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Old 10-09-2010, 10:32 PM   #1
street805
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Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

I have paid for my MSF license course that I will be taking in 2 weeks. I want nothing more than to ride a motorcycle. I have always wanted to ride a sport bike and have only decided to do it now because my roomate rides and I have decided to pull the trigger. The truth is, I have always worried about getting maimed on a bike and now that I am finally doing it, I am starting to get anxiety about it. I have met many people that now only ride dirt and have given up riding street because they say it is too dangerous. These are guys that I dont think are pussi*s. So what gives? I know there are no gaurantees in life, but how do you reconcile the danger that comes with riding a streetbike (I am mainly refering to the danger posed by accidents caused by others). How much control do you have of avoiding awful situations? Is it possible my mind will change when I am given tools at the MSF course? I want this more than anything, but I dont want to end up in a chair.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:56 PM   #2
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Re: Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

Honestly, if your that worried about riding maybe riding on the street isnt for you. There is the inherent danger you can wreck. I think everyone worries about the cagers. There really isnt a **** thing you can do about it. You cant predict what someone in a car is gonna do. All you can do is be prepared. MSF teaches you emergency stops as well as swerve technics. That is all you really got to protect yourself from other people. Typically when riding and i see soccer mom in her suv packed with kids screwing with the radio, cell etc. I get as far away as possible from them. Mainly be diligent and pay attention to everything.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:05 PM   #3
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Re: Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

fear is good.

i can tell you i am still scared/anxious sometimes.
in the beginning, it was so bad i thought maybe this isn't for me. you just learn to tune it down.
so i stuck with it and i'm thoroughly enjoying it despite some mishaps.

that said, this is an inherently dangerous sport. i had a guy in my group go down today.
all you can hope to do is mitigate the risks (wear gear, ride within limits, msf)
it's a personal choice and don't stick with it if the personal reward isn't worth the risk.
that's something you have to reevaluate everyday.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:06 PM   #4
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Re: Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

Have no fear, the MSF course will provide some basic tools to minimize the risks of motorcycle riding.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:10 PM   #5
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Re: Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

Did you get out of bed this morning? From the time you got out of bed, everything you did had an element of risk associated. Took a shower? Brushed your teeth? Sounds like you didn't slip on the soap or choke on your toothbrush. You have accepted the (small) amount of risk associated with these things. Did you drive your car/truck today? More risk involved, but if you drove, then you accepted the risk there too.

Riding a bike introduces a little more risk. Dangerous? Yes, due mostly to the other idiots on the road distracted by their makeup/phone/textmsg/radio/breakfast. Riding a bike is really no different than any of these other things - you must make the personal decision on whether or not you accept the risks associated with this activity.

Do you sky dive? What about hang gliding? Do you cliff dive? Have you ever gone on a snowmobile and gone high-marking? All these activities also have risk involved (every one different, but risk all the same). If you haven't done any of these, perhaps you have done other "high risk" activities. Do you smoke? Got any other bad health habits? Risk there too...

It boils down to this: life is too short, and life is really about experiences. If you want to experience something, then learn how to do it safely, exercise suitable caution, be responsible. Weigh the risk after doing all these things - if you accept the risk (you've done some work to mitigate part of it by learning how to do something properly, equip yourself, etc), then perhaps you choose to accept that risk and do it. When you're 90 and your health sucks, you're bed ridden, and look back on life, what will you say "gee, I wish I did that" about... If riding a bike is one of those things, then don't put it off 'till your almost dead.

This is one of those topics of discussion (obviously) that I have had with my spouse and others. I accept the risk, exercise due caution, learned how to ride right, strive to improve my skills, watch out for the idiots and do all that I can to avoid potentially bad situations. And I'm sure happy I ride - if I didn't, I might have myself all sorts of other nasty habits. You see, riding a bike is a bit theraputic for alot of us here. A commute on a motorcycle from a stressful day of work somehow washes away alot of the stress.

The choice is ultimately yours... Sounds like this is something you want to do. Learn, be safe, responsible, aware, cautious. Weigh the risks, then decide. Let us know how it works out!
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:25 PM   #6
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Re: Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

You don't say where you are at, but your location has a great deal to do with your risk.

In rural locations, where you have minimal contact with other autos, you are obviously less likely to have a mishap with another vehicle. You may, however, have an increased risk of hitting a furry woodland creature, such as, a deer.

In the city, you have, IMO, a greater risk of being taken out by a car. Obviously, there are more cars, more people in a hurry, and generally, a greater exposure to d*ckbags.

I moved to LA in 1985. I had ridden motorcycles on and off road for at least 10 years prior to my move, but my experience was solely rural. At the time, I considered buying a bike, but I was pretty much certain it would be the death of me.

I moved to the 'burbs in '91 and bought a, eh hem, Harley Sportster. Within months, I was almost taken out. A woman looked right at me and still pulled a L turn right in my path. (The most recent issue of Bike magazine (a UK mag) performed a test and found that all the persons they tested (a dozen people of various ages, education level and professions(cops included)) all underestimated the speed of motorcycles. That may partly explain why so many people try to pull L turns in front of motorcycles. Who knows?

Anyhow, people unexpectedly pull left turns in front of you all the time. They cut into your lane. They run stops. I had some young punks actually try to run me over. So, that's the type of crap you can expect. It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens. You literally have to ride like every other vehicle on the road, other motorcycles included, are out to kill you. (I was riding ACH one day when a squid on a GSXR target fixated on me and cross the double yellow coming straight at me head on. I juked and road to the berm and he snapped out of it and missed me by a couple of feet.)

The better control you have of your bike, the better you can combat these hazards. You are obviously more vulnerable when you are just learning to ride. So, my advice is to try to minimize your exposure. Ride the road less travelled. Practice avoidance maneuvers in parking lots. Braking and swerving drills can save your life. If your budget allows, take all the proficiency classes you can afford. And for God's sake, wear your gear - all the time.

In the end, its up to you to decide whether riding is worth the risks. I like it. I love hitting the back roads and venturing to parts unknown. I always wear my gear (pants, jacket, boots, gloves and helmet). I've taken a several advanced riding classes. I make sure my bike is in top mechanical shape. I never drink or drug and ride. I do everything I can to minimize risk and the potential damage, but the danger is always there irrespective of how well prepared you are. If that bothers you, maybe riding isn't for you.
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:13 AM   #7
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Re: Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

I have been riding on the street, for 47 yrs.
Year round,don't own a auto.
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:26 AM   #8
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Re: Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

See how you feel after the MSF course.....
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:29 AM   #9
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Re: Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

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See how you feel after the MSF course.....
Best advice Ive read in this thread.
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:16 AM   #10
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Re: Wanting to ride motorcycle - how to deal with anxiety

+1 on what other folks are saying here, especially about seeing how you feel after the MSF.

I think it is healthy to be a little nervous and a little fearful at your stage. What you really need to find out is whether or not the level of enjoyment and satisfaction you get out of riding is enough to outweigh any anxiety you have about the risk. The only way to find that out is to ride.

I think about the dangers of riding every time I go out, but I still ride - because I effing love it.

It's a personal choice.You are either drawn to this sport, or you are not (in spite of the known risks).

Good luck and have fun.

Last edited by Bode; 10-10-2010 at 01:17 AM. Reason: spelling error
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