WRNs Top 10 Things to Expect for Beginners
- You’re going to drop the bike at least once.
- You’re going to be nervous for a while.
- You’re going to get frustrated.
- You’re going to hear “crash” stories from non-riders, whether you like it or not.
- You’re going to get advice from others, whether you want it or not.
- You’re going to realize at some point that you’re not wearing properly fitting gear (sunglasses that make your eyes water, gloves that are too bulky, etc.).
- You’re going to struggle with how to manage a new hairstyle called “helmet hair.”
- You’re going to spill gasoline all over the tank at least once.
- You’re going to realize riding your own motorcycle is cooler than you ever imagined.
- You’re going to find yourself smiling a lot more.
More advice from seasoned riders in hindsight: Visit “What Id Tell My Younger Motorcyclist Self.”
Advice from Other Women Riders
Don’t Give Up If You Fail the MSF Class
“The month of March marks my one-year anniversary with my motorcycle. I used my tax refund to buy a Honda 750 Nighthawk. True, its been only one year and about 1,000 miles, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment because, as it turned out, these skills did not come very naturally to me. I failed the MSF course and dumped my bike three times (very publicly) in the first couple of months. After these humiliating experiences, I had no confidence, and I was so scared and tense while riding that I came very close to giving up. The second time around, the MSF course was a very different experience. I passed easily. This made me realize that I had gained the skills necessary to feel in control while riding. I kept practicing, and gradually my skills improved. Now riding is something I enjoy and look forward to.”
Star Anderson, Atlanta, Ga.
More great advice on failing, as well as getting asked to leave the MSF class, in our Your Questions Answered section.
Getting In Tune With Your Bike
“I am very happy to announce that I am finally one with my bike. My Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide and I have formed a bond that is hard to describe. All the patience and practice has finally paid off. If someone told me a couple of years ago that Id be riding down Main Street at Daytona Bike Week on my own Harley and loving every second of it, I would have referred them to the loony bin! But Ill be darned if I didn’t do it! My message to you is this: If you’re just starting out, or if at times you lose your confidence and think you can’t do it, I’m living proof that with time, patience and practice, you can do it. Just hang in there and don’t give up!”
Linda Pesheck, Eden Prairie, Minn.
Perseverance Through the Resistance
“I am a 55-year-old married woman who decided, for reasons not fully understood, to ride a motorcycle. Now, in my family, such a desire bordered on the incredulous. No one I knew—close friend or family member—rode motorcycles, and the idea of a woman taking up the activity was way out there. Sheer courage and perseverance kept me on the path to realizing my dream. Following the successful completion of the MSF course, I purchased not one but two bikes on my own counsel. Along the journey I have met contempt and kindness, but much to my surprise, most people are intrigued with my interest in motorcycling. I am still in the process of overcoming the intimidation of this once male-dominated sport, but each time I turn over the engine, I am one step closer to freedom.”
Christine Armbrecht, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Motorcycling is Life Changing
“My first bike was a red Honda Shadow VLX that I bought new after getting my motorcycle license. From that day on, my life changed. I changed. Until I discovered motorcycle riding, I never really had an outlet to express myself or an interest that touched my spirit and permeated my entire being. Riding gave my life new meaning and purpose. Being a woman rider added to my self-esteem and put me in a unique category. We are a rare breed. I remember being out riding one day and seeing a teenage girl in the car in front of me turn in her seat to check me out. She was out with a bunch of friends, and they all did a double take when they saw I was a she. The girl gave me the thumbs up and shouted, You represent us! That made me feel especially proud, and I was grinning all the way home.”
Elissa Dominianni, Selden, N.Y.
“When I am on my bike, I feel free. I think about the freedom that women have in the United States and how wonderful it is. I think about how sad it is that women in other parts of the world are not allowed to feel this kind of freedom. Every time I pass by a military vehicle, I give them a biker wave. I know that they are part of the reason why I can jump on my very own Harley-Davidson and ride down the road with no fear and go anywhere I want to go. I love it!”
Judy Weed, Tallahassee, Ala.
Joy in the Front Seat
“I am 52 years old, but when I get on my bike, I feel like I’m 30. I would recommend that other women who are riding behind their husbands get their own bikes. Its a freedom that’s unexplainable. I am a happy woman biker in Oklahoma and proud of it.”
Linda Robertson, Vinita, Okla.
Life Confidence Builder
“I am now in my 27th year of riding and thoroughly enjoy it. While I don’t always get to put as many miles on my motorcycle as I would like, I don’t intend to give it up anytime soon. Even the years that I was pregnant or raising three children, I would at least get a few Sunday rides in throughout the summer. My husbands support and the MSF classes have helped me tremendously in becoming a more confident person—both on and off the bike.”
Donna Bennett, Sacramento, Calif.
Need some encouragement or advice from other women riders? Visit the Beginners section of the WRN Forum.
Want some advice from seasoned veteran riders on a particular subject? Visit our Your Questions Answered section.
Looking for more information on how to get started? Return to the WRN Beginner’s Guide.
95 thoughts on Beginners Guide: Testimonials & Advice
This article is great. I’m taking my course at Harley-Davidson soon as I’ve been wanting to learn to ride for years but am finally going for it this year.
Thank you for this site! I am just beginning the thought process and I have worried about all of these things. Already, I have courage thanks to these posts. Now…to keep it…I will come back and post someday. After I dump it at least three times publicly and all the other things I read.
Good luck Lynda! You will find an amazing support group of women in motorcycling that will encourage you along your journey. It’s one of the best things about riding!Welcome to the “club.” We’re glad you found us too.Please sign up for our free monthly newsletter here, where you will be the first to know about new stories posted and where you’ll receive some special offers for our newsletter subscribers.
I love this site! I passed my MSF class with a perfect score (after dropping the bike practicing the quick stop) two weeks ago. Prior to that, I bought a Kawasaki Ninja 400 and couldn’t wait to get on it! Needless to say, the Ninja was a totally different feel than the Kawasaki Eliminator I took the class on. After one awkward ride around my apartment complex, I finally got more comfortable with the Ninja’s sensitive controls. I am so happy I went with the lighter Ninja over the Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 I was originally looking at. Plus, racing has always been in my blood so I use getting good enough to participate in a track day as motivation to get on my bike every evening, even if it is just riding through my parking lot. I love reading all the stories and informative articles…this is truly a wonderful site for the female rider!
