Viewing 38 posts - 1 through 38 (of 38 total)
  • Newbie on a motorbike
  • flintstones
    Free Member

    About a month ago I passed my motorbike test at 51 with no previous motorbike experience other than crashing my mates RG125 when I was about 18.
    I bought a street triple 675 the week after, but I am painfully (!) aware that passing my test doesn’t mean I’m any good on a bike.
    While I really enjoy being on it, I’m certainly not comfortable and still think like a car driver.

    so, how do I progress? To the more experienced riders here what tips would you give me? Any YouTube recommendations? Anyone want to chaperone a newbie in West Sussex?

    blokeuptheroad
    Full Member

    Do some advanced training. Start with a Bikesafe course with your local police force. Then do either IAM or RoSPA advanced courses and test. Keep learning.

    kayak23
    Full Member

    Just ride it.
    Enjoy it and have fun.
    Build experience.

    Don’t ride it like an idiot but expect other drivers to be idiots until proven otherwise.

    Go out, make some turns where you wouldn’t normally make turns, explore.
    That’s it

    mboy
    Free Member

    Well you’ve got the right attitude seeking some help and advice from more experienced riders… 👍🏻

    Joined my local IAM group 5yrs ago and learnt a lot… Passed my advanced test, which then entitled me to ride with their regular weekly rides, which I started doing regularly, and learnt a lot more. Now I not only ride with them regularly, but have just come back from a 5 day trip to Luxembourg with them, am a pretty integral member in the group and am now going to start my “observer” (basically their term for an advanced riding instructor) training soon too, so that I can give something back to the group and train newer riders myself.

    Anyway… Find your local IAM group, get a “taster” course booked… You’ll either find it really useful (in which case, sign up, do the course) or not (not everyone does, there’s other routes to follow)… The thing I like about IAM is it encourages group participation and peer review. The thing I don’t like about it is the delivery can be quite variable (don’t be afraid to ask for a different observer if you don’t get on with the one you’re assigned, it’s pretty common to be honest), certainly I know some incredible riders but also I know some people who are observers that really shouldn’t be. Also, amongst those who think they know it all (still counts for LOTS of my riding mates who wouldn’t see which way me or my IAM buddies went down a twisty, bumpy road!) there’s still a bit of a perception of it being a group of “stuffy” old men all riding BMW RT’s and GS’s that would hand themselves in to the cop shop if they exceeded the speed limit by 1mph even, but honestly, at least in my neck of the woods, it’s becoming more modern and progressive (I am 43, I am one of the younger people in my group, but by now means the youngest, and there’s more of us on KTM’s and Ducati’s now than GS’s or RT’s!).

    ROSPA also comes highly rated. No personal experience, but the reason I went IAM rather than ROSPA was that I wanted it to be a continual learning journey and to make new riding friends along the way, rather than just a box ticking exercise for a piece of paper that said I could ride better than Joe Bloggs down the street…

    Beyond that, if there’s one single piece of wisdom I can impart that you take notice of, it’s to position yourself for best visibility on the road… Use all of your lane (even the oncoming lane at times if required and it is obviously free of oncoming traffic), take wide(r) sweeping lines (NOT the racing line) that give you better visibility further down the road as well as keeping you well away from the danger of oncoming traffic on right handers, and clipping the scenery on lefts… Newer riders’ natural worry is that starting wider you’re not leaving yourself enough “room for error”, but the counter argument is that the bike will make it round the corner anyway, and if it won’t then it’s only because you went into it too fast in the first place…

    I won’t bore you with any of the IAM acronyms or try to fill your head with too much more, you’re unlikely to remember anything more than one thing from your first experience anyway… But get a taster of some advanced training and get your eyes fully opened! At the end of the day… “You don’t know what you don’t know, until you know”… 👍🏻

    flintstones
    Free Member

    Thanks for your thoughts, and the detailed response Mboy! Advanced training was certainly on my list and appreciate the recommendation with IAM.
    I do need to get out, and also practice manoeuvres in an empty Tesco car park…

    looking forward to early ride tomorrow!

    johnstell
    Full Member

    Three things from me:

    Ride with the assumption you’re invisible or that all the other drivers are actually trying to kill you.
    Don’t think you can ride like it’s a race track unless you’re actually on one (thoroughly recommend btw)Chicken Strips are perfectly ok on the road, if you’re running to the edge of your tyres then you’ve got nowhere to go.

    reeksy
    Full Member

    I learnt when I was 30 and my inlaws leant me a couple of books by an American guy that massively improved my confidence. Really good information on road positioning etc. Can’t remember what they were called but I’ll try and find them.

    meikle_partans
    Free Member

    There’s a guy called MCrider on YouTube who talks a lot about safety, road positioning etc. Might be worth a look at some of his more popular videos as a start.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    I did Bikesafe and IAM, tbh I maybe got more out of IAM but it was a much slower progress, both the learning and the actual getting any sort of tuition- I was a member 2 years before I got to do any observed rides! Whereas Bikesafe was more like a mountain bike tuition day, more self contained, quicker, more accessible. I also did a post-pass course with the school I did my DAS with which was really good, tbf it was a lot like doing the pre-test rides except with higher expectations.

