Motorcycle Forums » The Meeting Place

female learning to ride by herself

  • July 6, 2014 4:19 AM PDT
    so here it goes. Got the bike up and going and well the boyfriend is no longer in the picture (left way before the bike was ready). So took it out on the side roads -- nervous as can be (found out that isn't cool on handleing the bike so had to keep telling myself to relax -- helped until got into s bit of traffic). A person I met took me to the school to practice and was totally different and more relaxed. Problem is I don't have that opportunity very often so it's on my own basically. YES I will be doing the riders safety course WHEN I can afford to but right now out of the picture.

    So how did you learn on your own and not be so scared of everything?!?!
    • 84 posts
    July 6, 2014 4:51 AM PDT
    How big a bike are we talking about? I imagine most of the old guys that started riding in their early/mid teens started on something small and just did it. I grew up on a farm and was driving hay trucks in the fields and Cushman scooters by 10 years old. That was before safety courses became the necessity.

    These days I'd suggest getting into the riding school sooner instead of later. It'll help on insurance and skill set. Other than that practice every chance you get.
  • July 6, 2014 5:26 AM PDT
    it's only a 250 rebel so perfect size... never got the chance to have fun with 4 wheelers and that sort of stuff growing up but always had the want for it... well no choice on the financial part of the classes since they don't come free!
    • 3001 posts
    July 6, 2014 5:57 AM PDT
    The best way to practice,in my opinion, is take it slow & easy.Find a empty parking lot & just practice stopping and starting.Also work on making turns.Get your self mentally ready for traffic situations by visualizing what bothers you the most about driving in it,then practice how you are going to handle those situations that arise which make you feel uncomfortable.Then get on your ride and practice some more.Get a good feel for what your ride can & cannot do in terms of stopping and starting.For example,try doing braking practice,use a line and have that as your target stop line.From there you can establish what the proper speed is for coming to a stop and starting away from a stop.Or work on balance,with the ride not running.Take your feet off the ground,hold the rebel uprite,practice balancing on it.Put your feet down before you actually fall over,find its tipping point and become familiar with it.

    It is important that you become comfortable in the saddle,and maintain a sense of control.Also practice using your mirrors,and learning to check them constantly for other vehicles approaching too fast on your rear.One way to do this is park on the street,by a stop sign and use your mirror to judge approaching vehicles speed.Become aware of using all your senses to keep your riding experience pleasurable.Practice lane positioning when stopping,by seeing where you want the scoot to be when stopped at a light,for example I usually stay to the far right or left in the lane and rarely stop square in the middle,always leave your ride plenty of room to manuver out of any tight spots.

    Hope this helps a bit & do not let yourself think you cannot do it.It is something that just takes time & patience & practice,practice,practice.
    • 468 posts
    July 6, 2014 10:19 AM PDT
    Your local DMV does not have a safe rider course? Those are usually pretty cheap. Otherwise, all I can offer is; stick to your neighborhood for a bit and get a bit further out as you get comfortable with stopping and making turns and move into traffic. Takes a bit of time. You'll get there.
    • 6 posts
    July 6, 2014 11:10 AM PDT
    Good advice here, not much I can add.

    As son's lacrosse coach was always shouting "head on a swivel, head on a swivel". When making a turn swivel your head so far you are seeing your direction of travel with your peripheral vision.

    Borrow a bicycle and test the "Push down to turn". When learning, counter-steering sounds like telling an amateur boxer to "lean into the punch".
  • July 6, 2014 11:57 AM PDT
    Yes Claudia they do have a course and to some it is cheap -- for me I'm barely making it week to week so it is pretty expensive... sucks but it is life.

    I'm doing good with my turns and the one time my friend took my out that was one thing she told me to do was to look where you are going and the bike will fallow (she was doing things from the course she took) and wow it worked like a charm... I can shift with no problem but having a hard time wanting to use the rear break for sure!! Just plain total nerves getting into traffic itself! Unfortunately even in the neighborhood where I tried to ride to begin with --- there is a lot of traffic ... but I'm soaking in everyone's comments so I am more prepared and more things to work on in the parking lot :D :D it is SOOO appreciated!!!

