Greetings from Down Under

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Greetings from Down Under

Postby Ronstar » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:24 am

Hi Ladies,

Just thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself to the WRN community.

I'm 26yo from Perth, Western Australia and have just entered the new (to me, anyway...) and exciting world of motorcycles! :D

I'm an absolute beginner and sad to say that there is no one in my immediate friend / family group who has any interest in, or any experience with, road bikes (although everyone seems to have some story about a friend-of-a-friend who was horrifically injured in a riding accident... :( ) The typical response I get when telling people that I'm learning to ride is: *gasp!* "omg, don't you know how dangerous that is??"

I'm sure this is nothing new to all the gals here, but I guess my point is that, rather than letting the ill-informed, fear-based opinions of non-riders prevent me from doing something I've always wanted to do, I've decided to reach out and surround myself with like-minded people and experienced riders instead.

Naturally, I have a tonne of questions about riding (have read through the articles on this site countless times...) and I'm also really looking forward to swapping stories with fellow newbies, but I'll save that for the "beginners" section of the forum.

For now, I'm just happy to be here and looking forward to getting to know everyone over the coming days and weeks...

Peace.
Ronstar
"There is no spoon."
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Re: Greetings from Down Under

Postby Ametha Elf » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:42 pm

Hi Ronstar, from another Aussie, I'm in Brisbane, and we have another Aussie, called Aussie, who lives in Cairns, who is also active here. I was only reading the other day about the low percentage of female riders in Australia compared to, say, the US. I don't understand why that is, but do know that once you get it in your system, its absolutely addictive!!! Happy to read you have joined the ranks. :D Have you bought a bike yet? That's such an exciting thing to do! :D
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Re: Greetings from Down Under

Postby Aussie » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:26 pm

Hi Ronstar and welcome aboard! Glad to see that your joing us. The way I look at it is you could get hit by a bus crossing the road, so what do you do? Never cross the road? Alot of people get injured in cars, but we still drive them!
Get out there and get that bike licence, you will be thankful that you did. I have been road riding for over 15 yrs now and love every moment of it! When you are out there you just need to remember to stay alert and be prepared for the unexpected :shock: . Don't be afraid to fire away with the questions, the girls on this site are awesome at putting forward helpful tips.
Motorcycling opens up a whole new world.
Not quiet as far north as Cairns Sue :D
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Re: Greetings from Down Under

Postby BtWoman » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:31 am

Hi Ronstar and welcome! You say you are an absolute beginner, do you have your licence yet and/or bought a bike yet?!
Yeah, only other riders understand, for sure. I have the same mindset as Aussie wrote, there are thousands of other ways people get injured than riding a bike. And there's so much help and support, more so than for most other activities, which makes riding all the more safer than those ill-informed others think. I have been riding for 12 years and it's one of the best lifestyles for meeting great people.
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Re: Greetings from Down Under

Postby Ronstar » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:04 am

@ Ametha Elf
Hi :)

Yay, Aussies! Yeah, I don't understand that either, hey? The only explanation I can think of is that the "biker" - or highway cruising as a hobby / lifestyle - is more prominent in American culture? I mean, over here we don't really have that -- just commo's and street racing, haha!

Anyway, no, no bike yet. For now I'm just borrowing my instructor's bike (CB125E)
I keep oogling at the bikes on bikesales and gumtree but I'm still biding my time... not really sure what I should get as my first bike...? (will post my question re: this in the beginner's forum)

The M90 BOSS in my avatar picture is obviously the ultimate dream bike, but I think I'll be starting on something a little smaller... and cheaper... ;)

Which bike(s) have you owned/tried? Do you have a favourite style or line?

@ Aussie
Hi :)

15 years? Wow, that's great! How did you get started?

I totally agree with your comments. And really, when you think about it, a lot of hobbies are potentially dangerous (mountain biking, rock climbing, you name it!) and that doesn't stop people from getting out there and enjoying themselves...

@ BTWoman
Hi :)

I have done the theory test and have my learner's permit. I have only taken two lessons so far. The first time out, I ended up dropping the bike twice trying to do those tricky low-speed turning manoeuvres. "Ease out the clutch, give it some throttle, apply the back break gently, look up and turn...turn...TURN!" *crash* :oops: Every time I try to do it now, I end up putting my foot on the ground for stability... I feel like I'm always tipping over. Any advice?
Ronstar
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Re: Greetings from Down Under

Postby tlc » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:08 am

Welcome from the US and happy you are 'here'.

You will get tons of support here and no horror stories about so-and-so that got ran over or whatever. We all have hear them many times before ;)

I enjoy reading what our far away members views are on what it's like to ride where they live and what they think it's like here in the US. Makes me appreciate where I live even more and I usually end up learning something new.

