January 29, 2010 at 5:08 am #3680
Hello fellow riders,
I just received my endorsement last week and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on the first few weeks of safe riding.
Should I be heading to the nearest shopping mall (after hours) , parking lots, etc. or should I go around the neighborhood? I have a 2007 Triumph Bonneville T-100, and I find it a BiG difference from the 250 Honda Rebel I was using in MSF class. Would love to hear from anyone with tips or ideas. Thanks in advance!January 29, 2010 at 5:20 am #24269eonParticipant
I would say you want to do as much parking lot practice as you can. You want the controls to be 2nd nature to you before you have to start worrying about traffic. Practice all your slow speed maneuvers, starts, stops etc. It’s a lot safer to get the mistakes out of the way in a parking lot than when there is a car on your ass. Then, light traffic as much as you can while you start learning how to read traffic, best lane position etc. In the first few weeks it can be a bit overwhelming but you learn quickly.
Good luck and be safe.January 29, 2010 at 5:27 am #24270
You rock eon! Thanks for the quick response. I had a fellow co-worker who laughed when I told him that I was planning to practice in an empty parking lot- his response was: “why did you bother buying a bike?!” He suggested instead that I just go along the side roads in the early mornings. I’m glad that your suggestion confirmed what I considered to be first priority. Thanks again I really appreciate itJanuary 29, 2010 at 7:13 am #24271eternal05Participant
As everybody’s said, parking lot practice is not something for beginners, nor is it something to laugh at. It is a MUST. Do it, and don’t be ashamedJanuary 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm #24273eonParticipant
It is recommended that even experienced riders head to the parking lot whenever they get a new bike. Every bike handles slightly differently so you need to learn the intricacies of each in a safe environment. Riding in the street (even quiet ones) has its own set of dangers and things to learn. Best to eliminate them while you focus on what you need to learn first.
Oh and I would practice 90′ turns from a stop. i’ve read of a few people dropping their bikes at right hand turns at a stop sign. Lot’s of reasons for it but having cars around when you are not confident in your ability certainly factors into it.
Learn to ignore the advice of others where their ego comes into play. Whether it is around the size of your engine, your brightly colored clothes, your full face helmet, how fast you ride. Do whatever you are comfortable with and ignore the others. As you start to meet other riders you will quickly learn a large percentage of folks are not interested in learning how to be safe and skillful. That’s their choice and I do not try to force my choices onto them, but I ignore any “advice” they may give me.
And thanks for the kind words but I just happened to be the first one along.January 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm #24276JackTradeParticipant
…about practicing the 90-degree turns from a stop. The MSF course (or at least the one I took) didn’t really get into those.
I found when I first started out in the real world (i.e. not the MSF parking lot) that I was swinging WAY wider than I should be on those and it really scared me. But a little practice at a local church’s parking lot did the trick.
And to Eon and others’ point…I too continue to stop by the lot if I happen to be in that area, and spend maybe 5-10 minutes seeing how tight I can circle, how fast I can stop short of lockup etc. Takes only a few mintues in grand scheme of a ride, and seems to be cheap insurance.
I’ve heard stories of people going in the off-hours to the MSF course parking lot at the local community college to practice, only to find local motorcycle cops there…for the same reason. The fact that the pros feel there’s a continuing need to practice this stuff should tell us something.January 29, 2010 at 9:01 pm #24278
I am sooooo glad I found this web site. It’s comforting to know that others are feeling the same angst as me being a new rider.
I plan to map out my neighborhood and ride during light traffic and hopefully this weekend head out early in the morning to a nearby parking lot and practice what I’ve learned in class. I appreciate you all taking the time for the helpful adviceJanuary 30, 2010 at 1:35 am #24279Sean_DParticipant
… and what you are describing is exactly what I started doing. Mapping out some neighborhood rides in light traffic. First to a local elementary school lot to practice, then to a High School further away to practice, then some destinations around the neighborhood and have been spreading out from there.
