On Sunday 13th May at the ripe old age of 52 years old, I sat my Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) for motorcycles.
I have wanted a motorbike since I was a teenager but for various different reasons have never taken the plunge until now. The training takes a whole day and I decided I would not tell anyone except for my daughter, just in case I failed.
As you can imagine, Saturday night I was terrified and Sunday morning I wasn’t sure I was even going to make it to the training centre. Thankfully I had said I would take my daughter to work at some ridiculous hour in the morning so by the time I had done that I was ready to make a fool of myself.
I made my packed lunch and headed into the wilds of Dundee. Of course, so keen was I not to be late that I ended up getting there 15 minutes earlier than planned and the place wasn’t even open. I hurriedly made my way out of their access drive and drove to the top of the hill where I parked up to watch the gateway.
After what seemed forever I spied a motorcycle arriving and after another few minutes I felt it was safe enough to go in. After parking the car I was advised by a guy getting off his bike to head for the office which was in a portacabin about 50ft away.
In the office I met the instructors and the other two students who would be training with me that day. We handed over our details and got any safety equipment we required. We then sat and the instructors made sure we had a basic knowledge of the safety equipment and general road safety. Then we got to go to the bikes.
There were 3 125cc bikes sitting out in the compound waiting on us. At first, we were talked through the various controls, what they did and how to use them and the general properties of bikes. Then we had a short break and it was time to put on our gear and learn how to ride the bikes.
Within a few hours I could stop and start, drive in a straight line and turn corners at walking speed. Then I learned to change gears, go a bit faster and stop a bit faster. Next it was reading the road markings, give way, stop, roundabouts, junctions etc. I was having the time of my life.
My fellow students were not having as much fun as me it seemed, and both decided they would prefer to come back and finish at a later date. That left me to go out on the road with an instructor to fulfil the two hour road driving requirement.
I have to say, the first 10 minutes out on the road were terrifying as I realised how much there is to take into consideration when riding a bike. Thankfully my instructor Pete understood me pretty well by that time and we stopped and discussed my fears and then I was better able to carry on.
By the end of the two hours I was doing pretty well and no longer scared every time I saw a car. I drove through busy streets, country roads and some faster roads. I dealt with traffic lights, junctions, roundabouts and managed to stop and start without too many problems.
I had passed my CBT, I am now road legal to ride a 125cc bike with L plates whilst I prepare to sit my full motorbike test.
I cannot thank Scotriders in Dundee enough for their help and encouragement on what was a very scary day for me at the outset. It ended up a very happy day for me and I am looking forward to many bike rides in the future.
Mid life crisis? Not me, I am doing the things I should have done a long time ago and I am loving every minute of it.