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Newbie's Riding Diary

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by PeteH80, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Hi Guys

    got my new bike yesterday and been out riding both yesterday and today, just wanted to start a bit of a newbie riding journal for myself, ive seen a few others have done it and thought it might help not only me, but other learners as well. if its aginst the rules let me know.

    So, picked up my trusty steed yesterday. posted some pics in this thread https://netrider.net.au/forums/showthread.php?t=114820

    1989 Honda Spada VT250

    I didnt have to go through too much hassle, as it was my brothers bike, he wasnt using it and was going to sell it, so i took it off his hands. its in great condition, and i know he looked after it.

    left my brothers place in Zetland, and proceeded to ride around the streets around the industrial area. just wanted to start getting familiar with the bike first. the street were pretty quiet which was good.

    Was trying to remeber all the things the instructor told me at the L's course as well. But was more concerned with getting the feel of the bike (thats not to say i didnt do any of the things he told me)

    Had the usual issues of forgetting the indicator, also took a while to get used to the clutch and gears.

    Take offs were a bit iffy really, but not too bad. Needed to practice stopping a bit more, found it hard getting down all the gears if i had to stop at a roundabout or stop sign.

    I only encountered one arsehole driver while riding around Zetland, i turned left at a roundabout, and was puicking up speed, slowly obviously, and he/she was right on my arse when i checked my mirrors, wasnt too bad, i indicated and pulled over to the kurb and let them pass, then proceeded on my way again.

    was practicing around there for a while, then decided i should make my way home, luckily i work around alexandria, so i knew the road and too my usual way home that i go each afternoon. i take the back streets so they were pretty quiet. made it home safe and sound from my first ride.... ppphhewww!

    Today, was out most of the morning, i did however find my self itching to go for a ride (could the bug have bitten already???) got to 1pm, so i donned my gear and set out for another practice around the quiet streets around my area, Petersham.

    I made a mental note today to make sure i would start putting into practice all the things the instructor told me at the L's course i.e headchecks, scanning, checking mirrors, setting up the brakes etc.

    I was pretty proud that i was picking up all this stuff again even though my L's course was a couple of months ago. I must admit though, even when i drive, i like to know whats going on a round me so i find i check my mirrors, so making the adjustment to the bike wasnt that hard.

    The indicator is getting better, but told myself off a couple of times for forgetting to turn it off. one time i forgot to turn it on, and reprimanded myself severly as a car was at the roundbout and thats not good.

    I found my takeoffs have improved, getting a feel for the clutch now which is good.

    i was scanning ahead, checking mirrors alot more today which was good, and felt i had a good handle of what was happening around me. only one car snuck up on me when i was stopped at lights, made a note to make sure i was checking mirrors when stopped at lights.

    also started making a habit of setting up the front brakes if i saw a possible hazzard ahead as well.

    I need to work more on making sure i am in the appropriate gear for what i am doing, a few times i went through a round about and it was struggling a bit because i was in too high a gear.

    I also gave myself a small pat on the back for one particular thing, around my place there is one street where they have those black speed humps. well im not sure if you are familiar with them, but cars sometimes go on the other side of the road to avoid haveing to go straight over them (i dont personally, and i hate it when i see other driver do it). was coming up an incline and these speedhumps were on the crest, noticed a car on the other side of the road well ahead of time which gave me ample time to set up the front brakes and slow down.

    i also went down Stanmore road as well, wanted to get the speed up a bit to get the feel of riding at say 60kph. traffic was farly light so was not really an issue.

    spent a couple of hours riding around, but i telly you concentrating is pretty exausting, and since it was my second ride, i didnt want to push it too much so headed home.

    Tomorrow is heading to the RTA to transfer over the rego etc. quick question, i assume i have to get a green slip before i got the the RTA?

    unfortunately, i wont be able to take the bike out again until wednesday as i have a couple of work functions on monday and tuesday evening... im really dissapointed just thinking about 2 whole days before i can ride again.

    Anyway, i think thats about it. any comments, questions, criticisms, sugestions etc is welcome
  2. Hi Pete,

    I'm impressed. Sounds like you are doing really well.

    I'm not 100% sure aboutthe greenslip, but I think you are correct.

    About the indicator issue, I find that talking through each corner step by step helps.

  3. if the bike still has rego, then the greenslip stays with the bike, so no, you dont need a greenslip till you renew your rego..
    All you will need is the rego papers filled out by your brother and a reciept from your brother, then fill out the transfer form at the RTA, pay the transfer fees, done

    Also dont forget the learner sessions at Homebush
  4. Thanks for that Goz, haven't bought a second hand vehicle before so wasn't sure how it all worked.

    Receipt may be an issue because i didn't get one. i shall see how it goes.

    Oh another job i have to do is get another key cut, when he bought it he only ever got one key for it. i would like to have another just in case. will ring a few places today and see if i can get one and of course how much it will cost.
  5. Hey Pete,
    If you have not got the keycut yet you will most likely find that no mr mint or mall based key cutting places wont be able to cut the key.
    I ended up having to go to a locksmith that did automotive keys to get them cut.

    Hope to see you at the homebush learners session!
  6. Err am I in the ONLY state where as a Learner driver I need to have another guy on a bike following me, with a riders lic hes had for at least 5 years?

    Everyone else seems to be just getting on their shiny new bike and just going for a ride, just displaying Ls instead of Ps??

    I don't it...

  7. Wow sorry to say but it sounds like you are. that would be the biggest pain in the arse to have to do that. how long do you have to ride with a partner?


    So today i rode my bike to work for the first time. havent been out on the bike for the last couple of days as i had a couple of work functions to attend. I was getting withdrawls so decided to ride today.

    everything went well one the journey there. I leave home at 6am so traffic is pretty quiet at the time, i usually take the back streets as well so that helps as well. nothing major to report there really. take offs were pretty good, probably needed to remember my scanning and mirror checks. probably the bigest problem is that the journey wasnt long enough as i work in Alexandria.

    Ride home was good as well, i leave work at 3.30 so i beat most of the heavey traffic.. didnt go straight home, i took to the streets of my area again to practice a bit more before peak hour started to get into full swing.

    I probably need to keep my scanning and mirror checks up, also making sure i am in the appropriate gear is something a need to work on a bit more. i guess it comes with experience but somethign to work on none the less.

    Had one car riding right up my arse again which was annoying. its not like i was going slow, and there there were speed bumps as well which i had to negotiate. hate to admit it but he got to me a bit, i need to remeber to get intimidated by them and feel i have to speed up.

    Oh the hightlight of my day was probably getting "The Nod" from another biker. i had a huge grin on my face after i got that, and yes i did nod back.

    will probably ride to work again on friday, and then hopefully the weekend will be nice weather again and i might travel a bit further a field, cant stick to my local roads forever.
  8. Good on ya mate for writing up what you experience. Its very useful to get feedback from others and to entrench things you leanerd.

    With tail-gaters there are a few things you can do. The very best thing is to ride your own ride and ignore them. You are more likely to have an accident spending half your time looking in your mirrors instead of watching in front for hazards.

    If you can't do this then these are some other options. Most are pretty obvious and I'm sure you've thoguht of them already. But maybe not...

    1. Speed up and get away - Not always the best thing
    2. Make use of your yellow L and do a few wobbles and make the bike look nervous - Doesn't always work and sometimes encourages them
    3. Slow down and increase your front buffer space, which also makes them slow down and reduces the chances of them hitting you if you have to stop quickly - This can make them angry (or angrier) and they might do something stupid
    4. Pull over or turn into a side street and after they've gone exit back onto your ride route and happy days - This is my favourite solution for persistent wankers (y)

    Fun Ha!
  9. I think I'm in the wrong state. I can't have guns, or at least i cant use em, I cant get a learners for a bike and just start learning..

    maybe i should move to Vic or QLD :(
  10. Good advice, and at this point in your riding I would treat the above as your first and only option for a few weeks till you are far more confident and capable in operating the bike.
    They will eventually pass you, but if having them up your bum becomes distracting, do as you did - pull over and let them piss off.

