Broomsticks and Bruises

Granny-on-a-bike has been a little quiet for sometime.  But her broomstick has been flying for the past few weeks, stuttering and stalling at times, and meeting new challenges on any day the winds aren’t going to carry rider off in front of a juggernaut.  Or as is more likely where I live, a double-decker bus.


There are advantages to learning out of the high season of summer.  It helps you to deal with conditions you’d never otherwise meet.  Wet leaves, wet manure (you’d think the sheep would use a loo!), wind, the glare of lights, wishing you had windscreen wipers for your visor, riding without feeling the tips of your fingers, and the latest – gravel drifts after heavy rains presenting slippery obstacles at junctions.

I tackled the mod 1 test.  I didn’t feel quite ready for it, but, on the advice of my instructor, I went for the experience.   There was nothing to lose in trying.

I didn’t pass, failing to get to 50kph out of a bend to do an emergency stop.  Parking, slalom, two consecutive figures of eight, u-turn, walking pace riding, controlled stop – all those couldn’t have gone any better.   But 50kph?  Who’d have thought it could be so hard?  Still, it was a confidence boost, I felt like it was within reach.

Scheduled to try again a couple of weeks later, I booked in a refresher the day before.  We did a short road ride to get used to the bikes again, then worked on those speed manoeuvres.  I was having a good day.  I discovered how to get to 50kph in a short distance, finding it helps to glance at the revs meter.  I did a couple of emergency stops from speed and managed to do them without stalling, not necessary, but a bonus.  One more before the final technical skill: swerving.

This is where I discovered making a mistake hurts.  I hit the speed, but was still accelerating, the hand went up to stop and I pulled the front brake too hard.  The wheel locked, and me and bike hit the ground.

The bike ended up with a buckled brake pedal, but was still operating, and I was thankful for the body armour.  A bit bruised the next day, but I’ve felt worse after a run.  I think the instructor was more shocked than me and she made me sit down.  I felt like I’d been sent to the naughty corner.  I only asked her what I did wrong!

I had the option of the bike being picked up, or riding back.  Feeling it was better to get back up on the horse again, I opted for riding back (my guardian angels ride destriers).  In the playground, we ran through the slow manoeuvres without further incident or mistake.  As, we’re patching up the scratches on the bike’s crash bars (I noted the layers and layers of paint meant I’m not the first and won’t be the last to find the floor), the instructor said she didn’t feel it was fair for me not to do the test the next day.  Everything had gone so well apart from, well, nearly being hospitalised.

When the adrenaline passes and you’re feeling the bruises, you don’t quite feel the same way.  The next day, I made myself ride on little Yami over to the training school to see how I feel and was pretty shaky. I told them I wasn’t doing any test today.  But I was goaded into getting back up on the broomstick and go for the ride over to get comfy again.  See how I feel when I’m there.  When I got there, my instructor put all my papers on the desk and next thing I knew I was being ushered to the pad.

All’s well so far.  I round that bend, I rev that throttle, we get to 50 kph and the emergency stop couldn’t have been better.  But, I managed to kick a bollard on the turn and the examiner had explicitly told me that he doesn’t like picking up bollards at his age.  I offered to pick it up for him, but that kind of bribery doesn’t work, he told me he’d see me next week.

It so happened there’s a vacant slot for that test next week.  I’m booked in.

Attempt no. 3: It’s an hour’s journey from the training school to the test centre.  It takes me a while to relax, but am reasonably comfortable again by the time we get there.  Except, I didn’t get there.  I missed the turn the instructor took at the last roundabout, chose what seemed to be the logical exit and got it wrong.  Despite it causing hilarity at the test centre, I had missed my test, and am told “see you next week’.

At this rate, I’ll be on their Christmas mailing list.

My self-sabotage was probably some subconscious avoidance.  I’d not been the same since the accident.    I’m seriously considering giving up.  But my pride is my weakness and I’m stubborn as hell.  I AM going to get that license.  I had a chat with the instructor and agreed to backtrack on the lessons and ban any talk of ‘test’.   Two shorter lessons and it’s working.   Yesterday I had such fun out there on the big bike, I can’t wait for the next session.


Featured Image:  Public Domain



9 thoughts on “Broomsticks and Bruises

  1. I had a crash and went into the back of a car in my first week on my bike. It stopped suddenly and I pulled on the clutch which wasn’t very effective at stopping me! Bent the forks! It got better after that though I came off a number of times – wet slippery roads and corners, piles of gravel, ice and snow. Nothing too serious.


    1. The clutch isn’t so good for stopping! Bent forks – expensive crash – ouch. I dropped mine the first day I had it, from trying to stop on adverse camber. I was really upset about it, but now it’s – here we go again, pick it up, get back on. Not a bad day for going out weather-wise, think we might be going for a trip somewhere 🙂


  2. I’m a giver-upper when technical things get too hard. I think that’s why I have such difficulty learning how to do them. DON’T GIVE UP, GIRLFRIEND! We’re here cheering you on. ❤ Though I know there’s a huge difference between learning to ride a bike and learning to “ride” a computer! Am so glad you weren’t seriously hurt. “…wishing you had windscreen wipers for your visor…” Seriously? They have them on helmets???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the encouragement!!! I’ve heard you can get visors with wipers, but I’ve not seen them. Many of the gloves are designed with a patch to help you remove the water, I’ve had to use mine a LOT! There are some cool biker gadgets – heated handlebars – big bike has them (amazing difference) – heated jackets and gloves are a possibility. You can listen to music, talk to fellow riders, add videos, sat navs that talk to the computer on the bike…. I’m sure there’s loads more, but I’ve to find them yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheer’s Debbie, my shoulder hit the curb, so the muscles in that area were stiff for a couple of days, but actually, the body armour did take the impact. A little bruising on shoulder and hip and my kit seems to think I hit my elbow too – but didn’t feel it. I’m good as new. But it was a hard fall, my instructor couldn’t believe I was ok.


  3. Our household is now motorbike-less as himself sold the Exterminator and is yet to find a trike within his price range. I am breathing all kinds of sighs of relief. I’m happy for you though – seriously 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking a little earlier about what name I’ll give my bike when I finally get to ride her (the BMW 650). But I think Verd’s should definitely be called the Exterminator – it looks like something out of a science fiction film. I can understand the worry though – we’re both doing this, but yet getting anxious if the other doesn’t get home, text or ring within a reasonable period of time.

      Liked by 1 person

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