155 years of experience: Top tips for new riders from the MCN staff

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There's perhaps no other office in the world that offers the same wealth of motorcycle knowledge as MCN. With that in mind, we asked a few of the members for their top tips for new riders.

Between the seven who have given their advice below, there's 155 years of riding experience.


Ped Baker, 30 years riding experience

Inexperienced riders can fall into the habit of thinking other road users will always follow the highway code. Don't blindly assume that the car sitting at a junction won't pull out or run a red light just because it's your right of way. Learn to recognise potentially dangerous situations long before they affect you.

This doesn't mean riding in constant fear but instead constructing a cushion of time and space around you. Time to cover your brakes, position yourself better, prepare to take positive, planned, evasive action. Once you get used to it becomes second nature.

Emma Franklin, 11 years riding experience

Ride as many different types of roads as possible. It’s all too easy (and convenient) to stick to motorways and dual carriageways, but they don’t teach you very much (and they’re boring). So wherever you can swap your A-roads for B-roads. Your riding and road reading abilities will develop at a much faster rate, and you’ll have more fun too.

Michael Neeves, 30 years experience

Absorb as much motorcycle knowledge as you can, like a sponge. Read MCN, look at magazines, speak to other riders, listen to what racers say in interviews, go on training and race schools. Studying the art of riding a motorcycle is a life-long vocation. It’s what makes our hobby so involving and rewarding.

Simon Brown, 23 years riding experience

Be decisive in junctions. When I was on L-plates I made the mistake of moving as if I was about to go out across a complicated T-junction and then stopping again. The vehicle behind me saw my brake light go out and promptly shunted into the back of my MZ, writing it off in the process. It was her fault, clearly, because she struck the bike from behind but also my mistake for giving the impression that I was about to go and then hesitating.  If it is safe, go. If it isn’t safe don’t make like you are about to ride off.

Liam Marsden, 10 years riding experience

Relax and enjoy it, which is easier said than done, especially when the experience is completely new. You may have to focus on unclenching your jaw, or relaxing your shoulders and arms. But once you're relaxed and not holding on with an iron grip the bike will react much better to bumps and rider inputs.

Tony Hoare, 15 years riding experience

Don’t open your visor when it’s raining. If you think mist on the inside is bad, wait till you’ve got rain in there.

Tim Thompson, 36 years riding experience

Whatever is happening, no matter how chaotic and distracting, look where you want to go – and everything will be okay…


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