Nothing feels quite like finding the perfect bike. As the weather continues to warm up (in between these nasty storms), more people are choosing to ride a motorcycle for the first time. This is great, but when you’re a new rider, there’s a lot of information to take in. In order to help keep you, and everybody else on the road who you're riding around, we’ve compiled a list of the basic things you need to keep in mind before you twist the throttle for the first time. Above all, we hope you’ll do two things for many years after your first time: have fun, and ride safe. Read on for Everything First-Time Motorcycle Riders Need to Know. 



Important thing you can learn about piloting that bike is this: you'll go wherever you're looking. So if you're looking at the ground up ahead, that's where you're going to go. Look far into the distance and observe what's going on around you, and you'll keep going that way. 

This is an especially important thing to think about when you're approaching corners. Look through the corner, not down at the ground somewhere in the middle. Is there a median separating the two directions of traffic? Are there potholes? Any other road hazards to avoid, such as pieces of someone's junker that have fallen off in the road? Small animals, children, or other pedestrians? A huge part of riding is just looking ahead and anticipating what you'll do in any given situation. Play "what if?" games with yourself often and you'll keep the shiny side up to ride another day.



In addition, you can use turning your head as another signal to drivers around you that you're going to be moving or turning. Anything that will make other people see or pay attention to you is a good thing, even it's just as subtle as turning your helmet to the left. 

You know to pay more attention to motorcycles when they're driving. What you can control is how you ride. Pay absolute attention before and at every single intersection. We're not just talking street corners. We also mean alleys, parking lots, drive-throughs, petrol stations, anywhere a vehicle is going to try to enter moving traffic from a stand-still. Scan ahead with your eyes to note any possible traffic dangers in your way. Is there a lane merge up ahead? Construction? A utility lorry doing some work? An accident? Does a police officer have someone pulled over? All these possibilities may lead to someone who wasn't paying attention suddenly deciding that they have to merge into your lane. Just a second's inattention can mean someone sideswipes you because they didn't see you. By anticipating potentially dangerous situations up ahead, you'll be ready to move out of the way or brake as necessary. 



Also, don't ride in anyone's blind spot. Ride up ahead of them or far enough behind that if they suddenly switch lanes without signalling, you won't get hit. These are good rules of thumb to prevent being sideswiped. If you can see yourself in someone's mirror, they can most likely see you. (You know, as long as they're actually using their mirrors.)

Also, don't panic if you forget to turn it off once or twice. Most new bike owners will do it at least once. You know you need to turn it on to prime the engine after it's been sitting cold for any length of time, but turning it off isn't second nature yet. If you leave it on, you'll be running your bike rich unnecessarily for however long you leave it on past the initial warm up. Over time, this could cause problems -- but more immediately, you'll just be wasting petrol. 

Unlike a car, it's not always possible to adjust motorcycle mirrors without a wrench. That's why you want to check their positioning before you start riding. It's simple. Just get on the bike in riding position and check that the mirrors are where you need them to be able to see as much as you can around you. If your bike has a centre stand, this is especially easy to do while it's sitting on the centre stand. If not, get on the bike and point it straight ahead. Hold the front brake lever if you're on a downhill incline. Adjust as necessary.