Advice For Getting Back on Motorcycle After Dropping It

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getting on bike after dropping it

Dear WRN,

The love of my life died January 25th. Im still grieving and feel lost. I got my license three years ago, at 63 years old, and bought a motorcycle. Two years ago I dropped the bike and totally lost my confidence. So I went back to riding on the back.

My question is how can I get the confidence to get back on a bike? Maybe a trike would be better. Any suggestions? I would have to go with an older bike (like me, age 66) due to finances, but I feel a deep need to get on a bike. I live close to Daytona Beach and Bike Week is going on. My heartbeat speeds up every time I hear that roar! He would have been so proud of me if I get back on a motorcycle. Thanks for your advice!
Lindy Seabrook

41 thoughts on Advice For Getting Back on Motorcycle After Dropping It

  1. I would like the same advice though my accident was that I was rear-ended by an SUV in 2011 and hospitalized with severe injuries. I am now functional again. I feel inside I want to ride again, but each time I touch a throttle the PTSD flares and I’m back to the minute of the accident reliving it all. Reading the comments, nothing resonates.

    1. Hi Ange,Thank you for your brave admission.There is a world of healing between “being functional” and “being ready to ride a motorcycle again.” If you haven’t already, I would suggest seeking treatment by a physician who’s specialty is in PTSD. It’s not safe for you to get back on a motorcycle until you can work out some strategies to overcome your fears with a trained professional. No few lines of encouragement can replace what therapy can offer you.We wish you the best of luck and pray for your full recovery.

  2. Hi Lindy, I am 56 and a couple of months ago I dropped my bike three times on one ride. Since then I only did a couple of laps around the block and then today I thought to myself, “well either I ride the bike or I don’t!” So giving up wasn’t really an option, so I rang my mate and she came out with me for a two-hour run and I didn’t drop the bike! Thanks to WRN and the advice they gave me I got a bit of anger in my guts and overcame my fears. You got this! Get on your bike and ride!

  3. I am also a 66-year-old rider in the Daytona Beach area. You can do this: get back on the motorcycle and ride. You did it once, you can do it again. We all drop these things. Don’t let a silly bump in your riding stop you from riding. Good luck and thanks for being human and sharing your story.

  4. I am right there with you! I am a new rider and am turning 60 next week (and leaving for Sturgis on my birthday!) As soon as I got my Sportster home I dropped it! In my garage, at 11pm on a Tuesday night and I was alone! Despite having watched multiple videos about how to pick up a bike, it took every ounce of strength I had to pick that bike up. I have been afraid to get on it ever since, since I don’t have a riding buddy, and will always have to start from my house alone. I have 100% total confidence that if I am out on the road, someone will help me pick it up. I will probably have to choose from the people who will offer. However, at home when I am alone I will be stuck! I haven’t figured out how to conquer that fear. So, there my bike sits in my garage, waiting for someone to ride with me so I know I can make it out of my driveway.

  5. I lived in Florida when I bought my bike and dropped it the second week. I burned my leg and shoot after it happened, but picked it up and rode it home. It took me almost a year before I got back on. I was scared to death.I still have my days but I keep visualizing myself cruising down the road with the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and I’m not giving up! I can do this. I’ll take my time and keep pushing myself. I refuse to give up!You can do it. I pray a lot, too. I have a Harley-Davidson Sportster 72 and it’s a lot of bike but I just take my time and practice. If you’re still unsure, take the class again and go to a garage party! I have a guy friend who follows on his bike and tells me what I’m doing wrong. If there’s a will, there’s a way. And by the way, yes, I dropped it here in Wisconsin a second time but I am still riding and building my skills.

  6. Consider getting a smaller bike, one that you’ll have more control over instead of the weight and size of the bike controlling you. I’ve wrecked/dumped my bike while in Sturgis. Scared the crap out of me, but I learned from the experience. I only started riding a few years ago, at age 54, and get more comfortable with my bike each year.

  7. I too am getting back into my love of riding. I had a Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200, dropped it once, and had unrelated medical issues and sold it about 10 years ago. I always missed it. My husband and I went looking at Victory motorcycles and I fell in love with the Gunner. I am still very nervous and what is up with us that we start to get panic attacks as we age? After all the crap we’ve been through! I’m wishing I did start smaller. I love this site because we all seem to face the same dilemmas. One of mine is braking while turning and balancing the bike when stopped, but I’m hoping to get more confident with practice. Hang in there.

