How to gain confidence
Learning to balance and control
a motorcycle at slow speed is a skill that takes time and practice.
Build your riding skills with
some exercises. In a large vacant lot use some marking cones to make a
course (large plastic pop bottles partially filled with water work great).
Arrange cones in a straight line.
The distance between them should be two times the length of the motorcycle
The exercise combines clutch-throttle
control and balance while slaloming through the course. Remember to maintain
a slow, steady pace and look in the direction you're going. Don't focus
on the cones.
Once you have gained confidence,
move the cones closer together until eventually you can slalom through
the course with a distance of only one and a half times the length of
It's okay to drag the rear brake slightly. This helps stabilize the
motorcycle enabling you to slow down without letting the revs drop.
Squeeze the clutch
lever to disengage the power from the rear wheel. Slowly release lever
until you feel the pull while gradually increasing the throttle. Continue
smoothly releasing the clutch until it's fully engaged.
To stop, pull in the clutch
and gently apply the front and rear brake while putting your feet down
as you come to a stop.
(Click photo to enlarge)
Have good posture and foot position. Don't watch your
hands on the controls. Keep scanning the road ahead and look where you
want the bike to go.
While maneuvering the motorcycle through the slalom
course your front wheel should aim for the midpoint between pylons.
the throttle and clutch and use the rear brake slightly to help slow down.
Never use the front brake while in a turn, the bike will fall right over.
you perfect the straight slalom you'll want to practice counter-balancing.
Try figure-8 and circle riding exercises. The secret is to look through
the turn and your motorcycle will follow.
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2002
Robert C. Alarcon
Riding The Road
Adjust For You
Make sure your motorcycle "fits" you. Adjust the handlebars, suspension
and floorboards or footpegs well in advance of your trip. Experiment
with different positions on short rides to determine your best fit.
Be sure to stay within the recommended load capacity of your motorcycle.
Weigh everything you plan to take on a trip, including yourself in full
Balance your load by putting heaviest items as close to the center of
your motorcycle as possible and do not put too much weight on the back.
Pack saddlebags from side to side, keeping the weight evenly balanced.
The items you'll need first should be on top.
Take along these handy items: tire pressure gauge; rags to keep your
bike clean; and a first-aid kit.
Pack things in plastic bags and carry a few plastic bags for wet weather
to wear over your boots to keep your feet dry.
Check your motorcycle every morning for oil level and general operating