When you think about riding a motorcycle, you probably think about three things: thrill, adventure, and freedom. The feeling is truly miraculous as you zoom down the road, feeling like your flying. There may even be a feeling of living on the edge and in the danger zone that might appeal to you. Any of these reasons and more could be why you’re curious about riding a motorcycle. Riding for the first time, though, shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are four things you should consider before putting the pedal to the metal:

Stay Calm

It’s important to go into it with the proper mindset. If you’re too nervous, then maybe it’s not the right time to ride just yet. You need to remain as calm as possible as this will help you to be confident and focused. By staying focused, you’ll be able to avoid ending up in a motorcycle crash. When you’re on the road, there’s so much that you need to focus in on. You need to make sure that other vehicles are aware of you, but you also need to make sure that you are aware of them. How close is the vehicle behind you? To the right? The left? Just ahead of you? Your life depends on being fully aware of everything going on around you, and so staying calm will help you do just that.

Be Fit & Keep up Your Strength

Although there is no fitness test that can determine whether or not one should actually ride a motorcycle, it would be in your best interest to stay fit. There may be times when you’ll need to rely on your strength to maneuver your bike in intense traffic situations. So hit the gym and focus on building muscle that will benefit you in such situations. Also, you need to be aware of your health status. If you have heart problems, for example, then you should talk to a doctor before riding. You need to make sure that whatever health condition you may have is under control when riding a motorcycle.

Get the Basics Down

Supposing that you’re getting instruction from someone that you’re either riding with on the same bike or on separate bikes, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The person teaching you should have pointed out the obvious things, like where your feet and hands should go. Because people may have their own riding style, try different sitting arrangements to see which way is the most comfortable for you. However, don’t just get on the bike and expect to ride. Be open to suggestions and ask for critique as you are in the learning process.

Wear a Helmet If Necessary

Wearing a helmet is absolutely crucial! Even if your state or county doesn’t require you to wear one by law, you should definitely wear one—especially if it is your first time riding. Don’t just wear any helmet, though. Make sure that it fits you nice and snug. This may require that you try on different helmets or renting one for the occasion of your first ride. In the case of an accident, you’d definitely be grateful that you followed this piece of advice.

Enjoy your first ride, but do keep the above tips in mind. They’ll help to ensure that you hit the big, open road safely.