Monkey Drive Car!!!
It’s not good sitting back whilst life happens all around you. The only thing stopping me learning how to drive was me making that phone call and booking it up. Well, that and as I found out, there are a little over 400,000 driving instructors on every street in the UK to choose from. Bastard!
I emailed four of them who seemed to have the best deals going (and who had a website, obviously) and just after emailing the fourth with an enquiry they phoned me back! I said I could do my first lesson that very night, and that’s exactly what happened!
With not even enough time to panic, a couple of hours later I’d scoffed some bacon and egg and was sat in a car ready to learn for the first time ever! At the grand age of thirty three!
We went through all the crap about checks, adjusting mirrors and seat etc, and within twenty minutes I was in the driving seat ready to go!
I gently pressed the accelerator pedal to hear the engine scream as the revs soared.
Going from fingertip control of the brakes, clutch and accelerator to using my big old hooves on the pedals was a bit of a shock. I couldn’t believe how sensitive they were considering you’re supposed to use your bloody feet to operate them!
The same goes for power steering. Speaking of which, I tend to use a steering wheel like a race driver – arms all crossed up, one hand on the gear lever, and ready to hold that powerslide! It looks cool, but I really have to get my head around the push-pull crappy method. Apparently this isn’t a test requirement any more, but if I accidentally twist my arms so far that they snap off at the wrists during the test, the picky bastards will probably fail me.
The gears weren’t as much of a problem as I expected. I was getting a natural feel for where they all were by the end of the two hours, and only went from third gear into reverse once. Ahem. After using clutchless upshifts with a sequential box for the last ten years, I’m having to learn how to use the clutch again with it. I was also surprised that you’re encouraged to skip gears rather than selecting each in turn when you move up and down the box.
All I did was use quiet country lanes and one short stretch of normal road, only making left turns, but I seemed to be making good progress, and didn’t kill anyone – even the shitty little Jack Russell that was stood in the middle of the bloody lane barking at me whenever I drove past!
I didn’t really do any observations, but my natural instincts are to check my mirrors anyway, so that should help for future lessons.
The instructor seemed pretty cool – we had a laugh and it was very relaxed, which is exactly how I like to learn new stuff. I might try a few other instructors, but to be honest I doubt I’ll find anyone I’m as comfortable with as that one (Brian). I may as well take advantage of some of the ‘first lesson’ offers around – after all I’m the one who has to decide who to train with! I think it’s best to do a few lessons with Brian to get me settled in a car so I’m a bit more used to things, though.
So I’m finally on the road to, err… being on the road! On four wheels!
Oh – something else that sparked this somewhat unexpected lesson off: the day before I’d unexpectedly acquired a car!
No – not the Lotus Esprit V8 I’d always promised myself as a first car, but a 1 litre Fiat Uno.
Living the dream…
I was glad to jump on the 190mph superbike to ride to work this morning, I have to say…