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12 Essential Riding Tips for New Motorcyclists

12 Essential Riding Tips for New Motorcyclists

Some are attracted by fuel efficiency and the traffic slipping ability, for others, it’s the pure thrill of the open road on two wheels. Either way, owning and riding a motorcycle is a fantastic experience.

But there’s also serious tradeoff, your body is far more exposed to the physical forces, especially in the case of an accident! The dangers are compounded by the fact you are less visible to other road users.

For most motorcycle enthusiasts, these risks will not deter you. Instead, focus on increasing your awareness and road safety with these 12 tips for new motorcycles.

1. Always Gear Up

Even in the case of a slight spill, you’ll be truly thankful you wore all your safety gear! On top of physical impact and road rash protection, it also protects you from the wind, debris and weather.

Motorcycle safety gear is health investment, consider this, how much is your head worth?

2. Ride Like a Ghost

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    One of the biggest causes of motorcycle accidents is not speeding or losing control of the bike, it’s other road users. Due to their size, motorcycles are much harder to see and more easily hidden in blind spots.

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    Collisions are always far more severe for motorcyclists, so don’t any chances by assuming you’ve been seen. So start riding as if you were invisible, this will help you anticipate problems and react quickly.

    3. Cornering 101: Look Where You Want to Go

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      Motorcycles are highly sensitive to the rider’s inputs, even looking in a direction will cause you to subtly steer towards it.

      Whilst cornering, focus on the exit or as far around the corner as possible. Don’t make the mistake of panicking and staring down an obstacle or verge!

      4. You Have The Power – So Use it!

      Motorcycles have excellent power to weight ratios and can often accelerate quicker than cars.

      Use this to your advantage, quickly accelerate to speed match when joining motorways. When it comes to overtaking, a fast, efficient overtake gets you out of the danger zone quicker.

      Don’t be afraid to open up that throttle!

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      5. Keep Your Brake Covered

      In certain riding situations, your reaction time needs to be doubled. For example, busy sections of town or fast twisting back roads.

      At these times, get into the habit of covering the brake with a finger or two. This posed position allows for quicker reactions, it could be a lifesaver!

      6. Squeeze Don’t Yank

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        Your front brake has the most stopping power, the back brake is more suited to scrubbing speed, especially at lower speeds. Focus 75% of your slowing and stopping power on the front brake.

        But quickly stabbing or yanking either brake will cause a loss of traction and control. Apply the brakes in a progressive squeezing manner, you can stop quickly without having an accident!

        7. Be Cautious While Filtering

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          One huge benefit of riding a motorcycle is the ability to filter through traffic jams. It’s perfectly legal so long as you comply with traffic signs and markings on the road.

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          But don’t let your newfound confidence overtake you, always proceed with caution. Stay in a low gear and have a finger covering the brake. Remain vigilant for signs of vehicles about to side-swipe you, especially at junctions.

          8. Watch for Warning Signs

          Riding safely is all about anticipating other road users. Don’t rely on logic or reason, look for warning signs and then proceed with caution.

          For example, if you see vehicle wheels turning and peeping out across your path, or even an indicator, always assume may pull out without seeing you.

          9. Never Forget Your Lifesavers

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            Mirrors are great for a quick glance but don’t rely on them solely. Before you make your move, always check your blind spot with an over-shoulder lifesaver.

            Follow this process every time are about to change your road position or perform a manoeuvre:

            1. Glance at mirror
            2. Quickly check your blind spot
            3. Perform action

            10. Always Have an Escape Route

            Motorcycles are at a distinct advantage to larger vehicles when it comes to accident avoidance. They are lighter, thinner, more manoeuvrable and can slip through tighter gaps

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            Always leave a little wiggle room for quick escapes. Instead of simply hammering the brakes whilst heading straight for an obstacle, a quick swerve may be the best option.

            11. Survey the Road for Hazards

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              Motorcyclists have more to worry about than cars. With less rubber contact with the tarmac, traction can be more easily overwhelmed causing a dangerous slide.

              You need to quickly identify hazards such as sand, wet patches, leaves, gravel or stones. Also, watch out for bumps and potholes, they can destabilize the bike.

              In most cases, you may be able to carefully swerve and avoid them. Otherwise, scrub off as much speed as you can safely, then keep steering/throttle/brake inputs and lean angle to a minimum as you pass over it.

              12. Practice Scanning

              Motorcycle safety can be greatly enhanced through situational awareness. Scanning is used to stay aware without letting your attention linger from the road ahead for too long!

              Quickly take in information from your instruments, speedo, mirrors, blind spots etc. This will allow you identify and react to rising road situations faster.

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              Last Updated on December 9, 2019

              5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

              5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

              Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

              Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

              Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

              1. Get Rationally Optimistic

              Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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              This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

              In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

              The result: no more mental stress.

              2. Unplug

              Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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              How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

              It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

              Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

              3. Easy on the Caffeine

              Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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              Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

              4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

              That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

              How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

              • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
              • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
              • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

              While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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              5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

              This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

              The result: mental stress will be gone!

              So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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              Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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