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Instructor washes his hands of me after one lesson

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Xanthian, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. After my first 1 hour lesson, my instructor has basically stated that he doesn't think I should ever get on a motorbike again.

    Just a little background info... I'm a 60 kilo, 175 centimetre 22 year old with a manual car licence, employed as a software developer for a living.

    I had little to no problem with clutch control, was able to turn and balance cleanly (despite some rather solid crosswinds at the time, the lesson was at 6:30 in the morning on the coast), and only once did the throttle get away from me. As far as I can tell, I'd done nothing wrong.

    The motorcycle was a vtr 250. Maybe these are one of the larger 250s? I don't know if that makes any difference.

    The problem was that he wasn't happy with how I was stopping the bike, for the entire hour (where apparently most people are able to conquer the skill of stopping and putting their foot down within 15 minutes, tops). My foot position on the brake was correct, I used the clutch properly, and broke gradually (not that I could have skidded at the car park speed even if I wanted to.) I tried everything. Of course, the first few times I tried, I kept putting the bike down hard on my left side because I knew that it was going to fall when I stopped and I just wanted to make sure it fell left. He then advised me that I need to stay upright. Needless to say, my next few attempts had the bike falling randomly to the left or right as I stopped, usually dictated by the wind. (The bike never actually fell once during the lesson, I feel that's probably an important point to make, since I always had my foot underneath to support once it was sufficiently slow to do so, and it never started tipping until it was going that slowly.) Once, the bike was tipping right and the wind gusted it over to my left, so my foot ended up coming down with the bike completely vertical (although I personally wasn't comfortable with this, as the bike was still leaning to the right at the time and the only thing that kept it from falling over all together was a firm grip on the handlebars that brought it over to my left). Apparently this was the only good stop I performed all lesson?

    Ultimately, I felt most comfortable leaning myself and bike to the left and placing my foot down; I never once felt it was going to tip over to the right, nor was my foot supporting more than about 20 kilos when it came down. But apparently my weight was distributed to the front and left of the bike, according to my instructor.

    Is this a common problem among beginners? (I've never ridden a motorbike previously.) Am I uniquely physically/mentally challenged such that I'll never be able to ride, and should I take his advice and not even pursue further lessons with another instructor?

    So, I'll let the forums decide. Was it the instructor or was it me?
  2. Seek a second opinion. I have no doubt that some people simply aren't cut out to ride a bike (especially on the road), but I wouldn't take one blokes word for it.

  3. Most likely nerves and impatient/poor instructor. Its not rocket science, and if he couldn't figure out what you were doing to stuff up a simple procedure then I'd go to someone else.

    In my prelearner course I was gripping the bars very tightly, an obvious sign of nerves, and it does make everything alot harder. I'm guessing you're short, so some boots with very thick soles should be your first step. Then go have another lesson - you'll be right.
  4. Well.. it shows you what kind of instructor they are.
    (ie $#!t)

    You're only as good as your learners. And the best instructors are the ones that turn a crap learner into a good rider.
  5. Yeah Hi :roll:
  6. On a windy day everyone will be a little hesitant at slow speed. A Bike balances best when it is moving.
    I have a friend who asked me to teach him how to ride (This is before the days of a into course for doing your Ls test) and after watching him drive I told him not to get a bike because he was likely to die. Now my reasoning was about his observation skills.
    What you have described shouldn't stop you skilling up and becoming a rider.
    get yourself a second opinion and see how you go. But i will point out, that even if the second opinion says go ahead. pay attention to what the previous guy was telling you, and make sure you build up slow bike and stopping control. If he was over reacting... it doesn't mean he should be ignored entirely.
  7. :LOL:
  8. Go find another instructor..he's failed....it's only a skill to master....but a few tips.

    Sit on the bike stationary and get the feel (of the weight) of the bike as you lean it to the left and right.

    Use less of the front brake when stopping....sounds like that maybe you are using the front brake when the handlebars are not straight ahead.

    When stopping look at the horizon...not at the ground in front of you.

    Keep practicing...Good luck.
  9. Things would have to get pretty bad for an instructor to say you shouldn't be riding. There's plenty of people around with licenses that patently shouldn't be riding, it would take some guts for an instructor to say you're not cut out for it.

    In your position, if I really wanted my license, I'd go to another instructor because there's people out there who will pass any bugger. But I'd bear in mind that it's not the safest way to get around, and I'd invest in some serious safety gear.

