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Old 07-16-2012, 09:23 AM   #31
Jim Moore
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It sounds to me like two things are happening. First, she's not riding enough to make any improvements. If she's not willing to make the time to ride three or four times a week for a year, and put at 5000 miles on the bike, she's not going to make any significant improvements. It doesn't take a lot. Fifteen minutes, a half-hour at a time. That will fix all those little issues like "how do I park this thing" and "what does the kill switch do."

Second, she's waiting for you to fix things when they go wrong. She'll keep doing that as long as you're standing around waiting to help. So, have her ride three or four times a week for a year by herself.

After that she'll be a right fine little motorcyclist. If she's not willing to do that, it's no big deal. She just doesn't dig it enough to become proficient. She should probably try a different hobby.

Btw, I thoroughly disagree with the people who say things like, "riding isn't for everyone." It's not like she's flying the space shuttle. Unless she has a physical issue that prevents her from getting on the bike an manipulating the controls, she can learn to ride. It just depends on her desire to do so.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:33 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Jim Moore View Post
It sounds to me like two things are happening. First, she's not riding enough to make any improvements. If she's not willing to make the time to ride three or four times a week for a year, and put at 5000 miles on the bike, she's not going to make any significant improvements. It doesn't take a lot. Fifteen minutes, a half-hour at a time. That will fix all those little issues like "how do I park this thing" and "what does the kill switch do."

Second, she's waiting for you to fix things when they go wrong. She'll keep doing that as long as you're standing around waiting to help. So, have her ride three or four times a week for a year by herself.

After that she'll be a right fine little motorcyclist. If she's not willing to do that, it's no big deal. She just doesn't dig it enough to become proficient. She should probably try a different hobby.

Btw, I thoroughly disagree with the people who say things like, "riding isn't for everyone." It's not like she's flying the space shuttle. Unless she has a physical issue that prevents her from getting on the bike an manipulating the controls, she can learn to ride. It just depends on her desire to do so.
+1 for Jim Moore - I think the best way to get comfortable and handy with the controls is a lot of short rides. Instead of the car to run short errands, why not the bike several times per week.

After not having a motorcycle for 20 years (and no street bikes since the very beginning), it took me a long time to get real comfortable on public streets. The short trip routine worked wondors for me, but it still took a good two seasons to feel competant.

My sister in law took the MSF and bought her first bike at age 40. I encouraged her to just run local errands with it for awhile. She did and is a very good rider these days.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:52 AM   #33
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Let me add to the 'Scooter!' crowd.

On a motorcycle, there are LOTS of things you need to do all at the same time. Once you have them internalized, they're automatic. For a beginner, it's overwhelming.

A scooter is just like a bike you don't have to pedal. Twist and go. Concentrate on riding safe rather than the mechanics.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:10 AM   #34
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I find that the aptitude for picking-up any speed/motion sport depends very heavily on what sports that person was into as a kid. If they were into speed/motion sports in their youth, especially the lean-to-turn ones (skiing, bicycling, ice or roller skating, skateboarding, etc.), then picking up motorcycling was mostly getting used to the new controls.

The most important things (that we can really only pick-up in our youth, when we're young, dumb and pliable) are losing the fear of relatively unprotected speed, the raw Newtonian physics of motion and friction in practice, how to fall to minimize injury, and knowing where our individual limits are. Trial and error being the best teacher.

Not to say that if someone didn't have that background, they couldn't pick it up, but it gets much, much harder for older people after becoming set in their ways, and especially if they happen to be risk adverse, like most women tend to be.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:11 AM   #35
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I'm thinking a different instructor might be one place to start.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:34 AM   #36
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I'm thinking a different instructor might be one place to start.
There is certainly some merit in this suggestion. My wife has told me that I can bark orders when trying to teach her something, probably because I'm familiar enough with her to skip the pleasantries. We witnessed an extreme example of this watching a guy try to teach his kid to ride. He was yelling so many advanced instructions, the poor kid said he never wanted to ride again.

Obviously, most of us wouldn't treat our spouse that way, but if she cares what you think, even an unintentional "dumb shit glare" can can make her too nervous to understand. A pro instructor will (hopefully) have some people skills, and the student won't care what the instructor thinks.

I still think some people shouldn't ride, however.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:56 AM   #37
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background

My wife is (or was) athletic, but not in motorsports. She was the women's 3.5 Doubles league champion in our local tennis association, taking a couple of hours off from work to show up in her work clothes to play matches against country club ladies who played all day several days a week, and then she would go back to work while they went for lunch or cocktails.

She was also a lap swimmer. She backed off on swimming and tennis due to shoulder problems. She also was a skier until she had knee surgery, but was a permanent intermediate. At work she is President, founder and majority owner of a "large small business" with around 150 employees that's open 24/7. I am a minority owner who bought some shares after we were married, and I work part time in her office, so I work for her; you might say she's my boss.

She works out with a personal trainer twice a week and does yoga classes two or even three times a week. She can do a lot of that per a pre-set schedule, at night or when it's raining, no matter the temperature. She isn't going to go riding like that. Someone mentioned it, not sure why, but no though I have done yoga, I don't do it with her, she is too advanced. I don't do well in the groups she participates in.

