motorcycles, travel, friendship, respect… I may drift off into WTF-land at times so hang in there.

What’s He Gone And Done?


Dunno what happens in other countries, but in Australia there is no such thing as drivers ed at school. Instead, when a teenager reaches the ripe old age of 16, they are eligible to sit a 30 question road rule theory exam, and, if they pass, they are “awarded” a learners drivers permit.

Then, they need to attain the age of 17 years and must have completed 100 to 120 hours of practical, on road driver training; either with a responsible adult, usually their parents, or a training school, before they can contest a practical driving test.

If they pass their practical driving test, they are granted a provisional drivers licence, their “P’s”, which they must hold blemish free for 3 years. They must also display the appropriate “P” plate during this time.


And as if that’s not enough, there are two stages to the “P’s” period: Red “P’s” for the first 12 months and green “P’s” for the remaining 24 months. If they make a mistake and get booked by Popo for something during this time, they can lose their licence for up to 6 months depending on the severity of the offence. 

Once the suspension has been served they can start over.


These Things Let Everyone Know To Keep A Wide Berth

The Bar Tender recently completed the first 12 months of his provisional drivers licence, and, after sitting a hazard perception test, progressed to his green provisional drivers licence; which he must hold, blemish free for the remaining 24 months.

Well, he lasted about 5 minutes on his green “P’s” before the inevitable happened.

The young bloke wandered into the lounge room and stood before The Pillion and I with an official looking document from the The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).

This could only have been one of few things:

  1. A notice of loss of licence because Popo had caught him being naughty, or
  2. A notice to appear before the magistrate because Popo had caught him being really naughty.

The Bar Tender handed the document to his mother, who’s demeanor, upon reading said document, changed from happy, to O-M-G.

“What’s he gone and done?” I asked, expecting the worst.

Without a word she handed me the document.

Suddenly, I was thrust into a world of two hats. I thought the “Dad” hat would fit best on this occasion.

You know what you’ve gotten yourself into, don’t you?” I asked.

“Yeah”. He said sheepishly while looking at the floor.

“You need to make sure you get this right son, there’s no room for mistakes with this”. I said.

“Can you help me, Dad?” The Bar Tender asked

“Sure.” I said as reassuringly as I could

After The Bar Tender left the room, The Pillion and I looked at each other, relieved it wasn’t one of the two scenarios mentioned above.

You see, in the state of Queensland you must have held a driver’s licence, provisional or otherwise, for a period of 12 months before you can learn to ride a motorcycle. 

Yep you guessed it, The Bartender had been awarded a motorcycle learners permit.

The Ignition Key Goes Here

The Ignition Key Goes Here

I guess it was inevitable that one, or all of the kids would want to ride a motorcycle at some point. After all they’ve been around bikes for most of their lives.

Even though The Pillion is apprehensive about one of the kids riding a motorcycle, neither she, nor I, are going to stop them pursuing what they want to do. We will, however, guide and advise them where we can, and as best we can.

Personally, I have the view that if the training is the best he can get, precautions are taken and most importantly the attitude is adjusted correctly, then all that can initially be done, should be done. The rest is on them to make sure they continue getting it right.

For the record the only bikes the kids have ridden have been BMX bikes. Not because we didn’t allow motorcycles, but because the budget didn’t allow for them.

Single income and all that.

Having said that, The Bar Tender has ridden a small capacity dirt bike once on the sly out at a mates place. 

I don’t know why it was on the sly, because I would’ve like to have gone and watched… I guess there is some child logic there somewhere.

Anyway, from my understanding, his experience was much the same as my experience last century, and he decided to stick to BMX bikes for the foreseeable future.

Just Remember The red Ones Go Faster

Just Remember The Red Ones Go Faster

This being the case, I enlisted the assistance of a good friend who just happens to run a rider training school: Q-Ride Redlands

Noel does one-on-one tuition and is an accredited Q-Ride assessor; he also does post licence advanced defensive rider courses that allows people to push themselves a bit harder and learn more about the way their bike will react in a sticky situation.

I tagged along for the lads first lesson and was impressed by the way Noel conducted the training session. 

It wasn’t just get on the bike this is the clutch, brake, throttle and away you go. He spent quite a bit of time going through the theory of riding a motorcycle, like road positioning, cornering, counter-steering and other topics as well.

The session The Bar Tender had was held at Lakeside Raceway not far from where we live. It’s a closed circuit and an ideal place for someone to learn to ride. 

In fact there are several rider training schools which use the facility from time to time; everything from Q-Ride training through to track days.

Look Out Rossi

Look Out Rossi

It took the young bloke about 10 minutes to get up on two wheels un-assisted and a bout 20 minutes to get the hang of the clutch and throttle relationship. By the end of his session he was doing feet up U-turns, slalom through the witches hats and laps of the go-kart track.

I even got to follow him around and intimidate him for a bit on his first lesson… wait… did I just say that out loud?

Noel spent several sessions with The Bar Tender before putting him through the Q-Ride competency test.

This test varies state to state but generally it requires the learner to demonstrate competencies in basic maintenance, road craft, braking, defensive riding, high and low-speed manoeuvring and various other learnings.

So as of last week, the young bloke holds his RE class, or Restricted Engine, motorcycle licence.

This allows him to ride a bike approved under the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS – up to 660cc). There are other restrictions as well, like not carrying a pillion and a zero alcohol tolerance for the first 12 months. 

Once 12 months have elapsed he can then upgrade to an open R class licence if he chooses.

I guess least with the RE class licence it will keep him off race replicas and other go fast bikes long enough for him to get some road smarts into his head. 

Needless to say, I’ve given him speech about him being invisible to other road users and to not be blasΓ© when out riding.

Falling off hurts.

There’s a lot for him to learn over the coming months. 

