A rebel with a cause. Getting started with motorbikes in the ACT?

Dorfrom 10 April 2013 26

So I want to start looking at getting my motorcycle license. I’ve honestly no idea where to start with it, do I turn up at a riding school in full leathers?

Do I bring my own bike? Should I buy a bike before I try get my license?

Should it be brand new or used with the expectation I’ll crash?

What mistakes have people made when getting their license and should be avoided from being repeated?

I’ve never ridden a motorbike in my life except for a minibike at another kid’s 6th birthday party.


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26 Responses to A rebel with a cause. Getting started with motorbikes in the ACT?
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andym andym 2:15 pm 10 Apr 13
jase! jase! 3:04 pm 10 Apr 13

it isn’t a good look to ride to the pre-learner course on your bike for obvious reasons

mossrocket mossrocket 3:14 pm 10 Apr 13

Here’s how I did it.

Step 1 – buy protective gear – it should last you longer than you first motorbike, so get as good a gear as you can possibly afford. How much do you value your body parts? Lots? then spend as much money as you can protecting them…
Go for an expensive helmet first Shoei is terrific but dont fit everyone’s melons, leathers second (or if this is out of your price range, a pair of kevlar jeans and a good quality jacket. Buy good motorcycle boot – preferably over your ankle with reinforcements… don’t neglect good gloves – if you do fall of, the gloves may be the weakest link in your armour, and you need fingers…

Step 2 – Stay Upright course – awesome and well worth it, even if it is compulsory. They provide a bike for you to learn on for the two days so you don’t need your bike yet…

Step 3 – Buy a learner bike with whatever spare change you have left… You’ll most likely sell it when you get your full license. They keep their prices pretty well too… If you are over 32 you can be on Ls for a short period and not have to go on Ps – I was on my Ls for two weeks (until the next available course was held) I went straight for a Ninja 600R – probably a bit of a steep learning curve for an absolute beginner – a Ducati monster 600 is a pretty cool L bike – they have great resale and can last you for years if you aren’t into insane acceleration that a superbike offers…

Step 4 – ride, don’t overestimate your skills, keep heaps of distance between you and everything else, and enjoy the 2nd best way of moving around I’ve found. (#1 is freefalling from a plane at 200kmh 🙂

Solidarity Solidarity 3:17 pm 10 Apr 13

no need for anything like leathers, they supply it all, even the bike.

buy a bike after, not before as once you know the controls you’ll have more of an idea what to look for

i made a big mistake (rode into a fence)

don’t do that

Mysteryman Mysteryman 3:22 pm 10 Apr 13

The whole system is designed so that everyone, including people who’ve never ridden before, can get a licence.

You need to book with Stay Upright. They are the government accredited instructors. The course runs for a full day, or two half-days. They provide the motorcycles and helmets/gloves. You need to wear closed shoes, and pants that cover your ankles, and a top/jumper that covers down to your gloves. The instructors are good and cover everything from the parts of the motorcycle, to starting and getting on, through to riding/gear changing/braking/etc.

You never get on to a public road during the course – it’s purely about giving you the skills to operate a motorcycle. Once you’ve passed the course (it’s pretty difficult to fail – you’ve have to be a total muppet) they give you a certificate which you then give to the ACT Gov shopfront, and get a new licence.

I think the course is pretty good and you’ll find out in no time if riding is for you or not.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 3:26 pm 10 Apr 13

As for purchasing a motorcycle… I suggest you buy second hand. There are a LOT of LAMS bikes available (you have to ride a LAMS bike on your Ls/Ps – less power and less chance of killing yourself!) for a good price on the used market. Also, it’s likely you’ll drop it in the driveway or something silly so no point spending big money on something new. Within a few months you’ll start to realise what you do or don’t like about the bike and you’ll eventually want to upgrade to something else. Better to buy used and then resell without the depreciation you get on a new bike.

arescarti42 arescarti42 3:29 pm 10 Apr 13

IIRC, all you have to do to get a learners licence is attend and pass the learners course, and then head down to the motor registry to get a new licence.

You don’t need a bike or any gear to do the course.

When you do go to buy a bike, it’s probably wise to buy a second hand one, and wiser still to buy one without fairings. There’s a pretty reasonable chance that you’ll drop it once at the very least.

nescius nescius 3:47 pm 10 Apr 13

Call stayupright (6297 1144) and book into the pre-learner course, you need to have a current ACT driver licence for this (of any kind, Ls/Ps ok).

Turn up to the pre-learner course wearing sensible shoes, long pants, and long sleeves. Helmets, gloves, and motorbikes are all provided.

