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New Bike - First Ride on Real Roads

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Ohmigosh, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. New Bike Rider - A diary of a noob

    Got my GS500F tonight. Delivered by the very friendly and helpful blokes at Hills Motorcycles (small plug).

    Went for a (slow) ride around the neighbourhood. I even got up to 45KMH at one point *gasp* and got into 4th gear!!!!eleven11!1!!

    Ride lasted for about 10 minutes. Had one surprise when a white van overtook me on the inside as I was slowing for a right turn. Didn't see him coming. Either he pulled out of a side steet behind me as I went past or I just didn't notice him closing from behind. There was plenty of room but it was a bit of an "Oh Shit - Where did he come from moment". Gotta get my scanning up a few notches I reckon.

    Found that I was very tense in the shoulders, arms and wrists at various times. Had to keep reminding myself to loosen up and relax. When I did this I immediately felt better on the bike. Felt quite nervous at slow speed. Got to do a lot more practise with braking and to get my muscle memory happening when changing gear. I'm feeling for the rear brake and the gear lever at times - missed both a few times as well :) Kept leaving the indicator flashing too (noob).

    Bike was very nice to steer. It felt light and nimble and I didn't have any fear that it might overpower me. don't really have the vocabularly to describe it but it felt much more "solid" thatn the CB250 at Stay Upright.

    When I got home I was dripping with sweat. Caused by nervous energy I reckon.

    I just wish I felt comfortable enough to get to Homebush tomorrow for the most practice and ride... Oh well next time.

    Looking forward to a ride around the neighbourhood tomorrow as well. In the daylight I'm sure I'll feel a little more comfortable.

    So far so good :)

    Fun Ha!
  2. well good on you for having a go, got to start somewhere, see u at homebush when u get a bit more courage, enjoy mate :)
  3. One day it will all click in and feel like the most natural thing in the world to do. Til then, relax and go your own pace, its a big learning curve.
  4. Slow and steady mate. Stick to quiet streets till you get the basics.

    While you are new you are concentrating hard on the gear changing and the balancing and it takes your focus off other things, like checking your mirrors for white vans :LOL:

    Riding is a skill and like any skill, it isn't natural and must be practiced. If you can get yourself a mentor to ride with, look after your rear, give you hints and correct any errors you will feel safer and probably come along quicker.

    But don't stress. You'll get there.
  5. Re: New Bike Rider - A diary of a noob

    Tootled around the neighborhood early this afternoon. Can't recall missing the gear change lever this time :)

    Practised a few stops with as many "e's" as I could muster when squeeeeeeeezing the front brake. The good thing about the stops is that you get to practice the friction point, mirrors, head check, throttle, takeoff routine.

    Also had to stop at a few intersections as there were other people using the same roads. Damn inconsiderate of them I reckon ;) One of the intersections required me to turn right and uphill. I might have stalled the bike on takeoff. A bit. 8-[ Another turn I forgot to look where I was trying to go and went up a fortuitously placed kerb crossing and onto the footpath. Doh! Still coing to terms with the balance between clutch friction, throttle and rear brake when taking off from the ready position. Especially when turning left or right at an intersection.

    The good thing is that the roads where I am are pretty quiet except during peak hour when the rat runners invade. So no real traffic problems.

    My love affair with white vans continues to develop slowly. This time I pulled out in front of a white van who was miles away and then as I was only travelling at about 35-40 he caught up with me (could see him in my mirrors) just as I was slowing for a left hand turn. No real danger but at least this time I was aware of his presence. Didn't quite feel the wind as he overtook me as I turned left with his 1.8 litre Daihatsu engine screaming like a banshee :)

    Arms more relaxed (except on takeoff). Hands gripping the bars too tightly - Noticed a definite ache in my right hand when I hopped off the bike after about 45 minutes.

    Ride was good. I feel like I learned a lot. I did stall in my own driveway though :-$

    And boy it's hot today.

    Looking forward to another ride this evening.

    Fun Ha!
  6. it was hot today, had a great turn out at homebush to
  7. Congratulations.
    I was similar to you when I got mine Xmas eve last year. The gs500f has been the perfect starter bike for me and you'll easily find others who agree.
    It didn't take me long to start group riding down here in Melb but as others have said, build up your skills and confidence in your own time.
    Ride Safe
  8. I'm glad you are documenting your early riding progress. I reckon it could be of considerable help to other riders who are in the same boat as you. Well done.
  9. Thanks for the encouragement everyone. I figure by writing down what I do and self critiquing I can reinforce what I am trying to learn. As well as get suggestions and points of view from more experienced riders. And Goz - I was so wanting to go to Homebush but the thought of a traffic light made me get all squirrely ;)

    Going to head out now for some more backstreet practice! Woo Hoo!

    Fun Ha!
  10. i remember when i was first starting out having a few surprises like that, mostly cruisers who decided they had to go past as loud as they could (though not much quicker :D )
  11. Just got back from a more expansive ride.

    Heading away from home I forgot to close my visor and while accellerating up to 40KPH got hit by a bug (I assume) on the soft fleshy skin next to me left eye. Note to self. Visor down!!!

    After practicing a few stops and take offs as well as slow turns I decided to venture out onto North Rocks Road via Barclays Road. And I made it into the next clump of suburbs!!!! First time on a major road with cars around me. First time with the traffic light thingies - Not that I had to stop as I fluked them all. For some reason everyone seemed to be going faster than me and I kept checking my speed to make sure I wasn't tortoising it too much. Nope - 58 to 60 KPH pretty much all the time except when slowing for lights (which changed early enough so I didn't have to stop).

    Decided to duck off the main road into some side streets as I was getting a bit carried away with the novelty of simply riding straight lines and doing 60 KPH. As well as being a bit worried about the next major intersection which is usually surrouded by about eleventy billion cars. :) (Pennant Hills/North Rocks intersection

    Tootled about in North Rocks for a while practicing hill starts as well as left and right turns from stop. Finally figuring out that feeding the bike with more revs and being ever so gentle on the clutch and releasing the back brake sloooowly really seems to help with a steadier take off. No bunny hopping (well not too much). I am glad the GS500 has enough torque to handle me going too slow in second gear. But I have also found that by feathering the clutch a little I can reduce the hopping and also increase the throttle allowing the bike to handle the slow turns a bit better. Practised turning in a cul-de-sac a few times and feel a little more confident at the slow speeds a a few of these tricks in my mind. Still leaving the indicator light flashing after I turn. (Idjit)

    Leaving the small streets in North Rocks required me to right turn across two lanes of traffic on North Rocks Road and I was not looking forward to it very much as the place I had chosen to exit from had a slight incline which would test my take offs. While waiting another rider went past heading west and gave me the nod!!! I was stoked!!! So if you were riding a red (something or other) at about 4:10 along North Rocks and you nodded to the nervous looking bloke on the blue-white GS500F... Thanks!!! It was all I could do to raise a hand partly off the throttle to acknowledge. Somehow I forgot to nod. ](*,)

    What his nod did do though was (for some reason) make my take-off and right hand turn across two lanes of traffic from an incline (OK really gentle incline but you gotta "fisherman" the story a bit eh?) the best I have done to date.

    I love this riding stuff. It is good!!! :D

    Things to practice... Treating the throttle grip like it is a baby bird. (Sore right hand from the death grip.) Turning off the indicator after completing the turn. You have a mirror on the left - use it - otherwise the right one will wear out more quickly making the bike look unbalanced ;). More hill starts. More turns from standstill. More slow turns. More... More... More...

    Fun Ha!

    P.S - Saw a white van who courteously let me through a traffic choke before exiting a driveway and forcing me to slow or even stop. What a nice white van men he was. Waved thanks to him as I went past.
  12. Well done and keep the practice going.

    I can probably shed a light into why you feel traffic is constantly passing you.
    Your speedo is probably reading faster than you're actually moving.
    I suspected that with mine when riding on fwy and had everyone wanting to pass me at 100kph.
    One day I followed my wife in the car and when she was travelling at 100K, my speedo was reading just over 110Kph.
    I attached a GPS and have calculated that my actual speed is 10% less than what I'm doing.
    60kph actual speed is 54kph
    80kph actual speed is 72kph
    100kph actual 90pkh
    so on.

    With further checking, it seems most motocycle speedos are not correct and as far as the GS500 is concerned most will read between 6 & 10% more than your actual speed.
    Please don't assume your bike is the same as mine and do some checking yourself to find out what your speedo is doing. GPS is a great way and used by many motorcyclists.

    Maybe after your confidence builds and you get a chance to find out, please post and let us know but I have a feeling that your speedo will be similar to mine.

    I felt that I needed to know my speed as I was getting past really quickly on freeways and at times getting other motorists annoyed.
  13. If you are bunny hopping on take off you are probably releasing the clutch a little too quickly. Maybe try letting out out a little more slowly while progressively feeding a bit more throttle.

