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Old 01-04-2013, 03:55 AM   #1
strath
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Can you teach yourself to ride a motorcycle safely. i believe in days gone by that was the way you learned.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:29 AM   #2
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Yup that's how most of us old farts did it. But remember, back then there wasn't as many idiots out there playing with their phone or mp3 player and at one time the max speed was 55mph. So at 55 you could mess with your 4 track tape player and still pay attention to the road. Ha! I'm not sure I would have survived in today's world. But it can be done but would suggest empty parking lots with a lot of practice before you try traffic.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:12 AM   #3
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Most people can teach themselves anything if they put their mind to it.

When many of us "older" guys learned to ride, that was the only option. Many spent several years on smaller dirt bikes off-road and out of traffic until we got a handle on how a motorcycle operates. We fell down a lot and learned some of the basic things the hard way.

That being said, if my life depended on it, I'd rather not go to a surgeon that was self-taught. I think the best way to learn to ride is by getting the proper instruction.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodsfall View Post
Most people can teach themselves anything if they put their mind to it.

When many of us "older" guys learned to ride, that was the only option. Many spent several years on smaller dirt bikes off-road and out of traffic until we got a handle on how a motorcycle operates. We fell down a lot and learned some of the basic things the hard way.

That being said, if my life depended on it, I'd rather not go to a surgeon that was self-taught. I think the best way to learn to ride is by getting the proper instruction.
Amen.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:12 AM   #5
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MSF course booked for march. better safe than sorry,thanks for the replys.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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I learned to ride on a small trail bike years ago, I had plenty of empty fields to ride after the farmers took off their crops, Dropped the bike a couple of times nothing major, some of my buddies bought dirt bikes too so we kind of gave each other pointers even though we didn't know what we were doing. It was a learning experience. But enjoyed riding and still do.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:36 PM   #7
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Taught myself how to ride back in 74 on a friends little Harley 90. First and last time I ever rode a Harley. Then moved up to a Yamaha DT250. Good Times for sure.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:17 PM   #8
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They had MSF back when I started, but nobody knew anything about it.

Learned myself. 180,000 miles later, and I'm still enjoying 2 wheels. Still haven't taken the MSF...and never will.

In my opinion MSF is nice, but not necessary.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:35 PM   #9
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I guess it makes it easier to get your endorsement.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strath View Post
Can you teach yourself to ride a motorcycle safely. i believe in days gone by that was the way you learned.
Absolutely. I rode (and raced) for a few years before I ever took any kind of riding class or school. I'd say that I rode fairly safely.

That being said, I think that it is often easier and more beneficial to have someone teach you how to ride so that you don't end up with bad habits that may need breaking. (I had several!)