    There’s such a huge bundle of different skills though. Like, I just don’t think you can get good at city commuting style riding without doing it a bunch. Other things are much more teachable. Track time is valuable in terms of bike skills IMO and a lot of that does transfer but you see people sometimes that have <only> worked on the machine skills side of things or whose only goal was to go faster and all it means is they’ll be going as fast as possible when they get hit by an uber. Group riding can be good and bad, you’ll see lots of things but knowing exactly what you should learn from and what you should learn not to do is a wee bit nuanced 😉

    Also, nice bike!

    grizzly
    Free Member

    Ride with the assumption you’re invisible or that all the other drivers are actually trying to kill you.

    This ^

    Even if someone is looking directly at you doesn’t mean they have actually seen you!

    Also, ride in the rain, wind, dark etc. Don’t be a fair weather rider because one day you will get caught out in bad weather and you will want some experience under your belt.

    blokeuptheroad
    Full Member

    the reason I went IAM rather than ROSPA was that I wanted it to be a continual learning journey and to make new riding friends along the way, rather than just a box ticking exercise for a piece of paper that said I could ride better than Joe Bloggs down the street…

    Then you should have joined RoSPA – because you would be re-examined every 3 years for that ‘piece of paper’ (a ‘continual journey’ if you will) instead of it lasting forever as with IAM!  RoSPA also have riding groups for social rides, tours etc. Sorry, but if you think RoSPA is a ‘box ticking exercise’ you are very mistaken.  That’s a shame, because the rest of your post is full of great advice.

    OP- both organisations do a great job if you gel with them.  It really comes down to which has a group near you and how well you get on with the personalities in it.  Good luck, whichever way you go!

    blokeuptheroad
    Full Member

    I learnt when I was 30 and my inlaws leant me a couple of books by an American guy that massively improved my confidence. Really good information on road positioning etc. Can’t remember what they were called but I’ll try and find them.

    Keith Code ‘a twist of the wrist’? He’s the guy that founded the California Superbike School. I did a track instruction day with them once and I have the book.  It’s great, but it’s aimed at going faster around a track and not much of it translates to safe road riding.

    anagallis_arvensis
    Full Member

    Joined my local IAM group 5yrs ago and learnt a lot

    This for me really helped too, although it was more like 15 years ago and I don’t ride much now but it’s still helpful stuff.

    Watty
    Full Member

    Can I suggest a novice track day? I only did the one, but it was a big help exploring the bike’s handling without some knob coming the other way. Being a novice only day meant there was instruction for the lads and lassies that had never, it appeared, leant their bike over before.
    I didn’t get on with the IAM, but found the police Motorcycle Roadcraft book really helpful. The best of luck.

    iffoverload
    Free Member

    Keith Code ‘a twist of the wrist’? He’s the guy that founded the California Superbike School. I did a track instruction day with them once and I have the book. It’s great, but it’s aimed at going faster around a track and not much of it translates to safe road riding.

    I also recommend “a twist of the wrist” but..

    somewhat disagree as a correct understanding of machine control and reacting in the correct manner to a situation can certainly translate to being safer on the road than a possible panic and losing control or just feeling uncertain and out of your depth on the most fun aspect of biking, which is cornering.

    In the golden days of Rykas Cafe it was typical to watch people slam on the brakes in a curve and head into the bushes…

    Also track days yes, but stay far away from the intermediate riders…  😉

    stcolin
    Free Member

    I’m in my 4th year of riding after passing in 2020. Plenty of sound advice around here. I really enjoyed the trackdays I’ve done, they’re in a safe environment, no oncoming traffic, and lots of opportunity to explore your bike in a way you can’t on a road… But yea, ride like to need to be seen at all times.

    I did  Bikesafe day a couple of years ago and thought it was pretty decent. The weather on the day was brutal though, but I learnt quite a lot and the copper I had was a really nice guy.

    Oh, and some photos of the 675 are mandatory.

    flintstones
    Free Member

    Thanks Watty, the book is bought and now looking at novice track days!

    Currently sitting in the sun at a “biker” cafe, but the reality is setting in: at some point I need to leave. Where I’m either going to drop the bike, stall, wobble out of the space, crash into Basher Biily’s bike, put my gloves on before the helmet etc etc. wish me luck!

    GlennQuagmire
    Free Member

    Some great advice above.

    I’ve only been riding for a few years now but as suggested above, just get out and ride.  With time on the saddle comes experience and confidence.

