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Hey folks,

Recently passed my test (today!) and without having any riders in the family, or friends that ride (f'ing tragic I hear you say) reaching out to the Rat fraternity for your best advise for new or seasoned riders.

I'm sure there'll be old and new riders alike that could maybe learn from something you wish you knew when you were starting out?

Cheers, Ben
 

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Well when I rode my first bike my dad didn't tell me how to stop ! I managed when I ran out of field ( fell off ) was only 5 . I think the best advice is to keep learning , passing your test is only the start . Seek advanced training . Mature guy I know retired ( ex drug squad ) asked my advice and I told him some of the best training is provided by the police , said no way asking a black rat for help . He now has had some training and makes as they say good progress , My dad who went a ride with him the other week says he still lacks confidence in corners . Don't be afraid of attending a race school or similar its not just about racing and you can learn a lot in relative safety . If and when you ride with anyone else only travel at a speed you are comfortable with do not try to keep up outside your comfort zone . I've heard it being said about me " if David takes off don't try to keep up he'll be waiting at the next junction/ fuel stop " .
 

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Take a motorcycle safety riding course; as I understand it, getting your motorcycle license in the UK is much more rigorous than here in the US. The things one can learn from a skilled instructor, however, can help a rider improve a lot in a short while, even in the UK, the Mecca of Motorcycling.
One final note; remember, car and truck drivers are trying to kill you. So don't ride tired or in any way impaired. You need a clear head to stay safe on the road. Always always always think three moves ahead so you leave yourself an alternative path in case of an emergency. Having hung that cloud of caution in the air, I manage to remember that riding is a great big ball of fun. I hope you have a lifetime of it. Ride on!
 

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Recently passed my test (today!) and without having any riders in the family, or friends that ride (f'ing tragic I hear you say) reaching out to the Rat fraternity for your best advise for new or seasoned riders.
  • Do not over rely on mirrors - just before making a turn or lane change, always take a look over your shoulder. Its called the life saver.
  • Your focus should not be on the car in front, but 5 or 6 cars ahead. Always be sure that you can stop within the distance that you can see to be clear.
  • Be extra cautious when overtaking tractors on country roads, they have a habit of turning unexpectedly (don't ask me how I know). Keep a good distance behind and make it quick, giving a wide berth.
  • When coming up on a blind bend, sound your horn and be prepared for an emergency stop, or evasive maneuvers. Same for narrow hump backed bridges where you can't see over the brow.
  • When on a motorway or dual carriageway, be careful of cars joining from the left. You will see a lot of them with a mobile phone to their ear and they are oblivious to you or anyone else for that matter. They will not slow down or stop for you. If you can, it is wise to take the outside lane until you have passed the junction.
  • If you get cut up in traffic, deal with it - don't get mad or go on a revenge trip. Let it go. Confrontation solves nothing and you are the most likely to be the one losing their licence, or worse, making a rage induced mistake and ending up in A&E. If the other driver acts like that all the time, he will get his soon enough.
Wear all your gear when out on the bike, no matter how hot it may be. Gloves and boots are just as important as the jacket and leggings (both of those should be armoured and if riding in the UK, waterproof). The most important item is the skid lid. Choosing the right one for you has to be done with care - your super deluxe top of the range lid will be of no more use than a paper party hat if it comes off in an accident. It should be a snug fit, not tight enough to give you headaches, but tight enough so that you can't grab the chin piece and turn it with your head inside it. If you can pull the fastened strap upward over your chin, the helmet is no good for you. I would also recommend a Pinlock visor which will be resistant to misting up. A skid lid is single use only - once its been in an accident its then no good and needs replacing.

Apart from all that - welcome to the brotherhood!
 

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  • Assume every other vehicle on the road is TRYING to kill you.
  • Make sure you can see the driver's face of other cars in THEIR mirrors.
  • Do not go 'toe-to-toe' with a-hole cagers... you will lose. If you see an aggressive driver, or a driver texting, don't try to correct their behavior... back off and live to see another day. Take a different road. Just get away from them... it's not worth it. Your family will thank you for it. :)
And something I only learned 20 years after I started riding... wearing ear plugs makes riding SO much more enjoyable! It isn't just cutting your exhaust noise, it mostly cuts down the wind noise in your helmet.
 

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Hey folks,

Recently passed my test (today!) and without having any riders in the family, or friends that ride (f'ing tragic I hear you say) reaching out to the Rat fraternity for your best advise for new or seasoned riders.

I'm sure there'll be old and new riders alike that could maybe learn from something you wish you knew when you were starting out?

Cheers, Ben
Hey Ben,

Well done on passing your test, fantastic!

I have three bits of advice that I’ve cobbled together from 27 years of misadventures on big, little, good, crap and lovely bikes;

1. Ride your own bike; when in a group don’t try and keep up and don’t follow silly behaviour, it will end in tears.

2. Look and look again, then do your lifesaver. You have to assume that people are not looking for bikes.

3. Plan and execute your route, but if you feel you are going too fast in a bend just keep the line and don’t brake, she will go around. If you brake the bike will go straight and sit up; hold your nerve and save the bike.

Enjoy two wheeled freedom mate!


Chris
 

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There's obviously different specific advice and tips depending on the riding situation, busy traffic, fast a roads, tight twisty b roads, motorways etc., but there are some general things that I hope might be helpful.

Don't put yourself in situations where you're relying on others to keep you safe, you can't control what they do only your own actions.

Be confident and positive without being aggressive, control the space around you.

Don't put yourself in positions that make you difficult to spot by car drivers, for example riding closely behind larger vehicles, pull back if approaching junction so drivers can see you, I would usually try to overtake any van or wagon at the earliest opportunity as I like to see ahead and be seen.
Rather than blame car drivers for not looking properly it's up to you to make yourself seen, again you can control your actions but not theirs.

Overtaking on any reasonably powerful bike is easy so it's not worth taking any risks, don't overtake on filter Lanes or near junctions /petrol stations etc, be especially careful passing long queues of traffic for people pulling out without indicating, try to leave a good gap between you and a car's you're passing just in case.
Make sure you've planned a gap will you can slot back in before you overtake, and remember you've probably gained a lot of speed during the overtake so you may have to brake when you slot back in.
If you see a wagon /tractor or anything similar in the opposite direction with a queue of cars behind then anticipate that people will be trying to pull out to overtake, and they could have been stuck behind for miles and be very desperate, move over to the left of the lane to give yourself some safety margin and for them to see you sooner.
Don't feel obliged to overtake just because people have pulled over to the left in front of you, this happens to me a lot and they may think they're being helpful (more likely it's my loud exhaust) but it's up to you to pick when you want to overtake.

General cornering advice, rushing into corners too fast and then panicking is probably one of the biggest causes of accidents amongst New riders, unfortunately I'm speaking from bitter experience here.
Control your entry speed, stay on the brakes until you're confident your entry speed is low enough to make the corner, even if you have to brake all the way to the apex it doesn't matter, it's far safer than the alternative, trail braking is a valid technique for the road not just for the track.
And the thing that even experienced riders still struggle with, target fixation, Look where you want to go not at the hazard you think you might hit. Easier said than done but get into the habit of turning your head and looking towards the exit of the corner, generally the bike will go where you're looking.
Practice your countersteering, whether you prefer to push on the inside bar or pull on the opposite side or a combination of both, personally I prefer to push on the inside bar, then if I ever feel I'm getting into trouble everything is focused on one side i.e, to go left, look left push left.
Forget about body position for now, moving your head over and maybe your shoulders towards the inside of the corner is enough, imagine your pointing your chin towards the direction you want to go, this obviously helps with the the bike going where you're looking as well.

don't buy into this common School of thought that every car driver is out to kill you, they are not, the vast majority are just going about the daily business the same as you so I don't see that's helpful.
In fact I found it to be the opposite case, i find most car drivers are very cautious around bikes AS LONG AS THEY'VE SEEN YOU, which goes back to my point about being your responsibility to make yourself seen.

