It had been two weeks since my first venture into the world of motorcycling via the rather brilliant Get On campaign. Riding a 125cc and a 500cc bike around a car park in Gloucester finally put an end to the years of “I think I might learn how to ride!“
A few days after my free lesson, I decided to take the plunge and book my Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) before the excitement wore off and I found another excuse not to do it this year.
I’d booked my CBT with Motag, who I had done the Get On training with, and was a bit surprised when I arrived this morning to find out that I would be doing my CBT on a 500cc bike, which was a bit daunting considering I’d only spent about 25 minutes on one previously.
Once I’d confirmed that my eyes still worked and we’d had a chat about the safety essentials, I was nervously doing laps around the car park.
I was a lot less comfortable for the first few hours than I was doing the free Get On training. I don’t know whether it was the added pressure of knowing I’d be out on the road in the afternoon on a bike I’d barely ridden or just the fact I have little experience. My gear changes were sloppy, clutch control jumpy and acceleration jerky.
Truth be told, I was becoming increasingly ‘in my head’ about whether I would be competent enough to ride out on the roads but I was given a lot of reassurance that I could ride and it would be all good.
After some more laps in the car park combined with a few manoeuvres and mock junctions, we were joined by an additional instructor, who’s idea it was to stick me on the 500 straight away. By this point I was starting to feel a little less nervous which was just as well as it wasn’t long before we were having our pre-road ride chat.
Waiting for a gap in the traffic when exiting the training facility was possibly the most nervous I’ve been in a long time. Cars were flying past which made it crystal clear just how exposed you are on a motorcycle. It felt like an eternity before I’d actually joined the road but once I was on things progressed nicely.
Over the two hour road ride, I’d tackled junctions, roundabouts, country roads, speed bumps and a whole manner of things that I wouldn’t bat an eyelid at in my car but that seemed like an alien concept on the bike. Hitting 70mph on the dual carriageway was definitely an experience that pushed my comfort zone!
But by the end of the ride, I felt comfortable on the bike and handling the various road conditions and was pleased when the instructor said that if it had been my actual test that I would have passed with only a few minors.
So that was that, my CBT certificate obtained and my journey into motorcycling well and truly underway…next stop is the Theory Test!