RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
Lots of women think it’s a bit scary. Riding a big motorcycle as a tiny woman. We just love to touch the ground. With two feet flat, preferably.
And I get that. I really do. It gives you more confidence and trust. But what if I tell you, you can also ride that big motorcycle even if you can’t reach the ground with two feet?
It sounds scary. Frightening even. Or just completely ridiculous. But it’s possible; riding a big motorcycle as a tiny woman. Really, it is! Would I advise you to immediately buy your dream bike, when you miss a few inches on both sides when you put it upright..? Maybe not.
But I would advise you to start with an older and often less valuable, big motorcycle. And get on it. Hop onto the bike and get one butt cheek off the saddle. Do you reach the ground with one foot? Then that’s good enough. Really! And it doesn’t have to be flat. Let me tell you why.
While riding a chopper, cruiser or custom bike, it’s often very normal to put two feet on the ground when standing still. It feels steady, comfy and just very practical. But it also isn’t a problem to reach the ground on these types of bikes. It are often the sporty bikes – naked bikes and sport bikes – and the allroad / adventure bikes that are tall, big or have a high seat height. Does your dream bike fall into that category? And are you a tiny rider? No worries. You can still ride it.
Even as a tiny rider you can ride tall or big motorcycles. Especially those sporty bikes. ‘Cause if you want to ride a sporty bike – e.g. nakes bikes or sport bikes – then having two feet on the ground is the opposite of a sporty riding position.
With a sporty riding position you are ready for action. It’s not very sporty to have two feet planted firmly on the ground. It’s safe alright. But you’re not truly ready for action. You are, when you have one foot on the ground and the other on your peg on the shifter side. Or your left foot on the ground and the right one on your peg at the rear brake side (to control those power wheelies, you know. ‘Cause wheelies mean time loss. And we don’t want that as a sporty rider..)
All jokes aside. My point is; one foot on the ground truly is enough. Don’t be lazy and keep both butt cheeks on the seat. Your bike will keep itself balanced, as long as you keep it upright or slightly tilted. Your riding style might not be that sporty (and it doesn’t have to be) but your bike is. So you get into that sporty riding position.
So get that bum moving. One butt cheek off the seat, one on it. Trust me, suddenly that ground is far within your reach. And you will stand steady. It might take some time to get used to it, but you will adapt quicker than you think. Still struggling a bit? Tilt your bike a bit to the side.
Not all the way of course, but just a little over the upright balance point. A bike doesn’t get out of balance that quickly. You won’t suddenly topple over. There is a certain margin. Play with it. It’s different for every bike. A big adventure bike will feel out of balance sooner than a heavy naked bike. But also within that adventure / allroad segment there’s lots of variation. Take your time to feel how much margin you’ve got.
The golden tip? Go for test rides. And yes, that’s super scary. But will you let that dream bike go, just because it’s a bit tall? And because it’s a challenge to get used to it? Believe be; that would be such a shame. And you cut yourself short with it. Because you can do this. Riding a big motorcycle isn’t rocket science. A big part of it is all about intuition. And let that just be one thing we women have in abundance.
Be patience with yourself. And a bit manly when test riding that big motorcycle, without loosing your female intuition. Don’t let yourself get discouraged when it feels a bit unstable at first. Take your time. Take it easy. And don’t fool yourself. You’ve got this. Find a quiet parking area to practise. Get the bike going and stop somewhere. Over and over again. Riding often isn’t the issue. Getting to a stop and standing still is the real challenge.
So practise. Are you really nervous? Then ask others to help you and be your ‘safety net’. But just do it. Give it a try. And like I said; otherwise start with an older bike. Then it’s no real reason for drama when you do topple over.
I couldn’t reach the ground with both feet on my Suzuki GSX-R 750 from 2005. In almost four years I have only toppled over three times. Fell over, because I accidentally put my foot in the grass, next to the tarmac. Or because I wasn’t fully paying attention and put my foot down while standing next to a ditch. The bike went past its balance margin and fell down. It happens. And I did shed a little tear, the first time. It just sucks. But you live and you learn.
Now I ride an aprilia RSV4 RF from 2017 on the road. A bike that’s way too expensive, if you ask me and even taller in seat height than the good old Gixxer. And also rode the BMW R 1250 GS Adventure (the highest in his class) I was able to borrow from BMW Netherlands. I missed about 10 cm of leg on each side when it stood upright. What about the brand new 2022 BMW S1000RR of my lovely boyfriend? Also tippy toe business.
Of course it’s not about the value of a bike. A bike that means something to you is always of value, no matter the price tag. But what I’m trying to say it; don’t worry too much. Yes, it sucks when your bike falls down. But that’s something that also happens to riders who do are able to reach the ground with both feet flat.
Riding a big motorcycle as a tiny woman is not impossible. It actually is very, very possible. I ride big, heavy bikes all the time. And I’m not a talented rider. Nor am I the toughest in my class. I’m just an average female rider. So if I can, then so can you.
Yes, it hurts when you drop the bike. And yes, maybe that chance of doing so feels bigger when you can’t reach the ground with both feet. But you develop tricks. Little handy things that help you out. Your confidence will grow. Your skills will grow. You’ve got this girl. You can ride that big bike. You just have to want it. Truly. And be a bit stubborn. Ride that tall dream bike. Don’t let anyone stop you.