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I just got my motorcycle license and I am still a new rider. My husband insists that I ride in front of him when were out riding so he can keep an eye on me. I feel pressure though to ride a certain speed and also that hes “judging” my riding from behind. Id rather ride behind him, but he said thats not good to do because he cant watch me. What do you think? Whats the best position for me, as a new rider, when Im out with a riding buddy whos trying to “watch” me?
Boca Raton, Florida
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55 thoughts on Im a New Rider. Should I Ride in Front or Back?
New riders in Quebec have to follow a government-approved rider’s course and then pass a theoretical and practical exam in order to get a restricted license.They have to hold this license for a minimum of 9 months while riding with a buddy or accompanying rider.We have no choice as the buddy rider must ride in front. Then they have to retest on the road in order to get their permanent license.We also have categories for the license; 6A being good for everything over 450cc. Although you are no longer forced to start with a smaller cc bike, in my opinion it’s the best thing to do.I am a 61-year-old woman who’s been riding off and on since I was 16. I sold my old Yamaha Virago to a colleague at work and am now involved in being his buddy rider!
First before I address this question, a little history. I have been riding since 1999 (currently 51 years young) and currently have two bikes a Kaw 900 and 1500. I have been both a passenger and rider; enjoy being the rider best. I understand your partner wanting to keep an eye on you but unintentionally he may be pushing you and this can make the ride feel more like work. My husband wants to keep an eye on me even after all this time, just shows he loves you and wants to protect. Explain that by following behind him that you can follow his “line” through turns, he can warn you of obstacles and thus letting you take the ride at your pace not feeling pushed or that he might be grading your ride.
I have been riding on and off for 30 years. During one of my off times my fiance told me she always wanted to learn to ride. We picked up a couple of Ninja 250s and away we went. I insisted she get her license though a motorcycle safety course, ad she did. We had the same problem though, she hated riding in front of me for the same reasons you stated. I hated riding in front of her because I couldn’t see her. I honestly don’t know who was more nervous me or her. Call it a “Mother Hen Syndrome.” My biggest problem was that I was spending way too much time watching my mirrors and not paying attention to the road ahead, which created a dangerous situation for both of us. I also had a hard time judging what a good pace for her was. I would hate for her to dump it in a corner that was too fast for her ability so we usually wound up going too slow. Then, “WE FOUND THE SOLUTION.”Bluetooth helmet communication. Being able to talk to each other while riding was like turning on a light switch in a dark room. Whether teaching or learning anything, communication is key. It eliminates the fear of the unknown. I ride front now and tell her about the pothole, gravel, guy on his cell not paying attention, etc. She tells me how she did in the last turn, if she got stuck at an intersection, or just “hey look at the pretty sunset.” I can’t say enough about how it has changed the way we ride.We purchased them online.The brand name is Sena. They were about 250 for a two pack and very easy to install. They last all day and I even installed 12v outlets on the bikes in case we need to recharge them.She also rides in front in areas she is familiar with and is much more comfortable doing so with me being able to coach from the rear. She is no longer wondering what I am thinking, she knows then and there.
Thanks for sharing your solution. For those readers interested, we’ve reviewed a leading helmet communication system, Cardo Scala Rider that can be read here.
I got my license in July, so I know exactly what you’re talking about. My husband also wanted me to ride in front. I hated it.Being a newbie meant right turns were hair raising enough without worrying about cutting off my husband. I wasn’t great at holding my line and I knew my husband was to my right and a length back. It just didn’t work for me. It made me feel pressured and it distracted me.Finally, I insisted that I ride in back… and what a difference! I learned far riding behind experienced riders than I did riding in front. I got to watch everything they did and emulate them.I’m so glad that I started riding in the back, riding in the front was making it not as enjoyable.So, I would say while riding in the front is a great idea, it doesn’t work for everybody. Do what works for you.
