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Thread: Girlfriend wants to ride solo.

  1. #1
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    Girlfriend wants to ride solo.

    Her name is Sylvia. She has been showing interest in riding her own bike. I've been riding 30 years and fairly knowledgeable about riding good and bad aspects. I just brought home a brochure on Motorcycle Rider Education Pogram and have a 1980 Vespa 200E for her to start her learning experience. Thought maybe some of you ladies might like to comment on her beginning this new adventure. Thx for the input.

  2. #2
    BMW MOV Muriel's Avatar
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    The MSF Basic Course is the way to go. And, of course, she should have good gear and wear it (but you already know that!). After that, let her set her pace. If you push her, she may get discouraged. Most of the women I know who started riding and stopped did so because they got scared.

    I was lucky in that I live in a rural area and got exposed generally to one new thing at a time - scarified pavement, grated bridges, watching for sand in the road - that sort of thing. My point is that if she can be exposed to many of the dangers under controlled conditions (not in a lot of traffic), she will gain confidence.

    I can't really comment on the Vespa as to whether that will help or not. I did ride a Cushman when I was 15 - on farm fields only. Did that help? I don't know. I didn't learn to ride a motorcycle until 40+ years later.

    I also read a lot about riding, including David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling - priceless and will increase her awareness tremendously.

    Good luck, and best wishes to both of you.

    Muriel
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  3. #3
    John. jstrube's Avatar
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    I would think if she wants to ride a bike vs. a scooter, I'd find her a nice TW200 Yamaha to do her learning on, after her BRC. If she gets going on a scooter, the transition to clutch & brakes is going to be tough. If she wants to move up to a Maxi-scooter, then your ride would be perfect. TWs are cheap, easy to keep going & can tool around town just fine. They can do 2 lane highways, but just won't hang with freeway speeds.

  4. #4
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    I agree with JStrube: a small bike would be superior to a scooter, for the transition reasons he stated and because they're just a bit more stable. OTOH, if she thinks she'll stop at scooter riding, then a Vespa now makes good sense.
    David Brick
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  5. #5
    Amma Holly's Avatar
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    Yup, she needs to get used to the clutch and brake levers from the start if she is going to ride a motorcycle rather than a scooter. Find her a 250cc or less bike on which she feels comfortable and can put her feet on the ground. Comfort is very subjective, some women like a wider seat--the type that make my hips scream with pain and hate the sort of seat I'm comfortable on.

    The MSF course, of course, and let her post here to get the sense of community.

    You go Sylvia!

    Holly

  6. #6
    Registered User bmwgsrider's Avatar
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    I do not think a scooter is compare to a motorcycle. If I was going to learn to ride a motorcycle, I would want to learn off of a motorcycle. I do not think I would ever like riding a scooter.

    I rode dirt bikes so it maybe a different story for her versus me as I had a feel for the clutch and handling a bike even though a dirt bike is diff than a street bike.

    If I had to ride a Buell Blast, I would give up riding because I HATED the bike. I would not make her try to ride a bike she hates.

    I think you need to find a bike that she will like and one that she feels comfortable learning on. I know there are folks out there that think one needs to learn to ride on a smaller bike but I do feel the F650 GS is a good learning bike and if she doesn't feel comfortable with touching ability they have them in factory low version to where she can touch better. The bike isn't very heavy and I feel is easy to handle. I am short 4' 11" with a 26" inseam.

    The MSF course is something she definitely needs to take and she should read the book Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough.

    I am not intimidated by guys and I do know there are some girls out there they maybe intimidated by guys and hopefully she doesn't feel that way. There are many good people that are out there that are willing to help one learn how to ride.

    Good luck to hear and hope she finds the right bike for her... and what one mentioned... do not push her as she needs to feel comfortable and go at her own pace.

