Top 10 Ways to Stay Alive When You’re Learning to Ride

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By John Burns

Kind of when it comes to love, money, work, international diplomacy – everybody has to learn the hard lessons on their own. Some other things, though, it’s good to learn from those more experienced, those who’ve slid around the block a few times on their head. Well, sister, that’s me. There’s a lot to take in and understand when learning how to ride a motorcycle. It all looks so easy and fluid from afar, but there’s a lot that’s all happening at the same time, and it can be somewhat overwhelming. Fortunately, just like anything new, starting will be the hardest part. Here’s our best advice for staying safe while you get your sea legs.

10. Know how to ride before you hit the road

Many states require rider training, which is a big step in the right direction. If yours doesn’t, please don’t just take off on the road without getting some basic instruction first. Even if you know how to operate all the controls from riding a Mini Trail 50 ten years ago, take some time to re-familiarize yourself with how things work. In a perfect world, a day or two at an MSF course or something, or a weekend riding TT-R125s around in the dirt would be optimal.

In our imperfect world, just getting your new bike to a big empty parking lot and gradually working your way up to learning how strong your front brake is, how easy it is to change direction via the miraculous physics of countersteering, and just doing big loops around a couple of cones or tin cans to get an idea how far you can lean is a far better thing than just setting off into traffic.

9. Know thy Bike

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