SarahC's Suzuki and BSM DAS diary day two: Good god I'm riding a 650!
I arrived just before 9am ready for day two and really aching from yesterday, which I’d hoped would go away over night.
After getting my Frank Thomas Alicia textile gear on and HJC helmet it was time for a bit of work on the pad for an hour on the Suzuki Van Van looking at those flipping U-Turns and more figure of eights.
After failing miserably at figure of eights that were first up for me I had to admit to Mark that I was struggling with my hands and wrists after yesterday, so he had another idea.
He sent me around the perimeters of the pad, going in both directions and taught me to get just before the corner I was heading for and picking a spot for my next one. Before I knew it I was up to third gear going over 20mph and was getting tighter and tighter on my corners.
This was the plan apparently to get me used to looking further ahead and improving my general movement out on national speedway country roads.
So then it was back to figure of eights again, which I managed to get round the corners really tightly but didn’t get on so well between the two circles of the eights. But Mark wasn’t too fussed as this was all a grand plan to help me with the U-Turns – which were coming up next.
I don’t know how many attempts I made at the bloody things, it must have been 40, but I did manage to crack a few. Mark told me to get slow riding for a few more metres and at the point I’d been putting my foot down, he said let out the clutch a bit more.
And so it was then time to head towards the city going round some of the roads, turning corners, roundabouts, all of which seemed to be better than yesterday. And then I attempted a few more U-Turns out where they take 125 learners on test.
I nailed a few, and cocked up a lot. The final biggest cock up was one little Suzuki Van Van lying on the floor with the end of its clutch laying on the floor. I felt really bad but Mark assured me it was easy enough to change and that I certainly wasn’t the first.
And so we headed back to the BSM centre to change the clutch lever before a bit more town riding.
After lunch we headed back into Birmingham for what turned out to be another two hours riding. We headed out towards Sutton Coldfield and half way to Lichfield on the A446 before turning back on the A38 towards Birmingham.
It was fairly windy so Mark told me to grip the tank with my knees and get tucked down like riding a sports mike. I was glad I had my Frank Thomsa Alicia gear on as I didn't get too cold, but I can move fairly freely in it, so I managed to get tucked down as Mark had told me to. My thermals caused great amusement but I was glad of them at this point!
It later turned out that Mark hadn’t intended to take me on the national speed limit roads until day three but he felt I had done well so that was my reward.
I managed to get the Van Van up to 55mph, which amazed Mark as he’d only ever managed to get it up to 50.
We pulled up in a side street to have a chat as we both had numb bums before heading back to the training centre.
I had earlier requested to just sit on the Suzuki SV650 to see just how big it was and if I was even going to be able to touch the floor so when we got back Mark got one out for me to sit on.
The next thing I knew Mark was talking me through the differences between the 125 Van Van and the SV650 and getting me to talk through what differences I saw before I then jumped on and was trying the engine revs and clutch control and then I was off!
For the next 20 minutes I was riding around the pad on the SV650, coming to a stop – sometimes rather abruptly as I was used to the brakes on the Van Van rather than the whopping strength of the 650.
So then Mark put the suggestion forward of trying out some U-Turns on the pad, which I actually managed to do.
I couldn’t believe it, all that nightmare I had with doing it on the Van Van and I go and do it straight away four times on a bloody SV! Apparently I had not exactly cheated, but I had managed to do it on just tick over as I’m not as heavy as most people who ride them, but according to the rules of the test you have to make a U-Turn in one manoeuvre and that’s exactly what I’d done.
So after feeling rather smug with myself and really happy after loads of positive comments form Mark at how I was coming along leaps and bounds on just day two, I rode the SV650 back to the fence where we parked up the bikes, held the front brake so I could sort out neutral, turned it off, felt to put the side stand down…….. and dropped it on the floor. Doh!
What a prat. That’ll teach me to be smug.
Mark wasn’t that bothered and was still talking about taking me out tomorrow on the SV650, so let’s see shall we.
I’ll be back again tomorrow to let you know how day three goes.
To find out more about Suzuki's course with BSM call 0870 010 0057.
Click here to see Suzuki SV650 review
Click here to see Suzuki Van Van review