Iâ€™m just starting off with biking (and new to this forum), so I thought Iâ€™d post up a few bits of general info that might come in handy for complete novices from my experiences thus far (which I still very much amâ€¦ ) Bikes â€“ I spent a good 2-3 months going to bike shops, talking to friends who already ride, looking on bikesales etc. to get a good idea of whatâ€™s out there. Obviously, had a good scan of netrider too for tips and guidance . Also scanned google for online reviews of bikes in Aus, UK and US â€“ but only started doing this when I knew which bike I wanted. Also, same method has gotten me an owners manual of my bike, so I have a good reference point for the controls/mechanics of the machine. Iâ€™ve ended up buying 2nd hand from a dealership which gives me the peace of mind on the mechanicals etc. Gear â€“ same as the bikes really. I do realise this raises issues of supporting local trade/shops, but Iâ€™ve found that with a bit of research and a credit card you can purchase a full leather riding suit/two piece with CE certified armour protection from abroad (UK/US) for about the same cost as a alpinestar cordura jacket. The quality of the item isnâ€™t exactly Dainese, but itâ€™s a branded item, a better fit than the cordura and no worse than some of the $650 leather jackets in the local shop â€“ if a UK/US shop can sell the same item online for almost $400 less than the Australian shop, then why buy it there? If the mark up wasnâ€™t so extreme :roll: , then I would, but $400 goes a long way when youâ€™ve got to buy all the gear starting offâ€¦. Sale prices seem to be the actual price (and the shop still makes a profit during them). It does mean you have to try things on in your local shop (or go by the manufacturer sizing charts), but some items can be bought locally to ease the conscience! I did purchase my helmet from my local shop also spent a few more dollars on it than I first anticipated â€“ that way itâ€™s not only road legal, but you know it fits properly and there arenâ€™t any defects in it when you open the box. My philosophy is that itâ€™s the amount of protection thatâ€™s important as Iâ€™ll probably be meeting Mr.Bitumen at some point during my Lâ€™s or Pâ€™sâ€¦.. so the investment on the skid lid was high priority and I re-invested the savings on my leathers into this. Lâ€™s â€“ 1st Stage Iâ€™m doing mine as part of a weekend course, probably would have actually preferred to do it on two successive days rather than two successive weekends so I didnâ€™t forget anything/loose my touchâ€¦ anyway, hereâ€™s the jist of it. Turn up on time :!: â€“ two guys were turned away. One was a whole 2hrs late, the other only 10 minutes late. It says 8am start, so be there for 8am or theyâ€™ll ask you to re-book. The 4hrs are made up of video demonstrations, q&aâ€™s and practical assessment/training. Videos are American with some examples of preparing for riding, gear, hazards and braking distances. These break up the practical session and I learnt a fair bit I didnâ€™t appreciate beforehand. Q&Aâ€™s â€“ based around stopping distances, bit of physics (ie. What the bike does if you squeeze the front brake too hard/suddenly etc.) what happens to the human when/if you fall off with and without protection and is an opportunity to ask those questions (donâ€™t be shy, thereâ€™s nothing like a stupid question, only a stupid answer). Practical This was the 1st time Iâ€™d ever ridden a motorcycle myself â€“ been on a quad numerous times, ridden pillion once - so completely new experience for me. The instructors take you through the basics such as how to put the bike on the stand, start up your bike safely, controls and vision. The first exercise is clutch control and finding the bite point. This then moved onto a couple of laps of the test square in 1st gear, moving onto a few slaloms & turns, braking, where to look (keep looking up, not where you want to stop). This then goes onto tighter turns in L shaped boxes using your vision (main rule of look where you want to go, not where you already are), turning round circles/roundabouts using the same principle and also lane splitting in the form of checking for traffic and changing direction between two circles/roundabouts. Overall, this is good fun and not too taxing once you get going. The main difficulty for me was in remembering to operate up to 4 controls at one time (Brakes, clutch, gears) and get it right. Practice makes perfect and Iâ€™ll be doing a lot of practice out on the quiet roads. You wonâ€™t go much above 15kph during this session (about 3 separate rides) and we were told weâ€™d be hitting around 30kph in stage two. 15kph is quick enough for a 1st timer like me â€“ although Iâ€™d prefer to get some higher speed experience in before hitting the road (where most of us will be riding our bikes home across roads with 60kph limitsâ€¦.) Helmets are provided, but if you want to, you can bring your own helmet (some people came with own helmet, jacket and gloves). I didnâ€™t have gloves on and probably will wear them for the next part as my hands were pretty raw afterwards (combination of the cold morning and holding on too tightly!). Thatâ€™s pretty much the 4 hrs done and I certainly came away with a new respect for bikes and theyâ€™re handling attributes, especially in terms of maneuverability and braking techniques. All the group were asked to come back for the 2nd stage. Lâ€™s â€“ 2nd Stage Update to follow after it happens â€“ this is the actual assessment stage.