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1- Take a motorcycle safety course FIRST, before you buy a bike.

2- Once you've taken the course, enjoyed it and passed, then go bike shopping.

3- Do NOT buy a new bike and do NOT buy a big bike.
t's almost guaranteed that you'll drop your bike and/or go down your 1st season. It's NOT worth it! A lot of people think they have to get a nice, shiny new bike like almost everyone else, but when you go down it sucks that much more! And you shouldn't be learning on a big bike that is beyond your capabilites. A 500 is perfect to start. Start small, learn the bike well, then gradually move up to a bigger, newer bike. You have your whole life to ride, so don't rush into it.

4- Safety First! Ride in full gear ALL THE TIME!!!
I know, I know. It's hard and heavy and uncomfortable. But it's your choice. Myself, I wear full gear EVERY SINGLE TIME I ride. Down the block, down the street, down to California, it doesn't matter! On a hot summers day, it sucks, I'll be the first to say it. But road rash and broken bones are things I would rather not have. I've seen it and it ain't pretty!

5- When riding, I think it's incredibly important to go out there with the right attitude; you MUST respect your bike!
Going out to the wild streets on a machine that can kill you and not having respect for what it is capable of doing is a recipe for disaster. It's very important for you to learn your motorcycle and what it can do. Different motorcycles have different capabilities as do different riders. You are very vulnerable in the streets on a motorcycle, but at the same time, there are so many other of dangers and risks we take in our everyday life. That doesn't mean that we avoid taking these risks, it just means we have to become better educated and more aware so we can be safer and enjoy them without fear.

6- Don't feel bad when you make a mistake.

It happens to every single person more than once and more than they like to admit! (This is where not having an expensive bike to learn on comes in handy) Let me reasure you that for each silly mistake you make you learn something and you WILL NOT make the same mistake twice!

7- Be VERY alert!

Don't daydream or get distracted when you ride. Ride like you are expecting something to happen. Ride in the most visible place possible. Remember that people in cars have blind spots and quite often do not shoulder check.

8- Where you look is where you go!

Where you look is where you go. I know I said it twice and I'll say it again. Where you look is where you go. This is one of the first things you'll learn when riding, hopefully not the hard way! If you look straight ahead, you'll go straight ahead. That includes when you don't want to be going straight ahead. One of the most common mistakes riders make when learning is looking in the wrong direction. If you're going through a turn, you have to look where you want to end up in the turn, if you look straight ahead, you'll end up in the "rhubard" as my buddy RickO says. The rhubard, just so we're clear, is not a happy place.

9- Use the force!

When you get to about 20/25 km/h you'll notice your bike feels much steadier and you can no longer steer motorcycle's handlebars like a bicycle anymore. The motorcycle's wheels build up momentum and begin to create a gyroscopic force. If you want to go to the left, you push to the left, if you want to go to to the right, you push to the right.

10- Don't try and balance the bike when you're coming to a stop,

let it balance itself and use your front brake and hold your feet just above the ground. When the bike stops, tilt it a little to the left side and then put your foot down to hold up the bike.

11- Don't tailgate!

You should always be able to see what is going on in front of you. If you're too close behind a car, you won't see something that you may have to avoid.

12- Don't ride beyond you own capabilites!
Ride within your own comfort level. Which can be difficult as a rookie-rider. Especially when you're out with a group. Don't ride with people that make you push your limits. It's NOT worth it!


So you've decided that riding a motorcycle is definately for you. You've finished your schooling and passed with flying colours. It's time to buy your first bike. It's all very exciting, but it can also be very challenging.
Be aware of all the different things, both negative and positive that will influence your decision to buy your first bike. ie: Your friends that already ride, the movies, television, magazines and of course YOUR EGO!
Here are some tips that might be helpful:

1) Be sure you have budgeted for all the expenses involved in purchasing a bike. Riding is an expensive hobby, be sure that you can afford to do it PROPERLY.
ie: ALL the appropiate gear, insurance, maintainance, etc.

2) Think about what style of motorcycle you want to ride; either a racing or touring style. How do you plan on using your bike? Just out for fun on the weekends? Communting? Long road trips? The race track?
Be sure to look for a bike that fits your lifestyle.

