Diary driver’s license training class A

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Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

Diary driver's license training class A

Diary driver's license training class A

Diary driver's license training class A

Diary driver's license training class A

13th pictures

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

1/13
Volunteer Natalie Diedrichs is doing her class A driving license. On motorradonline.de, she reports on the progress of her training and how her motorcycle driving lessons are going.

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

2/13
A lowered Kawasaki ER-6n serves as a driving school motorcycle. Natalie is only 1.53 meters tall.

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

3/13
After a few dry runs, I can finally turn on the kawa. In first gear, slowly release the clutch and roll away. Rum, out. Stalled. That was too fast.

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

4/13
First driving exercise for the test. “Slalom is done with your whole body”, Jenny explained, “You have to let your hips circle and press the handlebars with your hands so that you wag well.”

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

5/13
Clever tip: the golden edge of a euro coin is exactly 1.6 millimeters wide – the tire profile should have at least the same depth.

Diary driver's license training class A
Diedrichs

6/13
The slalom exercise is also on the program on the subsequent dates.

Diary driver's license training class A
Diedrichs

7/13
Emergency braking is then practiced.

Diary driver's license training class A
Diedrichs

8/13
The third exam-relevant exercise is “Circle driving”.

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

9/13
After a long break, it goes on. With a new motorcycle (Honda Rebel) and a new driving school.

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

10/13
It’s getting serious again. I drive towards the slalom at 30 km / h, first swerve to the right and try to shimmy through the cones. Hui, that’s somehow completely different than with the Kawasaki in the past.

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

11/13
For the first time it goes on the street. Tempo 100 – madness.

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

12/13
There are still special trips and exam preparation on the program.

Diary driver's license training class A
Natalie Diedrichs

13/13
Examination passed successfully. From now on I can drive alone.

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Diary driver’s license training class A

Diary driver’s license class A
This is how my motorcycle driving lessons go

Finally ride a motorcycle. Natalie Diedrichs is doing her class A driving license. On motorradonline.de, she reports on the progress of her training and how her motorcycle driving lessons are going.

Natalie Diedrichs

11/13/2018

Release the clutch, accelerate, put your feet on the pegs – and please do everything with feeling. Motorcycle practical lessons are like riding a roller coaster, both for the head and for the body.

I’m not that completely unburdened. It’s been a good two years since I first sat on a bike as part of a motorcycle taster course. A memory that has never let me go: the wind, the completely new feeling of speed, the sound – these were all impressions that I have been dearly missing for two years. And that although I was only able to experience her for one afternoon in an anything but picturesque supermarket parking lot.

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Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

A lowered Kawasaki ER-6n serves as a driving school motorcycle.

What if I could have all of this every day? A question that moved me to finally make a resolution for the start of the new year: I’ll get my motorcycle driver’s license in 2018 – now or never! In fact, I signed up at my driving school around the corner at the beginning of January. I spent the dark January days “sitting down” the theory lessons and cramming the material.

Just in time for the start of the season, the weather finally plays along and we can get started. May I introduce: my loyal companion who will accompany me over the coming weeks through emotional and topographical mountains and valleys – a lowered Kawasaki ER-6n. Together with her and with the support of my driving instructor Jenny, I now want to realize my dream: finally ride a motorcycle!

Day 1: Couple, roll, tilt

In the morning, half past ten in Germany. While others were perhaps just gleefully wiping the last crumbs of their knop from the corner of their mouth, I sat on the passenger of the Kawasaki and had Jenny chauffeured me to a parking lot outside of Stuttgart. Her credo: “As long as you don’t master the ten basic exercises, I won’t let you out on the street!” Sounds good.

The destination we are heading for is obviously a hotspot for novice drivers: At a glance I saw two more driving school motorcycles that were already wagging through a slalom that had been set up and two driving school Golfs that were parking backwards. In between, a handful of driving instructors jump around, giving instructions to their proteges using headphones and a microphone.

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Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

The minimum profile depth can be checked with the euro coin.

Determine the profile depth with a euro coin

We first looked for a shady spot on the edge and started all over again: Yes, the reflector is available at the back, nothing drips and a courageous kick on the tire suggests at least roughly adequate air pressure. Jenny asked: “Do you have a euro??” Confused silence. Then she gave me a clever tip: The golden edge of a euro coin is exactly 1.6 millimeters wide – the tire profile should have at least the same depth.

After a few dry runs, I can finally turn on the kawa. With your own hands on the handlebars, the engine sound is twice as good! In first gear, slowly release the clutch and roll away. Rum, out. Stalled. That was too fast.

“The braking feeling comes with time!”

Press the start button again, let the clutch come much more slowly and tip, tip, tip, the machine became too fast for my little steps. Jenny called: “Clutch and brake!” My brain translated: “Both levers on the handlebars. And with flavor!” Whoops, the Kawa stood like a one, I, on the other hand, looked more like a three. “The braking feeling comes with time!”, Jenny motivated me and pointed out that there is also a rear brake. How practical, I almost forgot about it.

So the game went on cheerfully: coupling, rolling, tipping steps until it was no longer possible, feet up, brakes, feet down. Coupling, rumbling, off. Couple, start the engine, roll, steer, tilt. That was too slow. How good that Jenny was standing next to me and catching me and the kawa. Pretty heavy, the part!

Slowly but surely I developed a rustic feel for the clutch and brake. Then the announcement read: “The time is up, we’re going back. So the engine off and the side stand out!” After a large-scale search with my left foot, the ER-6n is standing and I notice how my T-shirt is completely soaked again. “I should really start getting functional underwear”, goes through my head as we head back into the cauldron.

Day 2: Fell over


Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

The feeling for the brakes and clutch has to be developed first.

It all happened very quickly: back in the parking lot, hit, stalled, overturned. This time Jenny was unfortunately not within range. And there I was now between the ER-6n and the asphalt. Not that comfortable at all. But what does a motorcyclist do when he’s lying down? Exactly, get up again.

Jenny helped to get up and examined the slightly damaged Kawasaki: The left side mirror was a bit loose, the outer paneling was scratched and slightly bent. And apparently I know cheese. “No problem”, Jenny encouraged me, “that’s why she became a driving school motorcycle. Want to get back on it?” – “Is the Pope a Catholic?”, I thought to myself.

No, this situation shouldn’t mature into a trauma experience in my head. After what felt like 30 seconds, I was back on the bike, started and just rode. Up into second gear, do a few laps around the parking lot. Phew As I raced down the straight (25 km / h), my heart rate gradually dropped again. “Driving calms you down”, I treated myself, “that’s a good sign!”

Legs too short

But then I should stop again. The thought haunted my head: “With your 1.53 meters you are actually really small.” What was that called again? Self-fulfilling prophecy? My stop turned into a wobbly motorcycle dance because both legs didn’t want to give support at the same time. But Jenny was there and caught me again.

“You’re really small. Like me”, The 1.59 meter tall woman smiled at me. “We will make it!” She recommended that from now on I always use my “chocolate foot” (the left one) and tilt the motorcycle slightly. There is a solution for everything.

Day 3: Slalom


Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

The slalom drive is relevant for the exam.

I bought a lucky euro that will stay in my jacket pocket until the end of my motorcycle training. And if the inspector asks me about the correct tread depth of the tires, I can shine!

I played around with the euro in my pocket while Jenny set up the slalom. First driving exercise for the exam. “Slalom is done with your whole body”, Jenny explained, “You have to circle your hips and push the handlebars with your hands so that you wag nicely.” Great. To dance. On the motorcycle.

In the first run I chugged Shakira’s “Whenever, whereever” humming leisurely in first gear through the cones. Already the radio message came: “It can be done faster! In the test you have to make it with 30 km / h!” Second attempt, second gear, a quick glance at the speedometer. “Is that right? THAT’S 30?” I thought of the Isle of Men and the speeds driven there, which you had recently reported on in this documentary. “They all have a damage!”