Thank you MJ. Congratulations on passing the course and buying your first motorcycle! We wish you many happy years of safe riding.
I was a passenger for more than 3 years on my boyfriend’s bike. Before I met him, the one and only time I was ever on a bike was when I was about 8 years old and went around the block on my Mom’s friend’s bike. Riding wasn’t even on my radar. As a passenger, I was content. I enjoyed riding with my boyfriend, but never thought to learn myself until he suggested that I take the MSF course.I took the course and surprised myself by passing the test. However, I still didn’t purchase my bike for about a year and a half after I got my motorcycle license. I wanted to start small. I sat on a lot of bikes before I found the bike that was my perfect fit—a 2016 Suzuki TU250X in burnt orange. When I bought my bike I was very nervous. I practiced in a parking lot with my boyfriend to re-learn what I was taught at the MSF course. Gradually, I went from a parking lot to small neighborhood roads, to main roads, to highways. (Yes, my 250 can manage highways, but I don’t travel them often or long.)I’ve been riding for about 5 months now and have already put 3,000 miles on my bike. Now I ride more than my boyfriend does! There is something about being on your own bike. I love my bike, the ride, and the looks from people when they realize that the rider is a girl!
I passed my MSF course a few weeks ago. The weekend afterwards I bought my very first motorcycle, a Honda CB300F ABS. I won’t lie, I’m terrified when I think about all the things that could go wrong, but exhilarated when I ride. I’m 51 and only rode a very small scooter a few times in college. My original plan was to buy a larger scooter for running errands and making the short trip to my best friend’s house, less than 3 miles away. I’ve been on the back of his bike a few times (Triumph Tiger), and we recently visited the Isle of Man for the TT. He had been working on me to get a “proper bike” (he’s British). His friends in the UK, even their teenage children said the same.I was convinced I wouldn’t pass the course and before the end of the second day, had already concocted a plan to buy a bike, spend a few months practicing riding in parking lots and then taking the course again. I managed to pass the course much to my surprise. I’m taking short rides around my neighborhood and building up my confidence. I’m progressing much faster than I expected and love every minute on my bike.
We all need encouragement! I am a new rider, began last summer. My husband has taught me everything I know. I began on the driveway, learning the clutch and brake on a 1976 Honda GL 1000. Then I moved to the parking lot, then the neighborhood, then the street, then the highway. I am proud to say that I attended my first bike week with my husband this month in Myrtle Beach and I handled myself like a pro. I am so proud to be a woman rider alongside (not in back) of my husband. We rode twice a day every day and I didn’t do anything embarrassing. Scheduled to get my license in August upon passing the course.
I need words of encouragement. I have a Honda Shadow 600 and my friend took the class and got the same bike. She’s been riding and when I try catching up when we ride with our friends, I struggle. I’m frustrated with myself and jealous of how she is riding really great. I have thought about selling my bike but my husband and daughter said not to. I do want to get better and do it for myself but I don’t know what to think or feel. One minute I want to just do this mostly for myself even I have to ride alone.
Some people pick up motorcycling more quickly than others for a variety of reasons and it’s important that we don’t compare ourselves to anyone else’s progress. I’m happy to hear that your friend learned to ride by taking a class. Perhaps you could benefit from a class yourself. Even if you’ve already taken it and passed, it can’t hurt to get a refresher.Instead of becoming jealous of your friend’s skills, why not look to her as a riding buddy who you can learn from? No matter who got into motorcycling first, we need to encourage and learn each other. If your friends expect you to keep up, then I’d consider finding new riding buddies or ride alone until you find some. Most likely, though, if you explain how you’re feeling to them they will encourage you and make sure that you aren’t being left behind.
Dear WRN, I love your articles! Every time I have a read, there is great advice or something that I can relate to. Today I went out on my second big ride. I dropped my bike twice, and then the police pulled me over to do a breath alcohol test. As I was pulling in the police had to move some of their traffic cones out of the way, luckily they thought it was hilarious! So to all you new bike riding ladies out there just keep on riding cause it can only get better!
Thanks for the kind feedback Kim. We sincerely appreciate it. Blessings to you as you enjoy the motorcycling journey.
These articles are awesome! Motivating, and the comments are even better. I myself am new to riding (three months), but it has been cold and rainy so I’m not doing much riding. I aced my riding course then decided to go for a ride. I got so nervous I felt sick. Then my neighbor yells out to me, “give me 45 minutes and we will go get some coffee!” So we did. I took another rider course through Harley and felt even more confident. I have been on three rides now on my own—each time I feel more confident. Yes, I still stall sometimes on take-off but I am never scared. Love it! Here is to 2017 ladies!
After being a passenger for many years, I finally took the MSF course and passed. I have a bike and when I take it to practice in the parking lot I get nervous. I’ve dropped it and it costs a lot of money to get it fixed and I’m so nervous I will have another drop.My boyfriend rides my bike to the lot, and all three times we went he yelled at me to go faster. He makes fun of my speed and mocks me until I stop and get off my bike.I am so frustrated. All I need is time to get my comfort on the bike but I cannot get past the yelling. Are there any women riders in the San Antonio area that I can ride with? I am going to try to ride alone but would really like to have someone there for support.
First, congratulations on passing the MSF course! You successfully learned the basics of motorcycling. Now, as you know, you need time to get comfortable riding in the safety of the parking lot on your bike before venturing out onto the road.You didn’t mention what kind of motorcycle you have, but consider purchasing something smaller and lighter so that you can concentrate on riding instead of “not crashing.” Please read through our article about choosing your first bike for some tips here.You might also consider asking a certified RiderCoach for some private instruction. Your boyfriend is not helping you in any way whatsoever by mocking and yelling at you. You need someone who will be helpful and supportive, someone who will offer advice and coaching that works for you. Call your school to ask if there are an instructors who offer private instruction.Good luck and be safe.
Thanks so much for this article! It was exactly what I needed right now. I am 58 and just got the bike bug. I took the Basic RiderCourse last weekend, passing the written test but failing the riding test miserably. I had never been on a motorcycle (except as a passenger) before this course. I was devastated but am not giving up. I am not a quitter, and feel grateful that the instructors allowed me to keep going, even though I struggled at first with doing the walking-start, shifting, and losing my way on the course, as well as stalling the bike.I am getting a 2003 Yamaha V Star 650 in a couple of weeks, but it will be “winterized” until Spring 2017. At that time, I will take the DMV written test and get my instruction permit. I will then practice with my brother, who has ridden a lot. We’ll do parking lot maneuvers and do some short trips before I take my driving test to get my license.I will report back once I’m an official card-carrying motorcycle rider!Thank you for all you do for women riders!
