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Thread: New to the forum and bikes

  1. #1

    Default New to the forum and bikes

    Greetings, ladies and gents.
    9 year Japan resident here, originally from near Liverpool in England.
    I've only ever ridden a little scooter, but signing up to start lessons for ~400cc licence in a week. I live in Toyama so for 3-4 months a year biking can be impossible, but looking forward to the lessons and learning more about bikes.

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    478

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    Get together with the local cats that go to the small circuit tracks and ride on the small bikes (50cc). You can rent a bike so you don't need to own one. Spend as much time out there as you can. The reason is you'll actually learn how to ride. :)

    Best of luck to you, and welcome to the brotherhood. :)

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the welcome.
    I've been riding a 50cc (well, 49cc) scooter for about 6 years now. It does 60km/hr so it's been quite handy and economical during the non-winter months!

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Yamaguchi-ken N. of Shimonoseki
    Posts
    343

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebriz View Post
    Thanks for the welcome.
    I've been riding a 50cc (well, 49cc) scooter for about 6 years now. It does 60km/hr so it's been quite handy and economical during the non-winter months!

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk
    Yeah the 50cc is a go getter. I'm trying to now move up to the 125cc Yamaha scooter. Need the license though for it yet. I'd prefer a 175 or around a 200cc if possible, but I'll settle for the 125cc for now. For the country roads here in Yamaguchi, the 50 is a way to go, easy to pull aside and just take pictures. I posted a thread the other in the forum with about 120 pictures of me camping and touring.

  5. #5

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    Not sure why, but for some reason your link just takes me back to the front page of the forum. Maybe because I'm on Tapatalk? I'll try again next time I'm on the PC. Would love to see some photos.

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk

  6. #6

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    I had my first lessons today after registering on Saturday morning.

    The bikes were (I think) CB400 Hondas. A whole different ball game compared to my 50cc Yamaha Jog!

    We had to lift the bike up from a fall on its side and push it around the track a bit. Then we practiced with the clutch, starting the engine, moving into first gear, then finding neutral etc. After that we practiced moving forward slowly and braking, over increasingly longer distances (still only several metres in a straight line).

    After that we practiced going round the small track, using 2nd gear on the bends and 3-4-3 on the straight. Around this time we were greeted with rain like the end of the world was coming. We continued to practice (after getting into waterproofs) and practiced coming to a stop in first gear, and finding neutral.

    The two hours flew by, my rigid hips hurt a bit, as did my left hand, but I feel like I learned some things. I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's class, at least part of which will be on some kind of simulator.

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Yamaguchi-ken N. of Shimonoseki
    Posts
    343

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebriz View Post
    I had my first lessons today after registering on Saturday morning.

    The bikes were (I think) CB400 Hondas. A whole different ball game compared to my 50cc Yamaha Jog!

    We had to lift the bike up from a fall on its side and push it around the track a bit. Then we practiced with the clutch, starting the engine, moving into first gear, then finding neutral etc. After that we practiced moving forward slowly and braking, over increasingly longer distances (still only several metres in a straight line).

    After that we practiced going round the small track, using 2nd gear on the bends and 3-4-3 on the straight. Around this time we were greeted with rain like the end of the world was coming. We continued to practice (after getting into waterproofs) and practiced coming to a stop in first gear, and finding neutral.

    The two hours flew by, my rigid hips hurt a bit, as did my left hand, but I feel like I learned some things. I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's class, at least part of which will be on some kind of simulator.

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk

    Keep us updated.

  8. #8

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    Will do! Second lesson is this afternoon 👍

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Yamaguchi-ken N. of Shimonoseki
    Posts
    343

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebriz View Post
    Will do! Second lesson is this afternoon ��

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk
    Try to take some pictures of the place

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by adventurous biker View Post
    Try to take some pictures of the place
    I'll see what I can do. The weather forecast is showing rain again, so a sunny day might be better for taking photos that don't look grey and miserable!

  11. #11

    Default

    Yesterday, Tuesday, was day 2, and again there was heavy rain. Second pair of gloves soaked through. I'll be out of gloves soon!
    Started with just laps of the small track. Moving between 2nd gear on the bends and 3rd, 4th, 3rd on the straights and back to 2nd again as I reached the next bend. Did that for a while and then moved to stopping at 30km/h. It might have been a bit faster but for the very wet conditions. I got on the back of the bike with the instructor the first few times round and then spent time doing it myself. I would start at one point, move down the track then stop by a cone part way around the curve, wait for the signal from the instructor, accelerate to 30km/h and then stop after passing the two cones. The advice I got was about using the front brake more gradually, and about using the rear brake ideally at the same time as the front, if not marginally before. Anyway, after some practice it seemed ok.

    Second hour was on the simulator. Practiced stopping at different speeds on different surfaces. Practiced going around bends at 40,50,60,70, and 80km/h. Emergency stopping when a barrier appeared suddenly round a bend and that kind of thing. Being the only student there meant we could talk more and I had more chance to practice, which was good. One habit I have from scooter driving is starting off and riding with my hands always lightly resting on the brakes. He told me not to be doing this on the motorbike. Anyway, I enjoyed the class again and again the two hours passed quickly. I was only able to book one hour for today, which is a bit annoying, but there's really no need to rush.

