Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

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Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

#1 Unread post by Tequila »

Hi Everyone,
I am quite a newbie.
I have seen a couple of beginner stories, but nothing like mine. I wonder if people like me ever get to ride, or do they get injured or do they quit or what? I'd love to see how people turned it around.

I passed my MSF course and got my license in the US 5-6 years ago. Never got a chance to buy a bike or ride one.
Since I moved to europe, I decided to take some classes here. Here in the Netherlands, people take about 12 hours of riding lesson, then pass one test, take another 12 hours and then pass a test in traffic. These courses and exams cost you about 1200 euros! Yes, it's the price of a cheap bike!!!

I've taken about 4 or so lessons. I figured I don't know anything, so let me start from scratch. I felt sooner or later I will be able to gain enough confidence to at least be able to go somewhere and test drive motorcycles so I can choose one to buy... or even rent one. In any case, they had a Suzuki Bandit 600. It's pretty heavy.
I was initially doing okay, but I started to drop the bike in slow speeds. I reacted to it physically. Beyond feeling tired, I felt nausea. They required me to take at least 1,5 hour lessons and that was too long. After the second lesson my motorcycle instructor got into a moto accident on his way home, and I changed to another one who wasn't as good. He kept telling me not to be not to be afraid, and was not giving me enough instruction. So after the 4th or so lesson, I stopped and waited till the weather got better.

A week ago, I found a different place. The instructor speaks okay english. Today was my first lesson. I am emotionally compromised.

I was just touring around in the parking lot, a bit nervous, trying to get used to the bike. There was a moment where was turning the corner, and I thought "Hey, I am looking in the right direction, why is my motorcycle still not turning?" It turns out it slipped on something and I fell.. again. I FELL AGAIN. The funny thing is that, several months ago, I was doing swerves, and stop tests, but now I went around in the first gear trying to not hit anything.

This is frustrating. I might also be putting pressure on myself because I want to just move on and not spend all this money to run around in circles in the parking lot. But the pressure is not helping. Maybe I should just tell myself, I am spending the money to just have fun. Maybe I should just go and buy a motorcycle and exercise on my own. Or I should just rent one.

In any case, physically I am doing okay but emotionally i am compromised. How do people just get over it? The funny thing is, if you think you will fall down, you do fall down. And when you fall down, then you lose your courage more. What a vicious cycle!

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Re: Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

#2 Unread post by Tequila »

On a second thought, I realize that I was sooo involved in being afraid that I was hardly able to focus on the task.
At the end of the day, this is something I am doing because I WANT TO. So I should just concentrate on the task. I know that with each skill, the more you practice, the more it becomes second nature.
Luckily, tomorrow there is another session. I will do my best to focus on the task.


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Re: Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

#3 Unread post by sunshine229 »

Hey Tequila, sounds like you could use a :group:

I totally know how you feel. My beginner story is not the same as yours but I too experienced a lot of fear when I started out. The first time I rode a bike was at the MSF course (4 evening classes). I was sooooo nervous and freaked out that I worked myself into a tizzy every night. There wasn't a night that passed when I didn't stop suddenly and start to cry in a panic. In fact, on the second night I remember doing that three times.

Seriously, riding is freaky when you don't know if you can trust your own skills. And if you've had an ooops early on, it's almost impossible to get back on the horse and ride it without feeling completely frazzled.

Finding the courage to get going again is tough and not everyone can pull it off. However, if it's something you want badly enough and you can convince yourself that you are strong and capable, YOU CAN DO IT.

Do you know anyone that would be willing to go around with you, even if they're in a car?

If I were you I would avoid renting a bike until you have your faith back because if you are on the hook for any damage to the rental you will psych yourself that much more when you get out there.

Keep trying the classes but only when you are ready to conquer. You need to be in the right frame of mind.

You go girl!!!
Andrea :sun:

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Re: Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

#4 Unread post by Lion_Lady »

For some folks being afraid is the #1 hindrance to learning to ride. Until you can deal with that, you're not ever going to get comfortable with riding and be able to put your full focus on the task at hand.

What sort of bike are you learning on? How much pressure are you putting on yourself?

I'll suggest you take some time to truly examine your fears. Sit down and "Free associate" what goes through your head when you think about riding. Write down what pops into your head for 10-15 minutes. Then have a look at the list. It will certainly give you insight into what the core issues are, so you can tease out how to deal with the fear.

Some issue will be simple to "fix" - such as making sure you're properly protected from injury with good gear. Others will take time and/or training.