For now, just keep moving forward with your dream.
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Re: Greetings from Down Under

Postby BtWoman » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:13 am

Ronstar, I would really have to watch and see what you are doing to see exactly what the problem is.
But, I do have some speculations as to factors which may be tripping you up.
You may very likely be able to recognize what is wrong by these "experienced" guesses.
First of all, when you're about to attempt doing the same thing that made you fall the last time, it is going to get those pesky nerves going again, as it's hard to get past that. And when you're in that state, your breathing is shallow, your shoulders raise up, (which is largely subconscious, you may not realize you are doing it) and this knocks your body off balance, which can affect your stability while riding.
So, here's a little exercise that might help get you in the right frame of mind, when you do that dreaded maneuver again.
You don't need a bike when you do this:
Stand and think about something that makes you nervous. Notice how your body reacts. Usually this would mean that your shoulders are raised and "caved in" towards your front, your back is curved so that you are slightly bent forward, and your breathing is up in your chest and you head is slightly tilted down.
Now, straighten your torso, and lift your head, so that you are looking straight forward with your head held high. Lower your shoulders and move them back, not too far, though, just so it's comfortable. Make sure your head, shoulders and hips are aligned. Flex your knees a little and stand with your legs about shoulder width apart, comfortably.
Now breath in through your nose, a long slow breath, so that the breath goes deep and fills up your diaphragm, and breathe out through your mouth.
Instant feeling of control and confidence, right?
It only takes seconds to do this, and knowing how frustrating nerves are, it might help you if you do this right before you attempt those tricky turns again.
I am assuming that you were doing 90 degree turns or sweeping curves?!

Were you looking up when you did the turn? It is typical for newbies, when they look down, that's where the bike likes to lean and not being used to the weight of the bike, down it goes.

Maybe too much braking? Too much clutch?
When the front wheel is turned and you apply the brake too hard, you certainly increase the chance of a tip-over. And the bike doesn't move very well with the clutch pulled all the way in. Your nerves might be making you grab too much, and again, you might not be aware of this. A grabbing motion is a natural reflex when we are about to fall, or are nervous about the possibility, so our hands squeeze tightly into fists. This may be making you grab the clutch too much.

Do you turn your head and look in the direction you want to go, before you turn the bike? It's weird how well that works, but it does.

Do you counter-steer, or just turn the bars? Counter-steering is this: pushing down and forward on the handle. If you want to go left, push down and forward on the left bar, if right, then push down and forward on the right.

I know it is very tempting to stick a foot out, just in case, but I always feel a lot more control even at very low speeds and cornering, when I keep my feet on the pegs. Squeeze your knees into the sides of the tank, for greater control, too. The weight of your leg stuck out can sometimes cause the off-balance, tippy thing, too.

Are you afraid of leaning the bike as you turn? I remember an instructor telling me that many learners are terrified of leaning the bike during a turn. If the bike is moving fast enough (which is hardly a great speed) during a turn, with very little or no brake applied, the lean will not cause the bike to tip-over, unless the tires slip on something slippery that's on the ground.

It could be a combination of things.

I remember that when learning to ride, there seemed like a whole lot of things to think about at the same time because of the newness of the activity. So maybe do a mind-trip when you are at home and sitting down, going through the motions with your hands and feet, so that they more quickly become 2nd nature when you actually riding.

Is there any other factor(s) that you know of, Ronstar, that could be the issue?!!

Let us know how it goes. You can do it, the desire is more than 50% of the battle!!!
Cheers!
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Re: Greetings from Down Under

Postby Ronstar » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:52 am

@ tlc
Hi :)

Yes, I'm already getting a sense of the community support here. Very encouraging! :D

I'm kinda disappointed that there doesn't seem to be much of a motorcycle following here in my local community (amongst women, anyway...). Or maybe they're here and I just don't know where to look?

Anyway, I'll keep at it and will be sure to report back once I've got my full licence (and my own bike!)

@ BtWoman
Hrm, good questions! Well, you're definitely right about me getting all nervous and tense just before I go for the turns. I will do as you suggest and practice some breathing exercises before my next attempt.

Also, when I go through the motions again in my mind, I think the issue may be a combination of what you've indicated below, particularly i) not looking where I want to go / leaning and ii) too much brake. I think because I'm pre-empting a fall, I'm trying to do whatever I can to avoid it and/or lessen the impact (like keeping the bike - and myself! - upright and travelling as slow as possible...) which causes the bike to tip! Argh!

I'll keep your post in mind next time I'm out there and will let you know how I go. I'll get it eventually!

Thx Bt :)
Ronstar
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Re: Greetings from Down Under

Postby BtWoman » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:19 am

You will get it, Ronstar!
When I was brand new, I also wondered where are others who I can hook up with? They seemed to be like those little Wizard Of Oz munchkins hiding in the bushes, unseen, but there were plenty of them. I found them through my local forums, which I found through a link on my riding school's website. And also at charity rides, and those motorcycle trade shows (where I first learned about the charity rides and riding clubs).
I am curious, what is the significance of your siggy, "There is no spoon"?!!
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Re: Greetings from Down Under

Postby Ronstar » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:33 am

@ BTWoman
Hahaha! I loved that movie! :lol:
Yeah, I'm sure once I get out there and amongst it I'll bump into plenty of other riders... :)

Speaking of iconic movies, "there is no spoon" is a quote from my favourite: The Matrix. Not sure if you've seen it? If not, the short version is that Neo (the main character...) encounters a child who can bend spoons with his mind. The child tells Neo that the spoon isn't real, and that it is actually he who is bending, effectively shaping reality with his own mind / expectations. Towards the end of the film, Neo has to do something really dangerous and scary, so to steel his nerves, he reminds himself: "there is no spoon..." :geek:
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