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Old 09-10-2009, 03:34 AM   #1
Calintz333
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Default How to get over the fear of riding?

So I made this post and its going to get a bit personal and maybe a touch bit emotional. If you guys are not interested in that don't read on

Anyway, I am afraid to ride a Motorcycle, Its something I wanted to do for a while now but I really am afraid. I was not this afraid of driving a car, mostly because the car has a ton of safety features, however there are no such features on a motorcycle.

Even with full gear, helmet, full body gear, a motorcycleist could be seriously hurt or even die in a 20-40mph crash.

I have had a few dreams of myself crashing when riding a motorcycle, I don't have one yet, and I did plan to do everything as safe as possible to avoid death.

Take the MFC, get a ton of parking lot, and non busy street training, all before even going on surface streets. Highway is well out of the question for at least a year.

Anyhow, I don't know if these dreams are signs that maybe riding just is not for me. Again its something I always wanted to do but I don't know if its very wise to put my life on the line at a much higher percentage than I would on my car just to save some money on gas, and for the general Experience.

Now that I think about it, I know no people who survive riding more than 20 years without a major accident. The one person I do know quit riding after a near fatal incident. Most of the motorcycle riders I know are first year or 2nd year riders on Sports bikes, with no gear on...really not bright people.

So what do you guys advice, I would like to understand riding, Id like to really experience it.

Anyone else felt like this before they started? or perhaps even more anxiety?
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:43 AM   #2
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It's all about confidence. Confidence should come with experience and familiarty, not a fearless addrenaline rush. Find a friend who rides, and ride with them, through not busy roads. When driving, look and watch bikes, see their spacing, riding position on the road, where other cars are. Make sure you're comfortable on your bike. Don't push yourself, do what's comfortable for you.
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:49 AM   #3
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Im not advising doing what I did....but it happened none the less.

I didnt get a license or take an MSF course.....in fact I was heading down the highway to work within the first 2 hours of owning a bike. Up to that point I had never ridden a bike or even set on one......I knew how to operate the clutch based on the fact every vehicle I own is a manual. I had balance from my many years or riding a moped and bicycle.....but I had ZERO experience riding.

So here I him hurtling to work, no license, no gear, no experience.....first thought - **** that pavement is moving fast and its only inches underneath me. Reality hit and I all the sudden has anxiety and fear.

This was only alleviated by experience.

I think the only way over the fear is just DOING it.....but maybe in smaller steps then I took. Do you know someone that has a moped....start small.
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:10 AM   #4
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Practice,practice, practice. Like Jay said, you need to build your confidence in yourself and your skills. Ride with a trusted friend or two who know how you feel, then practice some more. If you haven't taken the MSF course, do that first.
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay550 View Post
It's all about confidence. Confidence should come with experience and familiarty, not a fearless addrenaline rush. Find a friend who rides, and ride with them, through not busy roads. When driving, look and watch bikes, see their spacing, riding position on the road, where other cars are. Make sure you're comfortable on your bike. Don't push yourself, do what's comfortable for you.

I agree with jay550, CONFIDENCE is the main thing, even if you go to a parking lot and practice your skills, you still need to have the confidence in your ability and eventually your anxiety will diminish (hopefully) and you will be having fun. Good Luck
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:15 AM   #6
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I'm still scared of riding and have only been riding a little over a week. But I'll tell you what, every time I go out I feel less scared and like I can do more than I did the first time. I don't stall anymore, I can handle my turns (below 60mph) and I don't **** myself when I'm surrounded by cagers!

Just try it. Take an MSF course first to see if its for you! I wish I could take one, instead I'm stuck with Youtube videos, friends and the internet for instruction!

