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My First Bike!

Well that’s a little white lie because technically it’s not ‘MY’ bike. However, make no mistake about it, I truly bonded with this Honda CB125F. I had no idea that hiring a bike would be an option available to me for insurance reasons seeing as I only hold a CBT and not a full license. No one told me this would be possible! But my creative little brain was thinking outside of the box and after trying out a few google search terms I came across Scoots Hire in Norfolk which was the most local company to me offering this service.

Hiring a bike was a perfect option for me for many reasons, the first one being I’m just very impatient! Once I set my mind to something, that’s it and I dive in whole heartedly. However, I don’t currently have the bank balance to match my impulsive character. I wanted to carry on practising but to purchase my own bike I would need to save for a little while to get one. Hiring one has been instant, partly due to the time of year being winter so there is better availability and means that I’ve got an incredibly cheap deal! Of course, there are finance options available even on second hand motorcycles but I don’t want to put that debt on myself at the moment. Plus, I want to continue saving for the big bike test and eventually a bigger bike of my own! To be honest, I’m hoping that I won’t be on a 125cc for too long so hiring a bike makes sense as a temporary option.

Another reason for hiring a bike is because obviously any technical issues are then not my problem (as long as they aren’t caused by my negligence). I do still have to keep up with general maintenance though such as chain lubrication and oil checks. All more good practise for eventually owning my own. Lastly, insurance is included in the daily rate as well so that makes everything much easier too and I don’t have to go shopping around for quotes.

My first ride out alone was just as impulsive as the rest of my journey. The hardest thing about learning to ride as a mum is finding the time! I’m not a ‘fair weather rider’ as they say and I don’t mind a bit of rain and cold, but equally I hadn’t ridden a bike since my CBT so I felt it best to wait for dry conditions before getting out there for safety reasons! I also work full time so with dark winter evenings it was tricky to get out at night. So I had to just grab the first opportunity I could, and go for it. My biggest fear was of course dropping the bike while being alone and I tackled this with some rational thinking: If, in the worst-case scenario, I did drop it…then the cars behind me would just have to wait while I picked it up. Since my CBT I found myself watching lots of videos with tips on how to achieve this being a smaller person. (I haven’t had to put these tips into practise yet you’ll be pleased to hear!)

I thought about using an abandoned car park for my first practise ride, but then I’d still have to get the bike there by riding it on the road anyway! So, I put all my gear on in a hurry and sat on the bike to take a breather and prepare. The bike arrived ready to go with a brand new back tyre, so no major checks needed. I was so nervous and to make matters worse while I was sitting on the drive doing a bit of ‘mental preparation,’ my neighbour came out to have a cigarette. I didn’t have time to wait for him to go back in so I just had to go for it. But it did put me off slightly because as I went to pull away I was looking down at the gear and almost went into his wall! But one more deep breath, and a word with myself to look up and I was off!

For the first couple of minutes, I took myself down some of the side roads to practise indicating and turning before setting off on a busier road. It didn’t take long to become familiar with the position of all the gears and within only a few minutes I was heading into the town centre. I really believe that’s the best way to get to grips with anything, just getting stuck in and going for it! I hadn’t put any thought into my route because I wasn’t sure how I would take to the controls so I just decided to stay local. In hindsight, I should have at least considered the traffic (face palm!). For the next 45 minutes I was stuck on a one way system in rush hour queues. “Why didn’t you just filter?” I hear you say. I just didn’t feel confident enough to do that yet so I ignored the looks I was getting from the cars around me who must have thought I was completely stupid for not taking advantage of the ‘middle’ lane, and I sat tight crawling along. It was a blessing in disguise because I was able to fully accustom myself to the weight of the bike and the biting point on the clutch. Eventually I made it out to a viewing point at the Orwell Bridge feeling really accomplished.

The traffic meant that it was dark by the time I needed to ride home - not ideal, another baptism of fire! But by this point I was just ecstatic that I hadn’t dropped the bike and I was feeling really good about my first ride. I wooped and cheered all the way home but then I stalled right at the very end bumping up the curb at home, well there had to be one little hiccup didn’t there. The bike got tucked up nicely again in the garage and I went to bed with a smile on my face! Nailed it!

I’ve put a video of my first ride out on Youtube so you can watch it all here:


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