Like the Tourist Trophy

My carousel of thoughts prevented me from entering the slalom in time. I passed it on the outside and tried again. Then, with the feeling that I would be a future contender for the Tourist Trophy, I accelerated to a breakneck 30 km / h and drove through the slalom.

“Waving even more!”, Jenny radioed me. Steer, swing your hips, accelerate – so much at once. After five more attempts, Jenny was still not entirely satisfied, but said: “Well, one more time! We’ll practice the rest next time.” Already in the evening mood I started again and had already switched off my head. And suddenly it slipped. Jenny, who had made a few videos of my runs in between, took the smartphone down in astonishment: “Well oops, what was that? That looked great!” So a little less thought doesn’t hurt.

Day 4: Emergency braking

Had a day off and meanwhile felt a nasty sore muscles in the forearms. Clutch and handbrake – who needs dumbbells? So now back to the parking lot, this time at a cozy 29 degrees. And no, I still haven’t bought functional underwear. Damn! So while I am melting in the sun before the driving exercises, Jenny tells me that we will try emergency braking later. But now I should first warm up (Ha. Ha.) And practice the slalom again.

“Slam the brakes in a little harder!”

So switch on the ignition, pull the clutch, start the engine and drive off. While I was still doing a few laps, I noticed a change in my driving behavior: I didn’t even think about it anymore. Braking, clutching, upshifting, downshifting, accelerating – my body does all of this without panicking and wondering whether pulling up was also upshifting and vice versa. Somehow it feels familiar on the seat of the Kawasaki. Crazy, that’s fun!

Jenny also seems to be satisfied with the slalom. I drive through it four times with swaying hips and she praises me. Then she builds a rectangle with the pylons: “Try to brake there!” I start, brake and stop. “That was already good! And now hit the brakes a little harder!”

So I pick up the momentum, accelerate to 30 km / h, pull and apply the brakes with great care. The Kawasaki stumbles, I just catch it with my right foot. Jenny says: “You have to let your arms loose, keep your eyes upright and press your knees to the bike so that you don’t fly over the front.”

The ABS is regulating for the first time

Next attempt: I drive off, sort out all my limbs, hit the brakes and feel for the first time how the ABS regulates until the Kawasaki coughs softly and the engine goes silent before I even stop. Oops. Now I’ve completely forgotten about the clutch. Jenny, however, seems to be at least partially satisfied: “Your posture was better now!”

And so I brake and brake and brake. It is never perfect. Sometimes my arms are too cramped, sometimes I don’t look up far enough. Then the Kawasaki almost tips over while standing, then I forget the clutch again. My head is throbbing. I’m almost happy when Jenny says it’s time to go back. Back in driving school, I peel myself out of my Goretex suit. My mottled gray shirt is now black, I can wring it out. I urgently need a shower.

Day 5: driving in circles

There was a break of one and a half weeks, now it’s on. To groove in, the first thing you do is go through the slalom, which has meanwhile become my favorite exercise. I enjoy the wind for three hip-swinging passes, then emergency braking is on the program again – I like that less. Because my braking behavior is missing the finishing touches: “You have to hit her harder!”, Jenny radioed me. But as much as I brake, it’s still not really perfect. The ABS regulates, but either my knees are not pulled tight enough or I tip over because the handlebars are not 100 percent straight. It’s milking to the mouse.

Jenny notices that I’m a little annoyed. Already the radio message comes: “Next, I want you to drive around me and look at me!” Driving in circles. The third exam-relevant exercise. The road is slightly sloping, to the left and right of me is the edge of the forest. I’m in first gear, pull the clutch and steer hard to the left. “Look at me, look at me, LOOK AT ME!” Calls Jenny. I drive a semicircle and as soon as I no longer focus my driving instructor, the Kawasaki immediately wants to head for botany.