  11. Been feeling a bit under the weather so didnt get too much riding in this weekend, but i did get out on the road none the less.

    As i mentioned i have been feeling a bit under the weather, no not the too much alcohol variety, the cold/flu variety, so whilst madely taking evey cold and flu drug known to man to ward it off, i thought i would stay at home on saturday to recuperate.

    well that didnt last long, it was such a nice day in sydney, i found myself pacing around my lounge room, and in the end i sucumbed to the lure of the bike.

    I took a small 1 hour spin around the street around my place, but this time i wanted to go a bit further a field, start to incorpeate a bit more traffic into my journey. so after warming up around my quiet streets i braved the midday rush of king street in newtown..... and i didnt do to bad either.

    takeoffs are getting smooth and more controlled, and sicne king street was very busy, there was a lot of practicing stops and takeoff in the stop/start traffic, my scanning and mirror checks are good as well.

    ened up traveling down king street onto enmore road, then going for a bit of a spin through marrickville, then headed back home.

    Sunday, i was meeting some friends in Newtown for breakfast, what a good excuse to take the motorbike hey!

    so i went around the back way and approached king street from the st peters end. found a spot easily and managed to park my bike without a hitch. yes, this is the first time i parked my bike on the street since i got it a week ago.

    i did find that i hadnt put the chin strap on my helmet once i parked my bike in Newtown.... big, big smack for that, and i wont be doing it a second time.

    had a nice breakfast, and headed back to my bike, to find an attractive young lady parking hers next to mine.... to be honest i have no idea what she was riding.... flashed her a smile, and got on my bike..... god i love this bike riding biz!

    after that i headed off to my brothers place in Zetland, because i had to pick up the rego papers for my bike. so headed back up king street, onto enmore road and down to Zetland through alexandria.

    again, nothing major happened, there were a lot of bikes out on the trip there because it was such a nice day.

    the return trip i headed back up king street again, just introducing more traffic into my rides slowly, and it seems to be working well for me.

    the only time i reprimanded myself was that someone did a uturn coming back from my borthers place in front of me.... not right in front of me mind you, but it was definately something i should have spotted well before i actually did.

    I am however starting to feel more confident in the traffic now, or maybe comfortable is the word i want to use. i just dont want to be over confident as there is still a lot to learn and still a long way to go yet.

    as Luke Skywalker says to the the Emporer in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi..... Your overconfidence is your weakness.

    but i do find that i am not intimidated by the traffic anymore, well not as much as i was, and i am getting more comfortable with the bike and how it handles.

    all in all a great weekends riding, and i am looking forward to more and longer rides over the coming weeks.

    probably ride to work tomorrow as well, my car must be hating me neglecting it so
  12. It's great to see new riders - "riding SMART". And taking their riding seriously, instead of just being a posing tool on a bike.

    Well done mate. :)

    Don't allow your self confidence to get ahead of your actual ability, and you'll grow to become a 'good' rider.

  13. Thanks John

    Well i want to take it seriously because i dont want to end up injured or dead. there is no shortage of people who like to point this out to me.

    not that i wouldnt be taking it seriously if people werent, but.... you know what i mean.

    Yeah that is the one thing i dont want to do, case in point today, i called off my ride early because of the wind. i just didnt feel comfortable in it, even though i would have loved to keep riding.


    So today i went out for a ride, havent been out all week, last monday was my last ride, due to the weather here in sydney not being the best, plus i was sick as well and didnt want to go out riding, when i wasnt 100%.

    I was definately getting ansty though, and when i saw the sun shining today i though i would go out.

    I didnt count on the wind though.

    I was planning on going for a longer ride today, was thinking about heading to La Parouse, and then maybe Maraoubra, just to start going a bit further.

    Started of and it wasnt too bad, traffic was relatively light today which was good, i guess because of fathers day.

