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Old 12-04-2013, 02:21 PM   #16
moontower OP
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Hey guys, I posted this pretty late last night before hitting the sack and didn't expect this many responses. I will try and address most of the questions that have been brought up without quoting each individual.

- She is completely capable of riding a motorcycle, but could definitely work on her riding skills.

- She attended and completed the MSF course in november.

- Her accidents can be attributed to target fixation or pinning the throttle and dropping the clutch while crossing ruts or dips. She does fine on the maintained gravel roads and has zero interest in riding roads with vehicular traffic.

- Her bike is a klx140 so I don't think power and weight are an issue.

- I agree that me trying to instruct her on how to ride is a terrible idea.

- We will be signing up for dirt riding classes (separately) when the new year rolls around and our weekends aren't book up.

I would like to set up an area of the yard that she can safely practice some of the skills that she learned in the MSF course and possibly others that are more dirt oriented. A lot of the time I think she pushes herself beyond her skill in an attempt to not slow me down. I have told her that I don't mind riding slow and that she needs to ride her own ride, but it is still a factor. I think we need to take a step back from exploring on the bikes together she can work on on her skills at her own pace and have more fun doing it.

Thanks for all of the replies!
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Old 12-04-2013, 02:24 PM   #17
moontower OP
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Originally Posted by shelion View Post
Professional instruction, such as an MSF course, would be my first suggestion.

Her loss of confidence is the biggest obstacle she needs to overcome, and that is a real biggie.

Ask her what she thinks would help her feel more comfortable on the bike. It may be that she needs to just ride big circles in the yard for awhile, until she feels more comfortable. Getting her to feel comfortable and not panicked on the bike is the most important thing right now. She can build skills after that.

If she would like to talk to a fellow female rider, send me a PM.
I completely agree. I think that riding with me makes her push her boundaries so that she doesn't feel like she is slowing me down. I think that baby steps is the best course of action. Ill definitely pass along your info. She should be signing up for an adv account this weekend.
Thanks!
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Old 12-04-2013, 02:28 PM   #18
moontower OP
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Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
In addition to the beginner's dirt course that some recommended, here are a few recommendations (my two cents) for any beginner that has a place to practice:

1) Clutch and throttle control - A) Ride ultra slow in a cones course while modulating clutch and throttle. Learn that the clutch is not an "all or nothing" proposition. Learn to ease it on. B) Ride this ultra slow course while standing.

2) Braking control - set up a straight away and learn to brake. A) Gently at first using both front and back. B) Practice back only brake slides. C) Then practice front and back together brake slides. D) Also practice threshold braking with no slide, but right to the edge of slide. Become comfortable with brake sliding on the dirt.

3) Cornering - create figure 8 with cones.

4) Power slide - this comes after good experience and confidence built backwith the previous 3 areas. Find a flat spot that is a little slick or loose dirt. Learn to lean into a corner and give gas, while the back end of the bike is coming out a little.

The key is to ride, ride, ride and let her go at her own pace.
This is exactly what I was thinking. Ill set it up and show her how each one is done and then let her have at it. She can move the cones herself when she feels more confident.
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Old 12-04-2013, 02:35 PM   #19
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Highschool drivers ed ranges are excellent practice.

Start, go, signal, brake, stop..... ad nauseum
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Old 12-04-2013, 02:55 PM   #20
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Let me start by saying that I always recommend the MSF course for any new rider.

That being said, I have helped a few friends master the controls in a large church or community center parking lot prior to the MSF, just to give them a head start and make it easier for them to absorb more during the MSF.

The first thing I teach them is the throttle-clutch relationship during take off.
Too much throttle, it's scary. Too little, the bike dies. Clutch too fast, it lurches, too slow, it stalls.
You know these things, but to a new rider, it's very intimidating.

So I demonstrate on their bike that I can let the clutch out VERY slowly, without touching the gas at all,and ride away.
I put my right hand on top of the switch gear totally away from the throttle, and ease the clutch out while they walk beside me.
Then I explain how only about an inch of the clutch lever travel actually does anything. You know what I mean, but they don't... yet.

The next thing is start-stop. Start, stop. Repeat this about 30 times, maybe more. It's all about muscle memory, and learning where the controls are.
You can't pick up a guitar and play it the first time, and neither can a new rider "remember" where these controls are.
So start, go maybe 10-15 feet, and stop. Repeat this 30 to 40 times, or until they get totally bored with it.
I normally do a lot of running beside them at this point.

