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Thread: Practical riding tips for noobs that are not in the books

  1. #1
    Evil Biker Scum Mallory's Avatar
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    Default Practical riding tips for noobs that are not in the books

    Greetings to all the thinkbikers Its been a while since I've been on the forum, but the Think Bike campaign and people are always on my mind and my thoughts have never left you. Still get that proud feeling everytime I see a TB sticker anywhere.

    Almost 50 000 solo kms have passed since I went for my BMW Academy training as a complete noob and bought my first bike, a F650GS. Today I am privileged and blessed to be the proud owner of a state-of-the-art superbike that I treat with care and respect, but I get so much joy and pleasure in return.

    At last I can say that I am riding comfortably and with confidence but many kms of tarmack had to be covered before I got to this point, and I am not nearly at the maximum of this learning curve, there are so many different scenarios one can encounter, and so often when one becomes over-confident for moments are you humbled by the power of a 2wheel machine, the forces of Nature and the laws of Physics at work.

    Over the last 5 years I have learnt so much, just from saddle time and situations I encountered, not even mentioning the practical advice from all the expert biker friends and by watching them and riding with them.

    Putting my thoughts on paper has always been one of my passions. So I was thinking, is there a place on this forum where I can write down a few practical tips for noob riders, spiced up with some humour, the latter of which has saved me from many scary situations on a bike that I had no control over. So I am talking fun to read but useful tips that may pop into your head when being in a similar situation. I am sure there will be many tales to tell and valuable info to be added to these kind of posts by fellow bikers? I am not talking technical stuff and guidelines here, there are plenty to be accessed on this forum and elsewhere.

    I am not at all familiar with navigating this forum, so please point me to the relevant section if I am in the wrong space for this. I also dont want to step on the toes of anyone here thats got stickys running on something similar?

    "
    LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY; RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING: "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

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    Only in Souff Efrica! Vespa 1's Avatar
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    Hey Gurl!! Nice to hear from you again! Great idea you have there!
    Ride with the Eagles in Safety! Not with the Angels by Accident

    In Memory of Blackie Swart! A Man among men, and a true Friend! RIP!

  3. #3
    Evil Biker Scum Mallory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespa 1 View Post
    Hey Gurl!! Nice to hear from you again! Great idea you have there!
    Hey Vespa Long time hey Sorry for being so scarce on the forum but there's just so many biking roads and so little time. Hard work eish

    "
    LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY; RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING: "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

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    HeeHaw! HeeHaw! Silvrav's Avatar
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    Great idea! Create a new thread listing all these facts!

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    Evil Biker Scum Mallory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvrav View Post
    Great idea! Create a new thread listing all these facts!
    OK here goes, the title of this thread seems fine. Let me think of some tips for starters -

    Tip no 1 - No matter how much you pillioned before or how much you enjoyed it, the first 5000 kms on your own bike is SHEER HELL!! So be prepared. And yes its not a typing error, its 5000 kms. You feel constantly that something bad is about to happen, the muscle memory for co-ordinated bike riding is not there yet, but you pretend that you enjoy every minute of it because you are convinced that you "should feel comfortable by now".

    And just when you think you're getting it and come back elated from a really good ride, the next day you realise that you dont have it AT ALL !! Its OK, DON'T stop riding !!!

    Its the same as riding into a thunderstorm and feeling like turning back halfway through it. You have to push yourself through it. The pleasure of comfortable and confident riding will make up for all this discomfort.

    So please ride as often as you can, solo or with a patient biker friend who does not mind slowing down for your sake. Its NOT a nice feeling if everyone, including TRUCKS overtake you, and it is a huge blow for your ego, but you will show them all in the end !!

    Tell yourself that you dont HAVE a car and that your bike is your only means of transport, and ride, ride, through all 4 seasons, through sunshine, fog and rain, the experience gained is invaluable.

    And yes, you have to get up much earlier because it takes much longer to put on biker gear than it would later on, and you keep on putting the kit on in the wrong order: finding out that helmet straps dont fasten that easily with gloves on, spending forever in the side mirror figuring out what must go through which loop, and when you are at the gate realizing that you remote button cant be pushed with gloves on, all that on an uphill driveway.