  8. You might want to select a motorcycle that suits you, your size and skill. I’m a trained motor officer and I often take refresher training to keep my skills up. You need to learn to avoid trouble by taking a certified operators course. Only then should you select a bike that you can handle. In training, we’re taught to lift our bikes (full-sized police Harleys) from being laid over! Whatever you ride, you’ll need to be able to do this. Choose wisely. Be safe!

  9. I had a solo accident about one year into my riding life. It took six months for me to consider getting back on, not only because I needed to heal, but because I was afraid. I took it very slow. First was getting back on with my husband as I didn’t know how much my body could handle. Then it was very slow with little rides around a few blocks, a little further, a bit faster. Then I decided to tackle a ride I knew was difficult for me but with no traffic. I literally cried when I got to the top of the mountain and had to overcome a panic attack before heading back down. On top of all this it was New Years Eve afternoon, foggy and cold. I did it with a pounding heart and too tight of a grip but I made it! From then it got easier each time and I’m so glad I was stubborn enough to get back on. Best of luck to you and joyful riding!

  10. This past weekend I wrecked my bike. There is a difference in dropping and wrecking, and, unfortunately, I found that out this past Saturday. I’ve dropped it before, picked it up, brushed myself off, and kept going. I’ve got lots of road rash and am sore all over. There’s minor damage to my motorcycle. I’m gonna get back on it as soon as I can. I actually learned something from the accident too. Don’t panic! I did, and grabbed the front brakes hard.

  11. I understand how you feel. I’m 66 and got my three-wheel endorsement last year. A Can-Am Spyder was my best fit. Take a basic rider course, I failed because I no longer have the balance and strength for two wheels. Then get on your bike and smile! I had to teach myself a lot but found whenever I got nervous, a smile just helped relax me. You’ve got this Lindy. Good luck on your new adventure.

  12. It sounds like you are emotionally ready to move on but you need a bike. Get something small; a scooter might be a good start for now. Or go to the rally without a bike. Going to a large rally like Daytona Bike Week on a new (or new-to-you) bike as a new rider is not a good idea in my opinion. I have seen lots of accidents and fatalities that involved people who buy bikes just to go to a rally and look cool and have little to no experience with them. I agree with you taking a safety course first too. Also if you invest a little money in good protective gear, it will minimize your fears of dropping the bike. Engine guards are also a good investment. When the bike gets past a certain lean angle, it is going to drop and you can’t stop it. You will only hurt yourself if you try. Let it go down; sometimes it needs to take a nap. All of my bike drops have been due to me not looking where I want to go. Remember: head and eyes up!

  13. I have wrecked and dropped my bikes over and over for the last 30-some-odd years. I simply get up, dust off, and get back on and ride. The horse might throw you, but don’t let it beat you. I don’t get why some people think a drop is so bad. It is inevitable when you have two wheels and gravity wins every time. Pick it up and ride on down the road.

  14. Lindy, Thank you for your openness in sharing your story. You’ve started a great conversation between many women bike riders across different countries. Back yourself on this one, remind yourself of all the good feelings you’ve had. A fave quote of mine as an at times anxious motorbike rider is “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” May you connect to your courage. Anyone who has navigated a grief journey and come through has truckloads of courage!At 54 have got my motorbike learners license. I had taken my 17-year-old son to get his license and decided I would too! I’m licensed to drive semi trailers, and have done lots of towing/hauling in my life. However nothing has scared me at times as much as motorbike riding! I had hooned around on an ag bike on farms until I was 30 however that didn’t prepare me for riding in towns or handling bigger heavy bikes. I love highway riding however am still at times anxious in town. I’ve dropped my Honda CBR300F twice, both sides now. It weights 170 kg (340-plus-pounds). I could pick it up from the right side alone, but couldn’t when it fell to the left. Had to ask my neighbour for help. This second dropping only happened yesterday. I’ve ridden 4,000 kms now in 10 months. I realize now (after reading all the comments in this thread) I didn’t have front wheel straight and not enough revs/friction point on clutch. Easy in hindsight. Each time I’ve dropped it learnt from “how” it happened. First time I wasn’t even on it, I bumped into it in the shed! After dropping my bike yesterday I booked in for one-on-one help to do some specific training to cover slow riding, picking up my dropped bike. I’ve accepted that “it happens.” (I hope I can be more mindful and prevent it, but it may happen again and I’ll be more prepared to deal with the situation and not punish myself for making mistakes.)When I sit in the saddle I remind myself I can do and call up the strength and courage in me to do it. For me I need to ride, ride, ride — practice the parts of riding I’m challenged most by often. Hours on the bike are the key to success. Ride often.

