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Old 05-26-2013, 06:29 PM   #16
pizzaman383
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Practice in a parking lot

When riding on the street, you only come to stop signs, intersections, etc. infrequently. Practice going up and down the aisles in a parking lot. Go left sometimes, go right others. Go slow sometimes and go fast others. Practice braking, shifting, turning, etc. all while staying in your lane. This will give you a lot more intense practice with things that bring comfort controlling the bike. When you are comfortable with these actions then the other things in real traffic will have more of your mental focus.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:26 AM   #17
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I am in the 'wait for the class' camp. It's only a week away. It is a great confidence builder. And there is no need to put oneself in undue risk at this point in time. Bad riding habits really are tough to un-do. And I still suffer major twitches from falling off in my yoot nearly 50 yrs later.

Having one's own bike to practice on when coming home from the class is really great. That re-enforces skill deveopment quickly and builds confidence that mastering basic riding techniques is not that hard. Once some basic bike control is built and absorbed, traffic is a lot easier to manage.

I suspect that the OP's nervousness is due to being slightly overchallenged by the process of trying to it all, all at once. Separating learning bike control from traffic management would greatly enhance learning each part more easily and quickly. The safety course's 'ride a little then rest and think a little bit more' layout eases a lot of noob anxiety and promotes quick, confident learning. In this instance, that is probably the best way to go and is the hot set-up.

Polite reminder: The learning to ride (better) never stops.
ymmv
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:17 AM   #18
Stan_R80/7
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To add another personal opinion: when I picked up riding a street bike circa 1990 I rode in neighborhoods and back streets to get seat time. Today, when I get a new bike I do the same. It's about time in the saddle and comfort operating the controls and the feel - without having to spend time thinking about how to operate the machine. The MSF course will not do that or give you seat time in your bike.

The course is very useful and worthwhile, but (IMO) you need time on your bike and the only way to get that is by riding. I suppose this is a bit of a 'chicken and egg' quandary, but I resolved the issue by staying out of traffic and riding in slow speed limit areas. Good luck!

p.s. I am registered to take another MSF safety course next weekend.

Edit: to clarify, I learned to ride bikes off road when I was ~ 13 years old - so I quickly became comfortable riding a street bike. However, a healthy respect for the dangers present - particularly from other motor vehicles - should never be taken lightly. Over confidence has more dire consequences than being nervous.

Stan_R80/7 screwed with this post 05-27-2013 at 07:14 AM
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:33 AM   #19
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Mah 1st time on a (Mini) bike wuz over 45 yrs ago, (At age 8) 'n far as I remember I've alwayz bean comfortable, 'n confident on bikes.
They didn't have no msf class when I wuz learn'in just my brother tell'in me to "lay 'er down" if shit happens, and not to use the front brake! The msf might help ya, butt just remember ride'in ain't fer everyone.

Good luck wut ever ya do.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:44 AM   #20
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Make sure you can SLAM! & STOP on a dime. Just do not lock it up and crash or go over the bars. Many times, usually a large SUV with a cee-u-N-T driving, changes lanes, right in front of me and slams on the brakes to make a right, has happened to me three times. (haters)

That and always be aware, do not get distracted by anything. Not beautiful women, daydreaming, music... Watch the automobile drivers heads in the traffic ahead of you and across intersections. Do they look sober, sane, do they know you are there?

Practice evasive maneuvers, like turns and never leave home without protective gear. That means helmet AND armored jacket, gloves, boots, pants.

Join a local riding group, after you go to your moto safety course and
"Live long and Prosper"
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:45 AM   #21
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My first few times on a bike (and I was in my 30s as well)? I hauled (not rode) the KLR to my parents' place and rode dirt only until I had my license. Also, didn't have my helmet yet and kept 'er in 1st gear till I got one. Please stay off my streets until you're trained and legal tho - nothing I as a rider need less than ANOTHER untrained rider hugging the curb at 35 mph and (hopefully not) becoming a statistic when Granny backs out of her driveway without looking, just like she always does.

If I sound harsh, I mean to. The Internet is no place to learn to ride. Take the course before you ride on public roads again. Good luck, and enjoy riding for the rest of your life. May it be long!
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:45 AM   #22
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Couple random thoughts...

