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My Pathetic Attempt At Getting My Ls

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Chrissy, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Having paid my $364 for the SA Rider Safe (State Government run) two x half day learner sessions, I looked forward to the experience with a lot of excitement and some degree of trepidation, being an absolute novice.

    Day one finally arrived (yesterday) and I turned up at the range with all the other eager lads and ladettes. I thought I blended in with them ok but as one of the eagle-eyed instructors asked me if I wanted to use a scooter instead of the Suzuki TU 250, I don’t think I got away with it. ‘Of course not’ I replied...unfortunately my perceived level of competence far exceeded my actual level of expertise.

    The theory session went ok, I felt like I knew what I would be doing. So out to the ‘range’ we went. This consisted of two asphalt covered, chain-link fenced, large basketball style courts – one for the learners and one for those hopeful of getting their licence.

    Things started off ok. But as we were ‘walking’ the bikes, I began to think that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. The weight of it (for me) felt significant…

    Kept on going.

    Managed to get it 'moving in a straight line, get off, turn it around, get back on, return to the starting position'. This is when it all turned to shit.

    Everyone else had stopped at the ‘white line’, but not me, no, I kept on going. Had no idea how to stop the thing – panic set in, had no idea what to do or what I was doing. Brain wasn’t firing at all.

    So, I managed to avoid the two parked bikes along the fence line, luckily there was no vehicle parked on the other side of the fence because I reckon the ‘cave like’ appearance taken on at the particular section of the fence I used to stop was at least 1.5m deep.

    The bike was still upright and I just stood bent over it with my hands on my head (helmet). My instructors rushed over to see if I was ok, thinking I was badly hurt – no, just a minor wrist sprain and a few bruises was all from what I could tell. The clutch lever was stuffed but the instructor seemed almost pleased that this was all the damage sustained (probably thinking about the paperwork – it is a government run establishment).

    I still don’t know what I did wrong. Apparently I was on one wheel for some of the time (I don’t remember), dropped the clutch - who knows. Couldn’t feel where the rear brake was – stupidly wore boots similar to my work steel caps. I might as well have had two bricks strapped to my feet.

    And all this in the first 15 minutes of practice.

    No-one laughed. No-one looked directly at me either. Hmm I bet they were thinking ‘thank god it was that old lady and not me’ (they were young’uns after all). Don’t blame them – I’m sure I looked like a complete tool.

    I knew if I didn’t get back on that I’d never go near one again. So equipped with a new bike I tentatively followed instructions and managed to do at least 3-4 laps of the range in 1st gear. Progress.

    The instructor beckoned me to return in a straight line towards where he was standing, so I duly obliged. Even from 50m+ away I could see he was standing on the balls of his feet, ready to spring in whichever direction I wasn’t pointed when I approached him. Yea of little faith – I was nowhere near him ! I think he must have a trust issue.

    Having passed him I was directed to swing wide, turn and return to the ‘white line’ – ‘head up, eyes looking straight ahead, use your peripheral vision to see the line’. I saw it ok, as I keep on going – again – how the hell do you stop this thing!! Ahha, the kill switch of course ! That did it ! For a few seconds I had visions of me careening into the fence at the other end of the range – matching caves !!

    Ok, so I got the bike back in line with everyone else – what’s next ? A 10 minute break – oh good.

    In my excitement to get as far away from the beast as I could I made the classic mistake. Yelling a number of expletives, I got the attention of a few people who came running back to lift the bike off the ground – at least I wasn’t under it. Who expects a perfect paint job on a training bike anyway ?

    Oh and by the way – I also took off with the stand down at one point...

    So the others had their break, and I was invited inside to complete the requisite paperwork for idiots.

    ‘Out of interest’ the instructor asked, ‘what’s your motivation for coming here today?’ – interpreted as ‘what the f... do you think you’re doing here – go away lady”

    ‘Feel free to stay and watch the rest of the session’ – interpreted as ‘please don’t get back on the bike today’

    ‘You can come back as many times as you want to’ – interpreted as ‘yes, but I’ll be on sick leave when you do’

    The final straw was – ‘we’ll be learning how to use the front brake when we go back out’ – decision made, that’s one gadget too many for my brain – I’m going home, never to return.

    Suffice it to say anyone in my vicinity, including Vlad at the end of the phone 2000kms away, had no doubt about how I viewed this experience - I even removed my Netrider bookmark – ‘won’t be looking on there again’ I vowed.

    I reckon I can tick off quite a few newbie mistakes in my first hour on a bike so I suppose all was not lost.

    I can’t believe they haven’t got CCTV – imagine the footage they’d get. I wonder if they keep a list like Top Gear has for the celebrity laps – I reckon I’d be down at the bottom for sure…

    Woke up today even more sore and bruised and still feeling sorry for myself.

