Getting Started
12th October 2011

Big bike Lesson 1

Unfortunately I had to cancel the original lessons I had booked and my practice mod 1 as I was ill. I turned up outside Scotspeed, Dumfries to exchange childcare with my partner as he arrived in the town after work as planned. Only I was being sick next to the car after walking to the car park for my helmet. Despite this I was still for going out on the bike until my partner had to step in and say that I really couldn’t go out or put my helmet on when I’m being violently sick. In the end I had to agree and he went down to explain to the instructor, Ian at Right Rider that I really couldn’t go out for my lesson. This lasted for 4 days yet being a typical woman still had to continue with all the day to day tasks: work, housework, dropping off/collecting my son from school, lunches, uniforms etc. All done with a nearby basin just in case.

Anyway I did eventually get the lessons rearranged and was finally going out on the ’big’ bike. I was a little distracted as I had come straight from the local hospital where I had just dropped my partner off for a major ear operation. However a good run out on the bike was sure to help and he did tell me to go instead if sitting waiting at the hospital. So phone in pocket just in case, off I went.

Right Rider use the Suzuki Gladius 645cc bike for Direct Access lessons. There were two of us out on lessons, being instructed by Ian Metcalfe from Right Rider (which is also connected to Scotspeed). We got our ear piece and high-vis jackets ready and Ian talked us over the Gladius. Pointing out the important features and reminding us of the basic maintenance principles covered in our CBT. Then we hopped on the bike. As the Gladius is obviously a lot more powerful than the little 125’s we spent a little time getting used to the feel of the bike. Trying out the clutch to find the biting point and stopping again. Then off we went: let loose on the town of Dumfries.

The set up of the lesson was similar to that of the 125cc: getting used to the balance of the bike, starting, stopping, junctions, roundabout and slow speed control. After a ride around town and some surrounding housing communities we headed back out to the aerodrome as we did on the first lesson to practice slow speed control. Here we practiced doing U-turns, emergency stops, figure of 8 and slaloming. Apparently Ian told us we were both pretty good at this and had mastered it very quickly. I did have a few errors such as over balancing on the figure of 8 a couple of times and putting my foot down but this is to be expected I guess no one can be perfect first time surely? Otherwise this went well so we went for another ride around Dumfries. Ian talked us through our mirror checks, lifesavers, road positioning etc as we went along, letting us know if we missed any and also saying nothing as we got better. The lesson went from listening to him talk at us often at the beginning to hearing only the occasional prompt and this lesson turned out to be a pleasant ride out. My only complaint is the clutch on the Gladius is not adjustable which for us women I feel would be a real advantage! I have small hands and the biting point was sitting uncomfortably at my hands limit which began to ache a little after the slow speed control. Otherwise I thought this is a reasonably good bike for a beginner. It has great acceleration after getting off the little bikes which I just couldn’t resist testing when I got the opportunity J. This was what I had been so excited for and cruise control should definitely be invented as my speed kept wanting to creep up with very little throttle needed to do so. Back out tomorrow again for another lesson before my practice mod 1.