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New rider, any words of wisdom?

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by stooxie, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. stooxie

    stooxie NRA Life Member

    1,069
    0
    Apr 10, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    Hey everyone!

    So, after wanting a bike for 15 years now I finally went out and got one (wifey only mildly fuming, but she's ok). I got me an '08 Ninja 650R.

    So, any words of wisdom re:staying alive? From what I hear and read, taking it easy on the throttle and laying off the booze (before riding) reduces the risks a good bit. I also hear the the biggest problem is more people running stop signs and stop lights as opposed to rider error. Obviously anything is possible.

    I'm taking the VDOT approved rider safety course in May. I have my learner's permit but can't legally ride without "supervision" from an existing class M licensee. I've ridden up and down my driveway a few times, that's been fun!!

    Seems like one of the biggest things to get used to is just the weight of the bike. To that end I've been spending time just getting used to it, tipping the bike from side to side, seeing how to best shift my weight to bring it back up. I've been driving a manual transmission for 17 years and I'm pretty good on a bicycle so I think I "get it" about leaning, not leaning when turning slow, etc.

    I'm pretty confident in my abilities but I'm also smart enough to listen to those with experience! Help a new rider stay up!

    Thanks!
    -Stooxie
     
  2. JimBianchi

    JimBianchi Da Da CLM

    6,311
    379
    Feb 15, 2006
    Las Vegas
    Rice Rockets are fun.

    My only advice:

    No matter how good/carefull you are, everyone else is stupid or blind when you are on a bike. (This is why I no longer ride)

    Be warned.
     


  3. G23.40

    G23.40 NRA Member

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    Mar 27, 2002
    PA.
  4. stooxie

    stooxie NRA Life Member

    1,069
    0
    Apr 10, 2005
    Northern Virginia
  5. BP44

    BP44

    368
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    Apr 8, 2005
    southern .OR
    go slow and dont push yourself to fast or let others push you out of your comfort zone. and good idea on the moto course as well:cool:
     
  6. KYGlock23

    KYGlock23

    123
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    Feb 24, 2008
    Kentucky
    Take a look at the list below. These are things that I have made note of over the years and they have served me well.

    1. When cresting a blind hill or approaching a blind curve, NEVER be "riding" the center line. SUV's trailering boats, someone driving to fast, you get the
    picture.

    2. When riding always be aware of wildlife. It can appear out of nowhere and
    at very inopportune times. Deer are only part of this equation as well.
    Dogs, fowl, rabbits, I could go on.

    3. Know your bike. Do not attempt traffic until you are VERY comfortable
    with it.

    4. When approaching cars coming out of streets, etc. Always "cover" your
    front brake with at least two fingers. Have your brake foot ready as well.
    People will pull out in a heartbeat.

    5. Whenever possible, try to avoid being stuck behind a large vehicle that
    obstructs your view. This can be of even more importance if someone is
    behind you. If it requires a lane change or a pass, try to do so at your
    first opportunity.

    6. Your front brake is your friend and the bulk of your braking power resides
    in your front brakes. There are caveats to this however, one being watch
    for gravel in turns, etc. Too much front brake and there could be a
    problem.

    7. If you are approaching a car in the right lane and you are in several lanes
    of traffic, position yourself so the car can see your headlight in their drivers
    side mirror. It can help them to see you and possibly avoid a sudden lane
    change into your lane.

    8. They make nice safety glasses and sunglasses now in some pretty cool styles. The are inexpensive as well. Get yourself a pair of clear and a pair of the sunglass type unless you will be wearing a full face.

    9. Watch out for pickups with the tailgate down - I have seen everything
    from tools, 2X4 and metal scraps, beer cans, etc. come out of the back of
    one. Get hit with something big enough, and there is a good chance that
    you are coming off.

    10. When riding at night, everything above is TWICE as important.

    I will add a few more as I think of them. Just got in from a ride myself and
    thought that I would provide you with a couple of quick tips. Sorry about the formatting but I am kinda wiped...


    Mike
     
  7. one thing i have gotten into the habit of doing is to ride in far left or far right lane of highway, and keep an eye on the shoulder for a possible escape route, people change lanes into me at least twice a week and if you can keep your head about you and realize that when they change lanes they will not cross the yellow line, so this allows you room, even on small shoulders to avoid getting hit when they push you off the road. just ease off to the edge barely crossing the yellow, and dont dive way off the road into the grass in a panic situation. other than that just watch out for the other guy in all situations. ride often and keep the rubber side down.
     
  8. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    50,891
    3,450
    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    Unless you have superhuman strength, even a "light" bike as a Ninja 650 will tip over beyond recovery after leaning over past a certain point.

    BTW, it sounds like you REALLY need to take the course before riding any more. You don't turn a bike by "leaning". You turn the bike by countersteering. Leaning does nothing except changing the center of gravity of the bike and aids in turning, but the act of leaning itself will not make the bike turn.
     
  9. stooxie

    stooxie NRA Life Member

    1,069
    0
    Apr 10, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    Right, I understand that simply leaning by itself won't do anything. I can ride a bicycle. ;)

    That said, I appreciate your advice. The course should be good, it included all equipment and THEIR bikes! About 20 hours including riding.

    -Stooxie
     
  10. JimK

    JimK

    187
    1
    Mar 23, 2007
    Mishawaka,Indiana
    I highly suggest taking the MSF course . Even riders that have been riding for years will get something out of it. Here in Indiana it cost me $80 and about 2 days of my time . I had ridden for a few years before I ever took it and learned several new things . Also most any insurance company will give you a break on insurance with a MSF course completion . Also , A completed MSF course here will let you bypass a riding test at the DMV for the motorcycle endorsement on your liscense. #1 cause of accidents with another vehicle is people not seeing you and turning left in front of you, don`t take it for granted you are seen .
     
