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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took the MSF last weekend, have been riding around the neighborhood practicing low speed maneuvers, emergency braking etc, no faster than 30 MPH. This morning I got up and got out on the road at first light when the traffic was minimal around here.

The ride was awesome! Light traffic, nice little breeze, not too hot yet. I went 22.1 miles, crossed over Perdido Bay into Lillian AL, sun coming up over the bay was gorgeous. Came back and took a big loop around our area of Pensacola. Final stop was at Walmart...lol. I bought a handlebar bag there as my cell phone and keys in my pocket started to bother me after a bit. I'll eventually get some saddlebags.

So what I learned/reinforced from the MSF class:

1. YOU GO WHERE YOU LOOK. Yes I was a believer before today, but I had to unintentionally test it. I was talking through what to look for when turning out onto the highway. No traffic for miles either way. What do I do as I start to turn onto the road? I look straight ahead into the grass and ditch on the other side of the road. I even asked myself mentally, why am I looking over there? Turned my head back left and made the rest of the left turn with no issues.

2. Reinforced using both brakes when slowing/stopping.

3. Learned that even with the clutch in all the way, if I'm downshifting to stop and get to 1st too soon, my bike protests a little, i.e. grinding gears. I tested waiting until I was very slow/stopped and there was no problem.

4. Waved at my first motorcyclist on the road going the other way, I'll admit this was pretty **** cool to me.

5. Practiced swerving around a dead possum. I saw it well ahead of me, no traffic around, just wanted to practice the technique.

6. On the bike, you can smell dead possums much more easily. lol

7. Learning how to lean at higher speeds with my bike. I got a little nervous on a couple of turns, thought I took them too fast (probably did), but I just hunkered down and leaned more inside and towards my handlebars, no scraped boards and easily made the turns.

8. Cancelled my turn signals quickly about 90% of the time. Caught myself once when I was turning into the neighborhood to come home, left my signal on for about 0.25 mile.

9. Don't hit the horn when cancelling turn signals lol.

10. The biggie for me was I noticed in the neighborhood I wasn't looking in my mirrors much. Maybe because it was low speed, I "knew" there wasn't anyone there etc. I thought this might be a problem at speed on the highway....turned out it wasn't a problem at all. Once I saw headlights/car in those mirrors I had absolutely no problem checking them to cover my butt!

Sorry for the long post, just excited to get the experience in and am looking forward to more riding!

First ride bike pics...taken at Walmart lol:





Me all geared up, except for my gloves:

 

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I’d say you’re doing pretty darn good. And I enjoyed your post.
There’s more to smell out there than dead possums. Now you know why dogs like to stick their head out the window.
 

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I enjoyed your story quite a bit and wish I could have taken the ride with you. I guess being alone is part of the charm of riding some times though. Glad you had fun!
 

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Sounds like you're coming along nicely. Nice going!
With regard to #10 in your list, get in the habit of checking your mirrors frequently and on a regular basis regardless of whether you're on the freeway or in a slow speed environment. You are most vulnerable from behind because most of the time you can't hear what's behind you. Also, remember that not all cars have their headlights on, making them even harder to see coming up from behind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all, I've been giddy all morning, lol.

Mike, I hear ya on the mirror thing. I think maybe part of the issue in the neighborhood was I was so focused on having to stop, turn and shift so frequently that I wasn't as focused on what was behind me. Definitely something to work on for me. It was much easier to remember to check going 65 in a straight line with little traffic. :)

Bluedad,

The only reason I braved the Wally world parking lot was because I knew at 6:45 AM it wouldn't be crowded. However, I parked away from the few cars that were there out there, but when I came back out some genius had parked his van right behind me. Just HAD to park there I guess :p.
 

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Good on you. If you are turning off your turn signals 90% of the time you are way ahead. That was one thing I constantly struggled with for the first month or so. The other bonehead thing I did early on was forget to turn the key off (and therefore drain my battery) since I'd turn off the bike with the kill switch.

Other little tidbits acquired over time... many parking spaces tilt downhill so parking backwards in them makes the exit easier, especially on bigger bikes when your "reverse" gear consists of quadricep strength and really keep working your friction zone stuff because that's what will keep you from stalling with the bars turned (and if you stall with the bars turned ... say turning from a steep uphill stop) you WILL drop the bike and your ego will be wounded.


:) Speaking from experience as to all.
 

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Glad you had a good first ride, when I had my Honda cancelling the turn signals was a big thing for me too (forgetting that is) I have self cancelling signals now and they are awesome. Keep riding and be safe.
 

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Practice Practice Practice.
.
Ride Ride Ride :D

Glad to hear you are enjoying it, and learning to ride safely.

I've never dared ride onto a WalMart parking lot! :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah I've been scouting some nearby parking lots to practice in, especially the tight turns and counterbalance at low speeds. I was just thinking there's a new section of the neighborhood with lots of straight roads and no houses on it yet. Might can use those streets to do some stuff on while its still empty.

There are a few churches with big parking lots around but they may chase away a heathen biker! :D

Sent from my ADR6400L using Motorcycle App
 

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My advice for a new rider is to do something I do everyday after riding for 3 decades.

When you first start out for the day, find a straight section with as little traffic as possible (most neighborhood streets work well) and slalom the bike for a block or so. This helps me get a reminder for the feel of the bike and also alerts me to any issues with the tires, or other parts of the bike that are affected by cornering.

You don't need a huge slalom. Sometimes I just squirrel the bike at 25 or so.

Just a suggestion. Glad you enjoyed your first ride.
 

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Congrats and a couple of pointers:
(a) stay out of parking lots whenever possible, they are more dangerous than the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. People backing, cutting across lanes, not looking, on their phones, yadda yadda. We park on the outer boundary and walk in if we have to stop for something.
(b) develop a response to tailgating. We have aux flashing brake lights to help but no matter, when you get uncomfortable with someone, tap the brake only enough for the light to go on, then hold your hand out and make a backup motion. 9 times out of 10, OR drivers get it and back off. Then I give'em a 'thumbs up attaboy' as their reward.
 
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