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  #1  
Old 17 Jul 2010
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Who remembers their first time? On a public road, that is!

Hi guys,

So I'm taking delivery of my First Ever Motorcycle on Tuesday - can't wait! And then I'm facing the nemesis of newbie riders everywhere...first time on public roads!

Does anyone have any advice - anecdotal or practical! - about how to ease into riding in traffic safely and confidently? I live in the city of Melbourne and luckily there are some quiet suburban roads near where I live to practise on. But what's the best way to go from a few laps round a traffic-free block to full-blown city-style traffic...and then freeways?

Would love to hear your stories and advice, y'all!

Jeanie
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  #2  
Old 18 Jul 2010
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Well, try going on your first ride on public roads on an early Sunday morning. More time to focus on riding with less traffic. As the hours progress, traffic will increase on you...

...just a thought. All the best and enjoy
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  #3  
Old 18 Jul 2010
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Oh, I remember my first time very well:

Denver, CO (USA). March 2006. I Hopped directly on to an interstate in the middle of the city (8+ lane divided highway at that point) and rode the bike home (30 miles of interstate, 5 more of local highways).

The joy and the terror fought mighty hard with each other all the way home.



I'd never recommend that method. But I'd not change it either if I could go back and do it again.

More realistically, just start off slow on empty streets around your house until you have a feel for the bike, then work up to busier streets. Rural highways are better than cities because there are fewer distractions (in spite of the faster speed).

Be extremely careful of surface hazards on the road - potholes, dirt, sand, dead animals, road construction, etc. Those were hard for me to remember to look for at first and I have the scars to prove it. It wasn't that they were all that dangerous (they were not) or hard to avoid (very easy to avoid in fact), watching out for that type of hazard was just completely foreign to me at first.

When you do start riding at night (which I recommend you avoid for a long time), I keep my eyes moving up and down the side of the lane away from oncoming traffic. This serves two purposes: (1) keeps you from being blinded by oncoming traffic which in turn means you can see better, and (2) keeps you alert for hazards at the side of the road - animals (deer around here), people, bicyclists, etc. Keeping your eyes moving while you do this is important to avoid target fixation, staring too long at bright white street signs (which ruins your vision), and keeps you generally more alert.
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  #4  
Old 18 Jul 2010
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My first time...I had a '85 BMW and we found a secluded spot on a country road.

Oh wait, First time on a bike!

B14 in Germany. Started off in the local neighborhood and then jumped on B14 to Wurzburg. Germans are very cognizant of motorcycles on the road. I count myself lucky. In the States I probably would have been ran over or high sided about a half dozen times.
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  #5  
Old 18 Jul 2010
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I remember my first time very well, as it was back when (in the UK) you could ride anything up to a 125 with L Plates on a car licence without any training what so ever! My very first time on the road was my very first time riding a bike, an old Honda C90 that I bought and then had to learn to ride on my 3 mile trip home !!!!

Best advice I can give is to take it all at your own pace, just ride well within your comfort level. If you know anyone else who rides ask them to come with you as long as they are happy just bimbling around at whatever pace you are comfortable at.
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  #6  
Old 19 Jul 2010
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Jeanie, I found the best place to practice and get a feel for the road was in an industrial estate. Go there Saturday afternoon or all day Sunday, very light traffic and a variety of road surfaces and situations.
Best wishes. John
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  #7  
Old 19 Jul 2010
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I was working in London as a courier (in a van) and got fed up with sitting in traffic. I decided on the Monday do do my licence - went for 3 days intensive rider training, passed my test a week later (in pouring rain in north London) and was on the bike the next day, working as a depatch rider in central London. I'm glad I had my first riding experiences there...thrown into the deep-end (out of choice). I feel that it helped me a lot with being an agressive, fearless rider (definitely NOT reckless though). This also obviously depends on the person and how confident they feel.

To hijack this a little bit...and to generalise a lot...and out of curiosity too...

Is it fair to assume that guys generally find it easier to tackle traffic and normal road riding than girls??

Btw jeanie, my wife did enjoy her first lesson, but found it quite hard - like most new riders, the first day is almost always the worst, having to get use to the new controls and the fact that you tend to also ride very slow - which makes the bike more difficult to control/manouvre etc.
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Old 19 Jul 2010
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The most important thing is to remain relaxed. Don't let anyone hassle you into doing anything before you are ready. Don't try any last minute manouvres. Don't feel pressured to go fast. Just cruise along. You'll have L plates and only a total **** gets impatient at a learner (and who cares what a **** thinks?). If you make a bad mistake pull over to think about it, decide what you did wrong then ride on.

