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Please hold my hand... I'm new!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Genabee, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Hi!

    I have recently got my learner's permit after doing the pre-learners and learners course through Ridetek (VIC). I went in planning to do it all on a scooter (as my husband has a scooter and the plan was that I would ride his scooter), yet spent the day on and passed my test on a 125cc motorbike. I thoroughly enjoyed learning to ride, had a great day with no stalling or bike dropping and walked away feeling confident about riding. I thought the rest would be a walk in the park!

    Fast forward three days, I'm all kitted out in my brand new riding gear, only to not be able to get the knack of Hubby's scooter. It is too tall and too heavy for me (I'm 160cm tall, 48kg) - my toes are no where near the ground. I dropped the scooter twice, couldn't get it off its stand on my own and just generally found it awkward. :( I was so disheartened.

    We decided the best way to solve this problem, was to buy a motorbike - one I felt comfortable sitting on, one where I could have the balls of my feet reaching the ground, one that is LAMs approved, but also one that neither of us feel we will want to upgrade in a hurry. Secretly, Hubby has been wanting to upgrade for a while, so we took this as a sign! We are now the proud owners of a (pre-loved) 2010 Honda CB400 named Beatrice. :)

    I took her out for a spin around the block. But that is as far as I have got. As I pulled her back into our driveway, I put my foot out to balance as I came to a stop, only to put my right foot down lower than I anticipated (uneven grounding) and dropped the bike. :( I haven't got back on her since then.

    I just feel like I am lacking confidence. Majorly. I am fine for the most part when travelling on her in a straight line, but that is about where it ends! I am finding there is a lot to think about - indicating, gear changing, watching my speed and mirrors, looking out for other road users - and that is all before I have to turn a corner or roundabout. I also occasionally fumble when looking for the foot pegs. Our local area has narrow roads (with lots of parked cars) and can be on the sloped side. I'm scared to ride by myself, in fear I might drop the bike and won't be able to pick it up.

    I really want to persevere with this as I think it is something that I will eventually enjoy. Not to mention, for me it will be a useful means of transport into uni (in the city), and mean that I can leave Hubby at home with our toddler and the car. I would also be interested in participating in the pink ribbon ride in October, if I am even on the road with real traffic by then!!

    Has anyone else had a similar experience? How did you overcome this?

    I am researching other possible riding courses I can do, for people like me. But in the mean time, does anyone have any other helpful suggestions? I am happy enough to be a passenger when Hubby rides (I'm not that bad that I won't go near a bike!), and for the moment I have gone back to doing that. Come the weekend, we might see if the car park at Deakin University is empty as it is just down the road from us... Maybe I can just ride around there and practice the basics (which is what I feel I need).

    Thanks for reading if you have got this far, and appreciate any helpful advice you may have.
  2. Hi Genabee

    try not to be too disheatened. Can give the thumbs up for practising a Deakin Uni on the weekend - I did that a lot at the BUndoora campus. Even if it means hubby rides the bike down & you follow in the car until you get used to it.

    You aren't be the first person who either didn't put their foot down properly or even as in my case early on, just forgot too :p
  3. Hi Genabee, well done on getting where you are! Keep persevering, it's a totally new skillset, give yourself time to learn :)
    Time in the saddle will give you more confidence.
  4. see you a saturday morning practice at elwood.
  5. you can get motorcycle boots with built up soles! eg.
    otherwise, move your bum off the seat on the side you want to put your foot down. usually the left as your right foot is probably on the rear brake.
  6. Trd2000 - where abouts in Elwood do these practice sessions occur?!
  7. I think you will gain a lot from the practice sessions. It took me a long time to get through the intial huge learning curve, with lots of drops and frustrations along the way. Im short (5ft 1 inch) and wear boots with higher soles, maybe thats an option for you as well. Keep up the good work and dont give up, because this is well worth while and one day soon you will be riding confidently. Its something that takes time, so relax and take it at your own pace.
  8. #8 Mcsenna, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
    That's an excellent choice of bike and don't be disheartened they can be a bit heavy when off balance if you are light.
    Slow speed practice is the key I believe, find a car park somewhere and practice the stuff you did getting your license.
    Take wide ark turns at walking pace and gradually reduce them, take off and get into second then come to a stop, left foot down, first gear, looking up ahead.
    Keep at it, it will come to you, just don't give up, dropping the bike is part of the process for most people, don't dwell on it.
    As trd2000 said get to one of the practice sessions, these guys will help you.

    By the way get someone to help you set the bike up to suit you. Adjust the brake, clutch, gear and foot brake levers so they align properly with your feet and hands.
    Adjust the front and rear suspension, you want about 20 - 30mm travel when you sit on the bike.
  9. as everyone else has said keep going and dont let the drops worry you i did something similar 2 weeks ago foot slipped on gravel couldnt stop it down we went no damage except to my pride as i did give several carloads of traffic a laugh though :) keep up the practice and you will get there
  10. Don't worry about dropping your bike. I would say most of us have done it at one time or another.

