Saad Hammadi gives a first hand lesson on how to learn riding a scooter bike for the first time
Before you buy a scooter, make sure you have accustomed your body to stay on top of a two-wheeler. It may seem very difficult initially but my experience says the body picks the balance naturally after a few attempts. The best and easiest way to get the body balance is to first learn to ride a bicycle. It is smaller than a motorbike, has much less weight and far less speed than a motorbike. Learning the balance is key to riding a two-wheeler comfortably. A lot of people learn within a day to ride a bicycle, for some it can take a little longer but you should keep that patience so you learn it well and safely. It took me about three days to learn riding a bicycle and thanks to my cousin who helped holding the bike straight from behind and running with it as I paddled.
Once you have acquired the balance on two-wheelers, you have come to the big boy’s league to ride an actual motorbike or scooter. A scooter is usually heavier, the wheels are smaller than a regular motorbike, cylinder capacity is the highest (150cc) among motorbikes in Bangladesh. The clutch is the lever on the left handle of a scooter and also a regular motorbike. A clutch on a scooter helps you in two ways – shift gears and reduce speed, as you need, in a moving traffic. As you reduce the speed, make sure you also pull the brake slowly and frequently. I would explain the brake functions in a bit.
On a scooter, the gear is with the left handle. There are four gears. You pull the clutch towards the handle and shift the gear upwards for the first gear, which should give you a speed in the range of 0 to 20 km/h. For the next gears you move the handle downwards with your clutch still pulled close to the handle and it would first take you to neutral, which would rest your bike to no movement. On a moving traffic, you do not stop the gear at neutral point but take it further to second gear, which allows a speed range of 20 to 40 km/h. As you find free space on the road, where you can accelerate further, the third gear allows a speed range of 40 to 60 km/h and the fourth gear allows 80 to 100 km/h. A lot of people cannot believe that a scooter can go that high in speed but trust me, I have taken it to 110 km/h on the highway to Dhaka airport.
I have explained to you the left hand functions on a scooter, which comprises of clutch and gear. The lever on the right hand is your hand brake or the brake to your front wheel. There is another brake pad under your right feet, which controls your rear wheel. It is suggested you use the rear wheel brake more often as that gives a better control of your bike. Use the front wheel brake only after you have pressed the leg brake a few times during an attempt to reduce speed or stop somewhere. The hand brake is required when the speed is too high and the leg brake cannot do enough to reduce the speed. You then use both the brakes, first the leg brake and then the hand brake almost simultaneously but slowly by pulling the brakes and releasing them frequently. Remember, a hard or full press on the brakes at once can lead to accident.
This is what brings all the thrills to a ride. The more you accelerate the higher is your speed on the bike. The gears on the left hand only give access to accelerate comfortably. The right handle of the scooter allows the acceleration of your bike. Make sure you do not touch the hand brake also known as the right lever when you accelerate your bike. The right handle of the scooter is more like a roller. The more you roll the right handle upwards the higher gets the speed of the bike. You also need to keep in mind that you must change the gears according to the speed levels.