For all riders learning how to improve motorcycle riding skills is a lifelong process. No matter how long you’ve been riding, there is always room for improvement on your essential riding skills. And, now that many of us have found ourselves with a little downtime, it’s the perfect opportunity to practice. With a little initiative and some of the great resources available to you, there’s a good chance you’ll come out of this quarantine a much better rider.
What better time to learn how to get better at motorcycle riding?
People always say, “If I only had some free time I would (blank)”. Well, if you are like many people in the world today, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you have a lot of that on your hands. What better way to spend your time than learning how to get better at motorcycle riding? You can start by reviewing the motorcycle skills practice guide put out by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
Here you will find sound advice for how to get better at riding your motorcycle. You can also find the appropriate motorcycle gear alongside motorcycle exercises for beginners and experienced riders alike. Whether you ride a motorcycle, scooter, or trike, there’s a specific guide to help you improve your bike driving skills.
Where to practice motorcycle riding
Depending on where you live, actual riding may not be an option right now. Check out our article, “Can I Ride My Motorcycle During a Stay at Home Order” to see what laws apply where you live. Once you have the blessing of the powers that be you need to evaluate what bike riding skills you are going to practice so you can find a suitable location for where to practice motorcycle riding.
If you’re going to practice slow speed handling, a large open lot with no obstacles or parked cars would work best. If you are going to practice braking and shifting, a combination of in town and highways might be the ticket. No matter what you are working on, be sure to wear the proper safety gear. If you live in a state that has had snow recently, you’ll also want to watch out for sand and salt on the road. Either of them can be as slick as ice if you don’t ride cautiously.
5 ways to improve your motorcycle riding skills
Motorcycle riders usually have to pass some sort of skills test to get their license. But, once you’ve passed that test you may find yourself wondering, “How do I get better?” or searching the internet for “how to improve my motorcycle riding skills.”
Here are 5 motorcycle riding practice drills to help you stay sharp and become a better rider.
Proper following distances
Keeping a safe distance is one of many important motorcycle riding skills. You’ll want to practice keeping a 2-seconds minimum (or more if conditions are poor) between you and other vehicles.
This jumps up to 4-seconds when coming up on an intersection or going around a curve. Make sure you scan further out in front of you for upcoming hazards such as potholes, debris or vehicles ahead that may be slowing or stopping.
Another way to improve motorcycle riding skills is to practice braking. Find an open lot and practice applying your brakes to get a feel for the brake pressure and how your bike reacts. That way you’ll know what to expect in a quick braking situation. One thing to remember is that your front brake contributes as much as 70 percent of your braking force. Make sure you practice using both the brake lever and rear brake.
Working on your shifting is another great motorcycle skills practice for this downtime. Riding through a neighborhood with a lot of stop signs is a great way to practice this skill. You’ll have to upshift as you accelerate and downshift as you come up to the next stop. If you can, find a few hills to do some practice drills on. It is a little different process starting on a hill.
Most riders are fine when they’re driving in a straight line, but many accidents occur on curves. Finding a nice curvy two-lane road to practice on will help you improve motorcycle riding skills. Slow down and look ahead into the curve. Coming in too fast can push you to the outside of the curve. Keep your feet planted and squeeze the tank with your knees slightly. Lean into the turn and keep the throttle steady, you might find you need to roll the throttle a bit to help power you through the turn as you exit.
Slow speed riding
Many new riders tip their bikes while going very slow. They might be turning around in a parking lot or driveway and the weight of the bike combined with uneven terrain or loose gravel can cause a rider to lose footing and crash. Practice riding very slowly. Your bike will handle differently than when riding faster so you’ll want to get accustomed to that feel. With practice, you’ll get used to it and gain muscle memory.
Practice may not make perfect, but it will definitely make you a better rider!
While this is not a comprehensive list of motorcycle riding skills tips, it should get you headed in the right direction for improving your riding technique. If you can’t get out and ride due to regulations or the weather, spend some time reading and watching videos. You have access to more information now than any other time in history so be sure to use it!
No matter what type of practice is available to you, put forth some effort now and you will be a better rider when the world returns to its normal pace. Riding is much more enjoyable when you feel calm and confident.
Be safe, I’ll see you on the road!