I just started

Keeping upright and not falling off is probably your main goal.

When you start riding, fear reduces your arrogance, so overconfidence is not now a problem. Keeping upright and not falling off is probably your main goal. For your first ride, go somewhere safe with someone experienced. Either ride on the back, or watch them ride. Then just have a go yourself. If you do it once, and succeed, don't get too cocky. When you start, take it easy in the early days. You have to practice. Go to an empty parking lot or quiet cul-de-sac, where no one is around, and do it over and over. You learn better when you don’t have to worry about other people on the road.

There are three steps to any ride:

  1. Start
  2. Ride
  3. Stop
Starting and stopping are the hard parts, so focus on them

The riding part is easy, as anyone can turn an accelerator. Starting and stopping are the hard parts, so focus on them. Your first skill is a smooth start. This means don't trail your feet along the ground. Foot trailing on take off is dangerous. If your foot hits something, it can pull the bike over. Plus you can hurt your foot. So when you take off, just accelerate, lift your feet off the ground, and go. When you go, you just go – no fear remember?

Anyone can fly a plane, but only a pilot can take off and land.

Once you get going, don’t ride fast. Your riding skill is not how fast you go, but how smoothly you stop and start. It is like flying a plane – anyone can fly a plane, but only a pilot can take off and land. The 9/11 terrorists only wanted to learn to fly, not to take off and land, because they were destroyers not creators. When riding, your skill is how smoothly you start and stop, not how fast you go.

Basic skills must be over-learned

It is not enough to do basic skills once. In traffic, your mind is focused elsewhere, so basic skills must be "over-learned". Like army drills, they must be practiced until automatic. Then, under stress, they will still work. Most of this book is not about basic skills, because you can't learn basic skills from a book. So practice your basic skills until they become automatic, then read the rest of this book, as riding is more than basic skills.