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So as I was riding last night and I thouhgt back to when I first started riding. The thought gave me this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I read proficient motorcycling and took MSF but I had absolutely no idea how to really ride a sportbike. I had no idea about what made my bike work. I honestly couldn't even tell you what kind of tires that bike had. I never checked the tire pressure on them either, that can't be important right? I'd get on my bike wearing a t-shirt and tennis shoes, at least I always wore my lid.

I'll never forget my first ride through the twisites. I met up with two guys from a local website who were pretty decent riders. I remmeber wearing my MX gloves and tennis shoes to the ride, another thought that gives me that uneasy feeling now. I came in knowing that I was going to ride my own ride and not try to keep up. They were out of site in 4 turns. By the time I caught up at a stop sign they already had all their gear off and were waiting for me. I could ride the pace I did that day with one hand now.

Then I found this website and started reading about safety and technique for actually riding a sportbike. Thinking back at some of my first posts like when I was happy to reach 100mph for the first time make me cringe! However slowly the konwledge of the seasoned vets rubbed off on me. Then I ran into a few guys who did track days and I haven't looked back sence. These days I won't consider getting on my bike without my gear. When I'm riding in the twisties i'm either in full leathers or covered in head to toe gear. I now ride the track which has taught me more about riding in one session than all my street riding combined.

I've also come to pay attention to my bike a lot more. I now carefully consider what kind of rubber to put on my bike and check my tire pressure before every ride. I know what all those nobby things and screws on my forks and shock are for (still can't adjust them to save my life so I paid a professional to do that for me).

Anywyas, i'm not sure what the point of this post is other than that there aren't a lot of new topics being posted lately and to say I used to suck now I suck waay less and that it was this forum that got me started on that path.
 

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I got started later in life (much to my chagrin) and therefore was pretty much geared up from the start. But the differences in the bikes, their purposes, some tips on making riding and maint easier have come mostly from here too.

Your post actually spurred me to remember I meant to comment that I've seen a LOT more sportbike riders in my riding areas wearing lids. I have no idea why this change appears to be occurring, just that it is. In fact, I've seen more jackets and gloves on riders as well and the gearless rider is actually less than 50%.

Back to riding, as I've read over the years about riders coming in from dirt, I'm thinking about getting on that side too. I've got a nice wooded area behind me and some nice dirt tracks close by. I'm hopeful if I get into it that I'll pick up further skills of value.

Unlike you, ryan, I haven't done a track day yet, despite having ridden for a while. This will be my first year and I've already determined to save up each year for a proper riding school. Every senior member of SBW (current and past) that I have respected has been a track rider and I suppose I accept it as gospel. Thus, I pass on those same recommendations despite my lack of first-hand experience.

I happened upon the MSF before forums were even getting started, at least in their current form, just because it sounded like something fun to do. Now I encourage their classes as a basic starting point for any interested party. What's getting to be ironic is my internal turmoil of my own offspring and their level of involvement in riding. Must be the next phase of life and, again, folks like DreamRyder have somewhat blazed that trail and offered their thoughts at one time or another here. No matter how long I've been here, that archive of threads continues to be of great value.

/ramble
 

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I have only been riding for two years so it is not that far for me to think back. But I started with only a few hours of seat time on an 80 dirt bike. No idea....you go where you look!!!

I took the MSF course and hung on every word. Did EXACTLY as my instructor told me. Spent 6 months on a GS500F working on my skills and keeping bad habits at bay. Now I am on a GSXR 600 and I get it. I feel as though I could ride a bigger bike but I am 5'4" tall and really like this bike. I don't want to have to muscle a bike around. Love cornering!


I have never ridden without all my gear, and in Florida that is not easy to do.
 

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Hmm... My first street bike was only a couple years ago. I do pretty well on a sportbike. Im a gear fanatic. I always suit up.

I dunno, my dad taught me to ride when I was just a little kid. So I never really had that whole "this is my first bike ever" thing on the street. I rode religiously on dirtbikes when I was a kid. I did take my time on my first gixxer tho. I have a certain level of respect for a bike that can kill me.
 

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My first was totally illegal for I was only 15 yrs of age, but WWII was over & I had this old '34 Harley 45SV in terrible condition with no primary chaincase, home made handlebars, only part of the saddle was the shell of metal that I put on a potato sack, bald tyres & once I got it started, thanks my Dad's home made trickle charger, & sucked out some of the 2-4 yr old gas from his cage.

Note this is a foot clutch, hand shift, hand spark setting & only two gears (actually a three speed, but it only had two gears that could be shifted) plus later on I found by removing the rear sparkplug the bike developed more power & a year later little wonder as the con rod was all bunged. No brakes. Though just down the dirt road & two houses past my parent's place was the bush where I learned to ride.

My parents did not know a thing about m/cs or interest them, same with any relatives, while peers in those yrs were not m/c riders. Put in that month plus of '45 & come spring of '46 did that same to July 15th & so went down to obtain my cage/motorcycle license----by that time I had obtained an Indian 45SV Sport Scout of '39 & Harley 45SV of 42 with both for a song & dance----the son's had died during WWII.