And I also think that no matter how good, safe, fast you are, you can always become better, safer, faster with some help from qualified riding coaches that can see your mistakes (many of which you many not be aware of) and that are trained to help you improve.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Can you teach yourself to ride a motorcycle safely. i believe in days gone by that was the way you learned.
Just take your time, eventually you'll get the hang of it. Best to start with a small, more easily handled bike
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:10 PM   #12
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MSF Course is outstanding. Even for experienced riders. In fact they have classes for seasoned riders.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:06 PM   #13
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I recently taught myself to ride at the age of 55 on a 1400 Suzuki Intruder. However, before taking on the idiots in traffic I rode many mile on the back-roads around my home.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:18 AM   #14
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Seems like a few folks on here are self taught, i just want to ride safely and have fun
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:28 PM   #15
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Sure you can. As you read above many of us did it. Does that mean that lessons have no value. Not at all. Someone has already figured out how to ride, why not shorten your learning curve by learning from them.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:51 PM   #16
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Trial and error is expensive. Taking the class lowered my insurance rates.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:18 PM   #17
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I rode when I was a teenager and did fine. I didn't take a class and basically taught myself. I then didn't ride for 35+ years and started riding again this summer. I took the class and am so glad I did. I had ridden about 2 months waiting for the class. I learned a lot in the 2 days of the class. It really boosted my comfort and settled my nerves a lot. I felt so much more relaxed and confident on my next ride after the class. That in itself made the class worth the cost & effort. I also learned a lot during the class and had a good start on the things I need to practice. I feel it jump started my riding abilities and confidence level. I really recommend that every new rider take the class and it wouldn't be a waste of time for an experienced rider. It had no effect on my insurance rate unfortunately.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strath View Post
Can you teach yourself to ride a motorcycle safely. i believe in days gone by that was the way you learned.
Learned on dirt bikes with friends, spent a couple of days with an uncle learning street bikes, and from there lots of reading and riding. (If I had an opportunity to ride with older guys I would go for it, got a lot of useful tips over the years)
I have been fortunate in my riding, I have gone down 3x, never got seriously hurt just had to put the bike back together. On the busy roads of NJ, I would encourage any new rider to take advantage of a course. Seriously thinking of taking one myself this upcoming year, just to see where I stand, and improve my riding skills, always room to improve.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:17 AM   #19
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I learned in 1975 on a 125 Hodaka dirt bike. While you can teach yourself (obviously) there is really no reason not to take the msf course. They provide the bike, you show up for 3 days and learn and have fun, plus you get to meet other noobs and make some friends. While I was "self-taught" I took the course a few years ago, was I bored somewhat, yes, but I learned some things as well. ( I took the course with my then wife, now known as the defendant)
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:23 PM   #20
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When I got my first bike, a Honda 90, I took it out on the local
city streets near my home and taught myself to ride it.
No problem. That was the late 1960s.
But one of the best things I did was to religiously read the
safety columns in Roger Hull's Road Rider magazine.
I practiced what he preached and here I am today, over a
quarter of a million miles and twelve motorcycles later, still
riding. Just a few minor falls that taught me what NOT to
do the next time.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:40 PM   #21
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Sure. And you can teach yourself to pack a parachute for sky diving. Yes, people used to do it this way, and no, it was never a good idea. If you dump the bike once, the repairs are more than the cost of a course. Statistics show that, even for experienced riders, motorcyclists who take an MSF course have remarkably lower rates of injury in accidents in the six months following a motorcycle safety course.

Many riders never learn the fine points of controlling a motorcycle. They may be able to get around, but they can’t turn easily, and their braking skills are poor. Sooner or later they get scared to death, and many of them stop riding.

Riders who take the time to learn to ride well, have more control and more confidence. You ride for enjoyment. Why not set yourself up for more enjoyment, not less?

-Rikki @ MichaelPadway.com
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:12 PM   #22
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Thanks rivetgirl, i come from the UK, and now live in asheville nc, 5 minutes from the blueridge parkway, i just want to get out and ride americas lovely roads SAFELY, msf course booked for march.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:06 AM   #23
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Talking about learning to ride, is it best, for a first time rider, to buy a 125cc dirt bike and learn to ride? or is there another bike thats perfect for a first time rider?
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:04 AM   #24
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That was my fav dirt bike, & I def learned way more about handling a bike after riding on the dirt for several years
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:00 PM   #25
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I think this question the OP asked can best be described as applying to anything we want to add in skill level. Professional instruction in anything is a boost to the "tools in your tool box".
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:14 PM   #26
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learn to ride a bicycle in a parking lot, and after some confidence on the streets.
A bicycle is very affordable (often you can find them for under $200), and once you have the hang of a bicycle, a scooter will be kinda a piece of cake.
For a motorcycle, you just have to learn how to shift gears.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:41 PM   #27
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Quote:
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Can you teach yourself to ride a motorcycle safely. i believe in days gone by that was the way you learned.
Prior to a couple weeks ago, I had never ridden a motorcycle. I took a two-day safety course, and found it absolutely invaluable. I learned SO MUCH, and I just can't fathom trying to figure it out on my own. Yeah, I would've been able to ride around and shift just fine, but there are lot of things our instructor taught us that I wouldn't have figured out on my own, except for perhaps by learning the hard way.

I had a lot of fun, and by the end of the course, I aced the DMV test. And the best part was that the DMV test was included as part of the course. In Virginia, when you pass the course, your license is automatic -- no further testing required.

