Back in my late 20s, I decided to get a motorcycle license and buy a bike. The reason I chose a cycle over, say, a scooter, was speed-related. If I was in a jam on the highway and needed to quickly speed up, the putt, putt, putt of a scooter simply wouldn’t cut it. Or so I thought.

My used 250 Honda fit like a glove, and was the perfect vehicle for riding with my boyfriend and his 750 Kawasaki on the winding roads of southwestern Wisconsin. I was only lacking experience.

One day early on, we came to a sharp left curve. Not being able to see around the corner, I took the turn much too wide, didn’t lean - out of fear, and soon found myself driving into and then through the ditch. In terror, I squeezed both breaks simultaneously and became momentarily airborne before landing. My newbie negligence was embarrassing, at best. My boyfriend nearly stroked out as he followed me.

According to, the cornering mantra I should have used is slow – look – press – roll. Here are the steps:


  • Slow down before approaching the corner using both brakes to an appropriate entry speed or a speed slow enough for you to be able to roll on and slightly increase throttle throughout the corner.
  • Next, turn your head and look in the direction you want the motorcycle to go.  Point your nose in the direction you want the motorcycle to go.
  • To make a motorcycle lean, press on the grip in the direction you want to go. Press the left grip – lean left – turn left, press the right grip – lean right – turn right. If only I would have known.
  • Finally, roll on the throttle or maintain the grip on the throttle throughout the turn. At the end of the turn roll on the throttle a little more and you are good to go.

There’s a saying by George Morris that “if you’re not going to the hospital, you’re getting back on.” And, I eventually did.