Learning to Ride at 75

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
I've now had the bike for one month and one day. And I've put exactly 100 miles on it. Last night I took my first night ride which was really cool. Just a couple of miles around the neighborhood. I'm still stuck in my subdivision as the only way out is to go on one of two very busy 4 lane roads. I just don't feel ready for that. Since it was Sunday I had hoped to get out early and give it a try before the traffic built up. But one thing led to another and I didn't get out until a little afternoon and by that time the aggressive drivers and road ragers were out in force. It's bad enough getting out there in a car let alone a motorcycle that I am not yet comfortable with. I generally drive about 5 miles per hour over the posted speed limit which is nowhere near fast enough for the other drivers out there that constantly tailgate me, their faces beat red, the cords in their necks standing out like a nest of riled up snakes, and their whatdacallit veins in their foreheads pulsating like a bastard as I watch them in my rear view mirror mouthing words that I can't quite make out but appear to have something to do with forks and fish.
 
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GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
I made my first foray out into traffic today. I got inspired by watching a couple of youtube videos about Elvis's motorcycle collection and I decided that it was time to grab my balls and go. On the way out I was doing the speed limit which is 40 and felt more like 90 to me but cars were blowing by me like I was standing still. I'd say the average speed on that road is 55-60. On the way back I got it up to 45 but they were still flying past me. I'm not sure what gear I was in but the rpms were at 3500. 4th maybe? Or maybe only 3rd. Not sure. The whole trip was somewhere between 3 and 4 miles but I feel glad to have that first one out of the way. I've now put 113 miles on the bike since I got it. Now that I know I can escape my subdivision I hope to be putting on a lot more.
 

Rigger

Getting there...
Location
McPherson, KS
I myself am a new rider. I’ve held a license over 20 years but only bought a Meteor in Jan of this year. I had no other riding experience in that time. I took a MSF class and it was invaluable. Before getting out on the road I took another and it was a much appreciated refresher on both the theory and the practical aspects of riding. I still have issues with u-turns from a stop but on my ride to Wichita yesterday I needed to execute one while moving and everything that was drilled into me kept me upright and feet on the pegs. A little rear brake is a wonderful thing! The round trip encompassed all road types from highways to inner city stop and go to county lanes. I credit that MSF refresher and the resources I listed below for a problem free 125 mile round trip. Never stop practicing the basics. Talk to yourself. I regularly tell myself, “eyes up when stopping, look into the turn, make sure you’re in first when you stop, and watch your mirrors at stops. There’s more but you get the gist. Buy the best gear you can afford and wear it!

Ridelikeapro.com I highly recommend the and the first exercises are below.
MSF materials

You can buy a good set of training cones on eBay or Amazon. Happy motoring!
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
I put 12 miles on the bike today. So that gives me 132 total since I got it. This time I was out on busy 4 lane roads about 1/2 the time. That's the most I have driven in traffic so far. I went out at about 10am which was after the busiest morning rush hour and before the busy noon hour. But there was still quite a bit of traffic. I'm being super cautious and riding the speed limit which is a bit uncomfortable as the flow of traffic around here averages a good 10-15 mph over the limit. It sure must be nice to have those quiet country lanes to ride on like they always seem to have in the reviews. But the mean streets of Mobile ain't like that.
 

RTD

Finally made it
Location
Baltimore
It sure must be nice to have those quiet country lanes to ride on like they always seem to have in the reviews. But the mean streets of Mobile ain't like that.
Big-time same on the country lanes thing here. Based in Baltimore city, it can be a long haul to get to those open roads all YouTube motovloggers seem to live on.

New rider here, took the MSF course 2 years ago & quickly got a Suzuki TU250X since that was the lesson machine. Didn’t practice nearly enough due to confidence issues in city traffic. Then fell in love with the Meteor, got that, and confidence improved immediately. Something about the heavier machine & overall fit/comfort changed everything. It was a whole new experience.

For me crucially it was about admitting the MSF doesn’t cover much nuance about all riding conditions — it’s just the core basics to get the thing moving and building emergency techniques. But totally worth it for that; the quick swerve/stop alone could save a life.

In my case I’m still hung-up on hill starts. Totally understand the technique, it’s just forcing the body to do the thing. And Baltimore is full of wicked hills. Once I get over that, the world will be mine. Nearly 1500 miles into the Meteor and the honeymoon phase is going strong.

So yeh: solidarity & all that. Good luck & joy & safe, etc...
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Big-time same on the country lanes thing here. Based in Baltimore city, it can be a long haul to get to those open roads all YouTube motovloggers seem to live on.

New rider here, took the MSF course 2 years ago & quickly got a Suzuki TU250X since that was the lesson machine. Didn’t practice nearly enough due to confidence issues in city traffic. Then fell in love with the Meteor, got that, and confidence improved immediately. Something about the heavier machine & overall fit/comfort changed everything. It was a whole new experience.

For me crucially it was about admitting the MSF doesn’t cover much nuance about all riding conditions — it’s just the core basics to get the thing moving and building emergency techniques. But totally worth it for that; the quick swerve/stop alone could save a life.

In my case I’m still hung-up on hill starts. Totally understand the technique, it’s just forcing the body to do the thing. And Baltimore is full of wicked hills. Once I get over that, the world will be mine. Nearly 1500 miles into the Meteor and the honeymoon phase is going strong.

