I’ve been back riding for a few months now after a 10 year break that started when I crashed my previous motorbike.
I’m going to try hard not to let it happen again – otherwise my wife might sell this new one (again).
I’ve been reading books, looking on the internet, talking to people and trying to learn from my mistakes.
It seems there is always something more to learn – and here are a few of the things that I have learnt – with thanks to many sources – some of which will be already familiar to bikers.
These are in no particular order and I am no expert – so make up your own minds about them – no liability accepted!
I will add to the list and expand it as time goes on.
Feedback and comments are welcome as well as suggestions for other Top Tips – just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Relax your body
Tensing up will make not help control and will reduce the smoothness of the ride.
Relax your mind
Think hard before riding hungry, angry, late or tired (HALT) – these will probably decrease good judgement and promote unnecessary risk taking.
Before you set off – or you will be tempted to adjust things on the move – which can be a recipe for disaster.
Slow. Look. Push. Roll.
This is how to go round corners – slow down to an appropriate speed, look through the apex to the furthest point you want to get to, push down on the side of the handlebars you want to go and roll on the throttle as you are coming out of the bend.
Too fast in a corner?
You can either straighten up then brake if there is room – or push down more on inside handlebar to get round – as long as you are not riding on the limit.
Don’t brake in corners
Applying the brakes in corners will usually result in disaster – better to achieve the right speed before the corner starts.
Don’t ride on the limit
Start slow and gradually build confidence – leave a margin for error.
Position. Speed. Gear.
This is the normal “method” of riding – think of your position on the road for safety and visibility, adjust your speed and select the right gear.
Look where you want to go
This is vital and one of the most important tips – the bike will generally go where you look – so make sure you don’t get fixated by obstacles and danger – but fix on where you want to go.
Remember to look over your shoulder if practical before changing lanes – it can save your life.
The 2 second rule
“Only a fool breaks the 2 second rule” – it takes 2 seconds to say this – keep that far apart from the vehicle in front.
Look in mirrors
Keep looking – and repeat – be aware of what is behind you – things can change quickly.
Slow manoeuvres – back brake and clutch
That’s it – steady throttle and you control the speed as above – and always look where you want to go!
Its easy to drift off and lose concentration – don’t.
Don’t get distracted
Fly in helmet – stop asap – and so on – otherwise a crash is likely!
Especially at junctions and when overtaking – look at the front wheel of the next car – where is it pointing – that’s where it is going.
It’s your manoeuvre
In particular if you are following another vehicle – do not automatically go when they go, go where they go or do what they do – make your own decision.
Definitely worth praying every time before setting off – God is in charge and your life is in His hands.
On the bike – before starting – the usual things – have a mental checklist/routine – and make sure you have enough fuel!
Rubber and road
When you stop behind a car – leave enough room that you can see the bottom of their tyres and some road – there is no point in being too close.
Exiting a turn is not the time to cancel the indicators – wait until you have finished it and are up to speed again – otherwise there are too many things to do at once – recheck indicator light periodically when riding anyway.
Every ride is a learning opportunity
Remember one or two things that didn’t go according to plan – work out what went wrong – and think how to improve them.
Nodding is not compulsory
Do nod to other riders if you want to – but not if it means losing concentration and direction!
Enjoy the ride
There’s nothing like it – you can’t really explain it to a non-biker.
Protect and survive
Helmet, gloves, boots, leather/textile jackets and trousers – you know it makes sense.
Prepare to stop and look to go
At a junction – prepare to stop but look for an opportunity to go if it’s safe instead (unless it’s a mandatory stop).