What to Know Before Riding a Motorcycle for the First Time

Do you want to learn how to ride a motorcycle?

The first time you ride a motorcycle is exhilarating, there’s nothing quite like it. But when you’re new to riding motorcycles, there are things you need to know to stay safe. They’re powerful machines, and you must be prepared for that.

Read on for these top things to know before riding a motorcycle for the first time.

Look Where You’re Going

When you first start learning to ride a motorcycle, target fixation causes a lot of issues. The most important thing you’ll learn is you’ll go wherever you look.

If you’re looking straight ahead, that’s where you’ll go. Look as far ahead of you as you can and be aware of your surroundings, and you’ll keep a steady course.

For corners, look through it not at the ground in the middle somewhere. Are there potholes? Do markings separate the two directions of traffic flow?

Look out for hazards and make yourself (and your intentions) visible to other road users. You won’t be so visible to drivers because of their car’s blind spots. In motorcycle classes, your instructor should make this clear.

Adjust Your Mirrors Before you Move Off

Unlike with cars, sometimes you need a wrench to adjust the mirrors on your motorcycle. Make sure you check their position before you ride off.

Assume the riding position while stationary and check your field of vision. You want to see as much of your surroundings as possible while pointing in straight ahead. Motorcycle safety is of the highest importance, and adjusting your mirrors is a big part of that.

Inspect Your Motorcycle Before You Ride

Always do a pre-ride inspection before any journey, but especially long ones. Your motorcycle has one of three ways they’re powered:

  • belt-driven
  • chain-driven
  • shaft-driven

Shaft and belts need less frequent maintenance than chains do. But whatever you have, you must look after them as it’s what keeps your bike moving forward.

If it’s worn or damaged, it could break while you’re riding. At best, you’ll end up walking home. At worst, you could be in for a life-threatening (even fatal) accident.

Check for dirt as too much built-up will stiffen the belt and cause it to stop moving. You should clean it and wax it as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you notice links that are missing or broken, don’t ride. Replace it as soon as possible.

Check for oil or fluid leaking onto the ground around your bike. Pay attention to the front forks which also contain liquid. Any leaks of any kind need checking by a professional mechanic.

Use Footwear With Great Traction

Be aware that it’s not only the weather that affects roads. There are a few reasons why road surfaces might get slippery, including:

  • Rain
  • Snow/ice
  • Oil
  • Automotive fluids

If you see any weird puddles on the road, try to steer around them if it’s safe to do so. And when you need to put your feet down, you need to make sure your feet won’t slip.

Motorcycle boots are the best choice, as they’re made for this exact purpose. You can learn more here. But if you can’t get those, any non-slip boot is fine, so long as the grip is of top quality.

Riding a Motorcycle For the First Time: Safety First

So, there you have it! Now you know these motorcycle driving tips, you know what should be at the front of your mind.

Riding a motorcycle for the first time is exciting, but you need to do it in safety. Make sure you check the bike before you ride, and ensure your mirrors are right. Don’t compromise on safety gear either, as that gear could save your life.

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Tom Brown
Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.