    And if traffic is passing you is it when you are doing the speed limit or on your way up to it? You may be accelerating slower than the cars. Again more thottle once you have the bike rolling.

    The answer to both of the above is practice in a quiet street. Take the bike up to the speed limit as smoothly as you can and as quickly as you can without actually hooning then bring it to a stop (check mirrors for following traffic first). Then repeat until you are satisfied you are perfect.
  14. Thanks Joe for the suggestion on the speedo. I'll do that with my wife driving and we'll see if there is a discrepancy between the stated speed in my wife's car and the bike.

    And thanks for the tips Grey. It pretty closely matches what I am tryng to do so it is a good confirmation. I've decided to up my practising of the basics before another trip out into the wilds beyond where I live :) Practising the smooth take offs and stopping on hills and descents as well as on corners is what I was going to do but where I can I'll add in your suggestion of the accelerate to speed limit (50KPH where I'll be practising) as quickly (sensibly) where I can.

    Cheers guys - Much appreciated.

    Fun Ha!
  15. omg 'ohmigosh' i live like two min away from the place you were practicing in north rocks. i belive the right turn on north rocks road with the slight incline has a car was on the left (if its the same spot i am thinking of) :)

    I went by that road a bit later around 4:30 i think, just missed you i guess... cause i dont remember a blue gs500 :)

    if you are ever up for practice let me know (i made my first venture into traffic today up to northmead :p)

    (so many times i forgot to turn my indicator off too :p)

    I still have to practice the slow U turns as well (lots of practice :p)
  16. Heh! That's the place mate. Over the road from the tennis courts.

  17. Your journey has begun!. :)
  18. Omigosh, congratulations on getting the bike.

    You are now on a very steep learning curve, but don't ever forget that even though the curve flattens out, you NEVER stop learning.

    Ride as often as you possibly can. Don't let the weather stop you, infact deliberately ride in the rain. It's all good experience.

    As you get closer to doing your P course, download the course from the Net, beg, borrow or steal some witches hats, find an empty car park and practice, practice, practice.

    Enjoy the ride, a whole new world is openning up to you.

    As I said to my wife after her first real ride in the hills, "Only now do you begin to understand the power of the motorcycle".
  19. I see what you did there. Was she fazed that you were her Father??? :D

    And yep to the learning thing. Good advice. Going to try to get to Homebush this weekend for the practise sessions that OzYoda (et al) do every now and again. Trying to ride every day if I can but was exhausted after work yesterday so when I got home I looked at the bike and thought "nope - too tired - too dangerous" and had some wine instead.

    But I went for a good solid dusk ride tonight. Tootled about for a while practising changing up and down gears, braking, mirror and head checks, indicating, and turning the bloody indicators off - often 200 meters down the road. ](*,)

    Tried quite a few hill starts. Starting to get a bit closer to the right throttle/clutch balance for a smooth takeoff. Still trying to introduce the mirrors-head check into the process with surety. Getting confident enough to try some hill starts in a cul-de-sac near where I live which is bugger-me steep.

    Ventured out onto another busy road but was against the main traffic flow so no real worries of being crowded. Was particularly aware of several side streets which had cars waiting to exit and did the change track/buffer/set-up stuff as seemed appropriate at the time. Noone has pulled out on me so far.

    I did find that I start slowing down too early for corners, traffic lights, and so forth which I guess might be a bit frustrating for people following me in their cars. But I am getting a bit more confidence with the acceleration of the bike and can now zoom up to the speed limit reasonably quickly. Still need to check the accuracy of my speedo though.

    I think I need to get a bit more expermental with e-braking though. There are a few suggestions in this forum on that subject and they all read just fine and mostly make sense. But it's another thing entirely to pick a point on the (quite backstreet with no cars) road and keep the throttle twisted to the speed limit till you reach it and then immediately do the Front/Rear/Gears process and see how long it takes you to stop. I find I roll off the throttle (mainly due sphincter puckering) quite early and then my stop becomes a fairly leisurely affair. I have no doubt that an experienced rider would be able to execute the stop in a tiny distance compared to me. Practise? I guess so. Untill I have this thing down to a level of adequate competence I'll compensate by ensuring wherever possible I have the time I need.

    Interestingly enough I saw no white vans. They must be missing me. But I did get a nod from another rider which I returned with a great deal of panache 8-[

    Fun Ha!
  20. Ha ha, no we're not from Tumbarumba. Besides, I thought it was the Emperor not Darth who said it.