Everyone has to start somewhere.
Whether you got started on a farm when you were a kid, or your first bike was a scooter until you passed your LAMS, everyone has to start somewhere.
And how do we learn? We make mistakes and we do stoopid things.
Here is a list of simple rookie motorcycling mistakes that you can study and master.
1. Stand down
Everyone has done this, whether you want to admit it not. You know how it goes, you’re on autopilot and going for the kick-out-and-park, you think your stand is down, but it turns into the miss-and-drop. Usually in a car park. Usually in front of people.
Bonus points for doing it in front of other bikers. This mistake happens in slow motion at a stand still and you usually only do it once.
2. Losing your keys
This one blows. If you have ever had to replace a set, you know just what I mean. You have to get new ones cut which is usually expensive, but you never know if some monkey is casing you and your bike is no longer safe. Make your keys your ritual, stand down, bike off, keys out, in front right pocket (everytime). Don’t change it. #LostKeys
3. Taking off with disc lock on
Haha. Enough said. If you are going to use one, get a fluro cable and attach it to your front brake lever so you never forget to take it off before you do.
4. No pants = SQUID
Seriously? People should realise that when motorcycling, pants are not optional. Preferably make them Kevlar reinforced jeans, or leather ones.
5. Forgetting shoes
If you are a commuter, you’ll know the drill. You wear boots and change at work. Except when you forget your shoes and you end up wearing motorcycle boots with your Hugo Boss suit.
6. Flat tyres
I don’t mean like dead flat, but like 15psi flat and not noticing. Man up, know what tyre pressure suits your setup and keep it in check which leads me to another rookie error, filling up after racing the twisties. When your tyres are cold, check the pressure and maintain it. You might even notice your bike handles better. Derp.
7. Looping it
I’ve seen a few in my time, and I remember my first time, showing off to my mum on my brand new peewee 80. Totally got my throttle mixed up with my brake and looped it up the bushes.
It’s fun to try and do wheelies, especially if you are on a motard, but always cover your back break. Legit.
If you think you are going over backwards, just tap your rear brake and the front will come down. Learning to find your balance point is the secret to the long wheelie (a skill that still eludes me). #loopingit #noshame
8. The new tyre lowside
First set of new road tyres, no one tells you about the wax and you nip off full of excitement for your new found magic sticky tyres.
First corner you tip in with glee and low side it as the front just washes away. Scrub your new tyres in, I recommend care for about 500kms. #scrubbingin
9. The death grip
Learn to relax! Especially that monkey your choking called the grips. That much tension in your hands transfers all the way up your wrists, forearms, biceps and shoulders and turns you into an accident just waiting to happen. If you’re going to progress you need to learn how to loosen up baby, you look terrified. #deathgrip
10. Running wide
This is the single most scary thing you can witness as a motorcyclist. A biker taking it out wide around an outside blind corner makes me feel utterly terrified. It’s just not a necessary risk and shouldn’t be practised – because it can’t be made okay, ever. Just lean more and get on the gas. #runwide
11. Not turning on fuel
Nothing says rookie like not knowing why your bike won’t start only to have someone tell you it has a pet cock – and it’s switched off. Get to know your bike a little, at least know where fuel, oil and water go or just get off and walk home. #nofuel
12. Stalling it at the lights
Just after you’ve split the whole way up the traffic, filtered to the front and go for a blip on the gas only to let out the clutch at the wrong time and… stall it. #stalledit
13. Take off with the stand down
Classic mistake. You’re all ready to go, excited little blip and put it in gear only to stall it. Don’t forget put the stand up. Simples.
14. Leaving your lights on
Idiot. That is all.