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How do I build confidence?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by normace, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. Hi there fellow riders.

    This is my first post! I just bought my first ever VTR 250 :)

    Had my license now for a couple of months but only bought the bike 2 weeks ago. I have been riding the side streets near where I live and also riding to my nearest train station car park to practice slow rides and turns etc.

    Only today did I really ride on some busier roads and I was fine. Really enjoyed it. However I'm still a little afraid to tackle the busier roads for longer periods.

    How did (or do) you fellow riders get the confidence to ride your bike? Is it just practice makes perfect? I know it's a broad question but any additional info would be great.

  2. Welcome to the forums!

    Yep, just keep practicing and don't throw yourself into a situation you're not comfortable dealing with.

    When I picked up my bike I had to ride it home in peak hour traffic.. scared the hell outta me but after that it just became easier. I rode to work the next day and every day since then. Now I hate taking the car, takes too long and I can't use the transit lane :p
  3. I dropped my bike 4/5 times in backyard in the beginning...now i do car park practice and put myself in positions on the road where i`ll HAVE to make that u turn or slow move and i (rough) the bike around, get used to the weight and be a control freak...stay in a safety zone or create one...sometimes u get the feel what a driver`s gunna do...just sit back n observe sometime :)
  4. Yup, practice makes perfect.. or close to it.. :) Just take baby steps and work on the basics first.
  5. Km after Km is how, what you're doing sounds good and also try to ride with good riders & watch & follow what they do. Head check. Keep well clear of hoons who drop their bike 4/5 times & feel that the only way to get used to it is to rough it about! Head check. Respect your bike & keep it in good condition then it will do the same for you oh and did I mention Head check? pmsl!
  6. I agree with LadyYamaha, but I would also suggest, for a while just follow the flow of the traffic, and don't try lane splitting until you really know how to handle the bike, and you can read the traffic. You'll know when this happens, when you start anticipating a cage changing lanes before he does do it. Also leave a bigger gap for a while, and if some sis close behind you, leave a bigger gap in front.
    There is nothing wrong with pulling over in a side street when you feel uncomfortable and taking a rest if required. After doing many km's (especially in peak hour traffic), you will be surprised the confidants yo will have.
  7. I'll take a slightly different tack here.
    Get your bike out of town onto a nice country road where you dont have to worry about merging traffic or someone pulling out on you.
    Ride at a pace you're comfortable with and learn how your bike feels under you as you become one with it. This will build confidence with the bike as you lean, accelerate, counter steer, emergency brake etc.
    Before you know it, back in traffic you wont have to think about the bike and you can concentrate on watching out for the tools with 4 wheels.
    Learning to ride and learning to read traffic is a big ask.
  8. Agree, until you are at one with the bike and all controls you don't need bumper to bumper traffic messing with your head.
  9. Again I agree with Davo. Until those controls are something yu can do 90% of the time without thinking, just stay clear of heavy traffic. You have a lot to do as a novice rider, and it is very easy to overload the old brain if you have to concentrate on traffic AND riding teh bike.
    Just introduce a bit of traffic at a time, and use routes you take in teh car a lot, so you already know what the traffic is like, and know teh roads.

    Regards, Andrew.
  10. I was really lucky when I was learning- I had my husband to follow around. It made life a lot easier for me because I could watch what he did, follow his lines, etc. Riding with a friend can be fun, and you can learn stuff too. (Provided that said friend takes it easy and is mindful of your skill level)
    Good luck.. A bit of practice and you'll be fine. :)
  11. Remember all those skills they taught you when you got your licence?...get back out there and practice them. (In a carpark if needed.)
    Do an intermediate/advance rider course, as now you have your licence, is the best time.
    And relax and enjoy!
  12. Great feedback

    Seems that I am doing what most of you are saying to do. The idea of riding in the country to basically concentrate on riding the bike rather than the traffic is an idea I haven't heard of. Especially for a learner. Will try that hopefully sometime soon.

    In the country though, when I'm driving the car, I get people that know the roads of 'their' territory riding really close up the rear! That really frustrates me and I don't know how I'd take it on a bike. Guess they have it easier to overtake me when I'm on the bike so they shouldn't be too p!ssed off...

    Thanks for all the feedback fellow riders.
  13. What everyone else has said, just practise in places your comfotable with (locally) then when you feel you can control the bike better venture out further.
  14. Confidence gets you killed, more experienced rider deaths than learner rider deaths.(ive got the stats to prove this) learn the skills but Never get too confident, always ride scared, look out don’t over do it. watch traffic and go slow on bends, Most of all just try to enjoy
  15. saddle time...
  16. Ride and ride and then ride some more.

    Do some out of town trips of maybe 100-150 kms total on mixed roads, but with plenty of stops for rest and contemplation.

    Heavy traffic is not a brilliant learning environment but you do need to get used to it some time, so try it in small doses, outside peak hours at first.

    And then ride some more.
  17. Find a twisty length of road that challenges you and just keep going up and down it until you feel its not a challenge anymore.

    There is a little stretch of road near me thats only 7 or 8 corners. I went back and forth, back and forth because its good practice. If your going over the same corners in your mind you might stuff it up once then on the next lap you can correct yourself and do it right.

    Have you considered a track day? I really enjoyed my first time and gained a lot more confidence in leaning the bike over. I got my pegs to scrape on my FZR250 which I thought was fabulous. :grin:

    I also bought heaps of rider training books to get the theory of riding right.
  18. That's what I did last year after I got my licence. I'm confident enough now to get through heavier traffic, and it has made me much more alert behind the wheel of a car as well.

  19. There is a rhetorical question to be answered here...and it often comes up. :)
    The one single most important thing that ANY rider needs to do, but which especially applies to new riders,...is...ride within your limits.
    The question is...how does an inexperienced rider, ride within their own limits, when they may not really know what those limits are yet.?

    I don't know the answer...but at a minimum...a newer rider needs to take everything one step at a time. ie. If you feel comfy just putting around side-streets, then do just that. Eventually, you will get bored...a possible sign that you are ready for a higher challenge...so venture out into lighter traffic a little bit at a time...settle into that, and then foray out onto more major roads a few times...
    It sounds like a slow process...and it can be...but hurrying it up will only bring you undone, unless you are lucky, and end up mistaking a bit of good luck for true riding skill. (groan).

    More than anything...take the time now to build it up at your own pace, as it's the foundation of what you'll need later on when the higher levels of control are a pre-requisite.

    For all of that to happen...it's important to get out there....riding once a week, does'nt cut it...you have to make an effort to practice your skills....and continue at it until they become second-nature to you. Always practice....
    And when you think you are doing pretty good - well done...you have just taken the first step in a life-long learning process that will always be a part of your riding regimen.
  20. I think this was the same advice you gave me almost 8 mths ago raven. And good advice it was. ThankYou
    I was also scared shitless, so i started slowly in the early hrs, around quite side-streets, local roads, car parks etc for about 3 weeks. When I 'felt' I was ready to merge with traffic, I rode home from work, which gave me no choice but to ride to work next morning.
    I think I drove to work 3 times in the past 7 mths. I ride everyday, rain, wind or shine ( got my learners early winter, which I am thankful for as it got me to experience riding in the wet from day DOT ).

    So when you feel you are ready ... get out there. Try to make it a daily thing. I feel I am now becoming a fairly confident commuter. My next step is learning to 'REALLY' ride. This straight line shit is NOT riding :wink: