Getting Started
14th September 2011

First lesson

After the great day I had doing my CBT I was super looking forward to my first lesson!

I booked it for 9am on the next Wednesday morning. After finishing my work at 8am (I was nightshift but couldn’t wait for my next lesson) I headed straight to the training centre right rider attached to Scotspeed motorcyles in Dumfries. Got my gear on in their changing room as I was still in my work clothes and met the other girl who was going to be doing the 125cc lesson with me.

I was initially a little worried that I might not manage the full half day lesson that was planned if I was tired but that thought was not a problem at all (I was in fact buzzing with excitement)! The instructor was one of the men who did my CBT, Frank who is very laid back which I’m sure helps new riders relax. We began by heading out of the town centre and in to a small housing estate where we practiced negotiating junctions and hills. This went well so we traveled across town to an old air strip that has an area ideal for practicing manoeuvres.

Frank began by explaining about the mod 1 test (the off road part) as we have to manually push the bike around. We practice this to find the easiest technique for each of us to move the bike. On the little bike this wasn’t too difficult when I found the right technique for me as it is fairly light. We then practiced slow speed control, doing a turn in the road (U-turn) and emergency stops. This was really good fun and we had a laugh. In my eagerness to get up to speed for my emergency stop I let the clutch out a little quicker than I’d planned and the front of the bike tried to leave the ground below. I was half worried I was going to get in to trouble for it and yet couldn’t stop myself from laughing for the next 15 minutes. Frank however laughed and thought I was just practicing my race start! I guess this is what first lessons are about- finding out what you are good at and what you need to practice.

Again with reference to the mod 1 test we practiced slaloming between the marks on the road and figures of 8 to make sure that slow speed control was taken care of. We meandered through the outskirts of town negotiating some small roundabouts, speed bumps and more junctions before heading out to a bigger roundabout and over the by-pass.

During our lessons one learner is in front of the instructor and one behind. I was behind at this point and had to stop at the roundabout so the other guys were away before me. I followed behind a lorry and could not visually see the instructor but could still hear his audio in my ear so knew they were heading in to town. At the next big roundabout I did everything I was supposed to, got in to the right lane and was just one lorry behind them (which no one realised) so as I pulled off in towards the town centre.

I spied that the others had taken the 1st entrance in to an industrial estate to wait for me as I went past, so had to continue the way I was going. I turned around at the next roundabout, laughing all the way. Frank had noticed me go by and had followed me but I was already on my way back so I got to go all the way around the biggest roundabout our little town has and got back to where I should have been in the first place. All in all it was a nice little side trip but I did apologise to the other girl for keeping her waiting. After some more junction and roundabout practice we headed back to base for some lunch where I went the wrong way again! Only this time I took a shortcut by mistake as I was in front and I heard the instruction to head back to scotspeed. Only instead of going up and around in a circle before coming back to the shop, I took my first left and shortened the journey by 10 minutes, when I instantly realised I was meant to go straight on. Unfortunately due to this being a one way street I couldn’t turn around to catch up. We grabbed some lunch and I was still buzzing!

Then headed back out and up ‘the glen’ in local terminology towards some narrow back roads. Doing this we learned we have to pay a bit more attention to our speed as both the little 125’s were doing a little over the 60mph speed limit. This is part of the official test route as I live in a fairly rural region. We pulled over at the side of the road after turning off and Frank talked us through the importance of road positioning whilst cornering on these little roads. There is often farm vehicles and wider vehicles as well as different road surfaces and muck to look out for. This was a nice and peaceful journey which was quite enjoyable. After we got back on to the main roads again we continued to practice the basics and had a nice rest down by the river. The weather was beautiful which made this a really great day out. Unfortunately we forgot the camera during the first half of the lesson and didn’t stop much on the second so there is only the one picture. I will get more next time when I will be on the big bike.

Theory test is booked next so I will have to get revising.