Riding a motorcycle is no easy feat. Riding one with confidence is an even taller task that requires a blend of time, practice, and proper technique. While mastering your bike will take a high level of commitment, the goal is worthwhile, and the benefits are boundless. So, let's explore how you can ride confidently on a motorcycle.
Prioritize proper technique
Good technique means everything on a motorcycle. On two wheels, all your limbs move like a synchronized orchestra. The left-hand controls the clutch, and your left foot takes care of shifting. Your right hand commands the front brake, while the left foot gets the rear brake.
Those alone can be daunting things to learn. How do you accelerate and decelerate smoothly? When and when do you not pull on the clutch? At what point do you upshift and downshift gears? When do you use the front brake and rear brake?
On top of that, you have to learn your optimal riding position, because it differs based on your height and the type of bike you have. For example, sportbikes like the Yamaha YZF-R1 work best when the rider hunches down and forward with their feet slightly back. On a cruiser bike like the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight, the rider is usually more relaxed with their feet sitting farther front.
Of course, you also have to learn maneuvering at various speeds and road rules, among other things. It can all be confusing to a beginner, but that's exactly why you need to familiarize yourself with good riding techniques before you do anything reckless.
To learn the best techniques, consider enrolling in a motorcycle riding course. It can help you learn basic and even advanced stuff alongside a professional in a safe environment. Alternatively, you can enlist a friend to help you brush up on your riding skills. Whatever you do, make sure you know what you're up against before you get on the saddle.
Practice, practice, and more practice
The best techniques are nothing without practice. Practice is what takes you from beginner to intermediate to confident rider. You can't just practice without goals either—you have to go out there with a clear vision in mind of what you want to improve. Is it maneuvering in traffic or high-speed cornering? Maybe it's smoother shifting or accelerating from a stop without stalling?
Refining your skills is possible, and undoing bad riding habits is doable. It just takes time and effort that most people don't have. However, if you eventually want to ride your bike with confidence, you have to put the work in.
Find the time that you need to get better. You could wake up earlier in the morning to practice for half an hour in your neighborhood. You could take the long route home to spend more time with your motorcycle. On lighter days, you can meet up with friends to practice together and get feedback on each other's skills.
With enough daily practice, riding a motorcycle not only becomes easier but hopefully becomes part of your lifestyle. Once you reach a certain skill level, it's easy to grow complacent and stop practicing altogether. You would do well to avoid this situation by staying on the course and continuing to improve.
There's always something new to learn, and you won't know that unless you push yourself to find it. Go on longer rides and go places you've never been to before. It will help you form a bond with your motorcycle that's unlike anything else.
Get back up again
With enough mileage, you'll likely run into an incident or two along the way. Crashes, wipeouts, and accidents are all unavoidable. You can be the most confident rider in the world, and an unskilled driver can still hit you, or a stray pothole can still catch you off guard.
Don't let that deter you from continuing to build confidence in your skills and your bike. You might run into a mishap, but as long as you're okay, take it in stride and learn from the experience. In the end, each time you get back up is a win and gets you one step closer to riding with confidence.
There are so many things you can do to gain confidence on a motorcycle. It takes massive effort to learn good riding techniques. You also have to practice for what could be an absurd amount of time. You will likely spend hundreds of hours on your bike before you feel confident enough to ride in any condition at any time. Still, as with everything, those hundreds of hours start with a few minutes of practice.
If done well and with good technique, short riding practice sessions here and there ultimately amount to more than the sum of its parts. Soon, you may find yourself gaining more and more confidence to take on whatever the road throws at you.