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Resident of Munchkin Land
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question for those who had no prior experience when they started riding. How long was it before you went to an empty parking lot to practice? I have one a few miles from home but I'd have to cross a few traffic light intersections and I'd have to ride on a windy-type road to get there. I don't feel up to it yet. I want to at least master taking off from a stop without stalling and learning when to downshift (and when not to).

I've been riding for short periods of time every other day for the past couple weeks. My turns from stops are pretty bad. A few days ago, I stalled during a left turn and a right turn. Terrible. I'd love to just practice turning from a stop (and other beginner techniques) over and over again in a parking lot.
 

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Question for those who had no prior experience when they started riding. How long was it before you went to an empty parking lot to practice?
Not very long! My small neighborhood sits right off a fairly busy 4 lane highway that has a ton of traffic from about 3PM - 7PM. The first few times I rode after getting my license, I just waited until I knew traffic would be fairly light but, yeah, it can be intimidating. I did practice finding the friction zone in my garage and driveway but I suggest doing it sooner rather than later. If you wait, it will only become more difficult. And don't be too embarrassed about stalling! Just be prepared and practice what to do when it happens again! If you are smooth enough, I doubt anyone even notices. I've stalled in intersections but I was more embarrassed when I've accidentally shifted into neutral and revved the hell out of the bike. I'm sure the cagers around me were like "Man, what a d-bag!" :smile_big:
 

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Is there a school, church, or swimming pool near you? After hours their lots could be empty and closer to you.
 

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Well, I road around my neighborhood for a few days and then I was off. However, it appears you need more work if shifting etc. is an issue. Do you know someone that can ride the bike to the lot for you? I would NOT recommend you ride in any type of traffic if the basic controls are an issue.

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Resident of Munchkin Land
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not very long! My small neighborhood sits right off a fairly busy 4 lane highway that has a ton of traffic from about 3PM - 7PM. The first few times I rode after getting my license, I just waited until I knew traffic would be fairly light but, yeah, it can be intimidating. I did practice finding the friction zone in my garage and driveway but I suggest doing it sooner rather than later. If you wait, it will only become more difficult. And don't be too embarrassed about stalling! Just be prepared and practice what to do when it happens again! If you are smooth enough, I doubt anyone even notices. I've stalled in intersections but I was more embarrassed when I've accidentally shifted into neutral and revved the hell out of the bike. I'm sure the cagers around me were like "Man, what a d-bag!" :smile_big:
I'm not embarassed by stalling. I'm more worried about getting hit from behind or from the side if I stall in the middle of the intersection or something. Stalling after taking off from a stop hasn't happened lately except for today because I didn't realize I had stopped without shifting to first gear. Then when I finally took off and got up to 30 mph really quickly, I realized there was no way I was in 1st gear. Failed.

Is there a school, church, or swimming pool near you? After hours their lots could be empty and closer to you.
There are some schools but I doubt they'd want me hanging around the parking lot. Years ago when I was trying to teach The Wife to drive, they chased us out of the school parking lot. There's one church nearby but their parking lot is small. The other church that's closest to me would require riding through traffic light intersections. There's always traffic in this neighborhood from morning till night time.

Well, I road around my neighborhood for a few days and then I was off. However, it appears you need more work if shifting etc. is an issue. Do you know someone that can ride the bike to the lot for you? I would NOT recommend you ride in any type of traffic if the basic controls are an issue.

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I don't really have big problems with the basic controls. I feel much more comfortable upshifting compared to when I took the MSF course. I was always going too slow during the MSF course but now I'm getting up to 30 mph & 40 mph smoothly. I've already got a basic feeling for when the bike needs to be shifted up a gear. The physical process of downshifting is easier for me but I haven't quite got the understanding of when to downshift say when I'm slowing from 40 mph to 30 mph. The manual for the Honda Shadow Phantom doesn't help much because their suggestions of when to upshift and downshift didn't feel right at all.

