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Discussion Starter #1
I passed my motorcycle basic skills course a little over a week ago, I've got a new Vulcan 650 S sitting in the driveway, and it just struck me I have no idea what I'm doing. I've never ridden a motorcycle more than 20mph and I live on a 35mph street, I've never ridden in traffic, I'm not familiar with my bike, and I just don't have a clue.
 

American Legion Rider
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Just take it very easy and remember the things you learned in class. Start by practicing when there is no traffic on your street if there is such a thing. That might be at 3:00am but you'll appreciate not having cars honking at you scaring the heck out of you. Then gradually increase your speed and time of day until you are in the thick of it. And welcome to the world of the unknown in motorcycling. Yes, it's scary at first so not surprised you are where you are. Baby steps is what it takes. And...
WELCOME ON BOARD, and...

We are friendly site here. Well, most of us馃榿
 

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Welcome to the forum!

We all started somewhere and had to learn our skills.

Like Hog said, practice out of traffic and at low 2-30 mph speeds. preferably in an abandoned parking lot or on rural, country roads.

Obviously, practice not only throttle control but front and rear brake modulation and hopefully your new bike has ABS and maybe even linked brakes which may help.

Wear a good full face helmet, quality leather gloves, riding boots, and an armored jacket with elbow pads and Nylon riding pants or leather pants. In case you do fall, all of the aforementioned will help you from getting skinned up.

Stay out of traffic and don't ride at night or when it is raining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
61069

Sam:)
 

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You're starting just like everyone starts, don't know much but you know you want to try it. You'll get it, and you'll remember that first ride, going down the road, then it dawns on you, at some point you have to turn around to get back.
Each time you get back, it's an accomplishment. Like HC said, baby steps.
 

Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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61073


Now it is time to practice, practice, practice. Learn clutch control by putting your front tire against a curb (90 degrees) Slowly try to climb the curb using the clutch. Once it starts climbing, let the clutch back in and the bike settle back down. Once you are comfortable add a little gas and do it over and over.

Find an empty parking lot and practice starts and stops. Practice cornering around the lines, left, right, slalom. Practice circles, figure eights. Once you start feeling more comfortable, get out on slower roads and practice some more. Slowly build up your speed and confidence.

Always remember your head has to be on a swivel and you MUST be aware of everythiing around you. Good luck and check back in and let us know how you are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the welcome! I took my bike out for the first time today. I somehow rode over a curb in the empty parking lot I was practicing in (no idea how it happened, I was doing pretty well the rest of the ride up until then). I then turned around and went home (I was getting ready to do that, anyway), realized how I just cannot adjust my mirrors in a way to have proper visibility of what's behind me, pulled into my house, and because my driveway is complicated shiznit, I misjudged the power necessary to enter and sideswiped my stone and iron fence.

I hit first, then the bike, and I basically got wedged between the bike and the fence. Luckily, I was wearing proper riding gear, including a motorcycle leather jacket (as opposed to thin fashion leather). My shoulder impacted first, but that jacket took the impact incredibly well, and I don't have any pain in my shoulder. The jacket got scuffed a bit, but isn't ripped or torn, and mostly buffed out. My head hit next, and I am very glad I chose a full face helmet over a 3/4 face, because 3/4 face wouldn't have covered the part of my face that took the impact. The helmet got some small scratches, but I don't think I hit hard enough to compress the foam and require a replacement. It was a pretty slow crash. I might have sprained my pinky, but if I did, it's a minor sprain, and it definately isn't broken. I doubt I even need a doctor, it should heal on its own.

The bike has shockingly little cosmetic damage. A tiny ding in a place that was gonna get a Star Trek sticker, little scratches on the wheel, stuff like that. Except the mirrors and bar ends. I scratched those all up. But I already ordered longer bar ends yesterday, and I need taller mirrors, anyway. It's very evident I hit the fence first, and my body essentially protected the bike.

