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How to teach a woman how to ride

Old 05-13-2012, 01:57 PM
yumoncbr's Avatar
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Default How to teach a woman how to ride

Biker Babes
If the woman in question is already riding her own motorcycle, there are only two points you need to be clear on:

1. More likely, a woman will ask for advice when she wants it and ask it of whom she trusts. Do not offer uninvited advice, unless you see her doing something repeatedly that could endanger her and others. In this case, be tactful, respectful and don’t get personal. And please don’t dress her down in front of the entire crowd. Think of how you would want this to be handled. This is not the time to trash talk, poke fun or be condescending. The message will only be heard if it is delivered appropriately. Any other time, keep it to yourself. Men are protectors, they want to fix things that they deem to be broken in some form or another. You’re wired that way, but please rise above your biology and resist the urge to “fix it” or “save her from herself”. Uninvited critique on technique or style will come across as patronizing, sexist, sometimes belittling, and even disrespectful. Again, a girl will ask if she wants to know.

2. When you overhear a woman, usually in quite an animated fashion, critiquing her own screw-ups, please don’t take this to be an open invitation for a riding lesson. We’re not exasperated or unsure of ourselves. It isn’t a sign of being helpless. When a girl goes on about how she totally blew a corner, or how she was a complete idiot for doing this, or not doing something else, she is processing. She knew she’s messed up; and that should be the key to understanding that she isn’t asking for help or trying to elicit your advice on the sly, but rather is engaging in an “after-action review”, to relive an event so she can do better next time. She is aware of her boundaries and where her skill development needs further attention. She’s got it under control and is handling her affairs.

Biker Babes in Training
If the woman is a beginning rider or is thinking about learning to ride a motorcycle, here is a list of things to keep in mind to understand how our learning experiences differ from that of the men, and how best to deal with gender-specific issues that may not even cross your mind as it is a non-issue for most guys.

1. If she has asked you to teach her how to ride and you have agreed, you should sit down first and talk about the expectations you have of each other. Make your own ground rules to ensure a pleasant and fun experience, for both student and teacher.

2. Implore her to take a basic riding course either before or after you begin teaching her. I cannot overemphasize the importance of formal practical training. She can learn the fundamentals of motorcycle operation in a safe and controlled environment with a relaxed and non-threatening atmosphere. A foundation which I personally found to be of huge benefit to my further education and skill training. Two of the most common courses are the Basic RiderCourse offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, and the Rider’s Edge Course offered by a lot of Harley Davidson dealers. Taking a riding course will also help those women who are unsure, to figure out if riding a motorcycle is something they would enjoy, before they take the plunge and buy a motorcycle, which is a sort-of big deal for a lot of us financially.

3. If at all possible, hook her up with an experienced female rider who rides the same type of motorcycle that she does. Women riders understand the obstacles a girl faces when first starting out and are for the most part very supportive of each other and a lot of women will feel more comfortable asking certain questions of another female rider.

4. Be patient and let her take each lesson at her own pace. A woman’s learning curve differs from that of a man’s. Generally speaking, a woman will learn at a slower pace, but will peak their skill set above that of the average man. I’m not saying this to be sexist, it has to do with how most of us girls approach new experiences and how we work through problems and our anxieties. We place more emphasis on education and prevention to keep us out of potential trouble. Men are more apt to wing it and learn as they go. “One down, five up? Ok, see ya.” That’s how my husband learned to ride; that was the question-statement he posed to the dude he bought his first bike from, gave him the cash and rode off into the sunset.

5. Do not pressure her about her speed. If you constantly nag her about “being slow” you may inadvertently destroy the confidence she is building in herself and her bike’s capabilities and turn it into frustration. In other words, don’t push her too far too fast. Girls don’t have the need to keep up with their buddies for worry of embarrassing themselves or being called slow; for the most part. Her speed will pick up on its own as her skills mature and her confidence increases.

