Guiseppe

I booked my CBT with City School of Motorcycling in Edinburgh in July this year and undertook the training in September.

Demand for doing the CBT was high this year, especially during the Summer months. I was very excited when I booked, but really had no idea what to expect. This made me slightly nervous, but I pushed it to the back of my mind as there was plenty of time to research and gain some knowledge before the training.

On the day of the training, I arrived at 8.30am. I was relieved to discover it was only 2 trainees to an instructor. We began by doing an eyesight test to ensure I could read a registration plate from 20m away. Next step was getting my safety gear on. My classmate had made the right choice and brought her own.

I was a bag of nerves as the two Yamaha YBR 125s were rolled out. We were shown the basic components of the motorcycle; where the controls were located and how to carry out essential checks before riding.

After a few stalls, it was an amazing feeling when I got going and managed to stay upright and be in control. I had imagined I would be dropping the bike and flying into the fence, but it went more smoothly than I had imagined.

We covered slow speed control, doing u-turns, figure of 8s, emergency stops, navigating around cones and practising clutch control.

For the theory side, it was back to the office hut. Our instructor, Drew, covered the essential rules from the Highway Code and used diagrams and videos to show us manoeuvres, the OSM PSL (observation, signal, manoeuvre – position, speed, look) routine and the importance of the life-saver.

The day was split between theory and practical training. I liked this because it gave you a break and an opportunity to get back into riding with a fresh focus.

It was a very long first day (8.30-5.30pm) and by the afternoon I was feeling very drained and frustrated, making silly errors and feeling like I’d never get the hang of it. My least favourite part was the junction scenario; we would perform our observations, switch on the indicator, and come to a stop or very slow speed before moving off again. It was a lot trying to remember everything at once and I stalled a few times trying to move off.

The best part of the CBT was definitely getting out on the road.

I returned the following day from 8.30-12.30pm with a clear head and was focused on completing the training (not wanting to return for further training). After a quick warm up, I was out of the training yard and riding in the big bad City!

It was much easier as I have driving experience and I felt really quite calm and comfortable riding the motorcycle, which surprised me. Our instructor also made the training great, keeping us calm and making the experience fun and light-hearted, which is what it should be.

I was not sure what to expect as I had only driven past training schools where the trainees would be in hi-viz, slowly navigating around cones. I thought the controls of the motorcycle were so complicated at first and I constantly needed to look down for my gear lever. However, it’s amazing how quickly you can pick it up. It went much better than I had anticipated and I surprised myself during my time on the road.

When we got back to the yard after the final ride out on the road, noone spoke and the atmosphere was quite tense, waiting to see if we had passed. I was apprehensive even as the instructor was filling out the certificate, thinking maybe this is not for me, or that I would receive a sheet of paper telling me not to come back.

I was totally thrilled when I got my certificate and proud that I could be trusted to ride on a motorcycle.

I told them that I had absolutely loved the experience and wished I had done the training years ago. I am already thinking about the next stage – getting my full licence.

My first Motorcycle

The following weekend, I purchased my first motorcycle, a mighty 125cc (named Giuseppe) and have loved every minute of riding it since.

The first time I was out on a national speed limit road and was able to open up the throttle was amazing. There were so many emotions and so much adrenalin; I couldn’t believe how free I felt but also incredibly vulnerable. I think I was yelling “woo-hoo” to myself and thinking how awesome it was.

I’m so lucky to stay in the Borders where there are great roads to practise on, especially cornering, where I was not confident at all. The roads are also reasonably quiet, so that takes the pressure off, not thinking about holding anybody up while building skills and gaining miles.

I’m trying to get as many rides in as possible before the bitter Scottish Winter kicks in along with hypothermia. Motorcycle training is definitely one of the best things I have ever done. I’m so pleased and I can’t wait to move on to bigger bikes!

Jill

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