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Old 09-10-2009, 08:37 AM   #7
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I have sort of the same fear of driving a car, which is strange
cuz I drag raced when I was younger and my most recent job
was working in an exotic race car factory, so you never know
when that fear will strike. As for bike related stuff, as others
have mentioned, familiarity will help. Being confident...
Ive said this to the point of boring redundancy, if you can
afford a 800.00 dirt bike and have some woods, woods riding
will give you skills you cant get anywhere else. A day in the
woods is worth years on the road. It might be an investment
you want to make if you feel you will be riding a bike for life.
The one thing it teaches you really quickly is not being afraid
of falling. You WILL fall. A lot. But at slow speeds, and on soft
terrain, its usually no big deal. You may never fall on a road
bike, hopefully, but taking the fear out of it makes your riding
a lot easier. [ o.2¢]
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:04 AM   #8
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I feel like a broken record but confidence is key. I also feel that being as deathly afraid of motorcycling as you seem to be, maybe in the end it isn't the best thing for you. I don't want to scare you away from one of life's most amazing experiences, but if you get into a panic situation, your fear sets in and you can't react, that has all the makings of a crash.

My best recommendation would be to go out and take the MSF course. You're in a controlled environment, you're among other beginners and you have instruction and guidance all the way. This would be the best place to leave all your fears behind.

Also, I would not recommend watching other riders on the road and learning from them, there's no telling if they are displaying good or bad habits. I would also not recommend riding with your friends as a beginner. Group riding requires some experience to stay safe, and with the inexperienced, protectionless squids you described as knowing.. just don't do it.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:17 AM   #9
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Every one should have fear of riding. It can also be a good thing. I am 71 & been riding since I was 24 with no accidents(47 yrs). I am constantly looking around & thinking .....what if that car does that. I also do not ride on highways know for crazy drivers.

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Old 09-10-2009, 09:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porange View Post

Also, I would not recommend watching other riders on the road and learning from them, there's no telling if they are displaying good or bad habits. I would also not recommend riding with your friends as a beginner. Group riding requires some experience to stay safe, and with the inexperienced, protectionless squids you described as knowing.. just don't do it.

Ditto. Ive ridden in group situations and they were very scary.
You are at the mercy of whoever surrounds you. And for me,
I see a lot of motorcyclers who ride outside of the 'common sense'
zone that I am comfortable with, so now I dont put myself in
those situations. Getting good habits early on .. Constantly
checking your mirrors, awareness of your surroundings and
using hand signals if you feel the person behind you isnt paying
attention, etc....Make this stuff automatic.
Golden Rule : Never, never, never....did I say never, trust
a car. Eye contact, blinkers, whatever, still NOT TO BE TRUSTED !
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:19 AM   #11
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After you take the MFC course, you'll have a better idea if riding is for you or not.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:40 AM   #12
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Well first off you have to get rid of the attitude: "I don't think it's for me" If you keep that attitude, the first fall, or drop of the bike, it's gonna make you change your mind.

You're gonna fall at the beginning, it happens to everyone, the most common mistake is dropping it on the side, it's a little scary but nothing that can kill you.

Now in order to get rid of your bad attitude towards them, take the MSF course, at least you get your feet wet and see if you like it.
If you like it, then you can build more confidence and take the next step.

As for crashing, it could happen true, and yest you could be very skilled on the bike also, but you have to ride SMART.

First of all obey the rules, traffic signs, speed limits were all made to keep order and for the safety of the drivers\riders. Obey those and you'll take away a good chunk of dangers.

Ride defensively, cars, trucks etc are the only thing that riders can't control on a motorcycle, make sure that whatevere they might do, is not going to affect you. The swerve suddenly? well if you are in their blind spot, they can't see you and probably hit you, you have to make yourself visible, if I can't see their face on ther rearview mirrors, they can't see me, so I either speed up, slow down or switch lanes.

Protections seems to be already one of your top priorities, so nuff said for that.

Every person approaches this subject in a different way, you have to be honest with yourself and ask: "How much do I love motorcycles?"

Personally I adore them, they give me freedom, and a sensation that nothing else gave me before... So I am willing to make sacrifice for them. And to keep my head always on my shoulders, sometimes I watch gruesome videos on motorcycle accidents. Some people might change their mind after seeing videos like that, I just acknowledge them and understand that I am no different from those dead people, the only thing I can do is not be stupid like them.

So take the MSF course see what is all about, if you like it, embrace it in the safest way and you'll nevver regret it.

Good Luck
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calintz333 View Post
So I made this post and its going to get a bit personal and maybe a touch bit emotional. If you guys are not interested in that don't read on

Anyway, I am afraid to ride a Motorcycle, Its something I wanted to do for a while now but I really am afraid. I was not this afraid of driving a car, mostly because the car has a ton of safety features, however there are no such features on a motorcycle.