The course is aimed at people who have never ridden a motorbike before. I had no experience before the course but everything was explained very well and I had no trouble (nobody failed in the group when I did it, not even the two people who dropped their bikes). The course is easy and fun, don’t be concerned. The course is run at the Sutton Road Driver Training Centre.

Don’t worry too much about buying a bike before the pre-learner course, but do get your hands on one as soon as you can afterwards, then get out and ride as much as possible.

Buy a bike that suits your needs and is within your budget, some people will advise against a new bike saying that you’ll crash it, but that’s a bit negative if you ask me. I bought my first bike brand new and never had any problems.

Maybe visit CanberraRiders and have a look through the forums, there is a wealth of information there and most of your questions have probably been asked and answered.

When considering your budget for buying a bike make sure you factor in the cost of your gear as well, getting kitted out with helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, etc. can be pricey (but doesn’t have to be if you are willing to shop around). Make sure it fits properly, especially the helmet.

kumadude kumadude 6:51 pm 10 Apr 13

Do the course, rock up with a Madass or a postie bike, watch the retards on the Jap bikes fail. Pass, then drop the 110cc out and replace with a 160cc pitbike engine….mono or the way to work or increase the back sprocket by a few teeth and do 130lkm/h to work…on a f***postie. Never ever ride around with board shorts, never ever ride a scooter, never ever ride a Harley…stop this village people mentality.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 9:26 pm 10 Apr 13

Start with an open paddock, an automatic AG bike or a 125cc manual and go for your life. When you can successfully navigate around the farm without hitting logs, rocks, fences and the such, you are ready for open gravel roads. Whatever you do, do not go out into Canberra traffic without at least several long days experience of learning to start, stop and the rest of how to ride rules. I fear for my life every time I hit the roads here and I’ve been riding legally for 24 years and 4 months. Have fun though…

Scrumpox Scrumpox 9:31 pm 10 Apr 13

So many questions. Why not go to the Kambah Pony Club in your leathers. I’m sure you’ll fit right in.

BelcoMan BelcoMan 11:31 pm 10 Apr 13

In a nutshell, all of your answers are in one spot. canberrariders.org.au

tuco tuco 6:42 am 11 Apr 13

Obey all signs. All of them. Be sure to stop and point out every sign to other riders. They’ll secretly admire your dedication. They might also give you a secret one fingered signal, and that means you’re cool.

Dilandach Dilandach 8:17 am 11 Apr 13

tuco said :

Obey all signs. All of them. Be sure to stop and point out every sign to other riders. They’ll secretly admire your dedication. They might also give you a secret one fingered signal, and that means you’re cool.

Still butt hurt over that? Like a child sulking in the corner after being scolded.

watto23 watto23 9:03 am 11 Apr 13

I’m in the same process as you. Stay upright is the place to start, although they get heavily booked out for their weekend courses.

I’ve ridden scooters in asia, but at least the traffic there is all bikes and scooters…. canberra will be interesting.

tuco tuco 2:15 pm 11 Apr 13

Dilandach said :

tuco said :

Obey all signs. All of them. Be sure to stop and point out every sign to other riders. They’ll secretly admire your dedication. They might also give you a secret one fingered signal, and that means you’re cool.

Still butt hurt over that? Like a child sulking in the corner after being scolded.

I get 10 points for that. Booyah!

bigred bigred 2:23 pm 11 Apr 13

suggest you take your own helmet and gloves out to Stay upright. In my view, the only flaw in the system is the communal helmet scheme. If you end up with one that doesn’t fit you will have an uncomfortable time of it.

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 2:54 pm 11 Apr 13

Treat all traffic like the enemy. They are all out to kill you. At intersections they haven’t seen you and will pull out in front (and side and back) of you.

Pedestrians will walk out in front of you while they mindlessly stare blankly at their smartphone screens instead of watching where they are walking or what colour the traffic lights are.

If riding behind trucks and buses ride to one side and not in the middle where they can see you in their mirrors. Good practice to ride to one side anyway as the middle is generally where oil gets dropped.

In winter watch out for black ice on the roads.A place where you get this is on Parkes Way around the side of Black Mtn just on the Civic side of the Glenoch Interchange.

Don’t get your abilities mixed up with your ambitions. If you want to ride like Casey Stoner than go on a racetrack. Public roads – even ones out the back of the Cotter or other semi-rural areas – aren’t the place for it. Stuff can happen (and does) like rocks/gravel/other debris on the road and wildlife (also sheep and cattle) can jump/wander out on the road suddenly. Watch out for Kangaroos. Especially at dawn or dusk.They are the worlds most stupidest animal and have less road sense or sense of self-preservation than a 6 month old baby and WILL do the most unpredictable things at the worst possible moment.

