1st time going 50 bmph, now nervous!!! Help? Advice?

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taile84
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1st time going 50 bmph, now nervous!!! Help? Advice?

Post by taile84 »

Finally grew some balls and went for a 5 mile ride to a Wallmart in my town. My fiance followed me the whole time because I was nervous and didn't know how fast I felt comfortable going and didn't want to get ran over by cars who wanted to pass. (The last time I took the Buddy on a real ride it was my first ride to pick up Chinese food and it was only 1 mile away going 35 bmph)

I don't know if it was me or if it's just how the Buddy rides but I felt kinda shaky at times. Maybe its my nerves, the wind blowing on me, or the cars passing me and the wind from them blowing on me?

My fiance told me I have 2 very bad habits:
1. When I ride and am on the right lane, I drive to close to the left side of the lane and it looks very dangerous when other cars are passing me. Does everyone ride close to the curb? or mostly in the middle of the lane? or close to the left? I thought I was in the middle of the lane but I guess I was not. I kept thinking to my self 'I am going 45 mph, if I ride too close to the curb I might lose control and run into it and that =lotsa hurt and broken body parts :( ' What do you guys look at when doing fast down the road?

2. When I stop, since my legs are so short, I tend to lean left because I cannot flat foot the scoot on both sides. By the time I actually stop, my bike is positioned looking towards the left and it makes tight right turns from a dead stop very difficult and wobbly.

I think I should take it slow, go back and re-read all the materials I have. My fiance was so nervous for me that he couldn't wait to get out of his car when we finally made it home to tell me what I was doing wrong. I was about to cry because I thought I was doing pretty good :( I know he was just worried, but I suck at taking critisism. Mind you he is going to take his MSF course in a month for a MC, so I wanted to get some advice from the experts on here.

It was getting kinda dark, but I HAD to document my first real ride, so here she is chained to a cart rack with a Kryptonite 2 ft. NY noose. (I should have gotten a longer chain but damn it these things are so expensive!)
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I have already bought a book on better riding and will read it starting tonight.

Maybe I should stop riding it like I stole it?? LOL :lol:
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7eregrine
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Post by 7eregrine »

Never drive farther left then the left tire track of where a car would have its' left wheel. That's good to remember. Situation determines which side of the lane. When in doubt...middle. Personally I like to ride a bit left so oncoming traffic can see me better.

Just keep in mind not everyone picks this up as fast as some do. It does take time and experience to feel comfortable. And feeling comfortable is key. I am one of the few here that think not EVERYONE needs the MSF. (The experienced rider course, certainly). But beginners should consider it, especially if you are at all nervous. Your BF is taking the MSF... why aren't you taking it with him??

Where do I look? Why, where I want to go, of course! :D And always looking at least 500 ft down road for anything that might try to hurt me. Always...

You aren't riding it lke you stole it. ;)
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Jrman
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Re: 1st time going 50 bmph, now nervous!!! Help? Advice?

Post by Jrman »

taile84 wrote: I don't know if it was me or if it's just how the Buddy rides but I felt kinda shaky at times. Maybe its my nerves, the wind blowing on me, or the cars passing me and the wind from them blowing on me?

My fiance told me I have 2 very bad habits:
1. When I ride and am on the right lane, I drive to close to the left side of the lane and it looks very dangerous when other cars are passing me. Does everyone ride close to the curb? or mostly in the middle of the lane? or close to the left? I thought I was in the middle of the lane but I guess I was not. I kept thinking to my self 'I am going 45 mph, if I ride too close to the curb I might lose control and run into it and that =lotsa hurt and broken body parts :( ' What do you guys look at when doing fast down the road?
You need to put some miles on the scooter in the neighborhoods for a while. It is really all about confidence and knowing what the scooter will do and what it can't do. When I first started to ride the wind and higher speeds would freak me out. Now I love it. It is all about getting used to how your Buddy handles.

I normally drive left or right of center. Basically the normal wear path of the car tires. You don't want to ride very much in the center of the road because that is where the cars dump all their oil and it could make it slippery. I do switch between the right and left side of the road often depending if people are passing me and if there are cars waiting to turn in front of me I will get in the portion of the lane that makes me the most visible.

Best thing to do is get out and ride in areas that don't have heavy traffic. The more you ride the more confident you will become and that is where the fun really begins. You may want to leave your fiance at home while you practice. He will just make you nervous and you really need to concentrate on the road and your surroundings and not on him worrying about you. Just tell him you will stop and call him every 15 min. :D

The last thing is take the motorcycle course and read all you can on the internet. There are some really good sites out there that give you riding tips that help to make you a smart rider and it will help to keep you safe. This one is a very good site. http://www.highviz.org/MMSCHomeSecondar ... =7&scat=23
Great Scooter Safety Site: http://www.highviz.org/
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sunshinen
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Post by sunshinen »

Congrats on your first scooter trip to Walmart! I'm sure there will be many more.

