Oh boy, what a reality check…
July 11, 2010 at 1:14 am #4096halflife2Participant
Okay, so I started my BRC and finally got to ride a motorcycle for the first time ever. Let me just say that I didn’t realize it was THIS HARD. I guess I have bad coordination. I found it tough to manage the bike while working with the throttle + front brake, rear brake pedal, clutch lever, and gear shifter. I’ve gained a whole new respect for motorcyclists; I don’t know how they manage to do all this, all the while looking out for other traffic and such.
I stalled, front-brake skidded, and even dropped the bike once. I am now seriously doubting my capabilities of riding a motorbike. I know practice would help, but I think it would take a VERY long time before I felt comfortable to ride on a public street.
I do admit that once we got to ride around in an oval, it did feel fun. But maybe bicycling is a better/safer option for me if I just want that wind-in-my-face feeling. Or maybe a scooter since I wouldn’t have to worry about shifting gears, but scooters look so wimpy.
I guess I will try to survive the remainder of the course and then make my final decision. Thanks for listening to me rant. This is a great forum.July 11, 2010 at 2:29 am #27435ranetteParticipant
Don’t get too down on yourself. Lots of people experience an “Ah Ha” moment and it starts to come together. However if you like the feeling of being on two wheels but continue to be uncomfortable with shifting, there is nothing wimpy about a scooter. Smaller 150cc scooters are practical machines for riding around cities and small towns and maxiscoots like the Burgman can cruise comfortably on the interstates.
Most people end up conquering the clutch, however, thinking back 30+ years when I learned to drive a car, I’m pretty happy that I learned on an automatic, got comfortable behind the wheel without the added step of shifting, before I learned to drive a standard two years later. Though that doesn’t seem to be a standard way of learning on two wheels, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be for you. In fact it worked for me on two wheels as well; I got a scooter, got my endorsement on a scooter, bought a motorcycle and took and passed(though I already had my endorsement) the BRC in that order.July 11, 2010 at 2:49 am #27436ShamRock229Participant
Yeah dont start getting emo just yet. Everyones first day is rough, but you once you get back on it the second day, it will feel more familiar to you and you can focus more on what youre doing. The growth of your progress in the class will be exponential. I had zero riding experience and on the first day, I popped the clutch while giving it throttle and the bike took me for a fun ride straight towards the curb lol luckily I didnt drop it though. But by halfway through the second day, I felt so much more comfortable/confident in myself and the bike. I have no doubt that you will too, just dont let it get you down.
What exactly are you having the most trouble with? I’m sure many people here will be able to give you some pointers. Good luck!July 11, 2010 at 5:55 am #27438kauffe9aParticipant
I took the course twice! The first time I just didn’t feel comfortable on the bike and I didn’t really trust it to stay up lol. They let me come back and take it a second time for free and it definetly paid off! The second time I was the “star student”! I felt a lot more confident on the bike and just had a much better time. So don’t give up just because its difficult. Everyone has to start somewhere and I can tell you from personal experience that it gets better with practice.July 11, 2010 at 11:25 am #27439CBBaronParticipant
My first day every move required thinking about what controls to operate in which manner. It seemed like every skill we did was a struggle because things were happening too fast.
By the second day things started happening without me thinking about them so much and it became much easier.
After a few days of practice I was able to worry more about traffic and the road and less about how to ride.
You just have to build up muscle memory so that operating the motorcycle becomes automatic, just like it already is with your bicycle and car.
CraigJuly 12, 2010 at 12:18 am #27451halflife2Participant
Thanks for the encouragement. It turns out I failed the course on the 2nd day of riding. We had a skills test, and I ended up grabbing the front brake too hard and threw myself off the bike. Dropping the bike = automatic failure. I don’t think I can ride safely on public streets with any amount of practice. I just don’t have the coordination for this sport.
Actually, I’m not really good with anything physical. On the other hand, I passed the DMV permit test with only one question wrong, and I passed the MSF written test with only one question wrong. I guess I should stick to more nerdy things. :-p
I’m still glad I took the BRC because I got to experience riding a motorcycle on a closed course under supervision, so at least I know what it’s like…and it’s just not for me.
Thanks again, though.July 12, 2010 at 1:28 am #27452TrialsRiderParticipant
…if falling off doesn’t scare you too much, grassy knoll and a little dirt bike experience.
I’ll probably catch it for this one but; contrary to BRC standard recommendation you would of had only one finger on that front brake if I was teaching you.July 12, 2010 at 5:11 am #27455ncBikerParticipant
Hahahahahah. I havnt taken the course yet but i remember the first time i got on my bike i pulled the throttle back and popped the clutch and when i finally got it stopped i had gone fom my back yard to the front of my driveway. It scared the hell out of me! I walked the bike back and parked it and thought what have i got myself into! Then i psyched myself up the next day by reading some riding tips and got back on her and did just fine. It also helped that i had just taken out a $3000 loan so that made me say i gota learn to ride the damn thing. If its something you want to do dont give up. One of my goals in life is to make sure i dont regret anything. Dont regret not learning to ride. Maybe get a cheap dirt bike on craigslist and laern to ride that in your yard or if you have an apartment in the parkin lot. I am signed up for the brc in sept btwJuly 12, 2010 at 11:36 am #27457CBBaronParticipant
Motorcycle riding skills take time. However once you get the hang of it you will go from feeling like this is impossible to having tons of fun very quickly.
