Before getting straight on a 600cc "big bike" my next lesson was on a 500.
|First time on the Suzuki 500|
I really enjoyed having more power and found the bike easier to handle than the 125. All I can remember about my early days on the bike was how much fun it was. I had a ride around in the car park on this bike and then was allowed to go out to the quieter parts of town. Feeling the wind on my face for the first time was amazing and after this first time out I couldn't wait to get back on a bike.
My next lesson was on a Suzuki Bandit 600 and I liked this bike as well but found it quite a bit heavier.
|Me on the Suzuki Bandit 600|
Steve was away riding his bike across the States, whilst I was learning to ride. He kept sending me pics and emails of amazing riding tales... I didn't need any more motivation to pass my test! Before he went away he had bought a Suzuki DR 350 for himself and for me to learn on. However as the laws have changed I couldn't put a limiter on it....a real pain.
|My pride and joy - my first ever motorbike!!|
|Thumper - full of helpful hints on bike control|
When Steve did return from the States the first thing he did was put off road tyres on my little Honda. He claimed the real way to ride was to get off road!
|Practising off road skills|
|Pooped after only a few hours riding!|
However the reality of the matter was I had to get my mod 1 passed and so it was back to practising in the car park. It took me another 2 goes to finally pass my mod 1 and then I booked my mod 2 test straight away. I thought the mod 2 would be pretty straight forward as by now I had had a lot of lessons, been out in Carlisle loads and was riding my 125 pretty much every day. I have also been driving a car for 20 years so I was fairly familiar with the Highway Code and road rules....or so I thought.
My first mod 2 test went really well but I got confused at a roundabout and ended up in the wrong lane. Something I wouldn't have normally done but I think the pressure got to me and I failed :-( The one problem with bike tests is if you fail, you cannot book another test fro 10 days and with it being summer you can't always get one. So I got another test booked but it was for a month later!
|Enjoying the freedom of exploring by bike|
|A successful ride along the coach road|
Steve and me also spent a couple of evenings in Carlisle practising junctions and roundabouts....yawn yawn but necessary. My next test date was badly planned. I had PMT (not a good start), I had my dissertation to finish for my Open University degree and I had my test all in the same week. This mod 2 test was awful and I got stuck in a filter lane at traffic lights. The lights turned red and I should have gone but I ended up staying in the filter lane and of course failed...the pressure got to me again! It didn't appear to be my riding skills...it was highway code stuff that I was failing on. I was absolutely gutted but managed to book my test for pretty much 10 days later. And yes you guessed it .......went off road riding in between to cheer myself up!!
|An evening of easy lanes by myself near Loweswater|
This 3rd mod 2 test that I took was the hardest of them all. I had lots of obstacles to deal with and a lorry stranded on a roundabout, but I concentrated hard and passed. Happy Days. I cannot put in words how happy I was. It really was a huge weight off my back and one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
So to celebrate.. I went shopping as all girls should. However, it wasn't for shoes and handbags, it was for a new bike!! And that's when I said a sad goodbye to the Honda and became the proud owner of my KTM EXC-F 250.
|Caldbeck ford on my KTM|