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BOTM Winner, October 2013
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I have about 40 years of riding under my belt, Lori my fiance has decided to learn to ride after being my co-pilot for 3 years, we found her a nice Honda Rebel 250 to learn on. Last Sunday I got the bike out and put her on it on the street in front of the house (no traffic). She nervously started it up after a lesson on where all the controls are, popped it in 1st and duck walked it down the road for a bit. Got it turned around and came back, after a few trips like that she was so tensed up she started having hand and thigh cramps, I told her that she did good, (she even picked her feet up for a bit but didn't realize it) and called it a day, the next lesson is shifting, for that my buddy owns the local Victory dealership and I'm taking her there to put her on a 4 wheeler so she can practice shifting and braking without having to worry about all the other things going on with 2 wheels. She is hell bent on learning how to do this, may take awhile but I bet she gets it. Any good tips on how to help her? With 40 years of doing it, it's kinda hard to teach someone something that just come natural to us. Heck, I don't remember learning how to ride it's been so long.
 

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Hey Jim!

I would really, really, really, really encourage you to look into the MSF classes in your area. They aren't that expensive, she won't have to use her bike to take the class in. She'll have classroom and "range" time, and she'll really master her bike. My wife took the MSF class when she started riding. 4 days of that, and she hopped on her brand new Honda Shadow and took off. A couple days spent getting used to it and riding around town, and she was off. Riding in formation with me and later larger groups, riding long distances, you name it.

In fact, you never know, you might learn something too if you wanna take it with her! A lot of concepts, like countersteering, proper braking, etc. are taught. You'd be amazed how many veteran riders find out they were doing something wrong all along and leave the MSF course riding with much more control of their bike and learning some skills that make life so much easier.

Also, in most states (not positive on Florida), once completing the MSF course she'll have a waiver that she can take to the DMV to get her 'M' endorsement. You also get an insurance discount with most insurance companies.

I'm tellin' ya, it's the way to go. We bought my wifes bike before her MSF course, and I took her out in a parking lot. She did the duckwalk thing, but we got nowhere. We decided to hang it up until after the MSF. After the MSF, we went out in a parking lot, and after 10 minutes of watching her do slaloms and figure 8's and tight corners and hard braking and even clearing obstacles, I took her out on the road where she rode like she'd been riding for years. Honestly, she pretty much had the skills to take to the open road once she finished the course; it was just a matter of working up to that speed and getting comfortable on her bike, which took about a week to a week and a half riding a little each night (before she was ready to ride somewhere, not just around town).

Can't say enough about it. I'm a believer. I'm a firm believer that there's not a person on two wheels who has an excuse not to take the MSF course! If you can swing it, I think it'd be great for both of you (she may appreciate the company). Not because I'm saying you need the practice, but because you might learn something (might not, who knows), but she might enjoy it more if you got to go through the class with her.
 

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Romans is 100% right! The MSF, or Basic Riders Course in some areas, is a valuable resource for beginner motorcyclists. Here in Texas it is required to get the M endorsement. And it is true that almost any rider at any level can learn from it. If you can ride a bicycle then they will have you riding a motorcycle safely by the end of the course. The classroom time is also very valuable for any driver of any vehicle. Thru really make you think about safety on the road. So, go take the class!!


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+2 on a motorcycle course, especially for family members. I don't want to assume your marriage/engagement is anything like mine but in my house this would have doom written all over it. My wife would be ok with any initial instruction, but any reminders or reiterating would turn into a problem, almost taken like I was attempting to be superior or something. Don't get me wrong, Godspeed if you try it. But I've been married for 17 years and somewhere about year one I tried teaching Mrs. Wonderful to cast a fishing line and the lesson resulted with a 2-day cold shoulder. With all respect, all the tension your fiance experienced on the street would soon have to find a target. Whatever you decide, best of luck.