She has plenty of perseverance, she got back on and rode after her dirt crash. Before that, what started the whole thing was that she also asked me to save the XT for her and not leave it to one of our sons (who rides and will get a different bike anyway) after I pass on. I agree she needs more seat time, the problem is how to get it with her work schedule. And if it's not fun for her, she's not going to do it. That's why it isn't realistic that she would circle a parking lot for hours. BTDT in MSF.

Mainly she seems to have a hard time translating the principles of a training exercise into actual application in practice. As I mentioned, I compare it to somebody who can hit a bucket of balls off the mat at the range just fine, but then doesn't know what to do with club selection, a lie, a slope, obstruction etc. when they go out on the course. She can drive a clutch car just fine, but struggles with a motorcycle clutch.

She sees me ride and says that I am "one with the bike". She's not and does different tasks in a step-wise manner as separate operations. Like we stop together; I ask if she's ready to go, she say "Yes" but only after I'm rolling does she start to hunt for 1st because she stopped in 4th. (Sometimes I roll forward just a few feet as a 'false start' to see if she's really ready.) She has been reminded many times that if it's a routine stop, to work down through the gears as she decelerates so she'll be in 1st by the time she stops.

Her way of doing that is to make a gear change, coast 100 yards, make another one, coast another 100 yards, etc. If she "remembers" to work down through the gears while decelerating, it means she coasts in from 1/4 mile out. But if I ask her to keep up pace a little closer to the stop and then use brakes, she "forgets" to work down through the gears and ends up stopped in 3rd, 4th or 5th. In a clutch car with a traditional H-pattern, you can do that and then go directly to neutral, or 1st, whatever you want.

Some people say she needs more instruction and isn't ready to ride even ride on a road, but then others say that if I give her guidance in line or speed that I am doing it for her and she'll never learn. I think some are merely projecting the dynamics of their own relationships onto ours.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:17 AM   #38
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It's no problem downshifting back to first after stopped. Just show her the little clutch drag thingie to move the cogs when it won't downshift.

I don't think sports has anything to do with learning how to operate a motorcycle. My oldest son never played sports and didn't get his first motorcycle until he was 16. 1 year later he was road racing and his 3rd year he turned pro. About the same time he took up ski racing, though.

He had a lot of success, but he also had a lot of seat time. It wasn't overnight and there were piles of trashed parts in the process.

Maybe you should try explaining to her a little about the mechanics of the machine so she can visualize what she's trying to get it to do. Like others have said, scooters are easy. Clutches, foot brake, hand brake, shifter, traffic, road hazards...notsomuch.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:38 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
There is certainly some merit in this suggestion. My wife has told me that I can bark orders when trying to teach her something, probably because I'm familiar enough with her to skip the pleasantries. We witnessed an extreme example of this watching a guy try to teach his kid to ride. He was yelling so many advanced instructions, the poor kid said he never wanted to ride again.

Obviously, most of us wouldn't treat our spouse that way, but if she cares what you think, even an unintentional "dumb shit glare" can can make her too nervous to understand. A pro instructor will (hopefully) have some people skills, and the student won't care what the instructor thinks.

I still think some people shouldn't ride, however.
I've taught the basics to a few friends.

I would show, then walk a fair distance away to allow them to try without feeling pressure. Seemed to work pretty well most of the time.

the last guy I taught bought a Vstar 650 and rode it for several years before moving to Germany.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:03 PM   #40
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Can anyone give a reason why the act of doing something does not yield improvement?
It is obvious to you and your wife (and Viverrid's) what they're doing wrong.

Successful coaching involves telling them how to do it right. Not everyone gets this on their own. Basic rider classes break it down into small pieces, then add them together. It can also- as observed- take lots of coaching and positive reinforcement. It can be a struggle sometimes to remember that they're not trying to do it wrong but simply because they're not getting it.

Some have to practice a lot more to get it. Some may never get it.

Quote:
Yes, I was once a beginner on a bike, and a car, and an ATV, but every time I rode I got better. Yet I never see this is her endevours.
At the most basic level. people learning new skills don't know enough to know what they're doing wrong or how to fix it. They get confused because they think they're doing it right.

By the time they ask for help, they're already so confused, frustrated, and pissed off that anything you offer isn't going to stick.

Quote:
BTW, she does occasionally ride on the back, and has improved a lot on that, but we had many experiences where she would try and straighten the bike up during turns. No fun, scary actually.

Rant over.
What's her mindset when that happens? Probably something spooked her. Controlling that would be your department.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:16 PM   #41
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just envy

I'm envious of you all! Those of you whose SOs ride, or at least try. My BF says if it doesn't have 4 wheels or tracks, he's not getting on it. "...seen too many people killed, hurt, etc..." He tends the farm while I go on road trips. I'd much rather have him on a bike near me than back at home! My son loves to ride too, but is only 14 so doesn't have a license yet.

