The city of Nice seen from the surrounding hillside bathed in sunshine
small image motorcycle loaded up with touring gear Home Contribute Contact BAT Chit-Chat BAT Facebook Page BAT Stickers! Ren's Biking Blog Sharon's Biking Blog Guest Posts Bike Reviews Bike Gear Reviews Bike Tips Travel Stories Travel Tips Repair And Restoration Interesting Links Support BAT
Home Sharon's Biking Blog

Are You A Terrified Learner Rider? I Was

Blog date November 2016

I was thinking the other day as I was riding along with ease...see that word EASE. Such a simple word but it was not easy to come by for me. Ease usually requires a hell of a lot of effort to get to. So yes I was riding with ease and that hit me as most peculiar. Where had my terror gone? How could I be doing something that now feels so natural that once felt like an impossible dream.  

Sharon sits on a big green sporty Kawasaki at a motorcycle show3 years ago I could only dream of owning a bike like this 

So I thought maybe I could write something that would help other new learners. Not that I think I know a lot, more that I can remember clearly the terror I felt when I was learning. How easy it was to feel useless and believe I could never ever obtain a full licence. 

Ahh yes I remember only too well those early "I will never be able to do that" days. I was very lucky whilst learning that I had a boyfriend who would do nothing for me. In a good way. Other boyfriends would ride their partner's bikes onto gravel or turn it around for them. Ren would say I'll advise you, I'll stand next to you but I won't do it for you. At the time I didn't always realise I had a fantastic boyfriend who was in fact teaching me to feel the fear and do it myself anyway. I learned one of the most important lessons of all - The only way to learn to do something is to do it. I also learned the only way to improve is to do it over and over again. Yes I was indeed lucky to have Ren teaching me. He was an excellent patient teacher who taught me well. As an ex motorbike instructor Ren gave me a top class tuition course for free. I was the one however who had to learn, do the miles and remember to smile. 

There are some natural born riders out there. Those who get on on a bike and can ride like a pro from the off. Who go from CBT to full bike test in a week. Who buy a huge monster of a bike and are travelling the world a month later. 

However most of us are mere mortals. Most learners have all suffered from the CAN'T blues. Most of us have dropped our bikes, made mistakes, thought we would never be able to do a right turn or a roundabout or ride in the rain or pass mod 1 or mod 2. Yet with guts and determination we kicked that T right off the end of CAN and replaced it with a DO. Can't became Can Do and I believe it can happen to every new rider if they are determined enough. 

As a learner you are not useless, you are learning and building up skills. We are all learning, no matter how long we ride there is always something new to learn or improve on. 
I found learning to ride harder than I had expected. I never progressed as fast as I hoped. I had times where I went backwards not forwards and times when I got stuck on plateaus without improvement. I had good days when it all felt like it had slipped into place and times when it all went horribly wrong. Read my blogs - I have dropped my bike loads of times and been totally terrified. I was not a natural but I never gave up and slowly bit by bit things improved and I began to get better.  
I finally replaced my wishbone with a backbone and my dream of riding abroad finally came true this year when I took my bike abroad for the first time. Dreams can come true but only if you make them. 

Sharon and her 125 inside the bowels of the ferry to The Netherlands
On the ferry to the Netherlands 
Sharon on her bike beneath a large Dutch windmill

I did it, I am riding in another country

Learn at your own pace, each and everyone of us is different. Some people find lots of short bike journeys helps build up their confidence in the beginning. I found longer journeys worked best for me because I took at least half an hour to settle down on the bike at first. For some people riding behind their bike buddy is preferable while some prefer being the one up front. There is no set formula. Experiment and find out what works best for you. It is your own unique journey...enjoy it.
If you prefer solo riding great but if your prefer riding in a group or with one other rider be careful who you ride with. You do not want to ride with people who may chip away at your confidence and bring you down. Constructive criticism from a knowledgeable experienced rider is a good thing. Demeaning, pointless nasty comments are worse than useless. They erode confidence, so choose your riding partners with care.

Do not judge yourself by other people's achievements. You can only do the best that you can do. If someone is faster than you, well good for them. Measure yourself by your own yardstick, your own progress.      

Acknowledge your weak spots and tackle them. Avoiding them will just mean they lurk in the background waiting to unnerve you. I hated with a vengeance slow manoeuvres, but if I was ever going to pass Mod 1 I had to tackle them. That said do not "do" your pet hate over and over every day it will take the joy out of your biking. Do your pet hate and then follow it with one of your favourite things to do on your motorbike. Like a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. Tackle the nasties but remember to have fun as well. 

Be aware that some bikes do slow manoeuvres easier than others. I finally with lots of practise found success with the U-turns and figs of 8 on my Keeways RKS 125 only to find that the Yamaha MT07 I used for my bike test did them so much easier. 

If I could offer any one piece of advise only it would be this...mind set is crucial to your success. 
We all have days when it all goes to s#!t. But we have to tell ourselves it was just a set back, it was just a bad day, not the end of the world. One bad day does not a bad biker make. It does not make you a useless idiot. It does not take away all your skills. You have to accept it and move on. Trouble is when we are learning we are so so much harder on ourselves than when we are more experienced and relaxed. When I was learning even a missed gear change would result in me berating myself mercilessly. Fast forward 3 years and I am going to the petrol station to put fuel in my bike. I have used this station before I know it well. I indicated to turn right into the station and a car on the other side of the road stops dead and flashed me to cross in front of her. I do this without thinking and realise I have just entered the petrol station on the do not enter / exit side which is just before the correct entrance. I calmly dodged the oncoming cars and pulled up to the pumps and filled up. I made a boo boo, I will endeavour not to repeat it but I did not panic, I did not rant at myself. I handled the situation, shrugged my shoulders, filled up and forgot about it. What a difference 3 years makes. If I had done that as a learner I would have stopped dead, caused a whole lot of trouble and probably cried inside and put myself in the corner for a month at least.  Doing this would have wrecked my confidence and put my improvements on hold until I got over it. 

So if you're learner please be gentle on yourself when you make mistakes and please believe in yourself. Not being fast now does not mean you will be forever slow. Dropping your bike twice this week does not mean you are doomed to failure. There is no magic formula to gain confidence. It comes with time and miles. Success comes via mistakes and learning the hard way. You also really do have to believe in yourself, if you say you can't do something often enough then you will indeed convince yourself you can't. 
So like I said earlier you need to lose that T and replace it with a DO. A can do attitude will help you succeed by building up your confidence. When I did Module 1 I myself finally kicked that T to the kerb and by replacing it with a Can Do mind set. I became calm and believed I could pass Mod 1 and I did. I can not guarantee that a Can Do attitude will always lead to success but it will increase your chances. 

Sharon is smiling as she sits on the new Z250SL outside the shop
Finally got that Kawasaki I dreamed of 

My blood group is B Positive and I believe it is a good mantra to live and ride by.   

Home Sharon's Biking Blog Random Link

Reader's Comments

Ian Soady said :-
Another excellent post Sharon. I was lucky (unlucky?) enough to do my initial learning when a lot of training was limited to "That's the throttle, there are the brake and gear levers, now off you go".

I had spent many hours deep in the pages of "Motorcycles and How To Manage Them" which explained what controls did what so felt I knew what was what. But I can still remember that first feeling of panic when the mighty Villiers 150cc of my Francis Barnett seemed to take control. Followed shortly by a fellow apprentice offering me a ride on his fire-breathing Matchless G80CS - a full-blown 500cc scrambles bike - which I managed to get to the other end of the power station site where we both worked only to stall it and spend about 10 minutes trying to start it again.....

I say "unlucky" as although that process enabled people of my generation to get mobile very easily, it did nothing to actually help us to learn properly. I didn't bother taking a test in the first couple of years as there was no impetus to do so other than a wish to ride a bigger bike - in fact my sister passed her test before I did. But more importantly, I then spent several decades and rode many thousands of miles believing I was a competent rider. In many respects I was - I easily passed an IAM test in the 90s, and believe I developed good road sense and machine handling skills.

But when I bought my first real "modern" bike - a Triumph Tiger 955i - and managed to drop it at walking speed twice in the first couple of weeks of ownership I had to take a good hard look at myself and realised that I really had no idea how to ride slowly in a controlled way. So back to school, plenty of practice and I managed to master what is now a standard part of the basic training syllabus.

I suppose what I'm really getting at is that learning has to be a continuous process, and just because we've shed the L plates and can go out and buy the latest superbike, we still need to understand that there is always more we can do to improve and maintain our skills. As a small example - I make a point of practising braking technique on a regular basis so that if the unexpected does happen I'm less likely to grab a handful of brake and end up on my ear or worse (most unlikely on the Sunbeam of course!). The performance of modern brakes and tyres is incredible yet we still hear of people "lying the bike down to avoid a crash". That is the crash!
01/12/2016 12:01:18 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Ya never stop learning Ian! Sometimes I embarrass myself with stupid schoolboy errors while on 2 wheels or 4. I think what we want from our riding changes as we age too. When I was younger I wanted to learn to go fast. Today I enjoy learning to ride with the minimum of fuss and effort.

I've recently been teaching myself to use the brakes less. This causes me to use engine braking but more importantly to look harder at the road ahead so I'm in the right gear at the right time with the right speed and so on. Basic stuff but something I'm only just getting to grips with now I've stopped trying to be fast.

Sharon's point regarding not being too harsh on yourself is so right! As a learner if you stall at a junction that's it, you're poop, you're useless and you're an imbecile who shouldn't be on the road. After coming on for half a million miles I can still stall at a junction and I just shrug, start the motor and ride off. I can still drop a bike while parking. I can still wobble through a corner. It happens, learn from it and accept it.


02/12/2016 10:04:23 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
"I've recently been teaching myself to use the brakes less. "

On another forum I frequent one of the contributors devised some "games" a bit like that - in fact, I think one was exactly that. One I invented for myself was "how far can I go without putting my feet down" which came to me one day when I realised I'd gone about 30 miles without touching the ground. Again, it requires forward planning. A bit like when the clutch cable breaks although that's usually forced on you!

Found it:
the-ride-info.blogspot.co.uk/p/diy-advanced-rider-training.html ...
02/12/2016 11:24:43 UTC
GJ said :-
Some people have a natural knack to riding.

I'm riding around on my CBT currently and it lapses in early March 2017.

I've dropped the bike three times in that period:-

1) April 2015 - Trying to turn whilst going to fast with predicted results.
2) Nov 2015 - Going around a circle motorcycle hit a patch of Ice with obvious results.

Those two incidents were down to my inability to ride sensibly. First incident should have slowed down and completed the turn more sensibly. Second incident should have used a little back brake to keep motorcycle stable.

