How did you get interesting in riding motorcycles?
- I picked up a magazine and saw a motorcycle and said, “that’s for me”
- I saw someone riding a bike and thought wow!
- I wanted to save some money on gas for commuting
- Someone took me ride and I was hooked
Whatever your reason, you’re here because you want to start riding motorcycles.
First experiences in riding motorcycles
For a lot of people we know who have been riding for sometime their first experience of riding was a rather a haphazard affair. It was a
- ride of trail bike on a farm
- it was a ride on a motorcycle on a holiday
- someone gave them an old motorbike
Whatever happened, most experienced riders usually have a story to tell.
What do I have to do to start riding?
For newbies (people starting out) wanting to ride on the road/tarmac, the riding experience in most western countries is formalized.
This has been brought about by pressures rising insurance costs and public outcry against motorcycle injuries and fatalities.
So, if you are looking starting riding today, here is what you need to do.
- Decide what kind of motorcycle riding you want to do – Are you going to ride on the road, are you going to be a dirt rider only, are you likely to do both.
Depending on the type of riding you’re going to do you may need to be licensed to ride a motorcycle. e.g. If the country you live in has bitumen/tarmac, etc it’s more than likely you’ll need a license.
- Get a motorcycle license if you haven’t got one! – The country where you ride may have some limitations on the capacity of what you can start riding (for example 1st year riding 250cc). If so, go with the flow. Trust us, this will most likelysave your bacon if you’re on the road.
- Get some training – In most western countries there are a stack of training providers ready to teach you how to ride a motorcycle. Check to see that they are accredited with the local authorities.
This will mean that they’ve had to jump to through a couple of official hoops to wear the label “motorcycle trainer”.
In some countries/states/counties there maybe no accreditation process. Also note, you may need your own motorcycle for a training course. (see point 4)
- Find a motorcycle that you fit on comfortably; purchase a motorcycle and all the kit – Just like a good pair of pants, you’ll need a motorcycle to fit you well.
Now, again in some western countries, you may be limited by the size of the motorcycle that you are allowed to ride to begin riding, e.g. a 250cc.
If you’re a little long or a little wide by most standards, you may have to put up with a smaller motorcycle, however, be a little creative, for example, if you’re tall, a 250cc road bike may be a tight fit, however a 250 road/trail maybe a good fit for starting out. Get a motorcycle that fits you. Make sure you purchase all the safety kit necessary for riding.
- Start practicing your motorcycle riding -“The only difference between a professional tennis player and an amateur tennis player is the professional has hit more balls!”
It’s the same for motorcycle riding. The more riding you do, the better you get at it. It’s important that you get exposed to as many different riding opportunities as possible.
For example, if its raining, go out and get a feel for riding in the wet. It will rain one day you’re out when you least expect it, so get used to it, manage the situation. Managing the situation will only come from experience.
- Anticipate the unexpected and expected– Expect other drivers, riders, and pedestrians to do things such as:
- Pull out from that side street without looking
- Swerve to miss something in front them and not look sideways for you the rider
- Trucks dropping part of their load
- Drivers throwing out a cigarette butt and it landing in your lap (true story), etc.
- Any good motorcycle training course will teach you about anticipating situations. Be aware, anticipate the unexpected and expected.
- Enjoy the ride – Each time you get off the bike, look at the trip you have just completed and treat it as a sense of accomplishment. Aircraft pilots have a saying that “any landing you walk away from is a good landing.”
For the motorcyclist it’s “any ride you can walk away from is a good ride”. When you get to your destination, look back at the trip and think was there anything I can learn from that trip. Speak to a rider who has been riding for sometime and they’ll have a story to tell you – “I remember the time when some #$@** did a ….” What they are really saying is I learned something from that situation and I’ve tucked it away for future reference!
If you’re not enjoying the ride, it is maybe time to jump out of the game for a while and sit on the sidelines and watch what is going on. Then jump back onto the saddle.
So, enjoy the ride…..