New Rider, New Bike, Scared Sh**less
September 2, 2010 at 9:21 pm #4220katinaParticipant
Hi! I just passed my MSF course last weekend and got my license. I went out on Monday and bought a Kawasaki 250. Lime green, GORGEOUS bike, shifts like a dream and way better than the crappy Honda Rebel I learned on. I also took a 2 hour private lesson before my MSF so I’ve got a good 12 hours of riding under my belt.
But, as you all know, that’s 12 hours in a parking lot. With cones. And an instructor. Now I’m all alone with my bike. I don’t know anyone who rides and I dropped the bike earlier trying to position it in my driveway. I’m pretty small — 5’3″, 115 lb. — and it was just so, so, so, SO heavy getting it back up. I have practically 0 confidence right now and I’m afraid of everything that could go wrong. I don’t know if this motorcycling thing is for me. But, to be honest, I’m a big wimp and chicken out of most anything I ever try doing and I just want to succeed for once.
Any words of encouragement would be great haha. Thanks.September 2, 2010 at 9:47 pm #28432ranetteParticipant
Don’t know where you are but you might try to find some sort of riding buddy. Check for local rider message boards and introduce yourself, much like you did here. Good chance you might find somebody with a little more experience to ride with.
If that doesn’t happen just stick to what you’re comfortable with. You said that you don’t have any friends that ride, do you have any friends with a pickup? Maybe you don’t feel comfortable riding to an empty parking lot yet, but maybe a friend could take your bike back and forth for you.
Beyond those two rather hopeful suggestions, one very true comment. It gets easier. Little steps will become big steps. Things that once seemed to take every bit of concentration you could muster soon become as easy as tying your shoes. You’re probably a little frustrated right now. Relax, put the bike aside for a day or so(not too long though), reread your MSF handbook and remember the basics. You passed the class so you obviously know the basics but sometimes we forget things we know when we get frustrated. Trust me, and I’m sure the others you’ll hear from on this board, things that you can’t imagine doing now, riding the highway or the twistiest road in the area will be just down the road if you just take things one step at a time.September 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm #28433katinaParticipant
Hey Ranette, thanks for replying. I live in Massachusetts so I’ll be sure to google some riding groups up here. I live in a really quiet, residential neighborhood so I don’t need to bother my friends with trucks thankfully. I’ve tooled around a few times on my bike, just upshifting and downshifting, stopping, etc. I got out onto the main street (still pretty quiet, though, and not a state highway) and did well. Except when I went to turn onto my street, I got scared and just stopped instead of turning. Almost dropped the bike but I made it back home.
I love the idea of riding and it was awesome getting around with the wind coming at me. I guess I’ll just take little steps and see where I go from there. I’m already a much, MUCH better shifter/clutcher/breaker than I was at the beginning so there’s a triumph for me, even if it is a little oneSeptember 2, 2010 at 10:47 pm #28434JackTradeParticipant
Is that first drop. It’ll make you reconsider everything. But push yourself past it (as you’re doing already….nice), and you’ll find your confidence will keep growing and growing, and soon, you’ll be riding without even thinking about it.
That’s what happened with me. When I dropped my bike when I first started, it really dazed me, and I recall thinking this whole thing was a bad idea and I was better off not riding. I even remember wondering how long it would take to sell my bike. It was really hard to get back on it, fire it up and keep going. But I did and pushed myself past that feeling. And I still remember grinning from ear to ear when I finally ventured out of my neighborhood and onto main roads…it was the best feeling EVER. And now, 2 years later, I can’t imagine NOT riding.
So hang in there, take it slowly as you’re doing, and it WILL work out for you!September 2, 2010 at 10:52 pm #28435ranetteParticipant
Try asking here, my guess is you’ll find someone who might be able to help/mentor you.
http://www.nestreetriders.com/forum/motorcycle-forums/September 2, 2010 at 11:16 pm #28440RabParticipant
You’ll notice that she had ensured that the kick-stand was in the down position prior to lifting it so as the bike wouldn’t fall over onto the other side once lifted.September 3, 2010 at 12:04 am #28443eonParticipant
One thing to remember about lifting your bike is that sport bikes are harder to lift than cruisers as they tend to fall over further. A cruiser will typically still have rubber on the ground but a sport bike may be flat on its side. I’m not sure about the ninja but I suspect that it would fall over quite far.
Like the others have said, small steps quickly become large ones. You did pass the MSF so you ARE qualified to ride in a parking lot. There is nothing wrong with (and is highly recommended) to spent a lot of time in a parking lot in the beginning honing your skills. Once the mechanics of controling your bike at slow speed become reflexive, riding on the street becomes much easier. You can now spend much more of your limited attention span on the road instead of the bike. Now that you are SEEing things long before they become a potential issue, you are suddenly relaxed and not prone to feeling panic or being out of control. Honestly, it is hard and overwhelming in the beginning but your rate of learning will be very rapid and soon you will be looking back wondering how you survived these early days
Another website to check out is meetup.com. I’ve made some great friends through meetup groups and have lots of riding buddies now.September 3, 2010 at 1:40 am #28437Gary856Participant
Your size is not a problem – seeing 5-10 year-olds sliding and jumping on motocross tracks convinced me of that – so don’t let your size discourage you. Riding, like skiing, skating, mountain biking, etc., is a learned skill. It doesn’t come naturally to the vast majority of us, so you just need to keep at it.
