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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 July 3, 2020

              How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

              How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

              Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

              I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

              You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

              Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

              When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

              I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

              Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

              Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

              If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

              Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

              1. The Inner Critic

              This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

              • Other people’s words—many times your parents
              • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
              • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
              • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

              The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

              Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

              2. The Worrier

              This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

              The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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              3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

              This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

              This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

              The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

              4. The Sleep Depriver

              This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

              The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

              • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
              • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
              • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
              • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

              How can you control these squatters?

              How to Master Your Mind

              You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

              Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

              There are two ways to control your thoughts:

              • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
              • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

              This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

              The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

              Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

              1. For the Inner Critic

              When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

              You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

              For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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              You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

              “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

              If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

              This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

              • They rile up the Worrier.
              • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
              • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
              • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
              • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

              Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

              Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

              2. For the Worrier

              Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

              Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

              You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

              • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tense

              Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

              If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

              Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

              “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

              Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

              If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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              Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

              Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

              For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

              “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

              Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

              Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

              “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

              Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

              3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

              Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

              The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

              I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

              Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

              Breathe in through your nose:

              • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
              • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
              • Focus on your belly rising.

              Breathe out through your nose:

              • Feel your lungs emptying.
              • Focus on your belly falling.
              • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

              Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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              One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

              Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

              4. For the Sleep Depriver

              (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

              I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

              Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

              1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
              2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

              When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

              From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

              For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

              If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

              You can also use this technique any time you want to:

              • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
              • Shut down your thinking
              • Calm your feelings
              • Simply focus on the present moment

              The Bottom Line

              Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

              You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

              Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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              Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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