Viverrid...take her to a huge parking lot, turn her loose while you read a book under a tree. Let her work things out for herself there, where there's no traffic, distractions and so forth. (this is how I teach youngsters to figure out how to drive a stick shift.) If she's a tennis player, she's used to anticipating what's coming and planning her next move - she just needs to transfer her court-head to the bike. It's there, it's just not connected. You've given her the tools, she has to sort out how to use them.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:25 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by viverrid View Post
Some people say she needs more instruction and isn't ready to ride even ride on a road, but then others say that if I give her guidance in line or speed that I am doing it for her and she'll never learn. I think some are merely projecting the dynamics of their own relationships onto ours.
In fairness to "some", we're only going on the info you provide. And going on the info you provide, we've got two things to go on:

1. She genuinely wants to ride
2. She can't get the hang of riding

The advice offered depends on whether 1, 2 or both 1 & 2 are correct. Only you and she knows which is which, and to be honest, only *she* knows for sure.

To change the tack, perhaps a reset is in order, i.e. start from scratch, and build her back up. When you have trouble with the basics, you don't solve that by worrying about the advanced lessons-- you focus on the basics. Taking the MSF again, or the ERC/advanced course, or something similar may help.

And, to be charitably blunt, perhaps you're not her best instructor. That may have nothing at all to do with your ability to instruct her-- you may be SUPER AWESOME, the best ever-- it just may be a basic dynamic of your relationship. I don't know you, I have no clue, but I do know that this is one of those things that matters in instructor/student relationships: both the student AND the teacher have to mesh in order for learning to occur. She may simply learn better from someone else.

And yes, I admit, I'm "projecting" my own relationship with my GF in this department... I'm INCREDIBLY nervous instructing her on riding, simply because I don't want to get it wrong... and don't want her to learn any wrong lessons/try beyond her competency because she trusts *my* competency too much, etc., etc. There's a reason I paid for her MSF and stayed the hell out of the way-- I'd rather her learn the basics from a professional instructor than me simply because there's no risk of personal bias there, on EITHER her or my end.

daveinva screwed with this post 07-16-2012 at 12:37 PM
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:36 PM   #43
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Btw, I thoroughly disagree with the people who say things like, "riding isn't for everyone." It's not like she's flying the space shuttle. Unless she has a physical issue that prevents her from getting on the bike an manipulating the controls, she can learn to ride. It just depends on her desire to do so.
Hmmm. Actually, I'd argue that you thoroughly AGREE that "riding isn't for everyone," seeing as you caveat it with "depends on her desire to do so."

In my mind, if you have a desire to ride, you'll have the desire to ride well. Or, at least, well enough.

If you DON'T have a desire to ride-- if you don't care enough to learn how to do it well, if you don't actually *enjoy* it enough to keep at the effort required to do it- then yeah, obviously, riding isn't for you.

I knew from the first days I was on a bike that riding was for me. I wasn't any *good* at it yet, but I was immediately hooked, which motivated me to get out there and practice, and then get out there and ride, because riding was fun. I *knew* it would be hard until I got better at it, and even now I still find things hard, which is why I still make time for "boring" parking lot practice and the like just to sharpen my skills.

What helped me most in the beginning was having good instructors, and a realistic appreciation that riding WASN'T a natural act for me, i.e. I needed to spend time doing a lot of simple and mundane things to get the hang of it. I didn't expect overnight results, just as I wouldn't expect to learn piano in a weekend. But the flip side was, educating myself to ride was still fun in of itself.

For some people, it's not fun. Whether that's because of a natural inability to easily overcome fear, poor instruction, moving too fast through the basics, or simple physically poor coordination skills (not all of us can walk and chew gum at the same time... *I personally* suck at it!), those and similar problems all create impediments to making practicing riding fun.

That's why I complain about the MSF being too short for some riders. You'll hear some experienced riders argue that if you can't pass the MSF in a weekend "you don't belong on a bike." I think that's BS-- some people learn at different speeds than others, and some people require more riding time to get comfortable on the bike. Some people require personalized instruction, while others do fine in groups. All kinds, really, and there has never been a "one size fits all" form of education-- not in rider training, not in any sphere of education.

But the bottom line remains the cliche: you can lead a horse to water... not every horse drinks (most definitely NOT comparing viverrid's beloved to a horse! )
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:17 PM   #44
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It's no problem downshifting back to first after stopped. .
If only she would do it before she wanted to start up again. Even 2nd would work on her bike since it's geared pretty short. From 4th or 5th down to 1st is a long ways down to go after she's stopped and it can take a lot of clutching and rocking. It would help if she was a little closer by the time she stops, then she wouldn't have to put in a little clutch drag or rock so many times. These aren't emergency or high performance stops, just routine ones like approaching a clearly visible intersection.

It's almost funny, either she'll use the brakes and not shift, or shift and not brake (until the last couple of feet). Perhaps UNlike most noobs, she doesn't use the rear brake much at all, mostly the front.
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:28 PM   #45
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The injury

BTW, she (as expected) had sore ribs this morning. It's pretty high up and around the side, so it looks like she's going around holding one boob and rubbing it. She canceled today's gym session, I don't know if it was in time to save the trainer's fee for the scheduled appointment.

She's not home from work yet, might be getting dark by the time she gets home. Too many people want to talk to her every day.
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