Younger rider explains his motivation for attending BikeSafe and being followed by a police motorcyclist
My name is Vitor Pinheiro. I am a younger rider (27) and you’re right in thinking that is not a name you see or hear every day, much like my method of transport, which is sadly not the most common or popular for a variety of reasons.
A little background on myself: I was born and raised in Porto, Portugal, I then moved to England at the age of 11 and had the culture shock of constant rain and beans on toast. In Portugal (and most of Europe) motorcycling is seen as a very good method of transport — cheap, reliable, fun, quick and easy, unfortunately that isn’t always the case in the United Kingdom.
the wind and sense of freedom is truly indescribable
My family is full of bikers. My father rides a ‘95 Yamaha XR600R. My mother makes sure she tells me she’s not impressed by my riding because she used to do it in high heels. My uncle rode motorcycles and the list goes on. Motorcycling is in my blood and some of my earliest memories are of me perched up on the fuel tank of my dad’s TZR250 (long live the 2 strokes!) as he got home from work – going up and down our road – the noise – the vibration – the power – the wind and sense of freedom is truly indescribable.
I am part of a very small demographic of younger riders, as most people who have and make use of their motorcycle licence are over 40 years of age, they most likely ride a naked style bike, or an adventure bike. At 27 years old, I ride a super sport motorcycle — 2002 Honda CBR600F Sport to be exact — and I do notice this every time I go to biker cafes, or to the events I attend. This is very saddening, and there are reasons for this — costs relating to obtaining the licence, the equipment and getting on the road, the weather, but most of all, the risk and often unsupportive comments from family and friends.
Underwhelming compared to what transpired
I arrived early to the Bridgnorth police station, there was tea/coffee and biscuits (slightly surprised there weren’t donuts), which set us off on the right foot! We had a presentation on multi facets of road craft and bike related content by Marcus (who actually ended up being my Observer), we learned how to treat situations from everyday riding, filtering, junctions, how to process and take action on information we collect, and believe it or not, how to corner faster.
This led us to the afternoon where it was time to go out on the bike for the Observer to gauge our riding ability. We did that in groups of two, Mark was my group mate and he (on his Aprilia Tuono 1100) went first and it was very informative to see the lines he took, where his brake points were compared to mine, what I’d do differently to him, etc. We stopped off for lunch about an hour in after taking a scenic route, Marcus gave Mark some feedback on what he did well and what he could improve on.
it is imperative to continue seeing myself as a novice
Before doing BikeSafe I wanted to improve my overall ability. I wanted to learn most of all what bad habits I picked up since passing my test and how I could go through corners better.
Suddenly, it was my turn. We rode through Bishops Castle, Craven Arms past Brown Clee all the way to Bridgnorth, and the roads were splendid. We stopped off half way through for a brief chat and a challenge for me then following my ride Marcus and I sat down and discussed what could be improved and the positives based on his observations.
What I will hold closest from this experience is the need for further training, for more watchful intervention from riders more experienced than I. Although I study YouTube videos of Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi pushing prototype bikes to their limit on picture perfect tarmac, seeing Marcus and Mark taking corners on the difficult English country side roads was a completely different experience to anything I’ve watched previously. Their know how and road craft proved why it is imperative to continue seeing myself as a novice and to not get sucked in to the feeling of confidence young riders like myself often do.
A thunderous exit out of a picturesque lean angle
Before coming in today I felt like I had cracked braking into a corner, Marcus proved to me that my observations need to be made and settled a lot earlier, that there is a lot more to gauge before I’m ready to push the bike through the corner. After doing BikeSafe I realise that true gratification comes from a more pragmatic entry, and a thunderous exit out of a picturesque lean angle.
There were times I felt overwhelmed in the amount of information I could and perhaps should’ve gathered before making the approach to a tight bend in the Shropshire hills, but nonetheless by the day’s end, Marcus was confident in telling me that my potential is enormous, if only I keep training and taking onboard the advice and coaching that is available to me and my fellow bikers.
With that in mind the next step in my journey will be taking part in a track day to learn proper corner technique on a better surface, without worrying about oncoming traffic and speed limits.
I’d urge all younger riders to consider taking BikeSafe
Further training is imperative for a multitude of reasons, most of all the fact that you never stop learning, sadly most people believe that you ‘rise to the occasion’, unfortunately this isn’t the case, in actuality ‘you fall to your level of training’.
With each ride comes a different experience, a challenge, an opportunity to pick up more information which will hold you in good stead for your ‘riding career’. I’d urge all younger riders to consider taking BikeSafe, you will leave with further knowledge not only about motorcycling as a whole, but also yourself as a rider, not to mention the opportunity to have a police bike following you is too good to pass up.
Motorcycling as a whole is more dangerous than driving a car, or getting the bus, however there is nothing like sitting on a 200kg machine, with a roaring engine between your legs, and the exhaust pipe screaming by your boots as you push the revs up, with another person on a motorcycle coming opposite you, giving you a nod, experiencing exactly the same thing you are.