Eye guidance is like magic

But it’s so unusual not to look straight ahead, but to turn my head all the way to the left while I’m driving. “In a moment you will lie, in a moment you will lie”, it goes through my head in panic. I am not lying. Eye guidance is like magic. We repeat the game a few times, but I’m scared and I’m driving too slowly. The gyroscopic forces don’t work and I can’t get my left arm through. I have to correct myself again: In contrast to driving in circles, the emergency brake is a piece of cake.

For the first time I doubt myself. As I take off my helmet, I slowly ask Jenny: “I can get my driver’s license, right?” Actually, it’s more a question for myself. How am I ever supposed to brake perfectly to the point? How am I supposed to go in circles quickly so that I can push my left arm through? Maybe I’m just not made for it. My knees go weak. “Of course you can do it!” Says Jenny in a tone as if she were chatting about the weather. I take heart. Do not give up.

Day 6: Change of driving school and motorcycle

After a long break, it goes on. A lot has happened in the meantime. To cut a long story short: my Kawasaki is no longer there and unfortunately its replacement was too high for me. That’s why I had to look for a new driving school. A difficult matter for people who are shorter than 1.55 meters. Many driving schools advertise that they have lowered machines in their fleet. Unfortunately, these are often not deep enough when you crouch on them.  

After many unsuccessful seat tests, I finally found what I was looking for at the Arenz driving school in Ostfildern. They are the only driving school that has a Honda CMX 500 Rebel in their repertoire within a radius that I can reach. In my opinion, this is a perfect choice for novice drivers who are compact: I can put both feet on the floor with ease because the seat height is only 69 centimeters. And for a cruiser-chopper mix, it’s amazingly agile.

From “A” down to “A2”

The only catch: The Rebel has “only” 46 hp, or 34 kW. If you get your driver’s license on it, you only get the A2 qualification, but not the “big one”, unlimited A driving license. Because this requires at least 35 kW. If I want to get the A driving license, I have to take another practical driving test after two years as an A2 driver. This is also called a “tier driving license””. Annoying, I could have saved myself that with Class A. But unfortunately there is no alternative for me.

The “downgrade” From A to A2 is not a problem from an official point of view. “It always goes down”, was the comment from the clerk at the admissions office. It cost me 35 minutes of waiting time and a processing fee of 15 euros and I was ready to go again. The “upgrade” it would have become much more complicated, it said.

Day 7: First sniff the rebels


Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

New driving school motorcycle: Honda Rebel

New driving instructor, new bike, new environment. From now on it is no longer possible to go to the parking lot, but to the industrial area. In the first hour after the change, my new driving instructor Mario and I take it easy: First, get used to the Rebel. Let the clutch come slowly and roll. Stop. Feet out and realize with astonishment that I have a firm footing.

This is a huge advantage, especially at the beginning, when you are still unsure about everything else. That’s why my very personal tip is: Find a driving school bike that fits perfectly. Don’t make any compromises and don’t listen to sentences like “That kind of fits!”. If you feel that you are unsure about stopping or starting, you better keep your hands off the bike.

Nevertheless, at first it is quite unfamiliar to suddenly sit on another machine. Due to the design, the footpegs, gear lever and rear brake on the Honda are in a different position than on the Kawasaki. You are now much further ahead and otherwise I sit quite differently on the motorcycle. So the first driving lesson was just a mutual sniffing at first. Mario’s motto: “Please smile!” Still a little nervous, I pull the corners of my mouth up. Finally it goes on.

Day 8: Circle driving and emergency brake the second!

We repeat the driving exercises. At Mario, I start with driving in circles. However, at first only without accelerating, step by step. So I let the clutch out, turn in at the angle appropriate for the orbit, and let the Rebel do the rest. That sounds so easy, but at first it takes a lot of effort. I feel like I’m falling over all the time. Mario makes short work of it, swings himself onto the bike, lets me sit on the back and rides in circles with me: “You see”, he says, “Even with two people on, the Rebel does it very easily. You don’t have to be afraid.” He’s right. If you can, it’s not as bad.

