Taking a break from bike riding is something that happens to the majority of us at some point and getting back on two wheels can be a daunting prospect.
Your bike test seems a lifetime ago and you struggle to remember the basics because it might have been months (or years) since you last rode a bike. You might feel you can’t remember how to ride properly, or that your skills aren’t at the level you want them to be before jumping back on.
Friends might say go out, buy a bike and get straight back on; but if you don’t feel confident, don’t panic. It’s better to be safe than rush to get back in the saddle. It’s natural to want a refresher before heading off onto the open road by yourself and the number of road users is increasing so it’s a good idea to be clued up on the latest rules and regulations and armed with the best skills to keep you safe.
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WHERE DO YOU START?
There’s many ways to get back into the swing by refreshing your skills and building your confidence back up and some are less expensive that you may think. Here’s our best tips for getting you back into the saddle:
TAKE REFRESHER LESSONS
Riding schools will welcome you back for some refresher training; don’t be put off if they don’t offer the exact course that you want, or that it isn’t listed as one of their services. If you call them and explain your situation, they might come up with a customised dedicated course for you. This is down to each individual riding school and some may be more receptive than others, but don’t be afraid to ask – after all, they’ll be happy to help someone get back on a bike.
GET PROFESSIONAL HELP
Organisations like the Institute of Advanced Motorists and BikeSafe offer a number of courses for riders which will improve skills, knowledge and hazard awareness, making riding safer and more enjoyable. Visit their websites for more information on their specific courses. They’re also out at various events throughout the year, so be sure to check their event calendars. Chat through your situation with their stand staff who will be more than happy to help.
VISIT EVENTS & DEALERSHIPS
There’s hundreds of biking-related events dotted around the country, from a local bike nights to national shows. Take a trip and the opportunity to talk to fellow motorcyclists. Depending how long ago it was since you were on the road, they could have changed an awful lot, so it’s worth talking to people who are out on two wheels now to see what these changes are and how they deal with them.
Visit your local motorcycle dealer; their salesmen are there to sell bikes, but are also on hand to provide information and point you towards the best bike for you and your needs; make the most of their advice and take the chance to sit on a few machines and get comfortable around them again.
RESEARCH, READ & LEARN
There’s a wealth of information online; you won’t be the only one trying to get back into biking, so it’s likely you’ll come across someone who’s done it already. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by information though, so take everything with a pinch of salt. Everyone is different and only you know the right plan of action for you.
PHONE A FRIEND
A problem shared is a problem halved. Why not ring a friend and tell them what you’re up to? If they’re a rider they might offer to come out with you the first time you venture out. Biking is a very social activity, so you may as well start as you mean to go on – with friends. No riding friends? Don’t panic, even sharing your plans with someone who doesn’t ride will give you someone to discuss your adventures with!
BikeSafe – a police led motorcycle project
IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists)