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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all.......I'm 41 and we bought our Harley Sportster at the end of 2007. It was the first 2008 out of the box at our dealer. I was sooooo excited. I had wanted a bike probably since high school.

Ok, here's my problem........My very first time on it I had a terrible accident. I almost broke my neck and I did $5000.00 worth on damages to the bike. It took months to fix it. My husband has been able to ride all the time and I have finally moved to the back seat. I got back into the drivers seat and thought I was doing pretty good until the I was trying to turn the bike and I dropped it. I haven't been on it since. It's been since the summer time.

I have dreams about riding, but when I sit in the drivers seat, all the fear overwhelms me. I keep telling myself that I can do it, but I still get scared. I have also thought that maybe I need to go back to where I had the accident (a parking lot) and try to ride again. I don't know what to do to help overcome the fear........I sooo want to ride!!

Oh yeah, I didn't take the riding class until after my accident. I did really well in the class.

I would love any advice that anyone can offer.

Thanks!! :hidesbehind
 

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I say, get back on in a controlled environment, with a good coach and ease back into it. Do some of the safety course items... ride straight and stop several times, do some figure 8's...

There is nothing you can do about the fear but the small dose will probably make you a better rider long term.
 

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Get comfortable riding an older smaller bike like an old 125 or 250 honda.There`s even some 125 or 160 Harley Hummers out there If You would rather stay with American made motorcycles.
Then work Your way up.
Good luck on whatever You decide.
 

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Fla Cajun
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Welcome Irish, you did'nt say what kind of sportster u have, but some are top heavy. you may want to lower it a little. I lowered mine and it makes a big differance,lower center of gravity. Get back on it and take short rides to build your confidence back up. Its like anything else , it takes time to get used to a new bike. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm sorry.......it's a 1200 custom sportster. I can get my feet flat on the ground so I think the height is ok.......but again, it's the fear that holds me back.
 

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Just passing thru
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Hi Irish,

First of all I love your spirit! You are definitely a rider and not just a passenger.

Since you have taken the riders course already may I suggest to spend many many hours down at your local park practicing what you have learned. Try to do this at least once a week until you feel comfortable.

The hardest part of riding a motorcycle is slow speed maneuvers. The faster you go the more stable the bike is. So this makes your local park the best spot to practice the tricky stuff.

Never ever try to keep up with anyone. Go at your own pace and if the group doesnt slow up let them go. It's their problem not yours. Eventually you will find your normal pace increase as you become used to the bike. Dont try to go faster, it will just happen on it's own.

The very best of luck to you.
 

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I got my first scoot on Apr 21, 1969 and ended up in the hospital for nearly 2 months due wrecking it on May 5, 1969. I fought the fear thing as soon as I got well enough to ride again. Like everyone is saying here, go back it it slowing in a controlled environment. Try to ride in light traffic and know how to stop. It doesn't take much skill to twist the throttle wide open and hang on but stopping that 600 lb bike (and even heavier in most cases) takes skill. Controlling a bike in an emergency stop takes skill and must be practiced. Go at it slowing until your confidence and skill levels improve. Always drive like you are INVISIBLE to all traffic. Be safe.
 

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Doll,

I wanted to learn to fly a jet fighter, but they made me start in a Cessina.

We dont know your size relative to the bikes.

A 1200 as a first bike is to big for most men.

I started riding when I was 5, and racing when I was 9.

What I did for the 4 years before that was learn how to fall, and avoid hazzards.

You cant get the training a lot of us got 40 odd years ago.

I still have broken a lot of bones, all on the road. None on the track or off road where riding was at a much faster pace.

The road is a very dangerous place, and you are your own worse enemy.

Then add the fact no one see you, and they are all out to run you down.

A good rider learns that the machine is just an extension of themself.

Find your local motorcycle slavage yard, and buy a beater small bike, take it out in the dirt and beat the heck out of it.

Learn how to do without thinking about it. It you have to think, your already road kill.
 

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I break stuff.
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Howdy, Irish - welcome to our lil' corner of the Internet!

Sounds like you had quite the 'reset'. As others have mentioned above... practice practice practice in a controlled environment, keep working the basic skills from the NRC. A different bike may also help "disassociate" the traumatic experience.

Even seasoned riders experience that mental setback when bad things happen - it's only natural. Have you sat down with an experienced rider/coach and done any analysis to determine exactly what you were doing when you crashed? Sometimes breaking the event down step-by-step will help to know what NOT to do in the future. Knowledge is power and with power you can conquer/control fear.

Don't give up!
 

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I break stuff.
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Doll,

A 1200 as a first bike is to big for most men.
B.S. A bike is only as powerful as the hand allows the throttle to twist. A Sportster is a much more forgiving first bike than a 600cc sportbike, and I have known new riders to manage just fine on both. No need to be patronizing.