By doing this a WHOLE BUNCH, the rider is learning the controls so they don't have to think abut which one does what, and they're moving very slowly so if they do crash, it's just a tip-over.

Start-stop. Start-stop. When they're getting the hang of that, increase the distance to 40 or 50 feet.
A little more speed, staying in first gear, and then stop. A little more fun, a little more scary.

When they're totally bored with that, teach them to turn the bike around slowly- at first with the clutch in and pushing with their feet, then feathering the clutch.
Then it's time to shift into second, ride 50-75 feet and then slow down and shift back to first.

This will build the confidence, and more importantly the muscle memory to handle the bike and navigate a bit.

I talk to them about 3 things they will learn in the MSF:

1. Counter-steering

2. The importance of using the front brake

3. How look where you want to go because you're going to go where you're looking. Turn your head like a barn owl.



I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make it easier for a new rider.
I like it when a friend joins our exclusive club, and I want them to enjoy it, while easing the fears of all their relatives that warned them not to get on a motorcycle.
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FTL900 screwed with this post 12-04-2013 at 03:03 PM
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:27 AM   #21
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She passed a BRC. Has she practiced the drills since? A dirt BRC sounds like a good next step. I wouldn't say not to attend with her, but let the coaches do their jobs. You focus on your own skills. Then you all can practice the drills afterwards.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:54 AM   #22
cycleman2
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Coming from a MSF instructor in another life riding on dirt or grass is totally different than riding on pavement. When she did the MSF course it was taken on pavement ( I would assume ) so she has to modify her slow speed skills to accommodate the difference in surface she is riding on. Also learn to shift her weight forward in the turns etc and back in the straights.

Confidence is a big thing when riding a motorcycle, you helping teacher her is not a good idea as well. A dirt riding course may help but it also might be too aggressive for her at her stage of development. The dirt course will certainly show her things like weight transfer on the bike, body position etc, so as long is she willing to work at her own pace and remember there is no pass or fail its all about developing skill. I've never watched her ride so its impossible to evaluate what her issue is, but if you know of a local MSF instructor that is willing to help out, give him/her a call.


If she truly likes to ride, and it is her idea not yours, I would set up a very simple course consisting of some circles, figure 8's, uturns and short straight sections. Suggest that she stays in first gear and practices good friction control ( throttle, clutch & rear brake ) when doing the turns and shift up into second gear on the straights and then back down into first gear for the turns etc. Reinforce that she only applies the rear brake when in turns and the front brake when the bike is totally upright and heading in a straight direction, anything other than that, rear brake only. Then you go do something else and let her ride around the course on her own and give her time to figure it out.
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:06 AM   #23
mikem9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cycleman2 View Post
Reinforce that she only applies the rear brake when in turns and the front brake when the bike is totally upright and heading in a straight direction, anything other than that, rear brake only.
Can we discuss this a little bit? One common problem I see with beginning dirt riders is that they overuse the rear brake and underuse the front. Front is so key in properly weighting/balancing the bike within the turn.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:22 PM   #24
hardwaregrrl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
Can we discuss this a little bit? One common problem I see with beginning dirt riders is that they overuse the rear brake and underuse the front. Front is so key in properly weighting/balancing the bike within the turn.
When i took the BMW off road course, they taught emergency braking as locking the rear and using it as an anchor....I don't even remember them coaching the front?? I know that's not what you were referring to, just thought it was relevent and kind of weird.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:44 PM   #25
jmq3rd
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I use the front brake in a corner, in a straight, on dirt and gravel, on pavement, wherever. Basically if I'm not intentionally sliding the back around, I'm using the front brake (and the back too most of the time). However, I started riding dirt when I was 4 and used both brakes all the time (except for the year or two that we didn't put any brakes at all in my KDX 80 - that'll teach you a few tricks).

Since I started pretty young, I'm sure I learned early on not to grab too quickly. I think advising grownups not to use the front when leaning over is a good thing, because they are used to braking aggressively in their cars, and will instinctively grab too much of that front brake lever. The downside is that many of them just hear that the front brake is dangerous, and nobody ever clears that up as the rider learns to modulate.
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Old 12-06-2013, 11:00 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
When i took the BMW off road course, they taught emergency braking as locking the rear and using it as an anchor....I don't even remember them coaching the front?? I know that's not what you were referring to, just thought it was relevent and kind of weird.
I took the BMW offroad course a couple years ago.