There is benefit to both leading and following for both you and your riding companions. I would encourage you to try to experience both whenever possible. Here’s why.If you lead, you can set a pace that’s comfortable for you, choose where to turn or stop, etc. The more experienced rider behind you can provide a buffer between you and other traffic, observe your riding and reinforce what you’ve learned in a rider safety course. It’s both easier and harder for the experienced rider as well. Easier in that they’re not distracted by trying to adjust their riding to your comfort level by watching you through mirrors, and harder in that new riders can sometimes be more unpredictable or panic in new or challenging traffic situations. You may notice that they give you a little more space than they might a more experienced rider to allow more reaction time.If you follow, you benefit by observing how an experienced rider approaches corners, positions themselves in the lanes, and creates space between themselves and other vehicles. Watch what line they choose through a corner, where they use brakes, etc. Hopefully your riding companion leads with a good example and is comfortable coaching you to become the best rider you can be. Your riding companion is concerned with your safety and making sure you have as much fun as possible. Choose another riding pal if you’re not comfortable with the feedback you’re receiving.The more experienced rider is responsible for adjusting to less experienced riders. Every rider is responsible for riding their own ride. If you feel you’re riding faster than you’re comfortable with – just slow down. Your companion should adjust. Don’t feed pressured to ride faster or more aggressively than you’re comfortable with – that’s often when things can go wrong.Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you experienced with your riding partners. They know you’re eager to learn and most are happy to answer questions.Most of all have fun! Try to ride with as many different riders as you can. You’ll learn something from each of them (good or bad).
I agree with your husband, he can keep tailgaters at bay and an eye on you from behind. Love = deep concern. You set the pace that’s comfortable for you. It’s not about his riding likes or dislikes, it’s about you enjoying yourself and above all being safe. If you do this, it’s most certain he will be happy. I love seeing women enjoying motorcycles and hearing their thoughts on bikes. It’s a fantastic stress killer, male and female alike. You know the old saying, “You never see a motorcycle parked outside the shrink’s office.”
When I first began to ride and got my license my husband also put me out front, but it wasn’t to keep an eye on me per se. It was so as I could learn at my pace, set the speed etc. As my confidence grew and I relaxed with my riding and gained vital experience, we took turns in the lead, thus teaching me also to follow, and learn skills from him on how he did things.Now as I have been riding for more than four years now I really don’t care where I’m placed as long as I’m with him, but having the lead can be very rewarding as well. As time goes on and experience grows you too will become more comfortable with your abilities, but for now enjoy riding with your hubby and have a laugh to yourself at the thought of while he is following you, he is literally watching your ass 🙂 and have fun. Afterall this is an awesome experience that nothing can beat.
As a female road captain, for those who join our chapter we recommend they ride our “group skills ride” done every other month. What we do is we teach them how our chapter rides as a group. We like to place riders in the “middle” of the pack, assistant road captain or road blockers at the front, and tail gunner in the back. As we all know, the back of the pack sometimes rides hard and fast, but the front of the pack can also appear busy, and can be intimidating. We do a 50-mile round trip. We stop at the 25 mile mark and check to see how the rider is doing. He chooses his/her position on the ride home.
I ride with a women’s motorcycle club out of Boston, and I am going to side with your guy on this. In a pair, the new rider should ride in front, exactly for the reason he gave you. With more people in the pack, you should be right in the middle. I think having someone to follow is ideal, but only if their riding style and speed match yours. The importance of having someone behind you can’t be argued with in terms of safety. I bet he is so happy to be riding with you that he doesn’t mind riding however you are riding! Good luck. You are lucky to have a partner to ride with!
When I was just starting out nearly six years ago, I rode in front for a few reasons:* Set a pace I was comfortable with* So my hubby could create a safety buffer behind me* For his safety. With him in front, he was always looking in his mirrors for me, which might have put him at risk for a sudden issue (critter, pothole, stopped car) in front of himNow we trade off depending on who planned the ride, or just our moods.
I’ve been riding since the beginning of the year. My husband put me in front for a couple of reasons: 1. So cages couldn’t crawl up my rear. 2. He let me set the pace so that I was comfortable. These days we ride side by side when the road permits. Never let the person behind make you feel like you have to ride faster than you’re comfortable with. When we’re out with other experienced riders they let me set the pace.
