Learning to Ride at 75

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
When you fall off (or drop the bike in this case) it's important to get back on the horse. I've always heard that but is it true? I don't know but I decided I'd go ahead and do it today. No rear brakes because the pedal is too bent so I had to make do with just the front. So I just stayed in my subdivision where there is very little traffic. Managed to get in 2 miles without any problems. I was worried about it stalling because after I dropped it yesterday I had to wait about 15 minutes before it would start and it did cut out on me a few times on the way home. But today it ran fine. According to UPS tracking my adjustable shift lever should arrive from Tec Bike Parts tomorrow. Once that gets here I'm going to go ahead and order the adjustable rear brake pedal from them too. Since I have to take off the bent rear brake pedal anyway, I might as well go ahead and replace it with the adjustable one at the same time. I'm also probably going to eventually get the adjustable foot pegs. I've seen a number of reviews of the 650 Interceptor that complained about the foot pegs hitting them in the calf muscles when they stopped and I'm having the same issue. It's annoying.
 

Bluestrom13

Well travelled
Location
UK
Something to bear in mind. Those TEC levers are alloy, NOT steel. If the bike falls with those on, they will likely break.
if they don't, but bend, they are unlikely to straighten up.
Should be a good incentive to stay shiny side up.
 
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GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Something to bear in mind. Those TEC levers are alloy, NOT steel. If the bike falls with those on, they will likely break.
if they don't, but bend, they are unlikely to straighten up.
Should be a good incentive to stay shiny side up.

Good point. My goal will be to stay upright at all times. But I'll keep the old steel ones just in case.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Went out for another "back of the horse" ride. I have to admit I'm a bit intimidated by this motorcycle. I probably would have been better off with something like a 350cc. But It is what it is. I just did about 2-3 miles around the neighborhood. I'll keep to that until I get the rear brake lever fixed. The new shift lever is due sometime today, but it hasn't shown up yet. And the gloves are due from Amazon in 2-3 more day. Till then I'm wearing my fingerless bicycling gloves. I did a little checking into courses and I found out that I am also going to need leather over the ankle boots to take the course. So I'll be shopping for those. I need some in a wide width. My size is 11EE. "One width fits all" just doesn't cut it for me.
 

Andy131

Well travelled
Location
Manchester UK
One size fits all doesn't suit very many on this forum - that's why Royal Enfield
So glad that you are persevering - yes I did take the easy option of a Himalayan, but considering my personal circumstances, the bike is keeping me sane, which I believe is the whole point.
 

Rednaxs60

Well travelled
Training is a fickle thing. You start a course with everyone else, and regardless of number of years riding, you'd be surprised at how close everyone is at the start, don't let the trim package of the bike or rider intimidate you. You finish the course on a high point at approximately the same level as everyone else. You leave the course with renewed confidence, you relax and enjoy your riding, you may or may not practice what you were taught. If you practice, you will retain most of what you learned and did - I say this because there is only so much we do when practicing. If you don't practice, try doing some of the skill patterns at the end of a year, you'll find you are a bit rusty, and need several sessions to get back up to speed. When this happens take another course. You will find that after a couple of hours you are back up to where you were when you left the other course, and can now concentrate on learning and improving your skill set to a new level.

Talk to the instructors, you will find that most started as you did, or had the mindset that they would not be learning much. I found that most instructors found a new meaning for humble pie at the beginning, just like I did.

Taking a riding course is not a weakness, but a game changer. You don't have to explain why to anyone, it's about you and for you. Anyone who starts riding and is self taught, will be a novice on a course, the same as someone who starts riding takes a course, then goes out and enjoys. The difference is the habits you form at the start are good ones, don't have to undo bad ones.

Good luck.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Still waiting for that new shift lever that was supposed to arrive yesterday. :( I hope it's just due to a shipping delay and not that it's lost.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
No ride again today. I'm still waiting on that gear shift lever that was originally going to be delivered on the 22nd. Now when I check UPS tracking I get the message "The delivery date will be provided as soon as possible" Whatever that means. When I check "Shipment progress" it shows the last point as Mesquite Texas at 1am Saturday morning. I hope that means it isn't lost. I googled "Mesquite Texas" expecting with a name like that it would be some small town in west Texas with a dirt road main street and tumbleweeds blowing lazily along with the wind. But instead I found that it's a fair sized suburb of Dallas. Still 600 miles away.

So I decided to do something about my brake lever. The one I bent when I dropped the bike a few days ago. So I took it off. Put it in the vice and straightened it out as best I could and put it back on. Turns out I straightened too much. Took out some of the bend that it was supposed to have. Oh well. Live and learn. Still it's now good enough that I can use the rear brake. And it was also a good learning exercise for when I put on the new adjustable levers.

Also my gloves came from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q5CM8PB?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1 I'll be wearing those next time I take the bike out.
 
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tom_d

Well travelled
Location
US
Not to be confused with the writings of Che Guevara by the same name.

4/19/22

Preface: I don't know shit about riding a motorcycle.

I’ve had the bike since 4/14/22. When I got it it had 3 miles on it. I now have 20 miles on it. So 17 miles on it so far. All of it in my neighborhood. I’m not ready to get out onto the roads in real traffic. I’ve taken care of insurance and registration. I’m wearing an open face helmet, jeans, and my classic style bicycling gloves, New Balance Walking shoes and any kind of shirt. I’ll be getting more appropriate “gear”, as they call it, as time goes by.

Today I decided I needed to work on my weak spot. Actually I have quite a few of them but the one I have noticed the most is making a right turn at an intersection after a full stop. I’ve been going really wide. I’m going to concentrate on that for now. I put 5 miles on the bike today and probably did about 8-10 of those right turns. Some of them were not too bad, others were ugly. I’m trying to remember to turn the fork first, look where I want the bike to go, and carefully feather the clutch as I keep the engine at a steady rpm high enough not to stall. It’s a lot to think about. I know that I will have to practice this until I do it instinctively without thinking about it. My ugliest attempt was when I stalled it because I was in 2nd gear when I thought I was in 1st.

Sometimes I remember to use the turn signal. But not always. And when I do use it I forget to cancel it.
The turn skill you are working on is really a bunch of skills coming together as I am sure you know. Since the mind can really only concentrate on one thing at a time (like a single threaded computer) and you start to fall behind what the vehicle needs, then the thinking about the skill instead of the application of it will find you where you did not intend. Just for the right hand turn, try these skills in the parking lot.
*Friction zone use in 1st and 2nd. Starting in 2nd with a normal start is not going to damage the bike though don't make it a habit.
*Your body will instinctively influence the direction of the bike by merely turning your head in that direction. This is good and bad depending on whether you are meaning to go that direction or are just looking at something. If you are heading for something and are afraid you will hit it, don't look at it and instead force yourself to look at your escape route.
*Low speed maneuvers work mostly like you might expect, but quickly transition into doing the opposite input and is a blend of behaviors even before that. Turning left makes a motorcycle go right, turning right makes it go left. The easy way to use and remember, is push on the right handle, it goes right, push on the left and it goes left. Above a certain speed, trying to turn the towards the desired direction will not work. This skill is also a good reason why taking a MSF course is recommended. I'm self-taught in most activities, but sometimes there are things you just have to study about before you can put them to safe use (flying) because of the novel and dynamic nature of the activity and some of our built-in instincts and perceptions that life and biology provides us.

Below I've posted a couple videos from one of MCrider playlists who I found very helpful, clear and practical in keeping myself safe. I recommend watching all in that playlist and begin looking into his others looking for skills you are ready for. Welcome to the journey. :)



Is that why I never see bikers wearing jeans?

View attachment 4895
Jeans do immediately tear and do give a false sense of security, but boots and steel toed work shoes seem a staple of protective clothing as does leather coats and gloves. Helmets are still hit or miss, a bandana seems as common as helmets for people in the biker lifestyle. There's a lot going on, but I think making and living by your own rules as well as safety created by discipline that club rules encourage or enforce for the good of the whole. On the safety side, there are people in charge of planning and making prior arrangements (like traveling through other's territory) so things can be very organized, kinda like planning for family trips especially when hitting the road since that is really what it is. More wolf pack like than, well I don't know what to call groups of young riders popping wheelies and stunting on roadways.
 

tom_d

Well travelled
Location
US
No ride again today. I'm still waiting on that gear shift lever that was originally going to be delivered on the 22nd. Now when I check UPS tracking I get the message "The delivery date will be provided as soon as possible" Whatever that means. When I check "Shipment progress" it shows the last point as Mesquite Texas at 1am Saturday morning. I hope that means it isn't lost. I googled "Mesquite Texas" expecting with a name like that it would be some small town in west Texas with a dirt road main street and tumbleweeds blowing lazily along with the wind. But instead I found that it's a fair sized suburb of Dallas. Still 600 miles away.