  15. Sorry for your loss. Every two-wheeler is behind you. if you have balance issues there is no shame in a three-wheeler. Many veterans with physical problems ride trike. Go to a parking lot and just practice back and forth in a safe area. I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find your confidence will quickly return. There is no shame in riding on the back neither. Riding is something you do for you. I’m absolutely certain your dearly departed is completely proud of you either operating or riding as passenger, and you smiling and happy again is the main concern. Motorcycle riders are tribal. When you’re read,y we’re all here. God bless Lindy.

  16. Sorry for your loss. Going by the advice you’ve already been given, take a few classes. Find an instructor who will take you out on a smaller bike until you have some confidence. There’s nothing wrong with being on the back either. People are happy to see riders and pillions. If you find the confidence then brilliant. Find a bike which sits comfortably with you. Not too heavy not too fast. Go sit on a few in bikes shops or friends’ bikes. And enjoy. Life is too short to worry.

  17. It sounds like you’re in a place in your life where getting back on a bike, could be really great for you. It’s so healing and gives so much confidence. Just know, there’s no such thing as too slow. Go whatever pace you need to get back on. Taking or retaking a MSF class is great for riders who have been off a bike for a little while, too, especially to get the confidence back. Also, baby steps at home. I had a little spill and dealt with some serious heebie jeebies after. I made myself throw my leg over the bike, every day though, even if all I could do was back up my driveway and ride forward a few feet. Because it all helps get you familiar again. Just as long as you do a little more, each time, start as slow as you need, remind your body what to do with the bike. The longer you’re away from the bike, the more your mind can scare you, so just get out and sit on a bike, let the reality take place of the fears your mind has become familiar with. Once I was ready, I started riding in a great parking lot, practicing the basic maneuvers over and over until I felt smooth and consistent then started making little trips close to home. Again, no such thing as too slow, just keep pushing a little more, each time, and don’t give up. It’s kind of remarkable how healing just riding a bike can be, after a tragedy, or hard time. Maybe it helps remind us, there are parts of life we can control, even some “scary” things, like a motorcycle. Plus, it’s so freeing and so fun! My very best to all you amazing lady riders out there! I love this site! Shiny side up, and good luck.

  18. First of all, so sorry about your loss Lindy. You are already dealing with something really tough. As far as getting back on the bike, just try to keep in mind that everyone has dropped a bike (and if they haven’t yet, they most likely will at some point). I rode my first bike for five years without ever dropping it, but I will say that it was something that was always in the back of my mind and hanging over me like a dark cloud. Then, last year I bought a much heavier bike and dropped it the first time out! I had no choice but to get back on and ride home. But what I realized afterwards is that the very thing I dreaded might happen all this time… did! And you know what? It wasn’t the end of the world. I survived it (and so did you!) I was extra cautious for awhile (which I still am anyways), but now have an attitude of, “I’m the boss here! You big ole heavy bike are not the boss of me!” Just keep remembering that and don’t let that bike intimidate you. Take it slow and keep focusing on how much fun you’re having. Your confidence will come back ten-fold. Best of luck to you!

  19. I just want to say, it’s so nice to read all the supportive words you lovely ladies offer. Get back on Lindy! Look at all the angels you have around you! Prayers, you will see your love again, and may the angels of God be your wheels in this life.

  20. First of all—sorry for your loss—you’re vulnerable now so it may be the reason why you feel like that about your bike. You will see here how many of us have dropped a bike and we still ride. You love bikes and you have a heart for it, so please don’t give up. It’s always easier when you drop a bike to immediately ride it again. In your case, time had passed and your hesitance had grown. It will be more difficult now, but it’s still possible. Take your chance—only you and your bike, no friends, no advisers, etc.—just you and the road. Slowly you will regain confidence.

  21. Go get started and ride. I dropped a Gold Wing when I was four months pregnant in 1970 while learning to ride on a friend’s bike. Bought a Gold Wing in 2005, took a MSF class and triked the bike. Still riding and having a great time.

  22. I’m 55 now and a late starter to riding.I started out a Kawasaki 125 at the Freedom Road Riders course. Then I got on my Kawasaki 500 and dropped her a couple of times in the parking lot, at least hubby was there to pick her up for me. I tried getting comfortable with her until finally I got myself in a situation over my head and layed her down. That was 10/2013, had to wait until riding weather again to ride behind my husband in the “B” seat. I was RIGID! He did not know how scared I was until after the ride when I confessed to him how I was feeling. We searched and got me a Kawasaki Eliminator 125 and I rode that all last year and started to move back up to my 500 when I felt ready. I haven’t soloed on her yet, but will soon, I know.