If you really want to ride keep trying. I don’t know if you are in a state with free or inexpensive BRC, but if you are just do it again. It will be much easier the second time. Other good options are getting a small inexpensive dirt bike to practice with off road, or a scooter where you can practice riding without the worry of clutch and shifting.
But if its not for you thats OK. Just don’t give up because it didn’t come easy.
CraigJuly 12, 2010 at 2:01 pm #27458CaptCrashIdahoParticipant
If you want to ride–chase it. Take the course again. Learn from your mistakes! If at first you don’t succeed…try…try…you know. Bottom line for me: you might just need more time with a coach and THAT is doable.July 12, 2010 at 2:29 pm #27459JackTradeParticipant
It’s by no means an easy skill to ride a motorcycle (like you, I was amazed at how difficult it seemed), and sometimes it takes longer to learn than just 2 days. There’s nothing wrong with that…I know a few quite good, current riders who had to take the course multiple times before passing. What really matters is becoming a safe, good rider…not passing the course first time out.
A lot of what makes the BRC tough is not knowing what’s coming next. It’s a lot to try to master the physical skills of riding a motorcycle while at the same time keeping the exercise goals in mind (“which sets of cones was I supposed to go through? Are those them? Red or green?! AHHHHH!”)
I bet if you take it again, you’ll be more relaxed due to your familiarity with the course, and will be able to really focus on the skill acquisition.July 12, 2010 at 2:50 pm #27460WeaponZeroParticipant
I spent 2 days practicing with my father in an empty parking lot from dawn to dusk before taking the BRC. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have been able to pass it without repeating it.July 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm #27454MunchParticipant
Well…. I find this a bit interesting. Though I would like to see anyone be able to take up motorcycling and be able to enjoy it, the cold reality is it is not for everyone. If you really want to acquire the skill, keep trying. Though at this point I would really push for a piece of advice from up above. Get you a dirt bike and find some local trails to learn on. However I think it is more intelligent of you and very honest of you to recognize your current level of progress and pull back away from it for the time being.
I wonder though if any one has explained the simplicity of the set up of a motorcycle…. things on the left = forward progress….things on the right = stoppage. The only thing that throws that a touch is the throttle. Reason being its more clumsy to try and pull a clutch lever and twist the throttle at the same time. Not that it couldn’t be done….heck some do it on hill starts with the front brake and throttle. But for repetition it’s not practical.
You keep saying you grabbed too much front brake. Are you getting frazzled enough to forget about the rear brake? Or maybe read too much about sport bike riders using front brakes only…. or heck maybe even misinterpreting the amount that the front brakes do to think its the only clear option of usage?
How much time did the MSF instructors spend with you to identify what you were doing to help correct it? Was braking your only issue?July 12, 2010 at 5:40 pm #27464eonParticipant
It sounds like you were pretty hard on yourself for not picking things up quickly and I wonder if this contributed to your downfall. I know because I have a tendency to be like that myself. I had to remind myself that nothing depended on me passing the test and that I was there to have to have fun. That seemed to make things go easier for me. But trying to coordinate all four limbs at once did not come easy or naturally.
I expect you are very disappointed just now but maybe after a few days you will take time to reconsider giving it a second go. I have read more than one account of people in your situation (dropping the bike, being asked to leave etc) having a second go and acing next time around. You might be one of those, or it might be this is just not for you. Only you will know but at the very least you gave it a go. Plenty of people don’t even go that far.
Oh, and I will echo the folks above who mentioned starting out on a scooter as an option as maxi-scoots are anything but wimpy. The T-Max has the looks of a sport bike, the Burgman is a credible alternative to Gold Wings and my own MP3 is just, well different. I will be posting a ride report soon over in the Pictures forum. Look out for it to see what fun you can have on a scooter.July 12, 2010 at 9:43 pm #27467ranetteParticipant
Only you can evaluate whether you want to pursue this or not; it is true that riding is not for everybody. However, if you do have a desire to continue, don’t let one little bump in the road get you down.
I’ll go back to my original post about a scooter. Taking one factor out of the equation of learning to ride can make it a far easier task. Once you’ve learned to ride a small, automatic, motorcycle, essentially what a scooter is, learning to ride a motorcycle is a much smaller jump than what you’re trying to learn right now(this I know firsthand). Not denigrating the idea of a dirtbike to learn on, just don’t have any personal experience, coupled with the fact that a dirtbike is purely for enjoyment, a scooter, depending on where you live, can be used for the practical things, like commuting, that we use our bikes for.
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