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A learners journey to licence

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by HeavyNinja, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. I thought I would blog my lessons and rides whilst a learner until I get my licence.

    Day 1. I have a paid lesson, never have I ridden a motorbike, unless you call riding a dirtbike into and up a brick wall riding lol. Nervous as hell, go through an hour of theory, what the aim of the lessons are, what we should and shouldn't do etc etc. Some of the info was good, a lot was not necessary, like asking someone who has driven for 15yrs what road signs mean etc.

    Anyway after all this I hop on the bike, very light, the bike is a scorpio 225. He gets me to rev and hold 3,000rpm, then he gets me to close my eyes and do the same thing, nailed it both times proving my ability to detect engine notes from sound was no fluke (my hearing and my sight are about the two good things I was graced with lol) So now we are doing clutch control, launching the bike with no throttle, doing a turn and coming back etc. we do this for a few minutes and it is time to add some throttle. Again we do this for 10mins. Now it is time to ride down the street and back, changing gears etc. The first time I was a bit wobbly but got my composure and was fine from then on. Not once did I stall the bike.

    So now it is time to go for a quick ride round the block. He went ahead and told me to stop at the bottom of a hill and he would advise of traffic so I didn't have to do a hill start. Of course being nervous I stopped too late and was already 1/3rd up the hill lol. Soooo first ever ride and a hill start had to be done. Held the rear brake, got the clutch to the bite point (you can feel and hear the revs change) gave it 1500rpm slowly let fo rear to make sure I would be moving forward and didn't need more throttle, yep was moving so off I went. We rode round the block, my gear changes were shit, I never cancelled my indicator etc. I was finding it hard to work my foot around the scorpios shift lever. Kept hitting the side of it. Anyway got back in one piece and called it a day.

    Got home feeling good and took my ninja out into the cul de sac, changing gears on my bike was so easy compared to the scorpio, no fumbling, my foot was comfortable etc. Rode around at 25, negotiating the roundabout at the end was a new exp. Rode up and down for about 10mins, getting used to my bikes clutch, brake etc. Put the bike away and called it a day, a very tiring one given all the concentration.
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  2. Day 2.

    It is sunday, the weather is nice and I get a text from my wifes uncle saying go buy an L plate. Ooooookkkk looks like we are going riding today. Feeling very nervous as I had only gone round the block and my street. Anyway I tell myself I never stalled or dropped the bike the day before so gonfor it.

    He turns up on his vulcan chugging away. He explains that todays ride is about me simply getting used to the bike, the road etc. If I want to ride at 40km/h because of nerves, then no problems. So off we go. Get out of my street to a T junction and nerves kick in......stall. Start bike, go to move stall. FFS by this time I am angry at myself. Anyway get going and travel at 50 to next junction. Stall again, he pulls up next to me to help guide me so I don't stall. But again I stall. 3 times in total. We get moving again and hit a road that is 70, long sweeping bends. Now I am shitting, not yet ridden fast enough to have to lean. Amazingly it was instinct and no probs. We stop in a car park and we chat about my road line, the stalls and my indicator on too long.

    We take off again and thank christ no stall. I didn't stall again until a hill start later. We ride to another carpark, have another chat about my riding, again the good stuff and not so good. From here he says we will take the road around coast (just 5km road from beach round mountain to town) This meant going uphill, then down, but it has a very tight s in it. This worried me, I slowed to 30, but tried to turn the bars to go round essentially a 90 degree bend. That woke me up and thankfully I sorted my shit fast enough to not go straight across into trees. For the right hander I slowed a bit more and leant round it as I should have. We again stopped, chatted about my stuff up and I made the deciosin to cruise 25km to the end of the coast road. So off we went.

    By now I felt comfortable, gear changes were good, braking felt good. We come up to a part of the road which has a side street coming down. Your supposed to stop, go to middle island, stop and then go if clear. I see this car coming down to the stop sign, I know from driving that they are not stopping, then realize they prob won't see me and stop in middle island. So into the left rut, off the throttle, down into 3rd and hover the brake. Sure enough they didn't stop at first sign, at last minute they stop in the middle as they saw me. I give them a stare and keep going. They sitting there with these big stupid tourist grins on their faces. Anyway back go 70, brush it off and enjoy the ride.

    Get stuck behind a car doing 10km under the limit sometimes less. In 80 zone doing 65. I matched his speed then dropped about 10 car lengths back incase he suddenly turned. Side streets everywhere along this road. Had to follow this guy for 8km, I could see the traffic banking up and imagined they were all blaming the dickhead L plater. How I wanted to roar past this guy. Anyway finally he turns off and I get to go back to 80, the fun part of this ride is coming, tight bends, long sweeping up hill bends etc. I am loving it, no traffic infront etc. Just me, the bike and the scenery. We get to the end and have a chat. He says everything I did was good, I spotted the danger and reacted appropriately etc. Then he said I was riding down the 20% grade infront of me to the gravel carpark. I nervously obliged lol. Was fun and I learnt to control the bike going down the steep incline. Bit of front and rear brake to keep speed steady etc. Then off we went back to town.

