Beginner tips: Your first month motorcycling after learning to ride

In your first month motorbiking, you’ll make some mistakes, but you’ll also make some incredible memories.

That’s because when you learn to ride a motorbike, the lessons don’t stop when you pass your test. In fact, you’re only just beginning to build your knowledge and confidence, ahead of the lifetime of incredible experiences you’ve signed yourself up for.

But those first few weeks are crucial. Riding out on your own, often on a fairly powerful bike, can be as dangerous as it is memorable.

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What bike to buy first?

Once you’ve passed your motorbike licence, you may be struggling to choose your perfect partner to start your riding career, so why not head over to our best first big bikes feature, where you can see our suggestions for easy riding motorcycles to start your life on two wheels.

Buying a bike in your first month of riding

Furthermore, Some of these motorbikes for beginners are frequently among the best-sellers in the UK, and for very good reason: they’re fun to ride, reliable, comfortable and practical. Some even have impressive levels of tech!

In this article we bring you tips for staying safe and getting the best from your formative first weeks on two wheels.

Riding a motorbike on the road alone: a guide

You’ve got your licence, but what do you say to yourself as you pull away on your first solo ride? Advanced instructor Simon Weir has some tips:

  • Believe in yourself – Once you’ve passed the test, you know what to do. Don’t take risks but don’t second-guess yourself, hesitate or dither. Nobody’s marking you, so have faith in yourself to make positive decisions.
  • Chase smoothness, not outright speed – Work at pulling away gently, trying to make every gear change the best you’ve done and then adjusting your speed smoothly. Don’t try to ride fast – that’s the quickest way to get ragged. Then everything’s smooth, you’re in control. Pace comes later.
In your first month riding, try to be smooth and think ahead - particularly when filtering
  • Look ahead more than you look at the clocks – The more you see, the better your decisions will be and the more confidence you’ll have. Make sure you keep looking well ahead – not just 40-50m in front of the bike. And while it’s important to know what speed you’re doing, don’t spend more time looking at the clocks than checking the road ahead – focus on the ride.
  • Don’t forget your mirrors (and your ‘life-saver’ shoulder checks) – If you don’t know what’s behind you, it could give you a nasty shock so remember to check your mirrors regularly. Before making any manoeuvre – whether it’s turning or overtaking – consider whether a shoulder check would help. In most cases, it probably will (even if there’s not an examiner behind you any more).
  • Love your brakes – Braking exercises aren’t only for Mod 1. Even when you’ve passed your test, and even with ABS, it’s still worth finding somewhere safe and quiet to practice hard braking every now and then. If you ever need to do an emergency stop, you want it to be second nature, not something you last did in training.
  • Watch your feet – More bikes are damaged by being dropped in gravelly car parks than anything else. Always take care when coming to a stop. Check your footing – and make sure you have the sidestand down properly before you get off.
In your first month motorcycling, ensure you work out where to place your feet and what to do when you come to a standstill. There are often multiple ways of doing things so pick one your comfortable with
  • Do your own thing – Riding with other people is great but don’t get drawn into riding faster than you would on your own. You can learn a lot from more experienced riders, but it might not always be good. Go at your own pace so you arrive with a smile on your face, not your heart in your mouth.
  • Relax and enjoy it! – Don’t forget the most important thing: riding is meant to be fun! It’s important to concentrate, to work at improving your skills and to keep yourself safe… but it shouldn’t be hard work. Relax and enjoy the ride – you’ve earned it.

How to deal with weather conditions 

There are few things better than riding a motorbike in perfect conditions, but let’s be real here: we live in the UK and such days are rare.

In your first month motorbiking it's quite possible you'll encounter rain

When conditions are sub-optimal, the best advice is to slow down and get smoother with your inputs – throttle, braking, steering and gear changes. This will help you keep control of your bike.

Safety gear for new riders

If you’ve passed your test, you’ll already know what gear you need to go riding – a helmet is an absolute essential and it’s illegal to ride without one, but we would strongly advise getting hold of some approved riding boots, a biking jacket, and some motorcycling gloves too. All will help keep you damage-free should the worst happen and you come off, but furthermore, they’ll be designed with comfort in mind.

That’s a very important point: the comfier you are, the more you’ll ride, and the more you’ll enjoy it. It’s worth getting these bits right.

You'll probably already have kit from when you learnt to ride, but in your first month motorbiking, consider what's most important to you

Of course, there’s also a less essential aspect to all this: fashion. There is a vast array of kit available at varying price points, and it’s often possible to match with your bike and even your favourite colours or designs.

The best advice is to head to a motorcycling superstore to try some kit on and find out what fits you best.

Get to know your bike, and how to look after it

One of the best ways to look after your bike is to clean it. You’ll go over every surface with a fine-tooth comb and start understanding how it all works in no time.

Motorcycles can be fickle creatures if you don’t take care of them, but equally you don’t have to be a mechanic to keep one working.

Bike maintenance is a great habit to get into during your first month motorbiking

The basics include lubricating your chain, checking and adjusting its slack, checking and adjusting tyre pressures, and checking oil and coolant levels.

Seeking further training 

The old cliché says that you only start learning when you’ve passed your test, and our advice would be that you can’t have enough rider training, at any point in your career. We don’t just say that, either – our testers have regular training and assessments by professionals to keep our skills as sharp as possible.

In your first month, the first priority would obviously be to get out riding and enjoying your new hobby as much as possible, but also take a look into courses like the ERS (Enhanced Rider Scheme).

Rider training is a brilliant thing to do at any point, but perhaps not during your very first month motorcycling...

This is geared towards checking your riding skills and giving you tips to improve. There is no test as such, but once you’ve finished you’ll gain a DVSA Certificate of Competence that will net you cheaper motorcycle insurance, so it’s not to be sniffed at. It only takes a day, too.

Once that’s in the bag, you can of course choose to move on to more advanced courses. There are myriad riding schools out there, plus organisations like the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) and RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) offer qualifications ranging from basic skills right up to highly advanced standards that Police motorcyclists adhere to.

A brilliant book to learn from is Roadcraft. This is seen as the ‘bible’ of advanced motorcycling.