I'm naturally rattled. I was having fun, then this happened. Ultimately, I think I just need some more training, but that isn't gonna happen for a while. Maybe I'll go back out to the parking lot after my crash bars arrive on Thursday and I install them? I think I absolutely have to replace the mirrors before I ride again, though.
 

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Wow, glad you're okay after those mishaps.

I would never discourage anyone from getting more training. But I believe if you just take some time and think through what happened and try to figure out how to prevent it from happening again you can make progress on your own.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Honestly, my driveway IS pretty badly designed. It's probably just too complicated for my skill level. I can't park on the street, though, because there is literally never open street parking. Dossn't help that I live on a street where everyone speeds. However, I can do that I did to leave my house today, which was walk the bike down to my cross street that moves at, like, 20 (I didn't want to pull out, across an irritating dip [which probably led me to crash into that fence], into what can be 50mph traffic, where visibility is obscured, on a bike I hadn't ridden before). Maybe my street and driveway are just too complex right now, and it takes, like, 2 minutes to just walk the bike down to the cross street.
 

Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Dips at the end of driveways suck. Something you will have to work on because you want to be able to get in and out of your drive. Don't give up, keep practicing.
 

Very Famous Person
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--

If there are some things you did well, like start, stop, turn S-turns, make U-turns all in a large parking lot, then do that more. Do the things you can do well until you do them excellently. I mean be able to do those things so well you could do them with your eyes closed or even give someone lessons on how to do them. Then you will feel more in control of yourself and your bike. Just gradually move on to something new. There is no shame in pushing your bike anyway.

At this stage in your riding development, you need confidence.

--
 

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Sounds like you found the perfect place to practice for awhile, your own driveway. Back out to the curb and then try to get back up. Lots of clutch and throttle work possibly there and will be good practice. Once you can get back up your drive and parked successfully and repetitively, then go back to practicing the way you were, knowing you can successfully make it up your drive. Have fun and good luck.
 

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I passed my motorcycle basic skills course a little over a week ago, I've got a new Vulcan 650 S sitting in the driveway, and it just struck me I have no idea what I'm doing. I've never ridden a motorcycle more than 20mph and I live on a 35mph street, I've never ridden in traffic, I'm not familiar with my bike, and I just don't have a clue.
Hey, new here and new rider as well. I saw this as I was going to post an introduction since I just joined.
I was in your exact position not long ago (I only have 600 miles under my belt currently). I rode my bike the day I got it, just in my neighborhood. When I hit 15mph I was certain I was going about 50 lol. It was terrifying at first. Around the block from my house is an empty church parking lot, so I would ride there, pull in, breathe a little, and practice low speed MSF stuff. I鈥檇 ride a little more in the neighborhood as the days passed.
The first time I pulled onto a road with traffic, I about popped my pants and immediately pulled back into the neighborhood. On that turn I went way wide (having no practical motorcycle skills), and would have gone head-on with a car if there was one coming. My point: you鈥檙e going to be nervous/scared, and that feeling will come back every new situation you put yourself in. But it goes away very quickly.
It鈥檚 okay to throw on your gear, and just take a lap around the block and go home if that鈥檚 what you need to start getting comfortable. My first 5 rides probably totaled about 8 miles.
Good luck and be safe!
 

On The Road Again!
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Don't feel bad. All of us have messed up at one time or another.
The thing that is important is that you learn something from what happened.....
....and then go out and try again!
I've been riding nearly 51 years, yet when I got my Goldwing that you seen in
the picture below, I must have dropped that thing on it's side a half dozen times
while getting used to the weight. (it weighs 900 pounds!...or more!)
But once you get used to it, and learn what you are doing, you'll wonder why
you had so much trouble in the beginning.
So tell us more about yourself, and where you live.
Ya never know, there might be someone on here who is near you
and can give you a hand during the learning process.
 

