Recommendation for Beginner Riders

by Kim

I was a beginner rider last year. I experienced the anxieties, sweaty palms, upset stomachs -- that is all very normal and we all go through it.

For me, I took a lot of courses, but courses in parking lots don't help you "get out"....in traffic.

My Parking Lot Course was followed immediately by a Traffic Course.

We got out in small groups on motorcycles that we chose (I chose a 250 Yamaha Virago), and our instructors took us through cities, bridges, parkades, roundabouts, country roads, twisities, and the most harrowing of all, 6 lane divided highway in rush hour traffic in a wind storm.

I actually thought the wind storm was going to blow my bike over into other lanes. I made a mental note to get a bike that was bigger as soon as I could be comfortable.

I don't think I would have progressed as quickly as I did, without taking the Traffic Course.

6 weeks after the traffic course, I signed up for an Advanced Riders Course, taught by a couple of Policeman Motorcyclists and we learned how to do emergency stops at highway speeds, and more.

Every body is different. But, I sure needed that traffic course and the Advanced Course.

and then, it is just doing the miles. Adding to them daily in various conditions, various roads, solo and in partnership or small groups and to laugh and laugh.

its important to have the right riding gear. Any worries at all, will add to the discomfort of the ride and nervousness.

Keep getting out. Make it a job. Do it, and soon, it comes second nature where the riding becomes automatic.

Enjoy the Ride...make each ride count......have fun!

Comments for Recommendation for Beginner Riders

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Mar 24, 2011
by: Lois

Yes, it takes time to get used to riding out in traffic. I live in the mountains and that means I had to learn to stop at red lights in the middle of a steep hill, scary YES. Also learned the hard way when stopping on a sloped street. Lean to the upper side, I was coming to a stop sign and the street sloped to the side, 1 use brake, 2 put feet down, 3 can't reach on the downhill side, 4 drop bike in front of everyone. People are nice I had several trying to help me pick the bike up, I did it myself. I was so embarrassed I just wanted to get away, afterward s I realized no one was upset they just wanted to know I was OK. So don't worry about what others think, just watch out for yourself and be aware of what's going on around you and wear good gear. As we learned in the MSF course, all the gear all the time, and yes it does work.

Mar 18, 2011
A Course of Course
by: dirtbag

I am so glad I have signed up for a course. I got my first bike three days ago.

Day 1: Figure out how to get bike started, yipee... and pop my first wheelie. Walk home to change underwear. Collect bike; kangaroo hop along road and come perilously close to becoming intimate with a twenty foot wall of rock. Return home, confidence in bits.

Day 2: Eye Bike with suspicion and tell it we are friends. This works! Clutch-gear. Clutch-gear. I no longer feel like a demented Jackrabbit; confidence returns. Out of the corner of my eye I see the dreaded wall. Bike seems to take on a life of its own as it follows my line of sight. Brake!!!! Trembling, I tell myself to relax. Right wrist falls, throttle opens and once more I am careening at breakneck speed towards unforgiving slab of granite. Bike is heavy and unyielding when it's at a forty-five degree angle.

Day 3: Tell Bike I am mistress and if it does what it's told I'll give it a proper name. Upon reflection I shun road with twenty foot nemesis and take another route. An hour later I can tell this is the start of what is going to be a beautiful relationship. And I've figured out Bike already knows what she's doing, it's me that need the help.

Mar 04, 2011
You're so right!
by: Mary

The BRC does not prepare you to ride in traffic! I was lucky I had my BF as my mentor and coach. I was also lucky that when I had enough of the parking lot, I work close to where I live so I could practice riding through town. But without these options, I would have taken the other MSF courses. I must reiterate to new riders! The BRC is not enough!

Feb 27, 2011
@ Jeanne
by: Bibs

Jeanne, do not worry about backing up traffic!! The roads are public and for everyone ... so it's better you go slow than have an accident because you're not comfortable.

Wanna laugh? I was at a traffic light, and yes it was my turn ... and boom, I stalled ... and stalled again ... and again. It took me (ok don't laugh) 5 times before I finally managed to go and my boyfriend who was behind me said I never made a better left hand turn. So basically don't concentrate too much ...

I can't say that I'm feeling confident, but I am feeling more comfortable with speed. It's the curves where I'm a bit 'stiff' and I go slow ... but it will come.

