I cannot tell you how many blogs I read about motorcycles on a daily basis. I must spend 4 or 5 hours a day reading and watching motorcycle videos. It’s a problem, guys. When I first started riding, I took a rider’s course that made me feel more confident than I should’ve been. Because, out on my first rider, I let the clutch out WAY too fast and zoomed out into traffic, almost running head first into a semi truck going 60mph. Just thinking about it right now makes me feel sick to my stomach. Someone was watching out for me because I should’ve died.
That experience was because I wasn’t doing my research. I made a mistake that could’ve been deadly. Now, I research, I prepare for riding, I honor it, I respect it. Do I want to go 170mph one day? Hell yes. Do I want to customize and pimp my bike out? Fuck yeah. Do I want to learn to do tricks and burnouts? Oh yeah, sure. But I’m still a new rider, and like you, probably not ready to die a bloody death.
I’ve compiled a bunch of tips from people I’ve talked to, fellow riders, Harley Davidson bikers, sport bike owners, and parents. So if you’re a first-time rider, here’s everything you need to know:
Look where you want to go.
If you haven’t heard of target fixation before, let me tell ya…it’s for real. I have found myself staring at a tree, or a car while riding. And guess what happens? I start going toward it. You’re going to go where you’re looking, so always, always, ALWAYS look where you need to go. If you’re turning, look through the turn. If you’re on a straight road, look ahead. Eyes up, shoulders relaxed, back straight.
Ride defensively—as if you’re invisible.
A huge part of riding is anticipation. You want to pretend that nobody can see you out on the road. Because, let me tell you, those cars don’t care about you, they don’t see you, and they’re not looking for you. Something you can do to make yourself more visible is buy gear that screams “I’M RIGHT HERE!”. Prior to owning a motorcycle, I used to think guys who revved their engines, and had loud exhausts were asshole douchebags, begging for attention. Yeah, that’s probably true of some, but a loud motorcycle isn’t a bad thing. If they can hear you, they know you’re there.
When you’re on a street, make eye contact with riders who are waiting to turn onto the street. Give the bike a little throttle. Let them know you’re there. I’ve waved at drivers before to make myself known during bad weather. Just watch your back—and your front—and your sides—and the road.
ATGATT—wear All The Gear All The Time.
I cannot tell you how many MORONS I see riding around without their helmets on. Moreover, how many “experienced” riders that ride without gloves. Do me a favor right now. Stop reading this, open a new tab on your phone or computer and google “degloving”. I’ll wait.
Back now? Okay, now you’re never gonna ride without gloves on ever again, are you? Jeez, I’m telling you, it’s worth a trip to even your local Home Depot to invest in something that’s going to protect you.
So there you have it. My tips for new riders. Don’t be afraid. Practice in a parking lot for awhile if you have to to build your confidence. Safe riding!