My latest drop was down to taking a different route home after work. I entered a street, cut down onto another and was about to ride on to my street. When I encountered a huge area of black ice which had covered the street in all directions. Right, Left or Straight on their was no difference it was all like an ice rink.
I don't feel I could have done anything different other than take another route. I was only doing 10-15mph.

Local Council had not gritted area despite them stating differently. I should have taken pictures but was that annoyed I had dropped bike.

I decided to go on a "Chippy Run" with local bikers but they all have 500cc+ motorcycles. After the first occasion I decided that it's not in my interests to try and keep up with them due to the risk of crashing and injuring myself and damaging the motorcycle.

I can explore my local area in a more leisurely and sedate manner building up my abilities at the same time.

In regards to car drivers overtaking due to "L Plates" it does not bother me anymore. They can drive at whatever speed they like. I usually drive at around prescribed limits but occasionally ride at a speed with the conditions in my mind.

In essence try to make the same mistake twice. After just over 18 months I believe I'm far more aware of the hazards that riding on a daily basis encompasses.

02/12/2016 12:11:44 UTC
GJ said :-
Final paragraph should have read it before submitting.

In essence try to not make the same mistake twice. After just over 18 months I believe I'm far more aware of the hazards that riding on a daily basis encompasses.
02/12/2016 12:14:12 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Ian - that's a fabulous post regarding the training games. I'll give some of them a try, you can never know too much. As for doing 30 miles without putting your feet down. PFFFT! I've done over 160 miles without stopping once. Admittedly it was on a quiet motorway in the evening but you know...gimme a break.

GJ, sounds like you've got your head screwed on right. There is only one way to ride on sheet black ice. Don't! I sympathise though, I've come off on a few patches in the past. My only advice is stick to the main roads and on those roads you can't avoid like your own street is either walking pace with feet out or push the bike the last few yards. It sucks, it really sucks. It hurts too doesn't it.

Some rideouts will take into account less powerful bikes, some won't. There's no point trying to keep up with 500cc plus motorcycles on a 125, it's just not going to happen. You've hit the nail on the head, ride at your own pace and learn the skills in your own time. A 125 at 50mph is just as much fun as a 500 at 70mph anyhow.

We should learn from our mistakes but even the best of us can make the same mistake twice. You're human and humans mess things up. All we can do is try our best. I mean - look at how many people get married twice!
02/12/2016 16:31:25 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Ian,

You are right learning never stops and it is good to keep trying new thing to keep us on our toes or rather on our tyres.

I will have a good look at your link later but on a quick glance I am happy to see that I play some of those "Games" already.

I constantly try to improve my cornering and therefore definitely already "Drive myself around the Bend"

I am also very good at the "No Brakes". Over 23,000 miles on the 125cc and I am still on original brake pads. I have had people following me on the bike who think I am quite fearless in the bends because I do not brake for them. No not fearless I have just used my engine breaking to slow beforehand. However one thing to note here is that by not using your brakes anything behind you is not aware you are slowing down. So keep an eye in your rear mirror and if it looks like anything behind is getting suddenly close a little dab the brake to make your brake light come on may be in order. I have nearly caught Ren out in the past by using my engine breaking rather than the brakes.

I am also very aware of the "Funky Chicken" after a lot of death grip experiences as a learner I read a lot about relaxing on the bike. Easier said then done when you are terrified but best advice if you get scared ... grip the tank with your knees... not the handle bars with your hands. Made me smile that this was called 'Zen motorcycling' after all is that not what I have been doing from the very beginning ... Zen Biking :-D
02/12/2016 23:42:57 UTC
Sharon said :-
GJ

Sounds to me like you are learning the art of motorcycle riding in a rather splendid way. You have a great mind set and a sensible approach which will hopefully serve you well on all your biking adventures.

However while there are times we can learn by our mistakes and learn to avoid some hazards there are always some that lie in wait to catch us unawares such as ice or diesel spills.

I almost came to grief on a roundabout due to unseen diesel. I slithered all over the place. It was on a weekend ride out and we had torrential rain. On the roundabout my bike slipped away from under me and I was pretty sure I was going down. However my right leg had other ideas and worked completely independently from my brain. Like a crouching tiger my leg rose up from the peg, lifted up high to ensure maximum thrust then shoot out to hit the tarmac with my foot with such force that the bike was jerked back upwards. Ok the force employed was a little too much and the bike came too far the other way but with a lot of wobble and legs flaying about the balance was restored. Whether by my own skill, sheer good luck or an angel with long legs riding pillion I survived the wobble and safely exited the roundabout. My friend behind me said it was like watching some kind of stunt show .... Haa think I scared him as much as myself. But like with most near offs and wobbles we find our confidence a little shaken for the next couple of rides.

So everyday can be lesson on bike ... maybe that is why we love it so much ... always something new to learn.
03/12/2016 00:07:50 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
"We should learn from our mistakes"

True but where possible I prefer to learn from others' mistakes as it tends to be cheaper and less painful!
03/12/2016 10:06:39 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
HAHA! Yes you're quite right Ian. I guess that's where training comes in too, hopefully a good instructor can guide us past the potential mistakes before we make them.
03/12/2016 12:41:31 UTC
Jo Barton said :-
Crackin article and bang on the mark! I passed my CBT six months ago and I've just moved up to a geared bike! I know I'm still dreadful but the fact is that I'm immensely proud of myself as, like you, I've gone from phobia terror to I can and will do this! And I'm loving it! ??
22/12/2016 12:06:36 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Jo,

How exciting for you to just be beginning your biker journey. So good to hear you are loving it and with than can do attitude you are already on the road to success. i always enjoy hearing of a new biker finding some two wheeled love.

Keep being proud of yourself, keep adding up miles under your tyres and keep smiling. Enjoy your adventure. x
22/12/2016 23:43:04 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hi there, Ren and Sharon,

I'm so glad I found 'bikes and travels!' I came upon your site while idly googling 'Honda CBF125' and Ren's fab review of his little bike popped up. At the moment, I'm a 'non biker' and was trawling the internet for some inspiration - as you do! Your amazing blogs Sharon, have really inspired and encouraged me to 'go for it' get on that bike and not give up whatever is thrown at you. I'm terrified of course, having not been on a bike before except as pillion, but at the same time itching to get my hands on a machine and learn. After a small but irritating wait, I now have exchanged my paper driving licence for a photo card, which is needed as ID for the CBT. (Cheaper than renewing my passport). No excuses now - I need to get that date booked in!
What first bike to buy after a sucessful CBT? I was impressed with the little Honda CBF125, as mentioned above, but did like the look of Zen too and loved to read about his adventures! There is a Keeway dealer near me so I'll be up there first thing tomorrow for a nose around and a 'sit on' - can't wait! :) xx
06/01/2017 17:06:06 UTC
GJ said :-
Louisa,

A few bits of salient advice Pre CBT.

Try and get a good nights sleep before you undertake your CBT once it's booked.
It may also be an idea to not tell a lot of people that you are about to do it as it will ensure you feel less pressure on the day. Sit on a few potential bikes before any purchase to make sure they fit.

The next paragraph is more Post CBT

Try and take it easy the first few weeks until you get the hang of things. Try and not get too frustrated when you stall at roundabouts and junctions etc. Don't get frustrated when you get car drivers overtaking you due to your "L Plates". Allow yourself extra time for your journeys. Take the weather into consideration especially at this time of year. You will get a feel for things in a short time.

An idea would be to go to a quiet Industrial Estate and practice your gear changing, throttle and clutch operation and get the feel for braking. Outside of traffic makes it a whole lot easier.

It all becomes easier with practice.
06/01/2017 21:28:01 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Louisa,

So glad you found Bikes and Travels useful to you. That is what we do it all for.

I am really excited that you felt inspired to book in for your CBT. I love to here of new riders adventures so if you find the time let us all know how you got on.

As for bikes did you manage to go and do a sit on anywhere? I would highly recommended both the Honda CBF 125 and the Keeway RKS 125 but going around various dealerships and doing sit ons as you are doing is the best way to find the bike that feels right for. you.
I just knew when I sat on my Keeway Zen for the first time that he was the bike for me. Not that being so small gave me much choice of course. But I was lucky in that he suited me so well.

All the very best to you as you begin your biker journey. If you have any questions we are always here and happy to help if we can. May you have many smile miles.


09/01/2017 10:10:43 UTC
KD said :-
Massively inspiring article Sharon - many thanks for sharing.

As a 38 y/o newcomer (CBT on 23rd December), so much of what you say makes sense. Having driven a car for 20 years, I'd simply forgotten how terrifying it can be to pick up an new skill; especially one as demanding as motorcycling.

The first time I sat on the bike during my CBT I just thought 'what the **** am I doing here?!' It felt completely alien. I was profoundly nervous, resulting in me locking the front wheel during an emergency stop and flying over the handlebars! Needless to say, this did nothing for my confidence!

Luckily, I'm old enough, and wise enough to appreciate that mistakes happen, and the only way you're ever going to improve is to get back in the seat. Imagine how terrified I was taking my brand new Duke 125 the next day?

As it happens, I consider the mistake on my CBT to be the best thing that could have happened; I have a newfound respect for the machine, and a working knowledge of what not to do when it's wet (snatch front brake).

Here I am, 220 or so miles later, still making the odd dodgy gear change (generally when moving from 1st to 2nd and hitting neutral!), stalling occasionally, and forgetting to turn my indicators off (why can't they work like a cars?!). The difference is, the fear has disappeared. I know I'll improve with practice, and that my issues are merely technical and can be ironed out. I won't beat myself up, set unrealistic targets, or otherwise get frustrated.

My advice to any new riders would be:

Set realistic expectations and don't rush progress

Don't measure yourself against others

Don't beat yourself up

Practice drills. Pick a topic (slow riding, emergency braking etc...) and practice, practice practice. It really is the only way. One of the first things I did following my CBT misshap was to practice using the front brakes. Now I'm completely over that fear.

Take your time; ride 10% slower than your instincts tell you (this is a strategy I use when driving my car abroad and it works a treat)

Enjoy the buzz of learning a new skill. How often do any of us really challenge ourselves later in life?

Have fun! I get more of a buzz from my little 125 than I do my beamer (that may change!)

10/01/2017 19:09:53 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hi Sharon,

Thank you for your reply. CBT booked for this Saturday and I'm beginning to feel nervous already, but do feel more encouraged!
I have been to a few dealerships and had fun sitting on a few bikes, including the Honda CBF125. It's good to see what is out there and talk to like minded people.

