken the safety course yet.

I guess my point is try to keep telling yourself you can do this, we are women, we can do anything. Don't let it intimidate you, and buy the bike that feels right to you. Once you get on it,you'll know if its the right bike for you, cuz it will just feel right.

It is scary at first, but keep getting on that bike sister, you r the queen of the road on it.

Women riders Rock!!!

Apr 11, 2011
by: Rachel

Damn, I thought this site was amazing in the beginning, but just checked back to see if anyone replied...thinking, "maybe one or two people wrote back" and am so excited to find SO much wonderful encouragement! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It really helps to hear your stories and support! Hope to see some of you on the roads some day!



Apr 08, 2011
Fighting to Get My Confidence Back
by: Anonymous

I am in the same place, too. Have been riding for about 6 years on a Suzuki s40 but was decided it was time to move up. Bought a Honda Shadow Aero 750 which I love and it feels like it was made for me. First time out I dropped the bike as I went around a corner. Now I am finding I have lost my confidence and fighting to get it back. Felt like I was getting there until my helpful husband made a comment about me going to slow. Think I will leave him home next time. I like riding too much to let a stupid mistake ruin it.

Apr 06, 2011
I can SO relate.
by: Dawn

Find a faster road with minimal traffic like a county road and just go. Somewhere you can just ride, and get your seat under you without worrying about the upcoming stop sign, or the neighbors dog and that 90 degree turn at the corner.

My first few months I tried to stick to the residential slower streets, and it was awful, I fell going around slow corners, stopping and starting were hard, and I was so disgusted. Then one day I went for gas and the exit back onto the residential streets was blocked, I had to get onto the county road and go around the long way. OMG!!! I thought I was going to puke. But I sucked in a deep breath and turned..the whole time chanting, one mile you can go one mile, one mile...by the time I hit the mile mark, I was going 55 and FINALLY felt settled and balanced. I kept going for another 25 miles that day. My first REAL ride on my new bike. Once I settled down and stopped thinking, things came more naturally. I went around curves and leaned with the bike, and by the time I got back home, I was so much more relaxed. But I will tell you, I still HATE the residential streets and freeways. 6 summers later, I still get that nervous feeling every time I pull out of the driveway, and I don't feel settled until I hit the main roads. I don't feel like I'm a hazard, but it takes a while to feel balanced.

I hope it helps to know you are not alone, and practice is the best way to conquer your fears.

I ride a 600cc Honda Shadow, not too big, but more than big enough to keep up with the Harley crowd, and reach the ground at the stop signs.

Happy travels!

Apr 03, 2011
by: Miss Pinky Leigh


My first bike was a 650 Yamaha, I have always had a trike because of bad knees and I am now 59 years young. I had never ridden a bike alone, always a passenger. (I did not have access to the safety course.) I started out in a familiar area, my neighborhood. I then ventured out into less traffic areas to practice. I gradually started going down town during what is not a high traffic time. This gave me the confidence and experience to gradually get out on a busy highway. I now ride a 1300 Yamaha Royal Star Deluxe and love it. I know that not many people agree with me but I am a firm believer that you should purchase the bike that you will be keeping and learn to ride it because changing bikes is almost like having to learn all over again. I believe that I could have learned just as well on my bike now as I could have on the 650. As I have stated before, just because you have the power does not mean you have to use it. So Practice in a safe familiar area and gradually venture further out.

YOU GO GIRL!!!!! You can do it!!!!!!

Apr 03, 2011
Me Too
by: Anonymous

I am in the same boat.. I took the class and just got my sportster.. Scared but riding around the neighborhood getting comfortable.. Hoping the fear subsides.

Apr 03, 2011
by: Lois

Find a quiet neighborhood and use it as your practice area don't let anyone put negative ideas in your head, remember what you learned in class and use it. Remember half the men out there criticizing you never took the safety class. My husband helped me get out on the faster streets the first time by following me in our truck, I could relax and not worry about the driver behind me. Keep riding and enjoy yourself. Remember at the end of the day when you get home and your face hurts, SMILING all day under your helmet uses a lot of muscles.

Apr 03, 2011
Go at Your Own Pace
by: Manon

I was in the same boat as you. I think many of us were. I began riding 3 years ago and my first bike was a Yamaha V-Star 650. For me, it was the best choice - not too heavy and just enough power to not to scare the **** out of me.