    I believe just about anyone can learn just about any skill if they put their heart and mind into it, but then at the same time, riding instructors see a lot of learners day in day out, and if one of them reckons you're hopeless, maybe the universe is giving you a little tip.
  10. 175cm is hardly short. I'm only 168cm and i belive many here are even shorter, so I don't think it is your physical nature.

    I would go someone else. Skill can be learned.....

    Don't despair.
  11. I don't know what 175cms is in white-feller's measurements, but if you are vertically challenged there are things you can do to assist your peace of mind at low speeds. Thicker soles on your boots might help.

    But it DOES sound like you may have a balance problem, in general??? How are you standing on chairs, etc? If you have a middle-ear infection, or damage from one, that can ruin your balance and trying to balance a bike would be a nightmare......
  12. ahahaha

    Where were you looking? Was your head up and eyes in the direction where you wanted to go or were you looking down?

    I say give it another go with a different instructor :)
  13. General balance is good. I play ice hockey, for example, can walk a tight rope, never had a problem riding a pushbike, etc. Don't really know how else to judge that.
  14. Why do you want to ride? :-k
  15. Sounds to me like what Grey Gentry said, you may be concentrating too much on where youre going to placing your feet to balance the bike for after the stop, rather than concentrating on the actual stop itself by being upright, looking at the horizon and getting the combination of movements and timing right in the motion.

    More lessons :)
  16. Xanthian,

    Is this a professional instructor? It doesn't sound like they are teaching you anything.

    When I learnt there was a very clear progression of baby steps. You should learn how to balance and stop the bike BEFORE you get the engine going. You shouldn't be worrying about turns and clutch and throttle yet.

    i.e. You walk the bike up to trotting speed with the engine off and the bike in neutral, get your feet on the pegs, balance in your riding posture while you coast, learn to apply brakes to slow the bike down and then put your left foot down.

    First you do it in a straight line, then walk it up to speed and turn a slow corner, then come to a stop. If you can't walk it yourself, get your instructor to push you up to speed.

    If you can't do that stuff, don't start the engine yet. It's better to do 15 minutes of focusing on that first, than 1 hour of trying to do turns with clutch and gears and throttle.

    Master one thing at a time before you try everything at the same time.
  17. I'm getting flash backs from that Learner Driver reality TV show. Even they could be taught to pass their P's test, but if it takes that long to attain even the most basic control of a vehicle, how bloody long would it be before you could call them competent? Ever?

    Not saying that's the case here, but I don't buy the whole "You can do anything you can put your mind to" crap. I know that I'll never be able to dance. :LOL:

    You can walk...therefore you have balance ability.
    You can probably ride a bicycle too...
    You are not too short, you're about the same size as me and I've
    ridden bikes up to the tallest + heaviest there is (after some practice)...

    I've met a number of people who were told they would
    never be able to ride, they ALL eventually got licenses and rode LOTS.
    I've never met one who couldn't eventually ride.

    My girlfriend was told the same "You can't ride, you won't be able"
    he said.
    I took her to another school, she practiced on a scooter first and she passed happily, then practiced on a manual bike and is now
    a successful rider with many thousands of KM's done and her own bike...

    Tip #1

    You should try another school, find one with friendly instructors and
    let them know that you've been 'burnt' at another school and are
    a little low on confidence.

    Tip #2

    In the meantime, ride around on a bicycle as much as you can and
    practice smooth stops and balance.

    Tip #3

    It will also help to learn and test on an automatic scooter,
    they have the brakes on the handlebars so
    you can always put both feet down, you won't have to worry about gears+clutch, and they are very low, light, and easy to balance.
    You will learn very quickly because you aren't trying to learn 6 things
    at once.

    Once you have your confidence and balance back, then go to a manual bike, and you will learn the upgrade quickly because again you aren't trying to learn 6 things at once.

    (In VIC if you pass on an auto scooter you get a permit for manual
    bike anyway, so then you can get instruction on a manual bike
    afterwards without the stress of a test, and go home to practice on a manual bike without the stress of people watching. I don't know about your home state).
  19. it's normal to lean it to the left when you stop if u use rear brake. the instructor shouldn't expect you to stay stationary balancing with no feet on ground when the bike stop...
  20. Beg to differ as none of us where there to witness the events.

    Ive personally witnessed a guy try 3 different occasions after several lessons to master a scooter to obtain his learners with no success & NO it wasnt the instructor, some people just take time to learn new skills or things & personally after witnessing this guy Im vvvvvvvery glad he didnt pass him, although learning on a scooter can help some folk.