Wednesday saw me back at Scotriders in Dundee, this time for my first lesson on the big bikes.
I had booked a double lesson, the first to make sure I could do everything on the 125cc and the second to go on the 650cc that I would be taking my test on.
For those who are wondering what on earth I am talking about, the motorbike test in the UK is in two parts, you need to pass both to be able to ride a bike above a 125cc. Mod 1 is where you ride very slowly and do slaloms and U-turns to show that you can control the bike. Mod 2 is when you are out and about on the streets, similar to the driving test for cars. Mod 1 seems to be the bug bear for most new riders.
When I pulled up at the yard, Pete who had been my instructor for my CBT was already there and had the bikes waiting for me. As usual we started in the office where my paperwork was checked and we had a chat about the test and what would be expected. After that we headed out to the 125cc and off I went.
After a couple of circuits of the yard to make sure I was used to the controls again, Pete put me through a Mod 1 test simulation. I parked and slalomed, stopped and started and generally got used to the manoeuvres that would be required at the test centre.
Once Pete was happy that I knew what I was doing, we moved onto the bigger bike. Exactly the same as he had done when I first got on the 125cc in May for my CBT, Pete made me find the bite point on the clutch and move forward. We did this a few times to let me get a feel for the clutch and the brakes. It’s a very different feeling on a bigger bike.
Then it was time to have a couple of circuits round the track and after that have a go at the manoeuvres for the Mod 1 test.
Riding the bike was fine, manoeuvring the bike was a completely different matter. I knocked over cones (instant fail), I stomped down my feet (instant fail) I very nearly dropped the bike after braking too hard. Luckily Pete heard my squeal and helped me keep it upright.
Thankfully, every time I did something wrong, Pete helped me understand why it had gone wrong and sent me back to do it again. By the time we were done, I could do every manoeuvre as it should be done. Now it was time to go out on the road.
Branded hi viz waistcoat over my jacket and radio contact with Pete at all times and we were ready to go. What a difference from my first ride out from the centre for my CBT to this one. I did my usual slow start getting out of the centre and as I went up to second gear I realised the difference a bigger bike makes. I had so much fun on that ride out. I did junctions and traffic lights and bridges and so much more. This was so much easier having been riding for a few months, the 3 days riding in London had set me up for town riding and I was no longer terrified when I met traffic.
Back to the centre and another go at the manoeuvres. I managed them so much better now I was used to the bigger bike.
My test is now booked along with some more lessons to make sure I am totally ready to make the transition. Fingers crossed.