New Rider Motorcycle Tips
•Follow the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s T-Clocs pre-ride inspection. This will help ensure you have a safer ride and lessen the chance of a mishap from low tire pressure or loose cables.
•Always make sure that your kickstand is up before putting your motorcycle in gear. I saw a new rider with their new motorcycle pull out of a dealership with the kickstand down. When they turned left, the kickstand caught on the pavement and the motorcycle and rider fell.
•Always make sure that your kickstand is down and completely engaged when you park and leave your motorcycle. To ensure that the kickstand is fully engaged, push on the notch on the side of the kickstand with your toe until it meets resistance. I knew a new rider that was so excited about going on a group ride for the first time, she got off the bike and realized she didn’t put the kickstand down and the motorcycle was on a slight incline. The motorcycle flopped in the parking lot before she could grab it. (you’ll read more about this later).
•Always put your feet down when you stop your motorcycle. I know a new rider that was so excited with their new motorcycle that when they drove it off the dealership lot, they came to a stop sign and forgot to put their feet down, once again kerplunk. I have also seen experienced riders forget to do this, so make a conscious effort. Believe me, there is nothing funnier to other motorcyclists than watching a perfect side dive when the motorcycle flops.
•Always turn your ignition off when you turn off your motorcycle. If you don’t, you can come back to a dead battery because of the lights or other power drainers pulling current. This is a very common mistake that singles new riders out to more experienced riders.
•Try not to pull into a downward sloping parking spot because then you have to back out your motorcycle up an incline. Sometimes this is challenging, so unless you have friends that can help you, think twice. It is very embarrassing to have to ask for help because you didn’t think about it.
•If you drop your motorcycle, and you will, inspect it before riding it. I knew a new rider that flopped her motorcycle in a parking lot, did a quick inspection and tooled on down the road. Her motorcycle had an oil cap that was exposed and that had loosened from the fall, but she didn’t physically check it by tightening, just looked. Anyway, as she was riding she smelled something burning. When she pulled into another parking lot her rear and thigh was feeling the heat because the oil had sprayed on the muffler, thereby creating steam that was frying her bottom and the heat directly from the oil tank went to the thigh. No harm was done, but the lesson was learned. It really gives new meaning to the term, “Hot Cross Buns” (this was the part about more).
•Keep your head up and remember that where your eyes go, the motorcycle goes. In other words, look were you want to go, not at the cute little squirrel running along the side of the road.
•Be careful about using the front brake when you are navigating very slowly and especially when cornering because that is 70% of your stopping power. Use the back brake or a combination of both. For example, I know a rider that was pulling out of a parking lot, making a hard left turn going very slowly. This rider put on the front brake AND looked down at the ground, (remember the eyes part)the motorcycle flopped.
I bet you are wondering how I know all about these mistakes. We all know that they never happened to me – hee-hee. The reason I have shared these new rider motorcycle tips with you is because I don’t want you to have to learn the hard way.
Until next week, ride safe.
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