So I decided to do something about my brake lever. The one I bent when I dropped the bike a few days ago. So I took it off. Put it in the vice and straightened it out as best I could and put it back on. Turns out I straightened too much. Took out some of the bend that it was supposed to have. Oh well. Live and learn. Still it's now good enough that I can use the rear brake. And it was also a good learning exercise for when I put on the new adjustable levers.

Also my gloves came from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q5CM8PB?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1 I'll be wearing those next time I take the bike out.
The foot controls are steel, feel free to bend it back with whatever tools you have handy when you need I haven't heard a limit of re-bends yet. lol A pro-tip for safety is to be sure to check the brake pedal closely after a drop on that side and to make sure it is moved well away from anything that it might catch under.
 

petespace1

Well travelled
Location
NSW Aus
There’s been some discussion about wearing jeans on motorcycles:
As many riders here already know, ‘Motorcycle Jeans’ are different from your common garden variety jeans and often look the same hence the confusion. Two examples of decent brands of Motorcycle Jeans.





I’m sure there are many more brands that use/ integrate Kevlar or similar safety materials. I’m also not saying that riding jeans are the same as race leathers.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Still one more update from UPS on my shift lever. Now it's supposed to be delivered today. This is the third date I have been given. First it was going to be delivered on the 22nd. Then the 25th. And now the 26th. I'll believe it when I see it. I sent those gloves I ordered from Amazon back. I didn't like the way they fit. For the time being I'm wearing some $5 work gloves that I got a Hobo Freight. (Harbor Freight) until I can find some motorcycling gloves that I like. They offer a lot more protection than my fingerless bicycling gloves I had been wearing. I took a short 2 mile ride around the neighborhood. I'm doing a little better with finding the friction zone on the clutch. And from some youtube videos I watched I learned that as long as I am going at least 5 miles an hour and keeping power to the rear wheel my chances of dropping the bike are pretty low. That's comforting. And then there's remembering to look where I want the bike to go. There sure are a lot of different things to think about. I drove stick shift vehicles from 1961 to 2009, but since then I've had an automatic and I've gotten spoiled. I found out that there will be a basic rider course here in Mobile next month and another one in June. I might take one of those. The problem I have is that my wife has medical issues and she has good days and bad days and I don't like to leave her by herself on bad days.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
The shift lever finally showed up yesterday, but I haven't felt like dealing with changing it yet. But I did go ahead and order the new brake lever. I took another ride around the neighborhood. Put 3 more miles on the bike. It now has 34 miles on it. It had 3 when I got it. I feel like I'm getting a little better each time out. Especially on turns and cornering. But my rear brake is squealing a bit when I apply it. That's been ever since I dropped it and bent the lever. I also adjusted the pedal up higher so it might be related to that. I'll have to address that. Maybe when I put on the new lever. Or maybe before. I got an email from the people I ordered the cover from saying that it was now on back order and they expected to have it back in stock in 3-4 weeks. I'm really getting tired of these "supply chain issues" :confused: So I cancelled the order. So I'm back to cover shopping.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Still riding every day or two. Just short ones around the subdivision. Today I did about 4 miles. So far I have 47 miles on the bike, 44 of them by me. It had 3 when I got it from the dealer. I feel like I'm getting a little better every time I take it out, although today about half of my right turns from a stop went way too wide. And I'm still terrified at the thought of taking it out in traffic. The problem is the only way out of this subdivision is to go out on one of two busy 4 lane roads.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Today I finally got around to putting the new adjustable gear shift lever on. Even without the little extension piece it gives me at least an extra inch of length. I tried it out around the neighborhood and it does make it a lot easier to get my toe under the lever to upshift. And the additional leverage seems to make it easier to shift.
 

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GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
I'm still doing my short daily rides around the neighborhood. So far I've put 71 miles on the bike. I haven't gotten past 3rd gear yet. And 30-35 mph. But I feel I am slowly improving. I feel this 650 Interceptor is too much bike to be starting out on. I'm sure I would be doing a lot better on something like a 250 or 300 cc bike. But I'm not going to take the hit that trading it in would require.
 

Rednaxs60

Well travelled
Time is a great teacher. You mention you are improving, that in itself is a good sign. You will grow into the bike sooner than later. Have you booked a course yet?
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Time is a great teacher. You mention you are improving, that in itself is a good sign. You will grow into the bike sooner than later. Have you booked a course yet?
I'm considering taking the Basic Rider course at some point. There is one next weekend but due to my wife's medical condition the timing is just not right for me to risk leaving her by herself for two full days. There is another one here on the weekend of 6/25-6/26. Maybe if things settle down I'll shoot for that one.
 
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