    On the way a car came round a bend too hard and crossed into my path, I was still 40m or so from the car and bend but at 80 that aint long. So this time I was prepped for ebrake which I might add I not practiced once, over to left, bike into 3rd, clutch in and hovering nervously over front brake. He corrected and I kept riding. Uncle gave him and evil stare and pointed at him hahahahaha. Everything was smooth, got to left turn that merged into straight moving traffic, read it perfectly, saw what was coming, slowed down, put in second and just rolled in the merge lane (running out of road lol) watching traffic in side mirror, saw no cars, checked over shoulder and took off. Was great as there were 6 cars and I controlled the bike so I didn't have to stop in the merge lane.

    After this we got fuel and went home. Everything was just naturally coming together. By the time I got home, I had ridden 60km and felt like I had been riding longer than one day.
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  3. Sounds good. Also sounds like Uncle is sensible, and patient. That is VERY good.
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  4. well done :)
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  5. Don't worry about stalling, it happens to all us and some more than most. The very first time I rode my bike was when I walked in, plonked down the cheque and off I went. Stalled about 5 times in row - right in front of the dealership and I was wishing could just leave the bloody bike on the footpath and walk home.

    I learnt that if you let the stress get to you it will limit your ability to just relax and think and just get on with things. Just tell yourself to calm down, breathe and just take it easy. That works for most situations I find myself in on the bike.

    You will always be your own worst critic, and I always rate my skill level after every ride. For example, I rode 90 kms last Sunday and rated myself at about 90% happy with my roadcraft, riding teqnique (braking, gearing) , smoothness, and overall situational awareness.

    From your posts, it sounds like you are progressing very well, good for you !
    cheers, Fred.
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  6. You've done well. :] Having a family member who rides and is willing to go riding with you as you learn is a big bonus. I find writing about this sort of thing helps the learning process for me. Keep up the good work!
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  7. Well done Spudz! Sounds like you are a bit of a natural, and have common sense too :)
    It's great that your uncle is mentoring you and that you are listening to him and taking his advice.
    Keep up the practice, your riding will get better and the joy of it will increase even more so :)
    Keep up the blog, you write well and I look forward to reading about your rapid improvement!
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  8. Cheers guys. Day 3 will prob be a great tale. Looks like it might be raining and due to holiday and our yearly food festival, town is packed with tourists. There are around 50-100 extra cops in town, marked bikes, covert bikes etc. Also with nothing open today, doing my lesson at 9am tomorrow is going to be bloody eye opener I reckon. Definitely be a lot of pressure to not stall. Reading the roundabouts is going to be crazy essential. We have no traffic lights, just 20 odd roundabouts. One of which has 5 entry/exit points and you can imagine how shit that one is without all the tourists.

    Tomorrow is 0 turns. However I want ebraking thrown in. I am sick of my bike sitting in the shed as it is illegal for me to ride. So I want to be ready to do my practical exam in no more than 3wks from now.
  9. Day 3.

    Fcuk me it is raining, but not heavy rain, that horrible misty crap. I forgot to buy rain x, so this will be fun. Instructor gets here and explains we will ride to a carpark and do 0 turns. So we ride to said carpark me leading and of course I have to negotiate the S that I stuffed up last time, except this time there is traffic everywhere and the misty rain has made the road shiny, which I know means slippery. Other corners fine, but this is literally sharp 90 degree left down to a 90 degree right. So I can't stuff it up, I setup for the corner and just breeze through, setup for the right hander and same again. Then he says we are heading down another very long sweeping s which has essentially a long near on 180 degree right hander. Neevous I get through it.

    At the carpark, we didn't realise there was a market on so cars everywhere, not giving a flying **** that I am sitting on my bike in a bay, they just driving diagonal through the car park, three cars nearly collide as no one is watching, just worried about getting that closest spot. I still did my 0 turns and did them well. I used the lines as the guide, so I had to finish on the white line etc. took me 3 lines so from the one I was on, missed the middle and got bang on the 3rd line. A few times I got even tighter, but my bike just can't turn sharp enough to do 2 lines. But I passed easy and I demonstrated I can do it no probs. By now we decided too many idiots drivers, so time to leave. Back the way we came. But we stopped on a side street that had a hill. This is where I demonstrated a hill park and hill start. Did both flawlessly.

    Up at the t junction which is on the S I hate so much but guaranteed once more skilled I will love it, I stalled 4 times, the only time I stalled all morning. I was looking properly, never stopped at a single roundabout and only one give way sign, as I read the traffic right. Learnt to drag the rear brake in tight turns like roundabouts to help me not go wide.

