If you want to gain valuable experience, then you go to school. The same applies to motorcycle riding. When you sign up for the Beginner or Basic Rider courses that are available from multiple organizations throughout the U.S., you are taking a giant step forward. Here is what to expect:
The assignment that you receive is dependent on the organization that you sign up with. Make sure you do this work, because you will be better prepared for what is to come in the class. You are welcome to take notes, write down questions to ask the instructor, and familiarize yourself with the terminology.
When you have class, you should bring your student handbook, a notepad, pen, and some food items for snacks and lunch. These classes will last for most of the day, so be prepared for a full day of learning and moving.
You should wear jeans with ankle boots, a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, full fingered gloves, and a DOT-legal helmet. Some schools will have helmets to borrow if you don’t have one. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to attend the class if you don’t have the appropriate gear.
Also, regardless of the weather, the class will go on. Be prepared for cold mornings. Lightweight layers are best, because you can peel them off as you get hot. You should also wear a waterproof jacket, boots, and gloves, just in case it rains.
What Happens In The Class
The class structure depends on statewide regulations and the course provider. However, most programs cover the same points. The courses are completed within two days, although you can sign up for more advanced courses later on.
On the first day of the Basic Rider Course, you don’t want to be late. Anyone who arrives late has a direct impact on how much information you receive—and you don’t want to miss anything. Before you turn on the engine, you need to sign some liability papers and other paperwork. You might be asked to introduce yourself and talk about what experience you have on a motorcycle. It’s fine if you have zero experience, because the class is designed for beginners. Relax and enjoy the chance to make new riding buddies.
The first half of the day talks about basic riding mechanics. This should be considered review if you did the pre-course assignment. If you jotted down any questions in your notes, this is the time you ask.
The first riding exercise doesn’t send you off down the road with no assistance. You review the handlebar controls once again. You mount, dismount, and turn the vehicle on and off. You then get a feel of the manually-operated clutch. Gradually, you get familiarized with the motion of the bike
The exercises thereafter include riding in a straight line, shifting gears, turning and cornering. The class is paced to allow for you to absorb this information is quickly or slowly as you need.
The second day builds off the operations you picked up on the first day. Now, you can get more technical and polish those skills. The session begins with practice of slow speed maneuvering, emergency braking, swerving, and more cornering.
Once these drills are complete, you are assessed on your competency. The riding test will be the most stressful part of the day, because you need to successfully complete the exercises. If you don’t pass, you can retest for free; but if you fail twice, consider that riding a motorcycle might not be for you.
Other Things To Expect
There’s a reason you sign a liability form. You could tip over or crash during the hands-on section of the course. Don’t worry, though. This, too, is practice. Once you have fallen a few times, you get the hang of controlling the bike. You will receive advice for staying upright from a professional instead of having to figure it out yourself.
All in all, a Basic Rider Course is an excellent choice for all new riders who want to gain valuable experience before hitting the road. Though the course only lasts for two whole days, you learn much more than you probably expect. Go in with an open mind and leave riding your motorcycle. After that, the road is yours to master.
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By RunThaCity — 3 years ago
Before even hopping on a motorcycle, it’s a smart decision to ride about the mechanics of the machine and familiarize yourself with key concepts. Having an idea in your head is going to come in handy when you’re faced with common beginner problems or later on when you’re on the road.
That’s how you really get a handle on the motorcycle. Let’s get started.
Motorcycle Basic Controls
Most motorcycles have the same controls; but you should always check the owner’s manual since the locations and shapes of some features will vary between makes and models.
Motorcycle basic parts:
- Electric start button – usually yellow or white.
- Engine cut-off switch – above the electric start button. Usually red.
- Above the right throttle is the front brake lever.
- Indicators (blinkers)
- Headlight dip switch (high beams/low)
- Clutch lever.
Between the handlebars, you find the ignition key. Ahead of the handlebars, you will also see the speedometer, odometer, and the tachometer.
Older Styles and Off-Road Bikes
Here’s some special considerations if you are on an older model or have an off-road bike:
Fuel petcock – these are usually attached to the left near the carburetor. You can lean down to switch the gas tank when the fuel is getting low and you need to get to the gas station ASAP.