Good luck!

Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity - Alice Paul

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Re: Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

#5 Unread post by OrangeBeast »

If you search the internet you'll find articles about dealing with different riding fears. You've had a rough start. So much of being a newbie is about what's going on in your head (in my opinion). It sounds like there's nothing physical stopping you. My suggestion would be not to rush. Lion Lady has a great idea too with breaking down your concerns!

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Re: Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

#6 Unread post by Trobairitz »

I understand completely how hard it is to get back to riding after a few years since the course. I took my MSF Course here in Oregon in the fall of 2002 but did not get a bike until last year. I started on a Nighthawk 250 and found it super buzzy and not stable at cruising speed on the back roads.

Luckily my hubby has ridden for years and was very patient with me. He took me two up to a parking lot and let me get used to the controls. We finally thought the Nighthawk was too small for my 5'8" frame and sold it to look for something larger. Ended up with a used Ninja 650r. Loved the looks but it wasn't right either. I found it too top heavy and the fairing drove me nuts. Only dropped it once in a parking lot and I just couldn't bond with it. Bad juju from the beginning.

So we sold it and this spring I bought a new 2009 Suzuki TU 250. Looks like a baby Triumph Bonneville. (Hubby rides a Bonneville America) It has been the perfect learner bike for gaining confidence. I have ridden back roads and a bit of freeway in neighboring towns and this weekend we're headed up a pass for a mini motorcycle blogger convention. Little out of my comfort zone but I know I can do it.

Trust in yourself. A pre-ride Rolaid helps too. I used to feel physically sick before getting on the bike and I can remember my legs shaking so bad my feet were bouncing on the pegs on the Ninja one time. With the right bike it will be a world of difference.

I still get apprehensive but at least I have almost 1000 miles under my belt now and no longer need the pre-ride Rolaid.

One thing I remember every time I get worried is what my husband tells me. Something I chanted in my head during my MSF course...."what would you do it you weren't scared?"

Hope this helps and you can work through it. Just know you aren't the only one to feel that way and we're all rooting for you to get back on the bike and have a chance to enjoy things.

"You laugh at me because I am different, I laugh at you because you're all the same." - Daniel Knode

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Re: Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

#7 Unread post by Veda »

I am surprised they had you taking lessons on the Bandit 600cc. I was in Amsterdam last month and it seemed that everyone rode scooters and there were very few 600cc+ bikes available. Is it different in other parts of the Netherlands?

Do you have the option to get a scooter? It might help build up some confidence riding a scooter for a year or two and then if you decide to upgrade you'll have more experience.

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Re: Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

#8 Unread post by Gina »

Hello! I wanted to agree with the last post. I started with a large scooter (a 400 that weighed 450 lbs. that could go over 100 mph) but after only riding it around the yard for a couple of days, I ventured out onto the hwy. I didn't have any idea how ill prepared I was. The first car that came up behind me got very close to me. I kept looking at it in my rear view mirror. The next thing I knew, I looked up and I was going off of the road. Thankfully I wasn't killed although I was beat up pretty bad. I totaled my bike. I questioned whether I would ever ride again. I knew I had been stupid about it in the first place.

I healed, waited a few months and bought a smaller scooter--a 250. I rode it around in circles in the field behind our house. It was perfect to learn on. I took the MSF course for experienced riders, which meant I got to take the class on my scooter and I got my motorcycle license. After a lot of driving, I got a 400 again. Very fast--interstate ready! But by then, I was ready for it. I had a year of driving experience and the MSF class.

A couple of months ago, I got a motorcycle. I've put about 2 thousand miles on it already. I will say that for me, learning on a 250 scooter first was the best thing I could do. By the time I got on a motorcycle--I already knew how to ride. I just didn't know how to change the gears so I wasn't having to learn everything at once. Maybe that would be the right answer for you too! Good luck. If you have the desire, you can do it!
Help me, Jesus!

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Re: Beginner Stories and Emotionally compromised

#9 Unread post by sapaul »

I got this from students that had dropped their bikes and I made them do the basics on scooters

Hi Paul,
just a quick note from Erika & Ginette (2 of your trainees yesterday) to again say thank you.
Both of us were quite disgusted to ride on scooters at first but as a teacher you knew best.
I overcame my fear of scooters and learned all the good stuff before I could practice them on my bike and Ginette learned (most of all) to corner properly.
Thanks again for a very nice day.
I spent my therapy money an a K1200S
The therapy worked, I got a GS now
A touch of insanity crept back in the shape of an R1200R

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