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+3 on the MSF course. The instructor I had said, that he could teach anyone who could ride a bicycle what they needed to ride a motorcycle. I have to say he wasn't wrong. Actually, I even had my doubts about the bicycle part because I'm pretty sure some of the folks couldn't even do that. It is a laid back environment and everyone is in the same boat so no one really feels the pressure or nerves.
Nice to see though that your other half has taken an interest and got the bug to learn and share the enjoyment. Good luck bud.
 

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+4 on the MSF course. My Grandson wanted to start riding a couple years back, we found him a good used KX650C3 and we both signed up for the MSF! I refreshed some stale skills and he went from never riding to being a good basic rider in just 16 hours of instruction. The course is well worth the time and $. Yes, the cert. he got through the mail, about a week after the course, was good for the "M" endorsement. No negatives about the course, except maybe, that it rained the whole time. Guess we picked up some extra skills doing it that way. Good Luck!
 

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BOTM Winner, October 2013
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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, I agree and the MSF course is mandatory in Florida to get a MC endorsement, once you pass the class you just take the paperwork to the DMV and get a "Motorcycle Also" endorsement on your DL. She just wants some idea of how a bike works before she goes in front of 15 or 20 other people in a class. BTW, if you don't have the endorsement and get pulled over or stopped at a check point, they take your bike on the spot and start writing tickets, cost almost as much as a used bike to fix all of that mess with fines, towing and storage. The class alone is almost $300.00.
 

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Yes, I agree and the MSF course is mandatory in Florida to get a MC endorsement, once you pass the class you just take the paperwork to the DMV and get a "Motorcycle Also" endorsement on your DL. She just wants some idea of how a bike works before she goes in front of 15 or 20 other people in a class. BTW, if you don't have the endorsement and get pulled over or stopped at a check point, they take your bike on the spot and start writing tickets, cost almost as much as a used bike to fix all of that mess with fines, towing and storage. The class alone is almost $300.00.
Shame it costs that much. In some states where it's mandatory, the state pays for it. Some states use revenue generated from motorcycle citations and sales tax on motorcycles and uses it to fund the MSF course for anyone who wants it. A lot of times, when the helmet law is repealed, the 'trade off' is the MSF course being mandatory or provided by the state, since the MSF course is a proven successful tool in reducing or eliminating motorcycle accidents.

If she wants to get familiar beforehand, two things;

1) She doesn't need to. Lots of people will be getting on a bike for the very first time there. When my wife took her class, she was one of only two people who actually owned a bike. Others were 'planning on it', or were using the class as a way to see if they'd like it, or just as something to do, or even just planned on riding on the back of a bike but thought it would be good to know how it works before being a passenger!

2) Just take it slow. No need to be in a hurry. Maybe find her a nice, wide open parking lot. One thing that is hard for some folks to understand, but we take for granted, is the bike gets stable with speed. Brand new riders are sometimes afraid to get moving, but then the bike is unstable. (Same with kids learning to ride a bicycle. It's easy, but you have to work up to the speed the bike requires to stay stable). Encourage her to try getting up to speed, feet on pegs, in a straight line first. Don't worry about shifting just yet. Just work her up to getting her feet up on the pegs in a straight line, until she's comfortable moving the bike forward with enough speed to keep it stable.

Baby steps, baby steps. Some people can hop on and go, but your fiancee sounds like my wife; one that is going to have to do it in steps.
 

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My wife took the MSF class with me last year, and she had never been on a bike before. It was perfect for her...they really start a beginner out with the basics of the basics. It made her learning to ride pretty quick and easy, honestly. Best $225 x 2 I ever spent.
 

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I just FINALLY took the beginning riders course this summer ( I have been a passenger for years, but did not know how to ride one). It rocked. and by taking it through ABATE of Indiana it was only $75! My husband has been riding on and off for about 30 years and took it with me. He got some bad habits pointed out - and also learned some things. I'm now off and running (somewhat) on the '85 vulcan 700 I got in July. Really a great bike for a short person, but having problems with fuel supply to the carbs. Petcock is the prime suspect - after it was apart today, it ran GREAT for a few miles, then back to hesitating when it gets up to about 40mph. Dammit. Was hoping to take out more than 3 miles from home this weekend.
 
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