So yeh: solidarity & all that. Good luck & joy & safe, etc...
The Meteor is a nice looking bike. I probably would be learning faster on that than this 650 Interceptor. We don't have much in the way of hills here. But I have an idea of what you are talking about. I lived in Tallahassee for a few years when I was in school and I had a 1970 Plymouth Duster with 3 on the column. There's a bitch of a hill going up Apalachee Parkway towards the State Capitol building and whenever I got stuck at the light there invariably someone in the car behind me would pull up about 2 inches from my rear bumper and I would have to do the old hand brake, clutch, and gas trick to get started without rolling back into them. Here I did encounter one place where i had to stop on a slight incline before pulling out onto the street from a parking lot. What I did was hold the bike with the rear brake and then slowly ease off of it as I worked the clutch and throttle. I don't know if that's the proper technique, but it worked.
 

Robert

Well travelled
Location
Holland
What I did was hold the bike with the rear brake and then slowly ease off of it as I worked the clutch and throttle. I don't know if that's the proper technique, but it worked.
I don't know either if that's the proper technique, but I do it the same way. It works, and has worked for years ;)
 

RTD

Finally made it
Location
Baltimore
I don't know either if that's the proper technique, but I do it the same way. It works, and has worked for years ;)
Yep, that’s the technique. After getting used to both feet down at a stop (noob excuses) it became a big mental leap to go left-foot-down + back brake, then coordinate the take-off while on a steep grade. It’s surely a practice thing, & working on it.

Not to steal the thread, just wanted to throw some solidarity in the mix for the OP.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
I went of my first real world mission on the motorcycle today. I rode to my polling place to vote. It was only a little over 4 miles round trip, but it's the first time I rode it for something other than practice. Although to be perfectly honest I had considered not voting because It was only the primary and I don't give a rat's ass for any of the candidates so in reality I suppose it was just another practice ride.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Did my longest ride in traffic today. 12.5 miles, at least 10 of it on busy 4 lane roads. And when I say busy I mean not busy enough to cause traffic to slow down. But busy enough to be harrowing as car after car whizzed by me well in excess of the posted speed limits. I had one pretty ugly start at one of the busiest intersections. The signal changed just in time to catch me. And I had to stop on a slight incline. It's a very long signal and I was stuck there for at least 2 minutes, keeping the bike from rolling backward as the line of cars built up behind me. By the time the light finally went to green I was nervous as Hell thinking about how much I did not want to stall out when I started up. So I gave it more throttle than I needed to and when I took off I started to veer left towards the next lane over. :censored: I managed to correct course by doing the "look where you want the motorcycle to go" but it was an ugly start up and embarrassing as Hell. Not to mention scary. The rest of the ride I feel like I did pretty decent.
 

nmroadrunner

Well travelled
Location
New Mexico, USA
Remember, the clutch is not an on/off switch...teach yourself how to slip it until you get rolling. That saves you having to add too much throttle.

Find an empty parking lot on a Sunday morning and practice dead-stop starts.

As far as being embarrassed in front of cage drivers, screw them.
They're all out to run you over, anyway.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Remember, the clutch is not an on/off switch...teach yourself how to slip it until you get rolling. That saves you having to add too much throttle.

Find an empty parking lot on a Sunday morning and practice dead-stop starts.

As far as being embarrassed in front of cage drivers, screw them.
They're all out to run you over, anyway.
Working the clutch in the friction zone is not a problem for me. I haven't stalled once while out on the road. Where I need to improve is working the throttle. I tend to have a heavy hand on that. As for the sloppy start at that busy intersection a lot of it had to do with getting caught where I had to wait out the entire red phase of the southbound through movement. That phase alone is easily a full 2 minutes long. It gave me too much time to think about it. So it had the same effect on me as when the opposing team in football calls a time out right before the field goal kicker is getting ready to kick in the hopes that it will cause the kicker to overthink his attempt. That's what happened to me. I over thought it.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Road 17 miles round trip in traffic into downtown Mobile and back. Made it alive and unscathed. But I'm sure I'm annoying lots of drivers with my slower than the flow of traffic speed. I did get up to 50 mph today at about 3500 RPM's. But that was just one time on a fairly open stretch. I'm not sure if I was in 5th or 6th gear. It's hard to tell because the ratios between the 2 are so close. I don't see the point of 6 gears. 5 would be just fine with a little wider spacing. All six seems to do is make you shift more. My next bike, if there is one is going to have 5 speeds like a motorcycle is supposed to.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Did another 17 mile round trip in traffic. I didn't plan for that distance, it just worked out that way. This time I headed in the opposite direction, west on US 90. I was hoping to find less traffic that way, but that didn't happen. It's now apparent I'm going to have to get quite a ways out of town to find one of those nice quiet country roads like in that John Denver song. But I will say this. Driving in City and Suburban sprawl conditions is quite a learning experience. A "learn fast or die" is a pretty good motivator. But it's not fun.
 

RTD

Finally made it
Location
Baltimore
Driving in City and Suburban sprawl conditions is quite a learning experience. A "learn fast or die" is a pretty good motivator.
Truth! Over here (Baltimore inner harbor area) you get the mix of local city drivers with the tourists from everywhere who float from lane to lane in search of parking, with their iPhone nav instructions blasting out of their windows. Learning experience indeed. Easier to predict what “normal” drivers will do, vs tourists, who are like totally random wind-up toys.

So I would do practice rides super early, Saturdays at dawn, etc., to get in some seat time before all that nastiness. Also a great way to start the day, honestly...
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Truth! Over here (Baltimore inner harbor area) you get the mix of local city drivers with the tourists from everywhere who float from lane to lane in search of parking, with their iPhone nav instructions blasting out of their windows. Learning experience indeed. Easier to predict what “normal” drivers will do, vs tourists, who are like totally random wind-up toys.

So I would do practice rides super early, Saturdays at dawn, etc., to get in some seat time before all that nastiness. Also a great way to start the day, honestly...
This is probably a good weekend to stay off the roads. Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the most dangerous time of the year for traffic fatalities. And on top of last week was the end of the school year. So everyone around here will be out on the roads. And I mean everyone.
 
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