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Old 08-15-2013, 08:38 AM   #16
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Aug 2008
Location: People's Democratic Republic of Tarsnakestan
Oddometer: 671
1964, Honda C110, 50cc, 4-speed.
Got on it & started riding. Already had 'manual shifting'/friction zone/clutch feathering basics down, thanks to my '57 VW and Dad's pickup truck.
Finally got the MSF course done in '08...
"Man is excellently made, and eagerly lives the kind of life that is being lived."
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:42 AM   #17
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: denver co
Oddometer: 473
I learned to ride on a late 70's 175, I think that was what it was. I was too short to reach the pegs so my dad would stand and balance it and put it in first gear for me then I would run the gas and clutch and he would make sure i was going ok and then let me go. I would ride around until I wanted to stop and then do a couple of laps around the house so he would come out and I would pull in the clutch and he would catch the bike. Put a lot of miles sitting in front of him on his street bike with him running the rear brake and shifter and me doing everything else. The good old days.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:05 AM   #18
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Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Annapolis, MD
Oddometer: 12,551
Bicycles progressed to lawn mower engine powered mini-bikes back in the 60's. Those progressed into dirt bikes in the 70's. Those had progressed into dual sports by the 80's. The first real motorcycle I can remember riding and when I learned to shift was on a Harley Davidson (Aermacchi) enduro. Somewhere along the way I figured out counter steering, threshold braking and all the other crap we need to know.
525EXC, 640 Enduro, XT200
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:36 AM   #19
Ride On
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: USA
Oddometer: 4,532
Growing up we were always pedaling around town. Day,night,summer,winter-didn't matter.Always on our bikes.

Eventually a few of the guys got minibikes and small MX bikes-DS80, YZ80,etc which we all took turns riding on an abandoned railbed, in an old gravel pit as well as around fields and local dirt roads. Next, one of my buddies got a Yahama 125 enduro, the MX bikes became 125s and our dirt road excursions increased in frequency & distance.

I, of course, was not allowed to have my own...

At 15 I got my first actual job,one year later I bought a new, 0 mile, Suzuki GS450t for $1700, cash! Had my boss take me to the dealership to pick it up, rode it home to let the folks know what was up, been riding(mostly) ever since. Eventually, I even got my self the mc endorsement!

Yup, rebel without a clue.
Opinions are like internet connections- everybody has one.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:07 AM   #20
Big Bamboo
Aircooled & Sunbaked
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Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Big Island of Hawaii
Oddometer: 4,125
I had only been on a couple Honda 50cc bikes before I bought my first BMW R75/5 at the dealership in Germany. I rode up and down the block a few times and practiced turns in a parking lot before I got on the Autobahn... ( cue sound of someone crapping their pants ), but I didn't die. Three months in European city traffic and alpine twisties taught me a bunch. Then I rode that thing 24/7 for 3 years, before loaning to a friend who crashed it...
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Old 08-15-2013, 02:08 PM   #21
Cheesehead Klompen
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Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
Oddometer: 799
Learned the basics from my dad in late 73, on a Yammy TwinJet 100. Then lots of miles on the seat of four different bikes. Took my 1st MSF course in 90, became an instructor in 93. Kept putting on miles and miles and miles, 215,000 miles just since 1990. Ride street, ride dirt, ride an ice bike, all to learn more techniques.

My first track day is coming up next season. 56 is never to late to take it to the track.
When life throws you a curve,.....lean into it!
42+ year rider, 22+ year MSF Coach, Street, Dirt, Ice, ride em all!
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Old 08-15-2013, 02:11 PM   #22
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Joined: Mar 2004
Location: Seattle (Berkeley with rain)
Oddometer: 10,403
About two years in college on a 49cc Yamahopper scoot. Just rode it.

Fast forward four years. Friend of a friend commuter was moving up to a Yamaha something or other. Dealer offered him $500 trade-in on his 79 KZ750. Said he'd sell it to me for that. I'd "always wanted a motorcycle" so took him up on it.

Went to his house, gave him a $500 check. Had him explain the controls to me. I'd ridden MCs once or twice before and knew how to drive a clutch before so, with the scoot experience, it wasn't totally foreign to me. Hopped on the bike, got on the freeway and rode it about 10 miles home. I don't remember it being particularly scary or anything but my shifting probably wasn't that smooth.

Got home and got off it to put the side stand down. (Habit from doing that to put the scoot on the center stand.) It promptly fell over on the left side. Me: "Damn. these things sure are HEAVY."

Got a learners permit that requires you to ride with someone else but didn't know anybody who rode so just rode it illegally for a few weeks. Practiced some slow stuff in the Park-n-Ride across the street and riding around the hood.

Went to take license test. The thing had some miles on it from being a multi-year commuter and didn't idle so well. Stalled during the test, examiner got pissed at me for wasting his time. Told me to get it fixed before I came back.

Didn't do anything to it. Practiced some more slow test type stuff in the Park-n-Ride. Went back a couple of weeks later. Different examiner. Stalled on me several times so I had to put my foot down to keep it upright. Examiner: "Well, technically I should fail you but it looks like you know what you're doing so I'm going to pass you."

I had the basics down, never took any training (didn't know it existed) and just learned from riding. For the first 25k, as they say, I did learn some things seat of the pants but essentially rode "the first 1,000 miles 25 times" so not a heck of a lot of skill improvement.

At that point I got around to reading Proficient Motorcycling. I learned a couple of things but most of it I'd already figured out for myself. (I knew what countersteering was long before I even rode the scoot.)

