Friday, March 16, 2007

Not Exactly Evil Knievel

While I was travelling around Asia, I was thinking how cool it would be to have a little motorbike, so that I could get a bit off the beaten track and make my own pace around the place. Millions of others were riding one, so why not me? I didn't actually rent one, because the only places I stayed long enough to have the time for a motorbike were huge cities where (a) I could walk or bus everywhere and (b) the traffic scared me to death.

Coming home, I started to justify a purchase to myself - it would be good for the planet, cheap on my pocket and an ideal way to zip in to work. I started looking on trademe for possible bikes, and just so happened to find an Auckland-based motorcycle training school with online bookings, with a spot available for the Sunday morning while I was there. So I booked.

Upon arrival at the carpark which had been set up with a number of cones in various compositions, I was presented with a motorbike which looked a lot like this:
The idea was that there were six tasks we (me and the other fellow who had signed on) would have to do - we would be trained on each and then tested at the end, to see if we qualified for the certificate of basic handling skills. Some of the tasks were really easy - riding around a curve, stopping on the curve, riding the slalom. The two tasks I found really hard were riding very slowly in a straight line, and stopping with the wheel in a particular spot (I very cleverly tried combining this task with the rapid stop task and managed to fall off!). I was so bad at the riding in a straight line that the tutor gave up on me, and left me to my own devices to master it.

But come testing time, I had (I went through in 10.01 seconds against a minimum of 10 seconds). I had also mastered the stopping on a spot task. The slaloms were no trouble. The quick stop was no trouble. I don't imagine the stopping on a curve would have been a problem. But I found that when I was being tested, I couldn't ride round a curve! To be fair to myself, I could really, just not the same curve as the tutor had in mind. He had set up some cones to mark out the curved "road", I had been through once and was doing the reverse trip when my mind started playing tricks - I couldn't decide if I was to go to the left or the right of the last cone. As soon as I was committed to going left, I knew it was to the right I should have been going, but by then it was too late. And so, that was an automatic fail with no re-take possible, unlike any of the other tasks because, really, do we want people on the road who can't ride round curves?

I'm not sure I'll try again - maybe I should go back to Asia or Rarotonga and just ride some, to get my basic skills up.



Blogger Jessie said...

Haha! It does look like it'd be a tricky set of skills to master.

11:01 AM  
Blogger limegreen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:20 PM  
Blogger limegreen said...

I think I was a little over-paranoid about failure through all the stages of my motorbike licence. So I was very well prepared for the Basic Skills Test. And when I sat my learners (the theory test), I was so over-prepared and so fast that the person administering the test thought I'd come back to the counter to report some problem with the test, not that I'd finished already. And after I finally garnerd up enough courage to sit my full licence last month, I've not lost what I now know to be the only key. So I currently have a 100-odd kg paperweight. Sigh.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Sorry, James, but that bit about the lost key just made me laugh!

I think if I'd had a bike to practice on rather than just hiring for the day, I'd have done much better in the test - riding is what makes one confident, after all.

11:57 PM  

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