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Thread: Help for a new and nervous rider

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Help for a new and nervous rider


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    Hi,

    I'm going through the process at the moment to do my Mod 1 and 2 for a full bike licence. I hadn't ridden before starting the lessons so I am essentially a new driver. I had a really bad experience on my first lesson with an instructor who is no longer being used and as a result I am now really nervous. Basically, my first lesson should have been with other newbies for the CBT, I was placed witha guy who was doing his mod 2 a couple of days later and had been riding a 125 for a year. The instructor took us out on the road for him to practice so i went from only being in 1st / 2nd gear in a small training circuit to being shouted at down a national speed limit road to get up to 60 mph. I felt so out of control and literally had no idea what to do if anything went wrong that I now really struggle with speed.

    When I'm in a lesson setting and doing manoeuvres such as figure 8's etc I'm fine and urban riding is mostly as fine as a new rider can be I guess. ie pulling away is still not as tidy as it could be and gear changes are not as smooth as they could be yet but it's the idea of the on road stuff that is still making me really tense. When I relax I enjoy it hence carrying on but the test is looming and my partner is expecting me to pass the test and ride out with him every Sunday ad infinitum. He is a really experienced rider.
    I have been on the road twice now for about 3 hrs in total. Instructor says one more short session off road to practice the swerve would see me ready for the Mod 1 and Mod 2 basically is a confidence issue.

    Can any of you please give me any top tips for relaxing more to get the benefit from the lessons and pass.

    Another thing to mention, I am really small, we were on a country road last session in the high winds we have just had and I couldn't get above 40 mph, I felt I was being lifted off the seat? Same session, I was blown over when stationary learning hill starts. Got straight back on but I am finding it incredibly hard to keep right foot up and on the brake for a hill start without losing balance. I'm on a lowered 600 but still on the balls of my feet. I think the pulling away issue is probably partly to do with stability as well.

    I have bought a bike and had it lowered for when I do pass so am wondering if that will be easier for hill starts etc if I am more stable?

    Apologies for all the questions, my main aim is to be safe but enjoy it.

  2. #2
    Should Get Out More Julian_Boolean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Get a much smaller bike and practice riding it.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Thanks for the reply, I did ask about going back to a 125 after they transitioned me on to the 600 but the instructor said a 600 is actually easier to handle? He said the 125's are more twitchy and a less smooth ride.

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    125s are more twitchy and less smooth, but they also weigh a lot less than a 600 which would make riding easier if you're small.
    I've no idea what you're allowed to ride on L plates these days as I passed my test in 1985, but if you can get a 125 of your own and spend time riding it by yourself, it'll give you lots of confidence and experience.
    You ride a motorcycle for two reasons, transport or fun, and it doesn't sound as though you're having much of the latter.

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Yes that's it, it's the weight! I wanted to stick to a 125 but was told (emphatically) by my partner and instructors that I would be bored after a couple of months and wish I'd gone for the bigger bike. But I am seriously struggling with it, walking the bike backwards and into an adjacent space for my mod 1 knackers me as i can't seem to keep it upright enough (because of my height and arm length which impedes me trying to turn the handlebars and grip the bike at the same time)) to let it use it's own momentum enough to make the walk easy.
    In addition, when pulling away I have to lean to have a foot down so I have to shove myself upright to pull away which I think is giving me a wobble factor and I end up putting a foot back down again. Instructor seems to think that is just a practice thing but not having ridden before I don't know.

    It's a bit like modern art, I know I'm supposed to appreciate it but right now I don't really get it....

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    What Julian said.
    All the things about the 600 are true but there's no point in tackling the extra bulkuntil you have complete confidence on something that you can handle now. Once you have that confidence and are getting frustrated that the 125 won't go fast enough or feels to "flighty" then is the time to change.
    Moving bikes around a parking slot or in and out of the garage is something that gets easier with practice and there are little tricks you learn along the way - Practice is the key.
    Its worth persevering, once you have the confidence and the skills there is no better way to travel!

    Good luck

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Thanks guys much appreciate your time. I do enjoy it in short bursts but I think the lack of confidence is making me too tense to progress properly, probably... and I forget that in reality I have gone from never ridden to just a few hours on a machine that has more power than my teenagers smartphone grip....

    So i think I'm going to speak to the instructor about going back to a 125.

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Where are you based - there are a few instructir types on here that could help you.

