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As another new female rider - baby steps is the key,

first week- ...
second week ...
Now - ... :thumbsup:

Well, certainly this might work for some, but I would not recommend a time schedule as much as a progress schedule. To move on only after you have conquered the prior effort.

Also, I believe it incumbent to spend an extreme amount of time at the beginning of your learning journey in a large parking lot doing the slow maneuvers as those are by far the hardest thing to conquer. I don't have numbers to quote, but my guess is that many more drops happen at low speeds than on the highway at 50 mph. I'm amazed at some riders I know that will always "duck walk" their bike around a lot, or go around the block because they don't have the practice--then confidence--to make a low speed u-turn on a roadway or gas station.

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Like RonK said, look all the way through the turn, DO NOT look at where you don't want to go, that is known as target fixation. Same thing as a bicycle, when I rode mountain bikes it was surprising how many guys ate a tree or a rock because they were fixated on it. (including myself)
Practice lots! parking lots, the streets when they are at their emptiest. Don't try to throw heavy traffic into the mix yet. With practice comes confidence, but you will still be learning as long as you ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Thank you so much Ron, Murph, Sunshine and everyone else on here! I went out for my first ride around my neighborhood yesterday. Luckily, my neighborhood is fairly quiet this time of year and while there is a bit of traffic, it isn't much at all. My first ride went fairly well. I had a bunch of stop signs so I got to work on stopping, putting feet down, starting and then turning from a stop. For the most part, I did pretty well. I gained quite a bit of confidence.

Only thing that happened is a group of young high school boys came up behind me in a car and honked (just to be jerks), which startled me, and then passed me on the left to laugh at me as I accidentally stalled the bike. BUT! I did NOT drop it! :thumbsup: So I felt pretty good. I pulled over to the side of the road, another car made sure I was okay, started the bike and rode home. I need to work on downshifting more as I slow and stop and to paying attention to what's behind me but for my first ride ever on the street (it was only 30 minutes), I felt pretty good. I'm going to go out again today for another 30 minutes to an hour around the neighborhood and see how today goes. Thank you SO MUCH for all the recommendations and support. I will also be parking lot practicing more for the u-turns as that still worries me. I had a bit of trouble with the u-turn (figure 8 exercise) in the MSF class, too.
 

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I wouldn't worry about it too much, I can't really remember having to make a u-turn in a single lane. Sure, it's a useful handling exercise, but real world application, I'm not so sure. (I could be wrong) You are right to keep practicing, but I would be willing to bet that many of us here would have some difficulty with "the box" at this point, except for the ones who are instructors, they have to do it regularly.
 

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I bought a used BMW a few months ago as my first bike, and I've dropped at a standstill 3 or 4 times. It happens, I imagine, to all of us.

As for getting out and riding...there is nothing wrong with being a little nervous, but don't let that stop you. Pay attention to traffic, stay on less-busy roads, and ride. You know how to control the bike using the friction zone and you know how to control the throttle and brakes...the rest is a matter of practical experience. Get out there and ride it!:thumbsup:
 

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I wouldn't worry about it too much, I can't really remember having to make a u-turn in a single lane. Sure, it's a useful handling exercise, but real world application, I'm not so sure. (I could be wrong) You are right to keep practicing, but I would be willing to bet that many of us here would have some difficulty with "the box" at this point, except for the ones who are instructors, they have to do it regularly.
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Most lanes are 9'-12' wide. It's not possible to make a u-turn in a single lane. If you mean double lanes (one lane each way), then it depends on where you ride. On freeways, you'll be taking off-ramps. In many cities, you'll go around the block. But if you are on most back roads around the country, you may have to make a u-turn there for a number of reasons. (On an 8,000 mile trip last summer, I rode fewer than 100 miles on freeways. The rest was back roads.) I was taking photos of some scenery on roads near Moab, Utah yesterday, and I had to do that 20 times when I would miss a spot I needed. Most of the time there was no shoulder that could be ridden on--only sloping gravel--so I had to be confident and make sure I was doing what I tell everybody else to do. (I don't do these things automatically, don't cha' know.) When you don't have the cushion of being able to go across the lines (like in a parking lot), it becomes much more intimidating.

I don't know what the "box" is, but if it's in a parking lot, it is awkward only in that you don't want anybody to see you goof up, it's not dangerous or intimidating, but it would be where you would learn your technique.