Instruction. Get all you can afford. Never stop building skills.

Do not listen to idiots, or ride with them.

Confidence. You may get it early, or not. I know many very confident riders who lack skill and knowledge. Yet they are still confident. True confidence comes with knowing and understanding how a bike works, and how to control the bike.

I have pretty good skills, I'm fairly confident on dirt, race tracks, and on the street, but still almost nervous on the street. Hyper vigilant is probaby a much better descriptor.

Barry
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:55 AM   #23
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I was in my early 20's and my first bike was a ex500 also. To be honest, I'm not a fan of the msf course, but it certainly won't hurt. Is the bike in good condition? Tires, brakes etc? Also, relax your grip on the bars, bend your arms a bit and lean into the wind.

When you've done the msf and you're feeling a bit more confident check this book out. http://www.ridinginthezone.com/ I've met Ken Condon several times and he is an amazing teacher!
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:24 AM   #24
4TooMany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BanjoBoy View Post
tell'in me to "lay 'er down" if shit happens, and not to use the front brake!
Pretty much the two worst pieces of advice I can imagine.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:15 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by 4TooMany View Post
Pretty much the two worst pieces of advice I can imagine.
i think the dude's postin' satire? good lord i hope so!
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:21 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quasigentrified View Post
i think the dude's postin' satire? good lord i hope so!
Maybe. But I've heard both of those life-threatening suggestions thrown around for years.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:39 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tennyis View Post
want :)
I've only got about 5km so far, but a lot of that was starting and stopping and practicing uturns.
I think most of the posts below assume you have 5000 miles 'so far'. It looks to me like you have 5 kilometers (3 miles) so far --- right?
If this is the case, I'd wait 'til the MSC before riding.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:41 AM   #28
BanjoBoy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4TooMany View Post
Pretty much the two worst pieces of advice I can imagine.
Yep, amaze'in I dun survived all them years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quasigentrified View Post
i think the dude's postin' satire? good lord i hope so!
Yes 'n no. Thaz purdie much a true story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4TooMany View Post
Maybe. But I've heard both of those life-threatening suggestions thrown around for years.
That wuz the prescribed method back in the day, 'n I think there wuz sum (good?) reasons fer it.
1.) lotza the roads were dirt, 'n the paved roads were real dirty, so often use'in the shitty front brakes would result in a low side.
2.) Brakes 'n tires sucked sooooo bad, you almost could slow faster "lay'n 'er down."

Anybody who talk's 'bout not use'in the front brakes, or "lay'n 'er down these days is an idiot.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:52 AM   #29
Stan_R80/7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDK111 View Post
I think most of the posts below assume you have 5000 miles 'so far'. It looks to me like you have 5 kilometers (3 miles) so far --- right?
If this is the case, I'd wait 'til the MSC before riding.
Oh. Yes, if this is the case and you have 5km (3 miles) on the bike since when it was acquired - then wait for the MSF course. They go over shifting, braking, how to use handlebars effectively and other basic motorcycle controls. Somehow, I was seeing 3000 miles. Whoops.
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:17 AM   #30
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You need to get through your MSF course. They have a format they go by. Do what you're told and it will be easier.

You might want to find an empty parking lot beforehand and work on throttle/clutch co-ordination and slow speed steering. You'll be doing a lot of that during the class.

If you don't have it, get some riding gear. I use armored mesh gear in the summer. Wear gloves and boots. Proper gear builds confidence.

Don't be afraid. Fear is not a good thing. Rather, be respectful of the things that can happen and work to minimize them. Safe riding demands 100% of your attention all the time. You'll develop a technique over time, and things will become easier.

Get a copy of "Proficient Motorcycling", second edition, and study it. Then go ride, come back, and debrief yourself using the book to work out any problems you might have had.

You're at a time where there is good instruction, gear, and bikes available. None of that existed when I started riding. The dealer would put you on the bike and show you where the controls were, then wave goodbye.

Look for a group to ride with. Having a destination and other riders to talk with helps a lot. I hang out with a bunch of old timers on Sunday mornings over breakfast, and get in 150 miles round trip. I also belong to a Norton owner's club.
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