On The Road Again!
Joined
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Hey, new here and new rider as well. I saw this as I was going to post an introduction since I just joined.
I was in your exact position not long ago (I only have 600 miles under my belt currently). I rode my bike the day I got it, just in my neighborhood. When I hit 15mph I was certain I was going about 50 lol. It was terrifying at first. Around the block from my house is an empty church parking lot, so I would ride there, pull in, breathe a little, and practice low speed MSF stuff. I鈥檇 ride a little more in the neighborhood as the days passed.
The first time I pulled onto a road with traffic, I about popped my pants and immediately pulled back into the neighborhood. On that turn I went way wide (having no practical motorcycle skills), and would have gone head-on with a car if there was one coming. My point: you鈥檙e going to be nervous/scared, and that feeling will come back every new situation you put yourself in. But it goes away very quickly.
It鈥檚 okay to throw on your gear, and just take a lap around the block and go home if that鈥檚 what you need to start getting comfortable. My first 5 rides probably totaled about 8 miles.
Good luck and be safe!
600 miles? LOL!! I can do that in a weekend! LOL!
Ride every day! Practice makes perfect.
Before you know, you'll have over three hundred thousand miles like me!
I see that you are in southern New Jersey.
I'm up north, near Lake Hopatcong, so...
Howdy Neighbor!
 

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2019 Honda Rebel 300
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600 miles? LOL!! I can do that in a weekend! LOL!
Ride every day! Practice makes perfect.
Before you know, you'll have over three hundred thousand miles like me!
I see that you are in southern New Jersey.
I'm up north, near Lake Hopatcong, so...
Howdy Neighbor!
Haha I was limited a lot by Winter...I started riding (very slow start as I mentioned) just before Winter, so most of the miles came on the random 50 degree days we鈥檝e had. I used my bike for work yesterday, and plan to much more as the weather gets warmer.
I used to live in Hudson County so I鈥檓 familiar with your area. Any thoughts on the Motorcycle Mall? I was going to go up for a demo day there, my in-laws live in Harrison so we are up there frequently.
 

On The Road Again!
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Never been to the Motorcycle Mall. I just about never go east from where I live.
All the pretty stuff is north, west or south of here.
All that is down that way is traffic, and I HATE traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Greetings back from Northern California! Thanks for all the advice, and sorry about disappearing for days. That's one of the disadvantages of being a graduate student. Even in a pandemic, I just get slammed with things to do and drop off the face of the earth sometimes.

Unfortunately, I'm now restricted from riding for a while. My roommate most likely has COVID-19, so I'm particularly high risk to spread the disease. So far, I either don't have it, or it's extremely minor, but we don't know because there's no tests available.
 

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Here is hoping for a good outcome.
 

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Hey, new here and new rider as well. I saw this as I was going to post an introduction since I just joined.
I was in your exact position not long ago (I only have 600 miles under my belt currently). I rode my bike the day I got it, just in my neighborhood. When I hit 15mph I was certain I was going about 50 lol. It was terrifying at first. Around the block from my house is an empty church parking lot, so I would ride there, pull in, breathe a little, and practice low speed MSF stuff. I鈥檇 ride a little more in the neighborhood as the days passed.
The first time I pulled onto a road with traffic, I about popped my pants and immediately pulled back into the neighborhood. On that turn I went way wide (having no practical motorcycle skills), and would have gone head-on with a car if there was one coming. My point: you鈥檙e going to be nervous/scared, and that feeling will come back every new situation you put yourself in. But it goes away very quickly.
It鈥檚 okay to throw on your gear, and just take a lap around the block and go home if that鈥檚 what you need to start getting comfortable. My first 5 rides probably totaled about 8 miles.
Good luck and be safe!
Wow not sure if I was in your place I would鈥檝e put the 1k miles on my bike . My husband has been riding for years (I had zero interest till last year) so he test rode a 250 Suzuki GZ for me and took me to parking lots and taught me to ride. By the time I went to the msf course I was ready got the endorsement and my first street ride was 1 mile and then I did it again . My husband always talks about what to be looking for and gives me options on our loops . Looking forward to getting out on the road soon . I realize how lucky 馃崁 I am to have such a wonderful husband 鉂
 
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