    Once i got out into the open i started getting buffetted by the wind. wasnt too bad i though, so i kept going.

    Stopped in at the servo, really wanted to put some air in the tyres, so thought i may as well fill up while i am at it. no problems there.

    Left the servo and was heading along Gardeners Road, and then onto bunderong road, and the wind was really bad. even at the traffic lights i was getting pushed around.

    I ended up deciding to head home, i really wanted to ride for longer and was tempted to, but i just wasnt comfortable in the wind.

    I was heading back along Gardeners road, must have been heading into the wind, because it was horrendous.

    I was glad i got out just to see how riding in a gale would go, but in the end i think i made the right decision and calling it quits early. I have only been riding for a couple of weeks and didnt want to push it too much too soon.

    for the rideing i did do, i didnt do too bad, i may be spending a bit too much time watching behind me which i have to work on.

    Takeoffs have been pretty good, and i have been working on watching my speed as i come to stop at the lights as well, i think i was coming in too hot, but today i was taking it nice and easy, and usuing the engine to break as well.

    also wanted to start working on the lines i take into corners, but was too busy batttling the wind, that will be over the coming weeks i think.

    Will be riding into work a few time this week as long as the weather hold up, which by all account it will be. so that should be good.

    I bought a pair of Draggins Oilskins to wear to work as they look a bit better with a shirt, and arent as casual as my jeans. I was wondering how long work would put up with me wearing jeans.

    I wouldnt mind getting some knee armour to wear under these and my braggins, that will be my next purchase i think.
  14. keep up the diary pete - great reading.

    I also got a few comments when I started wearing the jeans to work - so I pack my trousers in the bag and get changed there. I also bought a few 'non-iron' shirts, because they get a bit wrinkled under the jacket. The other thing about riding to work is you really have to keep an eye on the weather forecast before you set out. A lot can change in 8 hours.

    chuck us a PM when you venture north of the spit.
  15. +1

    There was a bit of discussion on the NSW L practice on this after one of the guys had an off (with some links). I bought some a couple of days later from Knox in the UK. Cost around $80.00 delivered but they are a quality item.

    I wear it everytime I get on the bike now - I'd feel naked without it and it does give me a huge sense of security.
  16. Thanks Nicko

    I may end up doing that, but my work sucks, the bathroom isnt the best place to get changed at my work though. i may have to think about it a bit more. i probably get more comments about the swooshing of my new oilskins, than i got with my jeans. ill play it by ear and see how i go.

    I know what you mean about the weather, i almost got caught yesterday, the weather was very patchy all day and then by 3.30 when i finish work, it looked like it was going to storm. made it home before it started.

    Is the one you bought similar to this


    this looks pretty comfortable to wear all day, it looks breathable as well
  17. keep up the diary, good stuff, good idea.

    tailgaters> i loathe them and won't tolerate it.
    the bubble or buffer space around my bike is what's known as 'the cool zone'.
    the cool zone is for the cool guy on the bike only, no cager has any business being in the cool zone.
    the only advice an instructor will give you is to open up the space in front of you.
    as this is the only advice they are instructed to give... but it's sound advice as there is good reason for it... if the vehicle ahead of you should brake suddenly, you won't have to brake as suddenly ...and then neither will the tailgating vehicle behind you... ergo less chance of being sanwiched in the pile up that ensues when one vehicle ahead of a quewe of tailgating zombies hits the anchors suddenly.

    the intimidation factor> you ride your own ride, as mentioned by Ohmygosh.
    you cannot let the assbandit behind you dictate how you ride... you don't owe him anything.. being pressured into exceeding your limmits, where you feel safe and confident, for the sake of a stranger because he's running late or just plain angry on the roads... not worth it, why put yourself at risk for him, **** him.

