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Thread: Girlfriend wants to ride solo.

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  1. #1
    Registered User barryg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    White River Jct, VT
    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.

    BMW MOA Secretary
    '07 F650 '12 F650 twin
    Running on One Cylinder - except when running on two

  3. #3
    John. jstrube's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Atwater, CA
    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
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Santa Cruz CA
    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
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  5. #5
    Amma Holly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Ancaster, ON
    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!


  6. #6
    Registered User bmwgsrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Amarillo, TX
    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
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Jacksonville, FL

    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    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
    2012 R 1200 RT
    MOA-133005, RA32109, IBA #37923

  9. #9
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central WA
    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

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