Motorcycle tips for beginners
by Urska STS
So you decided to become a motorcyclist after all?
You got you riding license and now is the time to buy your first bike. I am of course no expert, but maybe you should read a little bit more about what really means to ride a motorcycle.
Here are a few tips for beginner bikers:
1. Wear helmet and protective gear all the time. This is the most important tip of them all! Helmet is mandatory in almost all countries, but there are exceptions of course (in US). The protective gear is made of four items:
– Jacket – it will protect you arms and back if you fall. If you also buy a reflective vest and put it on after jacket these will make you more visible to other traffic participants, since most of the clothing is darker color.
– Pants – they will protect you, especially in the hip and knee areas, if you fall down. Walking around with bruised and beaten hip is no fun.
– Gloves – when you fall down the first thing we all do is extend our hand to break our fall. Gloves will protect you if by any change, something happens and you fall down of your bike. The gloves also have other everyday function; and that is to protect your hand from weather conditions.
– Footwear – the last item is as important as other items of protective gear. Wearing the proper footwear can save your ankle if you fall. The footwear should be ankle high and sturdy enough. So wearing snickers and other soft shoes to ride a bike is big no-no. A good alternative to motorcycle wear or boots are heavy industrial shoes. You know the ones that have a steal toe. Lastly, pick shoes that have good traction, so you can shift gear more smoothly and can stand more firmly on the ground while waiting for a green light.
2. Take a motorcycle-training course. In Slovenia, you have to take riding lessons just like for a driving license for a car. If you have been driving a car before for about 5 – 10 years than the majority of your time will be spent on a polygon, where you will learn the basics and mechanics of the motorcycle. After all, you do not need to learn the traffic rules all over again, you get those. Also it would be good, if you store your bike for winter, to do a refresher course every spring. Just so, you get the feel of your bike and the road.
3. Now you got your license and all of the protective gear. All there is left to do is to buy first motorcycle. Do not buy a 1000 cc bike for your first bike. In fact, you will have problems with all heavy bikes as your first bike. Your balance will not be the same as your friends, who has been riding for 2+ years. So buy a medium or light bike for your first bike. And if you think those are not fast, you need to think again. A 250 cc bike can get to 100 km/h in seconds, and all that in 1st or 2nd gear.
4. You just bought your bike and want to take it out for a ride, as soon as possible. Well I would advise your first to get familiar with the controls. Get to know the levers and buttons on your bike. This way you will not have to look down to actually press the button once you actually go for a ride. Know your buttons, so you can focus on the road and traffic around you.
5. Remember the buddy I mentioned before, the one who has been riding a bit longer than you? Well, he can help you. He went through all these you are going through. And he can help you learn stuff and maybe even prevent an accident this way. This way would will always have a friend to ride around with you.
6. Always do a walk around your bike before ride. Check tire, tire pressure and if maybe, someone tampered with your bike, when you just went to pay for gas. These should always be your routine before riding. And if you start dong these the first time you get a first bike, it will become a natural process for you later on. You should also check tire pressure every week or so. Flat tire means that the bike is more difficult to control on general and especially in dangerous situations, like fast braking.
7. Do no start to take passengers with you on rides before you know your bike inside and out. This is especially important if you are going on a long ride. You should be aware that passengers and/or bags mean additional weight and that change the acceleration of the bike and lengthen braking distance.
A couple of tips every motorcyclist should follow:
8. Always assume everyone is going to hit you. Meaning that since you are smaller than car, a lot of participants in the traffic will overlook you. Especially, cars and truck will overlook you. These have increased with the use of cell phones in cars. The most dangerous situations are when driver are texting and driving.
9. Look as far down the road as possible. Cars do not see you and are also very bad at judging the speed the motorcycle are going. So they might thing you are riding slower and turn left in front of you. And always remember that you are less protected and could get more easily hurt.
These were motorcycle tips for beginners. But we all know other rider could take something useful from these. I you know any other good tips for beginner or old bikers send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.