Around 2004 or 2005, I started watching YouTube videos and finding stuff on The Internet and devoted myself to trying lots of different things and working on my riding skills. Started employing a mentality that had worked very well for me to improve my downhill skiing - every turn is a practice turn that you can learn something from. Made a HUGE difference in my riding skills and made riding a lot more fun.

I am certainly nowhere near being a totally awesome rider but these days I am confident that I can "ride my way out of a wet paper bag."
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Old 08-15-2013, 04:13 PM   #23
Aj Mick
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Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Phuket, Thailand
Oddometer: 728
School of Hard Knocks

Friends got bicycles, so I had a go when we visited; I was seven when I started back in about '61. There was no instruction; the adults did their thing and we did ours. In due course we got bicycles too.

My father was among the first in the district to get a farm motorcycle (a Honda CT 90) in '66. He showed me most of the the controls, and told me to ride. He came back a few minutes later and chided me for not having got out of first gear. I complained that he had not shown me how to. Got that sorted in a minute, and that was the end of any instruction.

From then on it was just the School of Hard Knocks, softened by the odd bog or bramble bush.

In '69, I read up the Road Code, then did the written and oral test for my provisional licence a week or two after my fifteenth birthday. A week later I did my full licence test on the CT90..... up the road 100 metres, do a feet up U-turn, and back to the testing officer.

Had one accident on the road and got a couple of speeding tickets as a cocky youth in the mid '70s. Clean record since then.
there are old motorcyclists and bold motorcyclists
but you seldom meet an old, bold motorcyclist

Aj Mick screwed with this post 08-15-2013 at 04:19 PM
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:05 PM   #24
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Madison,CT
Oddometer: 2,838
I bought a mini bike from a classmate at age 12, and was lucky enough to have a large area of undeveloped land/water company property across the street. We rode there through the 70's on our DT 175's and 250's, and it was great. I think everyone should have some seat time on a dirt bike, to learn obstacle avoidance, and to look where you want to go.
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:10 PM   #25
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: You're Mama
Oddometer: 3,773
And learning controlled sliding.
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:32 PM   #26
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Joined: Jun 2009
Location: the hills
Oddometer: 6,631
At the age of 4 Dad pissed Mom off and bought me a Rupp mini bike for my birthday. Damn that thing was dangerous.
you don't see luggage racks on a hearse..........act accordingly
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:50 PM   #27
Joined: May 2013
Location: Southern Maine
Oddometer: 96
Me: 19 year old, snotty-nosed spoiled college brat who in the mid 1980's found himself volunteering for Lutheran World Relief on a rural development project in northern Kenya.

Project manager: We got 400 square miles of grassland, kid. We need you to do a livestock census and tell us how many sheep, goats and camels are grazing this highland reserve. Here's a map, a compass, a pair of binoculars and an off-road motorcycle. Stay away from the ravines around dusk because that's when the lions come out to hunt.

Me: Great! Just one problem; I don't know how to ride a motorcycle.

PM: Do you know how to ride a bike, kid?

Me: Yeah, well sure ......

PM: Same damn thing. Here's your throttle, that's your clutch and the brakes are here and here. See that little foot lever? That's your shifter. One down is 1st, then one click up is 2nd, then 3rd, 4th and 5th. Neutral is between 1st and 2nd.

Me: Yeah, but -

PM: We got a 4000' dirt airstrip out back. Why don't you run through the gears for a few minutes and then get started; you're gonna be at this for at least a week. Oh yeah, if you're in tall grass, stay on the bike, because that's where the puff adders are. The cobras will get out of your way if you're walkin' but the puff adders will just lay there and strike.

Me: But the whole 400 square miles is all grassland.....

PM: Try to be back before it gets dark!
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:03 PM   #28
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Spacecoaster FL
Oddometer: 7,390
I learned on bicycles, friends' mini-bikes, mopeds, ATVs, scooters, and the occasional dirtbike. I then got my first streetbike and took the very basic DMV test to get a license when I got out of vocational school in the Marines. I rode many different streetbikes for several years, then hung it up for a decade. When I got an old streetbike again, my GF decided she wanted to ride too, so we enrolled her in a BRC and I decided to join her. I'm still learning things, several years later.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:47 PM   #29
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Pocono Mt.s PA
Oddometer: 174
The first time I rode a bike was an old Honda Fat cat my buddies had, I was probably 13 or so.

Then my friend had a ttr 225 when I was 18 or so, and I rode that on trails with him. Then I bought it, traded an sks for it. Sold it after a few months as it had bad rings and burned more oil than gas and I was an idiot.

At 23 I got a Suzuki Marauder 800cc cruiser. I tooled around our local roads in my neighborhood for an hour or two, then took it on a real road. I remember driving at 45 and seeing all the stuff on the side of the road and imagining what it would do to me if I crashed.

Well I put 15k miles on that and now I have a KLR 650.

I never took the MSF, but have read Proficient Cycling and study motorcycling to become a good rider. I loved the marauder at the time, but once I got the KLR I rode it and the damn things is a pig. Crappy handling, brakes, and too low. I sold it asap.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:27 PM   #30
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Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Oddometer: 15
Friend had an automatic bike back when we were sixteen. Rode that a few times. Not too shabby.. Fast forward 7 years and I buy my first bike. Started riding it around my neighborhood streets while waiting for the registration to go thru and studying for my permit test!
'08 Suzuki DR650se.
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