I am a proud owner of the most beautiful Harley-Davidson, a Rocker C. I took my beginners course after never sitting on a bike of my own even once. I aced the written, the class, and the driving test. I got my endorsement and low and behold, got on my new Harley for the first time the day after, hubby on the back sweating bullets, and I didn’t crash it, but almost ran into a mailbox turning the nearly 700-pound dream machine. I am so frustrated, but I will not give up. I’m going to do some more practicing until my bike is in my comfort zone come hell or high water. Ladies don’t give up. I will update when I’ve mastered riding it.
These stories of other women riders truly warms my heart. Even in a big city like Seattle, actually seeing a woman rider is rare. When I ride, I constantly get grins and thumbs up from both sexes. So if you’re just starting out, don’t get discouraged. If you’ve never ridden a motorbike in your life, expect it to be a challenge but look at your sisters! We’ve all been through that challenge and made it out the other side. With perseverance, you will achieve your dream of riding and there’s nothing to top that!
I needed to read this article this morning! Was trying to decide whether to ride or drive to a family visit only 300 miles away. (I’ve ridden much farther alone, so that’s not the issue.)Thank you for this wonderful and very timely article. I’m packing to ride now!
Awesome! I’ve been riding for 55 years. I’m 60 years old and loving it as always.Just get on and ride.
Thank you for all that you post.I’m a new rider—again. It has been 20 years since I rode and I only rode in a small village. I now own a customized Honda CB 750 Custom inline four. And I live in the city. I take my MST on July 21.Yes, I’m nervous!
I first started riding 15 years ago when my 61-year -old mother got her second motorcycle, a BMW. My hubby told me I was too short to ride (I am 4 feet 6 inches tall) so I bought my mom’s old bike,a Yamaha Virago 750, and showed him! He shortened it up and I loved that bike except on long trips. I wanted a bigger engine. So I bought a Yamaha Virago 1100 and we shortened that bike up with 11-inch shocks and other modifications. I loved that bike and rode it 10 years until my hubby bought me a 2014 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited for my birthday in 2014. I love, love, love my Spyder. I love being in the open air and riding confidently. Sadly I lost my hubby in March to a heart attack. My Spyder has given me the freedom to continue riding without fear or tipping over. I will continue to ride and enjoy this wonderful sport. If you are having trouble with your riding, please be patient with yourself. Try and find a ladies group to ride with. Sometimes it is easier to be with other women when you are first learning as we tend to me more patient with each other. When we ride in groups with guys and gals my hubby would always have the newbies ride behind me in my group as I would carefully lead them along at their speed with much patience. This was on two and three wheels. So don’t give up!
To any woman thinking about riding, go for it. I started in my mid-30s and wish I had started sooner. For some reason, I had this huge desire to learn how to ride a motorcycle and to drive a manual car. I had always wanted to ride a motorcycle but had never pursued it. Taking the MSF class was a great introduction. I bought a Harley, was discouraged because I couldn’t ride it! I then bought a smaller bike, a Suzuki S40 (Savage) and learned on that bike. I traded that it for my FZ-09 and couldn’t be happier. If that bike that you have is too big, you might get discouraged. Don’t worry about starting small on a Rebel or Ninja 300. The lighter the bike, the more confidence you might get and the easier it may be for you, especially if you are a smaller female.
Thank you for this article. I myself got my licence and due to a few falls did not unfortunately get back on as my confidence just went out the window. After reading this, it has made me reconsider going for my bike license and getting back on my bike. Thank you
Loved this article. I have been riding for six summers this year and started on a 600 Honda Shadow 1995. Sold that after the first year and bought a 2003 750 Honda Shadow. Rode that for a few years and now own my dream bike, the Indian Scout. It was a toss up for me as I was thinking about a Can-Am Spyder as it has three wheels but test rode the Scout and never looked back.
Hey. I’m 56 years old. Aways been on the back of a bike, so I made a bucket list two years ago and the first one was to try and get my bike license. I took the course and passed with ease. I bought a 250 Honda Rebel and have not looked back.I admit I have dropped my bike a few times but got back on it. I’m in the process of building a trike, a 1100 Gold Wing. Can’t wait. I love the freedom I have when I’m out riding. I’m still a bit nervous but in time I know it will pass. Every time I see a lady rider my head and confidence goes up. Thanks for all the great advice and knowledge your site offers.
I pick up my new bike on Friday and am SO EXCITED! I used to ride my own bike back in the late 80s but have been a passenger for a very long time now. My hubby rides a Harley Softail, and I told him there’s no way I’m starting big. I just bought a Honda Rebel 250 because I’m so rusty. I want to start out small and easy. That’s my question to the ladies, why are you starting out riding such big bikes? I hesitated at the Harley 500 because I need to feel comfortable and in control. Have any of you gals that are scared tried a smaller bike?
This article is fabulous. Just what I needed to read. I’m a new rider and absolutely loving it. I’m in the practice and patience phase. I’m setting myself weekly goals. Thanks Women Riders Now for your great info.
With the help of this website and the encouragement of the only other lady rider I know, I finally overcame my reservations of learning to ride. I had wanted to learn since I was a teenager, but for one reason or another I never did. Then I found WRN and am a proud newbie rider at 40 years old! I have less than a year of riding and less then 200 miles in the seat. But I love the feeling of riding my own, next to my husband! Articles like this helped me bite the bullet and go out and do it! Thanks WRN for helping this lady rider and so many more!
Cindy,Thank YOU for letting us know that we’ve helped in the way that we did. It is feedback like this that motivates me to continue serving our readers in the way that my team and I do. All the best to you as embark on the incredible new adventure as a motorcycle rider.
I’m in the process of finding and buying my first bike. I’m so glad I found your website as it has given me the encouragement I need to move forward with my dream of riding! The stories and advice have been soooooo inspiring! Thank you WRN!!
You are so welcome Evelyne. Good luck to you and keep us posted.
