Part 3

‘Association of Michael Flatly Wannabe’s’... People are still coming for test doing a foot tapping routine.   It’s quite simple...... it really is quite simple ........

Roundabout junction A57 over M1, we’re going from Sheffield towards Worksop.  Cars stopped at red light over motorway nearside and offside lane, with traffic exiting the south bound slip road, onto the island because they’ve got a green light.  Plenty of room, candidate quite rightly moves up between the cars.  Our lights change, candidate puts right foot down, left foot up to snick into gear, puts left foot down, right foot onto footrest and sets off.  Cars either side have already gone, because we’ve had a green light for a couple of seconds.  IF the car(s) on our nearside had gone round the roundabout in front of us, as they could, and IF the cars on our right had gone straight on down the A57, as they could, we’d be in serious trouble.  They’d be in trouble, we’d be in serious trouble!  RATHER we should see the slip road light change, go to amber, because we can see it, get the gear, and making sure traffic on the slip road has stopped, especially the nearside which could be masked, but wasn’t,  WOOOOOOSH gone!  I’m not saying ‘jump’ the lights, but as soon as we get a hint of a glint of a shade of green we’ve gone! .... history!

If we’re setting off to ‘go go go’ into an open situation with no danger whatsoever, and we don’t have time to swap the feet over, fair enough in my book. Get on with it!  Just make sure that the right foot is on the peg within six inches of moving off. Most of the time of course, with cross views and a bit of application, we’ve got the time to get the gear (left foot already on the footrest) drop the left foot and put the right foot on the footrest. If we’re setting off in traffic then we want to move off with the foot covering the footbrake to regulate our slow speed.  But we’ve got time of course because we can see traffic ahead setting off..... can’t we?  There is no need  whatsoever to sit there at traffic lights or whatever with the right foot covering the footbrake!  Fact. The police used to teach this many years ago... still being taught!  “In case we’re going to get rammed in the rear!”  (?) I was told. Well I never held with this theory.  Cover the gearlever.  If I’m gonna get rammed in the rear I’m gonna get my gear, get my arse out of there, and go go go! Not brace myself for impact!  So don’t stop three feet behind the car in front with no-where to go.  If he catches fire, stalls wont start, finishes his chips off, or we’re going to get rammed, we can get out of there!  (When we’re stationary our biggest potential for harm comes from the rear.

An inability to see through a series of bends  to the bend we can’t see round, and go to the place on the road where we want to be for that bend, by the smooooothest, flowing line.  (One hazard at a time again eh!)    All candidates know the correct position for the hazard ahead, it’s just unfortunate that for the most they’re late picking up that position and their ride becomes ‘sweepy swoopy’ wastes time, loses speed, looks crap and is crap. Makes passengers uneasy too!

And in the same breath  there are those candidates who are on the perfect line for the left hander coming up, just inside the white line, who suddenly and abruptly sweep across to t’other side of the road for the ‘maximum view’  (On a couple of occasions had to dive back again because of something coming into view!)  We should ask ourselves,  “Is it safe?”  “Is it to advantage?”   If the answer is yes to these questions then OK.  Most of the time it’s not to advantage because we had a good enough view anyway!  Certainly for the speed they were doing!  By all means use the other side of the road, but let’s get there in smooth flowing lines.  If ‘The Line’ doesn’t take us there then let’s not bother.  As one guy said to me, 65 years old and only just back into ‘biking’ “I get it Mick, you want me to gel the corners together!”   (Oxford talks about pufty hair cream, but ‘gel’ will do nicely..... we want to gel those corners together!)

‘The Line‘ ...    ugh!  What’s that?

Exaggerating ‘the position ...  In built up areas where there’s no real need.  Because they’ve been taught nearside for right-handers, up to white line for lefthanders, they do it at 30 or 40 mph when we have a sight line of two hundred yards and can stop in a fraction of the distance we see to be clear.  The car behind of course is asking, “What’s this twerp in front doing, turning left, no right, no left...!”

It’s Not Rocket Science