    Neighbours are staring at you and the performance anxiety makes it even worse and now your visor is steaming up too. And you would so much like to wave casually in their direction when riding past, but its out of the question to lift up even a finger from the handlebars. So instead you nod at everyone you meet and most of them think you are extremely rude.

    Its not fun at all in the beginning and its so sad that most new riders (ladies in particular) give up during this stage and feel incompetent at mastering the skill of motorbike riding for the rest of their lives. But dont despair, it really does get better, and everyone goes through stage "first 5000 kms". Possibly some riders get it much quicker, but personally this was my experience. But whats definitely true is that bike riding experience has to be measured in saddle time and kms conquered rather than amount of years. You can take your bike on a Sunday leasure ride every Sunday for 10 years and still very much be a noob.

    "
    LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY; RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING: "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

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    Hardcore Biker Madscot's Avatar
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    Hey Mallory, good to hear from you again
    Good idea, I think we need to open a thread under Better Biking for this one
    https://forum.thinkbike.co.za/signat...pic6115_11.gif Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle

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    Ultimate Biker Crash's Avatar
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    Hey Mallory! Long time!!!

    Feel free to keep it in this thread - and we can always pull out the specific posts and merge them into an appropriate thread in Better biking or somewhere suitable...
    Everybody crashes.
    Some get back on and ride again.
    Some don't.
    Some can't.

  8. #8
    Evil Biker Scum Mallory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madscot View Post
    Hey Mallory, good to hear from you again
    Good idea, I think we need to open a thread under Better Biking for this one
    Quote Originally Posted by Crash View Post

    Hey Mallory! Long time!!!

    Feel free to keep it in this thread - and we can always pull out the specific posts and merge them into an appropriate thread in Better biking or somewhere suitable...
    So glad to hear from both of you, I was getting worried for a moment that all my old friends have left
    Thanks Crash, I will just add my tips here. Its actually more personal memoirs than tips. As long as it can be meaningful or even entertaining to some (this is a new smiley I dont know, love it, just had to use it somewhere), I will be glad to share my thoughts with you

    "
    LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY; RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING: "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

  9. #9
    Hardcore Biker Madscot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mallory View Post
    ... all my old friends have left ...
    Oi! A bit less of the "old"
    https://forum.thinkbike.co.za/signat...pic6115_11.gif Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle

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    Evil Biker Scum Mallory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madscot View Post
    Oi! A bit less of the "old"
    "All my old friends have left" correction "All the thinkbike friends I've known have left" . Better?

    "
    LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY; RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING: "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

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    Ultimate Biker Crash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mallory View Post
    "All my old friends have left" correction "All the thinkbike friends I've known have left" . Better?
    Yup... politics, Egos and BS will do that... But I'm sure they're looking out for each other somewhere else
    And Think Bike is stronger for it
    Everybody crashes.
    Some get back on and ride again.
    Some don't.
    Some can't.

  12. #12
    Evil Biker Scum Mallory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash View Post
    Yup... politics, Egos and BS will do that... But I'm sure they're looking out for each other somewhere else
    And Think Bike is stronger for it
    The Think Bike people come and go, some come and stay, others leave and come back, others dont. I've always come back, because in the end arguments and fights wont move the campaign forward. Ghandi said “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” The Think Bike cause is bigger than any of us, and most of all, it was the vision of a simple biker like myself. That is why I am here .

    "
    LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY; RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING: "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

  13. #13
    Az Dawg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mallory View Post
    The Think Bike people come and go, some come and stay, others leave and come back, others don't. I've always come back, because in the end arguments and fights wont move the campaign forward. Gandhi said “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” The Think Bike cause is bigger than any of us, and most of all, it was the vision of a simple biker like myself. That is why I am here .

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    Hardcore Biker Linus's Avatar
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    Welcome back XXX Memories are valuable when shared to convey experiences. Go for it

    Anyway, growing old is mandatory. However growing up is optional. Still managing to avoid it quite well here
    Maturity is a grossly overrated achievement

    I am who I am. Your approval is not required nor desired. Those that matter don't mind and those that mind don't matter

  15. #15
    Evil Biker Scum Mallory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linus View Post
    Welcome back XXX Memories are valuable when shared to convey experiences. Go for it

    Anyway, growing old is mandatory. However growing up is optional. Still managing to avoid it quite well here
    Hi my friend Growing up not on my 1000 things to do before I die list either
    And a wicked weekend to you too!!