I’m a 62-year-old lady rider who began riding at 16 and still loves it. I sold my Harley-Davidson Softail four years ago but longed for another. My partner recently surprised me with a Harley-Davidson Sportster and she is wonderful. The ride is different and at first I felt very anxious, but time is moving and my confidence is back. Problem is, listening to many people — who have never ridden — express their thoughts about me being “silly” and “too old” concerned me too. But I’m fit and simply don’t want to be in a rocking chair admiring my knitting. I will make the call to stop when I believe that I am struggling.I must admit, it has taken time to get the negative thoughts out of the way.Just love my new bike “Harpo.” I’ll post a photo very soon… when I’m off it.
This website and articles are great. I’m glad I found this. I have always wanted to ride and now went for it. I have been riding since July 2015 and passed my MSF in September 2015. Oh and did I mention I’m a two-year breast cancer survivor? Was told many times I could not ride due to “medical reasons” but I craved it. I could not imagine getting on a bike when I was diagnosed. I wondered how’d I’d handle it. Support, support, support, and a good cheering team (of course doctor OK’d).My husband bought me a Suzuki Savage 650 and she and I (and husband) are now having a great time. Nerves are par for the course and boy I have had some, but these articles have answers a lot of my questions. I have to say to all my cancer sisters (and all other women) out there, if you feel you can ride, go for it!
After riding on the back of my husband’s bike for the last several years, and many times thinking (and saying), “I really think I could ride my own,” then seeing a 60-plus-year year-old woman glide by us on her Road King about a month ago (I’m 42) my decision was made.Got my permit two weeks ago – learning on a Sportster in a parking lot with my husband, and taking the MSF course next weekend! Hubby bought me a 2008 Fat Bob which I am now in love with and am so excited (and nervous) to be able to ride on my own. These articles are so encouraging and helpful. Thank you.
You are so welcome Jenn. We’re excited for you. Keep us posted!
I am 43. I passed the MSF course (we trained in the rain for 10 hours straight on day two, dumped it twice/each leg got a nice little crush. I pushed through and felt very proud of myself for not giving up. But now it’s been one month, and I have a beauty of a bike calling to me from the garage. I’m nervous, and doubting my ability. I know I can do this. I did this before, right? Reading advice and first hand experiences are helping to get my courage up. Let’s do this! Thanks.
Thank you for this article. Last November, my husband bought me a 1988 Harley-Davidson and it is beautiful. I got my permit and finally got the courage up to have him show me how to ride. I rode around an empty parking lot and didn’t do so bad but my nerves were in high gear. I plan on taking the class to get my license but I still want to feel a little more comfortable on the bike. After reading this article, I am glad to see that this is pretty normal. I thought maybe I’m not supposed to ride, but I will keep trying and I figure it should get easier as I go. Thank you for all of this input.
I found the information that these women share very encouraging.
Thanks for the great article. I’m a new 50 year old rider who took several classes including MSF and one-on-one lessons to learn and get comfortable riding. I did great! But now I’m having a super hard time transferring from the small cruisers I trained on to the small Kawasaki Ninja sport bike I bought. My confidence seems to be tanking but I’m trying to not give up. These articles are great in letting me know that I’m not alone.
I am 51 years old and have been a passenger rider since I’ve met my husband. Being a passenger rider, I’ve enjoyed seeing different cities, towns, country sides. But in the last few months, I’ve been itching to ride my own bike. I’ve finally gotten the courage to take the riding course in April. I am nervous but I want to know if I can be my own rider or just a passenger rider. Wish me luck!
Congratulations on your decision to be a front seat rider. Be sure to continue to read all the helpful articles on WRN. Keep us posted on your progress.
I love reading all the comments from other lady riders – I am not a natural rider either – I have to work at everything but my husband has been very supportive of me by finding ways to make it easier. Because of not being very comfortable with speed he had me go in front of him so we drive what I am comfortable with. I did drop my bike and I also had a bike that I fought with the whole time driving it, hen I sat on a 1998 Fat Boy and it was like the choir stood up and sang. I traded my v650 for this and since then I have started to get that feeling of freedom and also feel like I am progressing instead of fighting. After a year of driving 14,000 km I can’t wait for spring this year to start. Thanks for a great site and information.
I had to take to MSF course twice to pass and was doing well, but then dumped my bike and broke my big toe. Could not ride for a couple of months as it was my shifting foot that was injured. Got back on after three months and then my husband tells me I am not a “natural rider” but he will be supportive, but he likes to go fast. I am not comfortable going “fast”– which is over 55 to 60 mph for me. I did not ride any more in 2013 or in 2014; I no longer felt comfortable riding with my husband because I was holding him back from having a good time.My riding confidence is at an all time low. No, it doesn’t come easy for me, but I love the feeling of riding my own bike and I will be out there again. I am going to have to find a women’s group to ride with. Always ride your own ride.
Denise,Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I admire your determination and fortitude to keep on going and to not let others discourage you. Everyone will have an opinion about how we ride, especially those close to us who think they are helping with their comments.You said it best: ride your own ride. Go at your own pace. Don’t ride fast if you don’t feel like it. I don’t like to ride fast and I’ve been riding for 25 years! It seems everyone wants to go fast and that riding fast is some measurement of being a good rider. Continue riding at a pace that makes you comfortable and yes, if you can find a women’s riding group that is nurturing and supportive for new riders, which many are, then spend your time with them. Here is our list of women’s riding groups. Just know you are doing the right thing by taking your time and going at your own pace. Keep a positive attitude and enjoy every moment you are on your motorcycle. Here are two other articles that might be of some help for you:Getting Back on Bike After AccidentYou Flunked the Class: No What?
I have ridden as a passenger for a couple years. I took the MSF course this summer (passed) and got an 883 Sportster Custom for Christmas. Other than the course and about one hour total on my bike — I like saying that — “my bike” — that is the extent of my riding experience.This article and the comments left me in tears and more determined than ever. I still have trouble spot: pulling out in a curve into traffic and right hand sharp/low speed turns give me anxiety for some unknown reason, but I am determined to take my time and practice practice practice until I get this down. Thank you for this incredible resource for women. All my rider friends are 30 year veteran male riders and they just look at me in bewilderment when I explain something I’m having trouble with, i.e. no help at all. So, I rely on this website and its information and articles for practical, technical, and emotional support. Thank you for being there.
What a wonderful article and I was glad to see the author return to MSF for a retake. My classes average about 40 percent women and they are much better learners and riders than the men. My biggest tip to women, don’t let some man pick your bike for you; pick one based on your experience level and if you’re a novice buy a small 250cc bike from classifieds will only run you about $1500, and the confidence you gain will be worth tons on the larger bike you buy afterwards.