GJ - Thank you for your words of wisdom. I have indeed thought through carefully at what you discussed above.

KD - Thank you for sharing your amazing CBT adventure and advice on practice once you're on your own. It sounds like you've picked up the skill of biking quickly after only a few weeks - brilliant! :)
10/01/2017 20:48:38 UTC
Sharon said :-
Louisa,

Good luck for Saturday. I shall be thinking of you and will be sending positive vibes your way. Remember the CBT is NOT a test. It is to ensure your own and others safety as you begin your biker journey. I took two days to do mine. At the time I felt disappointed I did not complete in 1 day. In hindsight I was glad I had the extra day. So try to enjoy yoursself, biking is fun and therefore smiling is essential while on a motorcycle. x
10/01/2017 21:22:54 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hello KD,

Welcome to the wonderful world of motorcycling. Thanks to you too for also sharing your story so far. I think other peoples stories always help new riders feel inspired and less alone with their feeling of either joy or terror.

It is indeed a challenge to learn new things when we are errr not a young as we once were. But like you said it is good to learn new skills no matter what our age. We do seem to learn by our mistakes, especially those that scare us the most. Glad you survived your rather harsh lesson in how not to brake and have used that as a positive to add to your skills now.

You certainly seems to have the right positive attitude and an already abundant knowledge to serve you well as you gain even more experience and miles under those tyres.

As for the buzz of the 125 it may fade for you but if you are lucky it will stay with you for a long time, maybe even forever. The thing is you see what other machine can you push to its very limit? What else could give you everything it has and you know it is working at it maximum....all without breaking the speed limits and the law? That be a 125cc and it is that that has made me keep mine and still enjoy him today. You may only be doing 68mph but hell it feels like 120mph with the engine screaming in your ears and pushing the rev limiter. The are little bikes packed to the brim with fun. They give you all they have, heart and soul and I think it only fair we give out own heart to them in return.

May yours bring you as much joy as mine has so far.
10/01/2017 23:09:17 UTC
Sue said :-
What an inspiration you are. I need to retake my CBT as I haven't yet managed to feel ready for module 1 I've had a year off from lesions taking time to learn road sense and how to handle my 125.. I only starred riding at 55 so was shocked that I couldn't learn as easily as I did when I took my car test at 20.
Knowing that I am not the only one who has had terrified moments, dropped the bike and thought I can't do it has made me feel so positive.
My plan is to get back to some lessons once I get some raised boots as I now realize that I am on tip toe so don't have control of the bigger bikes.
I do enjoyed your blog and will let you know how I get on.
Sue
12/01/2017 19:09:12 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Sue,
Thanks for your comment. It gives me great pleasure to know my blog is doing the job I intended it to. Helping new riders not to feel alone with their doubts and fears. To know others have made mistakes but were successful in the end.

I also did my CBT for a second time just before I began my lessons for the full licence. I was glad I did. It took away any pressure to have to complete my lessons in a set time frame and also made me feel much more confident to begin my lessons on a bigger bike.

Hope you enjoy your lessons. I am sure your time spent on the 125 will serve you well. I look forward to hearing all about it. X
13/01/2017 18:18:38 UTC
GJ said :-
I'm also probably in the retake the CBT camp.

My current CBT runs out on the 19th March. Which in the grand scheme of things is not long away. I'm looking to get an assessment of my riding done later this month with a view to getting Mod 1 & Mod 2 passed in due course. Local school have intimated that they can tell me how far away from test standard I am after a assessment lesson and a conversion lesson.

A girl I know passed her Mod 1 & 2 after assessment lesson and conversion and two further 90 minute lessons. Although I'm not daft enough to suggest it will be the same for myself. It will take as long as it takes.

I just believe the extra £100 for another CBT is probably worth it in regards to not feeling any great pressure to get things done quickly. I have my Theory Test on the 24th Jan. I don't see my self leaving it later than May prospectively to have completed it.

I already have an idea of that I would like a Honda CB500x once I pass my test but I will need to go the local dealer and arrange a test ride. To find out whether the motorcycle suits me. Thinking of pottering around for a few months afterwards on 125 but that may change. Quite like the look of Z300 Kawasaki and the 300cc Versys.

13/01/2017 19:08:42 UTC
Del said :-
I too like Ian never had any formal training but I was lucky enough to live in the countryside and so me and my mates had a 50cc Honda that we would ride across the fields and sometimes you just had to be faster than the farmer in his Land Rover lol. I remember when I passed my test I came home told my Dad and he said great, now all you've got to do is learn to ride. I didn't really understand what he meant at the time but I do now, you only get better by riding. Great post Sharon, I'm sure that many a learner will benefit from reading it.

Regards,
Del
14/01/2017 11:22:43 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I never had the experience of riding old scoots or motorbikes when I was younger. In fact I wasn't into bikes at all. I was into my BMX and trying to learn tricks, that's where I started on 2 wheels and also started learning mechanical stuff.

In fact most of my mechanical skills are founded on Lego! I've always said I learned more from Lego than I ever learned at school. Technical Lego is amazing.

So my motorcycle career started on a back street with my second hand Honda H100 and a mate who could already ride. "Clutch, gears, brakes...off you go". Pre CBT days that, scary.
15/01/2017 18:06:44 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hello Sharon,

Just thought I'd let you know how I got on with my CBT on Saturday.
Well, I didn't walk out clutching my certificate with joy at the end of the day. As a completely new and nervous rider, I certainly wasn't expecting to learn all the ropes in just one session. But I did put on my positive hat and was determined to enjoy my day and learn! Enjoy I did when I experienced slow and wobbly progress with both feet up, balancing on the patient yamaha ybr - wow, I'm actually riding a motorbike - amazing - cue the smile! But I still have a long way to go on my learning biker journey - I found the clutch/throttle balance needed for a smooth start difficult and yes - kept stalling many times! Also stopping smoothly without legs going everywhere was equally tricky. These skills are going to take a while! Sharon, I fully emphasise with what you went through as a very new learner, now I've read your blog for the second time.
However, I was a little disappointed on how the CBT was organised though. We had only one bike between the 3 of us to practise on (luckily one person postponed). I do appreciate that this ratio might of been standard practice for a CBT and for safety reasons as well. But this inevitably meant a lot of waiting around for your turn in between goes. I've worked out that I probably had no more than 2 hours of bike time out of the allocated 8 throughout the day. Luckily, I'd paid £20 for a second session when booking, so I've got a buffer for more practise. I'm going to go back soon for my next lesson and can't wait to get back on the yamaha again, but I do need more than 2 hours of practise to move on from the stalling stage and get out on to the road as a fairly competent rider.
If I'm not successful on the second attempt of the CBT, there are other lovely possibilities and ways which may be better suited to my learning style, such as buying my own bike and (sensibly!) practising in very quiet off road spaces and of course, ultimately getting my CBT on it!
Many thanks to the readers who share their own biker experiences especially when first starting out - that's been really helpful to me. I'll look forward to more! Let's keep smiling! :)

16/01/2017 17:42:17 UTC
GJ said :-
I required the second day.

The second day it will probably be easier.

It will take time to master the clutch & throttle. The same can be said of the gear changing and braking and engine braking through downshifting. It's a lot to master in a single day. Some neersayers will suggest that only idiots take more than day but the idea is for you to be able to operate a motorcycle in a safe manner.

As you have had a day on the motorcycle you will be more aware of the operation of the motorcycle. The next part for yourself is for it to feel more natural. It will become second nature.

Although I believe that you should have had more than 2hrs on the bike in the yard ? I would have thought they should have had 125 motorcycles for each of the CBT participants. My school had three different 125's and a scooter available.

Some schools offer second day free of charge if required but that depends on the company. Unfortunately not all companies operate to the same high standards.

Without a CBT you will only be able to train yourself on a private road with a 125. You need a CBT to go on the road as a minimum.

Good luck and you will get it done.
16/01/2017 18:29:26 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi GJ,

With the practice you have had on your 125cc I am confident that a 3 day DAS course would be what you would be looking at. However an initial assessment is the best way to go. I originally though I would need the longer 5 days but after my assessment my instructor told me I would only need the 3 and much to my surprise he was right.

He did however warn that me although he had every confidence in my ability to ride the bike and be up to test standard the only thing that concerned him was my own lack of self belief and my nerves. Fortunately when it mattered most I mastered the nerves. If your trust your instructor you will be confident about the assessment that he makes and the advice they give..

I would recommend going for the second CBT. I retook mine in August and got my full licence in October. Although I had to pay out the extra for another CBT as I said previously it was worth it.

All the very best luck for you full test this year.

You mentioned taking some bikes for test rides once you have passed your full test. I am not sure if you are aware but many dealership will not let you take a bike for a test ride unless you have held a full licence for over a year. Just something to bear in mind.
16/01/2017 20:56:37 UTC
GJ said :-
Yeah, I'm aware of that regarding the test rides.

If I'm desperate for a bigger motorcycles can pick one up 2nd Hand.

Probably will leave it for a year as I will be able to purchase any of the motorcycles without requiring any finance which i would I prefer. Don't know what I will feel after using the larger cc motorcycle.
16/01/2017 21:20:16 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Louisa. I'm shocked at the training school only having one bike between you all! That is certainly not how things were done when I was instructing nor was it the case when Sharon was doing her CBT either. If the school don't get you up to speed sharpish I'd look elsewhere.

Be patient with yourself. Sharon struggled but she persevered, it took a great deal of effort for her to achieve just the CBT let alone the test and her present skills.

I think the notion of getting a bike to practice on is a good one. We spent many an hour on car parks just setting off, stopping, setting off then turning and endless u-turns.

For some it comes easily, for those whom have to work hard the sense of achievement is far greater.

Keep at it kidder.
16/01/2017 22:23:07 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Louisa,

Thanks for your update. I really had a hard time in replying to your post because I really did not want in any way to dishearten you after you just had your first go on a motorbike and got your first of many smile from it.

However in my opinion and others I have asked about this it is not acceptable to expect students to share a bike. On my CBT each student had a motorbike each. Also if the 3rd person had turned up what then would have happened if you all needed to go out on the road? Each pupil needs a minimum of 2 hours on a bike on the road and this would not have been possible with 1 bike between 3 by the time you had all done your on-site pod work. (see link for minimum CBT requirements.

I really do not want to put you off or dampen your great spirits because you still managed to have a great day and enjoy the 2 hours you got on the bike which was great. You made amazing progress seeing you only had 2 hours on the bike. However I have serious reservations about the training school you are using. To book 3 people onto one bike would mean there was no way that anyone could complete that CBT on that day. You should be given the opportunity to spend the maximum amount of time possible on a motorbike. Also you should be able to progress at your pace and not have to wait around on others.

