Tips and Advice for New Motorcycle Riders – The Start of a New Riders Journey
Are you ready to embark on the thrilling adventure of motorcycle riding? If you are, read on, because you’ll be joining the army of hobby riders who yearn for the summer. This is when a Biker has their happiest moments!
Whether you’re a complete novice or have a burning desire to learn to ride a motorcycle, this guide is your roadmap to mastering riding on two wheels. Once it’s in your blood, you’re hooked. There’s no going back once you get the bug.
We’ll explore essential steps, valuable resources and safety considerations to ensure you start your motorcycle journey on the right track.
Preparation and Resources – Setting the Foundation
There are a number of things you must consider before you start, do some homework or research before you properly get stuck in. There are many pitfalls you need to avoid because if you don’t take it seriously, you’ll waste a lot of money.
Check Your Licence – Ensure the Right Entitlement
Before you rev up the engine, ensure you possess the correct entitlement on your UK driving licence. As a provisional licence holder you’ll need to ensure you hold the motorcycle entitlement.
But if you already have a full car licence, you will automatically have the motorcycle provisional added. If you want to ride a moped, the entitlement is different and most people will automatically have this entitlement as either full or provisional.
Can you see clearly?
Additionally, confirm that you can read a number plate at the required distance, as this is a crucial requirement. If you have not had an eyesight check before, you should go and have one.
If you know your vision is blurred, then you may be short sighted and need to wear glasses or contact lenses to drive or ride. If you fail the eyesight check on your CBT, you will not complete the day.
Explore Online Learning – Motorcycle Riders Hub
For a head start on your motorcycle journey, consider utilising online resources like Motorcycle Riders Hub. The UKs only online learning platform for motorcycle riders, dedicated and specialising in learner riders development.
This platform caters to various learning styles and offers a wealth of knowledge, from learner rider with a vast amount of basic lessons for beginners. It also caters for those who are preparing for their motorcycle test.
Additionally you will find advanced riding techniques and a unique Slow Control course helping riders overcome the fears of dropping their pride and joy.
Safety First – Gear Up for Protection
Safety should always be your top priority as a new rider. Start by acquiring the necessary protective gear, including a certified good quality motorcycle helmet.
Training schools often provide helmets and clothing if you don’t have one, but be warned they may not be very hygienic and the clothing may be grubby. Your own clothing against your skin is a much nicer prospect.
Proper Riding Attire – From Head to Toe
Invest in a decent motorcycle jacket to protect yourself from the weather elements and potential incidents. Armour in the shoulders, elbows and back are advisable to protect the parts of the body that stick out.
On your lower half of the body, consider proper motorcycle trousers with leather or textile materials. There are a wide range of alternative clothing on the market, including motorcycle jeans that give good protection.
While motorcycle-specific clothing is ideal, you can also opt for heavy denim with layers underneath for warmth and protection. Two layers are better than one, especially if you opt for alternative clothing as a new rider.
Opt for good motorcycle boots for optimal foot protection. If you don’t have motorcycle-specific boots, sturdy alternatives like Dr. Martens or high-quality walking boots can suffice.
Don’t forget sturdy motorcycle gloves to protect your hands.
If you do not wear adequate clothing when going for a motorcycle test, you will be turned away. Some training schools are very strict with what they will allow you to wear, so do not fall foul of turning up in the wrong clothing.
You should seek advice before you attend, although there is no legal requirement for being properly protected it is regarded as common sense to wear the correct clothing.
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The Learning Process – Building Skills and Confidence
Alway consider and aim to enrol on a professional and comprehensive motorcycle training course led by the highest level trainers and qualified instructors.
Choosing a motorcycle training school at the lowest price is the wrong thing to do. Buying cheap is fraught with danger, as there is a reason they are cheap. Loading up with many clients, working from a shed in the corner of a yard, low level trainers who are not very competent and not highly qualified.
These things must all be considered when choosing where to go.
Motorcycle Safety Course – A Solid Foundation
The CBT is the first course you must undertake, it covers essential motorcycle basics and getting going for the first time. A proper length course should take all day and should not be cut short.
A few hours learning and applying the right skills is imperative to your learning journey. But you can help yourself before you attend. Using the Motorcycle Riders Hub has all the lessons you need to learn – all in one place.
There are alternatives, like YouTube but it is full of unqualified advice and you’ll need to sift through hours of rubbish to find good stuff. Even then, a well produced video may give entirely the wrong information.
A two hour road ride is the minimum requirement for a learner rider and in many cases, this just is not long enough for a new rider to learn all the skills, negotiate the amount of junctions, roundabouts and hazards to convince a high level instructor that the learner has developed sufficiently in one day!
If you need to return for further education, look at it as a bonus that you’ll be accompanied by an instructor for more time before you venture out on your own. Which can feel daunting and frightening to almost every new rider on L PLates.
The CBT is an invaluable foundation for your motorcycle riding journey.