And yup, for now, it sounds like you should stop riding it like you stole it. Take it slow and build some confidence in your skills and knowledge. Do some practice drills. Ride more frequently and longer, but not in places that make you nervous. If that means laps around your block, then do laps around your block. :D

Generally, you want to ride in the middle of the lane and maneuver to the left and right as needed to be visible to people who may be turning onto the street you are on, changing lanes, etc. Riding in the middle of the lane was one of the things they drilled in in the MSF course. I don't like riding next to the curb. This is a particularly risky place to be. Closer to animals darting out. Closer to batches of loose debris. Closer to opening doors of parked cars... Being a little to the left is fine. I try to stay within the general tire marks on the road.

Make sure you are not anticipating the stop and leaning left before you are stopped. As a beginner, you may want to put your feet down as soon as possible, so really work on staying centered and not putting your foot down till you are fully stopped. As another short person, I skooch forward on my seat to make it easier to reach the ground. I found some big ole platform boots (platform at toe and heel)! I've stopped wearing them, but they were great for getting more comfortable on the scooter. They made learning a lot easier.

Remember, your fiance is going to be nervous for you because he cares about you. Listen to what he has to say, but don't let it make you feel like a terrible rider. You're a beginner. You naturally have some things to learn, and he's going to be biased for looking for the ways you might get hurt. And perhaps a little overzealous in trying to impound them in your brain.
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Post by Lostmycage »

Start slower. It worked for me, probably worked for a lot of other people as well. I didn't take mine out on a road with traffic until I understood (at least at a very basic level) how it handled different situations. When I did start in traffic, I kept to slower roads. I constantly challenged myself on what felt comfortable and adjusted to every situation. I didn't go from 35-55 in the course of two rides.

Only go as fast as you feel comfortable with. At 50, although the Buddy is very stable to me, there's a ton of variables such as wind gusts, road paving oddities, etc that effect the tracking of the bike. Until you're comfortable with those and more variables, ride it like you just got it. Work your way up to "stolen" later on.

Don't loose heart. Get some of those faux stilleto riding boots (hawt) to let you flat foot at stoplights, or, customize your Buddy and shave the seat down. Modding these things is cake. Look at the tech forum and there's a really decent walk-through on how to shave it down. For your height (and I mean no offense by this) I'd highly suggest you shave it down to where you can flat foot at a stop.

After a while you'll be flirting with 70 BMPH like it's nothing. Just don't do it till you're comfortable with 35, 45, 55, etc.

I'll be hitting up the parking lot this weekend to learn the nuances of the Blur that I just acquired (weather permitting) as I know that and the Buddy are two different machines.

Ride in your comfort zone and pretend you stole it.
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Post by Quo Vadimus »

Ride where people can see you most, earliest, and easiest. This is in the left tire track much of the time, but certainly not all.

Get the always-suggested Hough books ("proficient motorcycling" being the main prize) - there are some diagrams to help you visualize how this works at some of the more important locations (read: INTERSECTIONS!).
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Re: 1st time going 50 bmph, now nervous!!! Help? Advice?

Post by sunshinen »

Jrman wrote: You don't want to ride very much in the center of the road because that is where the cars dump all their oil and it could make it slippery.
In my MSF class, they were rather emphatic that this was a myth. That the center was really only problematic if it's wet or at congested stop lights/signs, where larger quantities of fluids tend to get dumped in one location.

I won't say it's never a problem for anyone, but in 7000+ miles, I've never slipped from riding in the middle of the lane... and I've never heard of anyone who has either. And I have done emergency stops on very heavily congested roads in the center of the lane. (Though at lights/signs I do usually come to a stop in the tire tracks to avoid stopping in those larger puddles of oil... and angled so I can zip between cars if the person behind me is failing to stop.)
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Post by taile84 »

7eregrine wrote:Your BF is taking the MSF... why aren't you taking it with him??

Where do I look? Why, where I want to go, of course! :D And always looking at least 500 ft down road for anything that might try to hurt me. Always...

You aren't riding it lke you stole it. ;)
Hhaha :) I always forget to tell you that I love your avatar. It is very Sexay! Did you draw it?

Thinking about taking the MSF but spent so much $$ on safety gear and insurance ($600 for the year) that I am kinda broke. My life is worthless, I mean Priceless :P so I know I should probably just go ahead and sign up for it. I wish you were here to ride with :cry: Is there no Buddy owners in Lawrenceville, GA for goodness sake???
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taile84
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Re: 1st time going 50 bmph, now nervous!!! Help? Advice?

Post by taile84 »

Jrman wrote:
You need to put some miles on the scooter in the neighborhoods for a while. It is really all about confidence and knowing what the scooter will do and what it can't do. When I first started to ride the wind and higher speeds would freak me out. Now I love it. It is all about getting used to how your Buddy handles.
..................................

Thank you for the advice :) I know I was kinda pushing it, but at 40 miles on my spedometer I already got so bored out of my mind driving around my neighborhood that I thought it was time to venture out. I didn't even feel like ridding the Bud anymore if all that I was gonna do was do stop signs, turns in the culdesac, and have dogs chase after me, LOL. I always feel that I have always been pretty good a picking up on how to drive machines (cars, stick shift, Bobcat, even the Buddy) but I have to really make sure since this is a very dangerous machine I am playing with.

