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Hey Ladies,

I could use your input if you would. My OL bought a 250 Honda Rebel. Cool bike, well balanced and perfect learners bike. She has been out in the parking lot getting comfortable and getting excited about taking the MSF course. So we signed up together (I have never taken the course and wanted to support her and maybe learn something too). To put it mildly he experience was a disaster. She failed the course and has post traumatic stress (well at least it's a very negative reaction).

A little background. She is a 50 year young intelligent lady with normal eye-hand coordination and is reasonable fit. She is a cautious person and started out very slow in the parking lot. She has also had a fair amount of stress this summer. No excuse, just the facts. We got married in June and her mother died a week later. We went on our honeymoon. When we returned I found out my daughter, 19yo, had gone over the top. She had a couple of wild parties, got a ticket for MIP and two days later totaled her car while intoxicated and got arrested. Oh by the way, she smashed up my convertable too, which she wasn't supposed to drive. So there was a little stress in our lives. We took the course the following weekend.

The weather was hot and the instructors were rushing the exercises to get done early "before it got too hot". Their instructions on course layout were brief and several people had to ask for clarification. We finished day one at least two hours early and they gave no extra help or practice time to those that needed it. Day two started at 7:00 instead of 8:00 because of the heat and we were done with the test by 1:30. Two people out of 12 failed.

My OL could not perform the figure 8 in the box and that was the first test. After that she basically freaked out. She was overwhelmed and froze up and lost all self confidence. It was all down hill after that. She was too slow on the quick stop test, etc. etc.

Where do I go from here? I am a very patient and understanding guy and continue to comfort and reassure her. She has a very negative feeling right now so I am not pushing anything. She needs a break and time to recompose herself. Then we can start over, slowly. She has been talking with the other person who failed, also a 50 ish lady and that seems to help. My OL offered to let her use her Rebel and practice together. That seems to be a good idea with both of them.

Her main problems are: 1) confidence 2) tight turns and 3) speed, actually the lack thereof.

Have any of you worked through this? What worked for you? Any good books, videos or practice exercises you would recommend? She is a visual learner and has to get the feel of doing it right, at her own pace.

Sorry this is so long. Thanks for your thoughts.

Holden
 

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:(

I'm so sorry your OL had such a bad time. My MSF instructor was so wonderful, he never rushed anyone and told us that he would be for hire for additional instruction if we needed it. One girl tried to drop out but he spent five minutes talking to her and whatever he said worked!

It would be good for her to practice some on her on bike in a parking lot for sure. Maybe try to sign up for a different course where the instructors won't rush her. I ride horses and I've found I handle motorcycles better with instinct vs. thought. If I think too hard on a sharp turn at 35mph I have a hard time. If I relax and try to *feel* the bike instead, it really helps. Tight turns in general were very hard because I took the course on a 125 and then went home and hopped on the 1450 with a souped up engine. I couldn't make right turns without swinging into the left lane for several months :eek: !

The best thing IMHO is to have someone supportive around and try to convince her not to quit! I love to ride and I'm sure she will too. There's my .02 for what it's worth!
 

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Follow the advice above, and give her all the chances she needs, but be careful. She might not have had the best instructors, but if another set of instructors fails her again, they might be doing you a favour.
Riding a bike and surviving takes more then motor skills and hand eye coordination. It takes a special mindset not unlike what is needed to fly combat missions.

People that can not switch to a combat mindset often become casualties on a bike.
 

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I agree with everything HarleyHottie said. When I took the course, I took the weekday one - much better in my opinion. It was a couple hours every night for a week. Not sure if that is offered everywhere though. Give her time and if it's something she really wants, she will try it again. The same thing happened to my sister and she just decided it wasn't for her. Either way, just be supportive - which it sounds like you are doing.

One more thing - make sure she is doing this for herself and not just to please you. Let her know that you'll still love her if she decides to just be a backseater.
 

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Holden,

Sorry to hear about all the bad luck you had PRIOR to the MSF course. I am sure you will get things straigtened out with your 19 y/o.

As for your OL, continue to work with her on the areas that she was weak on. She now KNOWS what the curriculum is going to be like, so just try to replicate the tests in an open parking lot somewhere. (Church, school grounds, etc). Go to Walmart and pick up some of those orange soccer cones and practice with her. I would continue to work with her until she masters the areas she was weak in.

And once she feels confident about herself (and you do too), then I would try to find another MSF course to get her enrolled in. If you so happen to get the same instructors, I would politely remind them that YOU are paying for this course, and that if they are going to teach, they need to do it on a level that accomodates ALL students.

Good luck and give continue to give your OL re-assurance. She will get there.
 