They definitely teach front braking technique, that was when the had to replace the shifter the 1st time when I locked the front up and dropped it.

I just had to try just a little too much.

To the OP

If you can get to the BMW Performance center for their offroad riding school it is worth it no matter what your skill level. There are quite a few RR's about it.
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Old 12-06-2013, 01:33 PM   #27
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Her accidents can be attributed to target fixation or pinning the throttle and dropping the clutch while crossing ruts or dips.
Target fixation is the result of failing to turn the head and eyes to look where the bike needs to go, not where it is about to go. Always give positive things to do; hardly ever give things to not-do. Tell her to always look way down the road when going straight, and to always turn her head to the turn exit when turning. You can stand in front of her on a straight run and watch where her eyes are looking--up at you and beyond you is correct. You can watch her head turn when she is approaching a turn on the bike. It takes some trust to do this, but it can be learned. Over-emphasize your own head turn when you're riding ahead of her.

For clutch & throttle drills, try this on an empty parking lot.
...On a straight painted line, have her ride alternately slow, real slow, slow, real slow, slow, real slow, slow, really really slow, real slow, really really slow, etc. This may take no throttle at all, or maybe the smallest amount. It takes clutch control to go real slow--and for the whole drill she may never let the clutch fully out. Continue the drill until she complains about being bored. Do it again several other days.
...Where the parking lines are painted at right angles, do slow circles. Start with 4 parking slot wide circles, demand the complete head turn, and make very slow circles. Reverse direction. Now do 3-slot wide circles. Full head turn. Slow speed with the clutch slipping. Do 2-1/2 slots if she's comfortable, full head turn.
...Same parking lot, do S-turns 4-slots wide, full head turn. Then 3 slots wide, full head turn.
...Same idea, figure-8 turns. Full head turn.
The goal is smooth clutch and throttle control and a full head turn. The brain has to think of what to do when the action is new. The brain can only think of one thing at a time; there is actually no such thing as multi-tasking. Right now she has to think of the movements to make, and they're coming faster than she can think of what to do and think of doing them. It takes several hundred repetitions for the brain to "learn" the new movements by forming new neural connections. Then the movements are in the subconscious where the reactions are fast, nearly effortless, and leave thinking capacity for other things. It takes several thousand repetitions for the brain to replace a movement that is already learned. Don't let her develop bad habits.

Make very sure that she does not inadvertently twist the throttle open when she pulls on the front brake lever. Some people squeeze the brake and drop their wrist & elbow resulting in rolling throttle on. The result can be painful.

Ask her how to apply the brakes. When she says, "squeeze," she's ready to practice. Ask her how to apply the brakes for a short stop. When she says, "squeeze farther," she's ready to practice. If she says "harder" or "faster" she's not ready. Do some brake practice. She rides toward you. when you raise your arms she immediately squeezes both brakes on and squeezes the clutch lever. Points for smoothness. Points deducted for jamming the brakes on or killing the engine. Point loser cooks dinner or washes the dog or some other chore. You want to be the point loser in this competition.
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PT Rider screwed with this post 12-06-2013 at 01:42 PM
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Old 12-06-2013, 01:54 PM   #28
14fg
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as silly and simple as it sounds, I think bringing it back to basics helps. get her out on a mountain bike, get her comfy with skidding the back tire on flat ground, what it feels like to slide on 2 wheels. I think the bicycle is a very powerful training tool a lot of people over look.

also (obviously in a safe, controlled environment) take one of the brake controls off the klx? I think it will help teach what each individual control does, ride around for awhile with just the rear brakes, then awhile with just fronts?
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Old 12-06-2013, 04:16 PM   #29
Foot dragger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankee Dog View Post
Plan A: Send her off to get some professional training. DO NOT attend with her. Not even as a spectator.

Plan B: Realize that not everyone is prepared to pilot a motorcycle. Start looking for 2up options.
+1. Learning emergency procedures is NOT the first thing someone learns on a bike.

That's like skipping the first two lessons in math,have someone who's taught before teach her.
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:28 PM   #30
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Follow her. Maybe it'll take some of the performance anxiety away. It worked for my daughter and me.
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