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How to ride a bike: 5-step guide for beginners

Team AckoSept 21, 2022

Interested in bikes but unsure how to ride them? Don’t worry! Riding a two-wheeler is not too challenging if you work hard to get the basics right. Here’s a 5-step guide for beginners explaining how to ride a bike. Note: Always prioritise safety during the learning process.

How to Ride a Bike

How to ride a bike as a new rider

Here is how to ride a bike step by step for a beginner. Also, it would be great if you have a friend or a relative who is an expert at riding bikes to help you out. 

Step 1: Get familiar with the controls

The most basic aspect of learning to ride a bike is understanding the primary controls of a two-wheeler. Here are the primary controls of a motorcycle.

  • Throttle: It is used to control the speed and is located on the right-hand side of the handlebar. When you squeeze the throttle, the engine speed increases, and when you roll the throttle back, the engine speed decreases. You need to be careful about how you use the throttle. As a beginner, don’t rev too hard. Start slowly till you understand completely how it works.

  • Brake levers: There are two levers on both ends of the bike’s handlebar. The right-hand side is to apply the front brake, and the one on the left-hand side of the handlebar is the clutch lever. The rear brake is on the right foot position beside the right front footpeg. You need to use your right foot to engage the rear brake lever.

  • Clutch lever: As mentioned, the clutch lever is located on the left-hand side of the handlebar. When you fully squeeze the clutch lever, the power to the rear wheels cuts off. It is primarily used when shifting gears. The use of the clutch lever is vital to control the bike.

  • Gear shift lever: It is used for shifting gears and is on the left foot beside the left-hand side foot peg. Press up for upshift and down for downshift. Typically, the shift pattern on bikes is 1 down and 4 up. The gear order from down to up is 1-neutral-2-3-4-5.

  • Turn indicator switches: These indicate turning or changing lanes. The button is usually on the left-hand side of the handlebar beside the right-hand grip. Press the turn indicator to the left, and it will flash the left turn indicator and press it to the right, and it will flash the right turn indicator.

  • Kill switch: it is used to switch off the bike’s engine and is on the right-hand side of the handlebar beside the throttle.

  • Starter switch: It is used to start the bike’s engine and is usually below the kill switch, or both could be an integrated switch.

Step 2: Start the bike

Now that you have learned about the primary controls, it is time to start the bike. First, turn on the ignition, and you may see the digital/analogue instrument console come to life. The bike is now ready to start its engine. Turn the kill switch to the ON position and press the starter switch until the engine comes to life. You’ll also see the tachometer rise to the idle speed.

Step 3: Practice with the clutch

Pull the clutch lever towards you, use your left foot to shift down the gear lever for 1st gear, slowly release the clutch, and simultaneously gradually squeeze the throttle. Now, the bike will start moving forward even as you release the clutch lever further.

At this point, the engine may stall. But, don’t worry, this is the learning step to ride a bike for the first time. If the engine stalls, find the neutral gear and repeat from step 2 onwards.

Step 4: Gear shifts

After practising with the clutch and the 1st gear, we’ll move to downshift and upshift. The 1st gear is usually engaged for propelling the bike from a still position and slow-speed manoeuvring.

To upshift the gear lever, roll down the throttle, then depress the clutch lever and use your left foot to press the lever firmly upwards. Now, release the clutch lever slowly and squeeze the throttle simultaneously to complete the upshift. For downshift, follow the steps for upshift, except that you will need to press the gear lever downwards. 

Step 5: Braking to a stop

Now that you have a basic understanding of shifting gears, you need to learn about braking to stop. Simply unsqueeze the throttle, depress the clutch lever, and simultaneously press the front and rear brake levers to reach a standstill position.

Ensure your left foot hits the ground so you can still use the right foot to apply the rear brake. Additionally, make sure to use both brakes for optimum performance.

Safety measures while riding a bike as a beginner

Here are some safety measures when you are learning how to drive a bike as a new rider.

  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bike, whether a beginner or a thorough professional. 

  • Wear a protective riding jacket, knee guards and gloves for additional protection if possible.

  • Don’t ride the bike if you are intoxicated.

  • Avoid riding in bad weather conditions.

  • Check the bike’s overall condition before riding.

  • Ensure you use turn indicators while turning since it keeps you and other road users safe.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings, and don't get carried away by focusing on the functions instead of looking ahead of the road.

  • Don’t overspeed.

  • Buy bike insurance for financial protection against unforeseen damages or third-party liabilities.

  • Slow and steady is the mantra, especially when you want to ride a bike for the first time.

Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about riding a bike as a beginner.

Is it hard or easy to ride a motorcycle?

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It isn’t hard to learn to ride a motorcycle. It is, in fact, much easier than what most people believe. Follow the above steps to get started. However, the key to becoming a pro is to practise and never give up easily.

How long does it take to learn to ride a motorcycle?

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You can learn to ride a motorcycle in a day, week, month, or year! There is no definite answer to this question. However, it is important to practise and never give up easily.

Should I shift gears without using the clutch lever of the bike?

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You should not shift a gear without using the clutch. By doing so, you may end up damaging the gearbox and the clutch. Ensure you use the clutch every time you upshift or downshift.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult an expert before making any insurance-related decisions.

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