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I could use advice on teaching my SO how to ride.

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My girlfriend 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 posted this over at the female TT riders forum looking for advice from anyone that was/is in her position. Does anyone have any experience with teaching a SO to ride? Part of me feels that going through the MSF course would be beneficial for her but I dont know how she will do if she gets nervous. I also want to be supportive and work with her on this but I dont know whats a good way to go about it.

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Yes. She had a beach cruiser in her garage when we met put I have seen her ride one yet. She says she has no problems.

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Take her to a grass field(better than asphalt for a get-off). Walk it with her first, looking for things that might be an issue.  Tell her to get into 2nd gear as soon as she gets going(2nd should be less herky-jerky). Have her do big slow turns, using the whole field. Then ease into starts/stops, higher gear, then, smaller and smaller circles. This is how I taught my wife and her son. Good luck

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10 hours ago, drumiv said:

Take her to a grass field(better than asphalt for a get-off). Walk it with her first, looking for things that might be an issue.  Tell her to get into 2nd gear as soon as she gets going(2nd should be less herky-jerky). Have her do big slow turns, using the whole field. Then ease into starts/stops, higher gear, then, smaller and smaller circles. This is how I taught my wife and her son. Good luck

I have been seeing that learning to ride in a parking lot might be a big part of the problem. Hard asphalt and objects that she can fixate on become distracting which affects learning and promotes discouragement. I have to try and find an open field somewhere in the county that is big enough to get into second and ride without having to avoid any big obstacles. Thanks for your input!

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Female here.

I learned from nothing back in 2008. First I read the motorcycle safety course book, I was really impressed with how well it explained things and gave me a lot of confidence. Then when I got my street bike (sportster 1200) I just rode it around the neighborhood. A couple months later I took the safety course. I had some instruction from a friend, but not really. 

Step one is to realize the fear of dropping the bike is not a big deal. You're gonna drop it, just go slow. Everything is replaceable except you. 

Personally I would avoid grass due to its incredibly slippery nature, but that's up to your experience and what you're working with. I would put her and the TTR in dirt to learn on.

How is the seat hight for her? Maybe shave the seat down so she can reach the ground better and gain more confidence. Or a much smaller/lower bike. Depending on how tall she is. 

I got a dirt bike a couple years later (KDX200) and have been an addict ever since. Now I've owned 6 motorcycles and ride like a lunatic. Haha. 

Also, maybe watch how you're projecting your own emotions, if you're incredibly nervous that she'll wreck/won't like it/will hate you, she's going to reflect that emotion without realizing it and be too tense. Same thing with showing off, if you're riding around like a pro it's just going to piss her off. Haha, I've been there!

I taught my sister by taking her out in the woods where there was a big area and a big loop. Once she got the hang of the controls I said good luck and sat on the truck without interfering. She did eventually wreck when she grabbed a fist full of front brake but it was humorous and she was none worse for the wear. 

Edited by sportsgirl0017
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Thank you, that was valuable.

I know I am subconsciously projecting some fears. I know a part of her wants to ride so we can enjoy a hobby together and I want to be supportive especially because it's a genuine effort to build the relationship. I've toned down how I ride with her on the bike and around her, no more splitting lanes or "enthusiastic" riding. I would love for her to go out on her own and learn by trial and error. As long as she is aware of the controls available, basic operation and safety then she should be good to go. I'll practice with her in the parking lot and few more times until she feels bored with the basic drills and then we'll head out to the dirt.

Thanks!

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3 minutes ago, Nixinus said:

Thank you, that was valuable.

I know I am subconsciously projecting some fears. I know a part of her wants to ride so we can enjoy a hobby together and I want to be supportive especially because it's a genuine effort to build the relationship. I've toned down how I ride with her on the bike and around her, no more splitting lanes or "enthusiastic" riding. I would love for her to go out on her own and learn by trial and error. As long as she is aware of the controls available, basic operation and safety then she should be good to go. I'll practice with her in the parking lot and few more times until she feels bored with the basic drills and then we'll head out to the dirt.

Thanks!

I'm excited for you! Good luck!

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18 hours ago, drumiv said:

Take her to a grass field(better than asphalt for a get-off). Walk it with her first, looking for things that might be an issue.  Tell her to get into 2nd gear as soon as she gets going(2nd should be less herky-jerky). Have her do big slow turns, using the whole field. Then ease into starts/stops, higher gear, then, smaller and smaller circles. This is how I taught my wife and her son. Good luck

This.
She needs a low pressure environment free of distractions and "things to hit". Asphalt around parked cars = bad idea.

1st gear and slow is a good initial start, but it can be very "herky-jerky" for a new rider that hasn't yet learned fine throttle control.
So getting her going a bit faster will ironically make things much smoother, mid-low throttle in 2nd gear should be about perfect on that bike.

Once she gets basic starting/stopping down, move to big wide circles, then big wide figure 8's.
And then gradually tighten each of those up.

And end with some more aggressive starts and stops to build confidence and remove the fear of the throttle.

And unless she's a closet expert, she's gunna end up on the ground at some point!
So a conversation about what to do and how to pick up the bike and get going again would be a good idea as well.
I like to set the bike on it's side and make them pick it a time or two.
Just "going through the motions" is a big confidence booster and fear reducer!

Always glad to "see" new riders getting into the sport!

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Don't tell her that her riding gear makes her look fat.  Just kidding!  My suggestion is to play follow the leader with you leading and her following in off road settings first.  After you lead her around some easy trails go back a repeat them with her leading.  After she feels more confident in just operating the motorcycle  I would move on to my favorite exercise, figure eights.  Put out a couple of markers; cans, rocks or logs and ride figure eights around them.  This exercise makes you exercise turning both left and right.

Edited by GlennRay
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Get someone else to teach her. A mate, or a pro, anyone but you.

Too much personal involvement, and over protectiveness. You probably don't know you're doing it and making her nervous. (like sportsgirl said)

Just be there though, for support, and stay in the background offering no more than a few words of encouragement etc. when necessary.

And don't make a big deal if she falls off. And don't laugh too much either. :facepalm:

Then once she's got it, go for a nice easy ride with her.

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My daughter is 15 now and rides a bigwheel ttr125 . When I tought her on a ttr90 I'd have her stand ride it . Throttle, braking shifting, standing everything.  It worked good after couple times.  Idk if I agree with the parking lot I'd rather crash in grass myself.  Being your girlfriend ^^Death^^ may be right.  Hopefully she doesn't give up cause that would be awesome having a girlfriend to ride with

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All really good advice that I will use. I went scoping out some spots (and getting a little saddle time for myself) today. Went through some of Holy Jim and Trabuco Canyon. No open dirt fields that I could find and most of it requires a plate. I'm hoping to get some feedback on locations and possible meets from the locals at ADVRIDERS.COM if my registration gets approved.  :smashpc:

Thanks again everyone, the advice has given me a lot to try out and watch out for.

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