Chapter 2 — The first lesson
Now we’re building up steam. This is the day. My first time on a motorcycle. The first driving lesson.
I came to the training polygon 15 minutes early for my first lesson. I saw 3 people riding bikes and one between them yelling instructions. Well, at least it wasn’t hard to identify the instructor. I approached the chubby yelling man and introduced myself. After introductions, he told me I was early and I’ll have to wait for the driver on the smallest bike to finish. Well ok, I’ve been waiting my whole life for this, I can wait 15 minutes more.
As I was waiting, I was examining the drivers: rider on the smallest bike was a Fit Guy with awesome equipment — clearly rich, there was also an Old Lady whose bike was too big for her and a very big Strong Dude who probably looks too big for any bike. Not the crowd I was expecting, but interesting nonetheless. I was trying to imagine which bikes are they gonna get and what’s their general style…
The Fit Guy will buy a new road bike above 500cc like the Yamaha FZ-09. He’s gonna get a matching brand jacket, gloves, helmet and pants. He don’t care, he can afford it. He probably has a female colleague at work who doesn’t notice him and the whole point of this is to get her attention.
The Old Lady was probably gonna get a Beverly 125cc Scooter. She’s doing this because a license is required for anything above 50cc and her husband or male friends told her that 50cc isn’t powerful enough to get groceries. Her motivation is probably cost reduction: bikes are easier on fuel, cheaper to register and awesome in the city traffic. She was struggling riding a 250cc bike and was probably regretting this decision. But she was rambling on. Respect.
The big Strong Dude would probably want to get a Yamaha R6 but can’t afford it so he’ll settle with an older Sporty Kawasaki. He was riding bikes since he was 13. He’s the kind of a guy who doesn’t need a helmet to ride. Or gloves. Or a jacket. He doesn’t go to the gym, his biceps go without him. His motivation is his macho lifestyle. It’s required.
Finally, the 15 minutes were up. The smallest bike, the 125cc Yamaha YBR was waiting just for me.
“You don’t have your own helmet. I’ll get you one from the school. Have you ever rode a bike?” — asked the instructor.
“No.” — I said.
“Oh, come on, you must have, at least a scooter. Or maybe a bigger bike? You can tell me. Even if you rode it on the road, I won’t tell anybody.” — he was persistent.
“No, I really haven’t. This will be my first time on a bike.” — I told the truth.
Well, now it seemed he was annoyed. He rolled his eyes and told me he’ll explain everything as we walked over to a 125cc Yamaha YBR.
“Ok, this left lever is the clutch, right is the front brake. Right leg lever is the rear break and the left leg lever is the sifter. The gears are first, neutral, second, third and fourth. These are the blinkers, engine power and cut off switch and the throttle. That’s it. Hop on.” — he said in a single breath.
Wait. What? That’s it? Have I mentioned I never rode a bike before? I sat on the bike.
“Hold the clutch and shift down to one and bring the shifter gently up. You’ll know you’re in neutral when this green light lights up. Hold the clutch, put it down for first, crank the throttle until it shows above 3000 RPM and slowly release the clutch to ride. Then break with the front breaks and hold the clutch. Just like a car. I gotta go help the lady out, you just ride this path up and down slowly.” — he said and stormed off.
Hmpf. Okaaaay. Show no fear, let’s do this. I was holding the clutch, pushed in first. Started rolling the throttle until it hit 3200 RPM and started to release the clutch…
HOLY SHIT I’M RIDING A BIKE!!! THIS IS THE GREATEST FEELING EVER!
Clutch in, break. This. Is. So. AWESOME. AGAIN. 3200 RPM, release clutch.
OMG, I SHIFTED TO SECOND. ALL BY MYSELF. I AM ON THE TOP OF THE WORLD! THE SPEED…! I’M TRAVELLING AT LIGHT SPEED!
I looked at the speedometer and it was showing 30km/h (about 17mph).
Well… that number seems low. But the speed perception was so much different than a car, it felt so much faster. I felt so I alive, I wanted to scream from happiness. I was riding a motorcycle for the first time in my life. It sounded roaringly wicked and frightingly fast. Later I found out that is not how you describe a 125cc Yamaha.
Thats how I spent my first hour of motorcycle driving lessons, riding circles on the polygon. Could it get any better than this? Like, ever? Lets see…
This happened in July of 2014 and was written in October 2016.