    Did I mention it was raining. Bloody rain the whole time, had to keep wiping the visor and trying to do that and ride in traffic sucked. I was in wet gear so never got wet myself thank christ.

    All in all it was a good morning. Got over half the shit an assessor will test me on signed off in the one lesson. The instructor won't book me for a test until he ticks everything as if I am not ready I am just wasting my money. Next week I booked 2hrs so we can get this stuff ticked and sorted so I can ride. My biggest problem is shlouder checks side streets. I have peripheral vision which can see almost behind me, so I was using that too much and not demonstrating turning my head to look.

    Otherwise it was another fun day, another experience riding in the wet and just more general exp under my belt.
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    • Winner Winner x 1
  10. Some advice I was given that helped with rain, when your visor is covered with rain droplets obscuring your vision, it helps to turn your head (eyes still on the road of course) so the oncoming wind pushes the drops off your visor. That way your gloves don't smudge up the view and you can keep both hands on the bars :)
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  11. Day 4.

    For fcuks sake, not a cloud in the sky, stupid bloody L plate laws. Never mind, I will pull the bike out and practice launching and attempt to do an O turn in only my driveway space.

    Go to get the bike and realized I forgot the key, for some stupid reason, everytime I go out to the bike I forget the bloody key.

    Start bike, move it out to the front of the house. Righto here we go, the plan is to literally launch, turn around, go back into the driveway, turn and repeat.

    Hold bike at 2500rpm, right at the bite point, slowly release clutch and apply power at same time. Perfect, no judders or jolting. Turn around, go up the driveway, indicate (practicing for test) do my turn fixating on the garage door of house across road and bugger me, the little ninja will turn in the space of a standar double driveway. I repeated this for 15mins, until the man up the road began staring at me with hands on hips. I did think stuff you mate, given I was literally driving maybe 10m off my driveway, but thought nah, don't piss off the neighbours and decided to stop the bike, reverse the car out, grab the portable compressor and do my tyre pressures, then put bike away.

    I just imangined the old man going back inside and saying to his wife "Urghh Martha, we got a biker in the street" to which Martha replied "oh no, this street used to be so quiet"

    So another perfect day of weather and I can't ride. So given tomorrow is perfect I booked a lesson, because I want my damn licence. I am hoping the double I do next weekend is the last of the lessons and I can do my test. By no means do I feel like an expert and I have much to learn, but I do feel confident in my ability to ride.
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  12. Day 5.

    Yesterday I was shitty I couldn't ride in the nice weather. So given public holiday I booked a lesson.

    Weather is great, slightly overcast and not a breath of wind. Instructor comes round, today we are going to the licensing centre so I can see how to enter and exit. From there we go around the coast and I nail the s that used to scare me(I use the word used to because not no more does it make me nervous). We go on a few back roads the instructors may go on as they have some weird stop and giveway sections. I am just enjoying riding, reading the traffic properly etc.

    We go to a quiet st, it is time to do e brake and O turns. O turns a few I kept putting my foot down, turning too late and trying to tighten to compensate. E Brake, we start at 30 and after doing the one at 35, he says stuff it, you clearly know how to handle it so we go straight to 50kph. This was fun for two reasons, I got to really open her up to get to 50 fast and I love the feeling of 50-0 in a controlled manner. I nailed the 50 first shot. No wobbles, no huge front end dip until I was below 20. So we have ticked that off.

    He had a chat to me then about babying the bike, I got it in my head that as I am on L plates I should take it easy. After he said I didn't have to, my god riding just got way more fun, 0-60 in about 7 seconds and I am expected to ride like that. So from now on no more babying. I took a few roundabouts we were not turning at at 30+ (could see traffic for miles so was safe) and transitioning from the lean right to left was soooo much fun and felt nice. Started taking right hand turns into streets and lefters at 20-30 and nice lean low, road feeling like it is on my knee (was miles away) and WOW what a feeling that is. Can't get the smile off my face from the last half of the lesson. We also did 2hrd but I only paid the one.

    Instructor said next week should be my final lesson and he will book me for the prac. I just gotta go faster and the biggest issue he won't tick off is my indicators. I keep forgetting the 2 second rule and if you leave them on the examiner will fail you, not just mark off a point.

