MavEtJu's Distorted View of the World

Motorcycle lessons

Posted on 2008-07-14 09:00:00
Tags: Traffic, Australia

Last weekend I had my first introduction in the art of motorcycle riding. I didn't end up in the hospital, but I am a little more worried about the teaching of the skills for traveling in a motorized vehicle on the road in Australia. In other words: cars and bikes.

This introduction taught us how to setup a bike (as in from the stand to the ready position), how to figure out what is happening around you, how to start it (vroom!), how to stop it (very tricky for a cyclist like me), how to get it moving (I don't like clutch riding...), how to take corners properly (look where you are going) and how to make sure you don't end up in dangerous or worse situations.

At the end I got my piece of paper showing that I know all the things above and that I know how to execute them properly. Next.. Will I buy a motorcycle? I don't think so yet. Why? There are a couple of reasons:

During the practise lessons we only drove in a nicely controlled environment. We didn't get higher than second gear, we didn't go faster than 20-25 kilometers per hour. I have absolutely no idea how it is riding in the real world where I go at 50 kilometers per hour (on normal busy Sydney roads), let alone 80 kilometers per hour (on the fast busy Sydney roads) where cars, roadrage and stupid people in cars are ever present. We used the indicators only once at the last practise and of course half of us screwed this up.

We only practised for six hours (two days with two times 1.5 hour blocks). Not many people know how long it took before my car-driving teacher allowed me to take the exam, but it was waaaaaaay above the average amount of hours (but less than 54 lessons :-). On the other hand, he never had to interfere with the wheel or the brakes! So to expect me to be comfortable on the seat after six hours is a little bit optimistic.

The other thing is that I am a very bad pupil but have a very good engineering mindset: I learn from my mistakes, and that's how I become good at it. Being told that I do something wrong doesn't hurt me, it helps me. Riding at some high speed and making a mistake is costly, and I won't be able to learn from it.

So... What's next? Not much I think. Michael and Stuart Lemon from Ride it right were great, the experience was great and I loved it. But I'm going to wait and try it again when I live in a city where the traffic isn't as mad as in Sydney. Canberra, I'm waiting for you! In the mean time I enjoy the backseat of Naomis bike :-)

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Posted on: 2008-07-14 10:31:27
CommentHehehehehe... it's not as bad as all that!

You can come off at quite a reasonable speed and still walk away to learn a lesson, or two!
And no doubt you will.

Further, it is a vast improvement on the old licensing system:
"Yeah, mate, just ride around the block for us, will ya?"
"You made it back. Cool! You know how to ride. Here's your licence."

Or the even worse, before that:
"You rode here all right, then?... Cool, here's your licence."

Any time you want on the back with me - woot!
From: Tash!
Posted on: 2008-07-18 18:06:34
Dearest Edwin,

The whole point of the exercise is to sort the mice from the men! :P

In saying that, are Naomi and I men? Yegads! What I meant was .. just keep practicing. hehe

Seriously though, I understand your concern, and I had the same thoughts whilst taking my first bike on a test ride in peak hour traffic on the Princes Highway at Kogarah. I FREAAAAKED at the speed everyone was going because I hadn't been in any higher gear than 3rd and the bike was screaaaaming at me to punch up, but I wasn't so sure .. haha, but I got through it after a couple of traffic light stalls and nervous corners. After that, it was sweet and the bike was mine. The first couple of weeks are nervous (rightly so), but you get past it with more experience.

I agree with Naomi too, it used to be a whole lot scarier in terms of safety. Here you go .. and take the cornflake box with you! The provisional test requires you to demonstrate your roadcraft on a ride, but if you're over 30 you jump straight to full after your learners. That's a little insane I guess, especially with the amount of interest I'm hearing from people that are wanting to jump onto a motorcycle "because it's cheaper". Losing your life is not so cheap...

We need to ensure that all of our motorists are familiar with their vehicle and road rules prior to licensing them. Most of us acquire the later at an early age (car learners), but learning to negotiate a motorcycle while applying the road rules is another thing. I guess we wait on the stats, then make an informed decision on improving the learning system of motorcycling eh? :)

Good onya mate! Ooh and Helloooo Naomi! :)



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