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This weekend I got out to a parking lot to practice some things, and to just log some time on my bike. The safety classes around here are all filled up, so I'm going to have to wait until next spring (boo!). I took and passed the written test, and so I have a permit that allows me to ride when accompanied by a fully endorsed rider. I have been thinking that after some practice in parking lots I might be able to get out on some back roads a little bit... but I have decided that's not going to happen. The first reason is that I'm simply not ready. The second is that some of the things that I have to learn might result in me tipping the bike and possibly causing some cosmetic damage... which I would really rather practice using a smaller bike, and not MY bike :)

I'm starting to feel comfortable with shifting up and down in gears, braking, and just generally riding (the easy part, eh?).. but I need to work on starting from a standstill, turning from a standstill, and just slow maneuvering in general. I know it'll come with time, and that I need to remember this was only the second time I have ever been on a bike! I'm still really looking forward to moving toward getting out on the road... I just think it's going to be a little while. Here's a picture my GF took of me though.. yay!

 

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I applaud your desire to be safe...it is very important to take the MSF course because it shows you the RIGHT way to brake, turn, accelerate, etc. It also shows you the rules of the road, and what to look for when driving. I had my motorcycle in the garage for over a month before I took the course. I even had to have some one else drive it to my home from the bike store. Your bike looks great by the way! Maybe this site will help you find someone who can help you get started before you can attend the course. Good luck!
 

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Kudos on focusing on safety. like johern, my bike sat in my garage for about a month until i finished the motorcycle safety course. it sucked to walk past it on my way to my truck, but it turned out to be a great decision to wait. i just started riding a few months ago, and the learning curve can be frustrating, i know! especially starting uphill from a stop, i must've stalled 20 times on the hill behind my house until i got it down. keep your head up, practice as much as you can, and enjoy it! motorcycling is one of the most fun things i've ever done, savor it!
 

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Don't practice any specific feat, just ride around the parking lot, and try to stay up. The more you ride , when it comes to the tight maneuvers, it'll be easier. So many folks crash learning those maneuvers they teach in class early on. I learned to ride on dirt bikes at 14,and screwing up didn't hurt that much, you get the hang of loose ground ,and footing real quick. It made me sick to take my test, and see a couple riders go down because lack of saddle time. DO the parking lot thing, and stay off the roads, don't need the legal issues, and have to pay for towing it home.
 

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I suspect you won't wait until next spring to take it out onto the road.

When I first took mine out on the road I naturally tried to head toward the least traffic area I could find. No matter what you do you can't avoid traffic completely. Just don't let people around you make you do things out of your comfort level. In other words just because someone is behind you don't speed up to try to appease them. Go slow and recognize danger zones! Being observant has saved my behind more than once. Any road that has a lot of entrances (like driveways etc.) is a big time danger zone, people may suddenly pull out or turn unexpectedly in front of you and the faster you are going the less time you have to react and the longer it takes to stop. Again... go slow.

*edited to add*
Oh, and one other thing. Buy protective clothing! Jeans and tee-shirts don't cut it when you slide down the road I hear.
 

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You're definitely going about this the right way. I give you a lot of credit for taking it slow. I know many would find that difficult if not impossible. I certainly didn't take the same approach and looking back at it now (25 years gives you an appreciation for the risks involved in an activity such as this), I was just plain foolish ... lucky, extremely lucky, but quite foolish. Stick with your plan and you're going to be a confident, comfortable rider in no time.
 

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:shock: Plan and take a 2000 - 3000 mile road trip. By the time you get back...you'll have all the practice and experience you'll need. :-D
 

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As an Msf coach for brc and arc-st courses here are a few unofficial tips until you get to a class

1. Keep your head and eyes up and scanning ahead of you. If you're looking 10 feet in front of your wheel like most new riders, then you're not aware of whats coming.

2. Look where you want to be when turning. This applies to slow and at speed turns.

3. Once you're comfortable with going 10-15mph work on getting down to 3-5mph or slower.. such as stop and go traffic, stoplights/signs... LIGHTLY drag the rear brake ONLY while keeping the clutch in friction zone with a little throttle and it'll become so much easier to go slower. (You'll use this in tight turns too so it helps you practice)

4. If you brake lock the front tire, immediately release and reapply with less pressure.

5. If you brake lock the rear on asphalt...KEEP IT LOCKED... your bike will go out of alignment... releasing the brake can high side you.

