|Be gentle, I'm new to this!|
Well that's hopefully about to change soon as for one, last month I went along and completed my Compulsory Bike/Basic Training (depending on where you read it the name changes). Now I didn't know what to expect when I turned up for the 7 hour course, but it was really good fun and consisted of:
- Turning up at the testing location @ 7:50 sharp, thus allowing plenty of time for registration and to fumble around finding a jacket, trousers, gloves and a helmet that were a good fit;
- Learning the controls of the bike and what all the different sticky out bits actually do;
- Jumping on the little tiddler (and I mean that as I'm 6ft 1" so if I'm honest I was a little cramped on the smaller 125 bikes) and finally turning it on.
- Doing straight lights over and over for half an hour to start learning clutch control and throttle control;
- I then graduated in to doing figure of eights in 1st gear to begin with and after an hour or so was pushing it into 2nd!
- Then came learning the correct signals, checks and the emergency stop;
- After lunch and after discussing with the instructor about confidence and that it's all about practice we were ready to hit the roads;
- We spend about 2 hours riding on the roads and really did enjoy it, I mean I always wondered what people were on about when they talked about the freedom a bike gives you, and now I understand that completely.
- After completing the road riding without running any red lights or running over any grannies, I returned to the test centre where I subsequently reached a sufficient level to receive my certificate.
My next goal is to revise for and pass the Bike theory test (similar to the car one if you've done that, but additional hazards to look out for). Once I've completed that I will be taking a few big bike test lessons, usually on either a Fazer or Bandit (which are easier to ride than the little 125s as they're far more sturdy and you don't donkey hop in low gear) to really get an idea of where I want to go with it.
A few worthwhile notes I've picked up from the instructors though have been to not go out and buy a Super-bike if you value your spine, and look for a Fazer or Bandit as your first bike as they will go all day long, be really comfortable to ride, commute like a dream and give you 50-60 miles to the gallon. Oh and remember that the bigger bikes tend to ride smoother in low gears than the screaming 125s that some of the teenagers are riding around on.
There are a few popular sites that I've been frequenting too, to help me with finding the best bike for the commuter/casual rider and, when the times comes where to look for the best leathers and equipment. These are: