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Looking for advice on teaching SO to ride.

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Hello Thumpettes,

I would like to know how you got into riding and what method worked best for learning how to ride?

My SO recently jumped on a used TTR125 that a riding buddy was selling. It was a project bike that we got the fix up together and learn some basic maintenance. She has never ridden a motorcycle before but wants to learn. I have always been on two wheels, riding BMX as a kid and streetbikes as soon as I could get my license. It came naturally to me and I think she thought it would be for her as well. So far we have only ridden around the parking lot of our complex (I made her wear full street gear protection) where I walked beside her as she idled around in 1st gear. I could tell she had issues with coordination so we took things slow and focused on one thing at a time, repeating it until she became more comfortable. I think she got nervous and frustrated with it not being as easy as she thought it would be. Now I am not sure what would be the best option to continue learning...

I would like your input so that I can try to find a way to best approach this, both as a teacher and as a partner.

(I have also posted this in the general dirtbike discussion. I am not trying to stereotype or make any assumptions about skill or abilities. I am sure there are many female riders that are better than I'll ever be. I am just looking for feedback from anyone that might be/have been in a similar situation).

Edited by Nixinus

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Hello Thumpettes,
I would like to know how you got into riding and what method worked best for learning how to ride?
My SO recently jumped on a used TTR125 that a riding buddy was selling. It was a project bike that we got the fix up together and learn some basic maintenance. She has never ridden a motorcycle before but wants to learn. I have always been on two wheels, riding BMX as a kid and streetbikes as soon as I could get my license. It came naturally to me and I think she thought it would be for her as well. So far we have only ridden around the parking lot of our complex (I made her wear full street gear protection) where I walked beside her as she idled around in 1st gear. I could tell she had issues with coordination so we took things slow and focused on one thing at a time, repeating it until she became more comfortable. I think she got nervous and frustrated with it not being as easy as she thought it would be. Now I am not sure what would be the best option to continue learning...
I would like your input so that I can try to find a way to best approach this, both as a teacher and as a partner.
(I have also posted this in the general dirtbike discussion. I am not trying to stereotype or make any assumptions about skill or abilities. I am sure there are many female riders that are better than I'll ever be. I am just looking for feedback from anyone that might be/have been in a similar situation).


It is awesome that you're asking. Sounds like you really want to do all you can to help her have a good experience. I remember learning to ride my first motorcycle. It was a street bike and it came pretty naturally to me so don't know if I'm the best person to reply. But the thing that helped me the most was taking a class. I had to practice a bunch of drills, circles, tight elbow turns, stopping and starting without putting my feet down, etc. Now that I'm learning dirt bikes, riding for two years now, I've found that watching videos has really helped me to get better fast. I wish I would have watched videos on the basics 2 years ago. One of the videos I watched showed me how to do figure 8's. Practicing these and learning how to shift my weight to make the turns tighter and tighter has really improved my trail riding. I'm sure you could find videos for first time riders. Shane Watts' "Off Road Fundamentals" might be a good one. I've watched the more advanced ones and liked them.

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4 minutes ago, Buttegal said:

 


It is awesome that you're asking. Sounds like you really want to do all you can to help her have a good experience. I remember learning to ride my first motorcycle. It was a street bike and it came pretty naturally to me so don't know if I'm the best person to reply. But the thing that helped me the most was taking a class. I had to practice a bunch of drills, circles, tight elbow turns, stopping and starting without putting my feet down, etc. Now that I'm learning dirt bikes, riding for two years now, I've found that watching videos has really helped me to get better fast. I wish I would have watched videos on the basics 2 years ago. One of the videos I watched showed me how to do figure 8's. Practicing these and learning how to shift my weight to make the turns tighter and tighter has really improved my trail riding. I'm sure you could find videos for first time riders. Shane Watts' "Off Road Fundamentals" might be a good one. I've watched the more advanced ones and liked them.

Sent from my SM-G930V using ThumperTalk mobile app
 

 

Thank you and that is good advice. I feel that a class would be a good option. Hearing others affirm it helps, not that I don't want to teach her but I think class instructors are better teachers than I would be for what she is learning.

We will definitely watch videos once she gets some saddle time. The videos on have been a huge help to me in both street and dirt.

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What helped me the most was starting off in a well maintained field - softens the fall if it happens. Back and forth and back and forth, shifting and braking. (I do think it helped me that I knew how to drive a stick) Once I got used to the basic mechanics of the bike, we moved onto pavement, which was a HUGE step for me. But once I was more comfortable, we set up the obstacles outlined in the safety books so that I could practice more challenging skills before hitting the road. I felt it was a good foundation for skills and confidence. Especially if it's not coming quite so natural.

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2 hours ago, dvm moe said:

What helped me the most was starting off in a well maintained field - softens the fall if it happens. Back and forth and back and forth, shifting and braking. (I do think it helped me that I knew how to drive a stick) Once I got used to the basic mechanics of the bike, we moved onto pavement, which was a HUGE step for me. But once I was more comfortable, we set up the obstacles outlined in the safety books so that I could practice more challenging skills before hitting the road. I felt it was a good foundation for skills and confidence. Especially if it's not coming quite so natural.

I wish we had fields nearby that we could ride in. We are urban all around us, with the closest dirt parking lot about an hour away. I can't even remember seeing a field anywhere that we could ride. But it would be best considering that she is learning on a TTR with knobbies. I figured it was better to get more small sessions in to familiarize her with the machine rather one session 2 hours away away. 

What bike did you learn on? Is the TTR125 bad as a learner bike on pavement? The steering feels wonky but so did the Honda 125 cruiser the MSF had me on.

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Since your asking I'll give my opinion. 1- Find a place that's grass. 2- If the bike fits and runs rides correctly it's fine. 3-Find a friend that is willing to help. You may be adding pressure without even knowing it. Not purposely, she just may be feeling she will disappoint you.
I taught a lot of my younger relatives to ride. They couldn't/wouldn't learn from a parent. I taught them to go(and shifting) and stop. Then just watched them ride in a field. Those that had shifting issues I ride beside saying when to shift. Often teaching 2 at a time so they'd take turns. Which was bentificial, as the could learn from each other's mistakes. And if the got frustrated take a break.


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1 hour ago, Nixinus said:

 

What bike did you learn on? Is the TTR125 bad as a learner bike on pavement? The steering feels wonky but so did the Honda 125 cruiser the MSF had me on.

I learned on the Honda Rebel, it was inexpensive and practical. Not all that enjoyable. I wish that I had learned on a standard style bike - the riding position is much more natural for me and I think it would have made learning to ride a bit easier.

Everyone is different - don't let her get down on herself because it takes more skill to operate a bike than it looks. It's easy for women (in my opinion) to focus on the things that we do wrong. Remind her of how much she has learned with each lesson. Focus her on the achievements she has made on the bike. And don't let her forget that it's supposed to be fun!!! (Just my two cents)

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6 minutes ago, Padilen said:

Since your asking I'll give my opinion. 1- Find a place that's grass. 2- If the bike fits and runs rides correctly it's fine. 3-Find a friend that is willing to help. You may be adding pressure without even knowing it. Not purposely, she just may be feeling she will disappoint you.
I taught a lot of my younger relatives to ride. They couldn't/wouldn't learn from a parent. I taught them to go(and shifting) and stop. Then just watched them ride in a field. Those that had shifting issues I ride beside saying when to shift. Often teaching 2 at a time so they'd take turns. Which was bentificial, as the could learn from each other's mistakes. And if the got frustrated take a break.


Sent from my XT1635-01 using ThumperTalk mobile app
 

Thanks for your opinion. Different perspectives help give me ideas on what/where to teach. I think I inadventently added a lot of stress by teaching her in an area where falling or crashing might be dangerous and expensive (parked cars) so I didnt let her ride on her own, only with my by her side monitoring the clutch. Falling is as big a part of riding as staying upright when learning the limitations and how the bike reacts to rider input. 

 

8 minutes ago, dvm moe said:

I learned on the Honda Rebel, it was inexpensive and practical. Not all that enjoyable. I wish that I had learned on a standard style bike - the riding position is much more natural for me and I think it would have made learning to ride a bit easier.

Everyone is different - don't let her get down on herself because it takes more skill to operate a bike than it looks. It's easy for women (in my opinion) to focus on the things that we do wrong. Remind her of how much she has learned with each lesson. Focus her on the achievements she has made on the bike. And don't let her forget that it's supposed to be fun!!! (Just my two cents)

Thats the point of all this, to have fun! I can see how the learning curve might be discouraging since it is more work than fun, initially. I remember learning to ride on a Honda F3, and by learning to ride I mean putting on an ill fitting helmet and riding through the back canyons by my old house. It was fun for me off the bat but user experience may vary. Thanks for the input.

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My wife is in the process of learning right now. My friends wife taught her along with a couple other club members wives the basics and got them all rolling. Our last trip out she was having trouble starting after stalling on a hill so I had her practicing starts until she felt it was smooth enough. I'm taking a very hands off approach because I don't want to add too much pressure and have her get frustrated

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1 hour ago, bfaucett said:

My wife is in the process of learning right now. My friends wife taught her along with a couple other club members wives the basics and got them all rolling. Our last trip out she was having trouble starting after stalling on a hill so I had her practicing starts until she felt it was smooth enough. I'm taking a very hands off approach because I don't want to add too much pressure and have her get frustrated

It can be challenging. I've lost touch with many riding buddies since I moved and started school otherwise that would be a great idea. I'd like to join the next regional meet if schedules permit. Thanks for your input!

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Currently teaching the wife(and learning myself) how to ride. She's on a crf125 big wheel. We're out in the country so it's been nothing but fields and gravel roads so far. She gets quite frustrated the first 10-15 minutes especially if she stalls more than once but I think it's mostly because she feels clumsy and uncoordinated in her gear. After 30 minutes she's all smiles and having fun. One thing I've been trying to do is remind her how much she's progressed In only 3 rides!

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13 minutes ago, Albertasledder said:

Currently teaching the wife(and learning myself) how to ride. She's on a crf125 big wheel. We're out in the country so it's been nothing but fields and gravel roads so far. She gets quite frustrated the first 10-15 minutes especially if she stalls more than once but I think it's mostly because she feels clumsy and uncoordinated in her gear. After 30 minutes she's all smiles and having fun. One thing I've been trying to do is remind her how much she's progressed In only 3 rides!

Oh man that makes me miss my grandparents farm. They had a little Thomas motorcycle that I would ride the tractor trails and into the mountains. Thanks for sharing, I hope you both enjoy your trip and learning to ride!

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It can be challenging. I've lost touch with many riding buddies since I moved and started school otherwise that would be a great idea. I'd like to join the next regional meet if schedules permit. Thanks for your input!
We were new to the area and I just got back into riding last year so we joined a local club with grounds last summer to have somewhere to ride and to meet people

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