    "
    LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY; RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING: "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

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    Capt Grumpy - The Comedian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mallory View Post
    Hey Vespa Long time hey Sorry for being so scarce on the forum but there's just so many biking roads and so little time. Hard work eish
    Hi Mal

    rather see you riding than writing
    Spent my therapy money on a K1200S
    Therapy must have worked, bought a GS
    Insanity crept back in, in the shape of an R1200R

  17. #17
    Evil Biker Scum Mallory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
    Hi Mal

    rather see you riding than writing
    Thats exactly what I've been and am still doing Paul, thats why I spare a few minutes to continue this thread a full 6 months later

    "
    LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY; RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING: "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

  18. #18
    Evil Biker Scum Mallory's Avatar
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    Tip no 2 - Road surfaces - If possible, even on a sunny day, avoid anything that appears to be different from the rest of the road.

    Painted lines can be very slippery after a rainstorm.

    Avoid the kaleidoscope of colour water puddles its the diesel and fuel thats making them so pretty AND very slippery.

    Solo puddles in the middle of nowhere are usually covering potholes of significant sizes.

    Be particularly careful of all the above when cornering or going round even a slight bend.

    And I nearly forgot about those deceiving little klippertjies, that fine gravel that spills over from the side of the tarmack into the left lane, avoid at all cost if possible, otherwise slow down and keep your wheel straight but dont touch the brake; and my oh my do those little evils love lying in street corners.

    Same goes for sand that flushed into the road and dried out. Anything that can come between your tyre's grip and the tarmack is a fall risk.

    I have noticed that even those reflector cat-eyes can be slippery as snot for a fully inflated bike tyre, especially if you change direction or lanes while crossing them. And if you feel the odd wobble underneath you dont panic, keep your wheel straight and your steering and throttle even and dont brake, your bike will probably correct itself.

    Regarding potholes and areas you want to avoid - same old rule we all know - "Dont look where you DONT want to go!!" Its often difficult not to look but if you look at it, even a glance at the last moment, you WILL go through it. So instead look at where you WANT to be, in this case beyond the pothole. Trust your lateral vision and bike to take you there. And if there's more than one pothole in a row and you cannot change direction completely the cone practise thing will come in handy, everytime look at the gap next to the pothole and then the next etc. And by the way - the cone practice thing works excellent if you are on a country road with no or little traffic. Needless to say on a straight patch where you can see far ahead. Imagine every second dotted line is a cone and do a few zig zags while cruising along. It's also good for warming cold tyres. You may not get it right first time but keep practising and making the zig zags tighter. You will perfect it in no time.

    If you really have to drive through deepish water, only take the risk if you absolutely have to and only on a duallie or offroad. If you're on a superbike and you have to cross water and you dont feel confident that you can do it and have done it before, rather turn around, its not worth the risk.

    If you somehow end up in deepish water keep your throttle very very even just enough to keep your engine going, you dont want the engine to die on you because stalling and then pulling away is probably going to put you down. The revs should be sufficient enough that the bike feels and sounds strong.

    Keep it even and gentle, bikes are gentle giants that dont like and dont respond well to sudden jerks and rude treatment. Enough said for now, I'll be back.
    Chau for now

    "
    LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY; RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING: "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

  19. #19
    Legend in the baking. ColleenC's Avatar
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    Thanks Mallory. Had a good chuckle at Tip 1 because I am at that stage right now always good to get some advice mixed with a good dose of humour - even if it comes once every 6 months

    Sent from my GT-I8190 using Tapatalk
    "What's worth the prize is always worth the fight" Nickelback


  20. #20
    Snow White? Not quite.

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    Hi Mallory. As a lady rider I completely agree with tip one. Never had it put so eloquently, but that is exactly how I felt most days. Some days you feel track ready and some days you think...... how the heck did I make it out the driveway. You ride a bike your pace........ never ever feel pressured to go faster or further than you feel comfortable. If you are not ready for a group ride..... don't do it. Not ready for that 300km brekkie run........ don't do it. Your inner voice will always save your @ss.

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