Most of all, enjoy it!

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #9  
Old 19 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumbaa View Post
Is it fair to assume that guys generally find it easier to tackle traffic and normal road riding than girls??
Going back to my time as a motorcycle instructor I would say not if they have had proper training no. If there training has been half arsed and rushed then yes, the guys will usually find it easier, because they believe that they are the next Rossi so ride with more confidence (misplaced confidence more often than not). But if they have both had good instruction then they should both be confident in there abilities (while still being aware of there limitations) and should be equally as happy riding in traffic.
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  #10  
Old 21 Jul 2010
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Thanks for the stories and advice

Hi All,

Thanks for all your brilliant -and funny! - anecdotes and advice.

Got my bike delivered yesterday and spent hours just looking at it and tinkering with it in the garage!

This weekend is the Moment of Truth - when I finally take it out on the roads for the first time. Weather looks like it's going to be great, so that's a blessing. I've plotted some "easy" routes round where I live and will set out early Saturday morning before the traffic picks up. Nervous and excited, will let you know how I go...!

Jeanie
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  #11  
Old 21 Jul 2010
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I can remember my first time like it was yesterday. I passed my bike test and within 2 weeks I was on the road heading towards Normandy, France.

YouTube - Yamaha Fazer Normandy Family Biking Tour-( to Portsmouth)


My advice to you would be to dominate your position on the road and do plenty of shoulder checks.
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  #12  
Old 22 Jul 2010
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My first time was painfull at the end!
I was 14 and at the time doing schoolboy trials with a Honda tl125. My Mum and Dad where away for a couple of days and my Nana (Grandma to some) was looking after us!
I was so proud of the number plate I made and took out the house up my jacket, bolted it on pushed the bike round the corner and I was off to my girlfriends 2 villages away for a visit, all great until I pushed my bike quietly in the garage and who should be sat on a stool with wooden spoon in hand..NANA....ouch..ouch!
She never did tell my M & D and even helped me buy an MT5 Honda (nag 813v if anyone has it tucked away waiting for me) on my 16th birthday which was my first legal ride, I managed to put 500 miles on that in the first 24 hours.
GREAT
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  #13  
Old 22 Jul 2010
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interesting thread......

1979, Yahama RD 50 moped.

Went off down the road kangaroo style, into top gear, flat out 35mph.... The power, oh the power!

Needed to turn left off the main road, brain says... "need first gear for this one ".

Click, click, click, click, clutch out.........

Hello road..... straight over bars, gentlemens bits twixt clocks on the way.

Roger.
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  #14  
Old 22 Jul 2010
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Hahaha! I'm LOVIN' these stories, guys, really entertaining!

And it's making me feel heaps better about what awaits me out on the road tomorrow.... Good to know that my fears about stalling at traffic lights, riding too slowly (or indeed too fast!), and generally looking like a right f-ing idiot are just a drop in the ocean compared with what some of you guys have been through!

Rubber side down...!

Jeanie
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  #15  
Old 24 Jul 2010
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I've done it

Well I've done it - I'm no longer a motorcycling virgin, I've now been out on public roads on my bike, yeeha! It was one of the singularly most exhilarating, terrifying, hair-raising and liberating experiences of my life!

I played safe, setting off early Saturday morning to the nearest industrial estate where I probably did about 30kms just brushing up my skills and getting used to the bike. Then I puttered round a few local suburbs until the threat of rain forced me indoors after about 5 hours really good riding.

Interestingly, it wasn't the operation of the bike that was the challenge - it was other road-users! AND having the confidence to do my thing without feeling self-conscious or being put off by motorists zooming up my backside (I've got L-plates on, but that doesn't seem to matter to some morons, it's like a red rag to a bull, like they're WILLING you to make a mistake...!!). I need to practise pulling away smoothly and confidently from a stop at junctions - and I keep taking corners too wide so need to practise taking turns more accurately!

All cool so far, and the feeling when it all comes together is absolutely euphoric! Roll on Sunday morning, I wanna get out there again...!

Jeanie
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