6. motorman videos.. his videos teach the basics above and then some. All of which you'll learn at the Msf Brc course but since you can't get in now it gives you the practice and the knowlege to make things a peice of cake at the class. And it wont hurt to know more than others.

Sent from my DROIDX using Motorcycle App
 

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probably a much safer route than i took 25 years ago when i got my first bike. Went and bought it from a guy who's house was like 30 ft higher than the street, so the driveway was on a steep slant, probably a 35 degree incline over 25-30ft with a big bump at the bottom where the driveway met the street. Being young and stupid, i just jumped on and rode it down and took off. Was only the second time i ever rode a bike. Was maxim 550, 81 or 82 i think which at the time was a good sized bike, fast as hell too. Pulled the front end almost vertical once by accident, much to the surprise of my girlfriend at the time who wasn't holding on and slipped off the back onto her feet.

I should mention that as a kid, evel knievel was my absolute hero along with the six million dollar man. Quite an ironic coupling there. Surprised i lived this long but never had an accident in either a car or a bike so far. *knocks on head, errr wood*

young=fearless=stupid
 

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Funny, I did practically the same thing only it was a brand new 1983 550 Nighthawk that I drove out of the dealership with maybe one or two single riding experiences under my belt. What an idiot I was but as you point out, at that age you usually don't listen very well to reason. That's what makes what suprnova04 is doing so remarkable ... and just when I thought the younger generation was beyond hope ...
 

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Elf...that is why I do not post video. Even after 20K miles and counting, I'm sure this crowd would take me to task for something! Great bunch of guys, but love to eat their own.
 

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I don't know squat! I have about 7 weeks of riding my own bike under me. However, I started out this dream of ownership and riding with this thought. I don't want my epitaph to say that he died doing what he enjoyed. I want to live long enough to worry the snot out of my kids so I ride extremely cautious and observant. I expect the unexpected! I'm sure IT(the unexpected) will come in time.

I've been riding about 50+ miles almost every day for the last 6 weeks. Hills, curves, traffic, smooth/rough roads, slow/fast starts. I think I'm ready to find a large lot to practice locking the wheels. I have a friend that will come out to give me pointers.

I think we all have take it slow and learn at our own rate. Use common sense and don't be in the wrong place at the wrong time if possible. Speed kills! I constantly remind myself that I am on top of 500 lbs with no protection.
 

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Recommendation, get yourself a nicely padded jacket, check craigslist for some bargains, a lot of people in the MSF class I took came off. The guy who crashed hardest was fortunately wearing a jacket, it got tore up, not him and he was able to jump back on and rebuild his confidence. Enjoy
 

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Taking it slow is the right move. even if you start to feel real comfy before you take the brc next year still take it. i took it in june and learned allot. I lockrd my wheels up on the Cross Bronx parkway last week( and if anyone has ever ridden it you know its gotta be one of the worst roads in the country). if i didnt take the coarse im sure the bike would have went down but because i knew what to do all i ended up with was a little rush. The previous posters hit some real good points, just take it easy and dont try anything till you feel ready.
 

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You mentioned your girlfriend. Be smart, and don't take her on the back until you have about 5 thousand miles of solo time. Even then you will be surprised at how much this changes things, and the learning curve involved.
 

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I'm also just starting out. I thought I would never learn how to ride, but I felt so excited the first time I got my feet off the ground and rode the bike down my driveway. I spent two days (maybe a total of one hour) just starting out in my driveway. I got the feel of the clutch and throttle and stayed in first gear, just cruising up and down. I live right next to a development so I spent several days practicing there. It has plenty of stops, turns, hills and straightaways. Then I took it on the back roads in my town. After that I took it to work a few times. It's only ten minutes away and I took the back way.

Is your girlfriend excited? Does she want to ride on the back or get her own bike? I told my girlfriend that she's not riding on the back until I have a lot of experience, which means not any time soon.
 
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