New Rider - How long does it take??

by DaisyMae

I am BRAND new at this. I had a scooter and loved it but wanted more. DH has always wanted a Honda Shadow, so we traded in the scooter on a Shadow Spirit 750. This is WAY different from my scooter but I am so excited! I signed up for beginning rider training next weekend. My DH let me try the Shadow out today and I was fine . . . until I tried to make a short u-turn. I laid it over. Needless to say I feel bad. Physically I am fine. Amazingly it scratched the stand, the clutch lever and the mirror a little bit - that is all. It gave me an appreciation of 1) how heavy the thing is, 2) how very different it is from my scooter (so much to remember, clutch, gears, brakes in different place, etc) and 3) how much I have to learn!! I wish I knew another female rider in this area. I got back on and rode it a bit longer, but I may wait until I go through the formal training to do much more. But I WILL learn. The reason for this post is that I need to know that it didn't just come naturally to every one. I should mention that I am not a young person . . . I am a grandma. Thanks to all. Sure enjoy reading your posts!

Comments for New Rider - How long does it take??

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Aug 31, 2010
by: hari

best best


Jun 22, 2009
First Ride
by: Anonymous

Thank God you haven't given up. I bought my bike then adjusted it to me, a V Strom so a little tall and had to lower it. I took the class which was a great thing, learned so much.

I dropped the bike first trip out on a gravel parking lot...very embarrassing. Now I drive it to work which enlists parking in a sand gravel lot and no problems. I am very nervous still in that gravel but once practiced better at it.

Keep at it and you will be surprised how good you do. Definitely take the class it will help you so much.

Jun 21, 2009
How long does it take? As long as it takes!
by: Fiddler

I put 1000 miles on my scooter before I took the MSF and got a much bigger bike. 900 cc Triumph. So one day I was out doing my parking lot practice and got bolder and bolder on my circles until I slowly laid my poor new baby down all the way to the pavement. No scratches, but I bent the gear shift lever in and destroyed my confidence. This learning thing... It can take a while, but I've got nothing better to do, or more fun. The day my bike was delivered I remember looking at it in the garage and thinking, "****, now I've got to learn to ride this thing!" I nearly threw up in my full face helmet! Anyway, I've learned via baby steps. Around the block, around the neighborhood, down busier roads, etc. It'll come to you, and it's not a race. There are no bonus points for rushing yourself, and don't forget to pat yourself on the back for each task well done. I still hate tight circles.

Jun 21, 2009
I'm a Grandma, too and a New Rider!
by: Kristina

Congrats on your new Ride and going for it! I am a grandma and a New Rider, too. My story is in this site somewhere and I am glad to be part of this website as I read and learn things everyday and I say keep practicing and practicing! I've been practicing each week and I practice over and over on the things I have learned since I bought my Honda Rebel 250 until I am confident enough to hit the road, but I think I may wait until I take my class in August which is two months away! It came naturally to me because I have been a back rider for a long time and am still a back rider when I go riding with my boyfriend as in NYS you must have a licensed person within 1/4 mile behind you when you ride and I only have a permit, so I still enjoying riding on the back and I also observe how he clutches, throttles and shifts! I have done the U-turns and did fine and slowly. It really takes a lot of practice as I am still nervous about turning on my bike. So don't let anybody discourage you and keep practicing and keep riding and like always, Ride Safe!

Jun 21, 2009
Did Not Come "Naturally" for Me!
by: Rene L.

Hi DaisyMae,

Congrats on your new bike and new experience. Just wanted to give you a little encouragement. My story is on here somewhere so I will give the condensed version. In November at the ripe young age of 52 I decided to learn to ride - at that time had only been on the back of my boyfriend's bike. I am glad that you have decided to take the class, I did. The second day on the bike, after trying to navigate the tight u-turns, I got so nervous and frazzled the instructors suggested that I retire for the day, lol. Initially I was devastated. After I put my ego back in it's place, I returned. The second time around in class I made it through, felt more confident but did not pass the test. No problem, I figured that taking the class a 3rd time just amounted to me getting more practice. I did and passed the test with flying colors. About 2 weeks later I bought my first bike and am loving it. Oh yeah, I also am a grandmother. So, don't give up and my advice is not to listen to those who discourage you from taking the class. I found the instructors to be intense, but encouraging and helpful. Also, the class will cover a lot of safety information that others who ride might not think to teach. They also talk about older riders who might inadvertently teach you their bad habits! So, good luck in the class. One advantage you have is that you have a bike so you can go home and practice what you learn after class to help prepare you more for the next day. Afterward, come back and let us know how you did. I have found this site to also be very encouraging. Happy days and ride safe!


P.S. By the way, I have not yet tried the tight U-Turns on my own bike, lol, but I will.

Jun 21, 2009
New Rider - How Long?
by: Anonymous

I got on my bike last August and I learned to ride that one (400 CC and an automatic so I was lucky that I was able to learn the logistics of balancing and turning and such without the added pressure of clutching) but now I got a V700 Virago and love it. After a month of riding the new one, I am doing ok and most days I get on her and I hit every turn, every stop, every start, etc perfectly but then the next day I ride and I do something so incredibly boneheaded that I look back and think WTF was THAT????? LOL I told some of my friends that have ridden for over 10 years to 30 years and they said they still have their DUH moments. I went out with a guy last night that had a new Ultra Classic so it was a big bike and he made u turns look like nothing - I don't and probably never will but I try.

I didn't take the classes and I wont either - I am not a huge fan of being barked at and made nervous to the point of me dropping the bike so ..... I will do it on my own as I did it on the first automatic and with the help of all of my friends. I am taking a ride today up to the mountains up north - a little over 100 miles each way - and a lot of twisties and turns but I am going with two girlfriends who are both long time riders so I am looking forward to that. I am not looking forward to the 103 degree forecast today but..... it's actually going to be 103 here where I live but it is currently 61 where we are going - so that will be nice.

Bottom line is practice, practice, practice and when you face a new challenge (gravel, sand, dirt etc) then just go for it - and if you dump the bike, then uh you dump the bike. Get back on and do it again

I NEVER thought I would ever get on gravel again after I dumped it but now I have no problem with it.

Jun 21, 2009
It Does Come
by: Anonymous

I just learned last fall to ride also. Before I took the class I would practice going around my community a bit and I did the same thing trying to make a short U-turn. Well, in the new rider class we learned how to balance while turning slow and tighter, and we practiced and practiced (since it was going to be on the test). Now I can do them no problem. I think it's great you got back on though. Just keep going. I notice the more I ride, the better I'm getting...just like anything really. At first my heart would be pounding out of my chest but I went anyway. Now I can't wait to get on my bike every day. I went solo for the first time last week when I rode it to work. It felt great! Don't give up, it's so worth it.

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