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Discussion Starter #1
I took my bike on the road during traffic for the first time today. It was also my first time commuting to work on my bike. It being Columbus Day and people in the public sector having the day off, getting to work wasn't too bad. There were cars around but not too much and nothing crazy happened.

Coming back home, I almost fell off twice. First time was when I was going through a curve. The road does an S and the car in front of me, despite going at a normal speed, slowed down in the middle of the turn for no good reason. There was nothing in front of that car. I had to brake in order to not hit that car and got very close to losing my balance. Lesson #1 : keep more distance between me and the car in front of me, especially at turns.

The second time was when I was making a left turn from a traffic light. When making a turn from a stop sign or a traffic light (on practice runs), I normally just take it in first gear and kick it to second when I'm out of the turn. This particular turn is on a 5-way intersection so there is some distance between where I'm stopped and where I start to turn. So I sped up and put it in second before taking the turn. I ended up being a little too fast for the turn and went a little wide. Luckily (again) I was on the outside lane so I could afford to turn a little wide without going into the next lane. Lesson #2 : take turns at the appropriate speed!

Just wanted to share my experience and the lessons I learned.
 

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Female Rider
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Think of it this way, you now have 2 more things in your arsenal of experiences to call upon in the future. Every time you ride you are gaining experience which leads to confidence. Every time something like this happens you gain experience in handling trouble which should also help build your confidence. Congrats for keeping your cool and riding thru it.
 

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I ride 15-20,000 miles each year. Still, I occasionally make mistakes (that I'm aware of). Most of the time it's when my mind is wandering and I forget what I wanted to do (like whether I wanted to shift up or down for the turn). Then I have to just get my mind more back on what I'm doing.

I also occasionally make an error like going faster than planned into a turn. In a case like this, I can usually fall back on experience that, in this case, I just need to drop the bike down into a sharper lean angle so I can counter steer the turn more.

Whenever one of these things happen, I make a mental note to do it better next time. I find that as time goes by, I make fewer of the second type of error. The first type of mistake, well, I still do that.

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I remember my first time riding on a busy road at 45 mph.
Exhilarating and a little frightening.

I only have about 20,000 miles under my belt and I'm still making the occasional mistakes.
Luckily none have been the heart-in-throat types since the the first 3,000-5,000 miles.

Keep up the good work!
 

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Sometimes mistakes are good you can learn from them. You just don't want to make that one big mistake that you won't get a second chance to do it right.

Keeping your distance from cars is best, but you also need to be focusing on what's farther ahead of you. This creates more reaction time. I try to anticipate what the car in front of me is going to do by seeing what's in front of him. If I see a ball roll across the road, I'm almost certain that car is going to make an emergency stop and I need to prepare for that.
 

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On The Road Again!
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I'm a pilot. In flying we have a saying that fits motorcycling too.
"You start out with two buckets, a full bucket marked "Luck" and an empty bucket marked "Experience". The goal is fill up your bucket of "experience" before you empty your bucket of "luck". "
And another that also applies.....
"Any flight that you didn't learn something from was a wasted flight". Applies to bike rides too.
Good luck and happy riding.
 

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I play a game called (what if). This keeps me not only aware of my surroundings but keeps me anticipating my next reaction, so as not to react, but move before a situation can exist, because I have already played it out. Anticipate so that you don't have to react.
 

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triedd to see some basic stuff, like bike specs, your age,how long you've been rideing.i'm 65, been rideing since '74, but i realize my limitations in riding a 2 wheeler. i like the trike for stability,
you might pick up a low miles pre '07 electra glide 7 INSTALL A FRANKEINSTEIN KIT. google it. their made in salina, ks, & are very well made with a-lot of options. i own 4 harleys, a 1200 bm & a '05 bandt.i like to ride because you can lean the bike to extreme in turns. but it very, very heavy if you get it leaned too far on its side.
best advice i can give is stick to a 4-lane hwy as you get use-to the bikes .and stick to the roads you know. and although its getting winter herein ind. take a safety course. it will save you $$ on insurance.
 

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Fresh Meat
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Thanks for posting your lessons. I'm just learning myself and use only back roads so far. What I fear most are other drivers. Will I be able to respond effectively when they make stupid, unexpected moves? I've never fully appreciated how well protected I am in my car.

I've not decided yet if I'm going to ride the bike on busy roads and highways.
 

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i have had 1 acciddent the feeling. i ran off -f a curve in a road in hawaii. stopped steeing up after clipping a sign.'m 65 & have ridden since '74 & now i don't have the dextrity i once had, so i watch which bike i ride & where i ride it. often on 1 day trips a local bike shop takes (old coots on scoots) as we say. the bike shop is closed on mon. so mayby 10-15 guys plan a i day trip, like maybe 75- 125 mi, go to a cigar shop, lake mich, or just another dealer, eat lunch & come back. the shop owner comes & a mechanic he has does too. and i have to say we have had 1 accident, where a guy lost it in a curve ,flipped his bike. & is recooperateing but he wants to ride again next spring.
my daugher just bought a '83 suzuki 450A automatic, & is learning to ride. so you might look into a bike like that for starters.
i also have a '87 sporster 1100. real light bike ,easy to handle & more power than normally needed.
 

