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Old 08-06-2012, 12:35 PM   #1006
swann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woolsocks View Post
Whoops, it appears to be with the MN DOT. Not sure if other states have this program, but you can check it out here. In my MSF course two years ago they recommended that beginners take this one during their first year of riding (which I'm in).

Check it out:

https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/mms...intenance.aspx

Awesome - thanks for the link! I live fairly close and I'll definitely make time to enroll in this course. Maybe I'll learn the "right way" to maintain my future bike.
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:35 PM   #1007
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Laugh

My own experience of dirt has been minimal at best. The bikes I ride are not designed for it and usually riding dirt and adverse terrain for me is a result of going the wrong way in a new place, and thinking "oh what the hell lets do it". Every time I have done it, be it sand, Rocky paths or gravel it has always been fun and I've learned a ton from just a little time trying to stay shiney side up on a different surface. My advice is also to do it but don't make it your only riding as every type of experience contributes to the greater whole :-)
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:38 PM   #1008
LittleRedToyota
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Originally Posted by braindigitalis View Post
My advice is also to do it but don't make it your only riding as every type of experience contributes to the greater whole :-)
indeed.
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:43 PM   #1009
swann
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Originally Posted by slide View Post
Based on that list, if you don't know that stuff at birth (adjusting a chain???) you never will. Get the Clymer.
Hush! In the many trainings I have completed for my current career in early childhood, not one of the courses mentioned anything about innate knowledge of adjusting a chain on a motorcycle. I can have my helper ask the toddlers when they wake up from their naps and see what they have to say on the matter though. And those two year old have just as many headstrong opinions on every topic under the sun as folks here.
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:40 PM   #1010
swann
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Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
Something you're comfortable with. A kids' bike will be closer to your size, and if that's what it takes to get you confidently out and learning more technique, that's the way to go. You'll know later on if you are ready to go up to something bigger. Plus, the price sounds great.

One of the strangest secrets of anything with motors is that a lot of times, the smallest ones are the most fun.

BTW - good on you for gearing up and taking it all seriously. You'll have fun and being a chicken isn't the end of the world. Taking your personal risk threshhold seriously is a good way to have fun and still live as much as you can. It sounds like your hubby might have had a good scare once and never got over it. Keep safe and learn as much as you can and maybe he'll come around for you one of these days.
Thanks atomicalex! I've read through the whole thread and will revisit it to pick up the pieces that will be more useful in the future (but I'm not going to mention center of gravity or loud pipes). :) I've seen a few 1980's Rebels for $1,000 so it wouldn't be too much more to get the bike I want. Maybe I could talk hubby into two bikes for me! Yeah, prolly dreamin'... Thanks for the encouragement!
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:43 PM   #1011
swann
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Originally Posted by slide View Post
Dirt riding if you are starting out as an adult is dangerous beyond belief.

... will leave an adult crippled and crippled quickly.

It's not the size of the bike. It's when you bounce your body off a bunch of rocks at 30 mph is where the damage occurs.
K, I'm gonna go change my shorts now....

I like these smilies
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:52 PM   #1012
swann
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Originally Posted by LittleRedToyota View Post

...only if you insist on riding over your head.

and, btw, there is absolutely no question that dirt riding makes one a better all around rider...including on the street.

so don't do that. you shouldn't be riding 30mph over rocks until you are ready to ride 30mph over rocks.
K, no riding 30 mph over rocks. Since I'm a chicken, it would be more like 2 mph AROUND the rocks... [insert imaginary smilie of a chicken jumping up and flinging out its wings then running away]
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:28 PM   #1013
swann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braindigitalis View Post
My own experience of dirt has been minimal at best. The bikes I ride are not designed for it and usually riding dirt and adverse terrain for me is a result of going the wrong way in a new place, and thinking "oh what the hell lets do it". Every time I have done it, be it sand, Rocky paths or gravel it has always been fun and I've learned a ton from just a little time trying to stay shiney side up on a different surface. My advice is also to do it but don't make it your only riding as every type of experience contributes to the greater whole :-)
That does sound like fun. I googled dirt bike rentals then found a place that not only rents dirt bikes but actually has dirt bike classes for adults, kids and families! http://dirtbiketech.com/Courses.htm
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:15 AM   #1014
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Originally Posted by swann View Post
That does sound like fun. I googled dirt bike rentals then found a place that not only rents dirt bikes but actually has dirt bike classes for adults, kids and families! http://dirtbiketech.com/Courses.htm
If they are close I think that's a great idea especially if they will provide you with a bike for the beginner class.

