Motorcycle riding assessment

Had my ride out with Joe from Lothian Motorcycle Training yesterday, two hours riding with a bit either side to prepare and go through what happened.

I got the radio on, so I could hear the instructions for where to go, then out to the bikes.We started out with the preride check, giving the bike a once over to check everything was safely attached, no fluid leaks etc. Then off through Bathgate, through the centre, back out again, looping around to dual carriageway etc, then some country roads too. Quite a mix of roads. Joe rides following on his bike, giving directions through the radio. Then back to base for the verdict.

The good news is that it went really well, I was comforted that we ran the whole ride without a stop, so I couldn’t have been that dangerous! I’ve got a few things to work on, in no particular order:

  • Dominate the road more, I tend to ride too far to the left on straight roads. Moving to the middle helps visibility. When waiting at traffic lights this stops other drivers moving into the gap I have left.
  • Pick up the speed, I tend to dawdle a bit. And even a safe overtake past a Tractor wasn’t taken.
  • Related to the speed bit is positioning, move earlier to get the extra visibility – Roadcraft describes positioning left for a right hand bend and right for a left hand bend, which can always be shifted if the road condition or other traffic dictates.
  • Watch the distance when following larger vehicles, a bike disappears easily and even though I was putting a bit of space, I could add to it a bit more. Two bike lengths is the target when stationary. Don’t get stuck behind a lorry that can’t see you in the mirrors.
  • Remember the left mirror check when moving around vehicles, just in case they have moved forward after being parked.
  • Rear brake only under 20mph, which stops the front diving about. I’d had my speed a bit lower than this before switching to rear brake only.
  • Don’t stick my leg out as far when stationary. I’ve developed a bit of a habit of this, and it doesn’t leave any room if my foot were to slip a bit.

I’ll add anything I’ve missed when I remember. It was quite reassuring however, I’ve taken away some details on the advanced test, but practice is the key for the next few months and I can take it from there.

Wish I’d put my thermals on though, I was freezing after the ride – we’d gone up some height during some of the ride and it was really cold. With going out before to practice and the ride itself I was out for over 3 hours, which is about the longest I’ve been out so far.