    All in all a great morning, but still want to keep going. That bloody L plate.
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  13. Great stuff Spudz you are doing great! I think that you and two wheels were meant to be! :)
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  14. Thanks mate, not sure if we are meant to be, I do feel as if I should have been riding years ago now. Maybe it is my years in a car, the fact I ride mountain bikes on trails etc. but it has never felt a challenge to ride, the only challenge was the mind, telling me to be scared of something, but it ignored itself everytime and now I know I can corner on a hard lean at 30, not slow into first and pit round at 10. I know I can lean properly into the hard S etc. Today it just all felt natural as if I had been riding for years. People make ebraking out to be something that is hard to master. I had no issues and even at 50 I stopped the bike in about 5m and felt I could have even stopped a bit harder again. Again that probably comes from mountain biking as you do not want to lock the front going down hill. I dunno it just all feels right. Just gotta sort out the road craft a bit more. Still using too much perioheral vision and the examiners will be watching for head movement, even checking my mirrors they will expect slight head movement.
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  15. Of course previous experience, both mountain bike riding and car driving, helps with learning to ride and read the traffic. But one thing is certain, some people are naturals, and some need to work hard to get it. I feel you are the lucky one Spudz27Spudz27 (y)! Good luck with the rest of your lessons and most importantly with your test. Thank you for sharing your experiences, it is very informative and encouraging to new riders. Realising that we all have to deal with the same issues and learning how others conquered their challenges is very helpful. Keep up the good work!
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  16. Well I got two more weeks on my L plates. My instructor says I am ready (apart from forgetting the indicators, I turn them off but too late) even after just 100km on a bike he is happy to say I am ready. Got a double lesson on saturday but can't book in for a test for 2wks :(. I have taken the day off of work so after I pass, I am going for a ride.
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  17. Good luck
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  18. Bummer about the wait Spudz27Spudz27! Seems you are a natural, all the best with your test, I'm sure you'll ace it. Just keep "performance anxiety" in check! Love your way of thinking, taking a day off for a maiden ride, that's taking one's priorities right (y)
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  19. Cheers guys, I got a long way to go. In 2wks I could stuff up majorly lol. I could also get anxious at my test and stuff up, but my mindset is to go in confident and hopefully not on the cocky side of confident. I plan on strapping my $10 720p camera I used to strap to the wing of my rc planes and cars, to my helmet and record my first ride. I am thinking the coast road 20km. I will have a few more lessons to blog between now and then. Sadly I have to pay to ride lol. 2more weeks and it is just me, the bike and the road. Then a year of jumping up and down waiting to get a superbike or a sports bike.
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  20. #20 HeavyNinja, Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
    Day 6.

    I can't wipe the grin off my face, even now 1hr after my ride whilst writing this.

    Instructor turns up on his 700 and says today I need my 700. I am like ok, what we got planned. He says he will let me know in due course. So we take off, just doing the usual stuff, then he says test on. At this point I am now doing a practice exam. Everything is sweet, not once today and I mean not once did I mess up my indicator times. So we ride and he says test pause and we stop to chat, everything is going great, few niggly things but nothing that will fail me. Test on, we go, I do a street park and two hill starts (just the way we went) we go to the street to do the O turns and emergency brake.

    O turns, I got this, I do them in my driveway space. First tirn fine, turn to head back, foot down. Instead of brushing it off as a point lost, I let it get to me and proceded to fail the trst based on my O turns. To all you newbies, if you stuff up, breathe, breathe, breathe. For christ sake just breathe. Have I said that enough. Anyway we still finished the test, nailed my ebrake and I was actually doing more than 50. Did a hill park and another hill start, rode a bit and test done. The only thing that let me down was letting that first O turn rattle me.

    Right so now he says, now we just cruising, relax, ride for yourself, if tou make an error I will still tell you. The next words were......we are going to go to the wind farm. Now the wind farm is a wide twisty, twisty, twisty up hill road with a long flat straight to start. It is in an 80 zone with suggested speeds of 40 and turns suggesting 20. This road goes right,!left, right, left over crest etc. A bloody fun road in a car let alone a bike. He says on the way, I needed the 700 to keep up with you lol. If he had ridden the learner bike he was stuffed. So on the way out I get the compliment of "I watch you ride and it is only because I know you possess the skills to ride this road am I confident taking you" I felt awesome.

    So we get closer to the road and I can't repeat what was said, but basically forget I am here and go for it, and go for it I did. HOLY SHIT it was soooooo much fun. Now to all newbies, don't touch the front brake!!!!! I did but was fast enough to go dickhead, come off, lean harder and drag the rear to pull away from the centre of road. But had I not reacted that quick, it wasn't going to be pretty. I then never touched the front again. He kept his distance so we could both have fun safely. Got to the bottom, hit the straight and opened her up. Suffice to say I was changing at 6k and probably should have letnit rev out as with throttle open all the way I was lunging on the bike to go faster. Did I mention I want a superbike lol.

    Back on normal road and normal riding home. But holy hell I am a grinning dick right now . Most fun I have had in my life I reckon and can't wait till I can ride a faster bike. What was also good is he said my riding all morning was good and especially when I relaxed. Hurry up and give me my license lol. It is slightly annoying I gotta pay to ride for the time being, but the fun of it makes paying worthwhile and I know it aint for much longer.
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