I enjoyed the encouraging words… some things I needed to hear from other women who struggled in the beginning. I passed the MSF course but this has not come naturally to me. I jumped the gun and bought my dream bike (HD Iron 883) and on the first ride completely miscalculated the clutch and ran off the road in a nice pile of soft dirt. Luckily for me the bike is 100 percent unharmed and I had a few bruises and a hurt ego with an audience. I thought about hanging up my dream and selling my bike before I total it. My confidence is at an all time low and just want to master my turns and stop and goes. After reading this, I am going to have more patience in myself and hope me and my bike can find each other along the way.
I just want you to know you’re not alone. My husband joined a social riding club. I saw his patch and said “I want my own.” I got a Harley-Davidson Iron 883, took the course and passed, and now I’m scared to death. I dropped it twice in the beginning. I only had a few months of getting out and riding. I am determined. I want my girls to know it doesn’t matter how old they are, what matters is that they dream and they can do it. Overcoming my fear has been the biggest thing. I don’t know how I will do it, but I will.
I did it! I did it! I passed my motorcycle class, this weekend! Those two days were the most fun I have ever had and the most challenging at times. I learned important information in the class time and I gained so much confidence in the actual riding part. I can do this. I will ride my bike soon. I now find myself driving in my car and asking myself, “What would you about this or that if you were on your bike?” So if there is anyone out there that is thinking about riding and need that little push, take the course, go for it. Stay tuned because I will be back on WRN with my own stories of my two wheeled adventures! I am so excited!
Congratulations Dana! We’re excited for you. The adventure begins for you! We’ll look forward to receiving your story. Be sure to sign up for the WRN Newsletter so you never miss a story we post. Also be sure to visit the Your Questions Answered section on WRN for lots more information and advice from other readers.
I have had my bike, Kawasaki Drifter 800, for more than a year now. I have been around my yard on it a handfull of times. Every time I get on it and kick it into first gear, my heart starts pounding in my chest with nervousness and I start asking myself, “Will I ever be able to ride on my own?” My husband is getting tired of seeing the bike sit in the front yard and me not riding. I am getting tired of seeing it in the front yard and not riding. I have planned over the last year to take the MSF course and every time there was the money, something else had to be paid. I feel I need the course to gain the confidence to ride. My husband feels like I need to ride in the yard to gain the confidence. Long story short, as of yesterday I am signed up to take the course this weekend! Talk about a bunch of nerves, and excitement. For years I would be sitting in my car/truck and see a pack of motorcycles go by and start wishing, “Lord, I would like to find someone to go riding with.” Fast forward several years and I found my now husband. He has been riding for years. We started riding together every chance we had. He saw my excitement and my love for it and suggested one day, “Why don’t you get your license and ride your own.” What?! It was that statement that lit the light bulb.”I can do that!” I started noticing all the female riders at the various events we attended, read everything I could find on the internet about women riders, including WRN. I want so much to do this. I want to get over the fear. I want to feel the wind on my face. I want to experience the confidence of succeeding when others are telling me I can’t. I want to show my granddaughters and daughters to go for your dreams. Don’t wait for someone to ride with, do it for yourself. Wish me luck, only three more days to get through before I will know if I can do it. I am 47 years old.
Hi Dana,Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad you’re taking the MSF course. We highly recommend that you take the class before buying a motorcycle. Not only do you learn the needed skills to operate a motorcycle, but you also gain a sense of what type of motorcycle you may want as your first bike. That said, I’m glad you’re finally doing it.Please visit our Your Questions Answered section on WRN. Readers just like yourself have asked a variety of questions and other readers respond. There is excellent advice here. Here’s a link to the Your Questions Answered section.All the best to you!
I started riding on my own 12 years ago after being a passenger on hubby’s bike for just as long. Nothing irritated me more than having to stay home with the kids while he went for a ride!My first bike was a Honda Rebel 250 that a friend learned on. I kept that for a year, then sold it to a friend so she could learn too. I bought a Honda VLX 600, and rode that for nine years. Last year I traded it for a Honda Aero 750, and hubby traded his 85 Honda Shadow for a Shadow Spirit 1100. We love to ride together, alone, or with our 17-year-old daughter as a passenger. We belong to the Moose Riders at our local Moose Lodge and ride for fundraisers. It’s been a great activity that we enjoy doing together, and great therapy to ride alone.Ladies — if you have any idea of riding on your own, try it. Take the class and see if you like it. You can always get a cheap bike. If you don’t like it, you’re not out much. But if you love it, it opens up a whole new world for you!
I’ve been riding solo since 2003 though I had ridden dirt bikes and the tiny little Honda’s owned by my brother-in-laws way back in the day. I’m on my fourth bike and still own the last two. I started on the Harley Sportster 883, graduated to the Harley Dyna Low Rider, on to the Softail Deluxe (still own) and last year my husband bought me the Harley Road King CVO that I fell in love with while on a trip to AR and having service done to the Softail. I can relate to the story by the young lady above when she said a group of girls turned, saw her and gave her the thumbs up. On countless occasions I’ve had women pass me, slow down, roll the window down and smile, take pictures, give me the thumbs up, etc. The most recent and touching was on a trip across Arizona in June. I noticed an SUV in the left lane with tinted windows kept passing then slowing down only to pass again. Finally the rear window rolled down and a little girl that looked to be about 6 or 7 was watching out the window. When she saw that I had seen her she started waving and smiling, so of course I waved and smiled back. Her dad was behind the wheel and was watching, smiling and talking to her. Somehow I believe that little girl will ride some day.
I took and passed my first MSF course about 15 years ago. However I let too much time lapse between passing and buying a bike that by the time I had my Suzuki Savage my confidence was long gone. I tried taking the bike out for a run but it was totally nerve wracking especially on the streets of Queens, NYC. I think I went around the block and parked it back in front of my building and a few days later I put an ad in the paper and sold my bike. Fast forward to three years ago I was turning 50 and wanted to do something special and because wanting to ride a motorcycle never really left me I signed up at Harley-Davidson for the Rider’s Edge course and passed! This time around I bought my bike before I signed up and now living in the suburbs was going to make it easier. It was a Honda VLX 600cc; she was perfect to start on; she fit my 5-foot-2 frame like a glove. The first thing I bought for her were engine guards because I knew I was going to drop her and I did three times while practicing in a parking lot which I did every Sunday! I enjoyed her that season and by the end of that first season I was ready to upgrade, so she was sold. The following season I bought a 2007 Honda Sabre 1100cc, awesome beautiful bike, however she was a bit too big, wide in the frame and top heavy. I realized I got a bit over zealous and didn’t think it through. The power I could handle but she just was too bulky for me, and believe me I did some mods to try to get her to fit but alas she had me beat so I sold her. I was determined to find a bike just right for me and last season I found her. She is a 2005 Suzuki Boulevard C50 800cc, beautiful, comfortable and incredibly easy to handle. I was/am in love with this bike. So this is my Goldilocks story: first too small, second too big, third just right! I don’t get to ride as often as I like too but I do every chance I get! I was determined not to give up and you shouldn’t either.
