Learning to Ride at 75

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
No shame in taking the MSF course. I rode for 17 years, then had a 27 year break from it. We planned to move to the Blue Ridge Mountains (did 2 years ago) and I knew I wanted to get back into riding. I took the beginner course because I had let the motorcycle endorsement on my license expire during a previous move years before...... which leads me to a question. You said you took care of insurance and registration. Do you have the motorcycle endorsement on your license? If you don't and you have an accident, your insurance probably won't cover it. By taking and passing the course, it negates having to take a test at the DMV. You show them your certificate from MSF and they add the endorsement on the spot. FWIW, even with my prior riding experience, I learned things.
Sure, I have a motorcycle endorsement. This is Alabama. All you have to do to get that in this state is get 20 questions right out of 25 on a simple test, and pay them $5 extra bucks, buy a cheap liability only policy and you can go out and hop on a 150 mph Tom Cruise Kawasaki and ride off into the sunset. No MSF course?, no road test? no problem! But they do have a helmet requirement.
 

Robert

Well travelled
Location
Holland
When I started on a motorbike lessons or a course were not required in Holland. I could go to the police station, appley for a 'learning-permit' , pay a nominal fee, put an L-plate on and practice within the city limits. I had (I think) three months to practice before I had to do the test which I passed.
Then I got my license and was allowed on any bike of my choosing.
Legislation has changed the last few years and you now have to to lessons first and after passing your test you are only allowed to ride low capacity bikes (I think up to 350 cc or 20 bhp?)
I rode and I learned. Did stupid things and survived.
People still kill themselves on bikes despite the rules that gov's come up with. Just two or three weeks ago a young couple in their teens got killed in a one-sided accident. Was no mention of driving without a license or helmet, so I presume that the rider was complying with the rules.
 

Andy131

Well travelled
Location
Manchester UK
When I was a lot younger there were two Honda 500/4 in our town, mine and another chap who was as wild as I was. I wrecked mine but planting it in armaco at 90mph in a 30mph zone. When I arrived at the hospital ward, the other owner was already there, he had come off at 30mph but slid down the road in shorts and tee shirt. "Just" road rash no broken bones. Gangrene set in, they took his legs below the knees, then above the knees, I was still in hospital when he passed away.
You couldn't pay me enough to ride in shorts let alone naked.
 

grymsr

Well travelled
Location
Maine
Ditto on the motorcycle safety course. I had been riding for twenty years and got talked into taking the course because my wife wanted to learn to ride. I confess I learned that I had been doing things wrong or not safely. I am glad I took it these 20 years later.
 

Laserman

Well travelled
Yeah, I've been thinking about taking that safety course. Not because I think I need it (although I'd likely learn something from it), but because I've never actually held a motorcycle license. Ever. I've traveled over a half million miles on 2 wheels, motored or not, and this has taught me 2 things: To be hyper-vigilant because inattentive people seem to procreate the most, and careful because crashes hurt. I've never had a speeding ticket because I'm lucky when I'm not operating something slow lol

The Safety Course makes getting a Motorcycle license much easier in most US states, easier meaning that one can bypass the DMV riding test. Depending on bike, this can be hard, although one of my goofy brothers managed to do it on a '98 HD 1200 Sportster. Doubt I could, that bike felt like riding a mutant antelope to me. Not that I'm afraid of DMV's course, mind you, I'm afraid of California's DMV. It's always a miserable visit and it's full of bad drivers.

It's easy to get away with having no license, because technically one is not required to travel. But insurance is a must, and it costs a little more without a valid license.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Today marks 3 months since I got my motorcycle. I now have 716 miles on it. I dropped the bike 3 times all within the first 100 miles. Haven't dropped it since so I guess that's a good thing. The first time I dropped it I wasn't even riding it. Just trying to push it up onto my back patio. The other two times were making slow right turns. Once in a parking lot practicing and once leaving my driveway. So I've come a long way since then.
 
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Andy131

Well travelled
Location
Manchester UK
Technically yes you have come a long way - 716 miles :) wouldn't like to have walked that far.
Nice to see that you are still safe and enjoying the bike.
 

Cpt.Sparkles

Getting there...
Location
Martian
I wanted to take the MSF course but it was shut down due to the plague.
Now there is a 6 month backlog.
Had to educate myself.

My big thing was safety gear when learning.
I collect it and use it.
 
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GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
I'm at 3 and 1/2 months and 911 miles on the bike. I think I'm doing fairly well if I do say so myself, considering my advanced years and the fact that this is my first motorcycle . I dropped it 3 times in the first 100 miles, but not since then. I'm getting more comfortable in traffic. I had it up to 75 once, but I still get nervous at anything over 60. Not ready for the interstate yet. Around here you need to be going 80 to move with the flow of traffic, and that's in the slow lane. I still occasionally miss a gear when shifting and take a corner too wide.
 

Cpt.Sparkles

Getting there...
Location
Martian
...Around here you need to be going 80 to move with the flow of traffic...
Screw that (n) Not interested in 80+ mph.
Where I live 70 mph in the right lane is fine.
I'm also a beginner and have only been riding for 5800 miles.

...I still occasionally miss a gear when shifting and take a corner too wide...
That shift lever will adjust up and down. Sometimes that cures missed shifts or you could try different boots.
I've done both and they really do change the feel of things.

So far as cornering goes.
Learn everything you can about counter-steering.
Read every article on the internet and watch every YouTube video ;)
Or maybe one of the experts here can recommend something.
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
"Where I live 70 mph in the right lane is fine." You must really be from Mars!
"I'm also a beginner and have only been riding for 5800 miles." 5800 miles!!! When I get that much I'm going to consider myself a seasoned veteran!
 
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Laserman

Well travelled
I'm at near 7K miles on my Himalayan since Feb when I bought it, and while my first 5K mles or so were on 55MPH backroads, I've been doing many highway jaunts for my work commute since I upgraded my rear sprocket to 36T. I have an 18 mile stretch of highway (9 miles of single-lane 55 limit with stoplights, 3 miles of 2 lanes, and 6 miles of 2-lane 65 limit freeway ie: no stoplights) to get to work, unchecked traffic can reach 75-80 in that stretch. Sometimes I get lucky and get behind a semi or eco-minded Prius driver, but usually it's GTFO my way with people tailgating. Mind yall, I've never been a left-lane camper, I'm very experienced with slow vehicles, but at the same time I'm not afraid to be THE slow guy doing the limit.

Someone's gotta do it :D
 

Cpt.Sparkles

Getting there...
Location
Martian
Sometimes I get lucky and get behind a semi or eco-minded Prius driver, but usually it's GTFO my way with people tailgating.
Same experience here.
I go like holy-stink until I find someone to campout behind. I'm thinking a bunch of truckers have speed governors set to 70 mph for efficiency around here.
The only thing you have to watch for are flying recaps AKA road alligators.
If I hear a truck tire making funny noises, I'll drop way back and hit the next exit. F-that.
 

bobbyj412

Getting there...
Location
Bristol, IN, USA
GJC, I don't' have as much life experience as you do, but I'm in the same boat that you were: bought a bike, and had zero experience. I have been teaching myself, pretty much the same way that you taught yourself. I've been working on different skills, and trying to improve them. I am taking a skills class in 2 weeks and hoping that something positive comes out of it, other than just getting my endorsement. I hope that you are still in one piece, learning as you go, and having fun.
 
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