I guess you will have to go with your gut instincts on this and if your happy to stay with this training school then I for one will not berate you for it. However I personally would be looking at alternative training schools.
Is there any other training schools in your area that you could speak to and think about swapping to them? Personally I would also be asking for a refund for the money I had paid for your initial days training if I did go elsewhere because after all you only received 2 hours instead of 8 hours training.

Please, please do not let this dishearten you. I simply want you to be careful that you have a good training school behind you. After all we do not know if something is good or bad when we ourselves do not know anything different. However like I said everyone I have asked has said a no to the idea of sharing a bike on your CBT. It makes me worry that the training school is cutting corners and if they are willing to do that then I would not be able to put my trust in them.

You deserve to be given the best correct training there is and I fear this school is falling short. If you can tell me the area you live in (on here or by personal email, of on a private message on our facebook page) I will endevour to ask around and find a recommended school as near to you as possible.

Training schools that do not give their best to their student really get me angry. We put our money, our trust and our lives in their hands. There is no room for short cuts.




www.gov.uk/motorcycle-cbt/how-training-works ...
16/01/2017 22:34:29 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hello again GJ,

I have never had the option of a test ride because my feet do not fit on he floor on most bikes. So I had to buy my Kawasaki Z250SL on gut instinct alone.

After passing my full bike test I waited 7 months before I bought a bigger bike. I was just waiting for the right one to come along at the right price. I really enjoyed being on the bigger bike for my lessons but felt no rush to go straight out a get a bigger one myself straight after my test.

I did get my bike on finance but only because it was 0% so I thought why not?

We are rather fortunate that at the moment there is a such a good choice of bikes around, from 250 cc upwards.
16/01/2017 23:49:00 UTC
GJ said :-
Theory Test passed last week with 47/50 Multiple Choice and 58/75 Hazard Avoidance. I would have had a higher score on the Hazard Avoidance but the double score clip received zero. The system suggested I over-clicked.

Never mind a pass is a pass.

I have an assessment booked for Saturday therefore will have a greater understanding of my abilities. I'm not overly worried as I will pass once I'm capable. The local school have a great reputation meaning it will not be suggested to sit Mod 1 & 2 until capable of passing.

I've nearly 6 Weeks until current CBT runs out.

If I gain full licence before current CBT expires so be it.

But not concerned that CBT might need to be undertaken again.
07/02/2017 20:46:27 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Great going GJ! Sounds like you did your homework. I think you're lucky to have a reputable local school too, we had a horror story on here a few weeks back.

Keep us in the loop and enjoy the whole experience, good and bad.
07/02/2017 22:57:44 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi GJ,

Congratulations on passing your theory test. You got a great score so be proud of yourself.

Good luck for Saturday and your assessment. From the knowledge and experience you already have I am sure you will be advised to do the 3 day DAS. Of course trust the experts to give you their best advise.

Exciting times ahead. Looking forward to hearing how you get on.
08/02/2017 19:15:17 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hi there, GJ!

Fab news on passing your theory test.

I like your approach to learning, that you're not pressurising yourself to achieve within a certain timescale, but being positive and going 'with the flow'. My learning journey to get my CBT has been disappointingly slow, but I'm up for perseverance and will do what it takes.

I'm doing my second day of CBT next week, which I've already paid for, and, if I don't reach the level of competence required, again, at least I would have notched up a little more experience of riding a bike! (Yes, it's the 'shared bike' CBT again!)

Luckily, I have now found a good training school near me and it is likely I'll complete my CBT with them. I'm certainly in no rush to get that little bit of paper, but would be over the moon when I do - knowing it hasn't been that easy.

All the best for Saturday.

09/02/2017 16:45:28 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Yes Louisa GJ does seem to have a calm approach and I'm glad to hear you do too.

I'd never wish myself or anyone else "the hard route" but if you end up doing something via "the hard route" is suppose the sense of achievement at the end if it is increased. Still, give me the easy route please
09/02/2017 17:18:18 UTC
GJ said :-
Thanks for the wishes of goodwill regarding the journey to getting a full bike licence.

Louisa

With your bad experience the last time at least it gives you at least some idea of what it entails on the day. With proper tuition this time it probably will come easier as a decent instructor can help to alleviate your nerves etc.

Another thing is that maybe a different 125 motorcycle at the other school might be an option if possible ?.

Although they share same characteristics in regards to clutch, throttle etc. Another bike might feel more natural in operation.

Just relax and try and not over think things.

It's no harm either waiting a little longer for the better weather to be able to enjoy riding in better conditions. Drier and cleaner roads and warmer days will aid your learning after your CBT.
09/02/2017 19:29:57 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Booked in for my theory test next month, a bit of revision of the Highway Code and practicing those %&*#$ observation videos has brought me up to a good enough standard to pass I think. That gets that part out of the way and once I am happy with my practical ability I can arrange my DAS course for a suitable opening in my calendar without having to scrabble around for an appointment for the theory test. I have until October 18 before I have to start all over again.
I must admit I am not nervous at all about doing my test, unlike my car test a long time ago. It is probably the only test in my life I will be doing purely because I want to, it's for fun. There's no peer pressure, no need to pass to get a job like all of my other tests in life. I don't pass I don't pass, so what, nothing bad will happen, just means I need to potter about a bit more on my 125 and try again.


20/02/2017 01:26:49 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
No pressure Borsuk, lucky you.

When I was instructing nerves were always an issue. For example I had one client who was a high-flying lawyer, called to the bar etc. He had money, a flash car, confidence and was skilled on two wheels. He had nothing at all to lose, pass or fail. He could afford more lessons, was in no rush to pass and this little test would have no bearing on his career or his lifestyle.

Yet on the day of his test he was a gibbering wreck! Shaking and quivering, babbling incessantly about lifesavers and U-turns (the older test included an on road U-turn). I was taken aback by his demeanour, quite a change.

If you can enjoy the training and the test. I do understand for some people reading this though that may be a lot easier to say than to do.
20/02/2017 08:45:38 UTC
Borsuk said :-
On the day of my car license test I threw up 3 times on the day during my final lesson and on the way to the test center. After the test my instructor found me sitting in the car shaking and sobbing uncontrollably. As she tried to reassure me that the examiner was the strictest one they had and I would easily pass next time I handed her my pass certificate. Compared to that, this one will be no stress. Though I might wear a Tena pad just in case.
20/02/2017 12:44:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
HAHA! Golly I guess I was lucky. I was indeed nervous for both my bike and my car test but not to the point of throwing up and/or wetting myself.

Sharon and I have discussed other ways of ensuring people are ready to drive/ride on the roads by themselves. Testing nerves can cause the safest of candidates to make foolish errors which is a crying shame.
20/02/2017 12:54:19 UTC
GJ said :-

I had my assessment the other week.

I need a little bit of tidying of my slow control and little bit of on-road skills.
Nothing to major which a lesson should clear up.
Then a conversion lesson and Mod 1 and Mod 2.

Suggested I should be capable of passing once these are ironed out.

Probably need to do another CBT unless I take a cancellation Mod 1 & Mod 2.

Not against a cancellation but would rather pass Mod 1 and then undertake Mod 2 with time for proper practice beforehand.

So it's no issue when I get my full licence whether it's March, April or even May.
20/02/2017 19:09:51 UTC
Sharon said :-
Borsuk
Good luck with the theory test.
Nerves get on my nerves. So many of us have little control over them. They alone seem to dictate whether they put in a appearance or not.
My bike instructor told me he knew I had the ability to pass my test the only thing that could cause me to fail was my nerves getting the better of me. Being watched makes me nervous. I too feared my nerves would wreck havoc on my test day.
However on my Module 1 for whatever reason I totally managed to leave my nerves behind when I rode onto the pad. Waiting is the worse for me because that gives time for the worrying and nerves to start. If I can just get straight on with the job on hand then it seems my nerves lack the time to grow.
Due to my nerves and my loathing of tests no one ever expected me, myself included, to pass my car or bike tests. But I managed them all successfully at the first attempt. Do not ask me to explain how when it mattered the most I could control my nerves because the calm I felt on my Module 1 test still feels like a little bit of magic to me.
21/02/2017 03:12:30 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hello again Gj
So things are moving along for you.
Has the training school given you any idea of how many lessons they think you will require?
How did they carry out your assessment. Was it just on the pad or did you go out on the road with them as well? Was it free?
Are they saying to have your first lesson on your 125 to sort out any problem areas? Will you then move to a bigger bike later that day or on an additional day?
Sorry for all the questions but I am just curious as to whether most schools follow a similar criteria of if they vary widely.
Anyway good luck... Exciting times are certainly on the way for you. I look forward as always to hearing more about your biking journey.
21/02/2017 03:27:11 UTC
GJ said :-
Require a single lesson to tidy up my slow control and aspects on the road. (£35 Own Bike)

Then a further lesson on the larger motorcycle to transfer skills on larger bike. (£50 but with hire of either Suzuki Gladius, Suszuki SV 650 or WK 650i)

Provided I'm comptetent enough in their opinion to pass test no further lessons.
Told that if I require further tuition it will be suggested but only if required.
It's not in their interests to either use you as cash register or to send you totally ill prepared for the test.

Each lesson is 90 Mins

It will be quite expensive as I will need to hire motorcycle for tests also.
Furtherly hopefully most of these costs are once off as I hope to pass Mod 1 & Mod 2 first time. But will deal accordingly whatever the situation suggests.

Best case scenario is around £300 but budget £500-£600 to cover any occurring eventualities.
21/02/2017 08:49:42 UTC
GJ said :-
Going to get some practice in regards to U-Turns, Slalom & Figure 8's when i have spare time.

It's not difficult but it's getting the feel again as they are not exercises you carry out on a daily basis on your motorcycle. Just to get technique right again.

The other parts I can manage easier on the Mod 1 without issue.

As my instructor said anyone can ride a motorcycle fast it's slow riding that takes real skill and control.

The roads on the day I was assessed were a bit damp and greasy. It had also snowed the day before making the surfaces a bit more slushy in occasional areas. Some days you just don't feel like going out on the bike.

I'm always wary in damp greasy and the snowy conditions as realistically you have to figure out actually whether journey is entirely necessary.

I'd be quite happy to just get the "L Plates" off and get a bigger bike in due course.

21/02/2017 09:05:47 UTC
GJ said :-
In regards to available motorcycles for learners.