IMHO ~ Its all about comfort levels and the people riding with me. As a full time lifetime rider, experience isn’t the issue. It’s personal ability and comfort. I ride to the least experienced rider and where he or she is happy. Period! I train rec/com trail horses and riders as well and the same goes there too. And as an experienced rider I always remember “there’s always another day to ride!”
When I started riding, my boyfriend rode behind me. He let me know what he saw that I was doing wrong or needed to improve on. Years later, he still rides behind me just because I know where we are going. LOL! When we started riding in a group we stayed in the back. Being in the back, if you choose to go slow, you don’t slow down the whole group. Also, the “sweep” is behind you if you have any issues and will pull over with you. Ride safe!
I was a new rider three years ago, taking the course here in Kelowna. In the beginning my husband lead always, I followed closely, it worked very well for us. He was very safe when coming to intersections. When he and I felt I had the confidence to ride in front, I did which was within a short time. Sometimes he rode in front, sometimes I did.Recently he has passed on, and for the very first time I’ve had to ride solo. Now that was a challenge, but I did it. Just remember, whether you’re riding solo or with someone, you own that piece of the road. Also have fun, be safe and enjoy!
I have been shadowing learner riders for nine years and have just run my 420th night time ride. We have anywhere from 25 to 100 riders attending every week.I always have the learners/new riders just behind me and I set the pace to them, the other riders follow. It can get pretty fast at the back of the pack.When one-on-one I prefer to have the learner at the front as he or she tends to go a little faster, especially if they know the area. They seem to drop back when following for some strange reason.If on a country run, we divide the groups up and let the faster group go through. Then follow with the new riders.When riding with the other half I usually don’t see him unless we are on roads that we have to do the speed limit. He’s just too fast for me, so he waits at intersections. If riding in suburbia he usually follows me as he doesn’t know a lot of the roads.You need to do what you feel is best for you. If you feel safer following then follow. Tell him you don’t need babysitting. If you are having issues and pull over. It won’t take long for him to realize and turn around and come back for you.How about a few rides out on your own and get comfortable with your riding.
When I was new I rode behind my nephew so he could “clear the path ahead” and I would not have anyone cutting me off or the like. I feel that the rear rider has more time to react should there be an issue. Even now I always prefer to ride in the rear so I can see everything going on. A real road leader does not ride way out front fast. He or she should be riding to the slowest rider so all can stick together and have no stress. Like a military convoy. Leader should alway have the rear rider in their rear view mirror. If the group is too large it should be broken into smaller groups. For those who find the ride too slow…go ride by yourself. Group riding isn’t about you! It’s about everyone enjoying the ride and arriving safely! Hence I rarely will ever group ride. Too many immature boys taking too many chances. Take the MSF course and ride your own ride!
My boyfriend likes for me to ride in front of him so he can look up for me. From day one he’s been riding at my pace and, when needed, comments on my areas of opportunity. If we ride with a larger group he’ll be in front and an experienced rider will be in the back. We decided to get communicators that are open at all times and from time to time he’ll ask me if I feel comfortable with the speed and the road. He’s been a great riding buddy and mentor, and makes me feel comfortable. Of course I was nervous at the beginning but now I can relax and enjoy the ride no matter if I’m at the front or the back.
As a trained road captain, we tell all new riders attending our chapter rides to please ride near the front, as that minimizes the amount of “catching up,” and things like that which the rest of the riders will be doing as the line stretches out. I would suggest the same thing for you and your husband. The new rider belongs in front and should ride at her/his speed and level of comfort, with more experienced rider behind.
Thanks for the expert opinion Bob. Invaluable info.
I started riding behind my husband and wanted to copy and follow him, but I ended up crashing because I was trying to keep up with his speed on turns. I had to learn to be turn comfortably at my own speed. Now I always ride in front of him.
My husband has me follow him, however that makes me nervous because that means he’s taking his eyes off the road to check on me. I’d rather be in front setting a pace that’s comfortable for me at my experience level. I’ve always heard and read that the speed of the group should be adjusted to that of the rider with the least experience, and the most experienced rider should ride to the rear.
