Advice on riding
Two books will be excellent: Buy David L. Hough's Mastering the Ride: More Proficient Motorcycling, 2nd Edition. Read it and re-read it. Keith Code's A Twist of the Wrist Vol. 2: The Basics of High-Performance Motorcycle Riding (or A Twist of the Wrist II: The Basics of High-Performance Motorcycle Riding) has Code's Survival Reactions--reactions that are natural, normal, and the wrong thing to do. Good book to own, but OK to see if your local public library can get it, maybe through an interlibrary loan. I didn't find the original, volume 1 TOTW as useful.
Parking lot practice. Not just riding easy on safe roads. Find an empty parking lot with the lines painted at right angles, not angle parking.
1--On the long straight lines, just idle in 1st gear and slip the clutch. Ride slowly. Lightly touch the rear brake only and ride very slowly. Now up to slow. Now down to very slow. Continue this until you feel smooth at straight slow riding allowing the clutch to slip (it's in an oil bath and made to do this) and using only the rear brake when riding very slowly.
2--Make s-turns on the painted cross lines. First make s-turns that are 4 parking slots wide. Very important--turn your whole head to look where you intend to go. Do not look where you're going; look where you need to go. Make more s-turns 4 slots wide. Now make s-turns 3-1/2 slots wide. Do it again. Now 3 slots wide. Again. Now 2-1/2 slots wide. Again. Try for 2 slots wide (usually 14'). If you need to slow, slip the clutch and maybe drag the rear brake. Do not use the front brake when turning very slowly--good way to dump the bike. A bit more clutch stands the bike up. Too much clutch kills the engine while your turning--crunch. A bit less clutch engagement lets the bike drop into the turn.
3--Make circles in the lot. Turn your whole head all the way to the side to look where you want to go. Make circles 4 slots wide, both left and right turns. Expect one direction to be easier than the other--that's normal--but make turns equally both directions. Now 3-1/2 slots wide, left then right. Now 3 slots wide. Now 2-1/2 slots wide both left and right.
4--Make eights. Just like circles & s-turns, but now one circle left and a connected circle right (or vice versa). An eight. 4 slots wide, then 3-1/2, then 3, then 2-1/2 slots wide.
5--Stop. Turn the front wheel all the way to one side. Start ahead and make a 90° turn from the stop. Do it the other direction.
6--Look on the web site for the class you'll take and the riding exercises and the exam. Practice as much as you can.
7--Practice taking off from a stop in 2nd gear. It isn't recommended, but we all have done it inadvertently, and you will too. You must not start off in 2nd in traffic, kill the engine, and dump the bike in front of traffic. Get the feel for it.
8--Make short stops. Nothing scary. Get up to 15 mph or so, then smoothly apply both brakes. Stop straight, smooth, and short. Give the rear brake some pedal, then ease off as the bike pitches forward and weight comes off the rear. In the last few inches as you stop, give the rear more pressure. Give the front progressively more pressure as the weight transfers onto the front tire. Never ever stomp the rear brake pedal. Never jam on the front brake. If you skid the rear (and don't have ABS), hold the pedal down, don't release it until you stop. Hough explains why. If you skid the front, release and reapply less abruptly. When coming to a stop in traffic, concentrate on stopping and getting one or two feet down. Then look at traffic. Or, stop and look at traffic at the same time. Then get out from under your dumped bike, pick it up, hope no one you know saw you, and ride away blaming the bike.
9--Countersteer. Traveling 15 mph or so, in a safe location, press forward just a bit on the left grip. This will make the bike turn left. Pull back on the left to straighten. Press forward on the right grip, you'll turn right, pull back on the right to straighten. Find some tar spots, fallen leaves, or make some chalk marks, and swerve around these. Push on one grip then on the other to swerve and return to your original path. Always countersteer to turn the bike when you're traveling more than a walking pace. Countersteer harder to turn sharper. Countersteer into wind gusts.
Very important--keep your eyes up. Keep your line of vision up toward the horizon. Do not look down. You will go where you're looking. Look down and you'll be more likely to go down. Look at the safe route to ride. Look at a pothole and hit the pothole. Look at the safe path between potholes, and you'll ride the safe path. In a curve look at the turn exit as one of the first movements you make beginning the turn.
"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.
"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Last edited by PTRider; 10-03-2015 at 12:43 AM.