There is nothing quite like the feeling of riding a motorcycle, that level of freedom is simply unique. Feeling the road and the machine beneath you as you blissfully move along winding roads to clear your head. Yet for a novice rider, this often doesn’t come naturally. Those first rides after getting your licence are often incredibly exciting and even scary -Be honest, you were nervous then too- but it's something you just have to power through. The more often you get on and ride alone, the more confidence you will build in yourself and your motorcycle. Here are some tips to overcome fear and uncertainty as a new motorcyclist.
Start Slow and Build Up Gradually
To make a long story short, it's a matter of riding. The more time you spend in the saddle, the easier it becomes. As you get to know and trust your bike, you will be able to let go of more and more worries while riding. Only then can you make room for 'just riding' with an empty head.
Just start with a small ride in your own neighbourhood, or drop by a friend's house, and visit your parents to show them your bike. You can slowly expand and ride longer and farther as you get more comfortable. The important thing is that you get on and go, no matter how short or long. Take your time, ride at your leisure and, above all, don't be rushed by pushy drivers. Be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively, it's always better to err on the side of caution given your vulnerability.
Of course, you don't have to make 8s on public roads as you did during your driver's test. And if you have to turn somewhere, take your time, throw that foot down if necessary and do what is feasible. There are no more instructors breathing down your neck because you can't do a perfect half-turn on the street. So chill, breathe, and just go your way. As long as you manage to get from A to B safely, that’s the most important right?
Overcoming insecurity: practice makes perfect
Another key to building confidence on your motorcycle is practice, practice and more practice. You will find that you will learn to trust your bike and your abilities more and more as you put in more miles. Thus, you will try out more and more without thinking too much about it. The more you ride, the more you will test your riding skills on your motorcycle. Hitting those corners at a more impressive angle every time. Once you become familiar on the road and with your motorcycle you will find that you will start trying more and more to improve your riding skills.
Find a group to ride with
Talking about practice, of course, this doesn't always have to be done alone. Don't be afraid to ride with some friends. Just let them know that you're still a little nervous about riding because you haven't had your license for that long. They will take that into account and adjust their riding style accordingly if necessary.
Although many novice motorcyclists think it is easy to ride at the back of the group to not slow anyone down, that is not the best place for a novice rider. At the back of the group, you will have to step on the throttle quite often because of the harmonica effect that occurs. I myself find this the best position because I like to give some throttle and have been riding for almost 10 years, I don't mind riding at the back. As a rear rider, I can also ensure that there is enough distance between an annoying driver and the group. But as a beginning rider, it is better to ride at the front of the group as a second or third rider. Then you can ride much more relaxed.
And the people behind you? They won't be bothered by you, and if they are, maybe you should ask yourself if you want to ride with them in the first place. Because friends (and just friendly riders in general) will be very understanding.
Get the Right Gear to overcome insecurity
Lastly, it is important to make sure you have the right equipment to feel safe while riding. It sounds so simple, and yet it does so much in your head. When you just got your driver's license, you probably won't feel safe in a T-shirt. So you won't feel safe in an outfit that has as much protective value as a T-shirt either. Investing in good quality motorcycle clothing will make you feel more confident and safe while riding, which can help you overcome your insecurity.
In short, overcoming fear and uncertainty as a novice rider is a matter of taking it easy, practising regularly, finding a group to ride with and investing in the right equipment. With the right attitude and approach, it is possible to overcome any fear or uncertainty and become a confident motorcyclist.