Congrats on the new bike! Here’s my view: Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable while riding is to be avoided. If you feel pressure to be in front, then trust your instinct and don’t let anyone tell you to do so. Your hubby can easily keep an eye on you while your behind him. Besides, even if you are in front, and that he sees you are about to make a huge mistake, he can’t jump behind the handlebars and do anything about it right at that crucial moment! So, he is going to have to learn to trust you and let you ride your own ride! My recommendation: 1. Practice at your own pace by following an experience rider for now, while making sure not to fixate on him. 2. Switch position from time to time, and learn to ride up front; it is better to hear that you are doing something wrong and correct it then to ride the wrong lines without knowing. 3. Turn off the volume in the helmet: if you want to hear everything he has to say at all time, then just get on the saddle with him! Riding is about freedom, so personally, I don’t want to ear anyone blabbing in my ears while I’m on two wheels! Haha!
The new rider should always follow the experienced rider. It helps the new rider learn what line to take in curves and an assortment of other skills that aren’t taught in the MSF class.
I got my license four years ago and my husband had me ride in front of him for a year so he could watch me. I told him that he makes me nervous but he insisted that it was making him feel better to watch me. I finally told him that there was nothing he could do for me if I crashed except scrape me off the pavement with a shovel. Then he said it was because he loves to see me ride down the road. He says that I have come a long way since I tried to ride my bike in the driveway and now I make him proud to see what I have accomplished. He will get more comfortable with you riding your own soon. Have faith in that. Peace, love and prayers for your rides together.
Hi Denise, Ride your own ride and where you are most comfortable. When I got my license about eight years ago my ex wanted me to ride in front of him too. I hated it. I felt like he was pushing me and found that I was always looking in my mirrors for him because he rode so close to me and made me nervous. So I would make him lead even thought he didn’t like it at first. He got used to it. I find it more relaxing to ride at my on speed and my on ride. He got where if he got too far ahead of me he would just pull over somewhere and wait, which gave him a smoke break so he didn’t mind. I find I’m more comfortable in the back when riding with a group if I’m not leading. I’d rather ride on the left side of the road when riding in a group also. I have read most of the comments that the other ladies have written and there are some very good points. You are the only one who knows how you feel when you ride and where you are more comfortable at and that’s where you need to be. Ride safe and don’t ride faster then your angel can fly.
We switch it up a lot now. But when we went cross country with me only having a few months experience, he decided the front was best for me because i was lagging behind a bit (even though he could not set his cruise to me; I don’t have cruise! It’s pretty tough to hold that throttle as steady as someone else’s cruise!) Now that I usually keep up, I prefer the back. We have headsets and I like it when he can tell me what’s coming or if it’s clear to follow him on an invisible corner/turn. I still like to keep enough distance for when he makes last minute decisions on turns…grrrrrr…
When riding in the back it gives you the opportunity to learn from the rider in front. Also it helps you learn how to ride with another biker. You can work on distance from the other rider, learning hand signals etc.When riding in front. You are in control. You are responsible for leading the person behind you. Great opportunity to get assertive and ride. You also set the pace for the ride.I recommend never get stuck in one place. Change it up. Do what you feel most comfortable with but also push yourself when the time is right for you.
Hi, I have been riding for 10 years and my husband has been my main riding buddy and mentor throughout those years. When I first started to ride, like all partners, he just wanted to watch out for me and protect me from all that may happen on the ride. We tried me riding in front and behind and found what worked for us. What I am trying to say is find what works for you both and makes the ride enjoyable and not a test. One lady mentioned helmet-to-helmet communication I would highly recommend it as this has helped to no end when we have been riding in new countries and cities and that separation is a possibility.
I think you two should sit down and discuss this issue over a cup of coffee. Let him know you feel pressured in front of him. Then listen to what he says. Maybe you need to switch up on the ride and see what works for both of you. I have been riding since I was 14 years old and right now, I am about turn 57. If my math is right, that is about 43 years on the road. One thing I learned a long time ago is that honest and open expression about your riding experience will only make it better. Congrats on joining women who ride.
I was more comfortable riding behind the boyfriend from the time I started riding. That way I didn’t feel like I was being rushed.
