Part I of II
You want to learn to ride a motorcycle. Just remember that age, size, and gender make absolutely no difference. Whether you are tall, short, heavy, slender, strong or not so strong, young, middle aged, or older (like me; I am 59 years young), you can ride a motorcycle and enjoy it immensely.
First, you must consider taking a motorcycle safety course if there is one near by. If there are no such courses available in your area, then seek out a friend that rides. My husband taught me to ride. If you know someone that is a motorcycle rider ask that person if they would help you to learn to ride. Also, be sure and pick up a pamphlet at your local Division of Motor vehicles and study it to learn about motorcycle does and don’ts. This pamphlet will give you a basic idea of what you need to know before you get on a motorcycle.
Also, remember to get a learners permit after you have studied the book. There are also videos and books you can download online that have a lot of useful information and are very inexpensive. Once you have accomplished all of the above, you need to buy some good quality motorcycle leathers and other motorcycle gear, perhaps even a helmet. Check the motorcycle laws concerning the use of helmets in your state. Leathers are a must when riding a motorcycle. Leathers can protect you from a very painful case of “road rash”. Even in hot weather, the use of leathers should be considered important. There are many different weights of leathers. I have some heavy weight leathers I wear in cool weather and a lighter weight set of white leathers I wear when the weather is hot. If you are very serious about riding a lot, you might also invest in heated gear. I have a heated vest and heated gloves that I wear in the early spring and late fall when the temperature is below 50 degrees. I also have a full face helmet that I wear in cool weather and a light weight “brain bucket” that I wear in the summer in states that require helmets. You might also consider having a couple pairs of leather gloves; one pair for cool weather and another pair for hot weather.
Once you start to ride a lot more and find that you don’t mind riding in the rain, check into a nice set of rain gear to go over your leathers to keep you dry. There are a few things you should keep in mind when riding and that is that most people are not aware of motorcycles. They are looking for cars, pickups, SUV’s, etc. When you are riding ride as if you were invisible to everyone. Be aware of all the cars around you at all times. This could help you avoid a serious accident. Do not assume that the car with a blinker on is going to turn.
Give the right of way to any vehicle you are not sure of. I have had people on side streets look right at me then pull out in front of me. They were not expecting to see a motorcycle and therefore they did not see me. I even had driving lights installed on my bike to help people see me but they still block motorcycles from their mind. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and are harder to see in a rear view mirror; especially if you are in the car’s blind spot. I was riding down a street when a parked car started to pull away from the curb. That car almost hit me in the side; luckily the driver saw me at the last second and stopped. That is one reason I try to always ride on the left side of my lane; it gives other drivers a better chance to see and avoid hitting me.
In the next part I will discuss choosing a motorcycle that is right for you. Remember, knowledge is power. Read, watch, and listen to everything you can about riding. It will help you to become a better rider.