School has 4 125 Motorcycles available for tuition.
School has 4 650 Motorcycles available for tuition.
21/02/2017 09:11:21 UTC
GJ said :-
Regarding Assessment (£35 Own Bike)

I spent 30 Mins regarding Mod 1 in the yard.
I spent 60 Mins regarding Mod 2 on the road.

With feedback regarding my abilities.
21/02/2017 09:18:15 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi GJ,

Thanks for the update. That all sounds most reasonable to me. It is interesting for us all to see what different options are out there. Your course varies from mine in that you are doing hourly lessons whereas I did the DAS with full day lessons.

Your instructor is quite right in that it is the slow control that requires the skill. Practise, practise it is all any of us can do. I wonder which of the bigger bikes will take your fancy? Which ever it is good luck and have fun.


21/02/2017 23:19:20 UTC
GJ said :-
In regards to bigger bikes.

Kawasaki Z300, Versys 300, Versys 650
Suzuki SV650s
Honda CB500X, CB500F
Yamaha MT 03 (300cc Version)

Looking to get bigger bike in due course.
Undecided whether 300,500 or 650 is the best option.
I'm 6 Foot so their is plenty of options available.

Have to find out what feels best.
22/02/2017 08:47:35 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hello,

Good luck, GJ on your next stage of your biking journey to getting your full licence and of course, the bigger bike!

For me, I'm just beginning! I've successfully completed my CBT and and have bought a bike. I'm collecting it on Thursday. Of course I'm very nervous at the thought of riding out on the road again, but I'm sure the nerves will fade over time the more I practise!

Thanks to the fantastic blogs on 'Bikes and Travels'(Sharon's in particular) which have really encouraged me to carry on when things haven't gone smoothly and to help me have the self belief that yes, I can do this! :)



26/02/2017 22:04:15 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Woohoo! So which wobbly learner do we have to look out for in which part of the country and on which motorcycle?

You comment "Sharon's in particular" cut me to the bone Louisa. I've spent all night crying. I'm inconsolable. I've decided there's no point me writing any more because everyone loves Sharon and I'm just a sideshow. I guess I'll just go and eat worms. Don't worry I'll be fine. No it's alright. Boohoo poor me.

I feel better for a good moan this morning. Sharon!! What's for breakfast?
27/02/2017 07:09:54 UTC
GJ said :-
RE:- Louisa

Well done.

Get out and enjoy your motorcycle.

My previous advice still applies:-

Try and take it easy the first few weeks until you get the hang of things.
Try and not get too frustrated when you stall at roundabouts and junctions etc. Don't get frustrated when you get car drivers overtaking you due to your "L Plates". Allow yourself extra time for your journeys.
Take the weather into consideration at this time of year.
You will get a feel for things in a short time.

Your own motorcycle will feel a little different to the one used at the school.
But the operation protocols are the same for whatever motorcycle you have.
After a short period you will get used to it's nuances.

An idea would be to go to a quiet Industrial Estate and practice your gear changing, throttle and clutch operation and get the feel for braking.
Outside of traffic makes it a whole lot easier.

It all becomes easier with practice.

27/02/2017 08:39:02 UTC
GJ said :-
I redid my CBT on Saturday as my current one runs out on 19th March.

So I will book another lesson in the next two to three weeks to simulate Mod 1.
Due to the school having a huge facility they can set up the Mod 1 circuit onsite.
Firstly to do the circuit on my own 125.

Then onto the bigger motorcycle to get used to the weight, power and controls.
With the proviso that I can have a go at doing the same circuit on the bigger motorcycle.

If that goes to plan then book Mod 1 afterwards.

I'd rather complete one stage then book the next part afterwards.

Therefore then prepare for getting practice and lessons in for Mod 2.

27/02/2017 08:54:55 UTC
GJ said :-

At the point I undertake the Mod 1.
I will need to ride a bigger from my training school to the test centre.
I assume my instructor will give me feedback on my riding to and from the test centre.
Will just look on it as a on-road lesson before and after my test.
27/02/2017 09:11:45 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hello,

Thank you, GJ, for reading my post and again, for your encouragement, I do appreciate it! I'm very fortunate to have a good motorcycle training school just round the corner from me. The school shares the premises with the dealer I'm buying my bike from. So best of both worlds under one roof! I love to snoop around the (seemingly hundreds of) machines of all kinds they have in there and dream about my next bike! They make a great cup of tea too! I'm going to have a bespoke 2 hour lesson on the day I collect the bike. That way I can refresh my skills and gain confidence under expert guidance!! Once home I intend to take my time and practise when the roads are quiet. I fully intend to get my full license at some point, but I'm certainly in no rush. I'll learn at my own pace and see how it goes.

Ren - Oh dear oh dear!! I didn't mean to traumatise you! Well this should bring you out of your depths of dark despair and sulk ... I'm a massive fan of your travel stories - witty, realistic and never boring! I've read them all! (Feel better now?!) 'Scotland in Winter 2015' kept me on the edge of my seat as I read. Oban is my home town (I lived near a village called Benderloch on the way to Fort William). I was excited to see your pics of Connel bridge and 'The Green Welly Stop' in Tyndrum. If all goes well with my biking, it's a dream of mine to ride over the bridge and beyond. Ok, I agree Winter can be pretty miserable in the Highlands, but at least the roads are quiet and there are no pesky midges to eat you alive!

For now, said 'wobbly learner' for now is going determinedly practise around one of the home counties on her trusty little black Yamaha ybr (2010). Just look out for the high vis vest and get out of the way ...
27/02/2017 18:27:19 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
BENDERLOCH!!! You're going to tell me you no longer live there aren't you. Gosh darn it, Sharon and I could have popped in for a brew, we'll be up there this summer. At least tell me you've retained some of the Scottish lilt.
27/02/2017 18:50:19 UTC
Louisa said :-
You're living my dream for me!! Plenty of photos please, please when you get up there. Unfortunately I moved from there many years ago, so sorry, can't offer tea or bacon butties! I now live down south a few miles north of the lovely M25! The cafe in Benderloch is supposed to be good though! I assume you won't be staying long but the link below might be useful:
https://www.facebook.com/BenderlochWelcomes/

As for my Scottish accent, aye, the lilt is still there, but mixed in with a bit of English dialect for good measure. This sure confuses the heck out of folk when I ask them to have a guess! ;)


27/02/2017 20:41:37 UTC
Sharon said :-
Louisa,

HUGE congratulations on getting your CBT. Well done for not being put off by your first experience and finding that can do attitude we all so desperately need. My dearest hope as always been then our blogs can help other bikers. Be that on reviews, fixing things, stories of places to go or just making them feel like they are not alone. So glad to hear we have been of help to you. Plus as a bonus as the site has grown we all get to learn from one another. So I also get to learn and be inspired by others on here as well now which is just fantastic. I love to hear other peoples advice and stories.

So new bike Thursday. How exciting !! Keep us all informed how you get on. It may well be that we all get to have a ride together to Scotland one day and you can take a trip of your own down memory lane.
28/02/2017 00:33:15 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi GJ,

Good idea to retake the CBT. I did mine shortly before my full test so there is no pressure then to pass by a certain date.

It sounds great that your school has a big enough pad area to do a full mock Mod 1. Not many schools have this and my certainly did not as their pad was quite small. Not that I suffered for it in the end but it is a good bonus to have the opportunity.

You seem to have a very clear plan in your mind for how you wish your lessons to proceed and as always a most sensible one at that. Good luck as we look forward to hearing how you get on.
28/02/2017 00:46:42 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hello,

Me again with an update on how I got on over my very first weekend since I collected my first bike. All of the following is blurb, I'll warn you now, so I'll understand if you keep scrolling down... read on if you have the time to spare or are bored..

I'm afraid sheer terror and nerves have almost get the better of me about the thought of riding on my own, in traffic and have developed a phobia of junctions. I know this is irrational as I've done all of this before during my CBT and 2 hour lesson when I collected my lovely bike. I'm underestimating my abilities big time and have suddenly lost all my confidence thinking about what could go wrong, not right!!

But despite of the sleepless nights,panic attacks and obsessional thinking - I have been out on my own twice and, triumphantly covered a grand total of 11 miles! Wow! It's a start. How did I do it? For me, to help overcome the fear and have some control, I plan exactly what route I'm going to take, the time I'll take and get going just after dawn as I know there'll be virtually no traffic at that time so potentially no stopping involved!! In other words, I 'book' my bit of road. I've tackled 30mph, sizeable roundabouts, turns (lefts mainly, except at the roundabouts!) and those tricky gear changes I find challenging on a 125. The quiet roads have enabled me to practise these skills without 'pressure'. Stopping and starting is another thing that I also dread the most as I still stall when nervous.

GJ, I've found a huge industrial estate near me and it's deserted on Sundays! Perfect for practising in! I actually allowed myself to have fun tentatively finding out what was around each corner and reminded me why I'm doing this - yes, to have fun and eventually go exploring! It was here I found out that I really do struggle with setting off in first gear - it's either a stall or a lurch! It's as though I've taken a back step in clutch and throttle control and couldn't seem to move on with it no matter how much I practise. I think this is why I'm so frightened of large junctions and particularly of turning right! I've fallen into the trap of over thinking and this is the root of my fear.

Lastly, thank you for reading this and any positive ideas, advice and especially reassurance would be great to help me on my shaky way for the next time!:)




06/03/2017 11:03:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
That's fantastic Louisa. I'd love to give you you're own slot on here if you want it.

You just keep on going as you are. Practice in the quiet times and quiet places until YOU...not anyone else but YOU feel ready for the next step. Be that a right turn or a trip to Malaysia.

You're at a huge advantage to we experienced bikers. For you a massive adventure and a massive achievement will be riding 20 miles in a morning. For us we have to do silly things like ride to Europe just to feel like we've done something. Don't spoil it by rushing. Never ever measure your achievement against someone else. You're not in a race or a competition. Only measure your achievements against your previous achievements.

As for going backwards - ask Sharon! There will be days when you think you've got a handle on this then a minute, an hour or a day later it will all slip away from you once more. Fear not, this is normal. After probably 400,000 or maybe half a million miles I still mess up and I still have "those days".

Remember one thing - this is Sharon and I's motto - you are allowed to make mistakes just make them safely. Make your mistakes on quite roads and empty industrial estates. Make your mistakes at a speed where they matter less. Accept you make mistakes. Just make mistakes safely.