And don't even get me started about the whole countersteering thing, I know the logic behind it, but too scared to try it. I really want to get comfortable with learning how to do this before I should get on the road again going at high speeds. I might need to dodge a fridge/matress/dog (insert any random object that can be in the middle of the road here) one day with a quickness.

How did everyone learn how to countersteer and how fast were you going?
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Re: 1st time going 50 bmph, now nervous!!! Help? Advice?

Post by Lostmycage »

taile84 wrote:
And don't even get me started about the whole countersteering thing, I know the logic behind it, but too scared to try it. I really want to get comfortable with learning how to do this before I should get on the road again going at high speeds. I might need to dodge a fridge/matress/dog (insert any random object that can be in the middle of the road here) one day with a quickness.

How did everyone learn how to countersteer and how fast were you going?
Parking lot. Parking lot. Parking lot.

I'm really not kidding when I say test the limits of both the machine and yourself without the added variables of traffic.

Counter-steering is incredible. It doesn't make a lick of sense unless you delve into the equations and physics of it (that's the only way I convinced myself to try it). Go to an empty parking lot and practice. Get up to about 25 mph (with room left over) and gently try the techniques. Build up your confidence. It'll get intuitive real-fast. It actually turned out that I was using counter-steering all the time without knowing what it was. Once I figured out the techniques, I got a LOT better at it. Crisp lane-changes, better reflexes, sharper (stealing it like) turns, etc. But not without practicing first.

So... practice, yes?
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taile84
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Re: 1st time going 50 bmph, now nervous!!! Help? Advice?

Post by taile84 »

Lostmycage wrote:
So... practice, yes?
Oh yes. Lots of practice on this.
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Post by newslinky »

Great advice by all so far. Ill just reinforce the "Look where you want to go" that I heard in my MSF class. Watching out ahead to where you will be in the next 8-12 seconds is recomended so you will have time to see the things you might have to deal with in time to plan on how you will deal with them. How far is 8 to 12 seconds you ask? That is somethig to add to your practice list. I did it on my commute by picking out lines in the raod whenever avaialble and counting till I passed them. Now it is pretty much second nature and I look out that far as a matter of habit. I have been riding only since July so it is an easily learned habit.
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Post by ericalm »

It's very hard to resist the urge to just get out there and ride, especially on a Buddy, which is so easy to ride when you're going straight and doing basic turns. But even when I started riding, I clocked a lot of time on neighborhood streets and side streets before easing into heavier traffic.

The books will help—there are a lot of exercises in there that help your learn and practice a lot of the skills you'll need riding in traffic. It will also give you guidance for handling various situations and common tactics such as lane position, reading the flow of traffic and so on.

I know the MSF is expensive, and that definitely deterred me from taking it. When I finally, did, I realized how valuable it would have been if I'd taken it much earlier, when I first started riding. If there's any way you can scrape up the funds to take the course now (got a birthday coming up?), I'm sure you'll get a lot of benefit out of it.

Either way, have patience, take your time and practice. Read up and challenge yourself in the parking lot before out in traffic.
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Post by MarkTur »

There's certain riding tasks in MSF such as weaving between cones, coming to a quick stop, swerving, and going over a 2x4 that should be practiced...Also, do not hit your brakes while in a turn - this is one of the major reasons people lay down their bikes. Straigten up, then hit the brakes. The Buddy will stop very quickly. Make sure you use BOTH BRAKES when you stop.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Your Buddy will go where your head is pointed. So when you turn, turn your head. When you need to do a U-Turn, you should be looking over your shoulder at WHERE YOU WANT TO END UP.

As a test, while you're riding, change lanes...and watch the little reflectors in the road...I bet you'll run it over! :) Now do it, and watch between the reflectors...isn't that amazing? So don't just move your eyes.

After riding skills, you need to practice riding in traffic, and looking in basically 3 different places ahead: 2 seconds - this is your minimum reaction time to do something in an emergency. Remember that. You watch the car in front of you pass a sign, tree, line, basically any fixed object, then count: 1-and-2-and....and if you pass the fixed object before that you are TOO CLOSE.

Your next zone is 4 seconds...this is enough time to make a decision on how to avoid a road hazard....the final zone is at 12 seconds - scan WAY AHEAD looking for potential problems and hazards.

All the while, you need to be constantly checking your rear-view mirrors as well...this all sounds like a lot, but becomes second nature very quickly.

Bottom line: you spent a lot of money to gear up - which is GREAT - but understand that the next best investment IN YOUR LIFE will be that MSF course.

I nominate your BF to pay for it for you since he's obviously worried enough to follow you around in his vehicle. :)

Seriously - this is the last part of your responsibility in having a Buddy...make yourself safe as possible....oh yeah, and 100% legal, too.

In Florida, if you're caught without your MC endorsement on a bike or scoot over 50cc, you go for a ride in the back of the cop's car to the pokey, and your Buddy goes to car/motorcycle HELL. It will cost you way more money to get the Buddy back and get yourself out of trouble.

I'm not sure of the laws where you live, but really, this is about you being safe (and a long-time MB contributor) than the legal aspect, but both sides should be seriously considered.

The MSF is FUN, and you will get a chance to learn to ride a Motorcycle, too. They start you out at: "Here's the key...it goes here". So don't be intimidated.

