My journey to two wheels started on a 50cc dirt bike when I was 7 years old. Over decades I upgraded to bigger and more powerful bikes before I finally took the training course to get my street license. Everyone’s journey to two wheels is a little bit different and it has always blown my mind when I hear about how most people start on a full-size street bike. After a weekend motorcycle course, they are out there on the road. Yep, in the good old USA, you can go out and buy yourself a brand new 1200+ cc motorcycle and go blasting down the freeway after a 2-day training course to get your license. Well, just because you can does not necessarily mean that you should.
Did you know that in the UK you first have to ride a 125cc bike for 1 year before upgrading to a full-size bike? I’m sure that many people hate this type of restriction and much prefer that it is so easy to get a license to ride anything in the U.S. What I love about the 125cc rule is that it forces you to practice.
Photo by Heidi Zumbrun
We at, Babes Ride Out have a lot of people reach out to us and ask about how to get into riding. We usually tell them to start on a dirt bike and get the mechanics of shifting and braking dialed before transferring to the street. Once you have your M1 license and you’re riding on the street, there is nothing wrong with continuing to learn and grow as a rider. Practice! Trying different types of riding like off-roading, Supermoto, Track days, etc. will only make you a better and more well-rounded rider across the board. Even just practicing while you are on your normal weekend rides by focusing on holding your lines, looking through the turns, or even quick stop drills in the parking lot. All of that becomes tools in your toolbox that you may end up needing someday.
Practice isn’t something you hear people talk much about in the moto community. When you are riding to commute to work or ripping on the weekends with your friends, it is easy to forget that riding a motorcycle is a skill that can be enhanced with practice.
Things can get random when you’re riding so why not be as prepared as you possibly can be for the unexpected.
Photo by Heidi Zumbrun
I was riding on one of my favorite backroads heading up north for the weekend. For a few miles, I was behind a pick-up truck that was loaded with lumber. I watched the truck hit a pothole in the road and a piece of 6 x 6 lumber (like a fence post) popped off the truck and landed sideways in the road right in front of me. I had to think fast. It was across my whole lane and I knew I didn’t have time to swerve around it. I instinctually stood up on my bike and shifted my weight toward the back in order to make the front-end lighter. I was probably going like 35 or 40mph when I hit the board. It wasn’t pretty but I made it over the board without too much of a wobble. After pulling over and collecting myself I could not help but think that if I had not had experience with different types of terrain and obstacles from my dirt bike life I probably would not have made it over that thing.
Practice makes perfect friends so do not be afraid to keep learning and growing as a rider.
Photos by Heidi Zumbrun