Crack on Louisa
06/03/2017 11:30:09 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Oh and yes, keep on exploring. What's down that lane? Where does this housing estate lead to? There are things but a handful of miles from your own house that will surprise you.
06/03/2017 11:33:03 UTC
Louisa said :-
Ren,
Thank you so much for your quick reply. What you have told me has helped put my learning into perspective that, yes, I'm doing the right thing and to put no pressure on myself. Unfortunately, my CBT was achieved through sheer terror and adrenaline. Now I have my own bike, I want to take away that terror and get it whittled down to joy! To stop my inner self screaming at me saying "get off that bike, you're vunerable, this is not normal!" This means giving myself time and space to learn those tricky, but essential basic skills where it's quiet. I will do this for as long as it takes until I'm ready to move on to the next little challenge and not be put off by people who might utter doubts about my suitability to ride a motorcycle. This is why at the moment I haven't told my family, friends and colleagues about my adventurous project and this is where you great guys come in - thank you! :)

Oh and one more thing, I'm very excited about the thought of having my 'own slot' here. As you might have gathered by now I find it impossible to say what I want to say in one simple sentence! It might be a way of unclogging your chat pages!! Just give me a bit of time to get rid of the terror gremlin and I'll let you know.

06/03/2017 18:14:50 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Just drop me a line Louisa - ren@bikesandtravels.com. I'm interested in your terror gremlin.
06/03/2017 18:31:26 UTC
GJ said :-
Just keep persevering with everything regarding your motorcycle.

The deserted Sundays in the industrial estates will help your confidence. The more hours you spend on the bike will get you used to it's nuances. A few more hours of perseverance and you will get the feel. I spent numerous hours at the beginning slowly going over what I done on my CBT in the safe confines of an empty industrial estate.

Once you get more used to control of the motorcycle.

The likes of junctions will be less of an issue as you will instinctively do things.

I still occasionally stall the bike from time to time.

My main usual idiot operator moment is when I fill my motorcycle at the petrol station. It's not unusual for me to have side stand down and then wonder why the bike will not ride away !!!

It's all a learning experience.

All of the posters have built up their abilities in time spent on the motorcycle. Three mopnths down the line you will probably wonder what you were getting stressed about.
07/03/2017 18:50:29 UTC
GJ said :-
Louisa,

Just stick with it.
07/03/2017 18:52:57 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Spot on GJ. I still stall from time to time.
08/03/2017 10:26:03 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hello,

Just to say that my little bike and myself are still going fairly strong! Again, thank you for your encouragment!
Rides at the moment are still confined to dawn starts at weekends, with practise of the basics at my local industrial estate followed by a short ride 'around the loop' of about 4 miles or so.
I'm still shaky and very nervous of course, but GJ you're right - my confidence is beginning to grow! (As you can see, my 'leaner hysteria' is calming down - no long, drawn out gabbling posts as of earlier!) I do benefit from those quiet times away from the road thinking through things and having fun exploring!
One thing I've learnt from the last ride on a windy day - a bit more than velcro is needed to keep my high vis vest anchored down!! Ok, I confess, it was bought from Halfords! :)



20/03/2017 15:43:14 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Sharon was following me on Sunday on the motorway when her own hi-viz came asunder. She looked remarkable and intimidating with bright orange material billowing out behind her then up around her as we ploughed through the maelstrom.

Keep at it girl! Little by little, bit by bit, step by step and stall after stall it will all start to make sense when the time is right.

Patience is the key. I was teasing Sharon this weekend recalling when she was learning to ride. Inside my head I was screaming "Oh for GOODNESS SAKE!...just be gentle with the clutch you plonker...NO! not like that fool...For ####'s sake it's just a blasted gentle corner...." Outside I was all "That's great sweetie, try again, be patient, take your time, well done..."

I bet you're saying bad things to yourself sometimes. That's fine but remember to be kind and patient with yourself. Sharon was driving me to despair for the first 6 months and was still testing my patience for another 6, and we were covering some serious miles by then. Now she's doing great.

Do it safely too. If in doubt, chicken out, that way there will be another time and another day when you can try again. With a big dollop of luck we might have some better weather which always helps.
20/03/2017 17:04:57 UTC
GJ said :-
RE:- Louisa

It will just take a little bit of time to build your confidence.

The more time on the saddle the less daunting each excursion on the motorcycle will become. If you feel confident you can always increase the "loop" gradually. Again the best times for this are early mornings at weekends when the traffic is very low.

I have gradually explored further afield as my confidence has grown.

The furthest I have ridden in a day was 200 miles so far but I have had to overcome the same fears, doubts as yourself overtime to do so.

Just stick with and ride safe.
20/03/2017 18:59:03 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Louisa,

Bloody velcro is a pain. I have always bough cheap High Viz, usually from the market. They get filthy quick and the reflective material seems to crack quickly so always need replacing. So as an experiment I did recently bought a "real" motorcycle vest, with a zip and all. Haa, so we shall see how that fares and if it last longer and therefore justifies its far more expensive price tag. I do look forward to not flapping in the wind.

Keep going step by step as Ren has advised you. As Ren has just confirmed to the whole world..well to those who read BAT, I was not a quick learner myself. Bloody pain in the arse no doubt. But with miles and perseverance it will all start to come together. One day you will be riding along like I was so when you will be hit by a sudden revelation that it is not terrifying anymore. In fact it will actually feel..dare I say comfortable and easy.

Confidence does not come by hope or by prayers, it only comes by miles, getting out there and in a sense earning it. I am currently having to build up my confidence on my Kawasaki, again not being super fast at anything this has taken me time and miles to do so. Trust in yourself, believe that every mile whether it be a good or a bad mile counts and you will get to the place you want to be.
22/03/2017 12:03:59 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hi there,

Again, thank you for your fantastic comments, GJ, Ren and Sharon. They give me and my little bike the inspiration to get out there at weekends learning together! And remember Sharon, it's because of reading about your 'slow learning' (I don't think so!!) that I'm doing this in the first place! Your're my role model as you've never given up no matter what.

A few weeks down the line and I must admit ..um.. I'm still getting used to wearing my crash helmet and cannot put the visor down completely without having a full-on panic attack. Riding on the road even when quiet takes a massive toll on my concentration, I'm knackered after a few miles!

Ah, the high vis saga! I found it so funny that mine came undone - wow, something 'happened' while out on my mini adventure! If I can be bothered, I'll get my sewing box out and see if a few good old poppers will do the trick in the way of anchorage. Or dare I say it - a few safety pins if I can't be bothered?
Sharon - please let me know how your posh biking vest gets on.

It's true about what you say that confidence grows with simply getting out there into the big wide world, doing the hard work and achieving those miles. I'm returning home with bigger smiles after each little journey inspite of the visor phobia as I note how much distance I've covered so far! (38 miles!!)

It would be amazing to think that one day I can simply say 'sod it! I'm off for a ride.. Goodbye!' whatever the weather or time of day. (Yes, I've just read your latest blog post)!

I'm impressed with your 200 in one day GJ! That's the equivalent to a little whizz around the Cotswolds from my very own front door...





22/03/2017 18:08:51 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Blimey Louisa, you're taking me back there. I remember my first helmet and how claustrophobic it felt even with the visor up! Now I feel almost naked without my skid lid.
22/03/2017 22:48:42 UTC
GJ said :-
RE:- Louisa

Given time you will be able to do that Cotswold run.
Build up your confidence in little steps.
No rush to getting to grips with your motorcycle.
Just do it a pace you feel comfortable with.

My wee run

180-200 Miles

113 Miles or so :

Dundee To Aberdeen via Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie, Bridge of Cally, Glenshee, Braemar, Ballater, Banchory, Peterculter and then hit Aberdeen.

69 Miles or so : Aberdeeen to Dundee via Portlethen, Stonehaven, Montrose, Arbroath, Carnoustie and back to Dundee.

Bit saddle sore afterwards.

Take you time, enjoy and ride safe,
23/03/2017 11:46:04 UTC
Louisa said :-
GJ,

I'll Be looking up your routes you've outlined on my road map later. I must admit I'm a bit envious! Ah,no wonder you're putting the miles in - Scotland's amazing and it motivates you to explore.

It's my dream to travel on my bike up to Oban and beyond - that's where I'm from originally. It's around 400 miles from my home as the crow flies, but achievable with some planning ahead and a bit of luck thrown in I reckon.

The Cotswolds will be good start though :)


23/03/2017 20:57:04 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
GJ - you're making me sick with envy now. I know the weather in Scotland ain't all that but you sure got one hell of an awesome playground to go learning on. Grrrrr! Try learning around the congested streets of Manchester and Liverpool. Pfffft.
24/03/2017 18:23:48 UTC
GJ said :-
Where I stay I'm 5 minutes away from proper countryside.
So it's easy to nip up into the hills for a wee bimble around.

The majority of riding at the moment is back and forward to work.

With the weather getting better looking to do a bit more exploration over the good weather months when time and circumstance permit.

Looking to head up Tomintoul, Grantown on Spey, Nairn and Inverness.

Most of the country roads are relatively free of traffic so makes for a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a few hours exploring.

24/03/2017 19:00:55 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
GJ. You're going to make me cry.
24/03/2017 20:00:56 UTC
Borsuk said :-
This Huddersfield place is not bad either.

Got a big national park just 15 mins or so away. Lots of places to explore and see.

Passed my theory test yesterday so hopefully I will get the Mod 1 and 2 in before the end of the year.
24/03/2017 20:59:11 UTC
125Tony said :-
I've enjoyed these country roads since 2000, It's still the same learning curve just a different set of lessons and hazards. At least traffic is on the most part predictable.

The trouble is when the sheep and cattle get used to you and don't move away, haha.
I once carried a pheasant almost 4 miles after it jumped out of the hedges and settled in between me and the tank of my XT350, and no we'd never met before.

Some call it living the dream and I'm reminded of that every time I visit Surrey.
But it's not to be taken for granted as the statistics prove.
24/03/2017 21:02:39 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Borsuk - well done on passing the theory! Crack on :-)

It's not terrible where I live. I can get to a country lane within minutes and there's hills around here.

What I yearn for is the vast space of The Highlands. Here there is countryside but it is patchy, I'm never far from the next 30 zone, the next roundabout, the next town centre and the next traffic jam.

Of course if I lived in The Highlands I'd be moaning that there's no bike shops nearby, the lack of biker hangouts and a limited choice of places to buy a new helmet.

I'm never happy and I love a good whinge.
26/03/2017 06:28:45 UTC
Louisa said :-
Hello there!

Great to touch base again!