Ride it like you OWN it! :)
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Post by Quo Vadimus »

MarkTur wrote:
2 seconds - this is your minimum reaction time to do something in an emergency. Remember that.
Just to add on to this: Hough points out the difference in stopping distance between a rider who already has his fingers on the brakes and one who doesn't. Think about it - if it only takes you half of one second to get your fingers there, you've increased your theoretical stopping distance (if you're really 'good' enough to stop in 2 seconds) by more than 25%. Leave those fingers on the levers.

You also about cut in half the stopping distance for a 10mph difference in starting speed. It doesn't hurt to slow down a little when traveling through high-danger areas (those deer crossing signs are there because x number of actual deer/vehicle accidents have already occurred).
Last edited by Quo Vadimus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Sparky »

The rules I recall from my motorcycling manual for lane positioning is:

*the limits are your mirrors. If you're upright and either mirror crosses a lane line, you're too far over in that direction. The same goes for any part of your body crossing a lane line in a sharp turn; if your head is over the center line, f'rinstance, you went into the turn too hot

*left lane position is standard. It makes it harder for cars to share your lane, provides better visibility in the mirrors of the car in front of you, and keeps you away from the curb (source of fun things like grates, car doors, and debris in the gutter).

*center lane position is also good, although the "oil slick" effect is real when rain hits the ground. Center lane is also where you want to be when coming to a stop or going through an intersection. It gives you more room to turn and an extra few inches to react to such hazards as the infamous left-turner.

*right lane position should be avoided. It's the preferred lane position of speed restricted mopeds because those are more akin to bicycles under traffic law. If you have a derestricted 50cc or 125/150cc Buddy, you have enough speed to act like a proper motorcycle. The right lane position *is* advised for when you are going up a hill where the top is obscured by the grade. It gives you a little more of a safety margin if a car comes down the hill over the center line.

At for short legs, I hear ya. The Buddy and the Vino 125--along with, oddly, the Kymco People S 125--are the few scoots I can properly flatfoot. When stopped, I adopt the technique taught in my M/C class. Left foot down, right foot on the floorboard. It's the technique the testers at the SAAQ (Quebec DMV) looked for, since that is what is proper on a manual m/c that has the foot brake pedal on the right side. I also find it easier to hold than a two-foot-down position and quicker to leave from a standing start.

Buddy behavior above 45mpg gets...fun. It's just the nature of the little beast. Small frame, ten inch tires, stiff suspension, and the variable nature of road harmonics combine to create a worrying thrum above 50mph. When the needle on my Kermit hits 60mph, I can hear Scotty shouting "Cap'n, she canna take any more!"

As for the MSF course, check your local ranges to see if they run the new Scooter Course. It is not the full BRC, since it is intended to give the novice 50cc scooter rider the basics of safe road handling. It's one day of range work dealing with using automatic transmissions and the MOST test maneuvers. You won't do the test at the end that lets you skip your state's closed-course examination. You *will* learn how to ride your scooter with more confidence. It is estimated the one or two days of MSF instruction are the equivalent of the first six months of solo on-the-road experience.
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Re: 1st time going 50 bmph, now nervous!!! Help? Advice?

Post by Kaos »

Lostmycage wrote:
taile84 wrote:
And don't even get me started about the whole countersteering thing, I know the logic behind it, but too scared to try it. I really want to get comfortable with learning how to do this before I should get on the road again going at high speeds. I might need to dodge a fridge/matress/dog (insert any random object that can be in the middle of the road here) one day with a quickness.

How did everyone learn how to countersteer and how fast were you going?
Parking lot. Parking lot. Parking lot.

I'm really not kidding when I say test the limits of both the machine and yourself without the added variables of traffic.

Counter-steering is incredible. It doesn't make a lick of sense unless you delve into the equations and physics of it (that's the only way I convinced myself to try it). Go to an empty parking lot and practice. Get up to about 25 mph (with room left over) and gently try the techniques. Build up your confidence. It'll get intuitive real-fast. It actually turned out that I was using counter-steering all the time without knowing what it was. Once I figured out the techniques, I got a LOT better at it. Crisp lane-changes, better reflexes, sharper (stealing it like) turns, etc. But not without practicing first.

So... practice, yes?
I did about the same thing, though I was doing it at around 30. I found that it was actually MUCH harder to do below 30MPH. I was also basically doing it already as well, but I got MUCH better at it after an hour of parking lot practice. Then I just started reminding myself to do it every time I made a turn, and now I can do it automatically without thinking about it.
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Post by jfrost2 »

I ride on the right away from the left lane, but if there is another right lane beside me, I ride in the middle if it's clean. Riding on right/left is ok.

Parking by the cart station isnt the best place also, you know how people just leave their carts to go hit any car and roam around the parking lot, some people have had bikes tipped over from a loose shopping cart, or damaged.