But I like to practice in parking lots, particularly on the weekends. You can usually find an empty lot around your neighborhood on the weekends. High Schools, many churches are actually empty on Saturday. Found a closed down grocery store with a nice lot.
I picked up some of those practice cones at a local sporting goods store. You can find the BRC course layouts, such as the limited space maneuvering exercise, online. Here and elsewhere.
These are the cones I picked up…
One of the High Schools and the Community College near my home are used for the BRC course, so they both have the painted outlines already in place.January 30, 2010 at 5:58 pm #24287IxecapadeParticipant
I had a thread just like this “getting aclimated” and was given some great advice here!
Roommate and I still do a lot of parking lot practice- and rarely do we go straight out to the streets- usually we go through the condo for a ‘warm up’ lap… practice braking right and left hand turns- then we hit the streets.
Someone also said they had a friend/family member follow them around. My first trip out I was followed – horribly embarrassing- I was so excited to take my bike to get fuel (a whole 1/2 mile down a small two lane road- moderately travelled- one left turn and then a reallly back road- and one right turn)
got there safely and effectively- and then couldn’t get the fuel tank opened. MORTIFIED! lol
Since then I had one or two more main trips where I was followed- one big one to get inspected and that was on a major through way through town) HA HA about a 10 mile trip- got there safe and sound and then almost dropped her when I didn’t get the kickstand down and I thought I had. HA.
It doesn’t change anything but it certainly gives you more confidence- and if its someone who rides they can give you pointers for when you get back.
Then keep practicing in the parking lot- my neighbor w/ a duc still pokes fun of me for still practicing- but to me its safer and I feel more comfortable about it- always trying to improve my skills.
Good luck!January 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm #24288IBA270Participant
Definately find a spot and practice in a parking. Practice braking, clutch control, 90 degree turns, and the dreaded box (which officially I’m not supposed to call it that ). Many new riders struggle with 90 degree turns from a stop, especially those to the right as they are tighter. You can always use painted lines if they already exist for parking. For cones, buy tennis balls and cut them in half.
If you can find a lot with the MSF lines already painted, continue to use the box for the BRC and not the ERC (my opinion only). The ERC box is quite a bit larger. The cops use a box that’s roughly half the size of the BRC, and a really good rider can do it even tighter than that…It’s a GREAT exercise to develop overall control.
If anyone needs the dimensions of any of the exercises, drop me a line and I’ll help you out.January 30, 2010 at 8:41 pm #24290IxecapadeParticipant
pretty decent write up about the box….January 31, 2010 at 12:13 am #24295IBA270Participant
It is a good write up about the box. Something to remember; there is a another drill with big “S” turns. Few people have trouble with this drill…interestingly enough, it’s the same dimensions required to complete the u-turns in the box..January 31, 2010 at 4:22 am #24299kirkParticipant
I didn’t have any parking lots close to me after I took the MSF class but I do live in a quiet neighborhood. For about the first 6 weeks after the MSF course, all I did was ride up and down the street. Stop, go, shift, left turn, right turn, brake and so on. After about 6 week I felt comfortable taking the bike out into light traffic. I still remember the first time I hit 40mph!
The one thing I tell all my friends is to go soon and go often. I’ve had friends that wait a few weeks after they have taken the MSF class and they begin to forget basic concepts. Good luck out there.January 31, 2010 at 5:47 am #24283
Already bought a small notebook that i will use to keep a record of different exercises I’ll be working on. Reading, How to Ride a Motorcycle and already have Proficient Motorcycling, so I’m getting some good ideas on what to work on. Also going to pick up some cones from Big 5 sporting good store tomorrow. I dream and wake up with thoughts of riding my Bonnie every day – what’s wrong with me?! Thanks again everyone, much appreciated.January 31, 2010 at 5:59 am #24300
Is this your first bike? If it is, how do you find it as a beginner’s bike? Some great advice from you and other riders, thanks again!
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