I'm still here practising away on my little bike - slowly but surely! I've now 'graduated' myself to riding in the day in light traffic instead of being up at the crack of dawn and enjoying abandoned roads. This has increased my confidence and have even ventured into the next town a small distance away! I'm still consolidating those basic skills though, and getting better! Down to 2 stalls out of 6 stops and those gear changes are getting quicker! On a typical 6 mile round trip I encounter plenty of roundabouts, lights, lanes and a short stretch of 'national speed limit applies' road. Dared to get my little YBR up to 50 mph for the first time. This made her engine 'scream' a bit which surprised me, but this must be typical for a 125 I suppose.
The important thing is I'm enjoying my bike and amazed at myself I've even got this far. :)
12/04/2017 14:20:55 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
That's so good to hear Louisa. If you're getting around the roundabouts and through the lights then it sounds to me you're doing just fine.

Yes, yeah, 125s at 50mph sound like the engine is about to enter hyperspace. It's only a dinky little engine so at 50 it is working hard. As long as the oil is good and the engine is serviced it will survive just fine. Be sure you are in top gear though - there are 5 gears on the YBR.

Just wait till you hear it at 60mph, it will bring tears to your eyes.

In the mean time crack on nice and steady at your own pace. If you're enjoying it then that is all the matters.
12/04/2017 15:45:03 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Louisa,

So good to hear you are making steady progress and enjoying the bike. Onwards and upwards in the mph department for you now. Keep at it x

GJ how are things with you?
13/04/2017 22:01:46 UTC
GJ said :-
RE: Sharon

Not had the time yet to get further down the road regarding getting my Full Licence.

Other commitments like everyone else get in the way.

CBT Valid until Feb 2019.
Insurance on CB125F paid up until Feb 2018 also.

So looking to pass some time between now and probably October/Nov.
With a view to probably getting a bigger bike in Feb/Mar next year.
Although that can change.


14/04/2017 08:47:40 UTC
GJ said :-
RE:-

Well done Louisa on getting on with gaining more experience with your motorcycle.
Those little journeys add up and with the better weather will be more enjoyable.
We all have had to take baby steps approach to begin with.
It's about increasing confidence over time but still keeping your thoughts of self preservation whilst riding.

Don't worry about stalling everyone does from time to time.
14/04/2017 08:53:29 UTC
Louisa said :-
Thank you for your encouragement and good to hear from you GJ!
As I work in education, I've been fortunate to have had a couple of weeks holiday so have been out on the bike most days doing short ventures in more traffic. Somehow I've found my handling of the bike has got better and so my confidence has rocketed, but I know I'm not competent yet!
Being on busier roads has been great for defensive riding practice and constantly keeping an eye out for potential idiots!! :)
14/04/2017 20:21:40 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Just heard that the lad passed his test yesterday and he now has his A2 license, so he will be looking to move up in the world no doubt. All I said about no pressure can be cancelled as he will be waving his torn up L plates under my nose at every opperchancity he gets. As I won't be doing mine until October that will be a lot of nose waving. Did I tell you that he is evil? Got to sit on a Mash 400 on Monday while in Granada. Wasn't wearing biking gear at the time but the tip of my sandals just touched the ground like a ballerina on point. I have contacted Mash about the possibility of the bike being lowered but not heard back yet.
05/07/2017 08:09:10 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Oh Borsuk you're going to be getting some grief now aren't you! Especially if you make a silly mistake and don't pass. No pressure then, none at all...hehe!

I'd like to give you some sage words of wisdom but you're a big boy now and you've made your bed. With hindsight it would have been easier to retire early and quietly take the test before the Boy Wonder.

Anyhow offer our congratulations to The Lad and we shall await October with baited breath.
05/07/2017 16:17:17 UTC
GJ said :-
(Pasted from my post on another forum regarding progressing to my full licence)

Finally got round to booking my training to progress to a full licence.

That's the conversion lesson out the way.

I was a bit apprehensive to begin with due to the additional weight, more powerful engine, clutch and brakes.Towards the end was loosening up more meaning I was finding it easier to carry out the requested exercises. Never got out onto the road today as my nerves and tension sort of made me take a bit longer to pick up things.
Although instructor at end of lesson suggested I'm road-ready for next week's lesson.

I was on an older red Yamaha Diversion which I believe is the 600cc variant.
Should be easier next week as I will not be as apprehensive about the larger motorcycle.It's a case of getting used to the nuances of using the larger bike.
With ridding myself of a couple of habits picked up on the 125.

Leaving the site after the lesson it was quite apparent how much lighter my 125 is.
It felt like a bicycle in comparison.
05/07/2017 19:25:41 UTC
Sharon said :-
GJ good to hear from you.

Well done on your first day on a bigger bike. Sounds like you had a good day.
Riding a heavier, larger motorbike can indeed make our 125cc seem suddenly very small and light.
I know some people who struggle to swap from one bike to another but I found I was fine after 10 mins adjustment time on each bike.
There are also some training schools that advice to stop riding the 125cc just before tests. Again some people find that is best for them. I rode my 125cc to and from the training school on both of my tests, so each to their own.
You are one step closer now to your full licence. Good luck and keep us updated.
06/07/2017 06:46:21 UTC
Sharon said :-
Borsuk,
Huge congratulations to Matthew for passing his test. Well done that boy.
It can be a very strange sensation when our children suddenly start doing things before us, or maybe even better than us.
In our minds they remain our babies. I was recently struggling to get a screw into my latest flat pack. Daughter suggests she has a go.I think, no point because if I can not do it she can't. I have always been stronger see, she is my little girl. However daughter, who is not now so little being way taller than me now also proves she is also stronger than me. The screw goes in under her superior strength. WHAT!! When did this all happen, harumph.
Sometimes we have to accept that the youth finally have the edge on us but don't let the son of yours get too far ahead, we all hope to hear of your own test success soon.
06/07/2017 07:00:55 UTC
Louisa said :-
Thank you for sharing your news about your first bigger bike experience, GJ. It's great to hear how you're doing.
Going from a little 125 to something a bit bigger can be a challenge as well as exciting! It's important to go at your own pace and get to know the bike. It's all very different. But at the same time it's important to relax and enjoy the experience too. Things will come together more once you get out onto the road. Sounds as though you have a good instructor who isn't pushing you!
My confidence has grown quite a bit since I last posted on here, but I have still loads to learn. I managed a long solo journey on my 125 to meet up with some biking friends in another county. I wasn't familiar with the route, got a bit lost, but got there in the end! By the end of the day, I'd covered 250 miles. A big 'wow' moment for me!
I've made the decision to go for my DAS this Summer. (Theory in 2 weeks!) I too had my first big bike experience a few weeks ago on a en6r. The weight and handling did take a little of getting used to as did the biting point, steering and the different position of the feet levers! But I did get used to it quite quickly and was surprised how gentle and forgiving the 650cc was - no nasty surprises! Hopefully I'll pass my theory and get Mod 1 booked soon.
All the best for your next bike lesson GJ - you will find it easier as you know what to expect. I too found it strange getting back on my 125 after the larger bike! :)

06/07/2017 18:11:35 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
You learner types, enjoy your lessons! Having been an instructor I've seen people, brave, educated, confident and skilled people, turn into gibbering wrecks on test day. Their whole life revolves around this one moment and they pile pressure upon themselves.

If you pass, great! If not so what? Bit more practice and try again. Your riding career does not depend on you getting it right first, second or third time. Your test is not important, it is a tiny little step that's all.

What is really important is staying safe. Keep your speed down.

GJ. I step off my 500 onto my 125 often. You're right! The 125 feels like a pushbike. I quite like that feeling.

Louisa, go girl! Remember that scared lady afraid to ride beyond the industrial estate on Sunday morning? 250 miles is some going even for an experienced rider.
07/07/2017 05:42:55 UTC
GJ said :-
RE: Ren

I had booked the package for DAS about three weeks earlier.

During this period I had no apprehension about going on the big bike.
About an hour before the conversion lesson started feeling a little nervous.

The main issue I was having was getting used to the gear lever and rear brake due to the different bike ergonomics.I stopped to have a breather for five minutes or so and had no further problems after that.It's about operating the bigger bike using safe practices that are applicable to any bike.Every thing has be done in more gentle and subtle manner due to the difference in power and weight etc.

I'm not worried about potential test resits although I would prefer to pass first time.

RE: Louisa

That's good news that you are getting out and about on your motorcycle. All those scary little journeys earlier this year after passing your CBT have given you the confidence and ability to undertake your journey to meet biking friends in the other county.

Your confidence must obviously have grown since your undertaking your DAS this summer. Good luck with your endeavours.

RE: Sharon

Thanks for your words.

Hope your recovery from illness is going well although some progress with your health must have occurred to have undertaken your trip up to Scotland with your motorcycle adventures.

Everyone ride safe.




07/07/2017 19:28:45 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers GJ. Having ridden a lot of different bikes I have learned that while I can jump from one bike to another and ride it fine it takes me an hour to ride it properly and many hours to get my head around the handling, power and quirks before I feel confident to throw it around in the bends.

They're all different and set up different too. If the school puts you on a different bike even if it's the same model it'll be different. You'll be fine.
09/07/2017 21:18:16 UTC
GJ said :-
Had another couple of lessons on the big bike and feel now that I'm finally getting used to handling the bigger motorcycle. I've been round an industrial estate to begin with. Then around the city and out into the country for the last couple of lessons.

The current lesson was on different but same model of motorcycle which felt a more natural fit despite being the same model. Previously was having issues with dropping it down enough gears approaching junctions subsequently with similar effects pulling away.

I felt much more relaxed after the lesson with no tension.

The previous lesson due to the issues I was having resulting in becoming agitated causing tension in my riding. With obvious results. I did not have these problems today I managed to safely get through junctions with little issue. A couple minor points picked out by instructor during the course of the ride but nothing serious or potentially dangerous.

After this current lesson instructor instructor suggested that next lesson partly on-road and Mod 1 Practice with a view to booking first part of test thereafter. It's been a little more difficult than I envisaged to get used to riding the bigger motorcycle.

I'll get their in the end.
02/08/2017 18:04:01 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Gj,

I too have every confidence you will get there in the end. We are all inviduals and have to therefore find our own paths to success.
You seem to possess a clear understanding of how to get there so I think you are on the right path for you.
Good to hear you are feeling more relaxed now on the bigger bike and mastering those gears.
Always a pleasure to receive a update from you.
02/08/2017 20:07:15 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
The best advice to anyone learning to ride or drive any vehicle is to take it at your own pace and try not to stress about it. Try not to set yourself up to fail by telling yourself you want to pass before the summer or Christmas or whatever as you will start to pressurise yourself to meet your self imposed deadline, and then feel you have failed if you don't meet it. It's not a race and everybody learns at a different pace.