It's a shame we can't ride together, I have lots of patience (and) I ride slow :-)))

Feb 27, 2011
by: Jeanne

Thanks for the reassurance that I am not the only person in the world to be nervous on my new bike. I took the parking lot course, they gave me a license, my husband gave me a bike and i was all set, right? Not exactly. The first time headed out onto a highway, I backed up traffic for miles, going only 45 and shaking like a leaf. I was scared out of my mind. The next week I headed out to the country and got up to speed at my own pace, no pressure, no traffic and found it really wasn't as scary as I thought.

This year will be more learning and hopefully my experienced, fearless and somewhat impatient husband doesn't leave me in the dust.

Feb 27, 2011
Thank you ...
by: Bibs

Yes I wanted to say 'thank-you' for sharing. I am one of these persons who doesn't like to say that she doesn't know 'something' so you can imagine learning how to ride a motorcycle.

The mere thought of getting out on the road and riding would seriously terrorize me. I still to this day (been riding less than a year) get nervous just thinking about being on the bike. My heart races and races and my boyfriend (who rides a bike for quite a few years now) tells me ... kilometers (yes I'm in Europe), but kms kms kms ... basically ride, ride, ride ... then you start feeling more comfortable.

EVERYBODY yes EVERYBODY was new one day.

My fear is in town, riding at slow speeds, with people, cars, bikes, other motorcycles around me. Turning the direction indicators on, keeping the hands on the bike, and remembering to turn the indicators off (yeah that's kinda not cool when I found on while riding one day). :-)

I am worried about being in a too low speed then accelerating (unintentionally) and plowing through a person or car or store window. :-) Cause sometimes I'm not in the right gear (yeah that lacks too, a gear indicator). So I just mentally talk to myself to calm myself down and go slow :-)))).

Feb 13, 2011
Ride Safe...Ride Often
by: Sandra

I too learned in the parking lot on a cute little 250cc. I own a BMW f650GS for the adventure riding and and a Ducati Monster620 for around town. My boyfriend has been riding since he was 4 years old and he has done the Dakar. We plan to travel the world together on bikes. So, No pressure there to become a capable and competent rider. I live in Fort Lauderdale where the traffic is hideous. Baby steps. Full gear and a lot of self confidence. I have dropped my Ducati once in traffic.... too hard on the front brake and down I went. I was fine.... bike was scratched. Had to make myself get back on and keep going. I learned by my mistake. Now I ride to work every day, I ride in light rain when I don't have to.... I push myself to learn and be better all the time. You just have to pile on the hours. Most of all I had great support. People I could ride with. I found several people who more than willing to go for various trips around town with me. This April I am headed to the Overland Expo. I am signed up for classes with rawhide adventures.... to learn offroad riding. Can't wait. It is a huge world with all kinds of paths to take on a bike. I have been blessed to find a kindrid soul to take them all with. So persist.... it is worth every shaky, nervous minute you put behind you. One huge confidence booster for me when I first got on the road.... pure white Fieldsheer leather jacket. You can see me from miles away. I like that!

Feb 13, 2011
Getting Out In traffic
by: Kim

I also, hired an instructor to ride with me on the roads to reassure me, or to correct nervous mistakes. I bought books on riding techniques, and I went to where the Motorcyclicts went, and would walk right up to them to ask them questions..

Everybody was very kind and willing to share

Everybody started in the same place.

I was kind to myself, allowed myself to feel fear and aprehension, but kicked my ass out the door, a lot and solo....so not to depend on anybody.

I began to be a motorcyclist in my solo rides, where I had to do my shoulder and mirror checks, I had to keep my own self safe.

Riding solo with instructions helped me to prepare mentally.

Then, get out and do it....it gets easier. Set time out to ride everyday. The mechanical functions of getting ready, getting chPs, gloves, helmet, help prepare for the ride.

I rode horses at high level competition.

"feel the fear and do it anyway"

"throw your heart over the fence and go after it!"

YOU all can DO this!

Now, as soon as weather turns in favour, get to it!

Feb 12, 2011
Thank you!
by: Raylene

Thank you for this post! I really needed it! I took a beginners course (in a parking lot), passed and got my license. But, I have yet gotten the nerve to get back on the bike because I am scared to death of messing up out in traffic.

Thank you for the encouragement and for the reassurance that I am not alone!

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