Dont worry about being shaky and all, you're still learning to ride. I myself havent even gone those speeds since having my bike early February. The more you ride, the better you feel.
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7eregrine
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Post by 7eregrine »

No I didn't draw my avatar. I can't even draw a stick figure. lol

But I can ride a scooter. I guess I am just that rare individual that picked this up almost immediately. I didn't realize how rare that was until I started hanging out here. I am not trying to brag or say my skillz are just awesome, but I never had any of the first time jitters some folks have had here.
There was one road in town that I used to avoid because it was SUCH a sharp turn. Drove it a million times in my car, but I was afraid of it on the scoot. Felt like an idiot the first time I finally went through it. I was nervous cars would be right on my butt.... but they also slowed WAY down before this turn.
I also refused to ride when there was a chance of rain. Got over that pretty quick. Buddy handles great in the wet.
My 1st experience on a scoot was a rental in Mexico riding 2up with my wife. I was a little nervous, but we did really well. Only had an issue on one muddy road where we almost bit it. Oh, and my stomach hurt because my wife would squeeze me like a brake when she wanted to slow down. lol
Countersteering is not scary. It takes SUCH little pressure. This I did practice on the road to get better at swerving. It's SO easy. Don't be afraid of that. Tiny tiny pressure. As has been said, you may already be doing it, just not realizing it.
Take it easy and get up to speed (literally) at your own pace.

Here: http://forums.scootlanta.com/ find some Scoot Friends. ;)
Last edited by 7eregrine on Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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italiaguy
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Post by italiaguy »

A ton of great advice has been posted above. Actually, it's beneficial for all of us to be reminded of these things from time to time.
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taile84
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Post by taile84 »

12:18 PM
Thank you guys for all this GREAT advice! Taking your advice, I am going to go ahead, bite the bullet and sign up for an MSF course now. I was watching a bunch of scooter/MC accidents on YouTube.com last night and it was definitely a wake up call. Alot of it was because of the stupid Cager's not paying attention to their surroundings like this one: (Very graphic)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4puojV5bh0E

But I definitely do not want to be the Dumb ass that never learned how to control my bike correctly. I am so glad I have you guys to talk to. I am so grateful for all your advice **Hug**. I did not know the first thing about scooting/gears/MSF until I found this site. Crazy huh??

------UPDATE: 12:39 PM---------
"Dear Ms. Le:
Welcome. You are enrolled in the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program Rider Education and Training Course for the dates and times specified above."


Now I am SUPER excited to learn how to ride a MC. My sister is short like me and is taking the MSF to buy a short cruiser, maybe that can be something for me to keep an eye out for :D
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Post by Eddy Merckx »

Take up the lane just as if you where in a car !, next, relax your arms or every time you hit a bump your clenched arm muscles will cause you to move in a sporadic fashion, ALSO go some where were you can go 50 bmph with out playing car dodge, and get used to what it feels like to go quickly with out all the traffic around you.

Shopping areas are always the worst for misbehaving car drivers, they want to get there first and will behave in ways that their parents would be ashamed of ....................
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taile84
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Post by taile84 »

7eregrine wrote: I am not trying to brag or say my skillz are just
My 1st experience on a scoot was a rental in Mexico riding 2up with my wife.
You are a DUDE?????!! LOL GOSH!! LOL... I thought I was talking to a lady this whole time!! Like you were "one of my girls" ya know? hahaha, Wow your Avatar definitely threw me off. But you are still awesome non-the-less. :D Thank you for all your help and advice.
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Post by MarkTur »

Taile - GOOD FOR YOU!

You're a smart girl, and I'm glad you're taking this seriously - hate to see something happen to your pretty smile. (Not coming on to you - being serious).

You will have a good time, guaranteed.

The deal with the countersteering is that when you "push" you get action a lot quicker than a lean - so it's very good for swerving. You and everyone else most likely does it without thinking about it at higher speeds, otherwise it would take forever to initiate a turn.

Compared to an MC, the Buddy is REALLY nimble, so everything is less pronounced. The larger the "rake" on the front end (which is the angle of the front forks) the more sensitive to countersteering...ie. you can do it on an MC at about 15mph.

If you're good on your bicycle, you can try it on it, too, except you're going slow, so stand on your peddles, let the seat move under you - keep your body straight, and you can actually ride in a straight line while countersteering the bike...the bike will ride at an angle.

You did GREAT by signing up...and watching the scary movies...but it's good to get the reminder.

I have Proficient Motorcycling in my family room for when my wife overdoses me on Home and Garden TV...always a good refresher!
Cya!
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Post by jmazza »

taile84 wrote: ------UPDATE: 12:39 PM---------
"Dear Ms. Le:
Welcome. You are enrolled in the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program Rider Education and Training Course for the dates and times specified above."
Best post in this thread!

It's great that we've all got the MB community to not only provide the fun encouragement (yes go buy a Buddy! yes, go ride it! yes, go take a picture of it next to a train with overalls on!), but also the tougher, necessary kind (go take the MSF! keep it in the parking lot for a while!).
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Post by nativeloup »

Congrats on your first of many wal-mart adventures. Everything you have been told sounds good. I just want to add a few things. Don't worry about how fast you are going, in time you will get there and do not think about crashing, if you stress about it you will crash. Not to scare you but if you ride 2 wheelers often one of these days you will lay one down. I rode my first cruiser 21 years ago and it was a 1000cc, my dad said here you go, good luck. I was scared at first and barely got out of second gear, but by the end of the day I was zooming up and down the street..
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Post by luckyleighton »

Its all about confidence and time. The more miles you get at different speeds you will feel more comfortable.

