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new rider nerves

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Jemma, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. Ok, I have got my Ls, have a scooter (very lovely Vespa GT200), and have got the safety gear.

    I took the plunge and rode to work for the first time today. I planned my route so that I wouldn't have to cross any traffic without lights and took it very steady. The ride was incident free, however, I found that I became overly nervous approaching the lights and would jerk to a stop almost losing balance one one occasion. I didn't seem to have as many issues riding in quieter traffic.

    Does it get easier with experience, or is there something I can do to get more confidence and lose the nerves?

    Would appreciate any tips.

  2. Its all practice. The next ride to work will be easire I'm sure.
    Dont be tense. Be aware of whats around and things will become automatic eventially.
  3. Hi Jemma,

    These are skills to hone away from the heat of rush-hour traffic. Find a new subdivision or deserted industrial estate and practice your stops or take-offs without the pressure of watching people around you. The more you work on being smooth and assured, the faster you will become so.

    With the Vespa, use both brakes to wash off most of your speed, then ease off the front brake as you come to a stop, relying on the rear brake to complete the last metre or so of the stop (the GT200 is stable under brakes and there's a reasonable amount of weight over the rear wheel, making the rear brake more useful than on most motorcycles). It might smooth things out if the front isn't diving too hard under brakes.

    But also practice stopping quickly with both brakes too, as that's the skill that will save your bacon if someone cuts across your path.

    It'll all come right, you'll see.
  4. Good advice. Like most things in life, especially NEW things, it gets better with practice!
  5. go for a nice long quiet ride this weekend and get used to your scooter. it does get easier. at first it just seems everything is rushing at you but after a while it slows down. it helps if you can do a few runs faster than your commute.
  6. I agree with the others, practice on some quieter roads first. Pick a spot ahead and ride along imagining you are approaching a set of lights and practice coming to a stop.

    When I was first starting out (and still am to an extent), I rode only back roads, then took slightly larger roads, then some major roads over the course of 4-5 rides. Stick with roads you are familiar with first so you dont have the added stress of trying to work out which way to go.

    Practice Practice Practice
  7. Thanks for the great advice from everyone. :) Will make a big ride a priority tomorrow with alot of practice stops!!

    I like to jump into things and probably shouldn't have attempted a main road straight up, but the bonus is that it has a nice wide bus lane for most of the commute that keeps most people away from me.

    I suppose that is why I have L plates!
  8. I put all of this great advice into practice and went for a ride along the Cotter rd in the ACT this morning. I found an empty car park and just rode up and back practicing my stops and slow turns. I feel alot more confident in both my skills and the bike now.

    I found the advice from Bumblebeeman 1150 in regard to braking particularly useful.

    In regard to emergency braking is it best to just wack on the both breaks and hope for the best, realising that if I lose balance it is better than running into the side of a car? Does the rule about holding your line in cars apply to bikes?

  9. Congrats, Jemma! Your rides will definitely get easier. It's just hard at the start coz riding doesn't come naturally to you... you can't do it on auto pilot. So you have to think about what the traffic's doing, navigate, AND how to ride! It's a lot to do under a lot of pressure, so of course you're nervous, and that's ok. Just keep getting out there and do what you mentally know, and need to get the body doing what it's told. If you don't know something, come on here and search on how to do it (or ask if you can't find answers :wink: ). Before you know it you'll just have to think about the traffic and where you want to go. You'll get there :)

  10. Jemma, sounds like you have a bit of moxy in you girl. Right on! Good to see a go getting attitutde.

    You may however, have attempted your ride a little undercooked though.

    The put Pinkxie's excellent advice another way (oh and the other excellent advice from the other guys), the idea behind all the suggested practicing is to get to a point where all the basic bike controls are at your fingers tips without having to think about them and (just as importantly) all the forces, feelings and dynamics involved are natural and normal sensations.

    That then leaves you with more brain computing capacity to deal with traffic and not be worrying about basic stuff.

    You will feel berluddy ten times more confident when you're not tense about the mechanics of doing the basic stuff.

    Good onya for getting some carpark time in. The other thing to do is ride the quiet suburban streets until you feel your comfort factor building.


    Welcome to two wheels. :)
  11. the real risk is you lock up the tyres. don't whack on anything unless you have ABS. you need to apply pressure progressively, and brake harder with the front brake. there are lots of braking threads here somewhere.
  12. Like what everyone else is saying, practice practice practice :)

    It's quite daunting at first, but once you master your scoot you will be fine. Keep trying and don't give up; riding is worth it!

  13. tip1 keep the nerves and dont get over confident (They keep you alive)
    tip2 pick up some skills, ride and ride and ride
    tip 3 ride some more (you will get the hang of it, but watch out for others too)
  14. In a few months it might be good fun to do an advanced skills riding course. Practice your basics as you are doing, but an instructor can help you tune up the instinctive stuff, as Pinkxie described above.

    Grabbing both brakes in a death grip is tempting, and easy, on a scooter, due to the design, but you need to be shown how to apply the brakes progressively, as also mentioned above. If you are confronted with an emergency stop, one of the learned instincts must be your ability to momentarily release either brake if it locks up the wheel. It sounds impossible but you really can learn to make yourself do it, and it massively improves your chances of stopping in time and still being upright.

    Isn't the GT200 just the coolest thing to ride? Really good fun, and it'll help you become a good rider.
  15. It gets considerably easier over time, however, a few useful points (most of which have already been pointed out).

    1) Start on quiet back-streets until you're confident in your manoeuvring abilities.

    2) Take weekend rides in less traffic - go anywhere and everywhere.

    3) It's too late now, but ride your route to work on a weekend in little traffic, this would have given you a feel for the path.

    4) While riding to work, remember to breathe and stay relaxed. If you feel the body tensing, the shoulders creeping up, and the breathing shallowing, you know your riding is going to suffer. Just don't forget - big breath out, and relax.

    5) Remember that you can already do all this stuff - you're just nervous because now there are cars added to the mix. Ride just as you would normally, and don't focus on the part of your brain saying "oh no, I'm on a bike/scooter in traffic - everything's different!!!" - it'll distract you from keeping an eye out for real hazards.

    6) Time.

    It gets much easier - you may even enjoy it!