  23. I agree with the others about taking a training class. I took one to get my license even though I had rode motorcycles since I was a kid and I still learned a lot. Then next week I bought a sportbike and it was taller (tippier) than I was used to and I dropped it three times. I was so ashamed and scared. But when I told my mom and aunt (also riders) they told me hilarious stories I never knew about dropping their own bikes. You’re not alone. Truth is everyone drops their bike at some point. The people you see riding just got back on.

  24. My sympathies for your loss first and foremost. I feel like that at the moment as I have come off twice. Once hit by someone and two weeks ago when the chain came off. The first rattled me the most and it took me the best part of a year to get my mojo back. I had panic attacks at junctions and all that jazz. Getting back on was my only way forward. I had to start straight away which is what saved me as it was my only way to get to work. My advice would be find a good bunch to ride with. My friends and partner gave me the support I needed to get going again. May seem silly but especially as my other half is still with me but I used to use his buff when I was having a bad day. Having something of his when riding solo gave me a boost. Like having him with me and being able to hear him telling me to get on with it. No idea if that was helpful but I wish you able l the luck.

  25. Please don’t let dropping the bike be the end of riding. I have been riding for 30 years and I have dropped every bike I have ever owned at least twice. I started on a Sportster and now ride a Street Glide. Staying focused and “riding your own ride” many times is the key. Practice, practice, practice is also important. I know you have already taken a class because it is required in Florida to get a license. Parking lots are good practice, but so is a neighborhood. This will give you slow speed and stop sign practice which is where you probably need it the most. I wish we were closer, I’d ride with you. Good Luck!

  26. Hey Lindy, just about everyone drops their bike at some time or another, men and women alike. It’s embarrassing for sure, but don’t let it keep you from riding especially if it’s in your heart to ride. I dropped mine in a parking lot one time and had to go ask a stranger for help picking it up. It happens. Slow riding in a parking lot is good practice. Ride Like A Pro classes are great for slow riding skills. I have a girlfriend that is a very experienced rider, and she and her husband do figure-eights and circles in their street before leaving on a ride just to get a feeling for the bike. I’m going to start doing that myself. Hope this helps and good luck to you!

  27. I was also a late starter getting my license after turning 50. I’ve put on quite a few miles, but have also had my fair share of drops. First thing is make sure your bike has a low center of gravity. That will make it much easier to handle. If you have a chance to test drive different bikes you may find your ideal size. I’ve tried quite a few different makes. I’m 5 feet 4 inches also with the shorter legs to deal with. I found Kawasakis to be quite top heavy. My old Yamaha V Star 650 was an awesome bike for my height with a good low center of gravity. Finally, I’ve ended up with an old Honda PC800 (1989) which I love for the handling and comfort. Like the others have said, a good rider training course is a must. Try not to let the drop get to you. There are two kinds of riders: those who have dropped their bikes, and those who haven’t dropped their bike… yet.

  28. Hello Lindy, So very sorry for your loss. Since your loss is still very fresh, you will be grieving for quite a while. I am sure this is playing a part in your lowered confidence level after having dropped your bike. Be sure to allow yourself adequate time to work through your grief without adding the burden of riding with doubts and fear. Lack of focus is normal while grieving, and this can obviously be dangerous on a bike. Once you have given yourself plenty of time and the pain is not so fresh, you will know when the time is right to get back out there. Once there, follow through with additional training courses and/or buying a bike that fits your needs better. Best wishes!

  29. I am sorry for your loss. I may be approaching this differently, but this is a decision you have to make for yourself. Fear is something that never goes away when on a motorcycle. I have always said that when I no longer have this fear, it’s time to get off the bike. I personally have dropped my bike twice since being in a self-induced accident that left me with a pinched nerve in the arm and a knee sliced open to the bone. I take full responsibility for that incident. I was back on the bike within three weeks, much to my husband’s dislike, with stitches still in my knee. There is no shame in riding on the back. It is still just as enjoyable and I do miss being able to just experience the ride rather than concentrating on my surroundings. I am a bit of a control freak though.Other responders suggestions are fantastic if you need that confidence boost. Take the training course, I did after my wreck. Get a smaller bike, I started on a 250cc. Ride with others that understand where you are. And so far as age, you are only as old as you feel. I hope you enjoy every day. Best wishes to you.

  30. I bought a new HD last year (much bigger and more expensive than my previous bike) and dropped it the second time I rode it. Since I was a few miles from home, I had to get it back up and ride it home. I talked to as many people as I could and replayed my actions and got a really good understanding on why I dropped it in the first place. It takes time to learn your bike. It’s OK to make mistakes, but learn from them and keep riding!

