Top 10 tips for women learning to ride
Top 10 Tips for women riders thinking of learning to ride…
- Try before you buy
Lots of training schools now offer 1 hour taster sessions, designed to give you a flavour of riding a motorbike. This is a great way to experience riding for the first time, with the help of a qualified instructor, who can then advise you on your next steps and it can also give you an idea of how you’ll progress to the next steps. If you would like to try a taster session with Laura, drop her a message firstname.lastname@example.org
Alway shop around when looking for a training school. There is a lot of choice out there, so don’t feel restricted to the one that’s most local to you or assume that the one your boyfriend or partner went to will be suitable for you too. A training school website, social media reviews and recommendation from friends can help, but I would also give them a call and have a chat with them too.
- Learning at your own pace
Learning a new skill takes time and riding a motorbike is no different. A CBT is often advertised as a one day course, but this doesn’t always mean you will complete it in one day. It is not an attendance course, you’ll need to reach the minimum safe standard to be issued with your certificate. It is important to feel safe and confident when riding unaccompanied, so always remember that if you haven’t got your certificate in the day, it will be for your own safety. Women Only Motorcycle Training offer a 2 day CBT for £300. Click here to find out more.
Intensive courses can also seem like a great way to get your full bike licence quickly, but added time pressures can actually hinder your training. Laying the foundations of basic motorcycle control can have a huge impact on your future riding, well beyond passing your test. Find a school that offers pay-as-you-go training where you can take training at your own pace.
Your chosen training school should tell you what documentation you will need to bring with you on the day of your CBT, this includes your driving licence, glasses if you need them for driving or riding, a packed lunch (unless there are facilities on site) and adequate clothing, sturdy jeans (no Topshop skinnies or ripped at the knee) and a pair of boots with ankle protection (but not toetectors). If you haven’t ridden a motorbike before, I would also suggest riding a push bike first, if you don’t have good balance (a skill that we instructors can’t teach you) then you will really struggle riding a motorbike.
- Choosing your instructor
Finding the right instructor for you can make a world of difference. There are lots of personalities out there and it’s important that you get on with your instructor and that they set you at ease. Find an instructor that is going to make you feel comfortable and that can explain things in a way that you understand. Don’t be afraid to change instructors or ask for a specific instructor if it’s going to help you.
- Rider’s kit
Most training schools will provide you with the basic kit. However, the sizes are usually based on the average sized man, so if you’re blessed with small hands, then investing in a pair of well fitted gloves can also make a big difference to your training day. The levers can be adjusted if you’re reach is smaller, but if your gloves are an inch too big then they will just get in the way. Try looking on Laybiker.co.uk for a great selection of women’s motorbike gloves and other kit, their sizing goes up to a size 34!
Helmets also have an important ‘fit’ factor for obvious reasons, but if you know you’ve got an extra small or large head, an ill fitted helmet can lead to headaches, impaired vision and if it’s too big, not staying on in an incident. If you do decide to invest in a helmet, go and try on as many different ones as you can and don’t buy blindly from the internet. Helmets have a tendency to stretch, so whilst it might feel comfortable at first, after a few wears, it may become too loose. Helmets start from as a little as £45, so there’s choice for everyone’s price band.
- Petite riders
If you’re under 5’4” then some motorbikes (even the 125s) can be too tall, making it feel like an uphill struggle. Even if you can touch the floor (on your tiptoes) it can still be extremely unnerving. Make sure that the training school you choose has the right bike for you, ask them if you can try sitting on it first before you book your first session. If you choose your school wisely they will also adapt the training programme to help you with, gear changing, slow riding, junctions and adverse cambers; all potential barriers with having a smaller frame.
- Advice from loved ones
So you may have friends that already ride or even your significant other who has loads of riding experience. However, they’re not always going to give you the most up to date and suitable advice, especially whilst your still learning to ride. They may have never even completed a CBT, Mod 1 or Mod 2 test, especially if they passed their test a long time ago, so remember your instructor will be best qualified to pitch the training to your skill and ability level.
- Adverse weather
At the moment most bikers aren’t riding as the weather is cold and windy. Losing concentration and the feeling in your fingers and toes is all too easy. Staying warm in the winter or cool in the summer is vital to your safety. During the winter, make sure to invest in base layers and a neck tube, especially when you’re training (and out all day). Whilst riding through the summer, ensure you drink plenty of water and keep vents open. Whilst training I’d also suggest taking a spare set of clothes in case you get wet! If you’re having trouble finding base layers or neck tubes, I usually look on Amazon , Go Outdoors or SportsBikeShop.com
If you haven’t already heard about VideoBiker and you are planning on booking your CBT or DAS (Direct Access Scheme), why not take a look? I have seen the benefits of my own students using it, even I used it when I was training to become an instructor. It can help set the skills for future training and beyond. Check out their website here www.videobiker.co.uk