Sunday, January 10, 2016

Not a stunt rider

No this  is not a stunt rider.  This manoeuvre was part of the normal motorcycle training for National Service Military Policemen in the 1950s.

The first week of training was spent in a field at Aldershot learning to control the bike before we were allowed out on the road.  First day just going round and round the field trying not to fall off for those who had never ridden a bike before. But of course the first thing was to learn how to kickstart the damn thing without the kickback breaking your leg.
 During the week we progressed in our control  of the bike by standing on the seat and the rear pannier, sitting side-saddle and sitting on the petrol tank with our legs over the handlebars. This was before we were even allowed to move out of first gear! Needless to say, the bikes had to be cleaned at the end of every day before the evening meal.

By the end  of the week we were regarded as being competent enough to be allowed out on the road.
This was not always the case, because in reality we had not learned any roadcraft nor properly when it was appropriate to change gear. Of course it all came together with practice, riding every day for quite long periods in different traffic conditions.

One of the highlights of about the third week was a day spent doing cross country riding  at a scrambling track.  This was quite competitive and it was the first time that we were encouraged to go as fast as we could. 

Once having completed the motorcycle section of our course we then went on to the much less exciting business of learning to drive a 15cwt truck.  How boring by comparison. 


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