I picked mine up and took it for a 15 mile ride down a country highway at 50 mph on my first ride. It scared the crap out of me and rained on me part of the way adding to my drama. But as time moved on I am super confident now and will drive anywhere except interstates. You get used to pushy drivers after a while and learn to avoid roads where there are too many when you can.

Congratulations!
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Post by indy anna »

taile84 wrote:12:18 PM
Thank you guys for all this GREAT advice! Taking your advice, I am going to go ahead, bite the bullet and sign up for an MSF course now. I was watching a bunch of scooter/MC accidents on YouTube.com last night and it was definitely a wake up call. Alot of it was because of the stupid Cager's not paying attention to their surroundings like this one: (Very graphic)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4puojV5bh0E

But I definitely do not want to be the Dumb ass that never learned how to control my bike correctly. I am so glad I have you guys to talk to. I am so grateful for all your advice **Hug**. I did not know the first thing about scooting/gears/MSF until I found this site. Crazy huh??

------UPDATE: 12:39 PM---------
"Dear Ms. Le:
Welcome. You are enrolled in the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program Rider Education and Training Course for the dates and times specified above."


Now I am SUPER excited to learn how to ride a MC. My sister is short like me and is taking the MSF to buy a short cruiser, maybe that can be something for me to keep an eye out for :D
So glad to hear this!
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Post by Becktastic »

Quo Vadimus wrote:Get the always-suggested Hough books ("proficient motorcycling" being the main prize) - there are some diagrams to help you visualize how this works at some of the more important locations (read: INTERSECTIONS!).
Seconded. This book is worth every penny. It's well written, so it's not boring and it has tons of advice, including and beyond what the MSF teaches. So if you really can't afford the MSF right now, study this til you can. :)

I really need to finish reading it... :oops:

And riding around the neighborhood on your own is the best way to get the feel of your scoot. My boyfriend followed me to work today and I made a couple turns kind of wide and had to put a foot down on one. He makes me nervous :P Normally I drive better than that. :roll:

Don't force yourself to go faster than you are comfortable. I have been taking it slow and easy for the most part, then one morning there was a beautiful stretch of lightly curved, traffic free road and I let her fly! It was a lovely feeling.
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Post by MarkTur »

Becktastic wrote: I made a couple turns kind of wide and had to put a foot down on one. He makes me nervous :P Normally I drive better than that. :roll:
Becktastic - please be careful. Putting a foot down does no good. Lean harder and accelerate out of the turn. Putting a foot down can be really bad...if your foot hits something, a bone is going to break, no matter how big and bad your boots are. If your foot "grips" the surface for even a split-second, it can whip it back behind the scoot in directions your lower leg isn't supposed to go.

When you turn, the proper procedure is to use your brakes BEFORE you start the turn. Once you're leaning, if you touch the brakes, especially the front brakes, 9 times out of 10 you will lay it down. You should accelerate lightly through the turn, because once you lean you begin to scrub off speed. If your turn isn't tight enough, lean MORE and give it more throttle. They say in MSF class that this is the leading reason as to why MC's crash when another vehicle is not involved.
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Post by ericalm »

MarkTur wrote:When you turn, the proper procedure is to use your brakes BEFORE you start the turn. Once you're leaning, if you touch the brakes, especially the front brakes, 9 times out of 10 you will lay it down.
This is the cause of a good number of new rider crashes. The other frequent causes: taking a turn too fast or losing control in a turn, and hitting a hazard, surface or road condition that causes a loss of control (gravel, sand).

Riding beyond your abilities contributes to many crashes—even with more experienced riders. It pays to be a little overly-cautious at first.

Glad you're taking the MSF, taile!
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Post by un_designer »

when i was first starting out i did a couple of things to help build up my confidence and skill, which goes hand in hand imo. it's always good to ride with a little bit of fear, because that will keep you cautious and more alert than if you're over confident. that said, you should and will build confidence when your skills improve, which will help you stay calm, logical, and be a safer rider. you don't want to be so nervous that you can't think clear and react quickly.

anyhow this is what i did:

1) pick up a bike map (http://atlantabike2.org/maps_and_routes) and use that to plan your routes. the reason for this is that on most if not all of those routes, drivers are already accustomed to seeing bicyclist and so the speed will generally be more controlled, which allows you to ride on real street and build up your confidence. do this as much as you need to, and use the opportunity to get to know your scooter and see what it feels like. when there are no cars around you can practice emergency stops or a quick swerve to avoid a pothole, etc. of course you can and should have practiced in a parking lot prior to this, but doing it in the street in a more controlled environment also has the benefit of allowing you to feel what it's like in a real environment.

2) pick a time where the streets are empty DURING THE DAY. early sunday or saturday mornings are great for that. this will help you you know what it feels like to ride on those road. it's a different experience than driving, so it's good to know how the road feels on 2 wheels before attempting to do it when there's traffic around. take your time, but try this for all of the faster roads that you would like to, or intend to, ride in the future.