The Honda Shadow manual says to shift into 2nd at 12 mph, 3rd at 19 mph, 4th at 25 mph, & 5th at 31 mph. But 1st feels fine until about 20 mph, 2nd feels fine until about 30 mph, & 3rd feels good from 30 mph to 40 mph. I haven't gone any faster than that. Downshifting from 5th to 4th is supposed to be at 28 mph & from 4th to 3rd at 22mph according to the manual...but if 3rd gear feels good from 20 mph to 30 mph then shouldn't I be downshifting to 3rd gear rather than 4th when slowing down in that speed range? What if I need to speed up and I'm in the wrong gear?

Also I searched online and other Honda Shadow Phantom riders said the shifting recommendations in the manual were wrong.
 

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I'm not embarassed by stalling. I'm more worried about getting hit from behind or from the side if I stall in the middle of the intersection or something. Stalling after taking off from a stop hasn't happened lately except for today because I didn't realize I had stopped without shifting to first gear. Then when I finally took off and got up to 30 mph really quickly, I realized there was no way I was in 1st gear. Failed.



There are some schools but I doubt they'd want me hanging around the parking lot. Years ago when I was trying to teach The Wife to drive, they chased us out of the school parking lot. There's one church nearby but their parking lot is small. The other church that's closest to me would require riding through traffic light intersections. There's always traffic in this neighborhood from morning till night time.



I don't really have big problems with the basic controls. I feel much more comfortable upshifting compared to when I took the MSF course. I was always going too slow during the MSF course but now I'm getting up to 30 mph & 40 mph smoothly. I've already got a basic feeling for when the bike needs to be shifted up a gear. The physical process of downshifting is easier for me but I haven't quite got the understanding of when to downshift say when I'm slowing from 40 mph to 30 mph. The manual for the Honda Shadow Phantom doesn't help much because their suggestions of when to upshift and downshift didn't feel right at all.

The Honda Shadow manual says to shift into 2nd at 12 mph, 3rd at 19 mph, 4th at 25 mph, & 5th at 31 mph. But 1st feels fine until about 20 mph, 2nd feels fine until about 30 mph, & 3rd feels good from 30 mph to 40 mph. I haven't gone any faster than that. Downshifting from 5th to 4th is supposed to be at 28 mph & from 4th to 3rd at 22mph according to the manual...but if 3rd gear feels good from 20 mph to 30 mph then shouldn't I be downshifting to 3rd gear rather than 4th when slowing down in that speed range? What if I need to speed up and I'm in the wrong gear?

Also I searched online and other Honda Shadow Phantom riders said the shifting recommendations in the manual were wrong.
I think your thinking too much - feel is what you need to go with; it should feel right. Forget the manual. If you need to speed up and you think you're in the wrong gear down-shift and give it gas, that's why you have a shifter and throttle. Relax and go with what feels right.

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Resident of Munchkin Land
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think your thinking too much - feel is what you need to go with; it should feel right. Forget the manual. If you need to speed up and you think you're in the wrong gear down-shift and give it gas, that's why you have a shifter and throttle. Relax and go with what feels right.

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Thanks for the help, vistavette :D
 

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--

For one thing, you're concerned about what speeds to shift up or down on the road. You're also bothered by your slow speed control. So's here's what I suggest:

First: Go out on the street(s) in your neighborhood and work on all your slow maneuvering. That's the hardest part of riding to learn. Do 500 startups, smooth stops, slow turns in the width of the street, turning within a few feet of starting, learning the feel of your clutch and brakes, using your rear view mirror, picking up an dropped bike, and on and on. This is all the "hard" stuff. At least 500 of each one (except the bike pick up--50 are enough).

Second: When that's done, you should have no trouble going out to larger parking lots or back streets where you can get your speed up and practice the shifting techniques. During this time you can start to acquaint yourself with the actions of other traffic. When you have truly (at least in your mind) mastered this stuff, you will be ready for higher traffic, higher speed roads.

Remember that cruising down the road at 50 mph is easy. There's nothing to learn about that. Not to say you can't learn different techniques for turns, crash avoidance, road hazard recognition, riding with others, and other more advanced moves. But that can wait a short time until you feel in control of your bike.

