One of the problems with learning to ride a
motorcycle safely is that one can pick up bad habits that are difficult to get
rid of later when you reach intermediate level. Going through this list or
essential skills and mastering them in order of difficulty should avoid
Ensure that the areas for learning these skills are
well chosen and that the size, weight and power of the motorbike are
appropriate to your height and strength.
These 9 pages of riding skills should be read in
conjunction with the web page 'The Ride'.
In a safe area away from traffic.
A large flat area with short grass is the best with long straight
properly dressed for motorcycling. Pay particular attention to good
ankle support and ensure that you are warm enough. A cold rider is not
a safe rider.
to put the helmet on without removing your ears!
to put your specs or shades on without jabbing out your eyes!
petcock (fuel tap). Opening this before getting on the bike.
(Motorcycles with a fuel pump do not have a petcock.)
the pre-ride check on your motorbike. (see page 'The Ride' for the
Motorcycle controls e.g. which is the front brake and which is the
clutch. Also the relative positions of the different gears.
to get the motorbike onto its stand - both side and centre if applicable.
setting of the rear view mirrors to cover both the cars behind as well
as the blind spot
Starting with and without the use of the choke control. If it is cold
and you use the choke, remember to close it once the motorbike is warm
and running smoothly.
throttle, gear, clutch and brake control. Do not do this in a confided
space. Even at this early level, use both brakes evenly and
smoothly. Look up, not down, arms bent.
the motorcycle slowly around obstacles in a large open area. Sitting up straight and
keeping the bike upright while riding at walking speeds. This is a
difficult skill and takes a lot of practice. It should be practiced at
suitable times for the first 12 months of riding e.g. when leaving a
deserted car park after doing some shopping. Experts will tell you
that they can pick out a good rider from the way they control a
motorcycle at walking speed.
braking with both brakes. Do this on a long hard surface like a
deserted car park. Maximum speed no more than 40km. Arms bent during
the braking phase, legs and inner thighs already learning to grip the
the gear shift leg down only once the motorbike has stopped and
keeping the brake leg on the brake (important for incline starts)
without looking down at the basic controls.
to use the flicker (turn indicator). Turning it on and remembering to
turn it off without looking down.
the hooter (horn) without looking down.
the petcock before leaving the motorbike.
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