    But whilst making the 45 minute trip to work I had an epiphany – ‘f… it. I’m not going to let this beat me’ I told myself. So watch this space. I’ll be back again in a few weeks (once the bruises heal) with hopefully a positive outcome – a yellow piece of plastic with a large black L in the middle !
    • Like Like x 7
  2. wow i didnt think it could be that hard.
  3. Great read. Thanks!
  4. Oh dear!!.. But very entertaining!..=D>
  5. Good read. Do you ride a pushy?
  6. Not any more - too hard ! A motorbike's hard enough :cry:
  7. Uhh... hm.

    Good on you for not giving up.
    hopefully you can master the basics and get back on the bike..

    do you have to pay for the damaged bikes?

    Good luck for the next attempt
  8. Hahaha keep at it. You should practice riding a push bike if you don't know how to. It took me 3 tries to get my L, mostly because I never ride a push bike before, so the feeling of leaning a bike over freak me out. Came back the 2nd time, everything was fine until we have to ride slow in a straight line. I was wobbling all over the place. I went home and borrowed a mate's push bike, practiced for a few days and came back the 3rd time and passed easily.
  9. What did you expect,
    your a complete novice learning a whole new complex piece of machinery,

    The first thing they should have shown you is how to stop the bloody thing,

    You need some one to show you the Basics of the bike, and how to operate it,

    And your not too old to learn, Heathermac on here was 61 When I taught her, and she was a complete novice,

    She rides very well now,

    Its good that your coming back for another go, But get them to show you and explain what every thing does,

    You got around the course a couple of times, So your not doing to bad for your first effort,

    • Like Like x 3
  10. This thread makes me feel all warm and fuzzy like.
    Love NR!
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Hi Chrissy,
    Perhaps you could try journalism, only joking, I laughed long and hard at your story. As it happens I finished my learners course today at St Agnes here in SA. After some 40 odd years off a bike it was like I had never even seen one.
    The young bucks around me were all testosterone and bravado and I was like neurotic old pensioner. The first day was all nerves and I think I gripped the handles so tight I left my finger imprints for all time on good ol number 30 bike.
    Day 2 seemed to go forever, all I could think of was getting it over with and rebooking my next try....but bugger me I passed.
    I suspect you will go back and next time you will breeze through. Good luck and keep us posted.

  12. The scooter option isn't a bad way to get started. Even if you don't move to a bike there are scooters big enough to tour on (my wife rides one).
    But as someone else said, practice on a pushy. Or come to Vic. Places like HART do it right.
  13. I was wondering how you went,
    Its only practise no more no less ,
    Have u got a practise bike?
  14. Yeah stick with it girl. When learning, I rode a scooter into a cinderblock wall in Bali and didn't ride for a few years after.... now I ride an 800cc bike rather fast and did 20000km last year! You'll get there... if you really want it.
  15. Wanna help ya out, so if anything i can do ...
  16. Chrissy, I'd say spend some time getting the controls VERY clear in your mind. Just picture them in your mind, look at pics, look at vids, imagine yourself pressing the brake with your right foot, squeezing the brake with your right hand, the clutch with your left hand. That will make sure you can at least stop when you want to which should help keep you calmer. Maybe even go to a dealer and sit on a bike or two and play with the controls.
    The course is rather high paced and tough if it's your first time riding. Being clear on the controls before you get there will help and mean you can focus on the details of how exactly.
    In the unlikely event you fail the second time, just grab the scooter for your third go :)
  17. I was thinking that I could get someone with a licence to hire a smaller cc bike so I could get some practice in an (isolated) carpark for a few hours before venturing back. Don't think there's anyone who runs private lessons in Adelaide. Thanks for the offer Phil. If hiring a bike is an option, then I have an ex who can help out - bloody exes, can never get away from them but they do come in useful for some things !
  18. lol Chrissy, you keep at it ok!!
    use the ex if you have to : )

    I agree with DEADMAN, the first thing they should do is teach you how to stop it!!

    If at first you dont succeed, try again, and if it means dropping 'their' bike, then so be it : ) but dont give in, make that 'instructor' crap his pants lol
  19. This is exactly what I was thinking - I just didn't have the sequence of what to do in my head - nothing came naturally. I learn by knowing WHY I have to do certain things rather than by rote. Maybe I need a life-sized cardboard bike to practice on !!!:rolleyes: that's a good visual !!
  20. I don't know whether to congratulate you for a well written anecdote,... or to slap you for thinking that you can learn to ride a motorbike well enough to go play on the highway with B doubles in a weekend!

    You NEED to learn to actually ride before you think about going on the road.
    Go find a farmer and throw him a carton of beer to let you ride his AG bike around a paddock for a few hours / days / weeks / the rest of your life.

    Even start on a trike / Quad if you like so you don't need to worry about falling over.

    Failing the above - at least borrow a mountain bike and practice on that.