10 Riding Tips for Beginners: Part 1

10 riding tips part 1 8 photos
Photo: pxhere/autoevolution
Motocycle gatheringopen face helmetriding on a twisty roadwrong motorcycle equipmentATGATT peopleThey're all on two wheelsA style to match
Congratulations! You just got your motorcycle driver's license and are ready to roll on the streets and conquer the world. But are you ready for that? Just take a deep breath and start checking your list to see if you have all you need before riding on your first trip.
Maybe you're not the kind of person that plans everything in advance. Still, hopefully, you're not the careless one that just jumps on the saddle and revs to the max on their first bike. While the former ones might be considered too cautious, the latter ones are those who might need a 911 service before a first oil check-up. So, here are some tips that might save you and your bike from unpleasant experiences. Remember: when you begin riding, you're starting with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. So, start filling the latter one before the former one gets empty.

1. Grab your gear!

Even if you're going for a short ride to the closest 7Eleven or to a friend, get your gear. One careless driver is enough to appreciate this advice. I don't know if you noticed, but all the experienced riders are geared up. On the other hand, beginners don't have the instinct to take everything on themselves. So it's okay to have a list written on your garage walls with a clear checklist. At first, it might seem ridiculous, but reading it every time you jump on your ride will get it stuck into your head.

Let's start with the helmet. This is the most critical piece of equipment, since it protects your head. Here, you don't have to cheap out. You might find some attractive-looking models, but you really need something that will protect you. I know there are a lot of states where helmets are not mandatory. But observing the high death toll among those who didn't wear one might give you a better idea of how important it is.

I know the asphalt won't be softer if you have a five-hundred bucks helmet. Moreover, gravity works the same way regardless of the gear you have. But at least your head won't take the full brunt of the impact. Also, make sure you have the helmet well fixed on your head. In addition, closing the visor will save your eyes from bugs and cigarette buts carelessly thrown away by people. Warning: wearing an unlocked or just loose helmet almost equals to not wearing one at all when the day's luck runs out. For instance, head protection might be the first to fly when your ride starts to wobble.

A style to match
Photo: pxhere
I'd recommend a full-face or a flip-up model. A braincap is mostly good for show and sitting in the parking lot. While they look cool, they offer less protection, and if you want to travel more miles on two wheels, you first have to learn how to do that right. Leave the braincap for later; you might never get one, after all.

Boots and gloves

While riding a short trip with all the equipment in place might seem exaggerated, there is a minimum package you should wear all the time. So, besides the helmet, you need to bring your boots and gloves. Why? The boots will keep your feet safe from asphalt burns and exhaust heat, and you'll be more confident when you change gears. On the other end of the scale are flip-flops. In a light fall, your feet protections will make a difference between a mild or no injury and a broken ankle. The latter might end your career on two wheels for good. Or maybe you'll be able to climb on a scooter.

In a fall, your palms can save you from a severe injury. But stretching your arm with your naked palm will lead to a painful experience. So, instinctively, you'll refrain from doing that if you don't have gloves. Furthermore, if you hit an insect with your fingers while riding at 55 mph (88 kph), you'll feel like you're stabbed. So those gloves won't protect you only if you fall; they'll do that all the time. On top of that, you have a better grip thanks to them when braking, accelerating, or using the clutch.


While some people wear motorcycle jackets just to make them look cool, a motorcyclist should use one for protection. Nowadays, there are summer, winter, and rain jackets that you can wear. Maybe if you're going just around the corner, you might not put it on. But if you travel far, or even on the other side of the town, you should definitely use it. It also has pockets with zippers where you could safely put your phone and effectively protect yourself. And yes, you'll look cool in that too.

ATGATT people
Photo: pxhere
I do not recommend any brand here, but I know that a cheap product will protect your body just as well as a T-shirt. If you want to save money, go for an all-season jacket. These are like onions: they have layers. On the outside is a breathable material named Cordura. In addition, they sport some zippers to keep your body cool during hot summer days.

As the weather worsens, you may add a second and third layer underneath it. Thus, you won't have to spend your hard-earned money on three jackets. Instead, save those for gas, oil, and tires because you'll use those a lot if you fall in love with riding on two wheels.

2. Don't ride with anybody you don't trust

When you start riding your bike, you might get along with many people. Some are experienced, others are just like you. An experienced rider will always look after the newbies who are joining them. A cocky rider won't do that. So, just make sure to go at your own pace. Don't rush, or you might end up spending more time on the side of the road than on two wheels. Maybe, just maybe, pushing a little over your limits will make you learn faster. But that will increase your chances of making mistakes that will cost you. Remember: just because you've ridden your bike for one month and got your 100 miles award won't make you an experienced biker.

Some believe they already know enough and become overconfident in their power and knowledge. But just because you have avoided a few situations doesn't mean that you didn't just have pure luck. Just don't push it. For every teaspoon you get from that proverbial full bag of luck you carry, you need to pour a pint of experience into the empty bag you started with.

They're all on two wheels
Photo: pxhere
If you're riding in a group and they are just going faster, don't panic. Keep your own pace and stay safe. In the beginning, you're just not skilled enough to tackle a curve with the same speed as the others. And if they are making fun of you because of your speed, then you chose the wrong group.

Tips for short:

  • Get a full-face helmet and wear it properly. Take your time before buying it by reading reviews and seeing which is most suitable for you.
  • Boots and gloves all the time. Soon you'll understand that ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) people are right. Risking for nothing is just as smart as checking the gas tank with a lighter.
  • Jackets: if you can't get three high-quality ones, buy a top-notch all-season one. You'll have time later on to try other outfits.
  • Ride at your own pace and find the right group of riders for you. If you can't, just ride alone until you have the skills to ride faster, but stick to the speed limit.
  • If you're a beginner and find yourself in a downpour-rain situation, just pull over. It's better to be soaked by rain than injured.
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