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Should know better
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This hardly qualifies for a ‘ride report’ (more of a ‘falloffalot’ (™ Alpslapper) report), but mods, if you think I’m in the wrong forum, please feel free to move me on.:angel9:

Well, I’ve finally (almost) gone and done it. After a year too full of misadventure to be able to spend time on the challenge I’d set myself at New Year, I finally registered for CBT training today at Charnwood Motorcycle Training. I’d already warned them to expect a 51-year-old female, 5’1” tall, with no previous riding experience. I didn’t warn them about the complete lack of nous…:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

I turned up as arranged at 8.45am: it was already getting very warm and I was very very nervous. My co-trainees were two teenage ‘scooter boys’, who were away and on road before I’d barely got started. I’d been given the option of scooter training, but was determined to do this thing properly, if only to prove to myself that I could.

My instructor was great, very patient and calm – probably the 2 most important qualities he would need during the day (apart from the ability to pick bikes back up, that is :rolleyes:). The first bike I started on (oh yes, it would take more than one :D:D) was a Chinese Sukida which was a nice looking bike (and the instructor spoke highly of them). However, the back brake pedal was too high for me to reach easily, what with my delicate little ladylike tootsies. So I moved on to another Chinese bike, this time a Hartford and the instructor kindly lowered the suspension and “front things” and anything else that he possibly could lower for me. I could still only put one foot flat on the floor at a time, but the brake was in a better position, and the saddle a bit narrower, making it easier to straddle. :thumbup:

I’d expected to struggle with balance, but in general, once I got started that wasn’t too much of a problem, even when turning, which I learnt to do quite quickly. However, it took me quite a while to get the clutch control thing right, and it was all a bit jerky (even by the end of the day). But it wasn’t too long before I was judged to be ready to move on to practising U-turns and then circles of 8. This was where my trouble REALLY started. Astonishingly, I could perform the U turns relatively easily, BUT I was concentrating so hard on them that I couldn’t master the gentle art of ‘bringing the bike to a controlled stop’ on the line afterwards. The real problem was that I kept trying to use the front brake (push-bike style), instead of pulling in the clutch, preparing for the stop with my left leg, and then gently using the back brake. So down I went #1, just as the “scooter boys” were sitting down for a tea break and watching it all unravel. I’d worn proper gear apart from my trousers – it was so hot, and I didn’t expect to get much actual riding done in the first day, so I’d only worn my jeans – so I now have a nicely grazed knee, but I wasn’t going to let on that I was hurt in front of the SBs. So back on I went, heroically in true DC style, and managed to stay upright more-or-less for the time being, apart from one instance when the instructor had to catch the back of the bike to stop it from falling. :rolleyes:

Eventually, once I’d learnt the art of controlled stopping (but only after building up a massive “beer debt” to the instructor, as penalty for every time he saw me using the front brake:confused:), I moved onto circles of 8, and can honestly say I got on very well with these – took them in my stride, even. Just once, getting over-confident I let the speed drop too much, and over she went again. This time, I managed to avoid either the bike landing on me OR grazing my knees, and no damage to the bike (they’re tough, those Chinese!), so back on again. And the SBs had scootered off onto the road by now, so my dignity was only mildly ruined.

Now it was time for the gears. I think this was the part I’d been most expecting to find difficulty with. Initially, the change from 1st to 2nd and vice versa seemed pretty easy, and it was great to zoom up and down the car park in 2nd with my hand off the clutch. But changing up and down further, at speed, was more problematic – not least because of my inexplicable need to rev the engine whilst doing so, hence turning the ride jerkier than a very jerky thing indeed. To make matters worse, I found it difficult not actually being able to SEE what gear I was in :confused:. I know, intellectually, that this shouldn’t matter and that it’s all in the feel, but somehow it bashed my confidence a bit, and my riding style seemed to go downhill a bit (though I did enjoy the opportunity to pootle along at a higher pace).

The other real problem was that the training ground was in a really exposed car park with the sun bearing relentlessly down on us (oh yes, this was in ENGLAND, what else would you expect???). I was getting hotter and hotter, but at least the all-over gear was preventing me from getting burnt, unlike my poor fair-skinned instructor. Not only was he recovering from broken bones in his leg – earned on the race-track – and was still having to run around after me, he was getting redder by the minute, so, after a brief go at practicing emergency stops (for which, top marks were earned instantly!), we both agreed to call it a day around 2.30, so that I can go back refreshed and rested to finish off what I’ve started (including the scary road bit). So BE WARNED good people of Loughborough, and STAY OFF THE ROADS ON TUES AFTERNOON, when I confidently expect to be allowed to get out there!

All in all, I would say it wasn’t half as scary as I was prepared for, but very tiring, especially in the extreme heat. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can’t wait to get back onto the bike. I’m even thinking of going the whole hog (but not on one), and going for the full qualification and getting my own bike. A big up for Charnwood Training and my instructor in particular. I’d recommend them very highly indeed. :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

And I guess I wasn’t SUCH a challenge after all: when I asked them about whether they had had many “more mature” ladies I was told about a wonderful 82-year-old woman that they trained, who’d said that she’d always wanted to do it, and “At my age, what have I got to lose?” Now THAT’S what I call style.