Even with full gear, helmet, full body gear, a motorcycleist could be seriously hurt or even die in a 20-40mph crash.

I have had a few dreams of myself crashing when riding a motorcycle, I don't have one yet, and I did plan to do everything as safe as possible to avoid death.

Take the MFC, get a ton of parking lot, and non busy street training, all before even going on surface streets. Highway is well out of the question for at least a year.

Anyhow, I don't know if these dreams are signs that maybe riding just is not for me. Again its something I always wanted to do but I don't know if its very wise to put my life on the line at a much higher percentage than I would on my car just to save some money on gas, and for the general Experience.

Now that I think about it, I know no people who survive riding more than 20 years without a major accident. The one person I do know quit riding after a near fatal incident. Most of the motorcycle riders I know are first year or 2nd year riders on Sports bikes, with no gear on...really not bright people.

So what do you guys advice, I would like to understand riding, Id like to really experience it.

Anyone else felt like this before they started? or perhaps even more anxiety?
Everyone here understands your fear,we've all been there.
First and formost the greatest safety feature you have on a bike is yourself and your knowledge of the road and the bike. Read the book"Proficient Motorcycling" by David Hough(Amazon.com) this will help you understand much.
I will PM you a site to read and this will also give you some insight and with knowledge comes confidence.
As others said take the MSF course,this can't be stressed enough and when you take the course go with the attitude "this I can do and enjoy it", it is a fun course and you will have a good experience.
Be careful who you go to for help on the road,not everyone makes a good instructor and don't go out prior to the MSF.
And not everyone who rides will have a bad wreck but it is posible.You may drop it while practicing low speed maneuvers or the such and this is good reason to start off with a smaller light weight bike.
Ultimately only you can make the decision to ride or not.Many of us start riding for the reason to save gas or just for the experience but soon it becomes a lifestyle.I wish you well in your decision.
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:53 AM   #14
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Your fear is a protection mechanism that most people have. However fear can be crippling if it is excessive. I have been riding for over forty years now. I do not have any fear of riding but do have of the other drivers I share the road with. I have been in two major accidents while riding, one put me in the hospital for a while. However that hasn’t kept me from riding, but it has taught me to be a very defensive rider.

I don’t think anyone has ever got on a bike and not had a certain level of fear. However if that fear is overpowering it can cause you to panic and panic can get you hurt or killed. If you dwell on everything that could possibly happen to you while riding you will never enjoy it. If you can not control your fear, please don’t get a bike.
After I left Vietnam I decided I wasn’t going to tip toe through life only to end up at deaths door. Enjoy life and live it to the fullest.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:06 AM   #15
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I remember being pretty nervous my first time out on my bike. I hadn't really ridden before, playing around on my friend's 250 getting used to the friction zone and one ride that was about a 2 mile ride around some neighborhoods were my only experience.

Then I went out cruising with my cousin on some county roads with more or less no experience. 1 afternoon and 150miles later I was comfortable nearly scraping my pegs at 65mph+ and not nearly as anxious as I was before that.

I'm not saying that's the best for everyone, but experience really helps. I'd recommend taking an MSF class if nothing but for a chance to sit on a bike and ride it around a bit. You get to ride in a slow paced, controlled environment, on smaller bikes with very experienced riders as instructors who want to see you pass the course.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:24 AM   #16
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The danger of motorcycling is sometimes blown out of proportion by the media and by non-bikers. Yes, it's more dangerous than driving a car, but is the difference between .00001% and .00003% really worth worrying about? Accidents in both cases are pretty unlikely.

A lot of cycling accidents are also alcohol related. Ride sober, and your chances improve a lot.

