The Simulator!

This is the instrument of my torture. So many said to me beforehand that the simulator lesson would be great fun, but I didn’t enjoy it at all really. I suppose if you’d never driven on a road, or ridden a bike before this would be a novel experience. I couldn’t wait to get off it.

It handles very badly and you really must yank it to make the damn thing lean, and when it does, it’s nothing like a real bike and it’s brutal to control. The throttle is without tension and the brakes are the oddest things imaginable. And all of this is before I even talk about the 1980s arcade graphics!

Anyway, enough of panning the simulator as a physical entity. Here’s what I was asked to do on it. After riding around a circular course for a bit to get used to the thing I had to practice stopping on three different road surfaces, dry asphalt, wet asphalt and dirt/gravel. I had to bring the bike up to 40kmph in 3rd gear and then stop with the front and back breaks in the right ratio, i.e. 70:30 for dry asphalt, 40:60 for wet asphalt and 50:50 for dirt. It really took some getting used. One time I thought I’d gotten it down pat and when he showed me the computer screen and I was 10:90 for dry asphalt. It was a bloody lottery. Despite this, I managed to scramble through this stage.

Next up was riding around a ‘business town’ following the directions of a navi. Dead easy as long as you can follow the directions in Japanese. Then there was a bendy rural road lined with hills and trees and which finished with a large bridge with a severe gust of wind hitting you from the left. Ah yes, you are also passed by a truck coming the opposite way and you get a burst of wind from that. There are man-holes on the bends which you need to avoid slipping on. The trick to doing this is not to lean the simulator. Just stay up-right and take it slowly until you come to the straight leading up to the bridge when you can open up a bit.

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