Riding in the bush sort of tells you why I so easily adapted to flat tracking & dirt hill climbing in '47 to later on the rest of the comp sports. Massive power to the HD or Indian for new they might develope all of 25HP, but the older & first one with shot piton was probably more like 4 hp. Riders have it so much easier these days.
 

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I was reading, researching, thinking and dreaming for months before I got my bike and when it was finally delivered and I started riding, it ended up being less exciting than I thought it would be. I figured it was because the bike totally met my expectations and it was exactly what I thought it would be, or something. I was going to post a thread here asking if I was crazy. It ended up only being exciting when I did some squidly things like cracking the throttle open on public roads making them my personal racetrack. Standard leisurely riding seemed boring to me.

After learning and developing my skills for a few thousand miles I was starting to feel like the bike was becoming a part of me and I was enjoying it a lot more, you know, knowing what its capable of and how to take advantage of it more. When traveling south to hit the twisties I noticed I was getting into the zone more often, only thinking to myself on the way home "that felt f*cking great!". It also started becoming enjoyable when being out riding through the country at whatever speed feels right, absorbing the environment and the solitude, taking roads 'as the crow flies'. It was even better being out with a friend, you know, just being out after having a crappy day.

Since my last group ride I noticed that I really don't care much for going fast or opening the throttle full stop anymore. I could just care less about going 0-60 in 4.48264 seconds with my buddies after a stop sign. For some reason it just doesn't thrill me anymore and I'm perfectly happy doing leisurely stuff. I can't remember the last time I blasted it down the highway or shifted above 8k RPMs for a reason other than liking the noise the bike makes. However, I enjoy carving up the twisties more than ever but they're few and far between in the city. I dunno, maybe I should get a cruiser.

Maybe nows the time to ask... am I crazy?
 

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bittersweetryan.....good topic. i too was a ass . now after a 15 years and 150,000 miles i`m glad i survived. i try to be a good example now...fast but good. its amazing how little folks can know about how a bike handles and live through it. its amazing how often the folks with shorts and sneakers make it home with skin intact. this topic could almost be pinned.
 

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I used to wear a red shirt and helmet because they matched my 250. I also wore MX gloves.

I still don't know how my bike works. I should probably learn some day but i'm not exactly mechanically inclined.
 

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During WWII I was often sketching, with pencil, pen, or India Ink, the Triumph Trophy 500cc OHV vertical twin with its Girder forks as showen as it was when Turner first came out with it prior to WWII.

Never had an interest in HD or Indian though I had seen them around as the city police used the HD server-bike or sidecar rig & I had seen a few Indian bikes in back yards. No the 500cc vertical twin is what had this teener thinking this was THE bike I would like to have.
 

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Really wasn't that long ago for me and Mrs Tree; only a few years.

I'd moved to a rural area to live close to my girlfriend (now my wife :D ). Was costing me AUD$70 (US$60) a week to drive my cage to work, so I started thinking about buying a bike. I'd always said I'd never ride on the road, but I was living in a rural area, so I felt safer somehow.

I new of a bike shop that ran a course similar to the MSF. I discoverd that they offered a one hour "learn to ride a bike free" course, so I took Mrs Tree there for her birthday. The course was designed to see if you liked riding or had any ability. We were hooked before we even got on the bikes!

We started looking for a bike and quickly found that the Kawasaki ZZR 250 was best suited to newb's (cc restrictions apply down here). We found a great bike at a great price and snapped it up, still never having ridden on the road. We bought jackets, helmet and gloves, figuring we'd just wear jeans and hiking boots for a while (I bought winter pants within two weeks as I was freezing my a**e off riding to work; started wearing calf-length lace-up work boots, too.)

We trailered the bike back to my place and started by riding in the paddock!! The neighbour had a much larger paddock and he offered for us to use it, so we headed on over. Third gear, 40mph, across the paddock I went, having a faaaaaat time! :D The next day, we hit the road (veeeery quiet country area). I was doing 100km/h (62mph) before I knew it. I think back to how stupid that was now and wanna punch myself.

We took a Q-Ride course (MSF) the next weekend and both passed, which gave us a free ticket to "licence land".

Legally, I wasn't supposed to carry a pillion for 12 months, but I had Mrs Tree on the back after about 2, which again, was soooooo stupid of me. Luckilly, we survived.

Neither of us have looked back since...
 

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It has been longer than I thought. Started 14 years ago when I was 15.

Rode on a learners permit with my old man. Never took the MSF course, but I think what I had to do for him to let me ride was harder than the course itself.

Always wear gear, and keep the bike properly maintained were top priorities besides the fundamentals of riding.

Saw someone mention 150,000 miles...that is crazy. I think that I am roughly at 50,000 miles or so. Hell I put like 10,000 on my first bike before I had a license (was legal within 50 ft of pops). We went on every poker run and trip that we could think of. I really miss the days of just the open road!
 
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