If you have always wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle, but never knew how to go about it, then you have come to the right place. Before you begin though, please remember that although motorcycling is a great deal of fun, it is very important to approach the learning part with caution and respect. Having this attitude will ensure that you are learning the whole process to ride a motorcycle more responsibly. Read on to learn how to ride a motorcycle.
- Checklist - Before you start to learn how to ride a motorcycle, you want to make sure that you are familiar with the controls of the machine that you are going to ride. There is a checklist that is followed all over the world for this and it is called the T-CLOCS:
- T – Tyres, wheels
- C – Controls (levers and pedals, cables, etc.)
- L – Light (battery, headlights, turn signals, mirrors, etc.)
- O – Oil (fluid levels in the machine)
- C - Chassis
- S - Stand
- Safety Gear - It doesn't matter whether you fall at high speed or at parking speeds, if you crash while riding a motorcycle, it can hurt like hell. Hence, wear as much safety gear as possible which includes riding gloves, riding jacket, boots and a sturdy helmet. Once you are done with the safety gear, follow the next step.
- Throw a Leg - By throwing a leg, we mean get acquainted with the motorcycle and get comfortable sitting on it. Depending on your height and the machine's height, throwing a leg over the machine can get quite awkward. Start at the left side of the motorcycle; stabilize your balance by leaning against the tank. With all your weight over the left leg, lift the right leg up and over the bike. But please be careful to lift your leg high enough or it might get caught on the bike and might not reach the other side. After you sit on the bike, you can rest on the seat comfortably and get a feel of the machine. Remember, every motorcycle is different, hence spending a moment or two to become familiar at this stage is better.
- Start the machine - Now that you are familiar with the seating position and the controls on the machine, it's time to start the motorcycle. If the motorcycle has got a kill switch, then put it to "on" position, or else it won't start. If it has got an electric starter, thumb the starter button or if it has got a kick starter, kick the lever downwards to start the machine. But before you start the motorcycle, make sure that the motorcycle is in Neutral which will be marked by the glowing "N" sign on the console.
- Warm up - Though it has become obsolete in cars, but a motorcycle engine still needs to warm up in order to perform at its best. Once the engine has started, allow it to warm up for anywhere between 45 seconds to a couple of minutes. The warm up time of an engine will vary depending on the ambient temperature, engine displacement, and engine oil capacity as well.
- Ride on - Once you have completed all the above mentioned steps successfully, you are ready to roll. This is a crucial time because you will need to recall the functions of the throttle, brakes, clutch and shifting. Engage the clutch and press the gear lever downwards (or upwards, depending on the motorcycle) to engage first gear. Now, release the clutch slowly while giving a little throttle. You will feel that the motorcycle is moving forward. However, make sure that you keep giving it slight throttle, or else the machine might stall. Once the motorcycle starts moving, put both your feet up on the foot-pegs. Keep upshifting or downshifting as and when required.
- Cornering - Motorcycling is not only about riding in a straight line. Cornering is one of the many joys of motorcycling. A good corner is a great deal of fun. When approaching a corner, make sure that you are in a gear which will allow you enough power to accelerate out of it without stalling. Slow down a little, keep your head up and go with the bike. Point your chin and the inside shoulder where you want to go. Remember, cornering is an art and you will develop it over time, not in a day or two.
If you have followed all the above mentioned steps properly, then you have learned how to ride a motorcycle and with practice you will become an expert in the art of motorcycling.