    two types of assbandits to generalise>
    1. slow moving heavilly congested traffic that boxes you in... now they are accustommed to driving right up each others asses in this scenario... they see you in front of them, but they don't really recognise what they're seeing... they're on autopilot just plodding along, nose to ass in the heard.
    what i do is just use my left hand, open palm faced down and pat the air behind my left buttock..,i don't do it in a forcefull or panicked manner, just nice and gentle, friendly body language...as in to say that i'm not comfortable with them being so close and i'm asking nicely.
    99% of the time this works... it snaps them from their slumber and they recognise there is a human being in front of them and they back off...sometimes they back RIGHT off, like 500 meters haha... and it's because they've been made aware they were being stupid and are embarrassed by it.. plus, they don't wish to discuss it with you at the next set of lights.
    but 99% of people are decent folk, it's just that they were daydreaming, not really aware of what they were doing to you.

    if that dose'nt work you can usually bluff them into submission with more animated body language suggesting your angst.
    if that dose'nt work, you're dealing with a psycopath, see section 2.

    assbandit type 2.> long open country road, or high speed motorway, comes flying up behind you and sits right on your tail.
    he's a ****ing psycopath...don't do anything, body language or otherwise to aggravate him... he holds your life in his hands.. let him pass as soon as it is safe to do so.

    another thing i do generally in my daily commute, that can help deter potential tailgaters/assbandits in congested traffic>
    is whenever stopped in traffic, make eye contact with the driver behind me, even with drivers around me.
    briefly, don't stare them in they eyes... some of them would stab you just for that.
    but i kinda develop an eye contact rapaw with the driver directly behind me at intersections... that way he's recognised what he is seeing before we move of again... and i also try and pick a car or truck to put behind me that appears to be a good, sensible, alert driver.
    i'd reccommend a clear visor for commuting, or if tinted, flip it up whenever possible to show your eyes.

    scanning ahead > as noted you are doing great.
    look as far as you can see...with experience you will learn to see events way up ahead before they happen and set yourself up early for it... you get to decide as early as possible how you will approach...eg: gear selection, or cover the brakes, or do you have time to get past it before it happens... but most importantly, be decisive and act instantly on your decision.
    consider what you would do next if you were driving any of the vehicles ahead of you and wanted to get that vehicle ahead in the rat race... it's likely that vehicle is about to do just that, and you will have anticipated it's next move.
    but with your scanning remember to keep your chin up and your nose pointed where you want the bike to go... don't look directly at things about to happen.
    you will still see them.

    mirror checking> will improve with time, better to give most of your attention to what's most likely to bring you undone to start with, rather than try to over expend your attention (well it made sense to me, sorry).
    anyway, glimpse mirrors at any safe opportunity to keep a mental running image in your head of what's going on behind you and try to gauge the speed at which objects are moving relative to your own speed.
    update that image whenever safe to do so ..that way you can have a rough estimate of where they will be behind you in time and space over the next few seconds, without having to look at them...
    by, 'when safe to do so' my meaning is that you are in a place and time where there is nothing ahead of you that could present a hazard...eg: when riding on sections of road inbetween placemets of intersecting roads, or when there are no vehicles close ahead of you.
    also check your mirrors when you are about to slow your speed, either by braking or gearing down... so that you know what's behind you and how close... because you have to factor that in to how quickly you can wipe of your speed.
    now you have to equate that with how much time and space you will need to pull up to whatever it is ahead of you that you need to slow down for...and find the best medium to balance the two., so as you can retain your buffer front and rear.

    sporadic u-turners> and may they burn in hell.
    they can be spotted/anticipated by their preceding behavior, allthough that behaviour does not always imply sporadic u-turn imminent.
    inside the cabbin of their vehicle you'll notice the drivers rapid head movements to the right and back to the front again... they are looking for an address on the right hand side of the road... they won't see the address until they drive past it.
    then they will abruptly move to the far left of their lane to give themselves a wider turning arc to double back.. they may indicate left, but they won't indicate right when they suddenly shoot out in front of you...watch his front wheels as you are about to pass him...if he's steering them right, look out.
    another sign to look for more commonly nowadays, is that they may be on the phone...that's because they are taking directions over the phone from a second party to find the address.
    another common place to encounter sporadic u-turners is immidiately after they have passed through an intersection... they realise they've taken a wrong turn and want to go back the faster, illegal way.
    unlike us, generally cagers don't know or care what's going on behind them... they don't want to know, it's not their problem... anything hits them from behind and it's not their fault, by law.
  18. I had a look at that one, but actually wanted a little more protection. This is the one I ended up getting in a long version (which covers some of the shins also, but is not so long that it will mess with good boots). I couldn't find it anywhere in Australia, so I got them to send it to me. $84.00 delivered (I think) with the exchange rate about 2 or 3 months ago. I ordered it on a Wednesday off their website and it was here on a Monday. No hassles at all. Not hot to wear and I don't even know I have it on after a few minutes.

