Jun 14, 2011

A Vespa riding girl in a Motorcycle world

I've been so busy that I haven't been able to share my recent experience at Motorcycle Class.

I really wish I had pictures to accompany this story, but you'll have to use your imagination.

CBT - is a compulsory basic training course that all motorcyclists are required to take.
It runs from 8am-5:30pm and the only free day I had was a Saturday.
I woke up bright and early to catch the 7am bus to get to Didcot, about an hour outside of Oxford.
I arrived and quickly realized that I was the only girl.
I was also the only American (no surprise there), the only Vespa driver, and the only student with a cute open face helmet whereas everyone else had full face no-joke helmets ready to take to the race course.
I also had jeans and my converse on, and all the English blokes were in full leather and boots.
These guys were looking to drive 1000+cc bikes at high speeds on motorways.
I just want to scoot around town at 30mph and grab a coffee with the wind in my hair.

To say I was a fish out of water is an understatement :)
But I embraced it.
I was figure 8ing and emergency braking.
I got out there and mastered (for a beginner) a manual motorcycle that was too big for me.
I can shift gears with one foot, break with the other, engage the clutch with one hand and signal with the other all while driving on the other side of the road.
We did a few laps around the large business park roads where the school is located.
Admittedly, there weren't many cars around to share the road with.
When 5pm rolled around and we hadn't stopped driving for so much as a sandwich, I was exhausted.
They announced "okay, now for the open road" (as in with lots of traffic)
I just felt too tired to feel confident and to concentrate properly.
So I called it a (long) day.

My friends Meg and Pete had me over for a relaxing dinner
And although it was one of the longest and most strenuous days, it really gave me a better sense of driving a motorcycle and certainly the Vespa is now a piece of cake to drive.