I always loved Harleys as a kid, I was a total tomboy and into everything that had an engine. I spent lots of time with my dad in the car shop he worked in. Then when I grew up, my love for motorcycles was pushed back by other things in life. A few years ago I briefly dated a guy who rode a Harley and I would go for rides with him. I loved it.The relationship was short lived and when we broke up, I was really upset which made me confused, because I wasn’t really head over heels in love with him anyway… so I was wondering why I was so upset and suddenly it dawned on me that I was upset about the bike more than about the guy! I was upset I wouldn’t be riding with him anymore! So that day I decided to work toward getting my own. It took me three years of saving money. I did the riding course and got my license in the meantime. Finally last summer I bought my bike. After a long search and sitting on what felt like a gazillion bikes, I found the one – Suzuki Boulevard C50. Earlier I was convinced I would start with a Honda Shadow, but none of the ones I sat on felt right. Finally one day, after listening to me ramble about what I want my bike to be like and what custom stuff I am planing to put on it, Whitey from Formula 1 Motorsports in Oakdale, New York, smiled and said “Come with me, I have the bike for you.” The moment I sat on her, it felt like we were meant to be! Just like that. I sat on her and I knew that she was my bike. The first ride on the day I picked her up was a life changing experience. I was very nervous and extremely excited. But I never felt more alive… I went with a friend who is an experienced biker because it made me feel safer. When we finally pulled up to the garage I did a victory dance that consisted mostly of me jumping up and down, singing and being ridiculous. But riding just made my heart sing.To me, nothing compares to the thrill of riding my own. Nothing. Almost a year later, I still consider myself a newbie and I still get nervous in big traffic sometimes. But more often than not I am thrilled and grinning from ear to ear. I usually get very positive reactions from fellow bikers, drivers and people waiting at the lights. But it’s usually little girls getting really excited when they see a girl riding that make my day.
I started my own journey with motorcycle riding two years ago after many years of telling everyone, including my sons, that motorcycles were horrible! I have been a conservative careful woman my entire 50-some-odd years. Then I met and fell head-over-heels in love with a man who loves all things with two wheels. My children thought I was crazy but I began riding with him as a passenger and loved the rush I got on the back of his motorcycle. Well after getting me thoroughly hooked on riding with him he began to ride less and less. Finally, he bought the bike he has always wanted, a Harley Davidson Street Glide, that is not very passenger friendly. Now I know this man loves me more than life itself but I got the message that maybe he did not want to ride two up with me anymore. I was left with a choice: never ride again or learn to ride on my own. It was with a lot of self doubt that I chose to take my MSF course in April. That course was challenging, exciting and frustrating all rolled into two days! The morning of the second day I almost did not go back and started that day off terrible. Everything I could do on Saturday I could not get right on Sunday. The only thing that saved me was some of the other students encouraging me to stay with it.The sense of pride and accomplishment I felt when I passed the driving portion of my class later that day only loosing eight points (you can lose 20 and still pass) on the course was incredible! Then I took that written test and got a 100 percent! Needless to say I was riding high! The only downside that day was that the other lady rider in my class failed her riding portion ending up totally off the course at one point. Today I will be going with my husband (the head-over-heels one) to pick up my first motorcycle! I am purchasing a bike I never thought I would own until I spoke to another lady rider who told me that her advice was to go with a bigger bike from the beginning because my skills would progress fast with dedication and I would “outgrow” a little bike quickly. My first bike will be the Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Low. I was amazed how well balanced the bike appears to be which makes the weight (550-pound-ish) feel manageable. As one of the ladies here said my plan is to only use the horsepower I can handle as I begin my riding career. It is great to hear other success stories here as I begin my own lady rider adventure!
Felt good when I read articles written by lady bikers! I actually was suprised when I did not see as many women bikers on the streets of USA! I am from Nepal where women are (was when I left in 2003) still wrapped in their traditional 10 yards of materials and sat sideways behind their husbands and got transported as passengers from A to B. My learning to ride was out of need. I needed a transport; scooter was too small. I could not make use 100 percent use of the vehicle I had; I needed something in between. I dared to do what nobody in my country had done yet. First was Chinese chopper with extended wheel in front. Quality was bad. Now I know it was a chopper, then I did not. Then I upgraded to Kawasaki Eliminator. Being a rider was like another personality came out of me. Confident, strong and empowered, very different than the one I usually am…in skirt, bangles, lipstick! My sons had their noses as big as sweet potatoes! They got Super Mom. Great experience! I am dying to have the same experience here in USA. Endorsement in two days!
For many years I talked about getting on a bike but never made it happen. I’m 42 and there isn’t a better time than now! I went to the DMV two weeks ago and passed the written permit examine. Once I did that it was a huge rush to know that after all the years of talking about it I was one step closer to joining other women riders. I then got online to find the dates for the motorcycle class. I couldn’t fill the paperwork quick enough. I received a call confirming the date I had selected. My course is 4/26 – 4/27. The stars must be aligned for me! I started asking around for a motorcycle and came across a great deal that I couldn’t pass up. I am so flipping excited! I will post after I get my license.
Congratulations to you and best wishes in the class! Keep us posted. Consider joining the WRN Forum to connect with other women riders on a variety of topics.
I am 52 years young and wanted to learn to ride so I took the MSF course in August 2013 and passed.I wanted a small bike to start on so I purchased a used Honda shadow 600 VLX. I love my Shadow. I rode every day after getting it. Took baby steps and went out for longer rides every time I went out, although I only got to ride for about a month, month-and-a-half due to winter. I was hooked. I loved every minute. My husband always said when he rides it puts him in a better state of mind. Now I know how that feels. There is something about being on a motorcycle that just feels unreal. And as one reader said, you find yourself smiling all the time. As a female rider I do get lots of looks and doublet-takes. My children think I’m nuts. But would not give it up for anything. Can’t wait till weather breaks.Taking the MFS course was the best thing ever. You’re never to old to learn to ride; there was a woman in my class who was 63. Go for it girl!
