Report from the trenches - Day 1 pre-learner training at HART St Ives

Last post 10-13-2012 08:07 PM by scooterkat. 2 replies.
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  • 10-10-2012 10:02 PM

    Report from the trenches - Day 1 pre-learner training at HART St Ives

    Hi all,

    I've been lurking here for a while, soaking up all the great tips (thanks for those!)

    I've just finished day 1 of pre-learner training and thought I'd share my experience for those who are yet to do it.

    Firstly, the guys at Honda HART in St Ives are friendly, patient and very professional. We had Marc (a newbie trainer) and David (who was overseeing Marc). Even though Marc was still trying to figure out what to say and when to say it, he covered everything and we all felt very comfortable under his guidance. They are very thorough at HART and by the time you actually get on and turn on the scooter, you'll feel more than ready to do so. So I really recommend doing your pre-learners at HART (and even further training).

    The day began in the training room, where we ran through some basics such as protective gear and choosing & caring for a helmet. 

    We then headed outside to choose our helmet (one woman had brought her open-faced helmet, but she had to use a supplied full-face for safety). They also had gloves, though I chose to use my own.

    Out on the practice track, Marc ran us through the controls on the motorbikes (of which there were 4) and then the scooters (me and one other girl). 

    We then practised mounting and dismounting (with the 'front brake on, head check, stand up, rear brake on' mounting process). After this, we practised balancing. We each took turns to push another participant on their scooter/bike before letting go. They then had to push along the ground for a metre or so with their left foot, before putting it up on the platform and 'free riding' for a few moments. After doing this a few times, I felt really confident with balancing. And this is coming from someone who is relatively un-co when it comes to any form of yoga or dance. So as long as you can ride a bicycle, you'll be fiiiiine! :)

    After a break (in 24 degree heat with heavy scooter gear on, this was much needed!) we headed back out onto the track and did some figure 8s to practice turning. Again this was done with the engine off and just pushing the scooter through. I had a heavy Honda scooter so I got a decent workout hauling it around!

    Then....dun dun duuuun, we were given our keys and told to turn the engine on! After practising short riding in a straight line, we progressed to doing full laps of the track. This involved 4 corners, first riding left around the track, and then riding right. I'll be honest, it took me a little while to get used to this. But after a few laps, I felt OK. The main thing is to always look at where you want the scooter to go. Whenever I looked down at the road or ahead, funnily enough the scooter didn't round the corner! But if I kept my head up, my arms relaxed and exaggerated my head turn, I did a perfect little turn.

    By the end of the first day, I felt really good about getting on the road. Tomorrow is about more technique while in traffic, which is great because I wouldn't yet feel confident riding with cars.

    The only thing I haven't quite got a grip on is braking. It was a bit confusing in the training today, but after doing some Googling, it seems you need to first set up and squeeze the front (right) brake, and then set up and squeeze the back (left) brake. If you're riding slowly, like in a car park or servo, you can just use the back brake. If anyone knows different, please let me know as I'm determined to get the braking right!

    Ok, well that's it from me! I'll let you know how I go tomorrow (fingers crossed I get that sweet piece of paper at the end of it!)


    New to the scoot!
  • 10-12-2012 05:07 PM In reply to

    Re: Report from the trenches - Day 1 pre-learner training at HART St Ives

     Hi Kat,

    Just to give you a bit of a detailed explanation of the correct technique for using your brakes as per the Learner training method here it is:

    When we stop from normal road speed we should always use both brakes together. The correct method has 2 stages, SET UP & SQUEEZE.

    SET UP means applying a small amount of pressure to both brakes to take up the "slack" or free play in the brake levers. We then immediately apply a full SQUEEZE to both brake levers to bring the bike to a controlled stop. This technique was developed to prevent riders from simply grabbing the brakes and locking up the wheels. The reason why the wheels won't lock when we use SET UP & SQUEEZE is because SET UP quickly puts the weight of bike and rider forward onto the front tyre and increases the tyre contact patch on the road surface. This provides good grip for stopping.

    Practice this regularly and it soon becomes effective, safe & less confusing. Good luck with the riding!

    Young riders choose a destination. Older riders choose a direction.
  • 10-13-2012 08:07 PM In reply to

    Re: Report from the trenches - Day 1 pre-learner training at HART St Ives

    Thanks, that's a huge help!

    I'm pleased to say I passed day 2 - picking up my white Piaggio 150 fly on Monday from Scooteria. Weeeeee!

    New to the scoot!
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