Fascinated by motorcycles but not sure how to get started? Learning how to ride a motorcycle is much easier than most people think. Motorcycles aren’t these big, complex machines requiring an expert level of skill to get started. Essentially, they are bicycles with engines, and anyone can learn to ride. In fact, if you know how to ride a bicycle, you’ve already got an advantage when learning how to ride a motorcycle. You know how to balance on two wheels, and balance is key to riding motorcycles. And if you haven’t ridden a bicycle, don’t worry. Mastering the balance does not take long.
If you’re a complete beginner, learning how to ride a motorcycle may feel a little intimidating at first. You’re not alone, most new riders feel a little anxious about their first attempts. It’s perfectly natural. However, don’t let fear take over, as learning to ride can be a fun process.
First things first, you’ll need proper motorcycle gear to stay protected in case of a crash. Even if it’s your very first lesson, gear up. Wear a helmet, gloves and boots.
As a beginner learning how to ride a motorcycle for the first time, you want something that is light and easy to handle. As you progress, you can then move up to bigger, heavier, more powerful motorcycles. There is no such thing as a motorcycle for beginners, as any bike can be your first bike. However, if you can, try simply sitting on a motorcycle that you like, see how it feels, and compare it with a few other machines. When you swing a leg over that saddle, see if you can comfortably put both feet down. Does the bike feel balanced? Can you easily get on, get off, and put it on a side stand? Do you like the position you’re sitting in?
In addition to sitting on a motorcycle you like to see if you feel comfortable, also try moving it back and forth. Wheel it around a little. You should be able to easily handle the bike both in and off the saddle. Remember, it’s not about muscle, it’s about balance. Learning the basics will be much easier on a lighter motorcycle.
Now that you’re sitting aboard your motorcycle, you need to know how to brake. The pedal on your right side is the rear brake, and the lever on your right handlebar is your front brake. Try getting a feel of both, before you can set off. Use both brakes gently and gradually, never grab or stomp on your brakes.
it’s time to start your bike and learn the controls. Shifting gears is what terrifies most new riders the most, but the reality is, learning how to shift is much easier than you think. Motorcycles usually have five gears, the first gear is down, then you shift up for neutral, second, third, fourth, and fifth. To engage the gears, you’ll need to pull the clutch lever in. To start moving, pull the clutch lever in, engage the first gear, then gently roll the throttle releasing the clutch at the same time, just like with a car. Once the bike starts moving, gently let the clutch out while adding a little bit of throttle. Once you reach higher RPM’s, pull the clutch lever in fully, lay off the throttle, and engage second gear. To slow down, shift down until you’re in first gear, then pull in neutral once you’re stopped. Keep repeating until it becomes second nature.
Riding a bike in a straight line is one thing, but what about corners, U-turns, and manoeuvring in a parking lot? To keep the bike steady and stable in corners, do not rely on turning your handlebars only. As you round a corner, the bike will lean into it a little, and you need to lean with it. Don’t fight your bike, but rather go with the movement. Remember to keep your throttle steady and always look through to where you’re going: if you keep staring at your front tire, chances are, you’ll stall or crash. Looking through the corner helps you stay balanced and steer the bike in the direction you want to go.
Once you get a feel for it and get your license, it’s time to hit the road. As a new rider, you need to get as much practice as you can, but take it slowly: first, ride quiet, two-lane roads and practice navigating traffic safely before you hit highways.
The more you ride, the more you will get to know your bike, controls will become muscle memory, and you will feel more and more confident on all kinds of roads and traffic conditions. Remember to build slowly, however, as getting yourself into stressful situations in busy traffic or high-speed freeways can scare you off motorcycling. So take it slow, hone your skills, and enjoy the ride as much as you can.