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Rate of learning

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by Sheps, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. Hey Gang,

    Due to circumstance I'm going about this learning to ride thing all backwards. I've bought the bike however it's in another state so I intend to pick it up soon after I get my L's and bring it home on the boat. I've been trolling through the forum and it seems I'm going to have a whole lot to master before I'm competent enough to get safely down to Port Melbourne and onto the boat.

    So apart from feeling a touch overwhelmed I'm wondering from your experiance how long it takes to become safe, competenent and confident to head out onto the open roads?
  2. Kind of hard to answer, as everyone is different. How long is a piece of string?

    The first weekend that i had my bike, I did the netrider wizeman's ferry run. The experience really helped me as a rider. I suspect the adventure of taking your bike home will be similar, except you won't have anyone looking over your shoulder.

    Which is really the only thing I'd worry about. There's a lot of bastards on the roads, and they think nothing of roaring up behind learner riders and passing them with a few inches to space to give them a "scare".

    Either rent something that you can pick the bike up in and take home in, or ride it. It has to be your call. If it were me, it'd be option A.
  3. Well I have been riding for 6 weeks but I can already see how far I have come along. That's a big ride for your very 1st one though. Having said that, my very 1st ride was out on the bigger country roads, around the twisties with an impatient driver up my rear on the horn!
  4. I thought that once i got my L's I would have been able to go get my bike and ride it home.... It didnt turn out that way!

    As said above.. Everyone is different amd some are more skilled and confident than others.

    I know someone who did pick their bike and ride a fair way home... They referred to it as 'baptism of fire".... Lol

    If the time comes and you dont feel confident is there someone who can pick the bike up for you?
  5. That's right, were all different, I picked up my bike the day I got my license and rode it home the following day. Doesn't seem like much put like that, but home was 700 kilometres or so from the bike shop. Some people like getting in the deep end, but only you will know if your confident doing that.

    I knew during the road craft portion of my test that I was quite comfortable and going to have no issues, but I was stupid, I didn't have a contingency plan in place, which in hind sight, could have been dangerous if I wasn't ready to tackle the trip but had no other option.
  6. G'day Sheps,

    When you go to pick up the bike to ride it to the docks for the first time...

    See if there are some quiet streets nearby and give yourself 15min to familiarise yourself with the bike before you start out. Doesn't matter if you don't get out of second gear. It's the stopping and starting, the feel of the clutch, where the friction point is, etc. that you'll want to learn. Making sure the tire pressure is correct is also a good idea. (You can pick up pretty serviceable sliding-pin-type gauges for $10, but do it before you head off when the tyres are cold. If you don't have a gauge or forget to use it before you get to the servo, just add a couple of PSI to what the book says it should be.)

    Perhaps have a really good think about what day and time you are going to pick up the bike, so as to minimise the amount of traffic on the road. (Mid-week, around 10am or 11am can be a good time.)

    Also, plan your route to take in less busy roads. Depending on the intersections you'll be going through, you might also want to think about not making a RH turn when there is another path that can take you through a couple of LH turns. When you're starting out, you'll find them easier, and because you aren't turning across traffic, its less you need to think about, especially when you'll be busy enough thinking about the bike. Anything you can do to reduce your cognitive load will help until you master the bread and butter stuff, like keeping it upright and not stalling the thing when you go to move off. But you'll be the best judge of whether this is necessary or not.

    Other than that, ride your own ride. This means a lot of different things to different people at different times, but for you as a learner on a new bike for the first time, it probably means riding at a pace you feel comfortable at, and getting on the brakes early when you see a stop coming up.

    Don't be afraid to claim your space on the road. Some people when they are learning feel that they need to ride right-over on the LH side of the left-most lane because they are going slow. I'd say, claim the lane, and if anyone comes up behind you, make them wait until you see a safe place to pull over (not necessarily stopping, but that's always an option) and let them through. (If they're up your arse and on the horn, you have their attention and they're not going to hit you.) The thing is not to feel hurried by those around you. Just use your road position to dictate the terms of your own journey by claiming the space and giving yourself the space and time you need.

    Other than that, just take easy. If you're journey is longer than 40min, give yourself a break around the 30min mark. You may not feel you need it, but you might be grateful for those 5 minutes later on. Later when stuff becomes second nature, you'll be able to go for a lot longer, but there have been a number of times when I've been out on long rides (including bringing my first bike back to Carlton from Warburton for the first time), and should have stopped but didn't because I thought, "bugger it, its not much further". Thing is, when you're getting tired, you're not being as aware of your surroundings as you ought to be, and it'd be a shame to stack it when you're just around the corner from home because you're getting fatigued and didn't see that car in your mirror.

    Sorry if a lot of this stuff sounds obvious, but take your time, plan it and I reckon you'll be OK. Welcome to the club. (y)
  7. It may be a great experience and you'll enjoy every minute of your ride home or be overcome with fear after some knob cuts you off two minutes into your ride - Starting out with small rides in quiet areas is probably the best and most sensible start but, if you feel confident and its what you want to do and you have a licence, the final decision is yours.

    What bike are you getting? When are you getting it? What is your planned route?

    Having a contingency would be a good idea, even just a place where you know your bike can be kept safely until you figure out another means of getting her home if for whatever reason you decide along the way its too much.
  8. As someone else said, everyone is different. I know one person who has been riding for nearly 8 years and I wouldn't consider them to safe or competent.