Kick starter – off-road bikes have kick starters more commonly than street bikes. The kick starter works when you push down on the lever, turning the engine crank and causing the pistons to put pressure against the spark plug. Fuel ignites to start the engine.
What To Check Before Your Ride Every Time
Professional schools throughout the country use the acronym T-CLOCs to help you remember what you should check before heading on your bike. These checks should be done at least once a year, depending on how often you are riding your bike. If you ride every single day, you will have to use T-CLOCs much more often.
- T – Tires
- C – (Main) Controls
- L – Lights & other controls
- O – Oil & other fluids
- C – Chassis
- S – Stands
Check the air pressure and look at the condition of the tires. Are they worn down? Cracking? What is the condition of the spokes? Do you note any air leakage?
Next, look at the rims, bearings, seals, and casts. Does each brake work as it should? Does the bike fight you when turning or slowing down?
The main controls include the handlebars, cables, hoses, levels, pedals, and throttle. Make sure the condition of the hoses is good and that everything is properly lubricated. The bars should be straight, and the throttle should move without resistance. Ensure the hoses aren’t cut or leaking. Any bulges, chafing, cracks or fraying of control cables needs to be repaired.
Lights & Other Controls
This includes the battery, wiring, tail and signal lights, switches, blinkers, headlight, and reflectors. Is everything illuminating? Do the blinkers flash right? Is fraying or kinks in the wiring? Are the beams strong enough in the dark?
Oil & Other Fluids
Check the gaskets and seals for any leaks. Ensure the oil level is good, along with other fluid levels. Check for sediment in the coolant reservoir.
The chassis is made up of the frame, suspension, chains, belts, and fasteners. Nothing should rattle. Nothing should be frayed, cracking, peeling, or chipping. Ensure that everything is tight and that there is tension in the belts and chains.
Check for cracks or bends in the stands. Springs should hold their position without looseness.
Basic Mechanics of a Motorcycle
Being that a motorcycle rides on two wheels, it is designed to lean to either side. Through balance and input from the ride, the motorcycle maintains an upright position. Many beginners are afraid that the bike is going to fall over if they lean too far, but that’s not the case. Through the forces of physics, such as friction, momentum, and gravity, it’s nearly impossible for a bike that’s going to straight to fall over.
Another reason the motorcycle stays upright is the force of the pistons in the engine. These pistons move up and down, creating a force that helps the moving bike maintain it’s upward position.
The tires of motorcycles are designed to be rounded, ensuring that as the bike rounds a corner, the same surface area of the tire remains on the ground.
For the beginner, all you need to know about the chassis is how to sit properly. When positioned properly on the bike, your wrists, knees, and back will be comfortable. You should also be able to engage your core and thigh muscles when using your body to maneuver.
Most bikes are manual transmission. The clutch keeps the bike moving but also controls the speed by using friction. Clutches are usually bathed in the same oiled the engine uses, so if you ride the clutch for a while, you won’t cause damage. However, some bikes are different, so refer to the owner’s manual.
Wrapping It Up
For the new rider, your focus should be memorizing where the controls are and what certain parts of the bike do. By learning the general location, you can drive much more safely (and not while staring at the handlebars).
Remember, the everything takes practice. In the same way you learned to ride a bicycle, you need some patience with riding a motorcycle. With that, you’re ready to begin!
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By RunThaCity — 4 years ago
What Is A Motovlog?
Simply put, motovlogging is when you attach a camera to yourself or your motorcycle and record your ride. Wikipedia defines it as:
A motovlog is a type of video log recorded by a person while riding a motorcycle. The word is a neologism and portmanteau derived from “motorcycle”, “video” and “log”. A rider who creates video blogs known as a moto blogger, and the action of making motovlogs is called motovlogging. Most motovloggers upload their videos on YouTube, and the network of motovloggers here is known as the motovloggers community.
Are you looking for motovloggers to follow?
Since then the motovolgging community has exploded. Each rider has a different style of riding, a different sense of humor, and a different style of teaching.
While I’m positive this isn’t a complete list, I’m sure you’ll find a channel here that will peak your interest. Make sure you check back frequently because I’ll be adding to this list.