I’m not sure where Daisy in Oz Land got her info! Many learners like to follow experienced riders for many reasons: technique, ride route, following lines. This can be helpful unless the experienced rider has a lot of bad habits and sometimes the new rider can feel pressure to keep up. I have mentored a lot of new riders and I ask them what they prefer and if they know where they are going. I tend to start out in front, watch them a bit, get behind if traffic is nasty for some protection and see how they are doing. In my experience male partners are the WORST ride buddies as they do often put pressure on their learner even if they don’t mean to. Find a group like Girls Ride Out in Sydney who were created to support newer riders, have a lesson from a proper instructor if you think you need it and don’t be afraid to tell your partner where you need him or her to be!
I always ride lead. Husband would let me follow, but I can set the pace in front and he guards my back as I do for him in front. For whatever reason (I know not why) I dislike being behind another rider. I think it is whatever you are most comfortable at that is good.
If having him behind you makes you self-conscious than you are thinking about other things…and not the road and what you are doing. While he would feel better riding behind you, it seems like you will be more comfortable riding behind him. He’s just going to have to keep checking his mirrors.
I am a fairly new rider, and I prefer to lead as well. I can set my own pace. Also I love hearing his comments on what he noticed I did or may not have done. Our 6-year-old daughter rides with my husband and we tried with him in the lead once and she kept wanting to turn and check on me, so that wasn’t good on any of us!
As a new rider, you should be riding in the front. Reason being is because it’s a safety issue for you. Someone with more riding experience can watch out for you and kind of protect you in certain situations. If you are riding in the back and something happens, the person you are following won’t know what happened and will be distracted trying to keep an eye on you or having to backtrack trying to find you. Your husband is telling you that he loves you by having you ride in the front. He’s watching out for your safety, not how you are riding, because you are riding your ride. Just like when you first learned how to drive, I’m sure your parents didn’t let you drive solo for awhile. Someone was right next to you to make sure you were going to be ok before they cut you loose to drive on your own.When I was in the back as a new rider, I felt pressured to try to keep up with the more experienced riders, therefore getting beyond my comfort zone. If you need to, ride solo to build your confidence in riding.Do a ride to breakfast with your husband, where you each leave at a different time and take different directions to the location. Enjoy the meal and ride back home together in a round about way. He’s not judging your riding skills, and you aren’t judging his riding skills. You are each out enjoying a ride together. Have fun and ride safe.
I know what all the books say you are “supposed” to do but this is what worked best for me. For my first couple of years I always chose to ride in the last position and still do when I am riding in an unfamiliar area. I realize the advantages of having someone behind you, but I needed the extra response time. When riding last I could see what everyone else was doing and be prepared for it instead of having sudden changes jump up on me. Riding last was also important to avoid road hazards by watching those ahead of me and this really saved my butt one time when an entire aluminum ladder had fallen off the back of a truck and fell into the road. If I had been the first rider instead of the last I doubt I could have responded in time. Riding last does mean you will need to notify those ahead to keep an eye out for you, but other than that, riding last really helped me tremendously to build up my confidence by not feeling rushed or caged in, and gave me the added response time to make good decisions.
My husband has been a rider for more than 25 years and a rider coach for four years. When I decided to become a rider myself, after sitting on the bike with him for 20 years, I took the required MSF course. A few weeks later, when I bought a bike, he rode it home and I followed him in the car. Then, a few days later, he rode my bike to an abandoned subdivision (with me again behind him in our truck). When we arrived, I got on my bike for the first time and rode around to my heart’s content, with my hubby standing on the sidelines coaching me and giving me some great maneuvering and parking tips. Then, on my first ride home from that subdivision to our house, he drove the truck behind me and I was so nervous with him behind me; I hated it! From that point on, when we went on rides, he rode in front of me. This made me much more relaxed; I could do my own thing without him making me nervous riding behind me. Five years later, he still rides in front of me, which is where I prefer him to be. But, that was my experience; I agree with another respondent: do what’s comfortable for you. Riding is a passion and something that sets you apart from non-riders, and at least some time. You become part of a growing number of an exclusive group…WOMEN MOTORCYCLE RIDERS! Enjoy!
I love riding in front of my fiancé. I get to set the pace to my comfort level. I also like his feedback about how I handle different situations. Plus I drive more defensively than he does. That is where I am most comfortable.
Hello, I am also a new rider, and if I know my route I like to be in front and have him in the back, otherwise I prefer that he stays in front, even if I’m sorry for him because he have to check in the mirrors if everything is ok with me. As soon as we will be good riders we won’t care anymore about this.
In “Oz Land” all new riders, by law, go in front. However, in a pack they are usually in the back .
When I ride with my boyfriend I always lead. I don’t particularly enjoy leading, but his concern about keeping an eye on me is more important to me. If he is constantly checking on me in his rear view mirror I would be concerned that he would miss something in front of him that could potentially impact us both. So I suck it up and lead, stopping as needed since neither of us want to wear headsets when we ride.
We’re almost at the end of riding season in Toronto, and this wraps up my second year. So while not a brand new rider anymore, I still consider myself a newbie compared to most. I think it’s better for the less experienced rider to be in the back. The lead riders mirrors allow them to see you better, and you can go at your own pace (keeping up, of course). I find there’s less pressure to follow.
When I first learned to ride I felt just like you since my husband wanted me in front. Now I realize he was protecting me in case something did go wrong he was my cushion from traffic. I don’t think he’s judging you; he’s just making sure you can be the best rider you can be. Relax, have fun, welcome to the club.
Denise: When my husband and I are riding I much prefer to be the leader. He tends to speed up and/or slow down on a whim, while I prefer to ride at a constant speed. When I lead I set the speed I’m comfortable with and let him worry about his own ride. I find it to be a much more enjoyable experience when I’m not the one trying to match someone else’s tempo. My husband and I also use a helmet-to-helmet communication system, which I would highly recommend. As I said, I love to lead. However, my sense of direction is not the best, so I rely on information from my husband regarding highway numbers, etc. through the communication system. It also allows us to warn each other of potential dangers one of us might have seen that the other one missed. In your case a communication system might allow your husband to feel comfortable enough, so that he doesn’t feel as if he needs to watch you every second.
I like to ride behind a new rider so I can keep an eye on things. It’s easier than having to keep looking in my mirror. ‘d hate to have something go wrong and be further down the road when I notice she’s not there.
Hi Denise, I wanted to tell you that my husband did the same thing to me. I have been riding now for seven years and he still wants me leading except for when we are going through areas I don’t know, then he takes over. As a new rider I always felt nervous leading with the same reasons you don’t like to do it. I turned it into a positive and at every rest stop I discussed things with my husband that made me nervous or a situation that I needed help learning to do better. I now lead almost all our group rides and I feel totally comfortable and enjoy it! Hang in there and always drive roads at a speed you feel comfortable driving. You are the leader, so remember that you are in control of where you are riding, pick light traffic areas. Good luck and remember to breath and smile!
I’m a new rider as well who passed my MSF course in late August. I’ve been out riding with my husband and for us we choose who is better to lead depending upon the situation. He’s really patient and has been a good mentor, so him riding behind me allows me to set the pace without him fearing losing me or traffic getting between us. He also can help me by letting me know what he saw in my technique and riding. He can tell me how comfortable I looked or not, how I handled curves, cornering, dealing with certain situations that pop up, etc. But when I’m encountering a new situation, (like the first time I went on the local highways, not thruways as I have yet to tackle that), I tend to allow him to lead.I’m sure many other experienced riders will have their thoughts, but I also think that if your partner is behind you, he or she can be a buffer for things you may not see going on behind you or cars beeping if you get stuck starting from a stop on a hill or stalling (this was an issue for me the first couple of times out.) I stalled a couple of times and impatient people behind HIM honked, but he made it so they wouldn’t try to go around me to make the turn and put me in a dangerous situation.I hope this helps! Happy riding! I’m having a blast out there and learning so much.