3) find the worst road you can... with bumps, potholes, etc. and pick a good time, as called out in point #2, to practice on. for bumps, remember to always slow down and also practice standing up to absorb some of the bumps. this will also get you more comfortable with the feeling of the scooter "wobbling" just a bit, without you getting so nervous that you tighten up. staying loose and calm will allow you to react much better.

that's it. :) good luck and report back.
Last edited by un_designer on Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by charltons »

BEWARE: if you have never ridden a MC before, the MSF course may give you an irrational urge to go out and buy one! I fight it all the time and am constantly on Craig's list. The only known treatment is to ride your Buddy fast and often!
" You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought " - Leia
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Post by un_designer »

also, the MSF school may have scooters for you to learn on, or allow you to use your scooter. just ask. i took the MSF course on one of several scooters they have in their fleet.
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Post by Becktastic »

charltons wrote:BEWARE: if you have never ridden a MC before, the MSF course may give you an irrational urge to go out and buy one! I fight it all the time and am constantly on Craig's list. The only known treatment is to ride your Buddy fast and often!
I have heard this several times. Why does the MSF make people want crotch rockets?

That seems contradictory to the whole -safety- thing. o_O
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Post by Jrman »

Sparky wrote:When the needle on my Kermit hits 60mph, I can hear Scotty shouting "Cap'n, she canna take any more!"
:lol: :lol: :lol: That just cracked me up.. :D
Great Scooter Safety Site: http://www.highviz.org/
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Post by ericalm »

Becktastic wrote:
charltons wrote:BEWARE: if you have never ridden a MC before, the MSF course may give you an irrational urge to go out and buy one! I fight it all the time and am constantly on Craig's list. The only known treatment is to ride your Buddy fast and often!
I have heard this several times. Why does the MSF make people want crotch rockets?
Why does anything make people want crotch rockets? ;)
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Post by pugbuddy »

One other thing Taile--stop watching crash videos on Youtube! They're not safety focused and hardly ever helpful--usually just displaying a gratuituous bit of violence. No good can come of it.

Glad to hear you're signed up for the MSF! Enjoy it and learn! It will help your confidense a great deal and that sounds like just what you need! :)
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Post by KCScooterDude »

First time I went fast trying to keep up with my friends I ended up just a hair under a full panic attack. Now I don't think about it at all. The reason, I've ridden a lot more. With practice, you'll be fine.

As for stopping, I'm a bigger guy with broad shoulders, so just before I stop, I hook the wheel a little to the left. I do this because, though both feet reach the ground, I have a habit of just putting down my left foot at a stop. Also, the mirrors are somewhat obscured by my arms, so being a little off center gives me one mirror clear to see traffic behind me coming to a stop. I've never found this to be a problem, and I think it increases the profile of the bike just a bit, making it easier to see.

I don't like being exactly in the center of the lane because of the oil and gunk dropped by cars. I don't think it is much slicker there, except in the rain, but I do it because I'm a neat freak. I figure the bike is going to get dirtier if I do this. The rest of the time, I try to keep within the tire marks from cars. Where I am varies according to what's in the road and where other traffic is. You learn pretty quick where you need to avoid manhole (personhole?) covers.

Finally, a word of advice. You'll learn how to judge speed pretty well with some practice. Also, in traffic, it's best to keep up with the cars no matter what the speed limit. I used to be obsessive about checking my speed. I know this hard, but try not looking at the speedo. It makes a world of difference. Now when I check the speedo it's when there aren't cars around and when I sense that I'm riding a bit too fast for the speed limit. 9 out of 10 times I am, so I slow it around.

I have a Blur, but I think pretty much everthing I've said applies to the Buddy too.
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Post by KCScooterDude »

ericalm wrote:
Becktastic wrote:
charltons wrote:BEWARE: if you have never ridden a MC before, the MSF course may give you an irrational urge to go out and buy one! I fight it all the time and am constantly on Craig's list. The only known treatment is to ride your Buddy fast and often!
I have heard this several times. Why does the MSF make people want crotch rockets?
Why does anything make people want crotch rockets? ;)
Mostly, I think, the same reason Chevy sells so may Corvettes - I.E. something lacking in the crotcheral region.
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Post by KCScooterDude »

ericalm wrote:
MarkTur wrote:When you turn, the proper procedure is to use your brakes BEFORE you start the turn. Once you're leaning, if you touch the brakes, especially the front brakes, 9 times out of 10 you will lay it down.
This is the cause of a good number of new rider crashes. The other frequent causes: taking a turn too fast or losing control in a turn, and hitting a hazard, surface or road condition that causes a loss of control (gravel, sand).

Riding beyond your abilities contributes to many crashes—even with more experienced riders. It pays to be a little overly-cautious at first.

Glad you're taking the MSF, taile!
This is the same reason why you should never shift gears in a car when going around a turn. If you watch drivers running around a road course, you'll see the brake lights go off just as the driver is entering the turn, unless the driver has made a last minute pass or just plain isn't paying attention and carries too much speed into the corner. This is called trail braking, and you better be prepared to deal with a skid (on a bike you just lay it down).

When riding in the rain, I think (and I've seen posts to this effect) that people have a tendancy to coast through the corners becuase of the wet pavement. This is asking for trouble. It's best to apply at least enough throttle so you are slowly speeding up (just beyond maintaining your current speed) to provide grip.