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Hiya. So sorry to hear you've had such a rubbish start. Bloody bullying instructors. Obv question is where abouts in the UK are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by littlehan View Post
    Yes that's it, it's the weight! I wanted to stick to a 125 but was told (emphatically) by my partner and instructors that I would be bored after a couple of months and wish I'd gone for the bigger bike. But I am seriously struggling with it, walking the bike backwards and into an adjacent space for my mod 1 knackers me as i can't seem to keep it upright enough (because of my height and arm length which impedes me trying to turn the handlebars and grip the bike at the same time)) to let it use it's own momentum enough to make the walk easy.
    In addition, when pulling away I have to lean to have a foot down so I have to shove myself upright to pull away which I think is giving me a wobble factor and I end up putting a foot back down again. Instructor seems to think that is just a practice thing but not having ridden before I don't know..
    Tell me about it. I'm 5'11 & found the weight of the 500ccs used then to do DAS really caught me out on even trying to get the bastarding thing off the centre stand. This shoving off to get going is rubbish. IMO you need bare minumum the right height for you.

    What's the game plan here? Commmute to work or recreational. What's the commute like & might there be someone egging you on so you can join them on a recreational ride??

    125s-so long as you buy the right sort, very easy to sell on. I'm not seeing a downside at all to that, SO long as ride height is correct for you. Other obvious question is how tall are you & how much(ish) do you weigh?

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    The weight thing is a PITA, I am small(ish), old and have a heavy bike that has to be parked backwards uphill in the only place it will fit. However as others have said, it IS a confidence thing. Yesterday I struggled, it was only the 2nd ride of the year. By October I will be fine with it. When bikes are balanced they only need a very small force to hold them balanced, and once rolling you don't need to apply very much force to keep them rolling.

    No idea about the 125 idea, I took my test long ago and started on a 250 as the first bike, put on a L plate and go off and play. Sounds as though you need more practice, perhaps in bite-sized chunks so you are still enjoying it at the end of the session. I don't really understand the new test stuff, but I'm guessing you can't go out on the road yet except n a 125 or with the instructor, so perhaps you need to talk to the school and give you a few extra short sessions.

    Good luck, and enjoy your biking.

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    I do know that some very experienced riders are perfectly happy on 125s. It is entirely wrong for "instructors" to push you onto something you feel unhappy with. Stick to your guns, take note of the good advice here and you'll feel much happier.

    Have a look here - lots of stuff about riding and enjoying smaller bikes. Some people do extended European tours on board Honda C90s!

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    I like small bikes, I've currently got 3 bikes, an 1170, a 750 and a 400, the 400 is the most fun.

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    As most have said ,get back on the 125 and get confident there. Then move up to bigger bikes.
    And do NOT let ANYONE bully you by saying they're not proper bikes or any crap like that.

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Wow! Thank you so much everyone! You're all so nice!
    To answer a few questions; I'm 5 ' 1 ", weigh just under 9 stone. The aim is to be one of those irritating fair weather riders I won't be commuting, it will be used for spring / summer / early autumn touring only. I've passed my CBT so can ride a 125 on the roads for two years before renewing.
    I am being egged on by my partner who wants a touring buddy however he has been riding for many years and has just bought a new 800 cc beast so I do feel massively under pressure not only to pass the test but to be able to keep up with him so he doesn't get bored. I've told him repeatedly I'll be pootling at my own pace not his but he just keeps saying I'll be fine....

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    Default Re: Help for a new and nervous rider

    Quote Originally Posted by littlehan View Post
    Wow! Thank you so much everyone! You're all so nice!
    To answer a few questions; I'm 5 ' 1 ", weigh just under 9 stone. The aim is to be one of those irritating fair weather riders I won't be commuting, it will be used for spring / summer / early autumn touring only. I've passed my CBT so can ride a 125 on the roads for two years before renewing.
    I am being egged on by my partner who wants a touring buddy however he has been riding for many years and has just bought a new 800 cc beast so I do feel massively under pressure not only to pass the test but to be able to keep up with him so he doesn't get bored. I've told him repeatedly I'll be pootling at my own pace not his but he just keeps saying I'll be fine....
    You need to progress at your pace, not his ,and he needs to understand that. After all, he learnt at his pace didn't he?
    Once you're more confident in the 125 start going out with him, but you plan the routes: lots of lovely little unclassified back roads with tight corners and high hedgerows.... You'll both be going pretty much the same speed so it won't matter what bikes you're on.

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