New position of the gear lever

After driving in circles, I practice shifting gears. I still have to get used to the new position of the shift lever. The first few times I get a little tangled with my motorcycle boot. It doesn’t look very elegant, but it doesn’t matter. After a few repetitions, I get used to it and shift into third gear.

It continues with the emergency brake. So that I get a feeling for both brakes, Mario first lets me brake fully with the rear brake and then with the front brake. Quite a difference. If I only slow down with the rear brake, it will take forever for the motorcycle to come to a standstill. Only with the front brake is it faster. The last thing I do is pack both of them together and brake from 50 km / h. I look far ahead and stand. After three attempts it fits. Mario is satisfied.

Day 9: Slalom and dodging on the Rebel


Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

It’s getting serious again. I drive towards the slalom at 30 km / h, first swerve to the right and try to shimmy through the cones. Hui, that’s somehow completely different than with the Kawasaki in the past.

Today we are building the slalom for the first time. Okay, Mario builds it up while I “warm up” on the Rebel”. Honestly? I love this bike. It’s such a wonderful feeling to have both feet firmly on the ground when you stop. Bigger bikers may now frown because they take this for granted. But it is not. It is all the better to have found this motorcycle.

It’s getting serious again. I drive towards the slalom at 30 km / h, first swerve to the right and try to shimmy through the cones. Hui, that’s somehow completely different than with the Kawasaki in the past. At the last cone my pace dropped to 20 km / h, somehow I can’t keep the speed at the beginning. I would like a cruise control. Mario gives me the tip to press the throttle grip very lightly with the ball of the right hand when I have reached my desired speed: “Your hand is your cruise control.” After a few tries, it works, even if I’m skeptical at first: “Was that okay from the incline?”, I ask incredulously. “Absolutely”, says Mario and shows me photos of evidence.

Couple, take off the gas, push, swing, question marks

Today we are nailing it. The slalom sits and Mario puts the cones in the right position for the evasive exercise. First of all without braking beforehand. He dictates the task to me: Accelerate to 50 km / h, take off the gas and pull the clutch at the same time, pass the first cone on the right, then push the machine to the left and after swerving around the second cone, swing back into the original lane.

Then he sees the question marks on my forehead. With a gesture he indicates that I should slide backwards. He swings on the motorcycle and shows me how to do it by doing the exercise himself. With me on the back. Aha, so! Then it’s my turn. Mario is happy, but I could be a little faster. He also tells me by radio when I should clutch and take off the gas. I have to do it alone in the exam. “But you can find out very quickly”, he says and gives me courage.

Day 10 First time in the wild


Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

Tempo 100 – madness.

Mario sets up two motorcycles. Today the puppy protection is over: Finally not only turning around in the industrial area, but finally out on the street. Excitement, anticipation, I can’t quite make up my mind exactly what I’m feeling. Then I turn on the machine and everything else is routine. Where does it suddenly come from? I don’t know, but it feels amazing. We drive through the city and on country roads. For the first time, I can shift through all six gears and drive 100. Gosh, that’s windy!

Mario drives behind me and gives me tips. When approaching intersections, I have to take the right-hand bend tighter – push instead of lay. Something rings. But otherwise everything works fine. Only stalled once, but bravely driven at walking speed in a traffic-calmed area and approached the mountain. The secret: take the rear brake. Back at driving school, the grin sticks to my face. I’m taking it home – it just won’t go away.

Day 11, 12, 13: Work through special trips


Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

Examination passed successfully. From now on I can drive alone.

The practice hours are over, now the special trips are coming. Mario sets a few appointments on which we drive for up to three hours at a time, so that we can quickly complete the twelve mandatory 45-minute lessons. The program includes five cross-country journeys, four motorway journeys and three night journeys. Everything is going very quickly now. Like driving on the autobahn. I still haven’t quite got used to the brute wind. What is certain, however, is that the autobahn and expressways are not exactly my favorite routes for motorcycling. Will that still change??