As far as I'm concerned, this test should be required for all new license applicants.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:22 PM   #28
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it is over here in FL, however, unless you're able to balance a 2 wheeler, you're not allowed on these tests.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:24 PM   #29
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it is over here in FL, however, unless you're able to balance a 2 wheeler, you're not allowed on these tests.
Oops, typo. I meant to say "this course", not "this test".
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:31 PM   #30
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You will benefit from the MSF course. When my fiance wanted me to teach her how to ride, I told her no and I sent her to the MSF course first, then worked with her to practice and improve. She thanked me for it later.

When I took the MSF course a while ago, there were a few experienced riders who had been riding for a long time. Even they said they learned quite a bit, saw what they had been doing wrong, and resolved some of the "issues" they didn't even know they were struggling with, but rather just accepted as part of riding, and now they had a better way of doing them.

The MSF is good to show what you need to know and how to do it, but you won't be street ready once you leave there, it's up to you to keep practicing what you learned in a parking lot, or when there's very little traffic.

Here in CA, passing the MSF course also counts as the DMV practical test, so you would only need to take the written test for the MC endorsement on your license.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:31 PM   #31
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I was very impressed with the quality of instruction at the MSF
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:23 AM   #32
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What you can do and what you should do many times are different.

This is one of those times.

I *did* teach myself......and 5 years later I won a free course....so I took the Basic Rider Course.

Yes.....after 5 years and over 100K miles on a motorcycle (I average about 25K a year).......I took a Basic Rider Course.

......and I learned stuff.....not alot.

I wasnt the best rider there......not by a long shot, despite the fact I WAS the guy there that road the longest.

That means something......my original teacher wasnt worth a ****.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:36 AM   #33
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I'm currently in the MSF course and never rode a motorbike until the course. Honestly, I could've taught myself how to ride a motorbike without many issues, but that's mostly due to the fact that I drive a manual transmission car, plus the fact that I rode bicycles throughout my childhood and teenage years.

I've learned some decent info from the MSF, but nothing that blew me away. Not yet, at least. Just completed the knowledge test on Wednesday, we go back out on the range this Saturday/Sunday for the last two days of class. Can't wait to get my M endorsement so that I can test drive some bikes
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:36 PM   #34
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Back in the day I taught myself to ride and to pack my own parachute.
When I got back to riding I did take the MSF to make getting my
license easier. I broke out a book to learn to pack my chute. The only
malfunction I had was with a chute a rigger packed.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:20 PM   #35
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The only
malfunction I had was with a chute a rigger packed.
Did you have some words with him after you landed?
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:48 PM   #36
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I am positive it is possible to teach yourself how to ride. You just have to do research and practice. One of the best bikes to practice on are the ones the "old farts" used to ride in the 60s when they were kids. They're fairly hard to come by especially in decent running condition, but I snagged a 1965 Honda S65. They are perfect to practice on and even to ride when your more seasoned. They're just a fun ride and beautiful little motorcycles. I'm really young and still drool when I look at mine.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:50 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strath View Post
Thanks rivetgirl, i come from the UK, and now live in asheville nc, 5 minutes from the blueridge parkway, i just want to get out and ride americas lovely roads SAFELY, msf course booked for march.
I come from Ireland and I'm stuck in the South Western part of Virginia and as beautiful as it is, I don't like it, but the curved roads are great practice and fun. I took MSF and I have been riding just under a week in traffic and I haven't had a single issue yet. I have put somewhere around 159 miles on my bike so far. MSF was the best college class I ever took and it gave me my 2 PE credits required for my degree.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:47 AM   #38
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I took a class offered down here called "R.I.D.E." which is run by an ex motorcycle cop, and a current motorcycle cop.
It's basically how to ride a bike from square one, all the stuff they learn, along with some extras.

Damn well worth it, considering there were a couple of guys who had been riding 20 and 30 years that took the class just to see if they'd learn anything - and they're the ones that dropped the training bikes the most (had some issues with the slow turns and the box).

Honestly, I think it should be required. That, and adding a lot more bike awareness stuff for a regular drivers license, and we'd be a lot safer out there.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:38 PM   #39
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Dods,

I sure did. He got fired the following weekend after another jumper
experienced a malfunction.
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:08 PM   #40
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I'd rather not pay a grand for lessons so I'll teach myself.

All the old guys I talk to tell stories of riding up illegally to get their license or never getting it until they got pulled over.
Those days are gone but self education can still be utilized.
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