Gotta Scoot

A foray into the world of the 2-wheeled amateur

5 April 2007 You gotta ride before you can ride…

Tonight the unthinkable happened… Felicity and I were declared “competent” enough to venture out into the world on 2-wheels. After two grueling evenings subsisting on muesli bars, the occasional sushi roll and the thrill that only comes with putting around (and when I say “around” I literally mean around and around and around a space the size of a small ice-skating rink), we do indeed have what it takes to be learner scooterists.


So what was the experience like? Let’s start with the décor, shall we? Not many places can boast such splendid alfresco dining right underneath one of Sydney’s most established motor ways. It was the perfect start to this special evening… Behold, the training centre in Clyde, Australia:


Ok – I’m being a tad sarcastic, and really, that isn’t entirely fair. Despite the nagging sensation of feeling like I’m back at school (well, that isn’t hard since, as a school teacher I spend most of my time there and had been at school an hour before arriving at the training centre) I must be honest and admit that we novice riders learned more about what’s going on on the road than many drivers learn in twenty years of driving experience.


We flitted back and forth between this small demountable “classroom” which had the odd aroma of some lemony-fresh scent that some enthusiastic cleaner had sprayed (and then must have sprayed again several times more than the pack recommended) and the charm that only florescent lighting can bring:


When the range finally called, we ambled outside to mount our trusty mechanical steeds and maneuver taxing twists and turns around pylons, witch’s hats and arbitrary lines. Our driving instructor, Steve, was nothing short of amazing. At all times, he dexterously navigated through the pitfalls and pinnacles of the evenings – a tasteful joke here, a stern reminder there… I can genuinely say that I felt humbled as a teacher. Here was a man whose job it was to turn over five complete novices wanting to learn how to seriously put themselves and others on the road at risk; here was his job to make them competent and do so in the space of seven hours, before starting with the next group, and the next one, from scratch, again and again. OK – some things I do at school are routine, but never that routine. What I think I found remarkable about Steve is that his job made him a real lifesaver, and he never let the routine dampen that awareness. On the contrary, he really showed that he cared very much about our well-being and the fact that we were about to embark on a journey that was for him (and would be soon for us) a real passion.


At the end of the night there was nothing left to do but pose for the camera. Smile, Fe!



…oh, and I did have to pop my certificate on the mantelpiece and admire it… only a few times.


Ls, Ls – here we come! What a pity we have to get through this Easter long weekend without being able to jump on our TGB! At least we’re one step closer.


April 5, 2007 - Posted by | Learner riders


  1. Hey – now I am VERY envious!!!! I might have had my midlife crisis – but I didn’t deal with my two-wheeled dream. Now these old bones of mine will never make it onto one. I guess tracking your blog will be the next best thing to ‘scooter joy’ for me 🙂

    Comment by Judy O'Connell | April 7, 2007

  2. Hey Judy – thanks for the comment! Interestingly enough, I’ve explored a few scooter blogs out there and scooter-riding teachers appear to be more common than one might imagine!

    Comment by Michael | April 7, 2007

  3. Michael, your class looks like the one Peter Moore referred to in his book, “Vroom with a View.” I unfortunately flunked Motorcycle Safety Class because I couldn’t get the hang of shifting with my toe. That’s how I ended up on a Vespa ET4 (in the state of Washington, as in most U.S. states, you can get a learner’s permit that lets you ride solo during daylight hours, practice, then take a test. Had to do it twice, but I got the motorcycle endorsement.

    Anyway, I’ve added a link to your blog at mine, Skootin’ Old Skool. I’ll be interested in your progress.

    Keep the rubber side down,
    Orin O’Neill

    Comment by Orin | April 8, 2007

  4. Wow, its nice to stumble upon a new blogsite now and then, but to find your own site linked to it is a bonus. Thank you for linking Little Billy’s Scooter Tales to your blog roll. I’ll return the favor by adding you to mine.

    Looking forward to your take on the adventures in scootering.

    Have fun,

    Comment by Bill Sommers | April 8, 2007

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