Women Riders

The Challenge of U-Turns

Written by  January 31, 2007

As I sit here looking at my screen saver of a private island with palm trees and the luscious blue ocean wishing I was there, the reality is it’s 15 degrees outside and sleeting. Numerous clubs, churches, schools and business closings scroll along the bottom of the news channel and news reporters tell us not to go out if we don’t have too. My feeling is, if it’s going to be this cold then I want snow, and lots of it, not the treacherous ice conditions we have to contend with. I get the feeling winter hibernation is setting in and we will all be making some lifestyle adjustments to get us through until riding season begins.

Try getting out to some of the local bike shows that are coming to town, check out some motorcycle-related books from the library, read your motorcycle manual from cover to cover, or start your spring shopping spree by earmarking all the pages in the J&P catalogue with the items you want! Before you know it, it will be April and time to VROOM, VROOM!

I want to remind all of you, if you are traveling out of the United States you must now have a passport. If you are considering any Fly & Rides to European or Caribbean countries you will need a passport. And you will need to allow six weeks after making application before receiving it.

Applications are online through the U.S. Department of State. If you have a previous passport and it has not expired within the past 15 years, you will only need to renew. Otherwise if it’s expired you will need to apply for a new one. Most facilities will require you to make an appointment for processing.

You will need to submit with your application the following:
Proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate with raised seal)
Proof of identity (driver’s license)
Two recent, color photographs (must meet measurement requirements if you provide your own).
Fees - $108 including photos taken at the post office.


Dear Goldie,
Can you give me some advice on making U-turns? I always have to put my foot down
to complete the turn and sometimes I even have to back up because I turned to wide.
I enjoy your column, thanks for all the tips.

Arlington, Texas

Hi Michelle,
I remember the first time I made a U-turn in a group ride on Main Street in Weston, Missouri. Not putting my feet down, and making that turn like I did it every day was such a great feeling of accomplishment! It’s sort of like riding a bicycle with training wheels when you were a child. One day you get brave enough to take them off and that’s all it takes, you’re off to the races and no holding you back.

Since you are lucky to live in a year-round riding state you will have the opportunity to practice U-turns in a parking lot. U-turns can be tricky, but with practice you will soon be turning your bike on a dime. Well, maybe a quarter.

First find a parking lot with back-to-back parking lines. They are usually spaced about 10 feet part. Use three parking spaces to start; with your motorcycle towards the left side of the first parking space, ride forward towards the right of the opposing parking space, turn your head completely around as you turn the handle bars and make a 30’ U-turn. Practice this until you can eventually do a 20’ U-turn, using only two of the parking spaces. Because most riders favor one side in turning, always practice this maneuver equally to the right and to the left.

The technique for the U-turn would be if you are about to make a left-hand U-turn, keep your foot firmly on the rear brake, keep the clutch in the friction zone and roll on the throttle. Dip the bike towards the right curb, then quickly and smoothly turn your head completely around to the direction you want to go. At the same time you are turning your head, you should be pushing on the right grip turning your handle bars as far as possible and leaning the bike to the left. Use the same technique if you are making a right hand U-turn.

The most important part of this maneuver is to look where you want the bike to go. Remember, if you look at the curb or the end of the pavement, that's where you will go. So, stay focused and avoid that temptation. After practicing a couple hours, you should be able to turn on any street whenever you feel like it with total confidence.
Good luck and let us know how you do.


I also want to let all you riding divas know about the upcoming 1st Annual Biker Ally Rally in Galena, Illinois. Mark your calendars now for June 22-24, 2007. You may register by phone at 1-877-557-4681, or online applications are found at www.bikerallymag.com/index.html

Many of you have met Rain, the editor of Biker Ally Magazine, who has been in Kansas City a few times and annually attends the Branson Rally. I’ll be going to the rally and if any of you want to ride up with us, shoot me an e-mail.

Have a great month of February, take care of your “Sweetheart” (not just your bike), and do some cardio to condition your heart!

Goldie Arnold:
Goldie Arnold

“Never rider faster than you angel can fly”

TIP OF THE MONTH: When you are stopped at a red light, stay in 1st gear and watch your mirrors. If you need to move fast, you will be ready.