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Motorcycle Riding Tips for Practice Riding

Don't fixate on the on-coming traffic. Scan the road for possible hazards such as potholes, manhole covers, pedestrians, etc.


Starting Out
Think like a rider.
Choose a motorcycle.
Learn basics of Clutch, Throttle and Brakes.

>Practice riding
Throttle & Clutch
Parking Lot practice
Sample motorcycle exercises

Low Traffic riding
Shifting gears
Riding conditions
Traffic situations

Progressive riding
Counter steering
Highway riding
Wind Turbulence

Carry a Passenger

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Trust me, motorcycling is something you won't mind practicing!

From the moment you begin and every ride after that, you are practicing and learning. Take time to learn in stages to build confidence and skill before attempting more difficult maneuvers. Even if you take a motorcycle riding course, take time to practice after hours.

Once you have a motorcycle at your disposal, familiarize yourself with the controls before beginning to ride. Get comfortable with the controls before you ride. Once you begin to practice you'll be watching the road, not looking down at what you're doing.

The greatest piece of advice to give a novice motorcycle rider is always look through the turn. Look where you want to go, no matter how slow or fast you are going. It truly helps steer you in the right direction.


Parking lot practice - do at least 10 to 15 hours before riding on the street! (no enlarged pix)


Slow speed turns on a motorcycle

Drag the rear brake to help stabilize the motorcycle, enabling you to slow down without the revs dropping. Works great for U-turns and tight turning situations. Remember to look where you want to go.

Never clamp on the front brake during a slow, tight turn. That could be an instant wipe out. Always straighten the wheel before fully applying a motorcycle's front brake.


How to make a sharp turn

Look in the direction of a turn to help steer the motorcycle that way. The further through the turn you look, the tighter the bike will turn.
Use this motorcycle riding technique at low and high speed.

The further you look, the sharper you turn.

For instance, while doing circle exercises in a parking lot, look directly across the circle and the motorcycle should turn accordingly. for enthusiast motorcycling online!

small pylonThrottle & Clutch

Learn how to balance and control a motorcycle at slow speed.

Basic start and stop
Assuming the motorcycle is already running and in neutral, squeeze in the clutch lever and use your left foot to click down to first gear.

Slowly release clutch lever while gradually increasing throttle. Continue easing out the clutch until fully engaged. If you feel the motor wants to quit, give a little more throttle.

To stop pull in the clutch, straighten the front wheel and gently apply the front and rear brake. Put your feet down as you come to a stop.

At this point, click shifter into neutral then release the clutch.

There seems to be a lot to do and remember. Don't be discouraged... practice, practice, practice!

Eventually you'll become smooth in putting it altogether:

Pull in clutch, shift to first gear. Slowly release clutch while rolling on throttle.

Pull in clutch, apply the brake. Shift into neutral while coming to a stop.

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Comments & Questions

Viewing Tip:

Mouse-over photos & diagrams for additional information.

Control the throttle and clutch. Use the rear brake slightly to help slow down. Never use the front brake while in a turn, the bike will fall right over.
Look across the circle, push slightly on the handlebar to steer in that direction and the bike will turn with you.
Drag rear brake to slow your pace. DON'T USE FRONT BRAKE WHEN WHEEL IS TURNED!
Have good posture and foot position. Don't watch your hands on the controls. Keep scanning the road ahead and look where you want the bike to go.
While maneuvering the motorcycle through the slalom course your front wheel should aim for the midpoint between pylons. Maintain safety margins between the wheel and markers.

small pylonParking Lot Practice

With an understanding of throttle control and braking, build your riding skills with these parking lot exercises.

Find a large vacant lot (business park after hours). Use some marking cones to make an exercise course (large plastic pop bottles partially filled with water work great).

Arrange cones in a straight line. The distance between them should be two times the length of the motorcycle to start. (Eventually you should be able to do it with only a distance of 1 and a half times the length of your bike.)

These exercises use only first gear. The purpose is to combine clutch-throttle control while maintaining balance. For a slow, steady pace ride the clutch and keep a smooth throttle.

Remember to look in the direction you're going. Don't focus on the cones.

Motorcycle riding basics are learning to stop and start.Exercise 1 - Starting and stopping

Ride beside the cones you've set up to practice moving forward then stop at each cone before moving forward to the next, and so on.

Start and stop, it's that simple. The slower you can do this with control, the better. You will be tested on this during the Skills Test. (Through ICBC in BC, Canada)


Beginner motorcycle riding exercise using counter-balancing techinque.Exercise 2 - Slalom Course

Combine clutch-throttle control and balance while slaloming through this exercise. Maintain a slow, steady pace and don't focus on the cones.

Move off slowly, keep your head up and eyes forward. Ride the clutch to keep a steady but slow pace as you maneuver the motorcycle around each cone. Use only the rear brake to slow down. Never grab the front brake when the wheel is turned.

Steer the front wheel between the middle of the markers, keeping a safe distance from the cones.

Once you have gained confidence, move the cones closer together until eventually you can slalom through the course with a distance of only one and a half times the length of the motorcycle. (Skills Test requirement)

Practice slow speed motorcycle turns using circle exercise with pylonsExercise 3 - Steer and Look, Riding in Circles

This exercise emphasizes keeping your head up and look where you're going.

Mark off a circle about 10-15 metres to start. Practice riding around the circle. It's tempting to look at the markers but this exercise will help teach you to look in the direction of the turn and the motorcycle will follow.

 Basic motorcycle riding tip - Figure 8 exerciseExercise 4 - Figure 8

Maintain an upright position, keep your head level and balance the motorcycle as it leans to negotiate the tight turn.

Begin by marking off two 10 metre circles and practice the figure 8 exercise until you can gradually maneuver a turning radius of 1 1/2 metres larger than your motorcycle.

Remember to turn the handlebars and look across the circle to where you want to go. Use the rear brake here to stabilize the bike.

When you've logged about ten to fifteen hours of parking lot practice, you should feel confident to take it to the streets.

Ready for the next level?

Low Traffic riding
Shifting gears
Riding conditions
Traffic situations

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