What helped me the most was joining a riding group. I joined the Northern Star Riders and they have helped me a lot with their encouragement and experience. It also makes it a much more enjoyable ride when you are surrounded by men and women that are looking out for you. By the end of my first riding season, I was comfortable and self-assured on my ride.

Trick is go at your own pace and do at least the speed limit. This way you're not annoying other drivers around you.

Last year I upgraded to a V-Star 1100 and I'm happy to say that I can keep up with the best of them out there - man or woman. And I love just love it when I'm at a stop light and other riders give me a thumbs up when noticing it's a 45 year old woman on bike.

Chin up, girl. Believe me, it gets better.


Apr 03, 2011
Keep Riding
by: sassy2731

1st to vsalmon: get yourself a trike and keep riding in the wind. I know a man that lost his left leg in an accident and had my hubby put an electric thumb button shifter on it and it has reverse. The man is back riding in the wind again and loving his life again. 2nd. Don't ever give up just take baby steps! You will get used to any bike you choose. I have a HD Fatboy that I ride when I ride by myself but I have a Roadking I ride when my hubby rides with me. I'm only 5'2" so sometimes if I park on a slope, I do need help with it to pick it up as I'm not tall enough to stand it up but once I start riding her I love the ride and I'm able to keep up with all the guys on their bigger bikes on the highway. If you feel comfortable on the bike then just ride in the wind and enjoy. Just remember that everyone started out having the jitters! So just keep riding and it does get easier with time and miles! Oh and I call it my Wind Therapy!

Apr 03, 2011
Newbie Biker Sister
by: Sharon

I'm in the same place as you. Still doing embarrassing stuff on my bike and not quite ready for the big roads. All the guys on their Harley's see me on my Honda Rebel and say "Isn't that a cute little bike".

I had no riding experience at all prior to taking my Rider's Edge class. Because I didn't have any experience and no one to practice with prior to or after class and that I am 50, I had to take the class 3 times to pass.

If you love it, then take your time, learn the the lessons wherever your ride takes you and take time to enjoy the ride and not dwell on the right turn you took too wide or the time you dropped the bike at the stop. We've all been there.

Apr 02, 2011
Keep it in the wind!
by: Anonymous

You just keep riding. I started on a Kaw 800 and quickly moved to a Road King classic 1.5 years and 10,000 miles later. I am a size 3 and in my 9th year of riding. Had I listened to the guys I'd still be on the back.... keep it in the wind girl! Four wheels move your body, but two wheels move your Soul!! Peace.......Spiritwind

Apr 02, 2011
It will get easier....
by: Lisa in FL

Last year, at 45, I completed the rider course with my husband. I had never ridden except on the back. But I have always wanted to be in the "drivers seat" so to speak.

About a month after completing the course, I had a friend who was selling his bike, so I bought it. It is a Honda Shadow Spirit 750. I was also scared but extremely excited. My husband helped me along; we rode on our back roads, all kinds of conditions. When I felt a little more comfortable, we ventured out onto the faster roads. There were a few times that I have embarrassed myself; dropping the bike while stopped or looking where I should not. But you get more comfortable and confident as you go. Just take a deep breath and embrace the excitement that you feel. And trust yourself and your instincts. Just follow what you were taught, and you will be fine. Enjoy...it does get better and a lot more fun.

Apr 02, 2011
Keep it up!
by: Kuhlambmitee

I started out like you. Took the course but then didn't buy my bike til a year later. My first experience on the highway was the ride home, 35 miles away. I was so scared, but had ridden it around the neighborhood near the dealership before I hit the road. I was never so thankful for HOV lanes either! Now it took me a while to get used to riding in the big city, but made my way up to riding 17 miles to work each day. I joined a local riding club and rode the dinner rides weekly. I progressed to the big rides and graduated to a 5 hour ride to my parents. After 3 years of riding I rode 1500 miles from Texas to Pennsylvania alone for a new job. It took courage yes, but I loved it. That ride would have never had happened if I hadn't practiced riding up and down the street a couple of miles a day in the beginning. Hang in there. It gets easier, but the nerves are there to keep you safe too.

