Before every ride, check...
Tires for wear, cuts, and stones.
Engine oil level
Headlights, brake lights, turn signals.
How do I steer/stop this thing?
What safety gear is recommended?
Headlight and taillight modulators
What is lanesplitting?
Also known as lane sharing, it is the practice of riding between lanes
of cars. When traffic is stopped or moving slower than ~20 MPH, you can
split between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. Keep your speed
no faster than 15 MPH over what the traffic is doing. Watch out for holes to
either side of you because holes attract lane changes.
What is counter-steering?
Counter-steering is the technique of physically pushing the motorcycle’s
handlebars in the direction opposite from that which four-wheeler-based
intuition would tell you it should go. It is the most efficient way to steer
a motorcycle in everyday driving and in emergencies.
Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute.
It’s a technique for gauging the correct maximum speed for the conditions.
What's a decreasing-radius turn?
It's a turn that gets tighter as you ride through it. They are deceiving and
potentially dangerous. Your initial estimation of the turn's radius (the
inverse of tightness) is fine for the first part of the turn but then it
surprises you as it gets tighter.
What is a stoppie?
A stoppie is when you stop with the front brake in such a way that you
purposely bring the rear wheel off the ground. The opposite of a wheelie.
What’s a high-side/low-side?
A high-side is where the bike suddenly regains traction after beginning to
skid and spits the rider over the bike. The rider typically exits on the
high side of the bike—the side not closest to the ground. A low-side is
where the bike loses traction and skids into the ground with the rider
remaining on the low side of the bike—the side closest to the ground.
High-sides are usually more severe. The most common high-side accident
scenario is where the rider loses traction at the rear wheel (due to
excessive power or over-braking), the bike starts to skid, the rider regains
traction suddenly by releasing the brake or chopping the power, and the bike
immediately regains traction and spits the rider over the bike and tumbles.
The key to avoiding this is learning not to chop the power and not to
overuse the rear brake.
Proper technique for waiting at a red light
Keep your motorcycle in gear. Watch the rear-view mirror.
You can’t change lanes: the driver’s handbook makes it clear that that’s not
Riding with passengers
Don’t, until you have enough solo experience. After that, go slower and
Some people are perfectly capable of carrying passengers right away; others
need a year or two of riding experience. Unlike luggage, passengers are
heavy, floppy, and move by themselves.
What to tell the passenger
Tell them not to ride with you. Tell them that if they’re gonna ride with
you they have to wear safety gear (helmet, gloves, boots, leather or Cordura
jacket and at LEAST long pants). Tell them to look over your inside shoulder
in a turn and never to put their feet down until you tell them to dismount.
And HOLD ON.
When it rains, slow down a bit. Be aware that the first rains in the season
will cause all the accumulate oil and spooge to float up to the surface and
make the roads really slick for the first hour or three. Keep practising
your panic stops. Be aware that since there is less traction, your rear
wheel will even more readily lock up, so be gentle with it until you get a
feel for its traction in the wet.
How do I deal with rain on my visor?
Alternate between turning your head to the right and to the left. (Keep your
eyes looking ahead!) The wind will blow the water off your face shield, just
like it does from the side of your car.
Loosen up on the handlebars. Let the bike lean into the wind. The bike will
do the right thing by itself.
Often, even if you slow down to an appropriate speed, some other idiot
behind you will not, causing big pileups. First, slow down. Use your brakes
so you light up your brake lights. Don’t drive faster than you can see.
Second, dim your lights. The high beam will just illuminate the fog and
blind you. If your motorcycle has four-way flashers and you’re going pretty
slowly for freeway traffic, turn them on. Third, if traffic slows to a stop,
split between lanes of cars and get ahead in the jam.
In many places, it gets too cold or snowy to regularly ride during the
winter, so you have to lay the bike up for storage. Check your bike’s user
manual for how to do this.
What's the petcock for?
It’s a Main/Reserve fuel valve. Its purpose is to select which of two tubes
the fuel pump uses to get fuel from the fuel tank. One of the tubes is at
the bottom of the tank; the other is about an inch higher. The normal “On”
position gets fuel from the tube with the higher opening. When it runs dry,
you switch to “Reserve” which gets that last gallon or so from the bottom of
the tank. That gives you enough range to make it to the next gas station for
I have a physical handicap
You could try the news group uk.people.disability.bikers and the National
Association for Bikers with a Disability.