Are you new to motorcycling? Welcome to the adventure! Motorcycling is fun and can be exciting. Taking a Motorcycle Safety Rider Education class has become the normal way that people start riding and that is a smart way to start. You will learn how to start, stop accelerate and more. What you will not gain is experience! While essential skills are necessary they are taught in a parking lot. Putting those newly acquired skills to use in real life situations at highway speeds with traffic, curves, weather, gravel and more are every bit as important. Finding someone to be your mentor can help tremendously and give you comfort as that more experienced rider can answer your questions and explain techniques to you to help you be a better rider. The best way to get good at riding is to ride! The more you ride the better you will get at it.
As you prepare to go out for your ride you should make sure that you wear proper gear. Let’s start at the head and work our way down:
- Helmet (Full Faced or Modular helmets give the best protection)
- Leather or protective jacket with padding or armor at the elbows, shoulders and spine
- Full fingered gloves with padding on the palm, gauntlets keep wind from blowing up your sleeves
- Pants that completely cover the legs, jean material at the very least but kevlar, covec and even better, leather, is even more protective
- A good pair of boots tat come over the ankle and have good tread are important with moisture wicking socks
Here is a more detailed article about riding apparel from RoadRunner Magazine.
Often a new rider puts their bike away after learning to ride because they have not developed a level of comfort in just 2-4 days. They quickly lose their skills. Another thing a new rider might do is put themselves in stressful situations that they are not prepared for such as a curvy roads, a group ride with many other bikes or heavy traffic. You should find every opportunity to ride but do so with your mentor and then when ready to go out on your own (your mentor will help you determine this), be patient. Start with a short ride or a ride with several stops. Park carefully so that you can easily exit a parking lot without having to move your bike around too much. Backing your bike up is a good thing to practice when you don’t have a group of people standing around watching you! Learning some basics about your motorcycle will help you enjoy you ride longer!
Maintaining your bike is good for you and the motorcycle. Make sure your tires have good tired and are properly inflated (check the tire for recommended tire pressure). Be sure you lubricate cables and moving parts. Speaking of lubrication, oil changes are essential! Be sure to use the correct weight oil for your motorcycle and consider using synthetic oil. Your transmission fluid and brake fluid should be checked as well. Your owner’s manual has all of the recommendations for your motorcycle in it. Be sure to read that section.
This is by no means a complete list of all of the things a rider should know. For those experienced riders who are reading this article, we’d love to hear some tips from you! Feel free to comment below. If you are new to riding, we’d also love to hear your questions. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll find someone who does!