I arrived promptly at 8.15 that chilly morning, nerves of never riding a motorcycle and falling off were going through my mind, although I also had that sense of excitement I was finally going to learn to ride and get a slight step closer to passing my test.
We started off with introductions, safety rules of the road, most of these were a nice recap of my recent theory test. We talked through safety gear importance and then a walk over the bike learning important safety checks and general anatomy of the machine.
After the reasonably lengthy kitting up/admin session we were shown to our motorcycles for the day. Low and behold me and a mate were the only two learning on a geared motorbike. It was a blue Sinnis and after a few failed attempts of trying to start it, which being fair “was the problem for most of the day” we were off around the playground getting use to riding and changing gear.
It was slightly off putting when the moped riders would be sat watching and waiting for us as we needed that little extra time, lucky for them they had the worry of twist and go.
An hour later, I was nice and steady turning the corners and issuing lifesaver checks. The momentum of my body and getting use to looking where I wanted to turn came apparent.
At about midday, the instructor grouped us for a bit of a tutorial on the rules of the road – how to deal with roundabouts, junctions, passing parked cars. It was slightly disconcerting – there seemed to be a lot to remember and was I ready after a few hours in a car park!
Our two geared motorbikes were together with 1 instructor which was nice being a small group. We left the car park and that was it we were now on the open road. I have over 16 years car driving experience so my only worries were stalling in the road, not to panic oh and not getting run over or knocked off the bike.
The first round about my friend stalled, it was clear and for me I made the conscious decision to go rather than cause a hazard? I pulled in at the bus stop waited and set off again when they were in sight. We went through the village and on a few 60 roads which took some doing as the bike didn’t seem to go past 40! I realised a 125 had slightly more power than my wife’s hair dryer and I needed to give it more revs if I was to get past that 40 mark!
We later stopped off for a well deserved bite to eat and drink before setting off again to learn a turn in the road. I think this had to be my worst manoeuvre the concentration to keep the bike steady, a steady Rev and turn wasn’t my best but still safe to pass for the day.
We eventually headed back to the car park where the instructor rubber stamped my certificate, I felt a bit more pride than the situation perhaps warranted. I couldn’t help but feel that I was now, in a very modest way, a biker of sorts.
OK, so I’d only passed the perfunctory sounding ‘compulsory basic training’, which is almost impossible to fail and doesn’t entitle the holder to much beyond a little bike with a hair dryer engine. But everybody has to start somewhere.