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When I decided to get a bike after 20 years of non riding She Who Gives Permission said I could... IF...I took a Back to Biking training course.
Well I got the SCR, and thought to keep the peace I would book the course, just to keep her happy cos I had ridden for 20 years before giving up, and macho me would soon be back in the swing any way.
I thought it would be a load of Highway code lectures, and then a bunch of us riding figure of eights in a supermarket car park, and then done.
Things have changed, and not just that centre stands are now optional extras, instead of standard.
When I first got a bike if you were 17 you could ride anything up to a 250 on a learner licence, train yourself , then pass a half hour test (in 1981) and get straight onto a litre plus rocket.
Now (since 2013 in the UK) you have to take a series of tests and exams , and you don't get to go on a 600cc until you are 24 . To go unrestricted CC you have to pass
a further test. The echoes of my seventeen year old self shout "nanny state!". My older self learnt on the B2B that Biker deaths had been cut by 2/3rds since the legislation came in......
Anyhoo I got to MTS Sussex in Burgess Hill at 0930, load of bikers milling around , and got talking to to this guy , who turned out to be my one on one instructor.
We just talked about my experience , and the bikes I had owned, and then he just gave his standard first training lesson, which surprised me , because he covered stuff I had never thought about (being self taught), about the physics of braking, and the use of the clutch in emergency stops (you don't, now they teach you to basically to stall the bike to stop it).
He then fitted us with radios and we went to the local Sainsburys.. and I did figure of eights! the practical purpose being to refine clutch & rear brake control, so Mr Thug Throttle didn't take you wide on junction turns.
We then retired to the Burger bar at Wickes , Burgess Hill , which has one of the best burgers ever.
He then suggested we went for a little ride . He led , all the time giving me advice on over the radio, as we went east along the foot of the South Downs along the B Roads (basically a bit like Tolkein's Shire in English countryside) , through Glyndebourne to Alfriston, where we had a stop.
Then He made me lead to Seaford (just because there was a road tunnel that let him hear the SCR properly), and all the way back to Peas Pottage at Crawley where I live.
This little ride was a108 miles round trip, and the return leg with me leading was so he could critique my riding.
So I had three faults (bearing in mind my new riding experience was roughly 100 miles /2.5hours before this)
3. a tendency to get too close to the vehicle in front at a junction
2. a lack of finesse at turning at junctions
1. "John! indicators! ( why doesn't the SCR have self cancelling indicators?)
It was a this point I, somewhat embarrassed, asked what his name was ? we had got on so well it had sort of been missed
Big Max - A dedicated Biker, dedicated to teaching me (and others) to stay alive and enjoying riding.
We had a brilliant day, and basically what I took away from it wasn't technical, it was situational awareness.
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