During the first week or so after moving from my old bike to my new one, I was pretty nervous. But after a few days and a few rides it went away. I think you just need to give it some seat time before deciding to continue or stop. I had a few scary dreams at first too, but they went away after a few months of riding. Guess my brain just had to be convinced by reality.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:39 AM   #17
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I just bought my 1st bike. I have ridden dirt bikes when I was younger and the last few years have tinkered w/ a ct-70 mini trail. I started riding my bike around my parents neighborhood. I did this for about a week or so. After I got comfortable doing that I rode it to my buddies house who lived 5mins from my parents. That got me used to riding on streets w/ some traffic. I was a little nervous to start out with, but the feeling I get from just cruising around has helped give me the confidence to ride more and more. I have been riding for about a month now and have yet to get it out on the highway. I know I am not ready for that. The best advice I can give is start out small within your comfort level and slowly push yourself into new situations.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:01 PM   #18
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After you take the MFC course, you'll have a better idea if riding is for you or not.
I meant to say MSF course
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylernt View Post
The danger of motorcycling is sometimes blown out of proportion by the media and by non-bikers. Yes, it's more dangerous than driving a car, but is the difference between .00001% and .00003% really worth worrying about? Accidents in both cases are pretty unlikely.

A lot of cycling accidents are also alcohol related. Ride sober, and your chances improve a lot.

During the first week or so after moving from my old bike to my new one, I was pretty nervous. But after a few days and a few rides it went away. I think you just need to give it some seat time before deciding to continue or stop. I had a few scary dreams at first too, but they went away after a few months of riding. Guess my brain just had to be convinced by reality.
Is that really the percentages? I have read on some sites that say 12- 14% of Accidents on the road are motorcycle related, and they only make up 2%-5% of vehicles. Statistics like those are the ones that kinda frighten me. I think the MFC is a good start as a lot of you have said. I already am reading the book Proficient motorcycleing and I am also reading the book "How to ride a Motorcycle" I'm prob going to invest in MFC first, but to do MFC I probably need to buy a Helmet, and gear, which is a lot of money just to try something out.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:53 PM   #20
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I didn't have the fear when I started, but I did get spooked one day about 20 years into my riding career. Nothing special happened, I just felt unsafe. I stopped riding for about 6 months and missed it too much. Go your own pace, stick with familiar roads, and wear whatever gear makes you feel safe. I think your fear will pass.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:57 PM   #21
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No, those weren't actual numbers. But you can play the statistics game all day long. In your analysis of motorcycling accidents, should you exclude drunk rider crashes, if you won't be drinking? Do you exclude sport bike incidents, if you won't be riding a sport bike? Do you exclude the 16-32 age group's statistics, if you're older? Do you exclude accidents that happen on highways, if you'll only be riding in town? There are so many variables the numbers rapidly become meaningless.

I believe that many, if not most, motorcycle accidents are the rider's fault. Yes, sometimes cars are "at fault" as far as the right-of-way law is concerned, but in many, or at least some, of these cases an alert and defensive rider could have seen the right-of-way violation coming and swerved or braked to avoid the incident.

In short, I think your attitude is more important than statistics.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:59 PM   #22
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Yep - after the MSF course and you still don't feel like you belong on a bike don't push it. Riding motorcycle is a risky business, and you'd have to be a risk taker (depends on what level) to ride.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:09 PM   #23
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Quote:
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I believe that many, if not most, motorcycle accidents are the rider's fault. Yes, sometimes cars are "at fault" as far as the right-of-way law is concerned, but in many, or at least some, of these cases an alert and defensive rider could have seen the right-of-way violation coming and swerved or braked to avoid the incident.
This is an interesting point of view. While I agree that a smart and alert rider can avoid many crashes, I would not go so far as to say that it is the rider's fault if he or she doesn't do so. If a car blatantly violates my right of way and causes a crash, just because I didn't see it coming soon enough does not make it my fault. If I notice it and choose to do nothing about it, or panic and react in a harmful way then that is a horse of another color.

A rider can control most of the factors involved in a ride, the main exception is obviously cagers. You can observe, predict and avoid their actions, but not 100% of the time.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:28 PM   #24
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In my area the biggest percentage of motorcycle accidents are single vehicle accidents and related to alcohol and speed. Cruisers riders sitting in bars too long and then trying to ride home, and sport bikes seeing how fast they can take the corners. Very small percentage of cage vs bike accidents. I live in a rual mountainous area fo Northern California
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:48 PM   #25
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Ride, ride, and then.........ride some more.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:57 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylernt View Post

I believe that many, if not most, motorcycle accidents are the rider's fault. Yes, sometimes cars are "at fault" as far as the right-of-way law is concerned, but in many, or at least some, of these cases an alert and defensive rider could have seen the right-of-way violation coming and swerved or braked to avoid the incident.