    Just assume that you’re invisible and be super aware of unexpected manoeuvres from other road users.  Your bike “spidey senses” will take a while to develop but will be your long term pal.

    I did the free BikeSafe course at my local fire station which was useful and at some point will look into RoSPA or IAM.

    Go and ride, enjoy the experience and most importantly stay safe and have fun 😃

    namastebuzz
    Free Member

    Lots of really solid advice on here. It’s all about the journey towards being a competent rider which starts AFTER you pass your test.

    I passed at 31 then spent the next 10 years doing IAM, 1-1 training with police instructors, track schools, track days & 4 European Superbike Schools.

    I saw the track aspect as learning how to control your bike at the limit & the road work as improving your roadcraft. Putting the two together made me a highly competent rider – but one who was still keen to learn & improve.

    The most I ever learned? Riding pillion on the back of Ron Haslam’s Fireblade round Donington. Geez!

    flintstones
    Free Member

    Oh, and some photos of the 675 are mandatory.

    you’re assuming I know how to add an image…!

    sharkattack
    Full Member

    I’m a noob and every time I spot an empty car park or any open space with some lines on the floor I always set myself a little route or a challenging manouvre. Go somewhere quite and do lots of playing and messing around.

    That way you get the mistakes out of your system and learn how it feels to do things wrong, before it happens unexpectedly on a busy junction.

    GlennQuagmire
    Free Member

    Plus find a quiet road to practice your emergency stops – so you know what to expect when you do it for real.

    OP, does your street triple have ABS?

    kilo
    Full Member

    +1 for Roadcraft

    One of my instructors when I did my advanced was involved with these, as were some of his colleagues, I’d have no qualms recommending them

    https://www.rapidtraining.co.Uk

    Just assume that you’re invisible and be super aware of unexpected manoeuvres from other road users.  Your bike “spidey senses” will take a while to develop but will be your long term pal.

    Keep that in tandem with your bike has a horn on it – any doubt about a car’s intentions then use it. Short bip for “Hello I’m here” stand on the thing for “I’m here you blind ****!” 😉

    fatface1
    Free Member

    As said above, Bikesafe and IAM are useful.

    How would you advise someone in their 50s getting into MTBing? It’d be to ride within your limits, study (videos, books, in-person etc) and get miles under your belt in dufferent environments.

    The implications of things going wrong on a powerful motorbike are a tad worse that falling off in the woods, but being this age I’m assuming you’re aware of your mortality and that we don’t heal as well as decades ago, so you’re probably not going mental.

    I think having a strong cycling background is really useful for balance, road awareness etc.

    WorldClassAccident
    Free Member

    Can I have your pedal bikes if it does go badly wrong?

    dave661350
    Full Member

    Lots of good advice on here…and you’ve sussed the ‘stress’ of being at a biker location when it comes to getting back on and leaving…which leads me to Sharkattacks great comment on finding an empty car park. Most riders want to improve their speed based riding and very few look at the fact that very slow speed stuff is generally where the little hiccups (expensive drops at walking pace) happen.
    Try an assessed ride but I’d first get loads of miles under my belt. Go out when others arent’. Find the B roads that few venture down, even the ones with a bit of mud on them, tractors pulling out etc. All good for honing observation skills. Don’t be afraid of going out in the rain, there’ll be few other bikes out then but you’ll have to learn a nice smooth throttle and brake action and stuff you don’t really need to look at when riding in the dry, you have to take care on in the wet (white lines, metal drain covers etc etc)
    Track days are fine if you get some instruction…otherwise you’re just going round a one way street at speed with little real aim. I’d look at something like a Hopp Rider Training day at Cadwell. Proper riding instruction with bots of the theory behind it. Some little nuggets of information will stay with you throughout your riding ‘career’.

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    It’s obvious and comes with age, but the other thing is CTFD and manage people stressing you. If you’re getting honked at to move on at a newly-green light, or if you’re trying to squeak into a space to make a gap, or if you’re trying to keep up with someone…ignore them. Slow down. Don’t rush. You’ll make up the 5 seconds lost at the next junction. And if you don’t, who cares?

    sharkattack
    Full Member

    I went out yesterday morning for the first time in months. I was really enjoying it for a while then I had a near miss that made me really stop and question my life choices.

    Two dickheads in cars racing down a busy B road almost took me out and I rode all the way home on a real downer.

    I’m really conflicted about it. I enjoy riding it but I’ve got absolutely no control over the behaviour of everyone else on the road and there’s just way too many utter bellends out there.

    Sitting here looking at my bike wondering what to do with it.

    fasthaggis
    Full Member

     I enjoy riding it but I’ve got absolutely no control over the behaviour of everyone else on the road and there’s just way too many utter bellends out there.Sitting here looking at my bike wondering what to do with it

    Yup ,there are sometimes days like that, but if you think too much about the ‘what ifs’,you would never leave the house.