I’ve been riding for seven years, and have always ridden in back of my husband. As you’ve said, you may feel as if you need to ride faster with your husband in the back. I just found it easier to see cars in my rear mirrors rather than watching my husband behind me. He can still see me and checks his mirrors when he’s in front, but I don’t feel compelled to ride “his ride” when I am riding behind him. Plus, he can watch out for things in the road, etc. when he’s in front, sort of like a road captain! And I’ve noticed that when cars see a woman on a motorcycle, they are pleasantly surprised and quite courteous. My suggestion would be to try it both ways, but do what you feel most comfortable with. Hope this helps a bit. Ride safe!
I’ve had my license for just more than two years. However, I still ride in front of my boyfriend who has been on a motorcycle for over 20 years. He runs interference for me and keeps an eye out for the cars that try to cut me off. He is also able to critique my riding, which is important, when you are trying to ride correctly. We discuss what I may have done wrong and it helps me to continue to building my skills and ride safely.
When I first started to ride, my husband was the same way. However I felt more comfortable following, especially as a new rider. I told my husband “keeping an eye on me isn’t going to prevent something from happening; he would just see it first!” When I was a new rider, I felt like I learned to be a great rider because I followed my husband who had ridden for years! So do what makes you most comfortable because that is what keeps you safe on the road!
When I first started riding, my husband at the time had 30+ years of experience… and I was a rank newbie! I found I was worried I’d roll backwards into another car, or the car would hit me. He had me ride in front. I could take the road at my pace, and get more comfortable. My goal was to do the posted speed limit. This way, if I stalled out, there would be two of us there, not just one bike. We started on easy, local roads with less traffic, working our way into freeway riding, city riding, and more curvy, up in the mountains riding. When he was riding with me, he focused on riding his bike defensively to make sure I had space, yet keeping an eye on me so I wouldn’t be doing anything to cause one or both of us to go down. Allow him to be your buffer, between you and traffic behind you. Once you get more comfortable with riding on different types of roads (local, highway, curvy), you can try riding in the back. As far as him judging you, well, that’s not necessarily what he’s thinking. You can ask him to coach you after the ride on things he saw you doing well, and things where you could improve. Try to consider any comments to be positive, constructive coaching, not criticism. We all had to begin at one time.Figure out a way (in advance) to signal if you or he need to stop…to communicate something. If you are in the front, make sure you find a safe place to stop…off the road on a solid surface…a parking lot, side of the street. Look out for gravel, as that can be unnerving to a new (or an experienced) rider.Think of the last time you had a major learning curve…It has probably been a while. Give yourself some credit for trying something new. Each ride, you will learn something new about yourself…and your ride. (I’m 17 years into riding and I’m still surprised at how my riding keeps changing!)And if you haven’t taken the motorcycle safety training courses that are available, do so. Once you have about 6 months on your bike, consider taking the “Confident Riders/Experienced Riders Course”…where you basically do the Beginner course exercises…but on YOUR Bike…and get more familiar with emergency stops…and quick response maneuvers. Consider taking this course every couple of years…or whenever you purchase a new bike…and it will help to improve your skills, too.Most of all, this is fun. Have fun with it. You will get to a point where you “sit there and twist that” and it will all come together. And you’ll get to where you were going with a smile on your face. It’s a nice day! Enjoy the ride!Jodie
When I was a novice rider, my ol’ man, a long time motorcyclist, rode behind me “just in case” something happened. He could also critique my riding so I could improve my skills. In fact, he still prefers riding behind me after all these years.In the last big ride I was on, organized by Ridley, the least experienced riders rode right behind the road captain for the same reason. It was a good formation as some of them did some really interesting maneuvers. At least no one fell over.
You should ride where you are the most comfortable! I always ride in back when I ride with my husband. He tends to get too close to me on turns and at stops. It also frees me from having to figure out the route etc., so I think it’s easier. He can keep track of you in his rearview mirror or better yet get a communication system and you can keep track of each other.
I ride between my boyfriend and his friend. My boyfriend paces me as far as speed and his friend keeps a cushion between me and car traffic so I’m not being tailgated. We stop often and they give me pointers based on their observations and we adjust the next leg of the trip according to my comfort level.