List - One


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 program of essential skills and mastering them in order of difficulty should avoid this pitfall. 

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'.

Basic Phase.  In a safe area away from traffic. A large flat area with short grass is the best with long straight stretches.

  1. Being 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.
  2. How to put the helmet on without removing your ears!
  3. How to put your specs or shades on without jabbing out your eyes!
  4. The petcock (fuel tap). Opening this before getting on the bike. (Motorcycles with a fuel pump do not have a petcock.)
  5. Doing the pre-ride check on your motorbike. (see page 'The Ride' for the complete list)
  6. Motorcycle controls e.g. which is the front brake and which is the clutch. Also the relative positions of the different gears.
  7. How to get the motorbike onto its stand - both side and centre if applicable.
  8. Correct setting of the rear view mirrors to cover both the cars behind as well as the blind spot
  9. 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.
  10. Basic 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.
  11. Moving 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.
  12. Emergency 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 motorcycle.
  13. Putting the gear shift leg down only once the motorbike has stopped and keeping the brake leg on the brake (important for incline starts)
  14. Riding without looking down at the basic controls.
  15. Learning to use the flicker (turn indicator). Turning it on and remembering to turn it off without looking down.
  16. Using the hooter (horn) without looking down.
  17. Closing the petcock before leaving the motorbike.

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