Ride Like a Pro From the Beginning ~
Miguel De Cervantes, author of the classic Spanish novel Don Quixote, once wrote “Time ripens all things. No man is born wise.” If you are beginner in the world of two wheels, you would be wise to recognize that that good judgement on motorcycles comes from experience, and experience comes from avoiding common mistakes. Ultimately, practice and get used to the ins and outs of riding will make you a seasoned pro!
Picking your bike and getting your license is a great first step on along your journey on the open road; But becoming a seasoned rider is also about knowing how to ride your motorcycle and not let it the bike control you. This distinction is something that you will acquire with experience, with patience, and prudence.
So, what are the most common mistakes beginner motorcycle riders make? Take note so you don’t fall into these traps.
This is one of the most challenging issues you face when you’re learning to drive a car or ride a motorbike with a conventional transmission: stalling. You have to synchronize the fuel flow (accelerate) little by little while you adjust the clutch to prevent the engine from suddenly stopping due to lack of torque. It is a matter of getting used to the touch of the clutch lever and the throttle. Every motorcycle’s clutch and throttle are a little different so you’ll have to get used to it each time you change your ride. Once you do it two or three times, you will no longer have problems.
When you’re stopped, you should normally be in neutral, but when you want to move, you start at first gear. As you move faster, you should skip to second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth gear gear when you are riding on highways at high speed.
When you ride the city, it is recommended to choose your gears wisely because the engine helps us to accelerate faster if we want to move forward with more energy. However, it is even more important if we want to brake or even to stop. When you want to reduce the speed, it is better to reduce gears so that the engine helps us to retain the motorcycle. If we operate the clutch lever and only use the force of the brakes, we will be wasting that extra braking capacity and we will be stressing the brakes too much, causing unnecessary waste. There is only one exception: when we are emergency braking, we must actuate the clutch lever to disengage the engine and be able to completely stop the motorcycle.
Your gear and clutch lever go hand-in-hand. A rookie biker thinks he has more control if he squeezes the clutch lever and only use the brakes. Except at very low speeds, when you have to ‘play’ with the clutch to prevent the engine from stalling or when we want to make a total stop, the engine must always be engaged so that we do not lose control of the motorcycle and get the right traction of the rear wheel we want.
When you’re starting out , you want to take it slow, but you should maintain moderate speeds which are safe and comfortable. Over time, your movements will begin to flow and become more automatic. Eventually you’ll feel more comfortable and agile at higher speeds, but you should always respect the maximum speed limits. You should also be careful not go to slowly on roadways where drivers are travelling at higher speeds. You may not be comfortable travelling with the flow of traffic, but not travelling with the flow can be just as dangerous as travelling at accelerated speeds.
Ultimately, you need to adapt your speed t depending on the type of road, asphalt state, visibility, etc.
At first, don’t worry so much about your skills. Be focused on gaining confidence on your motorcycle. Concentrate on safety and techniques that will make your ride safer: counter-steering, body position, look towards the exit of the curve…
Feet and hands out of place
Remember! Keep your hands on the handlebar in order to maintain control and be ready to react to any challenges on the roadway. It also helps to have one, two, three or even four fingers resting on the brake lever and on the clutch lever to be ready when breaking.
The same is true for your feet. The sole of your foot must be supported by the corresponding footrests so that you can stand your feet correctly and in the most natural and comfortable way as well as being closer to the rear brake pedal (right) and the gearshift pedal (left).
Motorcycles are designed so that you can’t ride with the kickstand open: which would be dangerous when you lean. If you engage first gear, the bike cuts the ignition and shuts down. You may be scared because you don’t know what’s happening. Don’t be mad! It’s for your safety. Fold the kickstand and you’ll be able to go ahead.
You don’t turn your indicators off
First times riders tend to be focused on the different actions required to just to ride their bike and sometimes miss the little things. This happens a lot with indicators. A new rider will turn their indicator on to turn or make a lane change, but then they forget to turn them off. This is not dangerous, but it can cause confusion to drivers around them.
Nowadays, however, more and more motorcycles are coming equipped with auto-cancelling indicators which automatically turn off after a few seconds.
Your motorcycle range
Some motorcycles come equipped with fuel indicators or calculate the real range which measures exactly what kind of distance you’re likely to achieve. Others just have a light which warns you when you are in the reserve range. Some bikes have no indicators at all and leave you to figure it out. Because of that, you should know your motorcycle range. How is this done? When filling a tank, reset one of the partials to ‘zero’ and when you are back in the reserve zone, you will know how many miles it lasts.
Obviously, it will be an approximate figure, since it will change depending on some factors. Repeat the process several times to get an average so that you will have a good idea of how far you could ride without stopping to refuel. In populated areas, there is no problem finding a gas station, but knowing your range on longer hauls is a no brainer.
From the get-go, you are responsible for the maintenance of your motorcycle. Follow the instructions in the user manual regarding car of your bike, including: oil changes, drive chain, brakes, liquids and, of course, tires, which should be in good condition and always filled to the recommended tire pressure.
Riding with a Passenger
We recommend that you should feel confident riding a motorcycle by yourself before taking on passengers. Carrying a passenger significantly changes the dynamics and inertia of the motorcycle so it can be dangerous not only for you… but for your passenger as well.
Your skills on the bike will only improve over time. If you focus on safety and learning about your bike you’ll quickly learn the ins and outs of riding like a pro. So remember to be cognizant of your surroundings, maintain your bike, keep your tires properly inflated and enjoy the road ahead!