Personally, I was very nervous as a learner and for the first six months or so afterwards too. There's nothing wrong with a bit of fear when you are a new rider. As long as it doesn't 'possess' you, it helps to focus the mind on what is a fairly dangerous and demanding task. Thirty five years later, and I still don't feel I've mastered the art of motorcycling, and to me that's one of the attractions. It's a constant learnining process and at the end of every single ride, I can still see things I could have done better.

Above all stay safe...
03/08/2017 08:13:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
There's nothing wrong with a bit of fear when you've been riding a long time too. In fact when you're not at all scared it might be time to have a word with yourself.

Crack on GJ and you'll get the hang of it and pass as and when. There's no pressure save for the pressure you put on yourself.
03/08/2017 10:56:55 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
"There's nothing wrong with a bit of fear when you've been riding a long time too."

Maybe like most I am more aware of risk now than in my younger days. I wouldn't call it fear exactly but a keen awareness of what might go wrong, the possible consequences, and more importantly what I can do to minimise it, is a useful inhibitor.

Mind you the Arrow isn't fast enough to get me into trouble. Its interesting front brake might be, although after the Sunbeam even putting my feet down might be an improvement.......
03/08/2017 11:32:27 UTC
GJ said :-
I certainly am more wary with the larger motorcycle.

Between my 2 125's owned I have ridden around 8,000 Miles but I have more of understanding of the limits of the 125.

It's a whole different ball game with the 600cc training bikes.
Despite Yamaha Diversion XJ/600 being an older bike and supposedly a gentler introduction compared to other potential bigger cc training bikes it still has the potential to get you in a lot of trouble. Due to yourself riding outwith your abilities. In real world terms I have only spent around 8hrs on the bigger cc motorcycle currently.

The training school motorcycle is similar to the one in the picture below. It's old but does the job. I can get something more to my liking when I pass my tests and competent to ride it.

I'm just over 40 and as a result you understand far more about your mortality than someone younger does.


03/08/2017 13:16:38 UTC
Melissa said :-
I have recently started learning to ride a motorbike at the age of 40 after being on the back of one for the past 7 years. I have been reading your comments Sharon and they have really helped me. Having completed my CBT, I am just gaining confidence at the moment, but I am so glad I came across your website because I have had many days where I have thought I really can't do this, but to read what you have gone through and all those times when you felt so nervous Sharon has really helped. Thank you.
13/08/2017 18:45:14 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Melissa,
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on this post. To know I can help other bikers, especially those feeling nervous really makes me happy.
It can be so hard for some of us to learn to ride. Especially when we come to it a little later in life. We are more aware of our mortality and therefore lack the devil may care attitude of youth.
So be patient with yourself in your learning journey. Accept any mistakes with grace and truly celebrate all your successful days.
Good days will outweigh and bad ones as time goes by.
I am still learning even today. I still get nervous butterfly moments. But I also now get wonderful rides where I feel confident and in control and just pure joy as I ride.
So build up that confidence mile by mile and remember to smile.
Good luck with your journey may you have many wonderful adventures on your motorcycle. X
27/08/2017 23:57:40 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
"I am still learning even today." And me too after 50-odd years of riding. The day we stop learning is the day we should hang up our riding boots (or put them on ebay.......)
28/08/2017 09:28:02 UTC
GJ said :-
Another lesson completed.

I'm much more comptetent on the motorcycle now.
This lesson was onroad due to previous one being cut short.
Was taken down a couple of potential test routes.
But also advised that examiners can take you anywhere.

The next lesson is a 1/2 onroad and 1/2 Mod 1 lesson.
With a view to booking Mod 1 thereafter.
Then a couple of further lessons and on to Mod 2.

Advised that I need to plan earlier regarding whilst undertaking actions.
Although instructor puts that down to owning a 125 and picking up habits.
Main advice slow things down and plan earlier.
Has said road positioning, mirror and shoulder checks are being done perfectly.
Has suggested should I relax more that I should breeze through both parts of test.

Definitely now feel that progress is being made but still carry a slight apprehension of the larger motorcycle. Which is understandable as I've done around 10 hrs on the larger motorcycle compared to the thousands of miles on the 125's. More powerful clutch, brakes, throttle engine ensuring you are more gentle in operation.

The main advice I would suggest is too enjoy and particularly listen to your instructor in regards to their feedback.

29/08/2017 15:08:32 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Sounds like it's all going in the right direction GJ. Spending time on a 125 is - generally - a good thing in my opinion. Buuuuuttt...yes it is all to easy to pick up bad habits. Overall though I think your experience on the 125 stands you in good stead and leaves your brain free to fix those bad habits.

Slow down and plan earlier? It sounds to me like you've been enjoying that 125! He's right, chill out and give your brain time to plan and prepare.

Keep us informed GJ, thanks.
30/08/2017 09:59:07 UTC
GJ said :-
Instructor suggests that I am a very competent rider but suggests planning earlier therefore making everything more relaxed and the ride more enjoyable. With the result that I should pass Mod 1 & Mod 2 fairly easily.

Hoping to pass both parts within the next two months.

Probably leave purchasing a bigger bike until Feb/Mar/Apr.

But no harm in visiting showrooms to sit on a few potential purchases.
Just to get the feel for ergo's etc.
30/08/2017 13:39:50 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
There's no harm? Sitting on nice shiny motorcycles only leads down the path of finance and shiny motorcycles! If you're a man of self control then you'll be fine, it's my experience most men aren't and you'll "accidentally" end up buying something.

Enjoy it GJ
30/08/2017 16:53:19 UTC
GJ said :-
I've been putting money away for my big bike purchase since I purchased the CB125F last year. I don't think it's advisable to attempt to get used the nuances of a new bigger motorcycle during the winter months.

I've been down the road of owning a 125 motorcycle before completing the CBT. Not going to purchase anything until after my tests are completed with the chances being Oct/Nov not a great time to purchase weather wise.

By the time next year I'm thinking of potentially purchasing larger motorcycle I should have enough in my "Big Bike Fund" to purchase outright even the likes of the V-Strom 650 or Versys 650. The likes of the CB500x I can purchase one outright now.

Although I might wait for a 0% finance offer and pay a sizeable deposit and low monthly payments.
30/08/2017 17:05:08 UTC
Louisa said :-
Thanks for sharing your progress, GJ - I'm sure you'll pass both tests easily - you've gained so much experience on your 125. The v-strom and Versys - great bikes for travelling with!

After 6 months of bimbling around on my trusty ybr, I feel I'm ready to go for my tests - now have mod 1 booked! I want to learn more - I can access more training once I have my test safely under my belt and have got used to my 'big bike'. I have my eye on the er6f which I like the look and feel of. I'm training on a poor battered er6n! :)





30/08/2017 20:25:53 UTC
GJ said :-
RE:- Louisa

Nice to hear how your getting on.

Seems after the initial doubts that you had at the beginning that you have made great progress. At the beginning of your post-cbt period I doubt you would have thought that after six months you would be nearing the stage to obtain your full licence.

That's quite a sporty looking bike the ER6F.

Good luck with your tests.



30/08/2017 21:28:28 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
It is good to hear about folks moving along with their riding slowly but surely.

I read a post of Facebook from a lady rider I know. She was complaining that she's still slow and doesn't like the dark and can't keep up. I understand her feeling but I want to scream !ARGH! It's not a race, it's not about how fast or skilled or brilliant you are. It's about enjoying the ride. If it so happens that to enjoy your ride you don't ride like lightening well who cares.

Sharon is improving still, as we all are. Her confidence is such now though that she's confident enough to say "NO! I'm not going to try and keep pace, I'll ride at my own happy pace." Oddly enough now she's riding at her own pace 2 things have happened. Firstly she's enjoying her rides more and secondly her pace is just fine.
31/08/2017 10:18:26 UTC
GJ said :-
Another lesson completed with partial on road and Mod 1 practice onsite.

In ten days or so will be training on the actual DVSA Mod 1 site.
Provide that goes without issue booking of Mod 1 immediately after.
I completed all the slower elements of the Mod 1 on the site of my training school.
Wheeling the Bike,Figure Of 8, Slalom, U Turn & Slow Ride without fuss.
But the higher speed elements will be done on the DVSA Mod 1 site.

Still need to tidy up aspects of my on road riding to meet test standards.

So it's get Mod 1 passed and then a couple of 2hr lessons to nail down Mod 2.

Both Instructors believe that should I slow down things and plan earlier I would pass Mod 2 test easily. In retrospect I probably should have done Direct Access immediately after my 1st CBT.

It would have allowed proper training to instill the right habits from the off. Instead of habits I have obviously picked through time.

Just want to get the whole process out of the way even if it only means removing the "L Plates" from the 125. Then purchasing a larger motorcycle in the early months of next year.
05/09/2017 14:41:56 UTC
Sharon said :-
GJ,
Thanks for your update. You seem to be making steady and good progress. I think you are lucky to get to practice on the actual Mod 1 site. Not everyone gets that opportunity, I didn't so I think that will prove most useful.
I think I disagree with the idea the going straight to DAS would have prevented any bad habits forming. Those bad habits could have easily develop in just the same way after DAS.
I believe practice on your 125 has probably on the whole been positive. So you picked up some bad habits that you now have the golden opportunity to learn from and correct. Do not waste your time on what ifs and maybes. You are where you are and that is a good place if you can now know how to progress and improve.
Keep positive and keep learning.
05/09/2017 22:45:55 UTC
GJ said :-
I think one of main issues is that I need to forget that the instructor is there. It will be the same with the examiner. A lot of things I do I don't believe I do when I'm unsupervised. It's kind of like "White Coat Syndrome" with Doctor's for some people.

It's probably a case of trying to relax more as I need to overcome these errors to pass my test.
06/09/2017 09:12:04 UTC
Sharon said :-
GJ.
Knowing what these errors are mean that you can indeed overcome them. We are in trouble only if we do not know what are mistakes are or how to correct them.
As far as trying to forget the instructor is there then yes I had this problem also. I absolutely hated been watched, it totally unnerved me. But like you I knew I had to deal with if I was going to pass my tests.
A good piece of advice I heard that seems to work for some people is to think of the instructor and or examiner as just a Sat Nav. So you just have a Sat Nav in your ear giving you instructions. That way you take the focus of another human watching your every move and this may help reduce nerves.
For me I also found the sage old advice of taking the time to breathe deeply and slowly steadied my nerves and calmed me down. If I felt myself getting nervous or anxious I would remind myself to take a deep breath and breathe slowly. It helped to stop me from going into a panic.
06/09/2017 15:18:45 UTC
 

Post Your Comment Posts/Links Rules

Your Name

Your Comment

Captcha
Please enter the above number below




# 74000
image used for spacing
Valid HTML?
346
Admin
Classifieds