    Other people I know where relatively safe and certainly confident from day one. Being competent has taken them a bit longer.

    A random thought just came to me. Do we ever become truly competent? Or, do we simply increase our competencies over time.
  9. Accidents happen in the grey area between your level of confidence and your level of competence (barring external forces).

    The bigger the gap, the larger the risk you take.

    As I said, you need to make that call, but I know what I'd do in your shoes.
  10. honestly once you sit on it you are going to ****ing grin and the adrenalin will command you to ride it home

    - check all your indicators and stuff work before leaving

    - take some time to get to know the bike feels (slow / fast acceleration, soft / hard braking, turning left / right). usually in a quiet back street near the dealer

    - try to plan some quiet roads for the journey

    - try to plan a quiet time of day for the journey (maybe break it up in legs)

    - don't ride faster than your limits cos some dickhole is up your ass, pull over for a 5min breather and let him / them go past, then resume your journey

    - take it easy, the quicker you get comfortable the easier the ride will become

    - make sure there is petrol in the tank!!

    - let someone know your plans and your time frame expectation, that way if you get lost or something happens, there is someone who is already looking for you

    enjoy the ride man, enjoy!

    everyone is different. i've only been riding about 1 month but i've been riding 100kms every day in commuter traffic (in the rain, wind, at night, up and down hills - i'm even filtering now!!), my confidence is definately growing. What i can say is the more time you spend on your bike the better you will learn how to ride your bike. you can't read something on paper then expect it to magically be perfect when you try it out first time.
  11. Thanks for the feed back guys. Some really good points and lots to consider, especially about route selection and driver fatigue. I know when I was learning to bash around on quadbikes I was tripped up with driver fatigue/dehydration and nearly rolled it, a lesson never forgot.

    I've already bought a 09 GS500F it is being stored for me in Laverton until I pick it up hopefully 10 December. After reading the above I'm thinking I might book some cheap accommodation out that way and just spend a couple of days stooging around the industrial estates, Point Cook and Weeribee. Maybe even try and get to the Sunday and Tuesday Learner rides. As far as the route to the boat I don't know Melb that well but guess being on that side of town I'll have to hit the West Gate at some stage(FWY cage driving is daunting enough for a Taswegian), open to suggestions though. As for the Tassie section, I'll be going Devonport - L'ton so I'll probably take the Frankford Highway and make a day of it.

    I guess the Provisional License is the line in the sand for competent/not yet competent. I certainly agree however that we should never stop improving our skills and roadcraft.
  12. This might be somewhat controversial, but I thought having ridden a bicycle in city traffic made the initial learning process considerably easier when I picked up my first bike. If you do have this sort of experience, I'd say you'd be fine - just give yourself regular stops.
  13. Point cook is where I live, there are plenty of quiet streets around that are perfect for getting your confidence up.

    To get to port Melbourne from here you can ride 60/70 k zones the whole way if you want to, the bridge itself is a 60 k zone at the moment due to the road works. After the bridge you can take the first exit which will take you straight to the port.

    @gordy, I'm inclined to agree, I've been riding bicycles for years in city traffic and I feel that my road craft is pretty good because of it. I'm certainly not used to the added speed though.
  14. Post up a few more details as to the wwhere's and when's and maybe someone can ride with you and cover your bum going down to the boat. If there is enough time they can also observe your riding and maybe point out any issues you need to address.
  15. Righto,


    Arrive Melbourne Oh Gosh Early Friday morning 10 Decemeber.

    First job will be to precure a helmet (Budget $400-$600) and Boots ($200-$300) any advice on brand and or store greatly appreciated.
    Then train it out to Lav and pick up bike. Spend the arvo familarising with bike.


    Catch up with family and friends a little riding I imagine


    If the skills are up to it get over too the Learner morning. Probably arvo on the bike aswell


    Job interview in the morning. Riding and/or catching up with friends family


    Christmas Shopping. Riding. Learner ride in the evening.


    Whatever tickles my fancy. Load on the boat in the evening.

    So if anyone has the time during that period absolutely feel free to come bask in my noobness. I'd be greatful for an tips, tricks and feedback.
  16. If you mean the Learner Practice Morning, it's Saturday not Sunday. Sunday there is usually a Learner friendly ride.
  17. Sorry, got that all back to front then.

    Lets go for Saturday Morn L's Session, Sunday L's ride, Monday Willytown Coffee night and possibly Tuesday night L's ride (Might have tee'd up a hot date though).
  18. Travel plan has been cut drastically due to the hopeless vehicle space availabilty on the Spirit. I've had to book my return leg for Monday the 13th of December otherwise I couldn't get on until the following week. So ammend plan is:

    No change

    Try and get down to the L's session. If anyone lives out west and is heading in I'd love an escort...
    Rest of the day riding


    Job interview - Riding - Boat

    If anyone is keen to instill some skills and knowledge during these periods that would be great.

  19. Hawklord and I both normally come to Sat morn Learner practice from the west. Probably one of us can help, just depends where you are coming from who is likely to be closer.
  20. Ill be more then happy to escort you down to the L session, and take you on a ride after too if you like.
    sent me a PM when you are positive you are going to make it on that sat morning and remind me :)
    Im fine to come pick you up and take you down into Doug's capable training hands :p