It appears you edited your post but you mentioned a Rebel 250. Although not a dirt bike those are fun bikes to ride and if you can get one at a decent price go for it since you said you felt comfortable sitting on it.

Regarding the kids bike, I might be wrong but it seems like all the 50-80cc bikes I have seen lately are really small. Like mini-bike size. If I'm correct those would be to small and cramped even at your size.

Also, "adult dirt bikes" will be tall like you mentioned. But they are also not street legal. There are some small Dual Sport bikes that are not as tall. The 250cc Kawasaki Sherpa and Yamaha XT225 or 250 comes to mind but there may be others.

But..... my best advice is wait until after you take the class because you may find that something else would be more your liking. Or you may find that riding a bike is not what you thought it would be and change your mind. I'm not trying to discourage you. So please do not take it that way because I think it great that you are interested in learning to ride

Back to the dirt bike question.

I think you asked what you would do with one. Or something like that. Do those back roads you mentioned turn into gravel or dirt roads? If they do then a nice little dual sport bike would probably let you explore those roads if you wanted to with more confidence that your basic street bike would.

Anyway, I did not mean to ramble on. When you have completed the class you will have a better idea of the direction you want to go. And if you can, try a few different bikes during the class.

Enjoy,

Jon...
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:50 PM   #1015
swann
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Thanks Jon! I edited my post because I thought I was rambling on. Good suggestion on trying different bikes in the class - I'd probably have stuck to the Rebel. There are definitely dirt roads nearby, lots of empty lots in developments too. Thank you for your encouragement, don't worry about discouraging me! I took the basic rider course in 1994 before they included the licensing endorsement as part of the class, and have wanted a motorcycle for as long as I can remember. I showed my kids some youtube videos of people wiping out on dirt bikes and they are both wanting to go to dirt bike school with me. My husband is not at all interested! He's worried we will get hurt. I like to tell him I add excitement to his life. Poor guy! I'll see how the class goes and probably will do the dirt bike school with at least one of the kids. I'm thinking I'll prefer street riding because I don't like how dusty it gets on some of the four wheeler trails. Sometimes I look like I rolled around in the dirt! I bought a dust mask bandana and it helps but it gets toasty. If learning to ride a dirt bike will make me a safer driver, I'm all for it! Plus I think the kids would really like it!
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:25 AM   #1016
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Kids love dirt. Except my 13YO, but he's blonde, so.....
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:33 AM   #1017
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:53 AM   #1018
Jon_PDX
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Swann,

Some of the most fun I ever had with my kids (boy and girl) were when we had dirt bikes. We would go up into the woods out here in the Pacific NW and explore the trails, get stuck in the mud, fall down, get back up and do it again

I'm in the camp that believes that learning to ride off road, even if it's just riding fire roads, does help one to be more confident on the street. When I first got a bike and rode on the street I felt like everyone was out to kill me. So I sold it, and bought some off-road bikes for the family. We did that for a couple years and then daily life put that on hold.

About 10 years ago and I decided I wanted to get a bike again. I've lost count of how many bikes I've had in the last 10 years (my wife probably knows ) but one thing I can tell you is that the things I learned about how a bike reacts to changes in the road surface off-road taught me to trust the bike and not panic or freak out. Because as soon as you do that then you're not controlling the bike, the bike is controlling you.

In all fairness I'm sure most or all of those lessons can be learned on-road too. But my personal feeling is that at the slower pace of off-road (not Motocross pace), with no traffic to worry about, and the fact that dirt is a lot softer than pavement, the learning curve is easier on the mind and body.

What ever type of riding you ultimately end up doing I suspect you will have a good time.

Jon...
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:26 AM   #1019
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To get back more on topic.....

I've really enjoyed reading this thread. There is a lot of good information shared here for those that want to sift through it. Since I can't think of something that has not already been said before here is a short list of the ones that I find useful.

- Ride your own pace.
- Look where you want to go.
- If it does not feel right, don't do it.
- You have nothing to prove to anyone.
- Find an empty parking lot and practice riding slow.
- Set small goals in the beginning for improving your skills so you don't get discouraged.

This last one is something I read in this thread that I never heard before.

- Your shadow points to the danger.

That's one that everyone, not just new riders (or drivers) needs to remember. We all know how hard it can be to see oncoming traffic when the sun is in our eyes. But it's easy to forget other people on the road may not see us when the sun is behind us.

Jon...
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:13 AM   #1020
Contevita
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Never be afraid to ask questions of more experienced riders, there is no stupid question when it comes to safe riding.

I work with a person that is new to riding and he's always asking questions about riding. I answer honestly and if I don't know something I'll state so.
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