Advice and Tips for New Motorcycle Riders
If you're considering buying your first ride, or researching to find out how to get your license, your search will yield a plethora of information. Riding a motorcycle is like opening up a whole new world. But, in the interest of keeping all you beginner motorcycle riders safe on the road, and before you decide to go all WFO, here are a few things you should know:
1) Take an MSF Course.
Complete an MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) Course. In case you're wondering, yes, most course requirements include assignments, lesson attendance, a written exam, and an on-motorcycle test. But don't let this discourage you!
When it comes down to it, the specially trained MSF Basic RiderCourse instructors will teach you how to ride a motorcycle much better than a blog can. And, while completing the course doesn’t guarantee your safety (ultimately, as the rider, you guarantee your own safety), these courses will allow you to continue honing your skills on the road.
2) ATGATT: Wear Safety Gear.
Yeah, nothing looks cooler than leathers on a motorcycle, but they also serve another important purpose: injury prevention. Live by ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time. Wear the safety gear, follow the rules, and you’ll stay safe.
Wear a helmet. It should go without saying why your headgear is such a critical piece of equipment. Also, wear gloves. Just picture what happens when you trip and fall while walking—how do you catch yourself? It’s instinct to put your hands out in order to break the fall. This isn't to say that wearing leather gloves will 'catch' you, but they will help your hands fare better against asphalt at high speeds.
One of the most important motorcycle gear tips is to invest in some that you'll want to wear, that way, you will actually wear it. Go for comfort as well as functionality here, not just what looks 'cool.'
3) Don’t Drink and Ride.
Just don’t. Please, for the love of all things Harley. Don’t be stupid.
4) Get Used to Your Bike.
So you carefully shopped around for the best motorcycle for beginners, and you finally bought your first scoot. Now it’s time to make it your own. While you may be excited about all the awesome mods you’re going to make when you buy a motorcycle, you may want to wait on that. Get accustomed to your bike’s balance and feel before you deck it out. This will come in handy after you modify your bike, too. Learning the stock sounds and movements of your motorcycle will help you realize when something isn’t running properly.
5) Take It Easy.
If you’ve never had to learn how to ride a motorcycle before, don’t expect to be able to flog it your first time around—no way. You’ll just have to make peace with the fact that it might be a while before you let loose.
Instead, find a big, safe area to ride around in. Empty parking lots are the perfect practice getaway because they offer riders a wide, mostly unobstructed area to become better acquainted with their ride.
6) Don’t Trust the Guys in Cages.
Ugh. There’s nothing more dangerous than a distracted and irresponsible cage driver. As much as it sucks, it’s really up to us to make sure they don’t kill us on the road; this is when brushing up on your safety is a good idea. Want to know one of my tricks? I pretend no one has mirrors on their cars, that they can only see straight ahead. (Can you imagine?)
Avoid blind spots at all costs, and always, always maintain proper spacing. Learn to predict the movements of cars, always look both ways at intersections (maybe even twice), and never get distracted. Riding recklessly beside big, honkin’ vehicles is one sure way to reserve a space for yourself on the big road in the sky. Stay safe.
7) Know Your Limits
The road is wide, and you and your bike are itching for long-distance journeys. While a cross-country road trip seems like a great idea right now, you need to remember your limits. New riders can find lengthy journeys pretty tiring, so it’s a good idea to take short trips at first. Then, as you get used to your bike’s demands, you'll be able to expand your journey's radius and make longer trips.
8) Ride Everywhere
Yes, I mean it! The only way to get fully used to your new motorcycle is to ride it. Don’t park it and be a weekend warrior. Ride that baby everywhere! (As if you need more convincing.)
9) Don’t Get Discouraged
Everyone has to start from scratch. Believe it or not, even the most seasoned of bikers have had their fair share of “oops” moments and mess-ups. (I'm speaking from experience.) Don’t lose heart, the only way you’ll catch on is with practice.
10) Have Fun
While it may seem like a tiresome learning process with a lot of homework, remember to relax, take it easy, and enjoy the ride. When you buy a motorcycle, you have taken a step into a new way of life. So, welcome!
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