Riding is about finding that balance point, and when you lose that balance even the biggest guy woudn’t be able to keep a bike upright, with the tremendous weight and momentum. I’m 6′, 170, and my back gets sore for a few days everytime I had to pick up my bike. I know to use my legs and not my back, but it’s not easy.
A lot of the small mishaps of a new rider can be avoided if you had an experienced rider giving you a few extra pointers. Internet helps a lot, but still most of us sort of find our way in the dark and learn from each small mistakes. Where I am I find a lot of experienced riders are generous with their offer to help a new rider; I often had to politely turn down the persistent offers to help because I dont like to trouble people. I know I’d be perfectly happy to spend some time tutoring a new rider on my free time.September 3, 2010 at 2:22 am #28445eternal05Participant
In my experience, a sportbike is very hard to lift, also in part because it has a high center of gravity (relative to the bike’s position when upright). That means that the weight is at the end of the lever as you’re lifting, and it’s a bit harder to handle. In fact, the last time I lowsided at the track, I had trouble getting my bike up by myself in the sloped gravel (thankfully a corner worker showed up to help before I embarrassed myself by dropping it again).September 3, 2010 at 3:13 am #28451briderdtParticipant
…and I actually couldn’t pick it up myself. The only person who stopped to help was a lady who had to be at least 65, and couldn’t have weighed more than 100lbs… But I didn’t have the choice — I had to keep riding because I was on the way to a doctor appointment. And I knew WHY I dropped it, and haven’t made that mistake again.
So learn from your mistake. It was a driveway drop, and pretty much everybody does it. It wasn’t a mistake out on the road. No one got hurt.
If it’ll help, take a mountain bike out and do some of those low-speed things on that before getting back out on the motorcycle. Try those tight turns and pay attention to when you need to put more pressure to the pedals (speed up a little) or weight the outside to keep the bike from tipping in. Those skills DO translate to the motorcycle, but instead of putting pressure on the pedals, you slip the clutch out a little more.September 3, 2010 at 4:13 am #28444Gary856Participant
It looks easy on You Tube when they back the bike up, but I have not been able to pick up my bikes (GS500, SV650, DRZ400sm) by backing my butt into the seat like they do. Usually my bike would be lying a weird way, on dirt shoulder, or a slope, with loose footing, and I just couldn’t seem to squat that low and get enough foot traction and body leverage to back my body into the bike. It could be the type of bike and how low it lies, like eon said, and it could also be something wrong with my technique.
What I do instead is to use the handlebar as a lever, squat down and hold the grip with both hands, and dead-lift the bike up. Since this is a straight-up lift, loose footing is much less of a problem (except the time when I was standig on a steeply sloped dirt trail). You need to have enough strength to dead lift 70-90 lbs (my estimate) initially with the bike lying flat, depending the bike, but it quickly gets lighter as the bike moves upright. Still, I got a sore back for days every time I did this. Again, poor lifting technique.September 3, 2010 at 5:55 am #28455madjak30Participant
I’ve done it twice now…both times it was my own fault…once on dirt becuase I thought I could throw my street bike around like a dirt bike and pull a 180…umm, no…
The next ( and hopefully the last) time I dropped my bike was in my driveway…I had it on the center stand and was going to move it to the garage, so I grabbed the handle bar and the passenger grab rail…pushed it forward to get it off the center stand, and it was at that moment that I realized that maybe I should be on the low side of the driveway…the bike tipped away from me, and over it went…broke my signal lens, that sucked…
Both times I dropped it, I remember thinking the bike was a lot heavier than I was expecting…pretty sure there was some grunting involved…and I like to think of myself as a big strong guy…???
I don’t know if this really helps, but don’t feel bad about dropping your bike…most people do it once…but apparently I’m special…I’ve done it twice…lol
It’s like wiping out on your bicycle when you were a kid, just pick it up and try again…if you give up, you’ll never learn how…
Later.September 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm #28460megaspazParticipant
ah… memories… i dropped my bike before… the good ol’ days… ^__^September 4, 2010 at 5:06 pm #28474plasticParticipant
I’m just starting myself, so don’t got a lot of advice, just a sympathetic nod… And one piece good advice from a experienced rider friend; don’t worry about being “rude” to the other cars. I’ve notice that, when I slow down, usually they keep their distance and show some respect… Use your horn as much as needed, go on the speed that’s comfortable for you, own your lane (stay smack in the middle) and check you mirrors to make sure no one is about to run you over, which they probably won’t (again, when I slow down they either change lanes or keep their distance…).
Another advice. Don’t let the fear take over – I notice I ride much better while being safe but without hesitating out of fear. Get some good protective gear, ride safe and have fun!
PS; I highly recommend knee and shin braces, along with riding boots…September 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm #28479Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
At intersections, there will often be oil on the middle of the road, where older engines leaked while waiting for a stop sign or traffic light. It is best to stay in the tire tracks of cars in these places. I sometimes ride in the left tire track, sometimes the right, depending on which side seems the least dangerous at the time- whichever side puts me the furthest from cars.
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