    Just get back on the thing and ride it. Just take it round and round and round the block. Then, as your confidence grows, slowly but surely widen your circuit.
  11. On my very first ride on the road I also dropped the bike at near-stationary speed. In my case, it was perhaps a bit more embarrassing - I was test-riding the bike, flubbed a U-turn, and fell over, snapping off the left hand mirror in the process. I ended up buying the bike, came back the next day to ride it the 30km home and it was scary as all hell. I forced myself to ride it a bit anyway even though I was nervous, and after a few weeks I'd racked up almost 1000km and I was feeling a lot more comfortable. The first few weeks were the hardest.

    +1 to what everyone else said about getting down to the practice sessions at Elwood. If it's a long way to travel and you're worried about riding there on your own, you might be able to find someone to escort you in.
  12. #13 Myke, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
    Baaah, don't be disheartened - dropping bikes is a right of passage. Just get back on and ride it!

    If it makes you feel better I dropped my bike within the first hour of picking her up! And she was brand new too! lol. There should be an 'uneven' ground component to the L course and a 'realise how heavy a bike is' part too.

    Then it started to rain and I had to stop riding around the block and ride her home in peak hour traffic and it was getting dark! Yaaaay!!

    And ironically when I did my L test I didn't drop their bike and make any mistakes as well!

    EDIT: How did I overcome it? I would plan rides on really quiet parts of the day. Something like 6am on a sunday :) I also had my missus follow me on her bike. Yup she started riding before me ;)

    Just going around the block then roads. Don't worry so much about the speed - chances are you'll be going below 50kph. And dont stress too much about the indicator - I kept leaving it on for a few months.

    The key thing is - Keep your head up and look ahead and always check your blind spot when moving/changing lanes/turning. The other stuff is secondary since you've already determine the safety of your environment to execute an action.

    Just keep riding and suddenly there will be an addiction!
  13. #14 Hypervisor, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013

    But seriously, Are you confident riding a bicycle?
    • Like Like x 1
  14. #15 phil01, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
    your husband rides a scooter , that's far worse than dropping a bike so don't worry,
    • Like Like x 5
  15. Hi and welcome :)

    Don't be disheartened, most of us have moments of doubt or fear sometimes, particularly at the beginning. Took me a month to work up the courage to leave my block. Can your hubby escort you on a ride?

    Saturday practice is a good idea. If you want, one of us can swing around and get you, you just need to ask. Keep riding local until you're ready.

    Where are you from? Did you do Ride-tek at Sandown? I did my Ls and Ps there.
  16. Keep practice to the safety of open car parks. Learn the weight of the bike, how it turns, stops and goes. Remember riding really slow is a balancing act, go a little quicker so the bike has some momentum which will keep you upright.

    Thoe whole deal will feel unnatural and you'll be over thinking everything (female trait). You'll soon enough stop using so much brain power into all the little things, no different to learning to drive a manual car.

    For the first few weeks my wife had her licence, I rode her bike with her pillion to empty car parks. Half an hour or so each time is enough to get you going.

    Once confident enough, head out on quiet roads with hubby in tow on the scooter...Not too close though, you don't want people thinking the scooter rider is with you :D
  17. Yes, don't be disheartened. Above are some good suggestions. The extra thick sole shoes should be the last item on the list to get your confidence back.

    Fear is the enemy. Knowledge is your key to overcoming fear.

    Get more familiar with your CB400. With the ignition off, sit on it and play around. Play around with the instruments. Moving the front wheel while stationary will be more difficult, but again just play. Then put your new gear and helmet on, and get more familiar sitting on it.

    Have your Hubby hold the bike from the front, with the front wheels between the legs and his hands ready to hold the bar. This way, you don't have to worry about dropping the bike. Practice getting on and off the bike. And on both sides. With full gear if you wish. As 'twistngo' said, shift your bum to one side BEFORE putting the sole of your boot down, and not on your tip-toes.

    Balance. Here is a neat excercise. Off the stand, hold the bike upright on its two wheels with both hands. Feel the tipping point. Slowly. Gently. Then use only one hand to keep the bike upright. As you feel more confident, move around the bike, alway keeping one hand on the bike, feeling its balance point.

    I learnt this on a BMW off-road course, on a R1200GS Adventure. This excercise get you familiar with the bike, particularly its balance.

    With 'Beatrice' on its side stand, walk around the bike. Kneel down and have a closer look at all part of the bike from sump plug to the radiator hoses. Touch the brake discs. Feel all the nuts and bolts are secure. Make your Hubby jealous :)

    Knowledge is power.
    Power to overcome.

    As 'Mcsenna' mentioned, have someone experience help you setup the bike. Pay close attention to the all the controls first, before touching the suspension.

    Last suggestion, if you have not alredy installed them, frame sliders. It give a boost to your sub-concious, knowing your bike is as best protected from offs as you can.


  18. pictures will help and maybe some of the new bike
  19. #20 MT1, Feb 12, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
    couple of stiff drinks before you practice
    then just pump yourself up. get hubby to slap you around the chops a bit.
    let your war cry rip 'COMOOOON, punch the air a bit, then just fcuking harden the fcuk up, quit whining and just do it.
    • Like Like x 2