  19. Thanks for taking the time to respond Monkeyman, it is appreciated and you have some excellent tips and advice, thanks heaps

    also thanks for the link Nut, ill have to check it out. i like the look of those and i can unstrap them at work if reuqired.


    So this week i have adone a bit of riding, i rode to work 3 days this week (monday, wednesday and friday). all in all it went well i think.nothing major to report that i can remeber.

    Friday was touch and go of course with the weather, it is all over the shop at the moment in sydney. i left home in the morning and the road was still a bit wet in spots from the rain the night before and it was foggy as well. i kept to the wheel tracks an out of the middle of the lane as i was told to do and it deemed to go ok.

    Friday afternoon was terrible, or well it looked terrible, i start work at 6.30am so that means i get to leave at 3.30pm, and by that time of the arvo it looked like it was going to bucket down. luckily it didnt and i made it home. no sooner had i got home, about 30mins later the sun was out again and it was nice again... go figure.

    im not sure but i feel i am maybe ccoming to a stop too hot, so to speak, maybe a touch too fast. i have to work on that. i have a feeling it may be either me rushing to get home, or maybe a bit to do with everyone around me in a ruch, because i dont find i do it on the way to work or on the weekend when i ride. maybe its just having more traffic on the road, im not sure, but it is somethin i want to be mindful of.

    saturday i didnt get out for a ride unfortuantely, had a few errands to run, so left the bike at home. it was a gorgeous day though.

    Today, unday, i took a trip out to Kogerah to visit a friends. ride wasnt too bad there although there was one bit at the start. i was coming down king street toward the pricess highway, i was in the middle lane and a lane next to me. i merged over, headcheck mirrorcheckw as all fine, as there was a servo up ahead and i need to chck my tyres. anyway once i merge, the cars in front slow down relatively quick as the one in front was turning into a street, i slowed down, nothing out of the ordinary. andway go into the servo and was trying to find the air (never been to this servo before) and a car drives past with a guy yelling out the windo "learn to ride". i felt like, well that is why i have a great big bright yellow 'L' on the back of my bike. anyway i still dont know what i did, if i did anything.

    other than that the ride went well, a lot more traffic than i have ridden in before but it went well. my takeoffs could do with a bit more work i think. they arent bad, i havent stalled or anything, but the are just not as smooth or as quick as i would like (i am not talking quick as in sppeding, justcontrolled and faster than i have been).

    the ride home was important as it was the first time i have ridden in the dark. i left my friend place at 5.30 so by about half way home it was pretty muich dark. it went well, was a bit chilly once the sun went down, or maybe it was my nerves to start with, anyway after a short while i settles in and it wasnt too bad at all.

    I can understand now when i read about people "not seeing you", was riding up a quiet street and through a T intersections, and a car pulls up, i swear she saw me because she stopped but then she started moving again!!! anyway i buffered by moving over a bit and carried on, i should have set up in this situation as well but i didnt. something to work on again.
  20. you're welcome dude.
    but it's easy to misinterpret stuff in this text only medium, hopefully you can get yourself along to the weekly learner/novice pracs that some of the forum members run.
    it's a slow learning curve and it's different for everyone... you seem pretty switched on out there though, stay safe.

    if you have'nt seen this thread as yet, it's got heaps of helpfull advice and stuff> https://netrider.net.au/forums/showthread.php?t=86546