In short, I think your attitude is more important than statistics.
As someone who's fallen on the road twice, gotta agree.
We know we ride wih a target on our backs.
We know cars, trucks have blind spots.
We know the rule of tonnage always wins.
We know intersections are where 85% of all MC accidents take place....
But we still keep crashing.

The times Ive crashed I wasnt paying enuff attention.
Thats all. It wasnt the 'cager' or man trying to hold me down....
I was comftable enuff to forget the stuff we are 'sposed to know.

When I hear MC ppl say "I had to lay it down", Im at least polite
enuff to walk away before I laff out loud.


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Old 09-10-2009, 02:02 PM   #27
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Understand the danger and then you should be relieved.
Half the crashes of bikes involve just the rider .
A quarter or more have been drinking.
More crashes involve people that never took a safety course or have even their license.

Don't ride faster than you can react.
Don't drink and ride.
Take a class & get licensed.

You have just eliminated 1/2 the crashes.

I have a headlight modulator and an air horn to help with the other half.
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Old 09-10-2009, 02:24 PM   #28
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Quote:
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While I agree that a smart and alert rider can avoid many crashes, I would not go so far as to say that it is the rider's fault if he or she doesn't do so.
I guess the point I was trying to make is, if you fail to have an escape plan for every car that can threaten you, and there does end up being an incident, then I bet you'd wish you could go back and do it differently.

If you were going to get hit no matter how far away and how long you saw it coming and no matter what evasive maneuvers you took, then yeah, that's totally the car driver's fault. However I think those situations are fairly rare, and probably even less frequent than car-on-car accidents. Just IMHO, I have no evidence to back that up.
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Old 09-10-2009, 02:31 PM   #29
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I guess the point I was trying to make is, if you fail to have an escape plan for every car that can threaten you, and there does end up being an incident, then I bet you'd wish you could go back and do it differently.
Well yeah, hindsight is 20/20.. this applies to almost every aspect of life!
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:44 PM   #30
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I feel your pain. I'm so nervous everytime I go out, but then I get going and it feels so amazing and I remember why I learned. It's definitely the whole confidence thing and knowledge thing. You should get out there and try it and if you decide it's not for you at least then you can say you tried and not wonder forever. And I look at it this way... there's risk in everything you do and you can die doing just about anything so try not to focus too much on the statistics and stories you hear all the time. Just try to be as safe as possible.
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:18 PM   #31
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I highly doubt you'll feel the need to stay off the highway after riding a bit. There's not THAT big of a difference between 45 mph and 60, in my opinion. I thought the highway would scare the living crap outta me, so I waited till like 11 pm at night on a night when there were no cars out at all. I found the first ride at 65 to be rather calm and smooth. It was actually very anticlimactic.

My advice:

Don't drink and ride. This is just stupid, and it accounts for a lot of crashes.

Ride your own ride. This means don't try to keep up with a more experienced rider. I wouldn't group ride at all for quite awhile honestly...

Don't brake in the middle of a corner and don't go into the corner too hot. Single vehicle accidents in corners also make up a large percentage of crashes. Slow down!

If you use common sense and pay attention to the road, you'll eliminate a lot of hazards. Get your MSF under your belt and get your license legally too. Wear your gear, etc...
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:42 PM   #32
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I highly doubt you'll feel the need to stay off the highway after riding a bit. There's not THAT big of a difference between 45 mph and 60, in my opinion.
I agree, if you have a windshield. The buffeting doesn't bother me up to 50ish, but faster than that for more than a few minutes gets annoying.

