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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
Minitwins
Main Motorcycle: Triumph Tiger 955i 2005
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Smile New to bikes. Enthusiastically traumatized

At the age of 44 for reasons I now can't recall (it was only earlier this year) I decided to learn to ride a bike, having never ridden one before. I did a 650 based CBT then went through the Theory, Mod1 and Mod2 as direct access and somehow passing both first time despite not having a lot of skill. Being a car driver helped with the rules of the road, but my biking skills were pretty poor. I Have brought my first bike, a Tiger 955i 2005. The jury is still out as to whether I bit off more than I can chew. I love the bike when it is on the open road (buffeting aside) and feel like a naughty school boy when trying to creep through a National Trust village with the exhaust sounding like an artillery strike. I'm finding it a bit of a handful in slow traffic and junctions because of the weight and my low skill level. I tried a few other bikes, but I'm fairly tall and only felt comfortable on the tiger and a Varadero 1000. I'm hoping I'm going to grow to love it over time. At the moment, it is as much a source of fear, anxiety and bankruptcy as it is relaxation as I've some mechanical issues to resolve (to be posted).

Is it normal that when you tell family and friends you've brought a motorbike that they look at you like you've been self-harming or have caught some sort of sad disease?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 03:43 PM
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Welcome. You will never convince a dedicated non rider or hater of motorcycles that you don't need to be certifiable to want to ride a bike. Ignore them. I've had doctors refer to me as an organ donor. As far as being apprehensive while riding slowly, you need more seat time practicing in a car park, deserted road. Don't give up as Peter Gabriel once sang, just keep at it, but be aware and proactive in traffic guarding your space.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 05:12 PM
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Welcome. You will never convince a dedicated non rider or hater of motorcycles that you don't need to be certifiable to want to ride a bike. Ignore them. I've had doctors refer to me as an organ donor. As far as being apprehensive while riding slowly, you need more seat time practicing in a car park, deserted road. Don't give up as Peter Gabriel once sang, just keep at it, but be aware and proactive in traffic guarding your space.
Don’t forget and (with) Kate Bush.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 06:14 PM
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Peter G. sang that song with Kate and Sinead and Tracy, but Kate was/is an obsession for me. I did not forget.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 07:51 PM
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Is it normal that when you tell family and friends you've brought a motorbike that they look at you like you've been self-harming or have caught some sort of sad disease?
Perfectly normal...

Ride more, worry less.

Get out of town on some quiet back roads and ride

If you have experienced rider friends, try to get one or two to lead you around.. play close attention to lines they choose, how they behave at crossroads... how they ride near other traffic, etc...

If you are "present" when you are riding... paying attention to what you are doing... you will be absolutely fine.

"No problem can be solved by the same kind of thinking that created it." Albert Einstein
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 09:00 PM
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Practise, practise, practise! Do your slow speed maneuver drills (figure eights, weaving through little pylons, U-turns etc) in a closed empty parking lot. Do loads of emergency braking drills even if you have ABS....you need to develop "muscle memory" in your hands/feet so when a panic stop is needed you aren't fumbling for controls and over doing the rear or front brake pressure creating fish-tails & high-sides/front skid outs. Find a technique that works best for your & your bike. On my T100 Bonneville, the front brake is kind of low power and needs a good firm pull, yet I'm also very aware of overdoing it and only use two fingers to pull the lever. Practise never grabbing front brake at full grip power....you need to gradually apply more grab power as the front begins to take more weight....do a "One-Steamboat" count to go from nothing to full grab force....and do this each and every day for a few weeks until you just do it all instinctively.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 09:03 PM
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OP....couple guiding points for you to consider.

#1 - Do not give one flying FK about what other people think of your choices, period! If you are determined to be a better rider, keep at it. Do not give a damn about being tagged a middle life crisis or BAMBI, or that some group of poser Harley pirates don't think your cool or that you are hipster or they dont like your bike or people who think you are doomed to death, blah, blah, blah....whatever.

#2 - 2018 was my first year riding as well, despite having my designation for more than 10 years prior. I had dirt bikes as a kid so the "operating" part was fairly natural. What wasnt natural was being exposed to riding in herds of obnoxious aggressive distracted car drivers. Also the speed - you feel 60-70mph - I mean you are out there, crap hitting your jacket, wind pushing you around, constantly looking for road imperfections, garbage, potholes, road kill, loose stone, etc.

It took me 1000mi until I started feeling natural with those surroundings. Oh no, stoplight went yellow, do I try to brake hard to stop or am I close enough with no surrounding cars to bang the throttle to get through? Half second make a decision. I still dont ride the expressway, because one, they are boring and two, its too fast at 90-110mph in cars around me. That is my limitation and I am OK with it for now.

Working up to those 1000mi, I would ride snippets during heavily populated local rush hour in order to get used to it and to learn how how deal with it. Today, I ironically feel safer with cars surrounding me as I use them as blockers and leaders.

Point is, after a 1000mi you will know if you like it or not. At the end of this year's riding season, I would be gone for 2-3hrs cruising around with the wife wondering where I have been. I put on 2700mi - more than the previous first and second owners of my bike combined. I guess it wasnt for them.

Best of luck.
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Last edited by MyEvilTwin; 11-13-2018 at 09:14 PM.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWV View Post
If you have experienced rider friends, try to get one or two to lead you around.. play close attention to lines they choose, how they behave at crossroads... how they ride near other traffic, etc...


Where in Wiltshire, BTW?

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-14-2018, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by BaconStorm View Post
I Have brought my first bike, a Tiger 955i 2005. The jury is still out as to whether I bit off more than I can chew... I'm fairly tall and only felt comfortable on the tiger and a Varadero 1000.
That is a lot of bike for a beginner imo, but you will get the hang of it. I started riding at 37, and my first bike was a Kawasaki KLR650. I would recommend that bike to any beginning adult rider. It has plenty of power for the highway but not so much that it could get the best of you, is cheap to maintain, and could fit you well because it is quite tall. KLR650s are very affordable as well.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-14-2018, 01:50 AM
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The best bit of advice i was given when i started to ride (back in 1976)was "Just remember every other road user WANTS to kill you" that is my mantra every day as i get on my bike.

Also do a bike safe day with local police force,
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