Once Doreen had decided that it might be fun to ride her own bike, it wasn’t long before we were discussing Direct Access Scheme (DAS) courses and the possibility of her coming over to the US and riding her own bike. She was planning to come over for 2 or 3 weeks around the time of the Sturgis rally and to combine this with a visit to her good friend Bill in Montana.
If I remember correctly, Doreen had either just finished or was in the middle of reading Good Vibrations at the time, and the story of Roz and Betty Boop had certainly fired her imagination.
DAS courses are usually quite intensive courses starting on 125cc bikes, but quickly progressing to 500-650cc machines. If the test is passed on one of these bigger bikes then you’re free to ride whatever size bike you like as soon as you pass. This lets people over 21 get around the 2 year restriction of poodling around on a little bike.
My own experience had been a week-long intensive course at Triumph Motorcycle Training in Exeter. I’d thoroughly recommend both intensive courses in general, and Triumph specifically.
That was precisely the advice I gave to Doreen, but a truly intensive course would have meant a week off work and was out of the question – she needed to save as much annual leave as possible for coming over to the US. She needed to look at training mainly at the weekend and possibly the odd weekday, so traveling away for the course was also out of the question. She’d have to go local.
Pro Scot in Fife seemed an interesting proposition – they were quite local but more interestingly they guaranteed you’d pass the test – if you didn’t then they would carry on training you for free until you did.
Doreen signed up. Unfortunately fitting her work and vacation schedule to what Pro Scot had available wasn’t quite what we had hoped and the bike training started later than we expected. If all goes to plan now, she’ll be taking her final practical test just a week before coming out to Sturgis. Whilst she might be entirely legal to ride a big bike at this point, it’s very unlikely that her new licence will have been processed and come back to her before she flies out. Without the licence, she won’t be able to hire her own Betty Boop.
At the moment we are planning on her riding pillion with me, and that has introduced lots of challenges with luggage.
So far Doreen has passed her CBT and theory test, and is cramming in days on the bike with Pro Scot where she can. I might report the result but I’ll leave it to Doreen to comment any further on her experiences of learning to ride when she gets over here.