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!