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Ron, the box is a parking lot exercise in the MSF course. Yes it is in a parking lot and you can't cross or touch a line or touch a foot. It does tend to be pretty tough since you have the stress of failing plus everyone watching you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Thanks Ron, Murph and EastSierraBMW! Yes, Ron, Murph is right. The box, or figure-8, I am referring to is an 8 by 12" box (I think those are the dimensions) where you have to do two u-turns. I did fairly okay during the skills test but I put my foot down once and went over the line at one point so I got marked down 6 points. You can miss up to 21 for the course and I missed 12 total. If half of my screw ups were because of the box, I would say I still have a problem at slow tight turns and that was with a lighter bike!

Anyway, I went on another short ride around my neighborhood today and for whatever reason I was so much more nervous than yesterday. There was a bit more traffic today than yesterday so that was probably a factor. I pulled over several times to let cars pass and got nervous making turns from stops when yesterday I was turning just fine and even got into 3rd gear. I rode over to my sisters house which is 2 minutes down the street and took a break before I came home. Not sure why my nerves were crazy today but I read a tip about chewing gum to stop them so I'll try that. I'm also going to be lowering the bike an inch this weekend and upgrading the suspension so hopefully that will give me a bit more confidence and control.

The support from you guys on the forums and from fellow riders is amazing. I don't know that I have ever received so much support of any of my hobbies. :)))
 

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jldeen, some days I feel like I am doing everything right riding-wise, and then the next day I am shaking my head over the mistakes I made. But every time you go out you learn more, gain more confidence. So, it's all good, and part of the learning process! :71baldboy:
 

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Heck, my bike is 7' long. There's no way I could make two u-turns in an 8'x12' box. I can u-turn in 15' of crosswise space, or a 16-18' highway, but that's about it.

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I just did some checking. Crash says in a video that the "box" is 20'x60'. If that's the case, no problem. I could do that. But an 8'x12'--no way.

I don't have one to practice on, so I go over to the parking lines behind a WalMart which are about 9' across and use two spaces (actually, from one side line to the second space far side line and try to have turned before I get there).

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Thank you so much Ron, Murph, Sunshine and everyone else on here! I went out for my first ride around my neighborhood yesterday. Luckily, my neighborhood is fairly quiet this time of year and while there is a bit of traffic, it isn't much at all. My first ride went fairly well. I had a bunch of stop signs so I got to work on stopping, putting feet down, starting and then turning from a stop. For the most part, I did pretty well. I gained quite a bit of confidence.

Only thing that happened is a group of young high school boys came up behind me in a car and honked (just to be jerks), which startled me, and then passed me on the left to laugh at me as I accidentally stalled the bike. BUT! I did NOT drop it! :thumbsup: So I felt pretty good. I pulled over to the side of the road, another car made sure I was okay, started the bike and rode home. I need to work on downshifting more as I slow and stop and to paying attention to what's behind me but for my first ride ever on the street (it was only 30 minutes), I felt pretty good. I'm going to go out again today for another 30 minutes to an hour around the neighborhood and see how today goes. Thank you SO MUCH for all the recommendations and support. I will also be parking lot practicing more for the u-turns as that still worries me. I had a bit of trouble with the u-turn (figure 8 exercise) in the MSF class, too.
Sounds like you are progressing nicely. Don't lose that good habit you have of keeping an eye on what is going on around you. Lots of people get in the bad habit of being in neutal when stopped. Keep it in first with your clutch disengaged and keep an eye on what is happening behind you until you know for sure the car behind you is fully stopped and the car BEHIND him/her. This could save you one day.

Awesome choice for your first bike. I have thought of a newer Bonneville as an eventual replacement or second bike to go with this old girl.
 

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Just completed the MSF course this past weekend and passed. I was fine in the class, a little shaky on slow turns and u-turns but overall, I did fine.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'm sorry if I sound like a whimp...
Congratulations, you sound like you did about as good I did in your BRC. I'm brand spanking new myself and I'm honestly very hesitant to get out on the road once I purchase my bike. There will most likely be several weekends of practicing in nearby parking lots before I hit the road or *shudder* the highway.

...go hit the street EARLY in the morning before there is any traffic. put all your gear on, esp. your coat, helmet and boots. do some laps around your block. you will get the feel of the bike just fine.

some jitters while you are new and transitioning to the streets are perfectly normal. once you get over the nerves, everything will start clicking into gear. get back to us if you have specific questions.
This sounds like spot on advise and is what I was planning on doing. Head out on a weekend morning around 5:30AM or so and get the feel of the road and traffic light pattern around where you live, it'll be one less thing you're unfamiliar with once there's actual traffic involved. If you have a mall, or other large parking area, near you you may want to make it your destination and do some basic practice exercises once you get there. Depending on how long you take and how confident you are once you're done you might even feel comfortable enough to ride back home in the morning traffic. Good luck, we're all confident you'll do fine.

Edit: Looks like I missed a couple posts and you're doing great all on your own. Fantastic! I'm interested to see how you progress and what you find helpful in increasing your confidence, please keep us up to date.
 

