Hi guys, Been riding now for a few months on a Yamaha FZR250. I've been a lurker here for a while - and the tips section is great. I learnt a bit from the basic course, but to be honest they really don't cover what you need to know. Being a pretty mechanical minded lad, I learnt more myself in 3 hours than I did in the course. Anyway, before I get into some tips I think are relevant to fresh riders - Sadly most of my friends don't have bikes, and riding by myself can get a little boring. I want to know if there are any guys in SA particularly in the N.E burbs (Golden Grove/Modbury way) that are keen to go for some social rides reguarly. Mature rider, not out for a whole day of riding but just a nice social ride to a few good sights - not into racing, I just want to get out and enjoy with other riders. PM me if you are thinking the same - not sure if this is the right thread for this but anyway. OK - TIPS! If you can drive a manual car - you're halfway there! if not, learn, or read up on the principles of this - you'll pickup riding so much quicker! Because you don't get a chance to practice counter steering really until you're out on your own - spend one quiet Sunday afternoon working on this - learn how much it takes to push left to go left, right to go right with your bike. Each bike is different, get it sorted out. Be confident with this, you'll be amazed how easy it is! and you have to know this to survive! Everyone tries to make it out to be some mysterious thing, but it's as simple as this. Once over about 22km/h, just turning the front wheel will not work. You must CS to initiate lean for you to steer correctly. It's simple...Push left, go left. Push right go right. It seems strange to turn the bars away from the direction you want to go, but you'll get it in no time, I guarantee it. First time - riding anywhere, have a mate in a car etc go behind you to provide a "blocker". That way you wont have to worry about what is behind you, angry drivers, people riding your arse etc. Go for that short 5min trip to that local quiet car park. At the car park - first thing is learn the friction zone. Spend some time getting use to starting on your bike, then pull the cluch in and stop, and repeat. Do this until you can confidently look straight ahead and without looking at your instrument cluster to check revs etc. You must be ok with this to deal with local traffic! Once you have done this - and are competent with your clutch control - stick to the backstreets and work on smooth gear changes, because you're on backstreets you probably wont need to go above 3rd gear really, so work on smooth downshift and up shifting - practice using engine braking and rear brake work to help you around small corners. Put into practice the starting and stopping work you did with the clutch when coming up to a give way sign or a roundabout. Confidence, confidence, confidence! BE confident! I'm not suggesting believe you are unbreakable, but generally be sure of yourself on the road. It'll make you a better rider, back your abilities and trust yourself to make correct judgements...looking confident and feeling confident will make you a better rider. Persist with riding. Starting out, try to go for that small local ride every night for a week. The more you get out there, the quicker you will become more comfortable. Pick your times - now it's daylight savings, going for a ride at 7:30pm - 8pm is great, and you still have daylight. ATGATT - No exceptions.....ever. Honestly.....ever. Shoelaces double knotted and laces tucked into the shoes. With your first handful of small rides, stick to the backstreets and the carparks. As above, don't go during peak traffic times and don't occupy busy main roads. Try to avoid situations that will make you go across traffic without the use of a traffic light. ALWAYS eyes up....look as far ahead as you can for any signs of danger or activity. The road ahead is always changing so be aware of this. Check your mirrors regularly so you can update yourself on what is going on behind you . ALWAYS headcheck before switching lanes. Headchecks take no time at all, cost nothing, and will save your life oneday. Remember - EASE and SQUEEZE the front brake. Dont snatch it!. Use both brakes together to start to slow down -also downshift and use engine braking to assist - rear brake ONLY for slow speeds - use the front and rear together to wipe off some initial speed quickly - once slowed down enough use the rear to finish it off. Setup braking early...never use the front brake while cornering - brake use during cornering should be avoided as much as possible, setup early, have the correct entry speed, and roll on the throttle during and out of the corner. If you are unsure of the corner, better to err than to be going in too hot Practice emergency braking. Get up to a reasonable speed 50-80km/h - pull the clutch in and use both brakes firmly to see how you go. Do this on a nice quiet straight road away from traffic etc - remember to not jerk on the front brake and do this a handful of times - see if you can improve your stopping distance without being silly about it! I believe in left foot down all the time when you come to a stop - because you should be using the right foot on the rear brake to stop, have the left foot down, and the right foot resting on the rear brake when you are waiting in traffic. Leave the bike in first unless you know the traffic cycle, you may never know when you quickly need to take off again, and leave a bit of room in front of you from the next car just in case that truck behind you doesn't look like he is going to stop in time... During the day, ride with your highbeam on. It'll make a big difference to your visibility Maintain the 2-3 second gap between you and the next object in front of you. Even more in poor road conditions, wet weather etc. This is your survival zone - ensure you always have this. Be aware of a potential escape route in case something happens unexpectadly. Bycycle lanes can provide this for you - make sure you always have a escape plan in case things go sour when it is possible to have one! Keep your cool on the road. If you ever get heated - stop, have a drink at a petrol station....get home alive. Think about your friends and family/loved ones - whatever it takes for you to get home safely - a few seconds of stupidity isn't worth never seeing your loved ones again. Is it? Ride to survive. Simple things matter! Do not ride next to a car on their blindspot- either pass that car or get behind it! see that car on the sidestreet - looking like it may come out in front of you? - move away from the kerb and more into the middle part of the lane...bikes are smallish and are nimble, use these great advantages to survive! Look through the corner. Seriously, the bike goes where you are looking. Know the weather. Check the forecast and the sky. If it looks dodgy, and you're not comfortable riding in potential rain, dust, etc etc, don't do it! Get to know your bike. Take the time to read the owners manual. Perform your walk-through check of the bike before you get on it. Check the lights, tyres, etc. Buy yourself a rear bike stand, understand how your bike works, perform basic services if you can! I'm not suggesting I know it all, but I had no experience before riding a few months ago and now am totally confident (without thinking I'm invincible - I trust me, I don't trust any other road user). Within 2 practice sessions I was out on the road riding to work and traffic. Exposure to the light traffic during quieter times will force you to become better quicker, if you can....do it! give it a shot! I like speed as much as the next guy, I've had thumping big V8s, Japanese sports cars and everything in between. Nothing compares to owning a bike - enjoy it, stay safe - be sensible and you'll have a lifetime of bike joy. Apologies if the tips have been said 10000 times before, but I'm sure we would all rather have repeats than none at all.