So, I got my Ls in December 2016 and here in SA you have your Ls for a maximum of 2 years.
Within that 2 year period you must attend the Advanced Riders Safe Course to get your R-date (this means you no longer have to display an L-plate)
Well, after riding for 6 months I decided it was time to practice! I have googled my pants off reading posts and watched walk through videos such as this one and of course asked fellow riders. So, here is how my first practice session went:
Practice Session 1 –
On a cool Saturday afternoon, we had planned to go for a 2.5 hour hills ride (of which would be my first)…
Well while my bike was fine, my partners wouldn’t start and so after googling what was wrong and how to get it started we only ended up with an hour or so of ride time left. Instead of the hills we decided that we would go to a local car park and practice my advanced rider skills.
Miss Confident over here, was convinced that the stopping within 11m of someone raising their hand would be easy peasy! Well I was wrong…. While I wasn’t far off, getting to 30kms in a short space and then braking is not my idea of fun. Personally I struggled with getting enough speed in the first place and then I discovered that I’m a bit easy on the brakes!
The idea of pressing hard on the front brake and going over terrifies me and I’m too easy on the back brake.. We practiced going up to 30kms and braking within 11m’s a number of times.
Then we were greeted with would you:
F*** Off, Get the F*** out
People are such lovely creatures at times; apparently we had disturbed the beast next door to the car park. You know, with my God awfully loud and noisy CBR250 (aka the baby bike that makes little noise) and he decided to greet us with his lovely language.
While my partner handled his foul language much better than I, calmly explaining that we were practicing and would move to a different location. Miss Charming over here went right back at the guy, entirely intending on not moving anywhere as he doesn’t own the car park. Had he politely asked us to move, I would’ve with no questions but he was rude and I’m stubborn…. anyway, I lost that argument (with my partner, not the idiot over the fence) and we moved on.
Ok, so now we were at a new location it was time to practice keeping the bike upright at walking pace. (You have to travel a certain distance at walking pace or in more than 15 secs at the official course)
This was interesting.. I often roll my bike quite slowly up to the lights at intersections but I usually have my feet hovering above the road. To put my feet up at such low speed took a bit of guts; I didn’t want to drop the bike!
Anyway, I got there eventually. Lots of clutch control and back braking is required. I also worked out that keeping your eyes up is super important! I noticed when I was looking down at the speedo or trying to check I hadn’t gone out of the lines, I’d start to get the wobbles.
This exercise while I think I have the hang of, didn’t make my bike happy at all. While only 17 degrees max that day, the fan soon kicked in and you could feel the heat radiating off the bike.
Next, 2 u-turns in a small space
Baha, now this one I knew I had absolutely no chance of mastering in one session. My corners at higher speeds still leave something to be desired and the few attempts of u-turns I have made usually end up being 3-pointers. Practice makes perfect, I suppose so off I went and practiced!
We decided that we’d start by trying to perfect a left hand u-turn and disregard how wide I was going. We decided left because if I felt the bike was tipping too much I could easily put my foot down and I’ve always preferred left turns.
Well, I am definitely no where near close to being able to make the u-turn within the width of a carpark. At this point in time that’s an absolute joke! I’m probably doing it in the width of 3-4 car parks and I haven’t even attempted to do a right-hand u-turn…
Thank God I have another 1.5 years to practice!