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Tips for teaching my wife to ride?

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I just bought a TT-R125L for my wife who has never ridden a motorcycle before but wants to learn. We ride, or maybe should say used to ride, mountian bikes, she rides horses, snowmobiles and 4-wheelers every once and a while. The biggest thing I'm concerned about is clutching and learning that the front brake is important. I don't think she ever used the front brake on her mountain bike.

How do you think I should go about teaching her? I'm definately not in any hurry to see her on the MX track I just want to make sure that it's fun for HER and that she feels comfortable.

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If there's an MSF class available, she should take it, even if she isn't riding street, they do a good job of teaching beginners the basics, on class bikes. :cry:

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I'll look into it but I don't think there's one around here, I live in a little town in Alaska.

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im no expert....but tell her how to use clutch and if she stalls a lot...not to get down on herself. i used to spend about an hour in a field trying to get into 1st gear and in that hour...id probably go 10 feet...i stalled a whollllle lot. maybe show her the consequences of letting out the clutch too quick?

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Tape a credit card to the back of your fender and have her follow you around. :cry:

I just taught my relatively uncoordinated wife to ride in my back yard on my son's TTR-125LE. You probably have more wide open space where you are. Start the bike in second and help her get started by letting the clutch out for her. Have her ride around in second to get used to the feel of the bike. She won't need the clutch to upshift or downshift as long as she isn't pinning the throttle. She should pull in both the clutch and gradually the brake to stop.

To get a feeling for the clutch and how it engages she can rev the engine and gently let the clutch out to the point where it starts to catch. Practice leting the clutch out to the engagement point and pulling it back in without actually moving the bike. :cry:

The toughest part is teaching them to keep their momentum going around turns. They want to slow to the point of almost falling over.

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I'll look into it but I don't think there's one around here, I live in a little town in Alaska.

BTW, the MSF has a dirtbike class too, and that will be a bigger help for her than the streetbike class. But both classes are probably scarce near you, as you say.

I like the 2nd gear cruise-around idea already mentioned. It's easier to balance in 2nd than 1st once you are going. But to learn to start from a dead stop in 1st gear, the drill they use near the beginning of the MSF dirtbike class (which I put my son through) is to practice creeping and then stopping the bike in 1st. Start with both feet down and the bike running in gear and the clutch in. Then slowly give it just a little gas and let out the clutch until the bike just barely creeps along on its own. Creep 10 yards and then pull in the clutch and stop. Do this a bunch of times in a straight line, then turn the bike around (however you want), and creep back a bunch of times. After a couple of these, practice speeding up the middle of the creep some. If she feels comfortable, she can pick her feet up and put them on the pegs near the fastest part of the creep. And then finally, after a creeping start, get to where you let the clutch all the way out and start riding in big circles.

Definitely require her to use both brakes for every stop as she is learning. Using both brakes to stop and remembering to pull in the clutch when stopping need to become reflex reactions for her.

Have fun with your new riding partner! :cry:

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Four things:

1. BE PATIENT nothing will turn her off more quickly than you getting frustrated.

2. The method mentioned above for finding the friction point by slowly setting the clutch out until it starts to engage then pulling it back in. Doing this repeateadly really works!!

3. Stoping excercises, alot of kids and adults have trouble letting go of the throttle when they want to stop, that combined with the reflex to put your feet down when you want to stop is a very bad combonation!

4. BE PATIENT I've taught 4 kids and 1 wife to ride as well as a friends teenager (his father was not patient enough) This was undoubtly the most important part.

After you get through that take her to a place to ride that will let her both cruise around and challenge her a little (like riding up and down some small embankments nothing) where she does not have to be worried about a bunch of people watching. Getting her confidence up and being patient is the key

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Hire someone else to take the wrap!

12 years of being a ski instructor.

If she enjoys riding, money well spent.

If she hates it, the guy was an idiot!

Doing and teaching are two different things.

