Rachael Clegg, renowned artist and art director, recently went through the BMW’s Rider Training programme in Stoke. She was more than a little nervous after failing her test several times before…
“Looks like dad was right…
“I am a serial motorcycle test failure.
“The statistics back this up: I have failed four times on the full motorcycle test. I’d decided to write off this motorcycle caper. I had already spent many weekends training and work pressures were further impacting on my weekends so I thought ‘enough is enough’.
“At the time, my dad, Noel Clegg – a former TT, short circuit racer and motorcycle dealer – said: “Why are you failing? You learned to ride a motorbike when you were 10 years old, you commute by pushbike every day, you passed your driving test first time and drive up and down the country more than the average person. I think it’s the training.”
“In spite of dad’s observation I still believed it was me. Motorcycling, I thought, would only ever be a fantasy.
“All that changed last year thanks to Bryans Motorcycle Training/Road Safety Centre in Stoke-on-Trent, which is one of two schools used by BMW, the other being in Royston, Cambridgeshire.
“Right from the start I was struck by how slick the whole operation was. Not only does the school have a fleet of BMW machines for its students to train on, including a G650, F700GS, an F800R and an R1200GS – but the school also has all the brand-new BMW gear – body armour jackets, gloves, helmets, boots and trousers.
“The man behind the training school is Kevin Bryans, to whom instructing is as natural as breathing. His father was a driving instructor. His uncle was a driving instructor and his sister is a driving instructor. “I come from a very patient family,” he said! Kevin started instructing with cars in 1984 and then moved to two wheels in 1989. His passion for his job is reflected in the thoroughness of his training.
“Having completed my CBT, it was time for me to move up to a BMW F700 GS. On a bigger bike figure-of-eights seem almost impossible, I’m not alone in my struggles. Kevin says many struggle more with Mod One than Mod Two, some finding that maneuvering a big bike is physically tricky.
“Fortunately, Kevin and his colleague Craig Gilbert’s patience is such that each of them warrants a place in the Dictionary of Saints. Sadly, few budding motorcyclists realise this chasm exists between training schools.
“Kevin told me he had put together a course that met certain standards and this extended to meeting standards in how his business was run.
“Karen Cole, spokesperson for the MCIA, told me that good riding starts with good training and those instructors who rightly pride themselves on the quality of their training and service wanted to distinguish themselves from less talented and less-conscientious providers.
“It’s not hard to see why BMW chose Bryans. I did – after all – pass my test.
“Motorcycling isn’t just a fantasy. I’m not a serial motorcycle test failure. My dad was right: it is in the training, and in this case it’s thanks to Kevin’s systems."