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My Journey Into Biking


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So following my (re)introduction in the Newbies section, I wanted to share my first six months on two wheels. I won’t spend time describing the ins and outs because it has been well covered in other threads - this is just my experience. Apologies in advance for the length of the post.


Despite worrying that I motorcycling may not be for me, I decided to be positive and buy my own gear, rather than borrowing from the training centre. Textile jacket and trousers, gloves and helmet all available in a delightful beginner friendly bundle from my local multi franchise dealer!


CBT

Thjngs didn’t get off to the best of starts. CBT was booked for Monday 19th March, but the second snow of the year arrived on the 18th and my CBT was predictably cancelled. Rebooked for 6th April, i has a little bit of a wait.


The 6th April rolled around, overcast and chilly. Given my doubts, I opted to complete a one-to-one CBT. My logic was that it would enable me to learn at my own pace without ever feeling like I was holding anyone up, and if I wasn’t ready for the road ride by the time the afternoon rolled around, I could spend some more time practising off road rather than have to give up early. Despite my doubts and initial trouble getting to grips with the basics, I wobbled my way around various parts of mid-Cornwall and left clutching my CBT certificate.



The Next Stage

I was very happy to complete my CBT within a day, but felt nowhere near DAS. Gears were still iffy, slow control was poor and I rode with very tense shoulders which led to a few mid-corner wobbles. My common sense told me I needed some time on a 125 to learn the basics and I could go for my full licence when I felt more comfortable.


Listening to the advice on this forum, I opted for a Japanese bike. Ignoring the advice on this forum, my inner magpie insisted it must be shiny and new. On 11th April I placed an order for a Honda CB125R. Delivery wouldn’t take place until 11th May so I was facing a bit of a wait!


It Never Rains But it Pours

Five weeks removed from my CBT, and I was handed the key to my very first motorbike! Excitement was replaced by nerves as I faced the daunting prospect of navigating the 25 mile journey home from the dealership.


Four miles in, and the heavens opened to give me the opportunity to sample riding in the wet for the first time. Spectacular. As the nerves rose, I also managed to confuse the gearbox at two traffic light controlled roundabouts and had to paddle the bike sheepishly to the side of the road while I tried to figure out what I was supposed to do.


After what seemed like an age, I dismounted outside the house with a huge sense of achievement. This was going to be a great few months.



Learning the Basics

I eased myself into riding by doing little laps of the local roads, and gradually widened the radius as my confidence grew. There was lots to learn, but I was loving every minute. I hunted out traffic to practice real-world slow control and used junctions that I knew would be awkward so I never felt like I was avoiding normal travel. By July, I felt that it was time to move on to DAS.



Module 1


A Suzuki 650 Gladius would be my companion on the road to my A licence and the practice sessions went well. I arrived at the test centre on 28th August with a surprising sense of confidence. I knew that I could get this done, and once I was on the bike I would be fine...


Except it didn’t get that far. My CBT certificate had been incorrectly filled out, and I was refused a test. Not the way I had expected the day to go.


Managed to get a retest for the following week and returned with a correct CBT certificate and a sense of foreboding. I was very tense every time I was in the bike, and I failed when I put my foot down on the figure of 8.


Decided to give it a little bit longer for the next test and secured a perfect pass on 17th September. Sigh of relief and onward!



Module 2


Work commitments meant that I had to split my Mod 2 practice into two sessions, three weeks apart. This worked really nicely for me and I arrived back at the test centre on 17th October feeling calm and ready to do my best. After what felt like a decent ride, the examiner said the magic words that made my L-plates disappear!



So ladies and gents, that is story of my first six months on a motorcycle. It has been incredibly rewarding and I am really looking forward to learning my craft over the coming years.


Thanks to anyone still reading this for sticking with it!

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I am indeed. The bike shopping begins on Tuesday!


Edited to offer a little more info:


I have specifically avoided looking into first big bike options until I passed my test. At this point, my thought is to visit every bike dealer in a 60 mile radius (there are actually only 6 - 5 if you don’t count Harley Davidson, which I won’t be at the moment) and stand in front of, sit on, and try as many bikes as I can get my grubby mitts on.

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