Apr 02, 2011
Encouragement finds you...
by: Scooterchic

Your confidence will grow each time you throw a leg over. Take your time, take it slow...but do it! I remember that combination of terror & excitement, too! I started out 4 years ago on a Honda Nighthawk 550 & found my comfort zone in an empty parking lot big enough to go thru all the gears...then a week later by taking it up my road, then the next week around my block, then 2 blocks...then a mile...then up a hill (stopping on the downslope is just as interesting)...eventually I was riding every day to work 7 miles away, but it took me into my 2nd season before I was ready for the highway. I took baby steps and absolutely don't regret it! You will never stop learning--even from the oopsies!! What you take away from the oopsies (what NOT to do next time!) can't be taught theoretically. I've since upgraded to a 2003 Harley Davidson Super Glide and have taken multi-day trips out of state and absolutely can't get enough!! Consider joining a women's riding club--I joined the Motor Maids--they're a huge source of inspiration for me and though I ride alone often, these ladies have become family. Good luck and see you in the wind!!!

Apr 02, 2011
Enjoy the Ride!
by: Sue

I can totally understand being nervous first time riding. I had my first season of riding last summer. I started with a short trip that I would do everyday that had stops and curves and such to get used to the lean and weight of the bike..Then I progressed to more traffic area..then eventually the highways..that is something I never thought I would do. Just remember, as woman we don't have to impress the guys AT ALL on the bike. Of course they are going to tell us the bikes are too big!! I bought my first bike, a Harley 1200..so how crazy was I?? LOL That summer I put 2500 miles of riding and LOVE every chance I get to ride now..confidence WILL come..Four wheels moves the body..two wheels move the soul..YOU are gonna LOVE it Girl!! ENJOY!!

Apr 02, 2011
We've All Been There
by: Crystal

I was the same as you, 7 years ago. I had learned to ride by taking an MSF course on a Honda 150, then bought a Harley Sportster 883. It was difficult at first. Once I went down and I was so depressed, so sure I would never ever get the hang of it.

But I kept at it, and now I have a Harley Wide Glide (1450) that I ride daily. I now have over 50,000 miles experience ~ that's the equivalent of two trips around the world! :-)

Just practice a lot in empty parking lots and side streets before going out onto the busy streets. You'll be fine.

We were ALL beginners once. :-)

Apr 02, 2011
Your New Ride
by: Jackie O

That is a just right bike, that you can ride for years. When I started I made my husband ride the bike to an empty lot down the street. I practiced everything I learned from the safety course. Slowly worked my way thru neighborhoods to busy streets.

Best advise I can give is to remember what u were taught in the safety course. Drive like u r invisible, look 11 seconds into your future, expect the drivers around u to do the worst and plan what u would do if so. I was scared to death when I started on a 500 Suzuki Blvd and today ride a 1200 Sportster. I live in HOT Florida and wear ALL my safety gear no exceptions.

Leave early for work, drive slower let everyone be ahead of u. Take pleasure in your ride for work. I do not know any one who does not have to work thru this "new" time. If you were not scared that would be a problem. Being attentive can not be stressed enough. YOU WILL DO GREAT IN TIME.

Apr 02, 2011
Need Encouragement
by: Melissa

I am in the same boat as you. I went and bought myself a Harley Sportster 883 before I even took the motorcycle safety class. My instructor told me that I was too small for such a big bike. I too was scared shitless to get on my bike. For two weeks, I road it one mile down the road to an empty parking lot and practiced my starts, stops and turns until I felt comfortable enough to hit the roads. I too made mistakes. But I found the more time I spent on my bike the more confident I felt. I was very select with the people that I rode with and actually spent more time riding by myself in the beginning then I did with others. Stay strong and put in as many riding hours as you can. I am getting ready to get my bike out for the first time since Fall and once again I find myself scared. Hopefully that will go away quickly. Ride Safe.


Apr 02, 2011
by: Anonymous

You can do it sista one day at a time!!! If you have access to it, I recommend quieter roads for a little longer so you and the bike can bond and learn each other. BE SAFE AND ENJOY THE RIDE!

Apr 02, 2011
Keep Riding
by: VSalmon

Your doing fine, I went from a Honda 400 Hawk in College 1981 and then didn't ride again till 2007 when I go my Harley. I was scared but enjoyed it so much. I would pray for safety before the ride and give thanks when I got home.

Enjoy I can't ride anymore my leg is to weak to stand a bike up now.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Her-Motorcycle Forum CLOSED.

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.