Do a little mini analysis on every ride when you get home, was there any moments where you felt in danger or any near misses, think what you could have done differently to avoid the situation not what the other person should have done.
I read somewhere that you should treat every accident as being your fault and learn from it and figure out what you could have done differently to avoid it even if the other person was technically (and legally) to blame. because if you don't and just say it was the other guys fault then there's nothing stopping you having the same accident again a week later.

A modern well maintained bike is far more capable the most of us will ever be so have confidence in it, the bike will get you home safely if you let it.

Above all enjoy it, the vast majority of people are too scared or put off by scared relatives to ever give it a go, so they'll all be incredibly jealous as you cruise past on your Thruxton :cool:

Don't worry too much about not having other people to ride with, people may disagree but in my opinion it's far safer on your own especially when you're learning.

I found some of this guys videos very helpful, gives out some basic no-nonsense advice.
 

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Never stop moving your eyes. Wear safety gear all the time (ATGATT). Always expect the unexpected from a car or truck.
The day you think you are better than your bike, is the day you will die ! Always RIDE SAFE.
I forgot another important fact ' NEVER TRUST ANYBODY ELSE' when you are on your bike, that includes your wife/gf, cops, or any body.
 

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There is some great advice in this thread.

Take a rider safety course and a few non-competitive track days after you have been riding for a bit. Track days help with learning to focus and also builds confidence in maneuvering in an emergency.

And save drinks for when you are done riding for the day.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 

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I don't think anybody's mentioned indicators.
Get into the habit of checking often that you've turned them off, because you will leave them on occasionally everybody does. Unless you've got those loud buzzers they sometimes fit on training school bikes :p
I try to double-check mine a few hundred yards after I've used them to make sure they are off, I also glance down to check if I'm approaching a side road on my left with traffic waiting to pull out, obviously the most dangerous time to still have your left hand indicator on accidentally.
 

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Water bring oil and antifreeze to the surface so be extra careful at a gas station.
Wild animals want to get a closer look at your face, especially at dusk and dawn.
ALWAYS wear a helmet and leathers, we all go down and the ground is really hard and abrasive.
Practice using the front brake, learn to countersteer and look where you want to be going while scanning the road and sides of the road.
You never have the right of way and watch the car's front wheel. They will look right at you and run you over, who knows why.
 

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Most important...what ever bike you start out on get a set of good frame mounted crash guards, odds are you will have a spill or at least drop the bike once or twice. Wear only a full face helmet until you've put at least 10k on a bike...you could loose half you face in a high speed fall in a 3/4 or half helmet.

ATGATT! All the gear, all the time!!!! Until you are a seasoned rider always wear an armored jacket and pants.

A loud airhorn is also a great addition. The Stebel Nautilus sells for about $40 in the US and sounds like a Mac truck...someone starts to slide into your lane and one toot jolts them!

Never leave your registration and insurance card in the storage of the bike.

Get a good disc lock like a XENA

Motorcycle riding is about anticipating the dumb ass things every car driver will do...always assume they don't see you!

Be most careful around the following drivers:

Moms in minivans...they are distracted by the kids, actually they are just distracted period.

Asian drivers...Koreans are the worst followed by the Chinese(my wife is Chinese, I speak from experience), Indian women are third.

Tractor trailer drivers are tricky...if you are on a Harley or Indian they will be courteous, if you are on a Euro bike they will be indifferent, if you are on a Jap crotch rocket they will try to take you out.

Welcome to the clan!
 

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Lots of good advice here. Never rush, wear the gear, eyes up looking far down the road. As for riders, check meetup.com for riding groups in your area.You'll likely make many new friends as I have running such a meetup.com group.
 
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