From the Cop/ Soldier Side:
OK, a while back I said I was going to post some tips on Motorcycle riding. We've had way too many of our troops making it through one of the wars, getting back home, buying a nice motorcycle...then crashing.
My first topic covered checking the bike over before riding. Remember, if you get a blow out in a car, you have 3 other wheels to keep you going. get a blow out on a bike and you're screwed (unless you know what to do)
My second suggestion is to wear proper equipment when riding. I don't give a shit if you live in a state where you don't have to wear a helmet. You MUST always wear a helmet. You must always were some kind of boots, gloves, glasses or full face shied, long sturdy pants and anything else you can put on for protection. When you hit the pavement, even at low speeds, it'll scape off your skin like a grinder....and that hurts.
Guys: Trust me, the girls won't think you're a stud by wearing anything less. Remember the body armor and crap you wore in Iraq? Nobody thought you were wuss there. carry on.
Next, find someone who knows what the f--- they 're doing on a bike. I've seen and heard of too many dumbasses teaching others how to ride. Find someone who's had some real training and ask them to help you. Most Motor Cops have gone through a lot of training and know what they're doing...but not all states require cops to be fully trained.
After you find someone to help you, get a small older bike to practice on. Learn to keep your feet off the friggen ground. Learn the clutch and throttle, learn to look where you want the bike to go- If you look at the guardrail, that's what you're going to run into. Look where you want the bike to go.
After you've done some un-official training and you think you know what you're doing, go take a class. After that class, ride for a few months and then take an advanced class.
Don't be like me. I started out learning from my dad. He was a truck driving instructor in the Air Force....he didn't have a clue how to ride a motorcycle. When the Police Dept started to pre-train me--- I rode like a spazz. I had to break bad habits and learn the proper way to brake, turn, counter steer and all kinds of stuff. Start our learning the right way with good habits. I now have over 18,000 miles on my own bikes with no crashes. I still assume everyday that someone is out there trying to kill me and I watch for them every second.
I guy I talked to in Bosnia who owned a nice motorcycle asked me: "What's the best bike?" My answer: "The one you're riding."
Ride on, ride safe, ride forever.