6 comments on “Tips to start riding again

  1. Hi from New Zealand I’ve just discovered this site. Sound advice. Hadn’t ridden for 30 years. Test rode 16 different bikes (500 to 1250cc). Realised I needed a midsized bike and one not too heavy so that I would learn quicker. Bought a Yamaha XSR900, as light as the Honda CB500F. Did my first riding course within 3 days of getting my bike. Spent hours practicing in a carpark, especially emergency braking. Have done more courses including a track day recently. I look back over the last 2 years of riding and 20,000 km travelled and am astounded by how much my riding has changed and improved with consistent training. It is also true that the better you get the faster you go. Also start by going slow and the speed will come. I had a target of getting to the next 10,000km without an accident or dropping the bike. The closest I’ve come to dropping it has always been during slow speed maneuvers, especially very tight and full lock turns. The advantage today is there are some excellent online mentors. I also had Dave Moss set up my suspension (we are lucky that he comes to NZ).

  2. I recently bought a Suzuki DL 650 V-Strom. Returning to motorcycling after more than 30 years having passed my bike test in 1979.

    I had a 50 mile run to get the bike home, no problems on route, a bit wobbly but I got it home safely. I pulled up in the close where I live and thought I’d turn it round. Lesson 1, I quickly learned about a camber at the end of the close. I had stopped and could do nothing other than put the bike down as gently as I could, bearing in mind that the V-Strom is a little top heavy and has a dry weight of 200 Kgs. I stepped off, physically I was OK, just embarrassed. That was the first lesson in working out what you can and can’t do with the bike until you are experienced with the machine you’re riding.

    Lesson two, try different road conditions and traffic conditions and build your experience, slowly. Re-enforce lesson 1, that you don’t exceed your capability. I came off the bike at very low speed, almost stationary, as I was attempting to take a right turn that’s on a hill that slopes upwards with a camber and comes back on itself. Not quite an up hill hair pin but nearly. The mistake I made was I had selected Neutral and didn’t realise until I was committed to the bend and the bike rapidly ran out of steam! Again, no real injury, minor damage to the bike, Brake lever and indicator both broken, but extreme embarrassment. Help was at hand from a passing motorist and I got home in one piece.

    Bike is repaired and back on the road. More practice, and today I used it for work, 35 Miles each way, for the first time.
    More courses needed and would recommend buddying up with other bikers for tips hints and help.

    Final Tip: Analyse your mistakes, always be reflective about the bad bits but also the good and the enjoyment that comes from motorcycling.

  3. Returning older rider. Last road 30-some years ago, with a couple exceptions). Had 1970s era 65o Triumph and 750 Norton back then. The Kawasaki Versys 650 seems perfect for my main intended riding (paved and some graded dirt backroads in my fairly rural area) in reasonable comfort on a bike with longer travel suspension. Not interested in screaming down the highway at top speed or doing wheelies; and I realize I need to take it easy while re-learning. I’d like to buy the right bike and keep it for a long time. Might the Versys 650 be a good choice?

    Mike R.

  4. Having now read all the items as a returning to two wheels old guy, and having chosen the Teneree as my return bike, you have answered the questions I have been asking of myself.
    Are you going to be safe on the modern Highway? The answer is yes with PRACTICE.
    Off road no problem, the sections are laid out, you are in the section on your own. If you dab or foot you are annoyed, if you drop it probably the speed is nearing standstill, and in anycase the observers are on hand to help, compared with a complicated Traffic crossing surrounded by a lot of people in steel shells not paying any attention because they have just received a mobile call…….
    Oh dear thats horrid but there is abit of truth for I see it most days. Yes Yes its Practice Practice, get that tuition, I understand that it is now radio linked, a little different when I took my test in Watford in 1946 on a 250 BSA. Watched from the kerb go up there and come back to me, The Scottish in 1953 sorted me out but there was no Traffic to speak of, we were all going the same way across the moors. OK on time as with all the other Trials through the decades till recent, but then it was a case of going to the start in the van, bike in the back……..
    I am now at 3000feet above Leicester airfield not having flown for a couple of months, Dave says OK show me a spin. Ok 1800rpm 55knots pull back and full left rudder one two right rudder forward with the control close the throttle level out. Awful no coordination that was awful.
    Ok what is he on about? Thats TWO months and touch is gone, what after five years and no riding……
    Yes PRACTICE PRACTICE, side roads only until all the braking characteristics are second nature. Like flying, biking is reliant on regular Practice, I will let you know how i get on but thank you for your items FANTASTIC

    From: Derek Oldham

  5. This article is SO true. Fortunately I don’t care at my age if I take that corner slowly while I learn about my new bike. I did however do exactly what you said and bought a big heavy BMW tourer because that what I can afford and want in the long term.
    Am practicing braking and cornering in quiet dead end streets and also slow commutes in heavy traffic. Already had 2 young drivers cross intersections without seeing me until too late and I was prepared for it on both occasions because of being alert and wary.
    Also reading your excellent website. THANKS

    From: Don

  6. Excellent advice for us “born again” riders. Be smart enough to realize that you forgot alot, had bad habits, and need a refresher.
    For those in the U.S. I highly recommend taking the MSF Basic Rider Course.
    After you buy the “Beast of Choice” practice in an empty lot doing the braking and steering exercises. Figure 8’s are best, start at a moderate pace and make large figures, as confidence builds, go slower and narrower.
    Balance isn’t that difficult at speed, going slow requires skill.
    Remember we’re not as “Bullet Proof” as before and our reactions aren’t as razor sharp, just enjoy the ride with your “babe” on back and make our fellow “Boomers” jealous that we can still ride on 2 wheels.

    From: D. Payton

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