I've seen more men start thinking with their little head when it comes to riding, and getting f'd up than women - thank goodness we're not cursed with that whole male ego thing.

Find your local motorcycle slavage yard, and buy a beater small bike, take it out in the dirt and beat the heck out of it.
I would not recommend a new rider taking a street bike onto the dirt and 'beating' on it. These are purpose-built machines.

The road is a very dangerous place, and you are your own worse enemy.

Then add the fact no one see you, and they are all out to run you down.

A good rider learns that the machine is just an extension of themself.

Learn how to do without thinking about it. It you have to think, your already road kill.
Now THAT is some good advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks so much for all the good advice. I know that I really need to just get back on it and try to overcome the fear.
I know exactly what I did wrong that caused my accident..........I went over a rounded curb in the parking lot and I was speeding up as I did and I went head on with a high top squared curb. Needless to say I went 15 feet up and 25 feet out. My Father in law.....(who had been riding for over 30 years, was trying to teach me to ride) said that if I wouldn't have tucked my head at the last minute I would have snapped my neck when I landed.

I think that one of the most important things that I learned from class is that the clutch is my best friend. LOL
 

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Welcome, and here is my thought get back on the bike for a short amount of time like 5-10 min. get off go get a glass of water, then sit down and think about what you did correctly, next day try 15min. go back think again about what you did, both right and wrong next day do it again, and again and again and slowly you will regain confidence (go at your own pace if it take a while so what, you will succeed.)
 

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If at first you don't SUCCEED.

I have two daughers that I had to teach to ride their bicycles. They both had troubles from the start and crashed and burned several times. I think back and I am proud of them for facing their fears head on. Though they both wear scars from the cuts and abraisions, they never gave up. They got back on and mastered the skills of balance, speed control and maneuvering their bikes. I know you can do it, face your fears head on and get back on. You have to master the skills and don't ever let your fears beat you.
 

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B.S. A Sportster is a much more forgiving first bike than a 600cc sportbike,

I would not recommend a new rider taking a street bike onto the dirt and 'beating' on it. These are purpose-built machines.
125 or 250 to start, not a street bike at all, stickly dirt.

I would NOT recomend a spork bike to any one period.

Sportsters are bottom heavy and not as agile at low speeds as smaller class bikes.
 

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What?
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All good advice. Just get to a quiet parking lot and practice the things/ideas you learned in your riding class. You'll over come the fear with nothing but seat time.
 

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I break stuff.
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Bottom-heavy equals easier low-speed handling. Just ask any Shriner! It's all about control and skill in managing the clutch, throttle and brakes. And a little 'body English'.

Engine displacement and weight are dependent on so many other factors to be too relevant. I still believe that the best bike for anybody is the one that they feel most comfortable/confident picking up, straddling and walking around the parking lot on. Being able to flat-foot and not having to stretch/fold to reach the controls. Comfort leads to confidence which will lay the groundwork for skill-building.
 

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I also took the class. You can not learn all you need to in 2 days in a "crash" course. I bought a bike just like yours. I would suggest:

Get crash bars on the bike. It is a $250 investment and they can be removed anytime. But should you drop your bike - you will not be pinned under it. Also - damage control is kept low.

Second - have someone watch you on that bike. Make sure you are firmly hitting the ground with both feet. Sportsters are a high center of gravity bike. So having your feet hit the ground right away and fully - is important. I thought I was - had my husband follow behind me and he noticed - when I first put my feet down at a stop - I was tippy toe. So, I adjusted the shock and it made a world of difference.

Third - practice. I was sure someone was going to complain in my neighborhood about me riding. I felt like Forest Gump - "slow on the driveway". Then I went to the church parking lot. Practice what they taught you in class. Fast stops, quick turns, figure eights, etc.

Last - don't give up. I too had my confidence rattled the first time I dropped my bike. I have only been riding 3 years - most here have ridden for a lot longer than me and their advice is so important. Know it happens to anyone. Practice. Lots of Practice. Good luck Irish - we are all here for you.
 

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STAND AND FIGHT!
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I am Nathan the Safety Curmudgeon.

Any time I hear advice to a new rider to do a lot of off the road practicing,
like parking lots, I worry that someone will neglect to take
their physical safety gear seriously.

Any fall in a parking lot or driveway, even from standing still,
can put you in the morgue or the brain damage ward.

NEVER NEVER NEVER ride, even as practice,
without your helmet, gloves and boots.
 

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Welcome from San Marcos, Tejas.
Gateway to the Hill Country & Devils Backbone.
Gotta love them Wide Glide's
 
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