Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The first journey of many ... Part 1

A friend of mine was going to be riding a Harley across Montana, she invited me to join her part way and ride pillion. I knew I couldn't get the time off work but it was a great offer. The next day I thought "sod pillion" and started looking for bike schools. If I was going to be on a bike I was going to be in charge, riding my own bike and fulfilling a dream I'd had for as long as I could remember. I booked a Ride On session, the one hour session taught me little and I didn't enjoy it one jot, but I was determined to keep going and booked in for my CBT at a central London based school. I won't mention their name as I don't want to give them an ounce of advertising! The teachers were rude, lazy and didn't give a damn about the students. They spent their time slagging off cyclists (I'm a keen cyclist so this didn't go down well, plus they were making comments about the Highway code and cyclists which I knew were wrong so they were misleading the other students - I tried arguing but was given short shrift). The classes had far too many students in them and were dominated by young men who, sadly, fulfilled the stereotype of idiot lads on motorbikes, heaven help all other road users if they kept going and got their licenses! I finished up in tears, didn't get my CBT, but once again refused to give up.
I was born and bred in Derbyshire and spend most of time feeling homesick, in response to this I often try and do things of significance back home. I wasn't sure why I hadn't followed this routine with the bike lessons but I decided to change that. I found Valley Bike School online and called the Lancashire based company. Joe was friendly, and seemed genuinely saddened by my recent experience. I booked onto a Direct Access course, found a room in a B&B for a week and was ready to start again. In the end it took 5 months and a lot of cursing into my helmet : I really struggled, often questioning why I was doing it. But I refused to give up and I can clearly remember the day when something 'clicked': I was back in Lancashire with VBS, the day before another attempt at my Mod 2 (which I hasten to add I passed !), I swung my leg over the bike, started the engine and set off. For the first time I felt right at home and enjoyed every minute, by the time we got back my face ached from grinning all day. I had finally caught the bug.
On the 14th September 2011 I passed my test and it's one of the achievements I am most proud of.

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