    Could you choose some different routes and the time of day you ride them?

    Having said that,I had a trip south of the border a few weeks back and I am not sure I would use a bike as much down there.

    The huge volumes of traffic does seem to generate a large percentage of muppets,very tiring .

    GlennQuagmire
    Free Member

    If you’re getting honked at to move on at a newly-green light

    I got honked at for riding 30 in a 30. So the knob head behind decides to overtake (fine, rather have someone like that in front of me) but then gets caught by the level crossing just down the road.

    I gave a nice cheery wave as I filtered passed to the front of the queue.

    Sometimes it just works out perfectly 🙂

    allfankledup
    Full Member

    My recommendation would be to ride with decent folk that you trust – that will tell you to slow down when you’re going to quick, will help you develop and will take you to the best roads and the best food stops.

    I passed my test in 99 or so – did a few years on sports bikes, a couple of trackdays, then went to motocross and trail riding. I loved the trail riding.

    Then kids came along, moved to Scotland and the biking all stopped for 18yrs or so – Mrs went out for dinner with her pals one evening and I bought a GS off ebay.

    I’d look to ride regularly  – not just on sunny days, go out when it’s cold and looking like rain as well. If you want to – spend proper money on proper gear ( I initially bought RST stuff but had a minor off and the kit self-destructed – I was pretty much fine so it did it’s job — I replaced it with much much higher grade kit). If you want to wear a tshirt and shorts then feel free to do so — I wouldn’t recommend it but you’re an adult so can adult for yourself 😉 )

    Riding with pals using comms (Sena in my case) is proper good — you can listen to your tunes, chat to your pals, get some headspace, be forewarned of hazards – or when it’s safe to overtake etc.

    I did some training with place called Get2Grips – it’s up in Perthshire – probably one of the best days out on a bike I’ve ever had – and it changed the way that I ride a bike and drive a car – my observation of the 2 second rule dramatically improved from it.

    Enjoy it, practice it – self-preservation is a skill

    One of the best videos to watch is the ever-opinionated Ryan from Fortnine – Invisibility Training for Motorcyclists

    Lots of good in there IMHO

    Oh – and go ride in Scotland at some point — it will rain (almost certainly) but it’s epic up North

    blokeuptheroad
    Full Member

    Roadcraft is a very, very dry read on its own. It’s really intended to be used as part of a training course rather than a stand alone read. Police training obviously, but ‘the system of motorcycle control’ that’s described in it, is also the basis of IAM and RoSPA advanced training and examinations.

    Not saying you won’t get anything out of reading it, but putting ‘the system’ into practice with an observer or instructor behind you will really bring the concept to life and help make proper sense of it.

    flintstones
    Free Member

    Hello All,

    Its been a busy couple of days, but thanks for all the advice much appreciated.


    @sharkattack
    – Good suggestion, I have a large Tesco near by so can use that for my manoeuvres, emergency stops etc.

    It must be rather sobering to have those near misses and wonder if it’s actually worth. Fortunately its been positive so far but I do know that it’ll change in an instant. And related to @fastHaggis point, I go mid evening/early morning and the traffic is very light.


    @worldclassaccident
    – deal but it will need a deep clean and be prepared to replace all the bearings


    @glennquagmire
    – yes it does have ABS and to pre-empt your next question I should find out what happens when they’re are activated! deep breath.

    Now lets see if I can add an image:

    my new baby!

    This is me having ridden 150 to pick up the bike from a friend (less than a week after my test!) from Taunton and the last third started raining, progressively getting worse as i neared home! I was still smiling, scary but good!

    I don’t know if the image or the tags directed at the individuals works…

    GlennQuagmire
    Free Member

    Oh nice wheels – I do like the street triple and they sound awesome.  Good choice!

    And a ride back in the rain is probably not ideal for a first ride but all good practice!

    ABS is just nice to have – one less to think about when it really matters.  Really wouldn’t want a bike without it.

    Wishing you many miles of good, safe fun 😃

    Cougar
    Full Member

    I don’t know if the image or the tags directed at the individuals works…

    Flickr is notoriously fiddly to embed correctly but the link works.  The @ tags will send a notification if the user has notifications enabled.

    Happy new bike, that’s a nice thing.  Try to keep it rubber-side down.

    dave_h
    Free Member

    You’re not comfortable and thinking like a car driver because you’ve been a car driver for 30+ years … a car driver is what you are!

    What everyone has said is all good advice but to some degree, you’ve got to learn to be a bike rider which will happen with miles and time.

    Just remember that once upon a time, driving a car was uncomfortable and stressful but over time that became second nature.

    Take your time and you’ll get there.

    kayak23
    Full Member

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