Tuesday, 10 February 2009

It's Never Too Late To Start!

My wife bought me a trial lesson at Easy Rider Derby (click here) for my 51st birthday. I think that she had just bumped up my life insurance! The trial lesson was so enjoyable that I signed up immediately for the course. It was good fun and all of my training was conducted by Rob Wilson the owner of Easy Rider. He was good, and very relaxed. We got on very well. I don't know why? I don't get on well with many people.

The training was on 100cc Chinese bikes. I think they were called something like HangTen or WongWun or Tri-ang? About three years later Rob thought that I was ready for the test. Luckily the one-off up-front payment for the course included as many lessons as one needed plus the test fee.

I turned up at the Derby test centre and some grumpy bloke met me. It must be my face that brings out the worst in people. He made me squint at a number plate and then we were off.

It was all going so well until we got to the 180-degree turn bit. He pulled over to the side and explained the manoeuvre that I must execute. No problem I thought. A piece of cake. A walk in the park. Engage first gear, indicate right, a quick look over the right shoulder, let out the clutch with slightly more than normal throttle against some foot brake. Eeeeek! Emergency stop! Where the hell did that Golf Cabriolet with that blonde come from? She must have been coming from behind me at a hell of a lick, because I had not seen her! Oh well, start again. This time looooong look over right shoulder etc. Perfect U-turn. Continue with the test ride.

Back at the test centre. "Well, Mr ******, you passed everything except observation. Failed." I thought that I had observed that Golf darn well, AND made an excellent emergency stop. You just can't please some people, especially grumpy ones.

This meant that my shiny brand new first motorcycle had to remain in my garage. I could not get another test at Derby for months. I was so frustrated. I phoned around the country and got a cancelled booking at Sutton-in-Ashfield a week or so later. Easy Rider Rob kindly took me and a bike over there in his Transit van. This time success. What a very nice man that examiner was. "Congratulations Mr Smith, you passed. Possibly you could have afforded to ride a little faster on the A38 by-pass. After all motorcycles are allowed to overtake 38-ton trucks on dual carriageways. But otherwise well done." Hooray.

So far my biking experience is: Yamaha Diversion 900 - 10,000 miles. Kawasaki Vulcan VN-1500 - 1,000 miles. BMW 1150 GS 12,000 miles. BMW 1150 GS ADV SE 17,400 miles. The total is 40,400 miles, plus a bit on the HangTen, say 600. So, 41,000 miles ater a trial lesson on my 51st birthday I am still enjoying motorbiking. Hooray for motorbikes. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO START.

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