Sunday, January 25, 2009

For all new riders out there

So apparently I wanted my next post to be about my experience thus far in learning how to drive a motorbike and I couldn't post about anything else until I did so. I thought about blogging as soon as our license expired in September but as luck would have it, it was still nice enough to drive a motorbike until late October and I didn't want to think about all I was missing out on by blogging about it. However that was back in Oct 2008 and it is now Jan 2009 where the temp. is -29. What can I say, I just procrastinated.

So back to the subject of what I wanted to blog about, learning how to drive a motorbike is quite the experience. It is both thrilling, exciting and scary, all rolled into one "hang-onto-the-handle-bars-for-dear-life" experience. I've wanted to drive a motorbike for as long as I can remember and it definitely is a dream come true. The bike I learned how to drive on is a 2008 Ducati Monster and it is a beauty. Some of the things I wished I had known when I first got my bike are:
  1. Have the patience to wait until I took the motorcycle course first so I would know how to handle a bike properly and what to expect.
  2. Have 2 different types of gear to accommodate for the weather (I have the full leather jacket with padding but it completely distracted me when it was really hot out to the point where I drove less)
  3. Definitely find a location where you can practice your driving skills without having to worry about traffic. I found driving around the neighborhood I concentrated too much on the traffic and not enough on my technique. The exhibition grounds was awesome to practice on until we got kicked out due to it being a private area
Things that I can improve on for next season are:
  1. I would probably lower the bike seat somewhat; currently I can sit flat footed when not in motion but I lose some distance when I am driving as I sit closer to the gas tank. Lowering the bike would help in both parking the bike as well as boost my confidence.
  2. Practice gearing both up and down so it is smoother. Gearing up is not that much of an issue. When I first started driving, I practiced around the University area on a Sunday which was awesome as there were few cars but I still had to make it to the University grounds. Gearing down is trickier and I would like to get to the point where it is second nature for me and I don't even have to think about it.
  3. Practice hard stops. I never put myself in a situation where I had to do a hard stop but I can definitely see the benefits of doing so.
There is definitely lots to learn still as it is a never ending process but I thought I would only list the most significant ones I ran across in my experience. I am sure as the years goes on, the list will grow.