I am now seven months and 1,500+plus miles in on my new adventure. I am happy to report that, yes, I dropped my bike more than once. Going slow is way more difficult than cruising speed but I am much more confident now than I was last summer. It’s been a journey, one that has been full of challenges, like overcoming my fears but I am meeting them head on and loving it! I bought a 2012 Kawasaki Versys and can’t wait to see where the rest of my journey will take me. Thank you to all the ladies who contribute here. It has been very helpful!
Forty years after being a passenger on boyfriend’s bike, I decided to take the MSF training course. I was counseled out after 3.5 hours: too many people (mostly male) and not enough confidence. Three private lessons (four hours total) later I was hooked. Hopped on a 250 to do figure eights on the range. My only regret was that I waited until October to take the class. Now have to wait until spring to get back on a bike. By then I will have my own. Thanks to Don and his staff for not giving up on me. Life-changing seems like a cliche, but it’s true. Counting the days until April!Thanks so much for this site. I check in weekly. Feel like a junkie getting my fix!
Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. I am retaking the safety course this Wednesday I have my license just not my confidence. From reading WRN I am realizing where I went wrong the first time and am looking forward to this new adventure. I will keep you posted. And I look forward to becoming apart of this awesome group of women riders.
I was ready to give up my ’07 Street Glide, because I was nervous riding it and believed it was too heavy. Thank god I found this magazine! Genevieve’s story about her Street Glide gave me the courage to stick with it. I am now getting making some changes, not only with my bike but also my mindset. I know that I would have regretted trading my bike for something smaller. I am excited to try the techniques given in the articles to make me a better, safer rider. Thank you ladies for the inspiration!
Just passed my MSA on Saturday and did my first solo ride on Sunday. All I can say is awesome! I was smiling the whole time. Wish I had had the courage and the idea to do this in my 20s. I’m now in my late 50s but it ain’t over ’till it’s over! Struggling with the decision on what to buy for my first bike. I want a light, low cc bike for developing my skills but also want a bike that can handle the highway without whining too much. Any words of advice would be appreciated.
Check out our Beginner’s Guide for the section on Choosing Your First Motorcycle.
I think she’s a go getter! If you want something bad enough then you will not give up.
Thanks to all for submitting their stories, sharing their fears, and celebrating their victories. Two weeks ago I (50 years old) took the MSF BRC with my son fully expecting him to pass and me to be there for moral support. Well, we both passed and have been motorcycle shopping. Just yesterday we ordered two bikes, a Honda CTX 700N and Honda CB 500F – both with ABS. Have to say I am excited, but having mini-panic attacks about starting this adventure. Fingers crossed I will have a smile from ear to ear soon on my new bike.
After becoming disabled due to my service in the Air Force, I decided not to cry about spilled milk (my disabilities and focusing on what I can’t do) but use this as an opportunity to try new things I can do. So I got into painting, drawing and riding motorcycles. I started at age 45. Three years later I am on my third (hopefully final) bike – my first Harley-Davidson, first brand new bike! I never think about my disabilities, nor am I ever tired when I am on my bike. There is nothing like just riding and picking new highways at random! I am now planning my first overnight trip to the Smokies! I never shifted before or had any relatives that rode. If I can do it, so can you! What are you waiting for? GO FOR IT!
I am 43, took the MSF course and picked up my bike on June 1. The classes and the bike were a Mother’s Day gift from my husband after I mentioned I wanted to try riding. I have already put 700 miles on it. My husband and I ride in the early evening and are leaving for an eight-day road trip from Denver to Seattle on the 28th. I am so looking forward to this trip. I have dropped her twice, once on sand and once on gravel. Back tire just went out and I jumped off. Wasn’t graceful and wasn’t pretty, but the gear did its job. The broken clutch handle and bent shift lever were replaced the next day at the dealership. My husband has been supportive and encouraging. He rides a Ninja 300, and I ride a Susuki 250X. I refer to her as “my baby,” though offically she is named My Broom 🙂 I can only say I am smitten and cannot express how wonderful it is to be balanced between the sky and the road. It’s like being in love, all the time. I could gush and go on (and do to anyone that will listen). Thank you for this place to share and to learn from all the other women on this wonderous of adventures. Blessed be.
Thank you for Star Anderson’s article. I am 51, and the Friday before the MSF rider course I crashed my Sportster (ran into a curb). I was not hurt seriously due to low speed, but it really scared me. I went to the MSF course mainly because my son and I were doing it together. He passed, but I chose to go back to the MSF course. I just needed more practice. It’s been two weeks now since I have ridden, and I am feeling all those emotions again. This article really hit home for me, and I have decided not to give up. Wish me luck.
Two things I have practiced many times and they have proved to serve in my skill development: log onto Motorcycle Safety Foundation msf-usa.org and enjoy the Rider Perception slides to increase awareness of riding challenges. Secondly, find a great motorcycle training school to enroll in more training. There are so many skills available to grow our riding confidence beyond the Basic Rider Course. Plan your next vacation that includes a fun filled day of rider training. It will be the best vacation ever.
I took the MSF course last March with my son. We purchased a Honda Rebel but since I figured he’d ride it more than me, I gave up my rights to it by allowing him to take it when he moved to a nearby town. Fast-forwarding in time, he just bought his own bike so I now have the Rebel back. It’s a great starter bike and even though I still have fears, I’ve learned to face the fear and just do it. My confidence builds each time I ride. As a matter of fact, I want to ride more now that I’m seeing how much fun it is. I already have my sights on a Honda Shadow Spirit 750 because it fits my 5-foot 3-inch height.
This is such an incredible website! My boyfriend and I are both planning on taking the course in April and I have been searching the web for so much of the “beginner” information about bikes, gear and anything to make me feel more prepared. I’ve probably spent three hours tonight reading over all of the great content here. Wish I’d found this site earlier! I especially appreciated reading about other women’s experiences and specifically about how learning to ride relates to their self-esteem and confidence building. I’ve been feeling anxious about learning (what if I drop the bike? What if I don’t pass the first time through?), and just reading the comments and information in the beginner section has been really, really great for my nerves. So much appreciated!
