A noob's guide to motorcycling
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:43 AM   #1
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Default A noob's guide to motorcycling

Well good for you. You'll save money on gas & look good doing it. There are however some things you need to know so that you don't look like a noob.

1. Windshields. I'm sure you've seen the movies where all the bikers are sailing through the highway with the breeze through their clean hair. Okay, Wild Hogs aside. There's a reason why most riders leave theirs on. Bugs, watery eyes(even with goggles), back pain, & premature aging are a few to name off. Nobody looks cool covered in road grit & gnats. With direct wind to the face your nasolabial folds will become more solid & defined & believe me they will.

2. Helmets. We know you didn't buy a bike to hide your face but let's consider the "if's", you WILL drop your bike eventually & you don't want a skid lid to serve as a brain bowl if you ever do land on your head. Make sure it's DOT or Snell approved. I wear a full face helmet because for one, I don't care anymore about looking like the Fonze & two, I do about 80-90 on the freeway daily. Besides, you can't pull off the "OH MY GOD I DIDN'T KNOW THAT WAS YOU!!" unveiling with an open face helmet.

3. Revving your engine. This goes especially for you Harley fans. We've all heard the roar of a bike at one time or another & we know you're around. I can't count how many times I sat at Sonic during Bike Night trying to place an order when Johnny Sweetheart is trying to get noticed by everyone. You're not impressing us.

4. Tailgating. I still haven't figured out why y'all noobs do this. I'm in my Blazer & see this guy revving his Harley Softail in my rearview while he's fiddling with all his gadgets riding only a foot away from me. If I had to slow down he'd be done & so would his hog. Stay a good two seconds away from the guy in front. Too close is obvious what might happen. Too far back will encourage some belligerent dumb@ss to swerve in front of you.

5. Clothing. White is not the best color to wear. You will look like a fool even with a windshield. Tuck your shirt in if you don't have a jacket, nobody wants to see your skivies.*Harley Apparel, if you ride a Harley then by all means showcase that iron stallion with pride. If you're on a metric bike or other non-Harley (like me) & wearing that stuff you're doing it wrong.*Do not wear a vest & shin guards if you're riding something smaller than a 500cc(cruiser). If you ride something that small please don't take offense.

6. Lane positions. I know the book taught you the right info but that whole lane is yours, not just a third of it. If you see something in your way go around, it's that simple. Dont overthink it. If a rider is approaching behind you move to position 1(left side portion) & more than likely they'll move to the right as if y'all were traveling together all along.

7. The wave. It's courteous to wave at an oncoming rider. It feels good knowing you have friends amongst the blacktops. I see this one common noob mistake, waving with arm extended *to the side. This is actually dangerous depending on your speed as the wind will blow you to the left. I have actually turned around to patch a guy up because he excitedly waved incorrectly. Instead extend your arm down & then out, it's the right way to render your salute. I don't recommend to wave on the freeway nor when clutching, don't risk your balance to acknowledge the other guy. Nodding will suffice. Harley snobs don't be shy, we're on two wheels as well. If you ride a moped don't wave.

8. Showing off. If you're doing 180 mph in a straight line the only person you're impressing is yourself. Being an @sshole swerving in & out of traffic is stupid, at least use your turn signal. Wheelies are extremely risky so I'd advise against it. Taking corners is dangerous at high speeds & that's where gravel tends to collect. Don't think your trail bike riding skills qualifies you to be an expert on your newly acquired Hayabusa, it won't work out. Yesterday I was coming home from work & saw a supposed noob speeding up & slowing down with his boxers showing with his left arm to his side like he was the Lone Ranger. His head was on a swivel, not to be aware of hazards but to make sure EVERYONE was looking at him.

9. Know your bike. I rode home from work one night & saw a guy pushing a crotch rocket with his girlfriend carrying the helmets. I stopped to help & he told me it wouldn't start. I shook it & didn't hear any sloshing so I emptied a Gatorade bottle I had on me & filled it up with gas. He poured it in & it fired up. Before I left something told me to check the valve, it was in the "On" position, the reserve hadn't been used. I should've thought to check that first but then again so should he. Most bikes dont have a fuel gauge so you'll have to go by mileage. I rode with a guy that didn't know his bike was a 6-speed! He rode in 5th gear all the time until we were conversing about our bikes.

10. Braking. The right ratio is about 60/40-70/30 front being more. I've seen it happen, people would brake incorrectly & that'd be all she wrote. This is especially important on wet pavement. Weather pansies heed this warning as well, there are wet spots on the road even without a cloud in the sky(sprinklers). If you're coming up to a light at high speed that's changing to yellow/red, RUN IT!! I'd rather pay a ticket than a hospital & insurance bill.

11. WATCH OUT FOR MORONS!! They're everywhere & they'll do stupid things without the slightest thought of you being around. Keep a safe distance from people. You preach situational awareness now practice it. Loud pipes DO save lives but remember what I said on number 3. Turn your high beam on during the daytime & maybe those dimwits will notice you before pulling out into the street.

