I wrote a post a few months ago, through the eyes of a biker. At that time, I was a scooter rider with fantasies of being a “proper” biker. On Monday, I bought a Motorbike and the only thing I am missing is the leathers.
I clocked up about 15,000 miles over four and a half years, riding my scooter became as natural to be as breathing which was as well because it gave me ample opportunity to watch out for the idiots on the road. The less I had to concentrate on what I was doing the more I could concentrate on everything around me.
A scooter has three control, the throttle that you twist and go; it controls your speed and a front and back brake like on a bicycle. Simple.
The motorcycle is a completely different animal. You have a clutch, throttle and a front brake controlled by your hands. Then you have a back brake and gears operated by your feet. You need to learn to listen to your bike, it screams at you if you need to change gears. It is a finely tuned operation. And scariest still you can stall it… and I have done on numerous occasions. If you stall your car and the person behind you isn’t paying much attention or maybe illegally on their phone you’ll get shunted along, maybe a dent on your bumper. If I stall it, I may get a car or van sending me flying through the air…two cars came perilously close yesterday.
I know that give it a week or two and my riding will be really smooth, a month’s time and I won’t even remember what it was like to ride a scooter but at the moment I am shaky, I may stall it, I may take off a tad too slowly at the lights as my natural scooter instinct screams throttle but the bike screams clutch at me and feed it out gently to avoid the kangaroo jumps. It may take me a tiny bit longer to process that I need to change up a gear to match the road speed.
Other road users if you open your eyes you will see us, you will see that we are not as confident, that we are still learning, be patient…your need to get to where you are going could cost us our lives. Today I had a Land Rover following me at an indecently close distance and as I turned into another road he tried to overtake me on a bend. I won’t put into print what I think of him.
None of us like being behind learners but to bully them… really… is that what you’re about? A learner is less likely to be able to respond to situations so if your driving places them in a vulnerable position you could be responsible for it all going wrong.
The road belongs to us all. Slow down and think about what you are doing before you have to explain to someone’s mum, dad, husband, wife, child, friend why you getting to your destination two minutes earlier was more important than their loved one’s life.