  • July 6, 2014 2:42 PM PDT
    Keep at it! Just the want to ride mixed with your desire will be all you need.
    Keep us posted how things work out.
    • 314 posts
    July 6, 2014 9:53 PM PDT
    Just keep at it and be safe. Have fun.
    When i learned i had to get bike home, 40 min ride turned into like 4 hrs. I had some scary moments but couldn't leave it had to get it home.
    Good Luck and keep us posted
    • Moderator
    • 17030 posts
    July 7, 2014 12:56 AM PDT
    Slow and sure...keep at it? Kudos to you.
  • July 7, 2014 1:40 AM PDT
    thank you everyone -- been a long time waiting for this :D Knee is still pretty sore but getting better and well definitely more cautious on what I'm doing for a u turn in the street ... that was 4 weeks ago and my first time so I know how it feele to dump the bike ... now that part is over hopefully with all your support and ideas I will be fine now :D :D HUGS
  • July 7, 2014 9:09 AM PDT
    Welcome,from another lady rider.I understand your desire but want you to be safe.One thing I will say, remember in slow speed turns to stay off that front brake and when braking at speeds make sure you've got your bike up straight and in a straight line.Look ahead of you in the curves and if they are limited sight slow it down.If you have a friend in a car that could follow you to and empty parking lot that would be great.Stay safe
    • 0 posts
    July 8, 2014 5:25 PM PDT
    Hey Spazz, look up Ride like a pro on youtube and watch the videos, it will help a lot.
    • 1161 posts
    July 23, 2014 5:53 PM PDT
    I am still a "new rider" been riding for 3 years now. In between fixing my bike and upgrading it when I have the funds. I took the MSC over a year before I got my own bike so I was nervous about riding it because it had been so long and the MSC only had 150's and 250's and this was a 400. So what I did was just went around the area I was in for the first month or so ( I think I put on about 100 miles or more). Then slowly stepped up until I was hitting 35 mph on a secondary side road. It went across a 55 MPH road but it had a stop light so I got practice stopping and going (including the stop signs in the housing area). I also felt kind of pressure to go when the light turned green as well so that took some getting use to for me. I also watched Ride Like a Pro for extra tips and tricks I could use on the roads. Once I got more confident I also went up to the school and found the safety course area and practiced with friends.

    What ever you chose be safe!     
  • July 24, 2014 12:11 AM PDT
     Here in northern Illinois the local county colleges offer classes.  Only $20 and after you pass they mail you a card that you bring to the dmv and you get your new license.   No test to take at dmv.    They provide bikes and helmets.    Usually classes are filled but by mid summer you can go on a Friday night and get on a waiting list for those that decide not to show.   Great class and after a year you can go back for a advanced rider course.    Good luck
  • July 28, 2014 8:35 AM PDT
    say lady,just wondering if your okay ????
  • July 28, 2014 11:35 AM PDT
    I started on a 750 Yamaha...but same thing...just rode it around the neighborhood...I didn't have anyone to show me, my parents forbid me to ride a motorcycle. I knew how it worked basically, and just got on it, started it up....and was scared as hell that someone would pull in front of me, or a kid would throw something at me or any other thing that you could think of...just be patient, take your time and keep riding, you'll get it.
  • August 4, 2014 2:36 PM PDT
    Spazz, my first bike was bought 4 months ago. I trailered it home and didn't actually ride it until the next day, a bit nervous as I pulled my new bike out on the street for the first time. Take your time, relax, and have fun. Go to the classes when you can but try to limit the amount of traffic you are in until then. I rode dirt bikes and all as a kid but no traffic to deal with there and that was 25 yrs. ago too! I spend time riding neighborhoods and low traffic areas some still. Cul-de-sacs are good for practicing tight turns. Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the ride!
    • 285 posts
    August 15, 2014 9:26 AM PDT
    I agree with the go to an empty parking lot early on Sat and Sun morning and practice your stopping, starting, turns, obstacle course. Do not be afraid to put on knee and elbow pads. I always wear gloves. Leather when it is cool enough, and leather palm cloth backed when it is hot.

    Good luck with your riding. Hope you have a good time.
    • 6 posts
    August 16, 2014 2:13 AM PDT

    • 285 posts
    August 23, 2014 11:21 AM PDT
    I was wondering how the self training, learing to ride by yourself is going.  Would like to hear an update on your progress.

    Riding on Saturday and Suday mornings was probably the best idea you were given.  :)

  • August 27, 2014 11:09 AM PDT
    spazz64 go to a women's garage party at your local HD dealer. It has a lot of informative information such as the difference between "Barbie Bitchin" and "practical riding" apparel. (Those of us who ride have most likely found out the difference the hard way) Also for new lady riders how to pick up a bike to how to customize your ride. They give away raffle prizes and sometimes include a riders course. Not to mention you can meet fellow lady riders in different stages of experience you can talk with. I bought my Low Rider for my 50th birthday and have logged over 26,000 miles. Riding is my therapy.
    • 285 posts
    August 28, 2014 9:36 AM PDT
    Come on Spazz Let us know how your riding is doing, what direction you went with.....
  • December 9, 2014 1:50 PM PST
    good advice from everyone'll get the hang of it. all in short order
    • 70 posts
    January 7, 2015 7:56 AM PST

    I have had my bike for a year or so now. Out of that year, only half was on the road. 

    I was scared when I first put my hands on this big hunk of power. I am still nervous when I get on her, but, I have also stayed on the country roads where there is not a lot of traffic and just go at my own pace, no matter what. I do not ride in groups yet either.  I used to  walk my bike across gravel, sand, leaves, etc.. but, as I rode more and more.. I now ride her slowly across, not walk. I started on mountains, in windy weather, and rode in rain, as my first experiences. Eventhough I still get nervous, I can't believe I waited so long to ride. I will never go back. 

    It will get easier and it WILL be worth it.