Lara Platman took her Direct Access Motorcycle with Honda Motorcycles and wrote to tell Wheels for Women how she got on, she returns to tell us her latest news about her motorcycle exploits…
Over a year ago now I took it upon myself to pass a Direct Access motorcycle exam with Honda with their Get On scheme and get on a motorcycle. I thought it would be an excellent way to find a boyfriend if anything. I wrote about it here on Wheels for Women. Well, did I find myself a boyfriend and how did I manage riding a bike?
We already know that riding a bike for commuting saves on parking space (you can fit 3 bikes to one car parking space), saves on parking expenses (leasing a bike also is cheaper than a monthly railway ticket) and helps to save the environment with emissions. Alas, I did not take up riding for a commute, nor did I need to save on parking space, and for saving the planet? I do try my hardest anyway. The reason I took up motorcycling was to find a boyfriend and to roam freely like free range cow… or chicken.
Honda kindly lent me a bike as soon as I passed my exam, but this ended up being in a moment of disastrous weather, we had rainfall after rainfall, and as a new rider I was decidedly fair-weather. I gave the bike back with approximately 8 hours of ride time.
Next up came a photo story idea to the Isle of Man and BMW lent me an awesome RNineT Scrambler. My gosh it looked the part and I rode it around my neighbourhood with fright. It seemed too big for my boots and heavy for my frame. But I said I could take it to the Isle of Man for my story.
I couldn’t, my dreams of being a free-range chicken turned to me being the chicken in the coup. The bike stayed at my house as I travelled by car.
Next up, a return to a bike that Honda had already lent me, the CB500F.
Perfect, perfect because I knew this bike and knew I could already ride it. For I had taken my test on the Honda NC750S and that was also a good ride. With the CB500F back in my grasp, I took it out on plenty of days during the springtime.
By now I had also got together a whole wardrobe of riding gear, gear to make me look super cool, despite being puffed up with body armour. Held Shina leather jacket, Planet Knox Brooke Jeans with magic external knee pockets for your armour (hip armour included too), TCX heritage leather boots, Roland Sands leather gloves… Cardo Packtalk slim earphones and Tom Tom Rider 550 sat nav. I was totally I mean totally geared up.
After the initial get on and go on the first day I soon remembered why I liked riding a bike and each day got easier. Much much easier and much much more fun. Until the day Honda came to take the bike away I was already missing it and planning my next bike adventure.
What did I learn from getting on the bike for an hour or so each day? That riding a bike almost becomes second nature and with more hours on the bike, it will be truly second nature.
What did I learn from all the gear I had obtained in one way or another? That I could look super cool and be protected at the same time. Utterly no point in looking cool without armour.
Did I find a boyfriend? Well I found a squeeze!
Seriously though, with ride time on the Honda I began to understand road management: where to position the bike how to create a stronger presence on the tarmac for other road users, how to ascertain the space you need to be in to be seen in wing mirrors and how to get out of trouble. Roundabouts and turning right out of small roads onto major roads I noticed were my worrisome issues and with more seat time I will grasp this with more confidence.
The bike itself was a blast to ride. The Honda CB500F 2019 edition was certainly easy to ride. The clutch was smooth and I felt confident with the brakes. You can see which gear you are in on the display and the petrol tabs were functional and let you begin to see how far you could travel on one tank. The weight was perfect for me and the seat height just about right, all in all that CB500F was a great bike to be a novice on.
Go on, give it a try. ….Next time find out about my off-roading ….
Lara can be found on Twitter at @photofeature
6th June 2019