Learning to ride a bike: Part 2

It’s been a fair while since I wrote anything proper on here except my little blog about motorcycle gear this morning… I suppose the recent pandemic hasn’t helped. That has led to the cancellation of the 2020 TT, the 2020 Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix. NW200 cancelled, MotoGP cancelled, BSB cancelled, WSB cancelled. (Fortunately, it looks like some of those may be re-starting very soon though!) Everyone in lockdown. What an absolute mare for everyone, but I hope you’re all still doing well and hopefully getting back out on your bikes now… like me!

I always said I’d be open and honest about my little journey towards passing my bike test. I’m sure most of you would’ve thought I’d have done it by now, but no, I haven’t. I hate practical tests. I get stressy over sit-down exams too, but practical exams really tip me over the edge. I’m not sure why, but it does and henceforth I’m still yet to even attempt a test. I’ve been putting it off for the best part of seven, no, eight years. I first passed my CBT at 18, but at that point, annoyingly my Dad had hung up his boots as had my Mom. My Mom had an unwritten rule that I wasn’t allowed to go out on my own so it was either they follow me round in the car or I just don’t bother… luckily for them, the KTM Duke 125 was just too tall for my little legs so I basically didn’t progress from there. Anyway, that’s in my other blog here.

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Fast forward a fair few years and here we are with little Nelli – the Benelli TNT 125. What a bike. I will be forever grateful to this little machine giving me back my confidence to ride again. I will be truly devastated when I sell her, but I hope when I do she goes to a loving home to give someone else the confidence to ride. I bought her in 2018 brand new. The OTR price is £2,200 and for the bike you get, I think that’s a bargain. In comparison to the Honda MSX 125’s, it’s very similar except there price… You are looking at an OTR price of circa £1,500 more than the Benelli. If you’re learning to ride and looking to get a bigger cc bike after you pass, then I think the Benelli is definitely worthwhile. If you’re content riding around on a 125, or you want it for the fun of it, maybe opt for the Honda, but all I know is I love my Benelli.

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Next up for me is lessons as apparently I corner like a racer and that’s not acceptable for your test… I guess I should stop following my husband and the lines he takes on his Kawasaki ZX7R. Oops. My instructor is very lovely and he’s definitely someone who isn’t too harsh about how I ride, but rather tries to understand why I do the things I do. His job now is to help me pass my test, not necessarily how to ride a bike. There’s a huge difference. When you did your car test, how long did it take you before you crossed your hands on the steering wheel? Well, riding a bike is no different except don’t cross your hands that would get messy.  I definitely feel like I’m now ready to start aiming towards taking my test. I’m quite content riding around on my own now. I don’t panic when I stop anymore. I don’t mind about being left behind. I just think I’m finally ready. So whilst lessons are going on, I have to prepare for my theory test. This really bugs me… I did one for my car test approx. 10 years ago, but you have to do another one for your bike. If I’m honest, there isn’t too much of a difference and considering I already know the general rules of the road from driving for almost 10 years, it’s just annoying. There are a couple of new questions about pillions, loading a bike, etc. but apart from that, it’s very similar. Anyway, it had to be done, so that’s up next.

So this is where we’re at. I’m pretty much ready to start learning how to ride for my test and mainly looking behind me more than in front, but I’m ready nonetheless so that brings me onto my next little bit of exciting news…

Here on the IOM, once you pass your test you can ride absolutely anything. If I really wanted to I could go and buy a BMW S1000RR and race around… at 50mph obvs as you’re on R plates for 12 months after passing. I’m not going to do anything crazy like that instead I went to go and see another bike for size (since I’m only 5’4”, short leg issues, blah blah), and well, we ended up buying it. My husband always said he’d buy me my first “big bike” and he definitely came through on that promise! I’m ridiculously giddy about it, looking on eBay constantly at all the things I can buy for it, looking on Instagram and Twitter at other people’s and I seem to have become a little obsessed. Realistically once I passed my test it was inevitable that I’d want a “bigger bike” despite having to stick to 50mph for 12 months, and when we saw it, I fell in love as soon as I realised I could touch the floor and reach the handlebars…

Introducing BABY NINJA.

She’s a 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400, barely turned a wheel and isn’t she beaut! Has anyone else got one of these or ridden one? Would love to know what you think!

We were talking about getting another little bike either like mine or a Honda Grom for Chris so he didn’t have to potter around on his ZX7R at 50mph, but realistically if I’m hoping to get my test done soon that wasn’t the best way to go. We saw this come up for sale and thought it’s an ideal for ‘big bike’ for me and Chris could even ride it if he didn’t want to take the 7R out. I secretly think Chris is more excited then he’s letting on as he’s finally convinced me to get a ninja just like him. I’m literally over the moon with it and for me, I think it’s a perfect first ‘big bike’. I’ve always wanted a sportsbike, but I had realised that realistically the chances of me reaching the floor on a sportsbike were next to none. In my head I’d ‘settled’ for something less sporty and if I’m honest, I was too happy about settling on that.

I did say 2020 was going to be the year I passed my test, so let’s keep aiming for that!

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