You may be just starting out as a motorcyclist. You may have started riding years ago and want to take it up again. Or you may be a summer rider who lacks confidence. Whatever the reason, you want to learn how to ride better and how to ride safer.
Motorcycling is an extremely popular activity, in just about every country. However, it takes commitment to get proper training and become competent. It also takes financial commitment as the bike and protective gear does not come cheap, however, you shouldn’t cut corners and skimp on your equipment.
Now you want to know how to advance from being a basic rider to a better, more advanced rider.
Ride Your Bike.
Yes, let’s start with the obvious one. If you want to get better at something, you need to do it. Again and again. So the start of becoming a better and more confident motorcycle rider is to get more experience. You will notice that as you gain experience, your riding improves. This also stems from the confidence you will gain, the more you ride your bike. However, do ensure you stay within your own personal abilities and comfort zone. It is great to push yourself a bit, but don’t overdo it.
Buy Good Gear.
Although this probably doesn’t seem like much of a tip, you will be surprised how much confidence having good kit will bring. Do your research and find the best gear and accessories you can. Sites like Bikers Basics are excellent as they have reviews and guides on both equipment and clothing. You really aren’t saving money by buying cheap gear as it won’t last as long as the better equipment. Being comfortable and feeling secure in your kit will give you confidence and peace of mind. That alone is worth spending a bit more money.
Just because you can ride your bike, doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from additional training. When you are learning to ride a bike there is a lot to learn just with the mechanics of riding a bike. Once you can do that well, you should be looking to learn the tricks and tips to become a more competent and confident rider. You can even enrol on a track day which will enable you to improve your skills fairly quickly.
Read and Learn.
Now you are a motorcyclist, your training and education becomes one of your priorities. Go on all the training that you can find. When the weather curtails your riding, start reading. Pick up tips from the greats. You will be surprised what you can learn from a book.
Clean and Maintain Your Own Bike.
A great habit is to clean your bike after every long ride. You will be able to spot any early problems when you are engaged in cleaning your bike. This is also true of learning to do your own maintenance. If you are able to do the basics, such as checking your tyre pressure and change the oil, you will recognise when there is something wrong.
Practise Your Skills.
There are some things you may want to practice, but don’t necessarily want to perform them on the road. Find a carpark or disused factory and use their space to practice things like emergency stops or other new tricks you want to try out. Even if it is using the area to ride in bad weather like snow, ice, or torrential rain. You want to have the ability to tackle these conditions, in case you get caught out in them, and attempting them first in a safe location will boost your confidence and abilities.
Ride a Different Bike.
When you only ride your own bike, you learn to ride a specific bike, not be a motorcyclist. You get used to the idiosyncrasies of your bike, and how it handles. You will become a better biker if you ride other bikes. You will find it challenging to start and you will have to pay a lot more attention. This will prove to you how accustomed you are to your own bike. Increase your knowledge and abilities and learn to ride better by becoming an all-rounder.
If you have never ridden a dirt bike, then give this a try. You have seen the abilities these riders have, so try and learn some of the essentials. When you ride off road you will learn a lot of skills that may be useful when you ride on the road.
It is easy to let your attention wander. Especially when you are at that stage where you are just becoming quite confident. This can quickly transform to overconfidence so ensure you are always alert. When you are tired or distracted, you only pay attention to things that are close. Make an effort to look further ahead. If you find you are losing focus when you ride, take a break and get off your bike. When you start again, your mind will be clearer.
Above all, know your own limitations. Never push yourself too hard or get pushed into doing something you don’t feel comfortable doing. Copy someone who rides better than you, but don’t compete with them.
Most people aren’t born as a brilliant motorcyclist. They have to learn it. Be aware of what is going on around you, and try to avoid making any mistakes. As with anything, the more you do it, the more you learn about it, the better you will get.