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Learning to Ride 2

Holden - Geez I've went through almost the same experience. I'm the same age as your wife. I had somewhat of a similar experience. I had taken the safety course went to class first night and in the morning took the riding portion. Well 1 hour before going to riding class my two son's Jesse and Cody 22 and 18 yrs. of age came to my house to let me know they both were nearly killed. They got caught between a mexican and asian gang fight. Well they were shot at with shotguns but excaped. 15 police officers showed up. Well I thought I'm not going to be able to ride this course I'm to stressed out. They even say in the safety course. DO NOT RIDE IF YOU ARE STRESSED. Needless to say I went anyway thinking I could pull it off - I could'nt. Was'nt able to concentrate or anything. Trainer told me to go home that "maybe you should consider not riding motorcycles".. Hey I was crushed it really kicks you down. It took two weeks for me to work it in my head that I did'nt do anything wrong. So I have a 883 sportster by the way I just said fu(k this. I can do it. My friend took me out in the parking lots of a college and I started riding my bike can even get it up to 3rd gear. I went back to that instructor a few weeks later and told him why I did'nt have it together (my kids) and before that I called up and asked to get into another class which I am on a waiting list now. **** those 125 hondas are nothing compared to me riding my motorcycle. So for your wife have her read this. You are a very wonderful and considerate husband. You truly care... That's great. Let her take her time. Talking with the other lady who was evicted out of the class will help - they can help each other. Give each other morale support. Another thing - VERY IMPORTANT- go to Forum Motorcycle Rider safety tips. go into Learn2ride that's me. Go then to For the absolute novice... Print that out......very important just follow that.. I would encourage your wife to take another safety course, but not the one she went to (sounds like her instructor sucked) In California you can get your license after you pass the course. It's easier then using your own bike.. Good Luck with your wife .
 

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Hey Holden,

Tell yer sweetie that the most important thing was to learn what the corrrect actions are, that she could not perform them is only an assessment of her skill set AT THAT TIME, not her ability to understand and learn.
When she's in a better mood, take her and the rebel to a Walmart parking lot (preferably early on a Sunday morning) and try to practice those MSF drills. It ain't about pass/fail, its about learning to do the right thing automatically.
She CAN do it.
Good luck.

wyo
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the input. You guys are great. She has calmed down gotten focused and is determined to master the skills necessary to ride safely and proficiently. Her plan is to get the learners permit and practice the maneuvers until she can do them in her sleep. (Don't get in the way of a determined woman).
HIPPO, I hear ya. If she gives it her best shot and still doesn't have the mental attitude necessary, then she will take the back seat. But I have a feeling the she will turn out to be a very good motorcyclist.
dprice, great advise. We went out last weekend and bought some of those orange cones at walmart. The course is all laid out in the parking lot where we took the class and she can practice where the test is actually given.
One of the guys that "taught" the course is also a state examiner. He showed us what the state requires and where the course is laid out. It just happens to be at the same parking lot as the MSF course. So she can master both before taking the test, which ever one she wants to take.
She is now determined to beat my score, which means she has to ace it. I got one minor gig for slowing in a curve, which I dispute. He smiled and said he didn't want to give me a perfect score. Whatf'ingever.
So she has shaken it off and is back on track. It's hard to keep a good woman down.
Holden
 

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It wasn't meant in a mean spirited way, everybody has their limitations. As an example I always liked flying high performance aircraft, but during training I noticed a recurring problem due to an old injury (I'm pretty sure the IP was not aware of it). I knew it was an accident waiting to happen somewhere down the road when things went wrong, so I took myself out of it.
 

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By the time I got to read all this (today), all I could think was, "Brother! Is this ever familiar, or what?!?" I have nothing of consequence to add, except, "THERE'S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MILAGE!"
My girlfriend must have had that same, STUPID instructor about 6 months ago. She passed, "By the skin of your teeth!", her snobstructor told her. After we got her 883, we still spent ALOT of time in parking lots. Then she graduated to the MILD streets of the neighborhood. Still doesn't have a bunch of miles on the MEAN streets, but she gets better/more confident each time out!
Go for it, girls! But learn to RIDE SAFE!
 

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Right after we got married 37 years ago, I had a horrific accident on a bike, was off work for over a year. My wife hated bikes from that day forward. I was told if I ever so much as thought about a bike, it was divorce city. Seven or eight years ago a group of our friends bought, Harley's and badgered us to do the same. My wife said "No Way". On Labor Day weekend, six years ago, they ask us to follow them with our Vette on a Day outing. She saw how much they enjoyed their bikes and during the trip made a comment, that it wasn't so bad and looked like fun.
I took this as an approval. The next Day I went out and bought my Fatboy and parked it in the garage. **** hit the fan when she got home.

