When the Handlebars Are in Your Hands

Tina Reeves: American Women Riders

I was asked this question this past weeekend: What would I tell new riders to help keep them safe?

Just because you have that motorcycle endorsement and you have that new bike doesn't mean you know everything. It's the beginning of your learning to ride process.

You need to take the time to get acquainted with your motorcycle. Learn your controls and location so that it becomes a natural reaction to use them. Adjust the mirrors for you and always remember that even though you use those mirrors always do a head turn check of traffic before changing lanes.

Always keep scanning ahead and keep your eyes moving. Use your defensive riding skills and expect the unexpected. If you are riding in a group don't follow so close that you can't avoid trash or potholes in the road.

Something very important when riding is do not panic. Panic overpowers your ability to make decisions and maintain control. I remember the first time I had to brake quickly. First thing that came to my mind was don't panic. I can do this and that helped stop me from losing control.

Go out on some low traffic streets or find a empty parking lot and practice, practice, practice and practice some more. It can sound intimidating to a new rider but it will all become second nature after you gain experience and confidence. Respect your motorcycle and be proud that you are doing something that will change your life.

Safe Rides Always and Remember To Find Joy In Your Journey!

American Woman Riders



Proud Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. I've been riding since 2003 and absolutely love it! I support "real women" that ride motorcycles with American Woman Riders. AWR is an electronic publication where women share their inspirational stories and unite with women riders worldwide.


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  6. I just purchased a 2006 1200 Sportster Custom Low and am so so excited about riding it, I don't have but a little experience riding. I am real glad for these post, I feel the way ya'll are talking, will take my time, get comfortable and when I FEEL SECURE, then will take bigger steps but until then the BIG empty parking lot is sufficient!!! Thanks

  7. Tina great article. I have followed you when you were with Thunder Roads now with US Rider and American Women Riders. What a talent you have and are able to share that with others! Kuddo's to you!

  8. I only got into serious trouble twice. Once when I had a tire blow on the front at 70 and totaled it by wrapping it around a tree. I was able to get off just before the cycle hit and all I got was skinned up. The other time I was cutting up ad stood the bike up on the rear wheel at and intersection and hit an oil slick and went down. Tore the cartilage loose in my left knee and was in a cast for month and half.
    My advice is don't think you can master a cycle. It will stomp on you every time.:)

  9. Great advice MSF! Don't feel pressured into riding beyond what you are comfortable with. If you're with a group, let them know before you take off, if you fall behind, you'll catch up. If your up front, I think most people respect that. I live in a pretty high traffic area. Lot's of tourists. I always scan the intersections when I come up on them. I never take for granted that just because a driver makes eye contact, that they will stop. Before taking off from a redlight. I always look both ways, making sure no one is trying to save a second by running the light.

    • Great advice Tina. I taught MSF courses for 14 years. Many of the riders that get in trouble allow someone else tell them how to ride their ride. Your advice of getting comfortable with their bike, getting practice OFF the road and in a safe, secure location is right on. Further is to not let ANYONE intimidate you into riding beyond what YOU feel your limits are. The more you ride and practice, the better you will get. Your advice can fit the ladies but also fits the men as well..

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