(By the way, while some of this might sound unnecessary, the purpose is to get you to "feel" you are one with the bike and that it will respond to whatever you ask of it. You cannot train it/yourself by just getting it right one or two times.)

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Question for those who had no prior experience when they started riding.............
That’s a tricky statement. We all understand it, and yet MOST of us had a good dose of “riding” on two wheels, before motorcycles.

Think about it. We learned two-wheel balance, the effect of riding on sand, exposure to the elements, dealing with traffic, all SORTS of stuff!

All you’re doing now, is putting a motor underneath you, which keeps you from having to petal! So the dynamics haven’t changed; just the speed at which you have to react, and learning how to keep that motor under control. THAT’S why the parking lot is a great place for working out those kinks.

Another “good practice,” is to avoid taking passengers yet, and avoiding night driving scenarios for a little while. Become “one” with your bike before you venture into those arenas.

Avoid the temptation to “trade up” too soon, to a newer or bigger bike. Give yourself time, once you feel comfortable with your bike, to get some road miles and experience under your belt (at LEAST a year or two).

My two cents.......
 

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Resident of Munchkin Land
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That’s a tricky statement. We all understand it, and yet MOST of us had a good dose of “riding” on two wheels, before motorcycles.

Think about it. We learned two-wheel balance, the effect of riding on sand, exposure to the elements, dealing with traffic, all SORTS of stuff!

All you’re doing now, is putting a motor underneath you, which keeps you from having to petal! So the dynamics haven’t changed; just the speed at which you have to react, and learning how to keep that motor under control. THAT’S why the parking lot is a great place for working out those kinks.

Another “good practice,” is to avoid taking passengers yet, and avoiding night driving scenarios for a little while. Become “one” with your bike before you venture into those arenas.

Avoid the temptation to “trade up” too soon, to a newer or bigger bike. Give yourself time, once you feel comfortable with your bike, to get some road miles and experience under your belt (at LEAST a year or two).

My two cents.......
Yeah I have no intention of letting anyone get on behind me. I was trying to explain this to The Wife because she really wants to ride with me.

I'm not thinking about trading up as there's no way I could afford it even if I wanted to :D
 

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Hello Herrick,,

Yup, everyone here has offered good advice, I go out to a certain parking lot every month an a half or so and
practice low speed skills, frankly I really like doing this, specially the offset cone weaves. Since it is a long lot,
there is a line smack down the middle and the spaces on either side are 9 foot wide and the lines for the spaces
are 38 feet long.

Do offset cone weaves, regular cones weaves, putting your weight against the turn. Human instict is gonna tell ya
to go real slow, not good. Some like to blip the throttle fast-slow-fast-slow. . . keep mph around a fast walking speed
6-8 mph . look where you want to go.

Put in your browser Ridelikeapro U-turns or similar I am sure a whole slew of info will come up. If you drop the bike
on Left side and can't get to shift lever to put in gear, use a shoelace to tie up front brake so it does NOT roll on you.
Yup I dropt it twice one day an 4got to putin gear, after it got it up an it rolled on me, yeah THEN I remembered !.

You might want to buy his book and video, I think it is the greatest for getting down some good skills.
Palladino says it as well, "it takes virtually no skill to ride down the hi-way at speed'." but knowing
how to do quick tite off-sets will help you know how to swerve and a portable ****-house falls offa
the back of a truck or your going down Lois avenue and see a manhole cover that doesn't look right.

There is a Brake'n swerve Palladino does, get going to around 25 -30 maybe even 40 or whatever the
speeds are where you live, then slow down quickly, and swerve to left or right with your weight against
the turn. maybe feathering the clutch would be good for you, good riders don't happen overnight, but
maybe in like a few weeks with lotsa good practice.
 

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Thanks Ray. I've been thinking about buying Palladino's Ride Like A Pro.
The Ride Like a Pro video probably helped my riding more than anything else I did. I practice those methods and always keep in my head the words "head and eyes". Turn you head and look where you want to go. Twist of the Wrist II was also a great help and I refer back to it's lessons often.

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Thanks Ray. I've been thinking about buying Palladino's Ride Like A Pro.

