I know I've been a bit quiet the past few days but here's another blog post to satisfy your appetites. As many of you know from my previous blog posts I ride a Yamaha MT-125 on a CBT and a big question I kept asking was is a CBT hard? I'm a pretty accomplished rider on the track but I'm just making my first footsteps onto the road so I've picked up more than a few tips that helped me getting started and I'm sure they can help a few of you, too!
is a cbt hard - preparation:
Chances are you've scoured the web and got a whole host of answers, the answer to the question of is a CBT hard is that yes, it is. It's more than okay to say it aloud which a lot of bikers don't. Whether you're an accomplished track racer or brand new and never sat on a bike before, the CBT isn't easy. To accurately pinpoint it it's often not the riding the bike that's the hard part, it's the taking care of the road riding side of things.
To properly prepare I'd really recommend you read the highway code (no, actually do it!) because it's going to help you a whole lot more than just jumping on the bike. I learned this the hard way, as I do with just about every choice I make in life. I'd also try on all your gear a couple of times, especially if you're wearing a jacket/trousers/boots combo, the boots will more than likely need broken in so if you do nothing else I'd recommend wearing them for a few hours. I ended up cutting the grass in mines to make sure they were properly worn!
I wouldn't worry too much about the actual motorcycle riding, that will come with practice. The more videos you watch the more mixed tips you're going to get and eventually it'll just confuse and put the fear of death into you. Just turn up on the day and trust your instructor, believe it or not they know what they're doing.
is a cbt hard - the day & how it's set up
By this time you should've broken your boots in, watched 20 videos on clutch control, scared yourself shitless, picked up 35 tips that don't work and you've turned up bright eyed, bushy tailed at 8am at the test centre. The day itself is broken up into 5 modules, A through E.
Module A is where you all grab a brew and sit in a room talking about the gear and safety aspects of riding, you'll also get your sight tested during this part and your licenses will get checked. Make sure you bring it with you!
Module B usually takes place outside in the closed off test area. They'll show you the bikes, the controls, explain the dash, some basic maintenance tasks and how to safely manually handle the machines.
Module C is where you'll first jump on the bike, you'll be doing basic starting/stopping, changing gears and slaloming at slow speeds, U turns, left/right turns. Theoretically that's the main aspects of the course and this is where you'll learn to control the bike.
Module D takes you back to the classroom and for another brew. They'll brief you for the road during this module and talk through how to ride on the road, proper positioning and they'll probably give you a brief quiz on a few of the highway code excerpts.
Module E is where you absolutely soil your pants as you pull out on the road. You'll be in constant chat with your instructor so don't be too scared but I know for someone who's been on bikes for 13 years it definitely brought me to an arse-clenching few hours.
The key thing to remember here is to relax, enjoy the ride. It's a lot easier said than done but that's all you have to do, being relaxed doesn't mean you'll become complacent it means you won't be sitting holding on as tight as you can for dear life and every little change your body makes the whole bike follows. Once you relax then you can realistically move around a bit without it changing the direction of the bike which is good for wind, similarly it makes you at ease and you won't overthink everything. Heading up to every junction/roundabout you'll hear in your ear:
On approach we're checking our mirrors, putting our signal on, doing our lifesaver, changing our road position and as we're slowing down we're changing down.
Basically, you'll never forget your checks because they won't let you. The guys that do these courses are fantastic and are always happy to have new, safe riders on the road.
is a cbt hard - the certificate & After:
If you don't get granted your certificate on your first time - don't worry, it's really not easy and it's perfectly normal for someone to not get the certification. Out of the 5 lads I done it with only the guy doing a resit and I got to go out on the road so don't fret. If you did get the certification then congratulations, you're now allowed out on your own - welcome to the road.
Once you're on the road, the learning never stops. You need to constantly be looking for what cars are going to do next, how they're going to move, will that car pull out? You'll also be filtering, which is absolutely terrifying until you get confident doing it and then a car will zip out in front of you and you'll be back at square 1.
What I'm getting at is that NO aspect of riding a motorcycle on a road is easy. It's terrifying and you're so exposed to wind, rain and all of that on a 125 that probably won't hit the other side of 75 mph so you don't really have the top end to get out of a sticky situation.
However, I wouldn't change it for the world. I love riding and I couldn't imagine commuting even in the rain/hail/snow in a car, I've always had a love for two wheels and I'll never lose that. It also gives you a cracking weekend hobby of working on the bike! On another note, I'd really recommend buying an old junk bike if you have the money lying around and work on it as a project bike so you can learn the inner workings and how all of that goes around, there's plenty of tutorials online.