We’ve already spoken about doing some intermediate and advanced riding courses together once he gets accustomed to riding and knows his bike inside out. He needs to learn those skills and I need stay current.

What I’m really looking forward to is riding with him and the other two kids when and if they ever decide to learn to ride. 

As they say; a family that rides together…

Whats that you ask?

What was the second hat?

That would be the “Whoo-Hoo!” hat. πŸ™‚


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33 responses

  1. Congratulations to The Bar Tender, two wheels are the best choice and remember, on two wheels you never stop learning!
    Keep the shiny side up!

    Liked by 3 people

    July 13, 2016 at 1:02 AM

    • Thanks Dooks. I’m sure pretty soon he will be showing me a thing or two

      Liked by 2 people

      July 13, 2016 at 7:45 PM

  2. Awesome!! Congrats to the Bar Tender. Hopefully it is the start of a lifelong love of two wheels. I bet you are a proud Papa.

    Liked by 3 people

    July 13, 2016 at 7:19 AM

    • I think it will be, he has been pretty keen to get it done for a while. And yes I’m very proud πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      July 13, 2016 at 7:48 PM

  3. Dan

    Yes yes yes!
    Man, you had us all worried there for a bit! Glad it was good news, congrats and welcome to the wonderful world of motorcycling Bartender!

    Liked by 4 people

    July 13, 2016 at 10:43 AM

  4. That’s pretty cool. It sounds like you have more sensible learner laws than us with more training involved. At least we’ve finally introduced the LAMS model for learner bikes.

    All the best to the young dude and his training and I know you’ll enjoy sharing riding with him – over the years I’ve always enjoyed riding with the old man.

    Liked by 2 people

    July 13, 2016 at 4:06 PM

    • The learner laws are different state to state and some thought the current way or doing things is not enough. But I always maintain that it should apply across the board not just to new riders.

      I’m really looking forward to meeting with him once he is settled in and comfortable in his abilities

      Thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

      July 13, 2016 at 7:54 PM

  5. Too cool! Congrats to The Bar Tender and to you, Ghost. Quality time on two wheels with your son?… That would be tough to beat. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    July 13, 2016 at 4:07 PM

    • I reckon you’re right Ry… well until the next one decides their licence anyway πŸ˜‹

      Liked by 2 people

      July 13, 2016 at 7:57 PM

  6. Congrats! πŸ™‚ Hope he enjoys his journey!

    I remember when I went through the Queensland Q-Ride system. I was a bit older so was able to go for a two day course. The first day on a 250cc trail bike, the second on a 500cc naked bike. After that I was given my full unrestricted license. A bit crazy with around eight hours of road experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    July 13, 2016 at 6:24 PM

    • The laws are actually changing on October 1st. They are going to be much more stringent with longer waiting periods between stages and more courses to qualify

      Sadly this will also equate to greater cost. But at least the training will be much better and hopefully riders better equipped to deal with the challenges of riding

      Liked by 1 person

      July 13, 2016 at 8:02 PM

      • For the good I imagine (except for the added cost of course). There was no way I was ready for a big capacity sports bike with that little training! Hell I’d still probably freak out on a 1000cc supersport, haha!

        Liked by 1 person

        July 17, 2016 at 3:43 PM

  7. Bob

    Congratulations Bar Tender. Learning to ride is a bit scary at first, but the journey is awesome!

    Liked by 4 people

    July 14, 2016 at 5:25 AM

    • He was OK until they got him off the track and onto the road. I think then it hit him how errr… interesting it can be with other road users.

      Liked by 2 people

      July 14, 2016 at 2:09 PM

  8. Steve

    Good stuff, you will enjoy many rides with your son.

    Liked by 3 people

    July 14, 2016 at 10:18 PM

  9. Congrats, that is so great!! I wish you many happy miles as a motorcycle family!

    I also wish the driving and riding rules were even a fraction that strict in the US…

    Liked by 2 people

    July 15, 2016 at 2:37 AM

    • Thank you.

      I agree there needs to be good training. But there is a point where it became costly. That where we are at right now.

      If someone wants to learn to drive and has no option but to use a licences instructor it can cost in excess of $4400 just for lessons. Exams and licences are additional.

      Likewise with bikes. When the new laws come in it will cost close to 2k and about 3years to get to unrestricted class.

      I think this will lead to more unlicenced driver/riders or more people on the bus

      Liked by 1 person

      July 15, 2016 at 6:52 AM

  10. Oh my, that is steep. However, the US errs on the other side. There are barely any requirements here, no engine size retraction, and a child of 16 can get a permit here to rise any size bike, with just the limits of no passenger and daylight riding till they pass their riding exam in a parking lot. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    July 15, 2016 at 8:10 AM

    • ‘Restriction’ and ‘ride’, damn auto-incorrect!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 15, 2016 at 8:11 AM

    • Lynne, my jaw also hit the floor when I read those costs… I mean DAMN!

      Prior to 2007 there were no displacement restrictions for receiving a motorcycle endorsement on one’s driver license in Utah. By 2009, however, the state had implemented a tiered endorsement system, 600 cc being the first transition, I think: To be endorsed for a higher displacement, one must pass the course (skills) test on a higher displacement machine.

      I think the change in Utah was a response to that 2005-ish spike in the popularity of scootersβ€”you know, as a result of that spike in gas prices.

      Liked by 2 people

      July 15, 2016 at 8:39 AM

  11. LB

    Congrats to your boy. I’m glad he has you around to guide him. Young people feel like they are invincible and can use experienced folks around him.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 21, 2016 at 12:37 PM

    • Thank you and what you say is very true. I was no different, bullet proof and 10 feet tall.

      I can guide him but at the same timeI’d hate for him to learn my bad habits.


      July 21, 2016 at 7:30 PM

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