  11. Halojumper

    Halojumper

    6,573
    1
    Mar 18, 2005
    Aurora, CO
    One suggestion MSF. From there you'll know what the next step is for you.
     
  12. ndbullet500

    ndbullet500 Unmutual

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    Dec 12, 2005
    6 Private
    My suggestion is to not become complacent. I rode in dirt...and slick red Carolina clay....for many years, but only started riding on the street about 5-6 years ago. I'm pretty safety conscious, but to be honest there was always that little voice in the back of my mind that said I could avoid almost any collision that was not of my own making. I knew it was not true intellectually, but I still felt like accidents happen to the other guy. One day last summer, I realized that to everyone else, I AM THE OTHER GUY! And to me, YOU are the other guy.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Take the MSF course, read quality texts such as Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough, and wear quality protective gear. Don't become complacent and think you have it all figured out. And with a little luck, you can live long and prosper.
    [​IMG]

    Oh, yeah...I approve of your choice in motorcycles. Don't be dumb and underestimate it. It is a docile machine, but that friendly nature can lull you into some high speeds on challenging roads.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. StudParker

    StudParker

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    Nov 14, 2007
    Minnesota
    All of the above are good recommendations. To add to the list, one compulsive practice on the bike that has saved my bacon more than once is to ALWAYS HEAD CHECK! Any lane change, any merges, any exit/entrance ramps....AHC!! Your mirrors are good for a quick sit rep, but don't trust 'em...take a good look over your shoulder before making any move.


    Have fun, stay safe, don't get behind the bike, and remember YOU ARE INVISIBLE.
     
  14. G23.40

    G23.40 NRA Member

    80
    0
    Mar 27, 2002
    PA.
    I just wanna add one thing, as a rider, keep this in mind, if you can't see the other driver in their mirrors, they can't see you, so position yourself to be seen but never let your guard down, keep enough room for maneuver just in case.

    Ride safe and have fun.
     
  15. jack19512

    jack19512

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    Aug 14, 2003
    Hazard Ky
    Probably just mentioning things already covered but I have been riding for around 38 years and here are some of the things that I have experienced.

    1. Be careful with the front brake and where, when, and how hard you apply it, used in the wrong place and/or time will get you put down.

    2. Never, and I mean never take for granted that other people see you and know you are there.

    3. Try to avoid blind spots.

    4. Wear appropriate safety equipment.

    5. Alcohol/drugs/speed will eventually catch up with you and take it's toll.

    6. I ride in the center of my lane, if you get distracted for a split second you will either find yourself wandering into the oncoming traffic lane or find yourself going off the road on the right side.

    7. Be extremely careful how fast you try to take a curve, sometimes with enough speed the bike wants to keep going in a straight line. Back in my younger days I almost lost a Harley on a four lane highway because of this.

    8. Use extreme caution when carrying a passenger. There is a difference when riding solo and carrying a passenger.
     
  16. stooxie

    stooxie NRA Life Member

    1,069
    0
    Apr 10, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    I learned me something yesterday: always make sure your wheel is straight when you stop. I was practicing low speed, tight turns, it's not easy!

    So how tight is a bike supposed to turn with feet on pegs? If you're trying to turn very tight do people keep the feet out?

    -Stooxie
     
  17. Halojumper

    Halojumper

    6,573
    1
    Mar 18, 2005
    Aurora, CO
    No, there's no need to put your feet out, even on the tightest turns. If you want to work on your tight turns, get a copy of the motorman video and do it's practice drills. Your progress will amaze you.
     
  18. Guod

    Guod

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    0
    Feb 20, 2006
    Nelson, NZ
    Well I just got into riding. I got a ninja 250, and have only rode it around my street since it makes a nice circle. I am taking my MSF course in a week and a half, and then will get my license and all that.

    What I can recommend is just take it slow, don't rush into anything. I just sat on my bike for a few hours getting occustomed to the controls before I slowly rolled it down the driveway, and then rode.

    I purchased a full face helmet. I would highly recommend it. I purchased a shoei rf-1000, which some sort of custom paint job, which ran me about $450 at a kawasaki dealer. The helmet fit me better than anything else in the shop. I know I probably could have got it cheaper, but I was getting the itch to just take the bike out for a spin. So it was either get a helmet ASAP, or I may be tempted to make the foolish decision of riding without a helmet. Even at 10mph, if you take a spill, you could crack your head and end up dead, or worse.

    I also recommend getting full gear as soon as you actually start riding anywhere accept for less than 20mph on your neighborhood or driveway.

    I also did not buy full bike boots yet, but I purchased a cheap pair of high ankle boots from walmart for $20 to ride around the neighborhood and the safety course, then I will get quality bike boots. I know that even though at slow speeds I am unlikely to need skin grafts, I could still easily break my ankle if I drop the bike.

    I am super new, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but just sharing from one n00b to another.

    Also, not to be critical of your decision, but just be careful on that bike, it has a lot of power and could get you into trouble FAST.
     
  19. Guod

    Guod

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    Feb 20, 2006
    Nelson, NZ
    You really need to do some more internet reading or wait until you MSF to ride anymore IMHO. One of the first things I learned is try to NEVER (especially as a new rider) use your brakes when turning. You brake BEFORE the turn, and then carry that speed into the turn, or else even accelerate a little, which is what I tend to do, but not too much.