    Edit: Forgot to mention, apparently today I'll be riding a big scooter!
    Last edited by Bluebriz; 27-07-16 at 10:28 AM.

  12. #12

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    Day 3 - just the one hour. It was really hot and humid and by the end my shirt was soaked through. I looked like I'd been for a swim fully dressed!

    Today was on the big scooter. Did some laps, got to use a bike with mirrors (day one and two the bike had no mirrors), practiced looking and indicating, then did a while riding as slowly as possible down the centre of the road, essentially trying to go straight, control the bike, while moving at a speed so low it doesn't really register on the speedometer. Roll on the next class, which starts in 40 minutes. Could only get 1 hour again today!

  13. #13

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    Day 4 (Hour 6 of the course) - Today there were three things to do, the balance beam, the S shaped curve, and the L shaped part with the right and left 90 degree turns. After a bit of practice the beam was ok, the S part was ok, but I really couldn't get the hang of the L shaped part. Fell off the bike about 3 times, totally knocked my confidence. I'll have to repeat this lesson and the cost will be added on at the end of the course, if I can get the far! I kept looking down for some reason, and that threw my balance off. Next class is tomorrow. Hopefully with practice I can get the hang of it like I did with the balance beam. If anybody has any tips please let me know. When my confidence went it was like my Japanese ability went with it. Bah!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Hiroo, Tokyo
    Posts
    641

    Default New to the forum and bikes

    I had a mental block on the bridge, had to retake a lesson. In the end I clicked and it became easy. Keep up with the crank, do the extra lesson and you will probably "get it".
    The key to the crank is to look where you want to go, so turn your head 90 degrees and look to the next corner as soon as you approach each turn.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    RedSquare
    Some pithy saying about biking, or a quote from a self-styled guru. Take your pick.

  15. #15

    Default New to the forum and bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by RedSquare View Post
    I had a mental block on the bridge, had to retake a lesson. In the end I clicked and it became easy. Keep up with the crank, do the extra lesson and you will probably "get it".
    The key to the crank is to look where you want to go, so turn your head 90 degrees and look to the next corner as soon as you approach each turn.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I think after the first fall or two I had a mental block, too. I don't mind extra lessons if I get there in the end. Thanks for the tip though, I appreciate it 😀

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Kansai
    Posts
    402

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedSquare View Post
    The key to the crank is to look where you want to go, so turn your head 90 degrees and look to the next corner as soon as you approach each turn.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    100% agree. You go where your head and eyes are looking (not just your eyes, you have to make an effort every time to swivel your head too), don't worry about what the front wheel's doing. Be aware of the other side of the same coin; target fixation, as in when you go round a corner and there's a small rock in your path. Look at it and you WILL run over it.
    "That's a man's corner for men, that is." Guy Martin, Isle of Man

  17. #17

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    Day 5 - After some practice and trial and error I was able to do the crank. At one point I thought I would never get it, but we dropped to low gear then did it, went back to second and it was ok. Not perfect and hoping I still have more chances to try it, but OK. The bridge was also ok, as was the S curve.

    Today's new part was the slalom. After riding on the bike with the instructor showing me about how to accelerate out of the curves etc I went round the track and practiced the curves on the straights, then onto the slalom course. I'll need to speed up slightly although I did several times within the time limit. I have to make the curves a bit smaller, stay closer to the cones as I turn, and start and finish a bit more quickly.

    I managed it all in the end anyway. It was so hot that after finishing I looked like I had peed my pants, there was so much sweat. I had to go straight home to shower then back to work. The insides of my thighs also had big red marks from the knee grip!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Hiroo, Tokyo
    Posts
    641

    Default New to the forum and bikes

    I found the slalom the hardest, so if you cracked that dance in a day, you are well set.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    RedSquare
    Some pithy saying about biking, or a quote from a self-styled guru. Take your pick.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RedSquare View Post
    I found the slalom the hardest, so if you cracked that dance in a day, you are well set.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Well, when I was falling off the bike on the crank I was convinced I'd never pass. Now I think maybe.
    I've already been in touch with Apexmoto about buying my first bike!

  20. #20

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    So Monday saw me having 2 hours of lessons again.
    These hours were split mainly between the slalom and the hill start. The slalom went well and I was down to 6 seconds so the instructor was happy with that. First few attempts at the hill start went well, then the next few I stalled the bike. I wasn't giving it enough gas. Got the hang of it towards the end though. Then I rode with the instructor round the entire course for the first time. I'm really inflexible in the hips so getting on and off the back of the bike is uncomfortable for me. Anyway, he rode us around the full course (1 of the 2 possible routes I have to memorise there) and explained bits and pieces between parts. Then I had to follow him around the course on my own bike. It was my first time on the crank turn since I managed it after all the earlier trouble. No problems this time though. The bridge was ok, the slalom ok, emergency stop ok, hill start ok, s-curve ok. Of course I'm a million miles from perfect but I feel I'm getting better at the basics.

    A weird thing for me is that I'm dreaming about riding the bike all the time. As someone who almost never remembers their dreams (maybe a handful in my life) this is a big change!

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