6. Don’t try and talk her into something or out of something. Ride your own ride, let her do the same.

7. Let her buy her own ride. Period. She is the one who has to ride it, not you. Give her pointers, if she asks for your opinion, but give them objectively and without putting a spin on things. Also implore her to do her own research. The more she knows about motorcycle basics, the better position she’ll be in to make an informed decision.

8. Don’t let her wimp out. This is a toughie, though. When we have a bad experience and we aren’t reliant on our motorcycle for daily transportation, we have the option to take the Chicken Exit rather than working through it and conquering our fear. This can manifest itself in several ways, and not necessarily where you would think. That is what makes this one so difficult to pinpoint, even to ourselves. Be supportive, listen, and gently encourage her to keep on trying. How do you do this? That is something I cannot answer. It’s probably easier for another female rider to accomplish, because girls are more apt to say “if she can do it, so can I” when she can’t find the motivation on her own. Left to her own devices, a woman usually will either work through her discomfort and keep pushing herself in an effort to overcome the obstacle in her path or she will eventually quit. It all depends on how much importance she places on conquering the perceived setback. Not all women will become avid motorcyclists, some will find that it’s not for them after all and some will turn it into a lifestyle and sell their cars. Some will be content with riding pillion and others won’t stop until they have their racing license and have proven to themselves that they can do it. Again, whatever she decides, it is not a failure on her part or yours as her mentor.

9. Realize that women riders face a slightly different set of difficulties when learning to ride a motorcycle. Things most men find a non-issue and have never really given it much thought. Things such as: seat height, rider position, weight of the motorcycle, upper body strength, physical endurance, inseam, body shape, etc. These all have an impact to one degree or another of how we approach riding and the kind of bikes we find “agreeable” to us when we first start out. Even finding properly fitting motorcycle gear can be a real chore for girls.

10. And last, but not least, don’t ever append “…for a girl” at the end of a statement; unless you want to carry your ***** home in a jar.
Old 05-13-2012, 03:32 PM
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Thanks for the advice.

I had a girl ask me to teach her how to ride (specifically on my motorcycle), but we only got to step one. I told her that if I was to ever teach her on mine, I'd want to make sure she understood the physics involved. She agreed, so I gave her a homework assignment to learn about camber, rake, centrifugal force, etc. She did that, and was able to explain it pretty well. The next assignment, I e-mailed her some video clips of some minor crashes and asked her to identify what happened. For one reason or another, she decided it wasn't worth it at that point. (Whatever "it" was. I think she may have been more interested in me than in riding.)
Old 05-13-2012, 03:49 PM
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I taught on the motorcycle course for 9 years. Many of the riders I taught were female. I didn't treat them any different than the male students.
Old 05-13-2012, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by thrasher572 View Post
I taught on the motorcycle course for 9 years. Many of the riders I taught were female. I didn't treat them any different than the male students.
I'd agree.

I've taught 1 wife, a couple of girlfriends and a female cousin to ride. It seems like the easy way to get in trouble teaching a woman to do something is to treat them like one.

Old 05-13-2012, 10:37 PM
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This is good info, well done.
Old 05-14-2012, 02:55 AM
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My advice.... Send them to an MSF course.
Old 05-14-2012, 03:06 AM
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and still it all comes to down to attitude

Thats also something in real life relationships of any kind. Women arent that rough

Nicely put down (Y)
Old 05-14-2012, 05:29 AM
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Thanks for the post, I've been looking for some insight as to why my partner decided not to continue with her course and how she might be encouraged.
She's a determined and successful player, and all of her friends/work colleagues remain surprised that she gave up on the course she started with a bike training school.
Unfortunately she let the clutch out when stationary and forgot it was in gear on her first lesson and the bike took off, she got thrown and ended up breaking a finger.
I ride, her dad rides and she has no impediments to restarting but I imagine the event broke her confidence aswell.
I've stayed well out of the way leaving it up to her if she wishes to restart.
As it was 6 months ago I expect the challenge (as she would see it) has lost its appeal.
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