I've been training with Kickstart MCT in Keynsham, just outside Bristol. Last week I started off having never ridden a bike before, and only sat on a few big bikes at the NEC bike show. The day started with a safety lesson on clothing and helmets before being introduced to the bikes. We covered all aspects of the bike from daily and weekly maintenance checks to the operation of the controls.
The learner bikes in use by the training centre are Honda CG125's. Very basic but get the job done. The first bike I started on I found very difficult. I could pull away and stop ok, but taking right-handed turns was very uncomfortable and the bike just felt as if it wanted to fall over. I struggled on throughout the morning, but I was thinking that it was very difficult and I could not do it. By lunchtime, I was defiantly in a negative frame of mind.
After lunch my instructor (Mark) put me on a different bike, still a CG but this time red and a few years older. It's a good job he did as this bike and me "clicked". I had no problems doing the low-speed manurers, slaloms and figure of eights I struggled on in the morning and went on to do U-turns and junctions before completing the off-road section of the course. Unfortunately, because I was a bit too slow in the morning, we didn't get enough time to start the 2-hour minimum road training.
Today I have back to complete the on-road training with the same instructor as before and having been up and down the car park a few times to get used to the bike again we headed out onto the roads, starting off in the quiet industrial areas before heading out to the back streets and finally through the high street and onto the dual carriageway.
I'm really pleased with how the day went, not too many mistakes, stalling on a roundabout was the worst. I really liked riding out on the open road - it feels like flying! My only problem was my gammy hip kick-starting the bike all the time. I'll definitely get an electric starter when I get a bike!
Big thanks to Mark and all the staff at Kickstart for their time and patience!
I'm off to look at a few bikes now...