In between we rehearse the basic driving exercises over and over again. In the meantime, I’ve more or less got it all. Stop and go is easy, the walking speed slalom works sometimes more, sometimes less. The emergency brake is not a problem, evasive action and braking and evasion are not my favorite exercises, but that’s clear. And in the slalom I have to make sure that I don’t waggle too fast. When I think about the fact that 30 km / h sometimes felt like hell to me … It’s amazing how the perception changes.

Day 14: Through the dark

The first night drive wasn’t just at night. “That would be too easy”, thought my buddy Petrus and then sent the only rain cloud in all of Baden-Wurttemberg to Stuttgart-Sillenbuch. Reflective streets, wind and moisture – wonderful. “Try to avoid white markings and manhole covers,” radioed Mario in my ear. In the dark they weren’t so easy to locate. But the Honda did well and so I survived the special trip without slipping.

Day 15: Exam preparation


Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

One last check, then it goes to the test.

The last driving lesson before the test. We drive a possible test route and I do all the basic driving exercises. For the first time, everything works right away. “That’s enough,” says Mario, “you can do it. We don’t practice any more. It’s better for the psyche. ”We drive back to the driving school via a few detours. Do i feel safe? Well, actually on the street. Since I’ve been driving a car for a while, I can safely fit in with the traffic. I take the corners a little slowly, but that’s no reason to fail. However, I’m not sure whether I can do all of the basic driving exercises. Actually they are simple, but sometimes you make a stupid mistake after all. What I’ve learned in the meantime: “Don’t think about it too much. Just do it! ”Because as soon as my head rattles, it no longer works. If, on the other hand, I don’t think about it, everything goes like clockwork.

Finally, Mario asks me a few more technical questions: What things do I need to consider when it comes to reflectors, chains and tires? Where do I check the oil level, where do I check the brake fluid? How do I know whether the indicators and lights are working, etc. That shouldn’t fail the test.

Day 16: Exam


Diary driver's license training class A


Natalie Diedrichs

Hooray, I have the driver’s license.

Monday morning, 7.30 a.m. There is no better exam date. We meet the inspector at the departure point punctually for the minute. We do paperwork, he needs my ID and so on. Then it starts. Part one: technology. Three properties of a chain. I know the answers. And where do you check the oil level? Oh dear, is it dark here? But that’s also done really stupid with the Rebel. I just can’t find that stupid ad, even though I knew exactly where it was. The examiner is prepared for everything and hands me a flashlight. I stammer to myself and finally find what I was looking for. Phew Mario and the examiner grin: “Then let’s go now.”

The first kilometers go well despite rush hour traffic. We drive to the place where I am supposed to do basic driving exercises. Stop and Go works perfectly. In the walking speed slalom, I touch a cone. It dangles – but it stops. “I haven’t had anything like this before,” says the examiner. Okay, luck is on my side today. Emergency braking fits – my specialty. But then I mess when I dodge. Damn. I have to repeat the exercise. From now on everything has to work flawlessly. My heart is racing. If I screw it up now, I might forget my driver’s license this year. It’s already October.

I try not to think about anything. Accelerate, dodge. Fits. Accelerate again, brake, evade. Fits. Last exercise: slalom. “Come on, you can do it!” I think to myself as I drive off. I shift into third gear and the Rebel is nice and quiet. Then I wave the cones and stop at the agreed point. I am waiting for feedback. Then Mario radioed: “Great! Then drive up a little now. We turn around and continue the test. ”It was exciting until the last minute, but I had done the basic driving exercises.

The road traffic held further tests in store for me: bus with the hazard warning lights switched on, cyclists, school children, stop and go, changing lanes after turning. It was quiet in my helmet. Except for the occasional directional instructions from Mario. Was that good or bad now? Confused, I turned back into the parking lot from where we had started. I turn off the Rebel and watch Mario get out of the car. He looks at me seriously at first, then starts to grin and extends his thumb up. Then the examiner comes and holds out his hand to me: “Congratulations, you passed!” I jump in the air and shout. Finally done 

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