Otherwise be very patient. How well does she ride a bicycle?

Ski Intrustor Rules

Rule #1 Never teach your wife.

Rule #2 Never teach your girlfriend.

Rule #3 Never teach your girlfriend while your wife is watching! :cry:

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The biggest thing I'm concerned about is clutching and learning that the front brake is important. I don't think she ever used the front brake on her mountain bike.

I taught my wife and son to ride, both having mountain bike experience, and the hardest part was getting them to use the REAR brake. I think there were 2 reasons for this; a lever on the handlebars was a familiar concept (while a foot pedal was not), and, to a beginner, the front brake seems to provide more than enough stopping power. Don't be surprised if the biggest problem you have is getting her to use the rear brake pedal.

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I forgot that the right lever is the one she's used to grabbing. I think your right in the fact that it will probably be more natural for her to use the front brake.

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Patience is the key then. Show her step by step how everything works, and explain to her how it will FEEL when the bike begins to take off. A huge part of learning to ride is figuring out how the bike should feel when starting, stopping, shifting, turning, etc.

The other major thing is to get her to sit forward in turns. For some reason, a lot of female riders in beginner classes I've taught don't want to get forward in corners. Since this is your wife, you can have fun explaining the concept to her with colorful metaphors.

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One thing about learning of the clutch, and i did this too when i started many moons ago: is that i would let the clutch out slowly till it hit friction point, then i would think 'yep - we're right to go ' and let the clutch out , and usually stall. OR wheelie.

Most people i've taught, including one of my partners boys now, do just that.

My point is to let the clutch out steadily the whole way, until it's fully out, which can be a bit much to think about when this noisy scary thing with wheels starts moving.

Patience is most certainly the key, good luck and have fun :cry:

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Rule #3 Never teach your girlfriend while your wife is watching!

Kev, this gives me a whole new perspective on you, dude! :cry:

But matte brings up a good point that bicycle brake levers are set up differently (and dorked IMHO) from motorcycle levers. I've swapped (left-right) my MTB levers and berkeboy's MTB levers to match the motorcycle right-side front brake standard, but most MTBs are set up opposite. Maybe consider asking your wife if she'd like to have her MTB levers swapped to match her new dirtbike configuration. And maybe remind her (?) how important the front brake is on MTB and other 2-wheel vehicles. Jeeze, where do you two ride MTB? Sorry. Some riders that I know have no problem mentally changing back and forth between the bicycle and motorcycle standards, but it's too dangerous for me to try to deal with. When I pass braking marker 3 heading into Laguna Seca turn #2 at a buck-something-something, there's no way that I have the time to think about which lever is going to lift my rear wheel the best...

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Rule #3 Never teach your girlfriend while your wife is watching!

interestingly enough, i found myself teaching my wife and my/her girlfriend at roughly the same time. the girlfriend was pretty reasonable. the wife was pretty typical. once, the girlfriend had to lay down the law to the wife and tell her to stop being such a cranky little biatch. i think i was doing a good job.

you're a step ahead if your wife lives in freaking alaska, she's obviously not like normal chicks. also, if she does other outdoor sports, she's a natural fit for dirtbiking, so its up to you to not &%$#@! it up. here are some suggestions:

1) concentrate on her having fun, not on her 'getting better'.

2) focus on 1 point on a particular ride, and keep this focus very limited. i like to give my advice before the ride, maybe spend 2-3 minutes giving drills, and then not say another thing until we stop for a break. then, after enjoying the view, and smooching a little, and telling her cute she is, ask how that one thing you talked about before the ride was working out for her. if you give about 1/10 of the feedback you think is reasonable, it will only be about twice what she wants to hear, so be minimal.

3) try to plan your rides to start easy and slow, build to one or two tense and interesting moments, and taper off to a relaxing finish, like sex or a symphony. one or two challenges can build confidence, but an endless ride that is too difficult can be real self-esteem and fun killer.