3) Do your research! Find out as much information as possible on your own. The better informed you are as a consumer, the better off you'll be. Both mentally and financially. Watch people and talk to people that are already riding, even if you don't know them (people love to talk about their bikes. It's like the "my baby is the cutest baby in the world syndrome".
Please note: Do NOT chat up the squid with the big bike wearing NO GEAR!!! They will have nothing useful to tell you. And only fill your head with crap.
Read lots! Buy magazines, go to your local library and my personal favorite, the internet. :) Anything and everything you want to know about, it's there. Gather as much information as possible; be a well informed consumer. Don't waste your hard earned money.

4) Don't buy a new bike and don't buy a big bike. You do not need to have a big that is the same as your friends! All your first little "learning experiences" will be on your first bike and if it's all shiny, new and no where near paid for, it'll hurt alot more when your learning experiences take place. And if it's too big, too heavy and too powerful, you'll wind up really hurting yourself. KEEP YOUR EGO IN LINE HERE PEOPLE! Way too many people out there on 900's and 1000's as their first bike. What the hell are you trying to prove? That you can crash and/or kill yourself faster than everyone else? Seriously...
A 500cc bike is all you need to start, donít believe you need a ton of horsepower to go fast, cuz you don't!

There are those of you out there that are "vertically challenged", if you fall into this category here are some suggestions:
Start out on a smaller bike. A 250cc is great and nothing bigger than a 500cc bike. You can always move up to a bigger bike later. You have your whole life to enjoy riding...why rush into it? The smaller the bike, the lighter and more agile they are. Making it easier to learn on and more comfortable for a new rider. You can also have work done to your bike to accomadate your height. A lowering kit (1" - 5"), suspension adjustments, shaving the seat etc... Talk to your local shops, they'll be able to give you all the details. Just be sure to sit on as many bikes as possible before you buy one and see what one is most comfortable for you.

5) Shop around. Go to lots of different bike shops. If you're from the Vancouver area I can definately recommend a couple. I can also tell you which ones to stay away from. Take an experienced rider friend (or two) with you. And as much as I hate to say it, take a guy with you. For the most part, you'll get treated differently if you're by yourself. If you go somewhere and a salesperson is rude or baligerent, just get the hell outta there. You have no reason to stay somewhere where you have been made to feel uncomfortable. And be sure to let the owner (if it wasn't the owner that you had the encounter with) know about the incident. Both in person and by letter. And be sure to tell everyone you know about it as well. Bad news travels a lot faster than good!

6) Test ride bikes if possible. Go to Manufacturer's Test Days at local shops. Ask if you can test ride bikes that you are looking at too.

7) Have the same list of questions you want to ask when you're looking at differnent bikes. Then when you've gone and looked at a bunch of differnet ones, you can compare notes and determine which one is the best bang for your buck.

Last but not least:
8) Don't fall in love with the first bike you see or test ride. It happens very easily! Make sure to have looked at as bikes many as possible and sit down and compare notes before you decide on your new baby. Don't rush into something you might later regret.

The 20 commandments of motorcycle wisdom

1. Every ride is optional. Every parking job is mandatory.

2. If you push the bars left, the bike goes left. If you push the bars right, the bike goes right. That is, unless you continue pushing the bars all the way, then the bike will go down.

3. Riding isn't dangerous. Crashing is dangerous.

4. It's always better to be on the sidelines wishing you were on the track than on the track wishing you were on the sidelines.

5. The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

6. The rear wheel is just a big fan on back of the bike used to keep the rider cool and his/her butt relaxed. If going into a corner too fast, slamming on the rear brake causes the "fan" to abruptly stop. When this happens you can actually see the rider start sweating and his/her butt become tense.

7. When in doubt, slow down. No one has ever hit something too slow.

8. A 'good' ride is one from which you can walk away. A 'great' ride is one after which you can use the bike again.

9. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.

10. You know you've left the sidestand down when all left turn are Bat-turns. You know you've left the centerstand down when your in 1st gear at 4000 rpm going nowhere.

11. Never let a motorcycle take you somewhere your brain didn't get to three seconds earlier.

12. Always try to keep the number of times you put your sidestand down equal to the number of times you put the sidestand up.

13. There are two simple rules for riding smoothly and fast in snow and on ice. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.

14. You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.

15. If all you can see in your mirrors is sparks and all you can hear is screaming from your passenger, things may not be as they should be.

16. In the ongoing battle between objects made of metal, rubber and fiberglass going 100+ miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose. Same holds for cars, large trucks, and animals taller than you. Draws don't count.

17. Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.

18. Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed.

19. Remember, gravity and centrifical force are not just a good ideas. They're laws and are not subject to appeal.

20. The two most useless things to a rider are the braking distance behind you and nine-tenth of a second ago.