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Discussion Starter #1
What's the best way to gain the confidence to ride in traffic?

I'm almost out of gas. I might need to resort to driving my car to a gas station to fill a gas can.

I've been riding one hour a day in a parking lot. I practice the skills taught in MSF. I'm having trouble understanding how my 10-20 mph practice is going to equip me to ride on 45-50 mph roads.

Is what I'm going through "normal"? I'm feeling like a bit of a lame. :(


Bob
 

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Don't feel that way. Everyone has the jitters from time to time. Get out of the parking lot and start cruising the local side roads where there is minimal traffic. This way you get used to being out and looking for traffic and trouble spots. Oh ya while your out stop and put gas in the bike :wink:
 

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Don't forget to get some protective gear, etc. It will obviously help protect you, and I've found it gives you a little more mental confidence as well.

When I started 2 years ago I would run little errands on my first scooter to get a feel for the bike, and gradually move to roads with more and more traffic, higher speeds, etc. I think you have to push youself a little bit to turn onto the freeway for the first time, etc., but don't get out of your comfort zone. Remember that no matter where you are you can always (safely) pull to the side of the road and "catch your breath"!
 

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What you may not understand is since you drive a car you already know how to drive at 40 mph or faster on the street.
Parking lot practice is great but all your learning is how to keep the bike upright. OK you know how do do that now so keeping it upright at speed is even easer , just get out there and do it,
same basic idea as driving a car, get from point A to point B without hitting or being hit.
You do this in a car by controlling the car --same thing on the bike :wink:
 

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I wouldn't go too far out of your comfort zone if I were you. Scooters are just as dangerous as mc's and are not for everyone. In fact, MOST people do not ride.





Peace.
 

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Hi Bob! I think we've all been a little apprehensive about taking our first ride in traffic. Assuming you already drive a car, you already know the basic rules of the road and what it is like to drive in traffic. You've taken the Rider's Course and know how to operate your bike and the street stratagies you need to ride on the road. Now, you need to merge what you've learned in class with what you've already experienced on the road.
Like the guys have already told you, start easy and try to stay on familiar roads with lighter traffic (don't try the Baltimore Beltway or I-95 at 8AM). Take a nice ride through Rocks State Park and Rte 165 north to Delta, PA and stop for a cup of coffee and then follow the same route home.
There are a lot of good roads north of your area to ride and gain a little confidence. In a short time you will feel a lot more at ease
 

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Bob, pick a quiet time...like sunday morn early...or one evening late before dark...and hit some local roads, or in your development if you live in a community. I lived 30 years in AA county, and have relatives by marriage in Bel Air....theres lots of good roads up there.
 

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BobG said:
I'm almost out of gas. I might need to resort to driving my car to a gas station to fill a gas can.
If you live near an all-night or late-night gas station, then try riding there when there are very few cars on the road.

When pulling out into traffic lanes, be patient and wait for a gap that you feel comfortable with. Don't let cars behind you, or your own feelings of what you "should" be able to do, pressure you into doing something you can't yet do comfortably.

Like others have said; start on the 25MPH streets, then move to the 35MPH roads, then the 45MPH arterials, and finally the 55+ highways. Do it at your own pace, but "just do it."

And I think "Bleeder" is an alarmist. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys for all the helpful responses. Keep em coming. My protective jacket and pants are on order. I'm going to continue to do parking lot riding until I receive them which should be in just a few days. You guys are the greatest....except Bleeder :wink:

Bob
 

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Bob,

The guys are right! I'm still somewhat of a newbie (not ridden for 20 years til this May). I try to evaluate before every ride: Am I riding to clear my head or riding with a clear head? If the answer is yes to the first question--I don't ride. I'd be concerned about being too distracted to focus all my attention on the road.

If I am riding with a clear head then I:
1. Start off with my gear. It does afford me extra confidence (not wildly so but some comfort knowing I have some decent protection if need be).
2. Check over the bike. Tires, adjust mirrors, etc.
3. Sometimes I think about where I want to go--I have a goal in mind (more than 6 minutes in distance...I've read that more accidents happen in the first 6 minutes) whether it be to reach a landmark, store, coffeehouse, gas station, etc. Then I take it from there. If I'm feeling good, I extend the ride. Some days, I head home sooner than I might have expected if thunderstorms are looming or if my allergies are kicking up enough to distract me.
4. I try not to put expectations around such things. This helps prevent disappointment if things do go as I'd mapped out/hermitically sealed in my little brain.
5. Ride your own ride! You and only you will know when you feel ready for whatever the journey is. :)

Hope this is helpful! Enjoy the journey!
Bryna
 

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Invincsum said:
...more than 6 minutes in distance...I've read that more accidents happen in the first 6 minutes...
WARNING. WARNING. THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE.

Logic error. Since every trip of six minutes or more contains an initial six minutes, then your odds of having an accident in the first six minutes are the same for every ride.
 

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BobG said:
What's the best way to gain the confidence to ride in traffic?

I'm almost out of gas. I might need to resort to driving my car to a gas station to fill a gas can.

[snip] :(


Bob
Bob

You are quite right to be concerned and the fact that you are shows you are more safe and aware than many.

Why not take a trip in the car fill a gas can and put that in the bike, it will take the immediate pressure off you and when you feel ready venture out as others have advised.

Regards
NormanB
 

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There is a lot of good advice here and I will add one more personal point
I have only been riding bikes just over 40 years..
There has never been a day that I went for a ride that I did not feel "butterflies" in my stomach at the start of the ride, and I believe if the day comes when I don't, I'll stay home ! 8)
 

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Bob, just me again. If you want some company for a ride, just drop me a PM or E-Mail. I live in PA, just north of Norrisville, and would enjoy meeting you. I'm very familiar with BelAir (born and raised in Overlea) so I could meet you just about anywhere and anytime.
Don :D
 

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I always skip the first 6 minutes of any ride for that very reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
[/quote]You are quite right to be concerned and the fact that you are shows you are more safe and aware than many.

Why not take a trip in the car fill a gas can and put that in the bike, it will take the immediate pressure off you and when you feel ready venture out as others have advised.

Regards
NormanB[/quote]

Thanks for your kind words Norman.

Today I did use a gas can to fuel my scoot and as you mentioned it did take the pressure off.

Best wishes,
Bob
 
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