12. Don't let people ride your bike. If it's an experienced rider that's different but if it's one of your friends that's never even sat on one then don't be afraid to be a d!ck. Just say no. I made the mistake of letting a guy sit on mine & the dumb@ss dropped it.

13. You can park up front. Enough said.

14. And the most important- DON'T BE A POSER!! Don't act like a Hell's Angel because you have a new pair of wheels. Owning a bike makes you a biker like standing in a garage makes you a car. Don't be that guy that trailers his hog out by the bar to make a dramatic entrance. The old phrase is: $30k & 30 miles doesn't make you a biker, that's a true statement. If someone tries to one you up to look tough just say dilligaff. Just ride, stop trying to gain an image.

I hope this helps anyone new. Feel free to add anything else I forgot to mention.

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Old 06-26-2011, 06:02 AM   #2
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And watch your mirrors. I rode for several decades without a scratch then one day sitting with my left turn signal on with two brake lights, on an 800 lb. bright red motorcycle waiting to make my turn and wham some stupid girl on her cell phone ran into the rear of my bike. I don't walk so good anymore and the pain is forever. Don't get to close to the car in front of you at stop lights leave yourself an out. Fortunately for me there was nobody in front of me.

The worst part of this story is I can't ride much anymore because my hip won't tolerate the width of the seat and my knee sometimes turns to rubber for no reason. Riding is great fun but you have to beware of the dumbass in the mini van.

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Old 06-26-2011, 06:05 AM   #3
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I like cleaning the bugs off my windshield when annoying as hell harley riders tailgate me. For some reason i seem to ALWAYS need to clean the screen when that occurs.

On my transam about 50% of the spray goes right over the top at 55mph

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Old 06-26-2011, 07:06 AM   #4
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And learn to move at a different pace than surrounding traffic. Never sit next to any vehicle longer than needed to pass it. You are smaller that they are and easily overlooked.

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Old 06-26-2011, 08:43 AM   #5
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Ah yes mirrors, I knew I forgot something. I saw a guy riding his loud @ss chopper hell-bent on making sure he was noticed. At first I wondered why he swerved in & out nearly hitting cars, that's when I realized he didn't have mirrors. I'm sick & tired of seeing people on their phones talking or texting. Maybe I need a cup holder for my highway bar to hold some ball bearings. I'm always driving fast but there's always some prick tailgating me. I notice when they know they did wrong & you pull along side to render the death-stare they keep their tail tucked & look forward. I guess they watch a lot of biker movies.

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Old 06-26-2011, 11:46 AM   #6
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Add: Give plenty of room when passing or being passed. The tail end of the other vehicle will push you to the side, and as you get closer to the front, it sucks you in. Semi's are known for this, but other vehicles can do it too.

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Old 06-26-2011, 12:04 PM   #7
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Watch out for grooved pavement. Especially where the grooves were made by dragging a rake thru wet concerete, while being tickled (explains why the lines are wavy)

Your tires will want to track on the lines, and you suddenly have a left-right motion that does not improve stability. Slow down.

AND

Do not overdrive you headlights. I have a friend that still walks like zombie. 45 years ago, he learned just how hard it can be to see a cow. Actually a steer. Black Angus. In the roadway. At night. 800 lb bike, 1800 lb animal= YOU lose.

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Old 06-26-2011, 12:13 PM   #8
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If you are at a outlaw bike clubs clubhouse,you need to RESPECT their RULES....If you end-up riding with a outlaw motorcycle club you ride in the back of the pack,no matter if it's four bikes or if it's sixty bikes...The President & Vic President are the first in the pack and the Road captain and probates (newest members) are at the rear of the pack.....You give RESPECT...You get RESPECT.....There are places in their club house you don't go,with out asking,It's not a open bar,it's a privet club....How do I know this??...I grew-up around outlaw bikers & my older brother rides with a club......For an outsider it's all about RESPECT......

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Old 06-26-2011, 02:20 PM   #9
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Keep the bike in gear with the clutch pulled at stop lights. If you need to move because of someone from the front or rear, you can immediately.

Always ride as if you are invisible. If you assume that the cage driver at the intersection doesn't see you, you are less likely to be hit by him.

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Old 06-26-2011, 02:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scratchammo View Post
. The wave. It's courteous to wave at an oncoming rider. It feels good knowing you have friends amongst the blacktops. I see this one common noob mistake, waving with arm extended *to the side. This is actually dangerous depending on your speed as the wind will blow you to the left. I have actually turned around to patch a guy up because he excitedly waved incorrectly. Instead extend your arm down & then out, it's the right way to render your salute. I don't recommend to wave on the freeway nor when clutching, don't risk your balance to acknowledge the other guy. Nodding will suffice. Harley snobs don't be shy, we're on two wheels as well. If you ride a moped don't wave.
Thanks for the very interesting and informative post. I had no idea there was a reason bikers wave at each other in that fashion.
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