Wear your protective clothing ALWAYS. Even on 45 degree days. Even when popping down the shop just to buy a carton of milk. Better to be a bit hot than have no skin left – or worse.

Good idea that someone posted earlier about learning to ride in a paddock first.

Dilandach Dilandach 3:07 pm 11 Apr 13

Felix the Cat said :

Treat all traffic like the enemy. They are all out to kill you. At intersections they haven’t seen you and will pull out in front (and side and back) of you.

Pedestrians will walk out in front of you while they mindlessly stare blankly at their smartphone screens instead of watching where they are walking or what colour the traffic lights are.

If riding behind trucks and buses ride to one side and not in the middle where they can see you in their mirrors. Good practice to ride to one side anyway as the middle is generally where oil gets dropped.

In winter watch out for black ice on the roads.A place where you get this is on Parkes Way around the side of Black Mtn just on the Civic side of the Glenoch Interchange.

Don’t get your abilities mixed up with your ambitions. If you want to ride like Casey Stoner than go on a racetrack. Public roads – even ones out the back of the Cotter or other semi-rural areas – aren’t the place for it. Stuff can happen (and does) like rocks/gravel/other debris on the road and wildlife (also sheep and cattle) can jump/wander out on the road suddenly. Watch out for Kangaroos. Especially at dawn or dusk.They are the worlds most stupidest animal and have less road sense or sense of self-preservation than a 6 month old baby and WILL do the most unpredictable things at the worst possible moment.

Wear your protective clothing ALWAYS. Even on 45 degree days. Even when popping down the shop just to buy a carton of milk. Better to be a bit hot than have no skin left – or worse.

Good idea that someone posted earlier about learning to ride in a paddock first.

Black ice and oil from trucks / cars?

…I’m starting to re-think this. I’d love to ride but not if I’m playing russian roulette. The hours I’d be riding would be around 6am and around 4pm going along parkes way.

I would absolutely wear the best protective gear I could get but I’m a little freaked out now.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 3:19 pm 11 Apr 13

Dilandach said :

Felix the Cat said :

Treat all traffic like the enemy. They are all out to kill you. At intersections they haven’t seen you and will pull out in front (and side and back) of you.

Pedestrians will walk out in front of you while they mindlessly stare blankly at their smartphone screens instead of watching where they are walking or what colour the traffic lights are.

If riding behind trucks and buses ride to one side and not in the middle where they can see you in their mirrors. Good practice to ride to one side anyway as the middle is generally where oil gets dropped.

In winter watch out for black ice on the roads.A place where you get this is on Parkes Way around the side of Black Mtn just on the Civic side of the Glenoch Interchange.

Don’t get your abilities mixed up with your ambitions. If you want to ride like Casey Stoner than go on a racetrack. Public roads – even ones out the back of the Cotter or other semi-rural areas – aren’t the place for it. Stuff can happen (and does) like rocks/gravel/other debris on the road and wildlife (also sheep and cattle) can jump/wander out on the road suddenly. Watch out for Kangaroos. Especially at dawn or dusk.They are the worlds most stupidest animal and have less road sense or sense of self-preservation than a 6 month old baby and WILL do the most unpredictable things at the worst possible moment.

Wear your protective clothing ALWAYS. Even on 45 degree days. Even when popping down the shop just to buy a carton of milk. Better to be a bit hot than have no skin left – or worse.

Good idea that someone posted earlier about learning to ride in a paddock first.

Black ice and oil from trucks / cars?

…I’m starting to re-think this. I’d love to ride but not if I’m playing russian roulette. The hours I’d be riding would be around 6am and around 4pm going along parkes way.

I would absolutely wear the best protective gear I could get but I’m a little freaked out now.

Felix the Cat tells the truth, but don’t let that put you off. It’s not as bad as it sounds and Stay Upright do a good job of teaching you the foundation for safe riding. Yes, many drivers/other road users are idiots and don’t look but that can be anticipated and dealt with. With the right techniques and awareness you’ll greatly reduce the likelihood of an accident. You’ll also become a better driver once you’ve spent time on a motorcycle and realised how lazy an inattentive many drivers are.

Do the course. You’ll enjoy it and you’ll know by the end if you want to continue with motorcycling. There are some amazing rides to be had in Canberra’s surrounds.

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