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By RunThaCity — 3 years ago
Viking Moto Motorcycle Backpack Review
Let’s all agree that the biggest problem with our bikes being daily transportation is the lack of hauling capacity.
So, just as in our scholastic days, backpacks to the rescue! But not just any backpack will do. We’re out in the elements, we’re hauling heavier stuff than a few books, and of course, we don’t want to look like a vagabond. That’s where awesome designs like the Viking Bag’s Motorcycle Backpack shine.
This isn’t your high school backpack, oh no. This Cordura backpack features a modern classic look with leather trim and an understated aesthetic that will match your jacket and your bike, no matter what type of bike you like to ride.
Let’s take a closer look at this awesome bag, and how it can make your daily rides so much cooler.
As I said, this backpack is made of Cordura, a modern marvel of material sciences that fits comfortably on your body, while not being a floppy, frail backpack. With dimensions of 18.5”x12.5”x5”, you can carry groceries, personal items, or personal items with ease and comfort no other bag can offer.
Need more organization, or to haul some electronics with you? Well, Viking’s completely onboard with 21st-century life, including a laptop sleeve and stretchy, sewn in pockets for organizing your styluses, connection cords, your phone, and anything else delicate and vital you may need to carry.
That’s not even the coolest thing this bag can do. We all know how important our helmet is for safety, but when we get off our bike, it becomes a cumbersome nuisance to carry around or somehow safely secure to our bike. With this Viking bag, that’s not an issue, thanks to the stretchy helmet lining which can hold pretty much any helmet of any size no problem.
Gone are any excuses, whatsoever, to forego your helmet. You know who you are!
I took one of these out for a day ride, that is about 6 hours round trip, to go shopping in another area (I usually wouldn’t, but it’s a good field test for gear like this). By the time I reached my destination, I almost forgot this bag was even attached to me, and that was with a heavy laptop and backup battery in my bag.
I did, however, notice that as I took the bag off when going into a restaurant, that my shirt was a bit damp, as I’d sweat from where it blocked air flow to an extent. However, having had other bags leave the back of my shirt completely soaked through, I’d call this a considerable improvement in that department. Given this bag is weatherized, it kind of can’t have the airflow of something mesh, and I’d rather sweat a tiny bit while having my stuff protected from the elements.
What really caught my attention was the lack of soreness or discomfort across my shoulders, neck and upper back. I’m a broad-shouldered fellow, which means most backpacks with any weight, tend to tug on muscles and leave me sore or even numb – the broad design of the straps both across the shoulders and waist, didn’t cause that problem at all.
Pros and Cons
- This is an attractive bag that doesn’t scream “hobo” or “kid”, with a professional yet casual aesthetic that matches any jacket well enough.
- It’s weatherized, and will protect everything with gusto.
- It’s very comfortable, and the strap designs don’t cause soreness, discomfort or circulation problems.
- I can carry my electronics in an organized fashion – this modern thinking is lost on a lot of biking gear companies.
- The helmet lining does the biking community two great services by making our helmets no longer a nuisance, and eliminating any excuses for anyone to foolishly leave their helmets behind.
- Being weatherized, you will sweat a little bit, it can’t be helped.
- While attractive, the black may not be everyone’s taste.
- I know a few hefty guys who might find the fit of this bag, adjustable as it is, to be a bit precarious.
- Heavy duty Cardura Construction.
- Reflective piping for additional night time visibility.
- Built in helmet hood.
- Fits most 15″ laptops in padded compartment.
- Detailed organizer for your keys, wallet and other small items.
- Protective eyewear pocket.
- Duraflex® buckles throughout for added strength.
- Audio Ready.
- Height and width adjustable sternum strap.
- Aerodynamic molded body.
I like this bag. It’s not perfect, and I can see some room for improvement in variety of color schemes as well as a bit more adjustability in the straps for bigger people. I’d also like to see another model that’s stretchier, for if I have more stuff to haul back.
Nonetheless, this is a nice bag, and if you ride your bike for daily things like I do in decent weather, you owe it to yourself to give a bag like this a try!Post Views: 6,401