AMERiders believes that everyone should be informed about certain information before setting out to ride a motorcycle for the first time. Which is why we want to give you a list of things to do before Riding a Motorcycle.
Riding a motorcycle can be intimidating at first, however, with the right approach, it can be safe, fun and enjoyable. Plus, it also helps to know what you’re getting into when you decide to take the plunge. It is similar to getting your driver’s license and buying your first car. However, for some of us when we bought our first car our parents were guiding us through it. Those looking to start riding may not know a rider to get advice and guidance from. With that in mind, we have broken the process down into a few easy steps for you. This is an overview and not a detailed guide, but it should give you a good idea of what you need to do to get started.
Take a Motorcycle class.
There are a lot of people who’ll tell you that if you can ride a dirt bike, you’ll be fine on a motorcycle. Those people are just plain wrong. There are some people who will tell you that you should just buy your first motorcycle and teach yourself to ride it with the help of some YouTube videos. Those people are complete idiots. Riding a motorcycle may be a lot like riding a heavy bicycle, but young riders who don’t know what they’re doing get themselves killed. The goal of riding a motorcycle is to have fun, not to get yourself killed.
Your best chance of having fun and not getting killed is to take a class offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or local motorcycle dealership. These people know what they’re doing, and while you won’t be an expert rider at the end of your course, you’ll be competent at the basics. Handling a bike at low speeds and taking a corner properly are not skills that come naturally, so having people who know what they’re doing there while you practice these skills is invaluable.
Buy a cheap Motorcycle.
New motorcycle riders are a lot like new drivers in the sense that their lack of experience leads to a lot of wrecks. In fact, something like 50% of all motorcycle wrecks happen in the first six months for riding a motorcycle. Even if a new rider doesn’t have a wreck in the first six months, a bike that’s good for beginners is going to get old quickly, and new riders rarely keep their first bikes for long. If you spend a lot of cash on your first bike and wreck it, you just wasted a lot of money. If you spend a lot of money on a bike and sell it nine months later, you’re going to have to eat some serious depreciation, and you just wasted a lot of money.
Most new riders want a bike that looks cool, but cool bikes are usually expensive and powerful, two things that new riders absolutely don’t need. There’s no hard and fast rule for how much money you should spend on your first bike, but it should be a pretty insignificant amount. We recommend spending less than $1,000, but even if you’re well off, don’t spend more than $3,000. Anything more than $3,000 is just a waste. As far as what type of bike to buy, standards and small cruisers are best for beginning riders.
Buy a great set of motorcycle safety gear
Motorcycle safety gear may not be convenient or make you feel cool, but it’s also the stuff that keeps you from leaving your skin on the highway or exposing your brain to asphalt. That makes safety gear incredibly important. We know that not everybody who rides wears a full safety suit, but do you know why MotoGP riders get up from wrecks looking more disappointed than dead? It’s not because the track is made out of couch cushions. It’s because they’re wearing full head-to-toe safety gear.
At the very minimum, even in a state where you can legally ride without a helmet, you should wear a full-face helmet, a motorcycle jacket, and gloves every time you ride. If you wreck while wearing nothing but a T-shirt, it’s going to hurt a lot worse than it needs to. You should also own and wear motorcycle pants and boots as well.
Unlike your first motorcycle, your first set of safety gear should not be inexpensive or disposable. The bike itself is insignificant, but you are not. Buy quality safety gear. If you spend $1,000 on a bike and $1,000 on safety gear, you’ll be a lot better off than if you buy a $2,000 bike and wear a helmet the previous owner threw in for free. Even better, you won’t be wearing a helmet that’s still crusty with the previous owner’s sweat. Plus you will know that the helmet you are wearing will protect you as it is new and not been bounced off the concrete or floor several times weakening the integrity of the helmet.
Buy insurance (very important)
Despite the fact that motorcycles offer a high level of performance for very little money. Insuring one cost next to nothing. In fact, your yearly payment probably won’t be that much higher than the monthly payment on your car insurance. Aside from it being the law in a lot of states and a requirement to get a license, motorcycle insurance gives you additional coverage if you end up needing medical treatment from an accident. Any damage to a $1,000 motorcycle is irrelevant, but any damage to you is incredibly important to fix.
Get your license
Assuming you pass your Motorcycle Riding class, you’ll still need to go get your license. It will be a little tedious — just like getting your driver’s license was — but the good news is, you’ll only have to take the written portion of the test. You will have already taken a written test in your MSF class, so the one that the DMV gives you will be a piece of cake, but you’ll still have to jump through that hoop in order to get your license.
Register your bike
Registering your motorcycle is essentially the same as registering your car, which means it’s a mildly inconvenient but fairly straightforward. You hand over documentation that the bike is yours, cut a check, and receive your tiny new license plate. It screws onto the back of your bike, and you go home happy. The law also requires you to go through this process, and if you refuse, it makes your friendly neighborhood law enforcement officers unhappy.
Failure to register your vehicle is going to turn any routine traffic stop into a much bigger hassle, though, so just go ahead and follow the law.
Above all be safe
Once you have all the boring stuff squared away, it’s time to enjoy your motorcycle. In the beginning, you’re going to have fun no matter how fast you’re going, so take it slow and don’t do anything stupid. For the first six months, you should be going on short rides, getting to know your bike, and enjoying the fact that you’re now a proud, motorcycle owner. You also need to wear your safety gear every time you go for a ride. It may feel lame and be a bit inconvenient, but the spending time in the hospital after a wreck would be even more lame and even more inconvenient.
While you’re riding, never forget that everyone and everything is trying to kill you, and that includes the road itself. Constantly keep an eye out for other drivers who are trying to run you over. You also need to keep an eye out for gravel and dirt that might cause you to lose traction and crash. Animals on and in the road are also a big concern, and while you’ll probably come out looking better than the deer you hit, it’s never going to be pretty. Be assertive, be careful, and most of all, be safe.
Finally Resist the temptation to move up to the cooler, heavier, more powerful motorcycle. If you do upgrade go midsize and not all out. after at least a year or two from your new motorcycle. That is all the advice we have for you today.
And as always….
~Live Free Ride Hard~
AMERiders wants to ensure you are safe when Riding a Motorcycle as well as having fun.
And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.
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