Want to feel the wind in your hair as you drive down the highway? Or are you having a midlife crisis? If you have found the right bike and you have your driver's license, you can use this article to start your life as a biker.
Method 1 of 3: Safety and preparation
Step 1. Learn what safety precautions to take
Riding a motorcycle can be very dangerous. You need to know how to get on the road safely so as not to injure yourself and other road users. Here are some basic rules:
- Wear protective clothing.
- Keep enough distance from other road users.
- Stick to the speed limit and follow the speed of the rest of the traffic.
- Check your motorcycle regularly for safety. Regularly check the following parts of your motorcycle for function and wear: tires, wheels, levers, pedals, cables, hoses, battery, headlight, brake light, turn signal, mirrors, fluid levels (and possible leaks), frame, suspension, chain or belt, default.
Step 2. Read your motorcycle owner's manual
Get familiar with the different parts and the feel of your bike on the road and highway. Here are some key parts and operating components:
- The throttle in your right handle
- The brake lever on the right side of your handlebar
- The clutch lever on the left side of your handlebar
- The shift pedal at your left foot
- The gauges for speed and fuel level
Step 3. Read the information on the CBR website
On the website of the CBR you will find all kinds of information about motorcycling in the Netherlands and the driving license that is required for this. Check what the rules are regarding:
- Insurance conditions.
- The rules about passengers.
- Speed limits.
- Whether or not motorcycles are allowed on rush-hour lanes.
- Rules about noise
Step 4. Get your driver's license
In the Netherlands you have to take your theory exam and two practical exams at the CBR. There are three different categories of motorcycle licenses: A1, A2 and A. The category depends on the type of motorcycle, your age and your experience.
Method 2 of 3: Learning how your engine works
Step 1. Find a good driving school
Always have someone with experience and knowledge with you when you ride a motorcycle for the first time. So take driving lessons at a reputable driving school.
Step 2. Sit on your bike
It can feel a little weird the first time you hit your leg over the bike. Try the following steps:
- Balance yourself by gently leaning against the tank while placing your hands on the handles.
- If you start from the left side, place your entire weight on your left leg. Never sit on your bike from the other side of the stand. If your motorcycle has a center stand, you can choose from which side you sit on your motorcycle.
- Lift your right leg high and cross your leg over the engine. Lifting your leg high will ensure you don't bump into anything before reaching the other side of the bike. Never sit on your bike from the back.
Step 3. Get comfortable on your bike
Now that you're on your bike, take some time to get used to the weight of the bike and the feel. Adjust your mirrors if necessary and see where the footrests are. Find out where the buttons are for the turn signal, your horn and your lights.
Step 4. Learn how to operate the motor
A driving instructor can explain exactly the basic skills you need to ride a motorcycle: how to start, accelerate, decelerate, change gears, brake, stop, park and restart. If you want to learn these skills, you must first know how to operate the engine.
Step 5. Learn how to accelerate and brake
With your right hand you operate the throttle and the front brake. You operate the rear brake with your right foot.
- When you turn the handle towards your body, you accelerate. Be careful. Too much throttle can be dangerous and it can cause an unintended "wheelie".
- By pulling the lever with your right hand you operate the front brake. You also have to be careful with this. On many motorcycles you can operate the brake with two fingers, on some motorcycles you have to use your whole hand.
- The rear brake is especially helpful in low-traction situations, or when driving slowly. On a motorcycle with a lot of weight at the rear, such as a cruiser, it can be effective to use the rear brake.
Step 6. Learn how to use your clutch
The lever near the left handle is the clutch. You can also operate this lever with two fingers or with your whole hand.
- The clutch operates the connection between the engine and the gear. By pulling the lever you disconnect the connection between engine and gear. By releasing the lever, the two parts are reconnected. Pulling the lever automatically puts your bike in neutral, regardless of the gear you're in. When you release the clutch, you put your bike in your selected gear.
- Operate the clutch smoothly and gently, just like the brake and throttle.
Step 7. Learn how to shift gears
You shift on a motorcycle by moving the shift pedal up or down with your left foot.
- Most engines follow the "1 down, 5 up" pattern. So from top to bottom: 6th gear (if equipped), 5th gear, 4th gear, 3rd gear, 2nd gear, NEUTRAL, 1st gear.
- It may take you a while to get used to this, so practice finding neutral with your left foot. At neutral you will see a green "N" near the speedometer.
- Shift in this order: pull in your clutch lever with your left hand, shift with your left foot, release your clutch.
- If you let the throttle on while you release the clutch you will shift between gears more smoothly.
Step 8. Start your engine
Modern engines no longer need to be started, they start electrically. Follow these steps to start your engine:
- First, turn the emergency stop switch to the "on" position (the emergency stop switch is usually a red button near the right handle).
- Then turn your ignition key to "ON". Most engines now perform a self-check.
- Make sure the engine is in neutral. The green "N" can be seen on your meters.
- Pull in the lever of your clutch. Some engines require you to do this to be able to start.
- Press the start button (the button can usually be recognized by a round arrow around a lightning flash, you can usually find the button under the emergency stop switch). The engine should now be started. With some engines you have to give a little bit of gas to get the engine on.
- Be patient while the engine warms up. Once the engine has started, it may take 45 seconds to several minutes before you can start driving. The engine must first be warmed up for safe driving.
Step 9. Never forget to fold your kickstand with your foot
It can be very dangerous if you forget that. With a center stand you have to move the motor forward to fold it. When your kickstand is folded, keep yourself and the bike straight with your toes. Now you are ready to drive.
Method 3 of 3: Practice
Step 1. Find a safe, quiet place to practice
Always do this under the guidance of a reliable driving instructor.
Step 2. Start slow, practice the basics of accelerating and braking in first gear
To do this, remember that you need to do the following:
- Pull in the clutch lever.
- Push the shifter down with your foot into first gear.
- Release your clutch gently.
- Apply a little throttle to prevent the engine from stalling.
- Now you feel your engine moving forward. Put both feet on the footrests when you have enough momentum. Congratulations! You ride a motorcycle! Before you leave with the northern sun, you should first check the brakes.
Step 3. Maneuver your bike using a technique known as countersteer
When you have reached a speed of 16 km/h, press the handle on the side you want to steer. To steer to the right, lean slightly to the right while pushing the right handle away from your body
Step 4. Practice shifting
Once you're used to driving at low speeds, it's time to shift into higher gears. You should also do this as smoothly as possible. This requires experience and muscle memory.
Step 5. Exit the parking lot
Once you get used to riding a motorcycle in parking lots, your driving instructor will take you to the public road to get used to riding in places where there is traffic.
"What you look at is where you go." Don't look at the ground, or you'll fall sooner. If there is something on the road, it is better to look at where you want to go than at the object itself, because then you will hit it sooner. Of course it is always good to know what is around you, but it is dangerous to look for a long time at something that is not in your direction of travel
- Motorcyclists are more at risk of injury and even death. Prepare yourself well and read all possible information about safety.
- Learning to ride a motorcycle should always be done under the supervision of an experienced driving instructor.