  31. Lindy,Sorry for your loss. Life will continually throw us punches. Sounds like you are not ready to stay down. I have dropped my bike three times doing exactly the same mistake all three times. My confidence takes a huge hit every time I do it, but I love the feel of riding and it brings me closer to the really great things in life. Know in your heart you can do this, and find the bike that speaks to you and feels comfortable. Take it slow and let that feelings run through your veins again and your confidence will come back. And yeah, go take the MSF course again and find your edge. Good luck to you and I hope to wave at ya on the road!

  32. I too agree with the idea of taking the MSF course. They can be a huge confidence builder. Also, find a friend to go out and ride with. Start with short rides in areas that are familiar to you. If you want to meet other women in your area that ride and can also help you overcome your fears of getting started riding again, check out the ladies at ROAR Motorcycles for Women. Kathy Tolleson, Jacki Center and all of the other staff are wonderful! They offer confidence building classes on the weekends that you may want to check into. I think the classes are free. Look them up at bike week and if you see Jacki Center tell her Johnna in WV said hello!

  33. My heart goes out to you. And I admire you for not giving up on the ride. I also lost confidence when I dropped my bike twice. First I had to figure out why I dropped it. In both cases it was because the wheel was not straight as I was starting from a stop. Additionally I did not give it enough throttle. You have to make yourself continue riding so it does not get the best of you! It does get easier and you gain confidence the more you do it.The other thing that really made a difference was the local Harley dealer’s garage party for women. They teach you how to pick up a bike and you actually get to do it while they are talking you through it. That was so empowering for me! If I could stand a Sportster up, I could definitely handle my Shadow! And after that I have never even come close to dropping mine.Best wishes to you and keep us posted on your journey.

  34. I have dropped a bike, or two, and it is deflating. I decided to not ride a bike I couldn’t pick up by myself using the proper way to pick it up (turn off fuel and backing into the down bike). I knew I needed more practice making close turns and watching curbs, etc. Be brave. Courage is doing it afraid. So, you go girl!

  35. Lindy – You go girl! You have the confidence in you. I don’t know anyone that would get their license at this age. I can’t tell you how many times I dropped my bike when I got my license. It’s very discouraging! I dropped it everywhere including my own driveway! It just takes practice to get use to how to balance it. I agree with Gail, a MSF course is a great idea. Ask a friend to ride with you (separate bikes) that way if you should drop your bike you will have help getting it back up. I bet almost everyone that rides has dropped their bike at least once. Hang in there!

  36. My sympathies for your loss. To begin with, we have all been there before. Dropping a bike is embarrassing, but recoverable. There are several things you could also consider: 1) A smaller bike. 2) A trike, but be knowledgeable that riding a trike is completely different. Can-Am Spyders are the cat’s meow. Test drove one, loved it. But pricey, maybe find a used one. I am 5 feet 2 inches and have very short legs. I have to be very careful about seat height and total weight when the gas tank is full. Feels completely different than an empty bike on the show room floor. There are smaller bikes out there that can keep up with the big boys out on the highway. Test drive, experiment,before you buy, and the MSF course IS a good idea. Hope this helps some.

  37. I agree with Gail. Move down to a smaller bike, like those that are used for the MSF courses. Take a basic class or, if you’ve a smaller bike to ride, try the Experienced instead of the basics class. The Experienced course is similar to the basics except you already have some miles and experience under your belt. I used to go to empty parking lots too and practice. Ride Like a Pro has some great videos as well that may help. You can do it!

  38. I totally agree with Gail from Philly, a great place to start is to take the MSF Rider Course. Then it is practice, practice and more practice. To improve your riding skills you need to ride and always play the what-if game. Read all the materials on motorcycling is a good practice but nothing replaces riding. Align yourself with experienced riders who will help improve your riding skills. Have fun and be safe.

  39. First off, I’m sorry for your loss. My advice for gaining confidence in yourself and your riding abilities is to take your state’s MSF course. Mastering the basics on a state-owned small motorcycle is a great beginning.

  40. Hi Lindy, I’m so sorry for your loss. I was very nervous when I first started too. My suggestion would be to stay positive. Take your bike to a safe area (empty parking lots work great) and start at the very beginning. Sit on the bike for a while. Feel the controls and where they are. Then start her up. Find the friction zone with the clutch and just rock it forward and back. When you’re comfortable there, start walking the bike forward and so on. My favorite exercise in the safety class was when they told us to ride slowly around a large oval and stop next to every cone. Then move on. For some reason that exercise changed my thinking from “I’m scared” to “Hey, this is fun.” Most importantly take your time. Don’t rush. Go at your own pace. Good luck Lindy.

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