More on Tuesday, folks - watch this space!
 

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White van man
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560 Posts
Brilliant:thumb:

Go for it. My missus did her CBT a few months ago, bought her a Chinese 125, she loves it, been out today around the Cotswolds about 100 miles.

We have some good pals in Coleorton, near to you? they are Landlords of the Angel pub, she tried her CBT last monday, don't know where, she decided more practice was called for:D Hubby has an @.
 

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Tenacious Member
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1,435 Posts
Well done you! :thumbright:

Hope you have a god time on Tuesday. :cool:
 

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Registered
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12,768 Posts
About time you actually got around to doing it.
The hardest bit is over, now you know how to fall off without hurting yourself
( something DC has still got to learn)
You should have no problems on Tuesday, so good luck and have fun.
 

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Well done Lulu :thumbup:. Getting started was the hard bit, it's all smiles from now on....:D :D
 

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Matron
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12,080 Posts
that's fantastic Lulu, well done you



Now with my nursey head on, it doesn't matter how far your going if you fall off without the correct gear it's going to hurt, it'll hurt with the correct gear but you risk far more damage without.

Phil W is fed up of my nagging now
 

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Should know better
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2,980 Posts
Discussion Starter #10

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Should know better
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2,980 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Brilliant:thumb:

Go for it. My missus did her CBT a few months ago, bought her a Chinese 125, she loves it, been out today around the Cotswolds about 100 miles.

We have some good pals in Coleorton, near to you? they are Landlords of the Angel pub, she tried her CBT last monday, don't know where, she decided more practice was called for:D Hubby has an @.
And well done to Mrs T :thumbup:. Yes, for the money the bikes seem like a very good buy - the instructor rated their reliability as better than their Honda 125s :confused::confused::confused:. And besides, if you're only going to have them for a short while, it probably makes better sense. I liked the smallness of them.

Coleorton is indeed near to me, though I don't know the Angel (I've only been here 3 years now :confused:). I think practice really is the main thing - I wished that I had a small bike and a playground of my own, so that I could have got lots more practice in, in my own time. (though the SBs round here use my housing estate as their very own playground :D:D:D).

Anyway, thanks for your encouragement, and hope you and Mrs T get the chance for more rides around the Cotswolds - the perfect location IMHO. :thumbup:
 

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Wing Commander
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14,437 Posts
Stick with it. We all fall off sometime. Perhaps your getting yours out of the way early?;)
 

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Should know better
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Discussion Starter #13
Well done you! :thumbright:

Hope you have a god time on Tuesday. :cool:
About time you actually got around to doing it.
The hardest bit is over, now you know how to fall off without hurting yourself
( something DC has still got to learn)
You should have no problems on Tuesday, so good luck and have fun.
Good stuff... You only get one go in this mad game that is life so if you want to do it then do it, and you are :thumbright:

So what if you fall off, stall, slip-up, who's perfect? no one... good luck on Tuesday.
Well done Lulu :thumbup:. Getting started was the hard bit, it's all smiles from now on....:D :D
Thanks guys. Will let you all know how it goes. I did stall once or twenty times :rolleyes:. But I didn't panic, and just sorted it out, so let's hope it is indeed all smiles from now on...:)
 

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Should know better
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Discussion Starter #14
that's fantastic Lulu, well done you

Now with my nursey head on, it doesn't matter how far your going if you fall off without the correct gear it's going to hurt, it'll hurt with the correct gear but you risk far more damage without.

Phil W is fed up of my nagging now
Thanks and yes, you're right, Sharrie: I'm planning full armour on Tues. :angel4::angel4::angel4: .
 

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Should know better
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Discussion Starter #15
Stick with it. We all fall off sometime. Perhaps your getting yours out of the way early?;)
Or maybe I just wanna be in Digi's gang??? :D:D:D
 

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White van man
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560 Posts
I think practice really is the main thing - I wished that I had a small bike and a playground of my own, so that I could have got lots more practice in, in my own time. (though the SBs round here use my housing estate as their very own playground :D:D:D). :thumbup:
That's exactly the thing, practise whenever you need to. Builds up confidence.

We're fortunate enough to live on a farm with a half mile tarmac road, this is where my mrs practised on her little 125. We got it a couple of months before her CBT.

Here she is on the bike on the farm road.......................

 

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Premium Member
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Well done Lulu. :thumbup:
Keep going, it will all come naturally soon.
 

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Should know better
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Discussion Starter #18
Well done Lulu. :thumbup:
Keep going, it will all come naturally soon.
Thanks for the encouragement Dave. And also for the support that I've received as a result of this most brilliant of forums :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:. It's what has given me the motivation to persevere in this endeavour. :cool::cool::cool:
 

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:thumbright::thumbright::thumbright::thumbright::thumbright::thumbright::thumbright:
 

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Fantastic! Well done, Lou. So glad you enjoyed the experience. (And you won't find me criticising anyone for dropping a bike! :oops:) All the best for Tuesday.
 
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