Riding Your First Motorcycle

vulcan-900Many people, men and women alike, believe that motorcycles are easy to handle. After all, most of us mastered a bicycle by the age of eight and like a bicycle, motorcycles have two wheels as well. How difficult can they really be to manage on the road? The average person can get a bicycle up to around 30 mph on a flat surface. A pro cyclist can get to around 50 mph. A motorcycle can go from zero to more than 60 mph in under 4 seconds. That’s a steep increase over a bicycle, and one that should be your first clue that riding a motorcycle is going to take quite a bit of practice to get right.

If you are in the market for your first motorcycle or you know, as many riders do, that your life will be enriched through the travel options that owning a motorcycle will bring, you should take a few things into consideration before making your purchase and before hopping on the seat to take it for a spin. A motorcycle does not come equipped with an airbag or safety features like an automobile, and until you have been through some training, you simply do not want to just “hop on” and try to ride away into the sunset. A simple mistake when driving a car may end with a small scratch or even a slight fender dent. Making a mistake on a motorcycle can end your life. Be aware though that while riding a motorcycle is often thought to be dangerous, so are many other things in life and you can control the danger level by gaining experience and learning to be safe.

Before you ride your first bike, you may want to consider taking a motorcycle safety course with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) as they offer safety courses nationwide for motorcycle owners and those interested in riding. Taking a course is not mandatory, but if you have never been on a motorcycle before, it is a good idea, and highly recommended, to take a course and get some good instruction on safety as well as how to ride a bike. The MSF course will show you how to use your clutch, brakes and other controls as well as how to ride safely and what types of clothing and gear you may need. They have courses designed for beginners, but they also expand into courses for intermediate and advanced riders as well.

Once you have taken a safety course, or had someone with experience show you the basics of your new motorcycle, you will also want to make sure you have the proper riding gear. This is going to include a good helmet, riding gloves and leathers. While clothing designed specifically for motorcycle riders is not required by law, you will want to invest in it to protect your body in case of a crash. A helmet will not keep your head safe if you crash into a car or building going at a high rate of speed but it will help keep your head, and the skin over your skull, protected from a fall off your bike if you should happen to fall while riding or your bike spills when going down the road.

The clothing you wear when riding should be designed to keep your skin safe during a crash or fall. Riders will skid down the asphalt when a crash occurs and your skin is going to be the most important part of your body at that time. Protecting it by wearing a good riding jacket, gloves and pants will help ensure that the least amount of skin as possible will be damaged. You also want to wear a good pair of boots or sturdy shoes when riding. While many people wear them on the coast and in hot weather, wearing flip flops during a ride is not a safe thing to do.

If you find a motorcycle online or in another state and don’t want to miss out on the great price you found, have the bike shipped to you by using an experienced motorcycle shipping company like A-1 Auto Transport, Inc. and then take time to get to know your bike before riding. You should know the proper way to maintenance your bike including checking your tire pressure and tread, oil pressure and level and even the bike chain and changing light bulbs and other small issues when the arise. If the motorcycle is not maintained correctly, you will find that it may be difficult to control on the road and can be dangerous.

As a motorcycle owner, it is very important to be cautious when riding. It may be simple for you to see a large SUV heading down the highway, but to the SUV driver, a motorcycle may not be easy to see. Automobiles have blind spots, and as a rider, it is up to you to make sure you steer clear of the larger vehicles to avoid a collision. With the use of cell phones on the rise, even with laws in place to deter them, people still get distracted by text messages, social media and other cell phone usage during a drive and all it takes is one second to glance at a phone for them to fail to see a motorcycle and cause a crash. As a rider, it is going to fall into your hands to ride safely and try to avoid a collision by assuming the drivers cannot see you.

You also need to stay on top of the weather when you are planning to ride. Cars are usually just fine driving during a storm but when you are on the back of a motorcycle and it starts to rain, not only can it feel terrible to be drenched during a ride, but rain can physically be painful when it hits you during a ride at 60+ mph. As a rider, you also must consider excessive wind, snow and other weather conditions that can make riding difficult, or dangerous.

Once you have been on your bike a few times, you may begin to feel like you can ride anytime and at any speed. Don’t let things like that mess you up on the road. Practice riding as often as possible until you really get things down. Learn the rules of the road and always make sure you are aware of your surroundings when riding. You cannot leave things in the hands of other drivers or assume that just because you have ridden the bike a few times that you can handle anything that comes your way. Never try to race or show off and never try to get attention by speeding on your motorcycles. This holds true whether you are a beginner or have been riding for many years. The most important aspect of riding is to make sure you ride safely and do all that you can to keep your bike, and yourself, safe.

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