  7. #7
    Rpbump USN RET CPO Rpbump's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Find a used Honda Rebel. They are one of the best bikes for a new rider (male or female) to learn the basics. Reliability, economy, and the feel of a real motorcycle.
    MSF is the way to go. Good Luck and Ride Safe

  8. #8
    Registered User womanridge's Avatar
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    I'm going to echo what others have said regarding a motorcycle vs. a scooter. And, I just received an Email from Lee Parks Total Control about a women's only program they are offering.
    Let her know that this subforum was created for women of the MOA and their issues. Invite her to join us in any discussions she may want to participate in. This is a safe room. She is welcome with open arms.
    Karen Jacobs
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  9. #9
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    My wife took up riding 4 years ago and learned on a lowered version of the F650GS. A good beginners bike that can also be a long term ride that can take her anywhere. Annie has other bikes now, but the 650 is still her favorite. Whatever she decides I think the three most important traits are: low enough to flat foot the bike. A lower bike is confidence building; a throttle response that is smooth and predictable. This makes it less likely that there will be any unwanted sudden starts; and, ABS for the obvious reason. The F650 line meets all of these criteria.
    Kevin Huddy
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  10. #10
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Wecome, Sylvia, to a whole other way to fly! Great advice above.

    Ride your own ride and you'll be fine.

    See you on the road.

    Voni
    sMiling
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  11. #11
    Rally Rat
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    What AKBeemer said. The F650 is an excellent first bike. Lite, agile and can be farkled. Here's mine fully packed for a rally weekend. Only been riding a few years and loving it.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by sudani; 11-28-2010 at 03:48 PM.

  12. #12
    Novice Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
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    I took the MSF course with absolutely no prior experience. After passing and gaining my endorsement, I still had no real inclination to ride. A few years later, I purchased my 650 GS. It was a perfect bike for me to learn on. I was hesitant about buying such a "nice bike" with no prior road experience but after researching, I learned that there were very few parts that could potentially need replacing at a higher cost than my deductible.

    I strongly encourage her to take the MSF course. It will allow her to learn good habits from the start and offer the added bonus of not worry about dinging or denting a bike that she will have to pay for.

  13. #13
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    ...ride your own ride...Voni
    +1.

    Here's a scooter guy, back a few years:



    The idea is to go out and have fun, safely. Also, I note the 200E has a manual transmission.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  14. #14
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rpbump View Post
    Find a used Honda Rebel. They are one of the best bikes for a new rider (male or female) to learn the basics. Reliability, economy, and the feel of a real motorcycle.
    MSF is the way to go. Good Luck and Ride Safe

    +1 on the Rebel. It was my first bike.

    I know we are all different in how we learn to ride: attitudes/comfort level/etc. If I have purchased an F650 (we have a pair of them now, both lowered) I'm not sure I would have continued after the MSF course.

    To me, the GS just seemed so huge. It was tall and heavy and I was terrified of it. Not to mention EVERYONE said that you will probably crash at some point when you're just learning, and denting that expensive plastic..... yikes!!! So, I stuck with the Rebel for the first 2500 miles. Then I got my Shadow, which just felt like a bigger Rebel.

    Now I ride anything I can get my hands on. :-) But I still have my Rebel. Its my main commute bike and grocery hauler. 25,000 miles on that little bike, and I just LOVE riding it.

    Oh yeah, and all them folks who say that you will crash when you're learning? Not true. Maybe they're just crappy riders. It took me 5 years and about 60,000 miles before I dumped a bike. And I blame it all on the wet, slushy snow. I almost made it through that patch of snow. almost. At least I didn't dent any of that expensive F650 Tupperware.
    Too damn many bikes to list

  15. #15
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    Sylvia has appreciated all the kind comments everyone has posted. We decided on the scooter because it was in the garage not being ridden and would probably be a good starter ride. She lives in the country, about a mile from her sister and brother-in-law, who are her best friends. I think she can safely ride around in this area back and forth to their house and start getting the feel of two wheel riding. If that goes well, we'll see about moving up to a motorcycle. Thx again.

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