4)have fun yourself! remember you're out there with the woman you love on a bike. don't think about how you're not going as fast as you would alone or with your buddies, think about how much more on a bike you are than you would be if you were shopping or picking out curtains.

hope this helps, and good luck.

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Most, if not all replies you have seen are from guys. Put a post on the THUMPETTE form or do a search there. The gals on the THUMPETTE form seem to really know there stuff and many have started where you and your wife are right now. They can give you the do's and don'ts they have experienced personally which will give the "Ladies Perspective". Always a good thing to have before the frustration level sets in on both sides. Like I said these women know what works/worked for them and their riding buddies and can be a wealth of information. But you had better get her going quick...old man winter has got to be banging on your door there by now. :cry:

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But you had better get her going quick...old man winter has got to be banging on your door there by now. :cry:

You're right about that one. It actually snowed about 3" on Sept. 25, but for the last month and a half it's been in the 40's. I'm not sure if we'll really be able to get out or not before the white stuff hits. Oh well, at least we've got snowmachines, or as everyone not from Alaska would say, snowmobiles.

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I just taught my girlfriend to ride in the past few months...I took her riding with me once and she was hooked, so we went and bought her a ttr-125L and basically it's just teaching them about throttle/clutch control first of all, and then after that I'd just watch her, and if I saw something that NEEDED to be corrected, I'd point it out to her, such as...don't slam the front brake on going down a hill, just drag it enough to slow the tire down, not make it skid or stop. of course she had to wreck HARD to learn this one, which sucked, but she's tough, but sometimes that's what it takes, you just gotta advise them and then let them figure it out.

once she gets comfortable on the bike, just tell her that if she has a question about how to do something or wants to learn something new, to just ask you, that takes the pressure off of her because you're not always overloading her with information. that has worked extremely well in my case.

also, if one of your buddies has a wife/girfriend that rides, go riding with them a lot, we go riding with my buddy and his girlfriend and they seem to learn a ton more from eachother than from us guys. They just have the right perspective I guess.

oh and by the way, for awhile you will get kinda bored going so slow, but like many others have said, it's better than going w/her to the mall. and besides if you girl rides, consider yourself damn lucky you get to share this sport with the one you love. I know I feel lucky. and it gets more fun each time we go.

anyway, that's my two cents. good luck! :cry:

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interestingly enough, i found myself teaching my wife and my/her girlfriend at roughly the same time.

:cry::cry: :cry: :cry:

you're a step ahead if your wife lives in freaking alaska, she's obviously not like normal chicks. also, if she does other outdoor sports, she's a natural fit for dirtbiking, so its up to you to not &%$#@! it up. here are some suggestions:

1) concentrate on her having fun, not on her 'getting better'.

2) focus on 1 point on a particular ride, and keep this focus very limited. i like to give my advice before the ride, maybe spend 2-3 minutes giving drills, and then not say another thing until we stop for a break. then, after enjoying the view, and smooching a little, and telling her cute she is, ask how that one thing you talked about before the ride was working out for her. if you give about 1/10 of the feedback you think is reasonable, it will only be about twice what she wants to hear, so be minimal.

3) try to plan your rides to start easy and slow, build to one or two tense and interesting moments, and taper off to a relaxing finish, like sex or a symphony. one or two challenges can build confidence, but an endless ride that is too difficult can be real self-esteem and fun killer.

4)have fun yourself! remember you're out there with the woman you love on a bike. don't think about how you're not going as fast as you would alone or with your buddies, think about how much more on a bike you are than you would be if you were shopping or picking out curtains.

hope this helps, and good luck.

not only good advice, but a fun read, Mark! BTW, same goes for your website!

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I would make sure you watch her until she gets clutching and shifting down. After that you can start going on slow rides and gradually pick up speed. Try to let her lead if you do trails (i assume she'll be learning anywhere but the race track :cry:) once she gets comfortable on the bike.

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