You just can't go wrong doing this, His wife's name is Donna, very nice and she will get your order out a.s.a.p,
their Ph.# is 866-868-7433. Herrick, get the main 'ride like a pro' video and the book, The book shows all the
lay-outs and info he could not put on the video.

Palladino also has in his book ' Turning from a stop on a hill, The art of the lean, The art of the dip, unskilled
rider,Timid rider, winding roads.
 

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Herrick, I think Vistavette said it best...you're thinking too much. We have all done it. Worried about learning the proper techniques, don't want to develop bad habits, and, at times, just plain scared to be out on the road. It's all understandable. My advice to you is to go out and ride through quiet neighborhoods. Anywhere with a lot of stop signs. If there is a car behind you and you don't feel good about the upcoming intersection and pull over, let him by, and then continue on by yourself. The key is to stay calm, remain focused, and ride. If you make a mistake, learn from it. You'll get it. I guarantee that if you go put 500 miles on your bike, when you are done you will be wondering what all the fuss was about. Just keep your eyes open while you are out there :)
 

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Way, way back when, when I bought my very first bike, I bought from a dealer whose location was about 25 miles from my home -- and had the major advantage of being located along a road that was very lightly traveled and which, with a few turns and connections, ran through the countryside to my house. I strapped on my helmet, pulled on my gloves, saddled up and rode -- very slowly, very cautiously. About halfway home was a large country church that had a beautiful, and beautifully empty, parking lot, where I spent a couple of hours doing every steering/stopping/starting drill I could think of. Over the next few weeks I returned to that lot many, many times -- but even after that first session, I was able to ride home the rest of the way with greatly enhanced skill and confidence. Prior to that I had ridden a buddy's Honda 350 exactly twice!
 

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Resident of Munchkin Land
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Herrick, I think Vistavette said it best...you're thinking too much. We have all done it. Worried about learning the proper techniques, don't want to develop bad habits, and, at times, just plain scared to be out on the road. It's all understandable. My advice to you is to go out and ride through quiet neighborhoods. Anywhere with a lot of stop signs. If there is a car behind you and you don't feel good about the upcoming intersection and pull over, let him by, and then continue on by yourself. The key is to stay calm, remain focused, and ride. If you make a mistake, learn from it. You'll get it. I guarantee that if you go put 500 miles on your bike, when you are done you will be wondering what all the fuss was about. Just keep your eyes open while you are out there :)
Thanks for the encouragement. I've been pulling over and letting a car pass me every now and then if I feel I'm going too slow.
 

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Thanks for the encouragement. I've been pulling over and letting a car pass me every now and then if I feel I'm going too slow.
Very wise strategy! I put myself into a few turns too quickly because I was focused on traffic behind me, got nervous, and got fixated on not going too slow. Almost ended up running off into a ditch, river, rock wall, etc. and decided that it might be just a little bit safer pull over and let them go on by...
 
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No one wants a car on their tail when they are new, so yes...ducking out is a good idea sometimes. Additionally, I look for that guy that is driving wobbly...maybe texting, maybe doesn't know where he is, maybe been drinking...whatever the gig is, that guy that looks a bit unpredictable...get away from him! I usually go a different way or change lanes if I can. That guy with a great big hurkin 4x4 that is jacked to the sky and likes to get all puffy chested? Let him go on his way as well. You'll remain alive and he will still have a tiny penis...
 

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You’ll know (it will happen one day when you’re riding) all of a sudden, when you get that feeling like the bike feels like a real extension of “you.”

It happens in a moment here or there, but I’m talking about that feeling on a particular stretch of road when all the actions and responses all seem to line up on that 20 mile ride somewhere. It’s an AMAZING thing when you catch yourself feeling it!

The trick is, to capture that more often than not.

THEN you are ready to consider short little jaunts with the wife (or whomever) on the back. But that TOO takes adjustment. First, “she” needs to understand “how” to ride as a passenger. Then YOU need to learn the dynamics of the added weight, and how that affects acceleration, braking, rest stops, etc.. you can book learn it on YouTube, but nothing beats doing it.

I remember all these steps, and I would just caution you to go at it gradually and conservatively.
 
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