A motorcycle (not counting one with worn or misaligned parts) gets more stable as speed increases (up to a point). If you can deal with the wind and your bike and road surface are in good condition, yeah, the highway should be no problem for a newbie. In fact, the first time is kinda fun -- 50MPH feels like 100.
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:21 PM   #33
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I'll see how the MFC works sometime this weekend then. Get some general information. See if they are going to ask me to already own 1000+ dollars worth of gear or if they provide it. How much the course is and so on. If they ask for me to already have riding gear, and on top of that the 300 dollar fee, that could be as high as $1300 dollars just to "Try" it. Which Is a bit much considering I am an unemployed student living off my Grants, scholarships, and financial Aid. (Which is basically what I used to save up the 5000 to get started with motorcycle riding, took me about 4 years to do it too.
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:35 PM   #34
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It may vary by location, but one MSF BRC course web page I found said "Students need to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts or jackets, full-fingered gloves, over the ankle foot ware and a DOT approved helmet. Helmets will be supplied for those students that do not have a D.O.T approved helmet. Eye protection must also be worn either in the form of a face shield or shatter resistant glasses."
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:41 PM   #35
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I have a question about that, I use prescription glasses, what can I do about that? I can't see anything without my glasses ether. I have a really bad eye astigmatism.

Does having to wear prescription glasses heavily hinder my ability to ride well?
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:16 PM   #36
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Being nervous is very natural. On a bike you need a clear head and a positive attitude. Don't wait for something bad to happen. Go out and make something good happen. Get on your bike, ride in an area of safety over and over and over again until you feel ready to expand. Expand further over and over and keep expanding... My wife recently took the MSF and passed and we bought her a Ninja 250. She is the girliest girl in the world-you know. I didn't believe she would pass. I didn't believe she would ride. She's done it. She was as scared as a 5 year old being urged to jump in the deep end of the pool by daddy. I just told her to take it 1 ride at a time. Every successful ride and return home brought the biggest smile and boost of confidence I've ever seen in her. She told me she had dreams of crashing before taking the msf. She had crash dreams for the first week of riding thereafter. I told her to use the dreams as motivation to be safe, be alert for cagers, use it as a reason to be smart on your bike. Fear is a very successful motivator. I think all you need is a lot of repetition and positive outlook to be good at anything. You gotta get on the bike bro and make it happen.
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:46 PM   #37
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Calintz333

Just get some shatter resistant eye protection that fits over your prescription glasses. We have them for guys at my work - you may look like RoboCop but it works!
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:48 PM   #38
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I have a question about that, I use prescription glasses, what can I do about that? I can't see anything without my glasses ether. I have a really bad eye astigmatism.

Does having to wear prescription glasses heavily hinder my ability to ride well?
The helmet is usually provided for you. As far as glasses go, I think the ones you wear will suffice. Call the course provider and ask...
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:53 PM   #39
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I agree, if you have a windshield. The buffeting doesn't bother me up to 50ish, but faster than that for more than a few minutes gets annoying.

A motorcycle (not counting one with worn or misaligned parts) gets more stable as speed increases (up to a point). If you can deal with the wind and your bike and road surface are in good condition, yeah, the highway should be no problem for a newbie. In fact, the first time is kinda fun -- 50MPH feels like 100.
Well, what I have on my bike could hardly be considered a windshield, but the wind doesn't really bother me that much. It hits me square in the chest. Of course, I can tuck completely behind it and things are much smoother. But I see guys on cruisers and streetfighters alike going 70+ with no windshield...you just have to get used to it...
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:57 PM   #40
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I believe that many, if not most, motorcycle accidents are the rider's fault. Yes, sometimes cars are "at fault" as far as the right-of-way law is concerned, but in many, or at least some, of these cases an alert and defensive rider could have seen the right-of-way violation coming and swerved or braked to avoid the incident.
You know, this morning I did something very stupid and something I really should have avoided. I was very angry with myself after the fact.

Heading down the highway around 5:30 or so this morning on my way to work and I approach a semi in the right lane. An SUV is in the left and is almost passed, so slip into the left and begin to pass (I usually accelerate as I pass so as not to stay in the blindspot for more than a second). For whatever reason, the SUV starts slowing (maybe took a phone call on the cell or texting?) and truck catches back up and my dumb*ss is now stuck right beside the semi. I quickly slowed down to remove myself from his blindspot and waited until I could safely pass.

What I should have done was wait until the SUV completely passed the semi so I knew I could safely complete the pass.

So yes, riders can really avoid a lot of situations.
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