Thank you for your comments Carolyn. Good luck to you!
You are making me very excited! My guy is helping me look for a bike as we speak so when I take the riders course in early March I can practice with him right after. Thank you for the advice and the tips.
I have enjoyed reading all the words of the many women interested in a wonderful sport supporting self reliance, resilience and the opportunity to connect with yourself. There is no better feeling then the moment you need to maneuver your ride and it happens “naturally.” Wow, now that is an accomplishment that no one but I could do!
I also have great respect for women who learn to ride because it seems women have so much more to overcome. I recently got a Sportster 1200 and am learning. I have dropped it several times and had to get back on to get it back home. t took me forever (it seemed) to learn to lean and make the right hand turn. My boyfriend just about gave up on me and so did I. Someone suggested practicing with a bike and I did. The next time on the motorcycle my boyfriend could not believe it. But it has been absolutely an uphill battle, mostly within my own mind! Hang in there fellow women riders!
Diane of New Richmond,I took the MSC at WITC back in July, have my license and just upgraded from my first bike (Yamaha 250) to a Yamaha 650 V Star Custom on Friday. I too ride a lot on the back roads, in town, but have also made my way over I-94 to Woodbury many times. I love riding and it’s a bummer when I have to take the SUV because of weather. If you’d like to get together for coffee some time and chat about biking I’d love to.
Susan,We’ve emailed Diane telling her of your request and sent her your email address. Good luck.
I recently bought my first Harley. My husband has a beautiful big Road King and I was a passenger. I got bored very quickly and started looking for something to ride myself. I ended up with a Sportster 1200cc — pretty big engine for this 5-foot-3 gal. I’m happy to announce that I earned my permit with a 100 percent on the test and now I’m practicing with my husband to earn my endorsement. I have only had it a week and have dumped it, but have killed it a few times at stop signs. I’m working on my balance at stops too. If any of you have tips on balancing at stops let my know. Be safe and keep on trying. I for one will not give this up for nothing!
A great place to ask questions of other riders is the WRN Forum. You can post your question and start a “conversation” with lots of other women riders who are on the Forum. I encourage you to click on the highlighted linked words here and sign up. It’s free!
I so appreciate the WRN information and support — as a rider of 16 years, but for all the beginners or “want to be’s.” You keep learning, you keep rejuvenating, you keep getting humbled. Can’t tell you enough that riding is so empowering, so much fun. You influence more people than you realize — the little girl in the passing mini-van, the senior citizen who gives you a longing smile and a little wave, and the thumbs up from the passing trucker! So true re: 10 Things to Expect, especially #9 and 10. It’s smile that is almost instantaneous when you fire that engine up and stays with you all through the rumble!
I ride a 1977 Harley-Davidson FLH; before that a Yamaha 400 special but I got bored with that real quick I went for my first 50-mile ride. I cannot seem to get it over 45, just not comfortable. On the way back I developed a blister on my right thumb. My brother said it’s because I had a death grip. I must admit that I was a bit nervous. I am wondering if I am ever going to be able to go anywhere but in town or on the back country roads. I have no windshield and it was a bit windy. I am very sore today in my upper body. I am so bummed I just want to ride everywhere and my confidence is not what it should be. Any suggestions? I really do love riding.
Diane,The best place to ask for advice on this type of this is the WRN Forum access at this link. You will get a lot of great responses from some amazing women who are part of it.
I bought a used Honda Rebel 250 five years ago when I was married (for a week). We were going to ride and blah, blah, blah. Never had it out of second gear. Fast forward. Three months ago I bought a 150cc scooter online and I’ve already put more than 600 “hard earned street miles” on it. Everyone’s first question is, “Can you take it on the freeway?” Huh? Are you crazy? I sold the Rebel for 500 bucks (never registered it) and am now going to upgrade my scooter for something else a little bigger. Like all the ladies here have said, there’s no comparison riding your own bike to the (I’ve lost count) obligated feeling I’ve always had when sitting on the back not having any fun at all. Riding is the one thing that puts an ear-to-ear smile on my face “every time” I ride.
I got my endorsement a month ago. I love my bike V Star 650. I want all the fear gone. I get a mini panic attack just before going on a ride, but I don’t want to give up. Reading all the stories really helps me to keep on trying. I need help on turning from a stop, especially to the right. Thank you for sharing your stories
I am 51 years old and have been riding for just six months and I’ve already upgraded from my first bike, a Yamaha V Star 650 to a beautiful Victory Cross Roads. A year ago this wasn’t even something I thought I wanted to do and now I am loving the freedom, independence, and empowerment I am feeling. I know I have a lot to learn and remind myself every day of what I still do not know. I have a great respect for everyone who has ever decided to learn to ride, especially all the women! I cannot say how much I have learned from reading the different Web sites/blogs geared towards women. It reminds me how far we have come. I am on a journey of my own in the prime of my life! Lovin’ life!
I have tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for the encouragement I needed. I thought I was the only one, surrounded by all these men who are bigger, stronger and more skilled. I can do this, and I just received the support I needed. Awesome!
It is so encouraging reading these! I am also one who decided to try this without knowing anyone who rode or being around motorcycles most of my life. I have met with concern and opposition, but also excitement and encouragement from several friends. I barely passed the training course – and actually I think the instructors were being nice. The class was my first time to even start a motorcycle and operate it. In two days I was riding — though not well. I bought a used Yamaha V Star 250 in March, two weeks after I got my license, and have logged more than 150 miles so far. As a mother of three, I have to squeeze in the time to ride, but it is TOTALLY worth it! I am hoping to participate in my first charity ride next month. The motorcycle community is wonderful! Everyone I have met so far is kind, helpful, encouraging and giving. I am so glad I did this! Thanks for the articles.
At 45 years old, I took the MSF course and barely passed some parts. But the first time I lifted my feet and was cruising on the bike in the course, I fell in love. Afterwards, I bought a 250cc Hyosung cruiser and rode that for six months, rain or shine. I watched all the DVDs I could get my hands on and learned the tips and tricks they don’t have time for in the MSF course. It accelerated my learning curve and enabled me to gain control over the vehicle much more quickly. After the six months, I bought a BMW F 650 GS and dropped it as I was pulling out of the dealership. Good thing I had them install crash bars! Now I enjoy touring alone, and can handle wind, rain and extreme heat. It took about two years or 10,000 miles for me to be completely comfortable.