All this assumes you slow down enough to make the turn safely. I'm surprised at how many motorcycle accidents I read about involve one rider going off the road at a turn (darkness and/or drinking make it really hard to judge speed in corners).

I have a Blur, which corners and handles really well, but believe me, it's a lot more fun to add throttle through a turn and exit really fast than playing catch up by carrying too much speed into a corner, correcting and being at the bottom of the power curb at exit.
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Post by BeetleGoose »

KCScooterDude wrote:
ericalm wrote:
Becktastic wrote:
charltons wrote:BEWARE: if you have never ridden a MC before, the MSF course may give you an irrational urge to go out and buy one! I fight it all the time and am constantly on Craig's list. The only known treatment is to ride your Buddy fast and often!
I have heard this several times. Why does the MSF make people want crotch rockets?
Why does anything make people want crotch rockets? ;)
Mostly, I think, the same reason Chevy sells so may Corvettes - I.E. something lacking in the crotcheral region.
Let me add to this.

I just came back from Day 1 of a 2-day driving course from the MSF and instead of a sportbike, I have this urge to look into cruisers. The seating position is pretty comfortable.
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Post by Sparky »

One note on the MSF course: you will often find stories (several right here on MB) where people talk about difficulties with the course. It is not uncommon for the combination of unfamiliar actions (dealing with a manual clutch and transmission), the brisk pace of the range work, and stress over "have to pass" to make people spazz out. It depends on personality. Women in fact often do better in these situations because they tend to, you know, actually listen to the instructors.

Unlike moi, enshrined as "Worst Student Ever" at Mory's Driving School and Crab Shack. :P

Thing is, even if you don't pass the end-of-the-course test first time, your class has not been wasted. Even attending one day of range work is the equivalent of three months of self-taught on the road experience in a safe environment. Simply showing up and listening will justify the expense.

Hope you enjoy the experience!
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Post by 7eregrine »

That's a good post, Sparky. Don't worry at all about passing the MSF. If you DO fail you will have at least picked up the skills needed to ace the driving test at the DMV.
I will not join a racist club that thinks one color is better then another. We are ALL BUDDY'S!
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Post by charltons »

Becktastic wrote:
charltons wrote:BEWARE: if you have never ridden a MC before, the MSF course may give you an irrational urge to go out and buy one! I fight it all the time and am constantly on Craig's list. The only known treatment is to ride your Buddy fast and often!
I have heard this several times. Why does the MSF make people want crotch rockets?

That seems contradictory to the whole -safety- thing. o_O
I never said crotch rockets! I actually liked the little Suzuki 250's we learned on.
" You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought " - Leia
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Post by coffeekittie »

Sparky wrote:One note on the MSF course: you will often find stories (several right here on MB) where people talk about difficulties with the course. It is not uncommon for the combination of unfamiliar actions (dealing with a manual clutch and transmission), the brisk pace of the range work, and stress over "have to pass" to make people spazz out. It depends on personality. Women in fact often do better in these situations because they tend to, you know, actually listen to the instructors.

Unlike moi, enshrined as "Worst Student Ever" at Mory's Driving School and Crab Shack. :P

Thing is, even if you don't pass the end-of-the-course test first time, your class has not been wasted. Even attending one day of range work is the equivalent of three months of self-taught on the road experience in a safe environment. Simply showing up and listening will justify the expense.

Hope you enjoy the experience!
Heh, worst student ever... :)
Yeah, I actually failed the MSF course taking it on my scooter - it was a much bigger, heavier one than our beloved Buddies though. But although I didn't complete the course, I did get through most of the instruction part and did learn a LOT.... failing doesn't equal give up!!!! I just went and sold my too-large scooter and got one that fits me, and practiced in a local parking lot until I felt I had all the skills down.

Btw, that shaking/swerving feeling you talked about? I really think it comes from being a light-weight person on a light-weight scooter. I get the same sensation, and it took me about a month to get used to it. Now I characterize it as feeling nimble and easy to maneuver. I don't think the heavier guys in this forum experience it like we do....any little gust of wind comes up and you FEEL it move the scoot. With time and lots of slow rides, you'll get used to it and adjusting to it will start to come naturally. Smile and breathe! (hugs)
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Post by MarkTur »

I'm a good-sized guy, and trust me - I've definitely been feeling the wind for the last week or so with these tropical storms passing by. Good practice for counter-steering, because a lean isn't fast enough...
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Post by coffeekittie »

:D What I really was referring to are the little baby winds that I bet you normally don't notice, that make the scooter feel like it has a mind of its own, little gusts that I never noticed on my bigger scoot.
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Post by Dooglas »

Sparky wrote: Thing is, even if you don't pass the end-of-the-course test first time, your class has not been wasted. Even attending one day of range work is the equivalent of three months of self-taught on the road experience in a safe environment. Simply showing up and listening will justify the expense.
Agree. Plus, at least around here, you can retake the course at no cost if you drop out or don't pass a portion of the course. The emphasis really is on learning, not just passing.
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Post by jfrost2 »

Wait till you need to go 50bmph over a thin bridge. Very fun and the view is great.
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