South Londoners can venture out again!

Back from my Refresher course, which really should have been a Gear conversion course. Never mind…

Spent an hour in classroom looking at positioning etc with some peeps who are taking their A2 test tomorrow, then it was off to the parking lot on a CG125 to ride around, trying not to stall the bike when departing and stopping, and trying to get to second gear. This was made considerably easier once they straightened the left hand side foot peg which was bent, so I could put my foot underneath it. The Zen of motorbike maintenance called for a rather large mallet to do the job.

Once my instructor, Paul from Arena (aka Ride) was happy with my basic stuff, we moved onto the roads around Mitcham.

The bad news is that I would fail my test, if I had to take it, so I’m soooo glad I don’t have to worry about that, having a full licence. Nothing I did was likely to cause danger to myself or other road users, and they are things that experience will take care of. I kept stalling the bike (including spending 10 min nr Biggin Hill, stuck on a very very steep uphill…) when setting off, as hadn’t changed gears from second to first.

My positioning was also ‘commuter positioning’, i.e., just to the right of the centre of the lane, instead of dead centre. Basically, I was looking for overtaking and filtering opportunities…

I also kept leaving my indicators on, which was curious, as I don’t do that on my scoot, but I suppose I had other things to think about, esp with an instructor talking to me.

The good news is that Paul thinks I’m ready to rent a bike, even a 250cc and head out and get some experience, as opposed to having to go back to the drawing board. He was a lovely chap and full of encouragement, calming me down if I kept stalling my bike when trying to join a roundabout. He also kept saying ‘You’re doing really well’ a lot to boost my confidence.

I definitely need to work on my clutch control, as even when I was in the right gear, I kept releasing it too fast. I also need to work on down shifting, not so much up shifting, as that came quite naturally, even up to fourth gear. Going from second to first was a bit of a struggle, and several times I thought I had done so, when in fact I hadn’t, and duly stalled the bike. D’oh… Must say that people were really nice, though; nobody was blowing their horns or giving any continental hand gestures (I could and might have answered with a few of my own!), but let me get on with it. Having a big burly instructor on a Pan European helps, of course, but still, the peeps of Mitcham seem pretty cool and laid-back!

My emergency, oops sorry, controlled stops in an emergency situation were practically spot on! A bit too much back brake, using the clutch too early, but he only had me do three of them before deciding it was good enough as I was in full control, and we moved on.

So, next step is to rent a geared 125cc (Paul suggested a 250cc, though) and then perhaps a 400cc/500cc for another week, and if everything goes well (and judging from today’s performance, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t), I am ready to buy something bigger and red to complement my silver bullet!

So, howzat!

Well done Paivi! That’s a brave move! I’m pretty sure you will do well on a bigger bike! The 125 should feel little compared to your scoot

Woohooo!! Go girl!

Well done, and on to the next stage without delay I say

Congrats on getting out there and doing it. So are we going to see you on a geared bike soon then?

well done Paivi, marvellous! I was wondering how you had gotten on. Nothing like just getting out there and riding and clocking up that experience I reckon.

good on you!

You GO GIRL!!! Well done Paivi… Good luck on the rest of it!

Well Done Paivi…

It’s great to see that not only are you doing well but your enjoying it too!!!

top marks.

Well, I need to find a place that rents bikes for a week at a reasonable price, ideally a 250cc or so for one week, and then 400-500cc for another one, just to keep practising the gear change. Once I’m happy with it, I can go and buy one (and, once I sort out some secure parking arrangements). So, within the next couple of weeks, I should be turning up at the Ace/Soho on a small geared one, and a couple of weeks later on another one.

I’ve rented a bike before from About Town in Wandsworth, but they’ve got nothing between 125cc and 500cc. 125cc would be £145 pw and the 500cc £175 pw. A bit steep, so am trying to find other places. Any recommendations?

Well done Pavi, glad you are enjoying the geared bikes, couple of weeks and you won’t have any worries.

Thats" excellent paivi! good job!..i can already see what you would be riding in a few months time