Between the friends and my dogging her she finally agreed to ride behind me. She quickly got hooked. Four years ago she decided she wanted her own bike. Fifty years old, never rode a bike in her life, She on her own decided to enroll in the State sponsored riding classes. She put in 20 hours of training in the local High School parking lot on a 250cc half bike, never getting out of second gear. On the last night she took her test and passed. The next morning she gets up an informs me she is going to buy herself a bike and will you go with me. Didn't say a word except 'OK".

Went to the local Harley shop, she gets on a Bike and saids I like this one, but she couldn't work the clutch and her feet didn't begin to touch the floor. Tried several others, Couldn't pull the clutch in. I didn't say a word. You could see and feel her disappointment. I finally said there are other bikes you know. We ended up at the Yamaha dealership, She immediately saw a V-star classic. She sat on the bike, both feet on the floor and began pumping the clutch which by the way pulls so easy you would swear it is unhooked. Her words, " I'll take it". Bought the Bike home, our two married childred thought their mother had gone bonkers but said well whatever, Mom.

Now 4 years later she is a veteran, She has made several 2 to 3 thousand mile trips. During all this I never pressured or encouraged her whatever disicion she made was her own. I am telling you her story to encourage you to make the decision on your own. If she did so can you.
 

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For an easier clutch pull, buy the $30 White Brothers Easy Boy Clutch kit for big twins (not sure if it fits a Sporty). It will ease pull by almost half. But it is a bit difficult to install. It is a small piece that goes inside the right side transmission cover.
First pull the exhaust pipe away from the trans cover, probably the most difficult part of the install. Next drain the trans oil and take off the trans cover and gasket. Unsrew the clutch cable from the cover, and inside the cover the new EasyBoy clutch piece will be attached to the end of the clutch cable. Reinstall the cable, put the cover back on with a fresh gasket, put in new full-synthetic Mobil1 Gear oil, and put on your pipes. The only special tool neede is a large snap ring pliers for the inside of the cover. It sounds hard but with patience it can be done in about 3 beers.
By the way, my wife failed her Riding Course by a few points, and she is absolutely crushed. Everyone else in the course had ridden dirt bikes for years and knew all about balance, shifting, etc... She assumed they would teach her to ride as the only beginner. Big Wrong!
 

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clutch problem

deb93fxlr said:
Why can't harley make a clutch easier for us ladies!:(
Deb - Boy I know what you mean. I have tried a ez-pull on my bike it's a speciality item cost about $110.00, looks like it cost only $15.00 to make. Made just a little improvement. But my clutch lever was to far out on my sportser. Did alot of homework and found some ergonimcally correct levers from custom crome. Had to buy both brake and clutch for $70.00. (this shi^ is getting expensive). You know it did move the clutch lever in almost a full 3/4 to 1" inch. Just enough where it did'nt pop out of my fingers. But the pulling in the clutch is a ***** still. I have heard about the White Bros. clutch. You can go to their web site it tells you about it, only around $26.00 not bad. Looks like it might be a bear to put on though. It was rated as pretty good about 50% in helping with the clutch pull. Might have to try that next. I have a woman I just met who has a 2000 - 1200 sportster tried her brake and clutch it was like butter to pull in. I'M JEALOUS. Good luck if you try the white bros. clutch let me know if it helps. Oh I took up weight lifting again just to make it easier to pull in the clutch. Well at least something got me back into the gym. Keep me posted....

Cheri
 

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One of those won't work on mine because I have an older lowrider - it's an fxlr not a dyna. I think it's the white Bros. clutch that won't work. So, any city riding kills me. I was advised on another board to squeeze some balls!:eek:LOL That hasn't seemed to help much - maybe I just didn't do it enough.
 

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I'm lucky enough to be ambidextrous and although I write right-handed, my left is stronger. My hand gets tired after a lot of clutch work. I didn't want to be wussy woman so I didn't complain but when my OM hopped on my bike he said the clutch was way difficult!! We swapped bikes and his clutch is definitely easier, so is every other bike I've tried!!! Wassup with that???

I agree with you Deb, squeezin my OM's balls hasn't helped at all! :)
 

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I posted earlier of my wifes' bike learning experience and mentioned the Hard to pull clutch problem, she experienced. Guess what HD finally put a clutch on a bike she can handle.
A friend just purchased a new V-Rod with less than a 100 miles on it, he insisted that my wife take it for a spin. I thought, Hey this man is either crazy or something is going on here. When she came back, she had a smile, ear to ear, claims the clutch pulls almost as easy as the Yamaha. The pegs and the brake peddle are to far forward however and the exhaust pipe sticks to far out for her short legs. Darn, I want a V in the worst way but I can't give up the Fatboy.
 

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Where abouts in the Twin Cities do you live, Skinny? If you rather not say, just tell me what harley dealer you live closest to!LOL
 
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