Hi from California
July 12, 2009 at 5:06 pm #3138
Hi from California. I wonder if the Motorcycle Biker’s course is really for novices like me or am I the only one? I rode minibikes as a kid and rode as a passenger in my 20’s but I always wanted to ride a motorcyle of my own. The rider’s course began yesterday, I statrted out good and ended badly, they said I am not ready for today and the testing for today but said get a bike of my own and practice and then come back. So that is what I will do. Hate it when I can’t keep up. I think I need a personal coach.
LassieJuly 12, 2009 at 5:10 pm #20524MunchParticipant
welcome…what was your problem areas?July 12, 2009 at 5:17 pm #20525megaspazParticipant
did you fail the rider course portion? I have to say that’s the worst advice I’ve heard. I know a few msf instructors and they all suggest for failing students to practice on a bicycle since most people that fail, don’t fail from clutching or shifting, but controling and maneuvering the bike. Get on a bike and practice leaning that bish and looking through the turn.July 12, 2009 at 5:40 pm #20527
The only comment was that I was nowhere near ready to to advance to today and take the test, so maybe I did fail the rider’s part.
LassieJuly 12, 2009 at 6:06 pm #20528
Hi Thanks for your response.
I will list all the problems I know I had. There may be some they didn’t tell me about. They did say I was not where the worse and I could come back to repeat.
The beginning I was doing fine but as the day progressed and I got more nervous and I got worse and began to add doubt in my ability to keep up with other newby’s. Even though I had read somewhere that older people have a harder time I didn’t think I was that old. I’m only 55.
1. Couldn’t tell if I had shifted from 1st to second. Kept looking down.
Coordination, and confidence and need to release clutch.
2. Getting my speed up.
3. I lean on the throttle when trying to use the front brake and and when going
around the right turns. Towards the end of the course I began to doubt if I had
placed my foot correctly and started to look down to see if my foot was on the
back brake. Loss of confidence.
4. Couldn’t quite change gears smoothly from 2 to 3 and from 3 to 2 during the
5. Must learn to corner on the right better and keep my hand light on the throttle
when doing the right hand turns.
Any suggestions will graetly be appreciated.
I know I need to practice, practice, practice.
I did not lay the bike down as others did nor drop it as others did, and no I didn’t run into anyone, but no one else did either.
I will gladly take any of your advice on what I can do to help myself improve.
LassieJuly 12, 2009 at 6:12 pm #20530
Thanks for the comment. I must have failed the riders coourse then if they told me to come to repeat the first day and then take the second day I would probalby pass. I didn’t think about riding a bike around the corners and using the method they taught us to go around corners. I have been riding my bike for the last month just to get out of the house. Good idea. I will do that today.
LassieJuly 12, 2009 at 8:13 pm #20534MunchParticipant
To better prepare yourself, with gear changes a simple trick is to listen to the click. From neutral when you push down you should here a click. This will eliminate the need of second guessing. Don’t be shy about pushing down on the shifter, your not going to break it and it will only go so far. Once you bottom out….you know it’s there.
The throttle is a very common beginner thing. I was even guilty of it.For me I spent so much time focusing and trying not to over rev or under rev it that my hand, wrist and forearm would basically become rigid to the point that any movement even with steering would make the throttle move. Convince yourself to relax. If you have driven a manual shift car before you know you can remind yourself that you can give more throttle then you let out clutch and there’s no adverse effects. Sit at home and practice the claw. Stress balls are great for when you don’t have a bike to do it with. Hold you hand in front of you as you were using a clutch and slowly let out with a 5 Mississippi count. Do the same squeezing back in. This will help your muscles remember slow fluid motions. The rock back and forth they likely did at the beginning of the riding portion will re enforce this.
2nd to 3rd and down again is the same as first. Listen for the click. It really is that simple. Listen for a click and slowly let out of the clutch…. if it doesn’t move pull clutch in and try once more…if it drags or boggs down…do the same only press down on the shifter.
Cornering is nothing but a mind game. I was lucky as I used to ride bulls and we learned early on that the only thing different about direction is being “used” to leaning that way. There’s no mystery to it.
Anytime you think you get over whelmed stop and make it simple. Don’t let your mind run off with you.
Simple question you can ask yourself….”how do you get an elephant into a refigerator?” ……after many odd answers the most simple is the only answer….you open the door and put it in.July 13, 2009 at 1:23 am #20545zeppelinfromledParticipant
Hello, welcome to the forum. The Basic Rider Course is definitely meant for novices. You might have just had really skilled classmates, but my course was full of people who had never so much as sat on a motorcycle.
I’m going to try to respond to all of the things your mention in your response to Munch up top.
1. For shifting from 1st to 2nd, looking down won’t help much – you just tap it up (and do it hard to make sure you get through neutral into 2nd). If your problem is finding the shifter, that’s another story. Try practicing while sitting still (the bike shouldn’t even be on). Put both feet on the ground and hold the front brake. While looking straight forward, pick up your left foot and put it on the peg. Then, while continuing to look forward, find the shifter and shift up (while pulling in the clutch). Doing that enough times should make it so that you can find the shifter on the first time every time. The exact same thing can be done for finding the rear brake easily by leaving your left foot on the ground and putting your right foot on the peg, and then move it back and forth between the brake and off the brake.
