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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Gals!

Just bought my first bike last week, and am a little nervous to actually go out on the road. Am unsure of how to properly park the bike, as well as slow speeds.

Does anyone have any ideas on good practice procedures I should work on first, or should I go straight into traffic and try there? That seems a bit scary to me, but some friends say that driving in circle in a parking lot will never get me fully ready.

I did take a Motorcycle Safety course last year, but have forgotten the bulk of it since then.

Any ideas would be great!

Thank you! :)
 

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Get some cones and set up the exercises in a parking lot. Screw anybody telling you practice won't help, cause diving right into the hard stuff is a terrible idea. It's like taking an exam without studying at all. If you have roads close by with little or no traffic that you can work on skills used for the road outside of those you can practice in a parking lot (such as judging corner speed in an actual corner) then take it there. Other than that just be really really careful. REALLY careful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Did complete the MSF course in full. Just am having trouble with my comfort level of actually leaving the parkade and going into traffic.

Thanks, CSBrad...I will definitely heed your advice. :)
 

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Took it awhile ago and claim to of forgotten the bulk.. Thats really going to help you. :p

Do the course again, Take your time, take it all in. Help yourself that way before you expect others to throw information at you that you won't be able to comprehend.
 

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I agree with CSBrad and Ratty. . .practice, practice, practice and take the MSF again.

One thing that helped me when I was first learning (and I know what you mean about being nervous) was that I found a subdivision with a low speed limit, about 25 MPH. I just went around the subdivision practicing my stops and goes and my left turns and right turns, etc. It really helped me a lot. Hope this helps.
 

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Lucky me I live in a private neighborhood (no gate though, we're not all snooty butt-pipes) at the end of a secluded road, in an area that's rural to begin with, so I'll have plenty of areas to get my road skills together. The only reason I didn't suggest taking the course again is that if where you live is anything like where I live, you'll have to wait til at least September to get into a class, unless you go as a walk-in every weekend. That's just too long to wait in my book, if you already kind of have an idea of what goes on in there. You should have the ridercourse book still anyway, so that would be good to look over as well. If you don't have it, here is a link with a lot of stuff from MSF.

Code:
http://msf-usa.org/index_new.cfm?spl=2&action=display&pagename=Library
 

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Like the others said, do the course again, or a refresher course. Then its only a matter of time before you are comfortable. The more courses you do the more confident you will feel. Just make sure your ambitions dont outdo your abilities. I have a day course booked a month after I pick up my bike. I have a 2 day course booked a 2 weeks before I get the bike to.

The courses arnt just for beginners, long time riders can still learn plenty, and there are different levels. I plan on doing a superbike course they run here next year. :p

Felix



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Hey mookieninja! Good to have you here at the site, asking questions, rather than listening to people who say that practicing in a parking lot won't help! ;) Practice practice practice. I rode my bike all around my neighborhood for the first 65 miles or so. Doing things at slow speeds are usually harder for people, so I was determined to be able to be confident pulling away from a stop, doing slow turns, doing u-turns, etc, which is all stuff that is gone over a lot in the MSF course. I took the MSF course once a few years ago, just for fun, and I took it again, right before I got my first bike (a dual-sport last July). It's invaluable information, and I'd say for sure, take it again. If you don't want to do the beginner class again, they have a next level up class where you can bring your bike, or you can setup a private lesson, also where you can bring your bike. Learning from the MSF coaches is the best way to go.

After that, ride around your neighborhood and/or a parking lot, until you feel comfortable. DO NOT let anyone talk you into doing something you are not comfortable doing. The end result might not be good. Practice anything that you feel like you don't like doing on the bike. For me, after I low-sided my dual sport, this meant taking my ninja around corners freaked me out. So I practice doing slow u-turns and turning corners like crazy. I still have a long way to go to be a good rider, but I'm trying.

And if possible, keep a riding buddy with you at all times for the first few months. That person will help you learn what to do in different situations, and will be able to point out things you need to correct. Make sure that person is knowledgeable and a safe rider, someone who will stay with you and teach you. I've been very lucky to become friends with several different people like this (one of which is an ex-MSF coach and a girl to boot!).

Do you have gear? Boots, jacket, helmet, gloves? If you don't have these, make sure you get them. Get the long gloves, that will come over the sleeves of your jacket, and this will save your wrists, should you ever go down. If you need more help with gear, we've got a women's gear thread and we'd love to help you out! :)

Hope all of this helps! Stay safe!
 

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Oh, as far as parking the bike, here's what I do:

Come to a complete stop. Hit the kill switch. Turn the key to off. Put the kickstand down. Get off the bike. I usually sit on the bike for an extra second after I put the kickstand down and let it lean over to rest on it, just to make sure that it's not going to slip or anything, but I'm anal like that. I also leave my bike in first gear when I park it, as I've mentioned in a different thread. I figure that by having the kill switch off, the key turned to off, the kickstand down with the bike in first, someone would have a really hard time stealing the bike if they didn't know anything about it. And keeping the bike in first means it can't roll forward or back on it's own.

As far as slow speeds, always look where you want to go. I can't stress this enough, and it's something I still find myself struggling with every now and then. I ran my dual-sport right into a ditch once, b/c I'd was looking right at that ditch thinking how much it would suck to go in that. When you turn your head to look where you want to go, this changes your body position and your bike responds accordingly. Ever ridden a horse? Same thing there, especially if you're doing something like jumping or barrels. Hehe, sorry, horse lover here so most motorcycle stuff I can relate to horses in some way or the other.
 

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Felix said:
How did you lowside your bike mags? And I agree, no shame in riding around in a parking lot or up and down your street. Thats my plan for the first week. :p really piss my neighbours off.

Felix
Round about near a neighbors place I don't like.. Lawd have they had an earful.
 

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Felix said:
How did you lowside your bike mags?
Felix
lol, well...it was a dual-sport, had dual-sport tires on it, and needless to say, I rode it like a sportbike, b/c I had no fear and loved to lean. Well, went to turn left onto a street, was going too fast and leaned too hard and the bike just went right out from underneath me. Those ds tires just aren't made for that, lol. I picked up that darn bike though and rode it home, lol, was hurting for days after that. So now I'm struggling on this bike with making myself lean, b/c now I know how it feels to go down, and I'm scared to lean too hard. And the second time I went down on the dual-sport was once again my own newbiness....same turn as the first time, but this time I was scared of it, looked right at the ditch, and there I went. I was so mad at myself after that, lol, just wanted to kick the bike, like it was the bike's fault. lol, such a dork.
 

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best way to practice take a msf course! plus whne the dealer gets my bike! hoping soon, they have a offer that they will pay me back(take it off the price) of my ninja free lesson pretty much! woo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the pointers! I took the refresher and am feeling much better now. And RedMag, you're SO right about looking ahead to where you want to go, especially on turns. I didn't grasp that before, and it's so, SO important. :)
 

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Hey, that's wonderful! Haha, I'm still having to actually tell myself before every turn: Slow, Look, Lean, Roll. lol, otherwise, I might skip one of those steps, and then it definitely feels bad. Hehe, and I still have to really force myself to LOOK where I'm going, don't know why it doesn't come naturally, lol, but what a difference it makes, like you said!
 

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Along with your arms, You can slightly steer with your legs and hips. meaning practice shifting your weight ever so slightly on the pegs. You will notice if you push down on the right peg the bike will veer to the left and visa versa... all part of becoming one with it.
I was having trouble in the turns with this bike but come to find out that I should have lowered the front when I lowered the back. so now it all better. and I can use my body more easily and not steer with my arms into the corners so much.
 
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