Choosing the Right Bike – Start Sensibly
Select a motorcycle that matches your skill level and experience. Usually this is a 125 cc after getting through your CBT course. If you want to ride a 125 cc geared bike there is no point opting to train on a moped to make the process easy for yourself.
You’ll end up trying to teach yourself how to use the clutch, gears and brakes on your own. The DIY approach is not recommended and must be avoided.
If you continue training after the CBT, it is common for riders who pass their motorcycle test to purchase an equivalent powered motorcycle that they have learned and trained on.
Licensing and Beyond – Hitting the Road Legally
Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to take the necessary steps to obtain your motorcycle licence. There are a few barriers in place before you can ride a larger motorcycle.
This typically involves a theory test, an off-road and an on-road test to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and ability. You must comply with the legal requirements to ride on the public road safely, confidently and responsibly.
Obtain Your Motorcycle Licence – A Necessary Step
The Theory Test must be completed and passed before your name can be allocated to a practical riding test. You must take a motorcycle Theory Test, which contains both a multiple choice question and answer session and the other part is the Hazard Perception Test. You must pass both modules to gain a theory test certificate.
The off-road practical test is called the Module 1 Motorcycle Test, it is taken at a Multi Purpose Test Centre. The Motorcycle Manoeuvring Area is a high grade high friction flat level area, designed specifically for the Mod 1 motorcycle test. You must complete the test to gain a pass certificate.
On the Module 2 Motorcycle Test, you must produce your CBT, Mod 1 and Theory Pass certificate. They must all be in-date and presented to the examiner prior to the test taking place. The Mod 2 test is conducted on the public road and lasts for about 45 minutes. The examiner assesses the rider’s ability to navigate a set route with some compulsory manoeuvres.
There are a number of different category tests, but to ride a motorcycle without L Plates, this is the route a rider must undertake. There are a few exceptions and exemptions, the rules and regulations are sometimes difficult to get your head around. Ask your local training provider to clarify any areas of doubt.
Riding Awareness – Motorcycle vs. Car
Understand that riding a motorcycle is fundamentally different from driving a car. You are not cocooned in a box, oblivious to the outside world. I’ve heard it said that on a motorcycle, it feels like you are in the movie, not watching it!
New riders should be aware of these distinctions and commit to learning and practising the unique skills and techniques required for safe motorcycle riding.
Prioritise Safety Always – A Constant Concern
Motorcycles inherently come with increased risks compared to cars. We are more vulnerable because the only protection we have is the clothing we wear and how our brains react.
Prioritise safety by wearing your helmet and protective gear at all times. Never dress down just because you are going on a short journey. It’s local journeys when the guard is down that the incidents happen. I know a chap who rode to Africa and back but had an accident near home because he became complacent with the familiarity of the roads.
Additionally, adhere to the rules of the road and stay vigilant about your surroundings. Drivers of large vehicles are distracted by what’s going on inside their vehicle. The cock pit is full of distractions.
Riding in Varied Weather – Challenging Conditions
Be prepared to ride in various weather conditions, from rain to wind. It’s completely different when you are exposed to the elements.
Learning how to handle your motorcycle in different weather takes time to become familiar with. You have to put yourself out there to experience the differences and how to cope.
Take extra precautions when riding in adverse weather, it is crucial for your safety. If you are not comfortable or confident, you should stop riding. Likewise you should be clothed for the conditions to remain vigilant and with good concentration.
Motorcycle Maintenance – Care for Your Bike
Regular maintenance is key to keeping your motorcycle running smoothly and safely. Learn the basics and check your bike over regularly. Typically a deeper check can be carried out when washing your bike on a weekly basis.
Learn basic maintenance tasks like checking oil levels and tyre pressures before each journey. Make sure you get to know your bike and the feel of it, because if you notice anything different it’s worthy of further investigation.
Ensure your bike is regularly serviced by a qualified mechanic to prevent issues on the road. Find a trusted mechanic who can help with the maintenance of your bike.
Keep Learning – The Journey Never Ends
Remember, learning to ride a motorcycle is an ongoing process. Just because you have passed a CBT does not mean you are a good rider. You only know the very basics and this is the tip of the iceberg.
Passing your Mod 1 and Mod 2 tests are like taking the second and third step on a ladder. It sets basic skills and does not prepare you fully for the open road. Most riders are not trained for the type of riding they are going to do.
Motorcycle tests are often conducted in urban areas with relatively straightforward test routes. However, once riders venture onto open roads in search of faster, winding routes, they encounter a significant contrast to their training. It’s no surprise that many riders find themselves unprepared for the challenges they face in the early stages of riding after passing their tests.
Seek out advanced riding courses and educational resources to continually improve your skills and knowledge.
Conclusion – Keep it on the Black Stuff
As you prepare to embrace the world of motorcycle riding, keep these tips and advice in mind.
Your journey will be filled with excitement, challenges and unforgettable moments. It can be the best feeling in the world, the freedom and exhilaration of riding a motorcycle is immense. You will find your social circle increases as you explore new places and meet new people.
Prioritise safety, continuous learning and the sheer joy that comes from riding a motorcycle. Welcome to a new world!