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jldeen - I would suggest that until you get confident on your bike that you ride when there is no traffic. you probably don't feel like getting up that early ... but it is worth it. you don't need the added distraction of feeling pressure from cars ... you just need to be able to relax and ride your bike.

don't worry about boxes and U-turns. I suggest that you avoid any tight U-turns. that can wait - it's not necessary for early competence on the street. just do a lot of riding around various blocks in your neighborhood. no need to go fact - if there's no traffic. watch your lane position, and try to get all of your basic maneuvers smooth. practice, practice, practice.

cheers,
dT
 

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Thanks Ron, Murph and EastSierraBMW! Yes, Ron, Murph is right. The box, or figure-8, I am referring to is an 8 by 12" box (I think those are the dimensions) where you have to do two u-turns. I did fairly okay during the skills test but I put my foot down once and went over the line at one point so I got marked down 6 points. You can miss up to 21 for the course and I missed 12 total. If half of my screw ups were because of the box, I would say I still have a problem at slow tight turns and that was with a lighter bike!

Anyway, I went on another short ride around my neighborhood today and for whatever reason I was so much more nervous than yesterday. There was a bit more traffic today than yesterday so that was probably a factor. I pulled over several times to let cars pass and got nervous making turns from stops when yesterday I was turning just fine and even got into 3rd gear. I rode over to my sisters house which is 2 minutes down the street and took a break before I came home. Not sure why my nerves were crazy today but I read a tip about chewing gum to stop them so I'll try that. I'm also going to be lowering the bike an inch this weekend and upgrading the suspension so hopefully that will give me a bit more confidence and control.

The support from you guys on the forums and from fellow riders is amazing. I don't know that I have ever received so much support of any of my hobbies. :)))
Some days you feel amazing, and some days...not so much. I trust my instincts. I'm still a new rider myself, and my instincts are my first line of defense. If I'm not "feeling it"...I don't ride. Honestly, the more I ride, the fewer those days seem to be, but still I have mornings where I wake up all jazzed to go for a ride, throw a leg over, and the stomache butterflies start flitting about, and my nerves get all worked up...it's just not worth it, so I park the bike and pick another activity.
 

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jldeen,

Fellow newbie here. Keep practicing. if you go to the MSF's website, they have a tips book you can print or download on to your smart phone that has exercises in the back. You can get some cones from a sporting goods store (probably in or near the soccer section) for $10 you can carry in a saddlebag or backpack to use. You only need six and book tells you how to set each one up in the parking lot for practice. The exercises covering everything from turning, u-turns, counter steering and stopping mid-turn.

I too have jitters with traffic. Once I get to the parking lot, I am king of the lot but once I'm back on the street, I know my place. I probably would practice more if I wasn't nervous of the traffic. At times I force myself to hit the streets because I can't wait for the most ideal conditions. But one day, I'll be able to ride like everyone else....one day.
 

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You chose a nice bike, but I would say it is too heavy to be a good beginner bike, IMO. My friend's GF also bought a T100, but she learned on a Honda Nighthawk 250, which is an excellent beginner's bike. The Bonnie is really still too big and heavy for her, as she always has trouble parking it, or making any slow speed maneuver, such as a U-turn. She looks to him to help her to back it up and position it for take off and such. I say if you can't maneuver your bike in any situation you get yourself into, you've got the wrong bike. Just my opinion.
 

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You chose a nice bike, but I would say it is too heavy to be a good beginner bike, IMO. My friend's GF also bought a T100, but she learned on a Honda Nighthawk 250, which is an excellent beginner's bike. The Bonnie is really still too big and heavy for her, as she always has trouble parking it, or making any slow speed maneuver, such as a U-turn. She looks to him to help her to back it up and position it for take off and such. I say if you can't maneuver your bike in any situation you get yourself into, you've got the wrong bike. Just my opinion.
Well, my "first" bike is a CB 750 which is probably 40 lbs heavier than the T100. I think the OP might benefit from a lower seat. There is no reason she should not be able to handle this bike with practice. I know several women with middleweight cruisers that are easily 100 lbs more than the Bonnie.

More low speed practice will help her out.

I do agree about having the right state of mind to ride. I like to commute with my bike but if I feel too tired or not 100% I do not ride and take the cage.
 

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My daughters bike weighs 554 lbs dry, your Bonneville weighs 452 lbs dry all you need is seat time and you'll be fine. As for dropping your bike just forget about it, don't forget the lesson you learned but I wouldn't even talk or think about dropping your bike you need confidence not discouragement. Most people have dropped a bike it's not even close to the end of the world:thumbsup:
 
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