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I had a rough accident back around 1971 that kept me off work 6 months and the settlement helped me buy my first house. A tough one for me to witness was in a group ride. I was riding tail end and 2 other riders were ahead of me. I saw the guy in the middle sort of drift off the 2 lane at around 60 MPH. I slowed not knowing what he was up to and he rode the gravel shoulder for maybe 100 yards while slowing to maybe 35 MPH. Next thing I knew he had ridden down into the ditch and his bike suddenly stopped when the front wheel hit a solid obstacle. The rider went though his windshield and stopped cold laying in the ditch. It was all we could do to keep him laying down relaxed and not remove his helmet until the ambulance arrived. He was hospitalized for a week but that happened 2 years ago and he is still not fully recovered. I found out later that his wife refused to ride in the car with him because he had short term blackout spells. Thus guy had no business on a bike.
 

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I recently did my first ride in traffic as well... went fine but have to say bumper to bumper traffic is absolutely miserable on a bike... do I put my leg down, up, drag my foot? Decisions decisions lol! In all seriousness though, Montreal is deadly for bike motorcycles so I just keep my eyes peeled, be defensive, keep a safe distance and just predict driver errors. I've been riding my bike for a couple of weeks now and every ride I run in to drivers oblivious to what's around them and I just stay clear.

Stay safe!
Dan
 

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do I put my leg down, up, drag my foot?
That is a very good way to get hurt. Sure you must put your foot down as you stop, but never when the bike is moving at any speed.

I would suggest to get to know what your bike is capable of, practice making sharp turns bot left and right. Learn to make sharp turns when starting out. I like practicing figure eights and seeing how tight I can make them. Of course doing them in a safe area like an empty parking lot. Learn how fast you can stop your bike from various speeds, start off slow.
The more you know the capabilities of your bike, the better you will handle riding on the streets.
 

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That is a very good way to get hurt. Sure you must put your foot down as you stop, but never when the bike is moving at any speed.
Sorry, I meant in stop and go traffic where you literally move up 4 feet, stop for 2 seconds, move another 4 feet, stop again for 5 seconds etc etc for 25 to 45 minutes depending on accidents on my drive home. Was brutal the first couple of times... especially with the lane changers trying to gain a few inches.
 

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Get that foot up on the pegs every time you move. It may sound silly but it will prevent injuries from trying to stop a bike falling when you just don't have the strength required. In traffic like you are describing I will let the car ahead get out at least 10 feet before I even think about moving. I rode through Atlanta, Georgia using my approach during rush hour traffic and was able to only put my feet down about 6 times to get all the way through. Atlanta and Montreal are similar enough in size that traffic will be about the same. What really happens when there are more than 2 lanes going each way is that drivers in the right lane want to avoid the on and off traffic so they move left, drivers in the left lane are happy they are in the "fast lane" and I hang out in the middle lane and ignore all of the cross flow. If I leave enough space for someone to jump in front of me they will be gone very quickly to that fast lane so they are no problem for me. If they want to get off soon they will also pass through quickly leaving me to make decent progress. Try it in your cage if you don't believe it. Leave a nice following distance to the traffic ahead and all the folks who land in your lane are going to be gone soon enough. It is far more relaxing to just move forward slowly than to constantly fight for position, and you move forward just as well without all that heartache.
 

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Get that foot up on the pegs every time you move. It may sound silly but it will prevent injuries from trying to stop a bike falling when you just don't have the strength required. In traffic like you are describing I will let the car ahead get out at least 10 feet before I even think about moving. I rode through Atlanta, Georgia using my approach during rush hour traffic and was able to only put my feet down about 6 times to get all the way through. Atlanta and Montreal are similar enough in size that traffic will be about the same. What really happens when there are more than 2 lanes going each way is that drivers in the right lane want to avoid the on and off traffic so they move left, drivers in the left lane are happy they are in the "fast lane" and I hang out in the middle lane and ignore all of the cross flow. If I leave enough space for someone to jump in front of me they will be gone very quickly to that fast lane so they are no problem for me. If they want to get off soon they will also pass through quickly leaving me to make decent progress. Try it in your cage if you don't believe it. Leave a nice following distance to the traffic ahead and all the folks who land in your lane are going to be gone soon enough. It is far more relaxing to just move forward slowly than to constantly fight for position, and you move forward just as well without all that heartache.
Very good advice, thank you. Here in Montreal, a driving course is mandatory and I have to admit the only thing they don't really touch on is technics for driving on major highways in bumper to bumper stop and go, which for me seems to be the most unpleasant part of riding, especially when it's dark by 5PM now. I've done it a few times and I did seem to find it easiest in the center lane, and you're right... at first I would move when the car in front of me would move, but eventually I would just let them get 10 - 20 feet in front and then roll and just go nice and slow. Also in the center lane, I feel like I have more escape routes if someone cuts me off, whereas on the right or left, I have a concrete median on one side. Looks like next week we'll have some sun and decent temps, I'll have to make note of what the cars jumping in to the space do, but I think you're absolutely right.

Thanks again :)
Dan
 
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