Sometimes it helps to know everyone's been through it

by Mary
(East Bay, CA)

What is it? Misery loves company or something like that. But whenever I stall, or drop my bike, or get nervous, it's nice to know that every experienced rider had to go through that in their beginning as well.

I was riding through the neighborhood for the first time (not only do I live in a busy city, but I live on a hill!) and I was making a right turn after a stop. I tried to start (clutch out, throttle) and I stalled--and dropped my bike. My coach/mentor was following me (thankfully) and helped me pick my bike up. This was during the morning traffic! And--it happened not once, but twice! I walked my bike around the corner and started on a straightaway, suddenly realizing I was trying to start out of 2nd gear! Lesson learned. We stopped at the nearest parking lot to calm my nerves, and what did he say to lift my spirits? "If you dropped your bike four more times, then you would be on par with me." Apparently he had the same problems while starting out. Only he also dropped his bike six more times the next block over.

No more dropping my bike that morning. And he praised me for what I was able to do. Hopefully I keep my confidence when I ride solo tonight!

Comments for Sometimes it helps to know everyone's been through it

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Aug 25, 2013
OMG, thank you all!!
by: Sandra

I have been riding for less than a month, and today after stalling repeatedly on a hill in traffic and then taking a u-turn too fast, forgetting to look through the turn, panicking, slamming into the curb, dropping my bike and sending myself flying into the grass next to the side of the road, I started seriously wondering why the hell I am doing this...when does this stop being work and become FUN? I came to this site sore, bruised, and very discouraged, but reading all your posts has made me realize that learning to ride is tough, EVERYONE makes mistakes, and I can't expect to master it in a month or two. I need to stop beating myself up for my mistakes, comparing myself to other riders, and thinking there is something wrong with me because what should be fun just seems so hard, and learn to relax and accept that this is the learning experience of my life. I will keep practicing, I will learn at my own pace, and I will keep reminding myself why I am doing this, and I will get there. Maybe not tomorrow, or next week, or even next month, but eventually, and it will all have been worth it. So thanks everyone, and please keep posting! You just have no idea who you might help.

Nov 15, 2011
Thank you!
by: K

I dropped my bike while making a simple left hand turn in a parking lot. I am new to riding, and I had previously taken the bike around the parking lot with my husband there to give me advice. Well I thought I was going to be cool and go by myself, since we live right at the edge of the mall parking lot. I was turning left and didn't give it enough gas. It stalled and fell. Three other cars were at the intersection, and everyone got out to make sure I was OK. A cop saw the bike on the ground and the crowd of people and assumed there had just been an accident. He drove over, with 2 other cops who I guess just happened to be in the mall parking lot at the time. A nice old man picked the bike up and walked it out of the intersection for me while the cops took my information. I was so embarrassed I just left the bike at the mall and walked home. It's good to know these things happen to other people too!

Oct 17, 2011
Helps to know others have done the same thing!
by: azinski63

I had never driven a motorcycle before taking the MSF class in May, 2011 -- and I passed! It was an intense class, and I knew walking out of there that I would need lots more practice. I have been out a few times on my husband's Kawasaki Ninja 250 practicing around the neighborhood and the parking lots (he's driven us there b/c I have been too nervous to get out on the roads).

This past weekend I had some time to practice on the Ninja again -- but, I ended up dropping the bike, TWICE! I was so depressed! I had never dropped the bike before, but twice when I came to a stop the bike just slowly went over and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. And, me trying to pick the bike up...forget it! I couldn't get it back up.

Sigh...I did end up going out again around the neighborhood with my husband following me on his bike, and I rode slow but fine. I guess I'm just disappointed in myself that it feels like it is going to take me a long time to get comfortable on the bike.

Aug 07, 2011
Pit crew
by: Anonymous

I dropped my bike a about a month ago doing PLP... Quick stops, stop and go turns and wasn't paying attention on slight incline...down it I went(felt like slow-motion). Nothing damaged but definitely got my attention. I tried and was unsuccessful in righting my Sportster, so I sought help from a guy in field on tractor, he was more than happy to help a damsel in distress. lol.
Okay now fast forward:
Yesterday practiced gently putting bike on ground to see if I could actually lift it. It took me 3 attempts but it is physically possible, and NOT as easy as the videos make it out to be. So I will pay more attention to how and where I stop and place my feet, cause my knees don't want to lift this 600 lb puppy any more.
Ride safe and ENJOY the Zone!!!!!!

Apr 18, 2011
Forgot to put kickstand down.....
by: Anonymous

I rode my bike into our garage, shut it off, went to get off myself and as I was falling over with the bike, I realized I didn't put the kickstand down! Thankfully my husband was behind me on his bike and he got off and came and pulled me back up with the bike cause it was way to heavy for me to to get it up!! I will remember next time..lol.

Sep 13, 2010
The truth will set you (or your nerves) free!
by: Lisa

I've just been riding for 9mths (Ive just put a story on the forum - many lessons to learn) I belong to Ulysses in Australia, with my husband. The members are fantastic with unfold years of experience for most - they always share their stories with me, of drops, slips, round-abouts and unwise decisions, and for many of them, they happened recently. They always tell me that as a motorcycle rider you are continuously learning, you should never be so bold as to say you know it all!!!

Aug 03, 2010
Re: 27 Years Later
by: Anonymous

lol! I love it! Just confirms my suspicions that when you hear someone bragging a lot you know they are trying to cover up their own insecurities!
You must have really impressed him!

Jul 30, 2010
27 Years Later
by: Helen Wheels

I am a new rider and have dropped my bike in a parking lot, too. But what made me feel better was on a charity bike run about a month ago, a gentleman who just finished bragging about his 27 years of experience compared to my few months, dropped his bike in front of me, not once, but twice. Stalled it 3 times trying to get going in 3rd and then 2nd gear. It was all I could do not to laugh, but it certainly made my day and proved that Karma is alive and well.

Jul 29, 2010
Been There
by: Lynn - SW Florida

I always tell people that "starting" and "stopping" are always the hardest things for new (and not so new) riders. I have a friend who drops his bike in parking lots a lot. I realized he constantly has hand on his front brake and I reminded him that is for "straight line stopping" only, not when the wheel is turned. I told him I would hit his hand with a switch until he remembered if that is what it would take. Our ride captain has been heard shouting "no front brake" to remind him.

Jul 29, 2010
Great Mentor!
by: Sandra

Thank goodness you are blessed with a great mentor! My brother is a great mentor; my husband is not...I ride more often around my husband!

But because I have great supporters and encouragers in my life, and because I know my husband is genuinely concerned with my ability to handle tough situations in live traffic, I have a knack for staying calm during intersection mishaps. I know that stalling at a busy 4-way stop is embarrassing, but it only becomes dangerous if I become so flustered that others become impatient and try to work around me. It takes literally 2-3 seconds to hit that start button WHILE checking for 1st gear so that I can continue my left hand turn almost without missing a beat. Be calm and "just keep playing" (like screwing up your part in a musical piece) and chances are many won't even realize you stalled.

Everyone learns. Be as courteous as you can and practice during off times, but when you finally have to face mainstream situations at full speed, JUST BREATHE! And keep going... :)

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