This has been on my mind for some time, and is NOT a swipe, dig or subtle go at anyone on the forums....... Roadcraft. You should be thinking about other road users. If you are new to the roads AND new to a bike, you have a lot to learn. Yes you have to master the bike, but at teh same time you have to learn every stupid move other road users make, how to anticipate these moves, and how to minimise your risk of being involved if they do stupid things near you. You have to learn to make lots of decisions very close together, and only a few of those decisions will involve riding the bike. Think ahead of your handlebars. Roadcraft is well worth you learning first, it will save you more often than being able to scrape the pegs. It is not sexy or cool, and never talked about, but it must be learnt. Concentrate on riding smoothly. Fast and smooth will come from that. Practice emergency braking and countersteering weekly, they don't teach it at teh courses for fun, they are the two MOST IMPORTANT skills to know. Concentrate on being smooth on the controls. You will get faster as your skills and confidence improves, don't rush it, it will come! Remember, motorbikes are a steep learning curve initially, do not rush the curve and just enjoy the trip! Make sure your bike is in good condition. No, I don't mean sik fairings and paint so shiny you can see teh reflection of your babe in it! I mean spend money on that new tyre, on servicing, rather than an aftermarket can. Listen to teh bike, if it doesn't feel or sound right, have it looked at if you can't do it yourself. If you lose a brake on a bike, it hurts a lot more than a car. Same goes with the gear. If you feel unprotected, do something about it. I don't care if you wear gear or not, just know it is there and will save much more serious injuries. Do not be in a rush to get out in heavy traffic/twisties. As your confidence improves, you'll know when you are ready to have a go. Don't get rushed into doing tricky roads or very heavy traffic by yourself, or with other inexperienced friends. At the same time, don't feel you have to keep up on group rides if you have less skills. Good riders will know this and wait for you at the other end, and may even offer you help and suggestions as you go along. If you feel the ride is too fast or too high a skill level for you, say so and go home. Get third party insurance! I just want younger/inexperienced road users(riders) to know that progressing as a rider is not just about how quickly you can get into serious mountain roads, or how fast you can ride, it's also about getting home at the end of the day. I am not saying don't have fun, just to consider when and where you have that fun, and take into account your skill level and bike condition when doing it. I really hate reading about young people(and older people for that matter!) injuring themselves permanently on the forums. I just want to see you all gain experience and skills in a safe and FUN manner and to get home at the end of the day. Others can add as they see fit. Regards, Andrew.