2. For getting your speed up, that might just be a confidence thing. Once you get a little more confident on the bike, going faster won’t be a problem. Hitting 25 or 30 mph in my class was crazy and awesome…now, after some highway experience, etc 30 mph is nothing.
3. For rolling on the throttle at various times, you can also practice that a little bit at a standstill. With the bike off, roll on the throttle as if you’re cruising down the road. Then lean the bike over without changing the throttle. I suspect (I obviously don’t know) that you’re just getting nervous when you’re at an angle and you’re getting a death grip on the throttle. Remember, keep your upper body loose. You can definitely practice using the front brake without rolling on the throttle. I usually brake with 4 fingers, and I get a grip on the throttle between the base of my thumb and the base of my index finger. I also actively roll *off* the throttle while braking (of course it doesn’t go anywhere, but I’m putting just a little force on it in the direction of rolling off).
4. Changing gears smoothly is not something that I mastered during the MSF course. I could change gears and the bike didn’t jump all over the place, but I didn’t master it until I was on my own bike (I don’t know that I’ve actually *mastered* it yet, but I’m getting there).
5. I also had more trouble with right hand turns for some reason. I don’t know why that is. That was just a practice issue for me. It’s temping (or it was tempting for me at least) to practice the things that I was already good at. While that can be a good confidence booster, make sure you don’t shy away from practicing the things that you’re not good at.
Overall, if you find yourself getting nervous or worked up, take a couple of nice deep breaths (in through your nose, out through your mouth) and clear your head. I also found that talking out loud to myself sometimes helped. I would say the word “slow” to remind myself to let the clutch out slowly when starting off, and things like that.
Good luck. Let us know if you want any more advice.July 13, 2009 at 1:39 am #20546
Thank you for all the advice. After a quick read here, I’ve decide to print it and read it slower so I can remember the advice you gave. Thanks for the encouragement.
I will let you all know how it goes.
LassieJuly 13, 2009 at 1:52 am #20547
Thank for the tips on how to relax with the throttle. I have driven a manual shift before and am very good at it, and love manuals more than automatics. The stress balls tip never thought about them that way but I imagine they would help tremendously. Listen for the click? I couldn’t hear a click after awhile, I became so fixated on trying to do better and what was asked of me I could no longer relax and became to nervous and anxious about doing badly. I began to talk to myself and tell myself relax but then I began to stop that too and began to concentrate too hard for fear of failing, falling, or runnign someone over, not being able to stop, yadda yadda, yadda. I get the simple answer!!! I will do as advised. Simple lessons, simple answers. Keep things simple.
LassieJuly 13, 2009 at 4:15 am #20552eonParticipant
From reading between the lines in your posts my advice is real simple, relax
It sounds like you are your own worst enemy here. By stressing over what you are doing you are making life much too hard for yourself.
During my class I started beating myself up because I kept making stupid mistakes and found it hard to master everything at once (coordinating all four limbs at the same time is hard). But I took a deep breath and reminded myself I was there to have fun. If I failed, I failed, it was not going to be the end of the world. So I relaxed, listened to what they had to say and did my best. It suddenly became a lot easier when I took that self imposed pressure off.
If you have a bike to practice on, keep it simple at first. Pick a few things you want to improve on and go out there and work on it. Honestly it gets easier real quick once you master the basics. Then you get to spend the next 20 years practicing everything elseJuly 15, 2009 at 5:21 pm #20638yugen852Participant
Before I even took my first class, I researched about the handling, throttle, etc. And then I practiced (I sat on my couch and spread my legs like I was sitting on a bike). I imagined the movements and brakes and turns and stuff. When I took the course, I knew what to expect. I trusted the movements of the bike and aced the test. I think it all has to do with your mind. Practice, know what to expect, and if you do that, I’ll expect you to ace the test, too.
yugen852July 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm #20711ixion00xParticipant
Just a little update to the problem of leaning on the throttle while trying to brake. I learned a nifty trick that might help. I like to keep my wrist bent upwards at a slight angle while I hold the throttle.
This allows for two things. One, since my wrist is closer to the end of my range of motion, I can’t physically twist the throttle wide open, which helps control my speed. Two, the act of reaching for the front brake automatically rolls the throttle closed.
It might feel a little awkward to hold your wrist like that, but its nice security when you’re learning how to ride. Like others have commented, you want a smooth roll-off of the throttle while smoothly applying the brake.
-IxJuly 17, 2009 at 6:56 pm #20715eonParticipant
I don’t quite understand what you are saying. If you are holding your wrist slightly upwards then surely it is easier to give it more throttle? Your wrist is nearer to the end of its forward motion, which means less throttle? I would also recommend learning the correct technique rather than something you find ‘helps’ you learn. Bad practices learned now will be really hard to get rid of.
As far the smooth roll off when braking, I found it just took a conscious decision to do so. I got told off at the BRC for just grabbing the brake without rolling off the throttle. So I would slowly and deliberately roll off the throttle before squeezing the brake. I concentrated on doing it right before worrying about the stopping distance. Once you are doing it right you can try to do it quicker.July 18, 2009 at 2:11 am #20721yugen852Participant
When I took my bike class, the instructor told me to have my wrist slightly under the throttle, so in case you fall backwards because of the impulse of to much gas, straightaning back would pull on the wrist, hence decelerating. If you have your wrist over the throttle, if you get pushed backwards, the wrist would straighten down and accelerate the throttle. That’s what I learned and I think that it’s the correct way to do it.
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