Getting somewhere

It’s been much longer than I had planned. Seriously, I wanted to write new blogs whilst I was doing my lessons. Regular updates and all that.

But life was too busy. My freelance work took up a huge chunk of my time. Then my second job. Then a holiday. And then my driving lessons. Honestly, sometimes I was just too tired to write such a simple thing as another blog of perhaps 500 words.

I’ll do better now. I chose this as another writing project and I’m still into it.
Today I might use it to motivate myself a little. I feel as if I’ve hit a wall. But let me tell you what’s been going on.

The last blog I wrote I talked about a driving lesson that didn’t go well. I still don’t count it as a proper lesson. I’ve been doing so much better ever since and this was just a quick detour to get some riding time in, even if it felt a bit of a waste of time.

The next few lessons after that one we mostly concentrated on riding around the city. Learning the ground rules, some of which I’ve already known, of course, but plenty of which I had to learn. It’s different to ride in the middle of the road with a machine capable of more than 80 horsepower between your legs.

It takes some adjustment. It’s a completely different way of moving around the city. My preference remains the bicycle, though. I mean, I love riding a motorbike. Just not in the city. Which would also be the case if I were driving a car. Traffic in the city, at least in Hamburg, doesn’t require motorised transportation. It’s a huge pain in the behind and unnecessary.

Then again, I don’t want to use my future motorbike as a commute anyway.

At first, I struggled a little. But that sort of thing is to be expected.

Whenever there was a new first to try out, I felt trepidation. I still feel it for the first few minutes I’m on the motorbike. I don’t have a routine yet. I’ve spent perhaps 35 hours on the motorbike now. That’s nothing.

But after the first five minutes, I remember how to do everything again and feel confident in my riding abilities. Plus, my teacher is happy with my progress. Yes, I make mistakes. But I try my utmost not to repeat them.

By now I’ve completed all the required lessons and if the penultimate test would just be about driving around, I’d pass without a problem. But there are the basic motorbike riding tasks as well. There are nine in total. Four a mandatory. Two more are randomly chosen among the remaining five. So, six will be tested, but I need to be able to do all 9.

There’s small slalom at walking pace. The big slalom (in two versions) at 30 km/h, there’s a stop and go drive, a walking pace straight ride, a ride in a circle in both directions (two laps left, two right), there’s the emergency brake manoeuvre and then there’s the evasive manoeuvre with braking and without braking.

Today we’ve done all of these tasks. Whilst the circle drive is not my favourite, it’s okay. I’m fine with all the slaloms. Walking pace riding and stop and go is also not a problem. Oddly, evading without braking (you still pull the clutch, though) is also fine.

I struggle, however, with breaking manoeuvres at higher speeds. Among the many repeats today, I’ve done a few that were alright. But the majority didn’t turn out so great. I was breaking too long or I was not fast enough or making a bunch of other mistakes. It was a frustrating experience. At least as far as those two tasks are concerned.

So, today it felt as if I hit a wall and whilst the ride back was really good, I still felt frustrated with myself. I mean, honestly, I also need to give myself a break because it was the first time, I’ve done half these tasks, including the emergency brake. And my teacher was still happy with me at the end of the day. He expressed confidence that I’ll be alright.

We’ve scheduled another lesson for Friday. I know my weak points. And I know how to do the manoeuvres correctly. So, if I have to put in more time (and money) to get better and nail the tasks to pass my driving test the first time around, I shall make that investment.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I have no intention of failing my driving test.

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