Until you are very confident mechanically, find a good motorcycle mechanic and do what they say (usually the good motorcycle mechanic is an independent one not at a stealership).
Some people should not ever work on their own motorcycle. If you are such a person, come to grips with it and move on, enjoying your working bike.
In my opinion, read a lot of good motorcycle magazines like 'Dirt Rider', 'Motocross Action' and 'Dirt Bike' they have heaps of good how-to-ride editorials and good step by step writeups on how to ride certain obstacles safely. Years later I still remember and use what I've read from the pro riders.
Be careful at all times, but balance that with confidence.
If you are tired, hungry, diminished in any way (feeling ill, hung over, stressed, upset, in a bad mood, etc.), or 'pushing yourself too hard' (only oneself knows when this is) ... stop and get a good motel room to rest, get fed, get balanced ... the $100 and delay in time could prevent a fatal accident for yourself and others. I've personally done this and am really thankful when I find myself able to give myself a break. Programming in such options into a road trip is wise too. Keep safe and alive.
Don't be fooled by the flashy hype motorcycle models. I have friends who ride first-generation dr's/xr's/kdx's/etc and for the 95% of us normal folks those bikes will never hold us back as riders.
In my opinion, the best bikes come from Japan. Best in so many ways. In my opinion, you'll learn this fact one way or another. I recommend sooner as I've lost thousands of dollars, hundreds of work hours, and a few riding seasons trying to keep my BMW 1150GS working, and now have no such problems on bikes from Japan.
Don't save money by riding worn parts like tires, sprockets, cables and other consumables. Get good stuff and keep it fresh and safe.
Not riding at night seems wise overall.
Never let another person ride your bike unless you trust him 100%, in which case such good friendships usually don't have your 'friends' asking to take your bike out because they respect you and don't want to foul up a friendship with a mishap.
Ride a smaller-displacement bike than you would expect, the result will be happiness, fulfillment, better MPG's, a lighter bike, and an improvement in your riding skills over time with a less-powerful machine. The best riders I have seen can clear obstacles on a 100cc or 200cc than others need abour 200 more cc's to clear. Finesse and efficiency go far, learn it.
Buying and selling extra parts on eBay will make motorcycling much more feasible for you, you will have much better riding gear, and have a better experince in this hobby -- just my experience.
We have a lot to do with how the world receives us.
Dr. Frazier Writing