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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 to start.

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 the motorcycle.

It's okay to drag the rear brake slightly. This helps stabilize the motorcycle enabling you to slow down without letting the revs drop.





Blur Rider

Parking Lot Practice

Basic start

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.

Photo technique
(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.


Control 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.

As 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 riding gear.

Balance Act

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.

Stay Dry

Pack things in plastic bags and carry a few plastic bags for wet weather to wear over your boots to keep your feet dry.

The Once-Over

Check your motorcycle every morning for oil level and general operating condition.