The road belongs to us

For new riders there is a lot to consider, from understanding the different licence types to choosing the most suitable gear.

Use our interactive storyboard to follow the journeys of Joe and Angela as they fulfil their own biking ambitions.

Meet Angela

Age: 34

Ride level: Novice

Wants: Touring Bike


Meet Joe

Age: 19

Ride Level: Beginner

Wants: Sports Bike


Joe's Story

  • Joe, 19, is a college student and completely new to biking. Having just been to the TT races he now wants a sports bike.

  • Joe discovers that at 19 he doesn't have to stick to a 125cc bike but can ride a bigger one - up to 35kW in power if he takes an A2 licence.

  • Joe starts his lessons and passes his theory and practical tests first time.

Expand to read more on licence requirements and training courses

Joe loves bikes, ever since his dad took him to see the Isle of Man TT races when he was younger. He's still inspired after watching the TT races this year and Joe has his sights set firmly on buying a sportsbike.

Joe begins his research but discovers that due to his age, he is only eligible to ride a 35Kw (roughly 250cc) engine. Having watched Michael Dunlop take the Senior TT title on board the BMW S 1000 RR, this discovery puts a serious dampener on his plans. Joe looks at some motorbike reviews and is glad to discover that there are a number of great options available for those with an A2 licence, while some bikes (including sports bikes) can also be restricted so they are A2 permissible.

Joe asks a local bike store if they have any recommendations of a good motorcycle training company where he can undertake his CBT, theory and practical to get his A2 licence. It turns out they have their own training centre and Joe asked if he could watch a CBT being conducted. To find your nearest CBT course visit Joe also had to apply for a provisional motorcycle licence, and he got the form from the post office. Joe passes his test first time.

Hit the road with Motorcycle Direct

  • Joe buys his bike. He speaks to Claire at MotorCycle Direct about his insurance, what he needs to insure and the basics he needs to enjoy biking safely.

  • Claire is an experienced biker and Joe gets lots of tips from her, including how to ride in wet weather. Joe can't wait to get out on the road.

  • Joe shops for the best gear for riding his bike.

Expand to read more on Young Rider Motorcycle Insurance and key pointers for first time riders

Joe purchases the bike he's had his eyes set on for some time. He needs to take out insurance and comes across Young Rider Motorcycle Insurance from MotorCycle Direct. He speaks to Claire, an experienced advisor at MotorCycle Direct who talks him through the insurance policy.

Joe, who can sometimes be quite forgetful, takes out some optional extras such as Key Protection Cover and Personal Accident. Claire runs through some other key pointers for first-time riders, which Joe writes down including: never skimp on motorcycle gear. She advised that Think! Bike have created a useful booklet on safety gear and advised Joe to look for the SHARP rating system but advised that even if he wants to cut costs, he should never purchase a second-hand helmet, and after a crash the helmet should be replaced. Gloves should also fasten around the wrist, otherwise they could easily come off in a crash.

Claire also told him about a useful video on how to ride in the rain: Claire reiterated the importance of leaving twice the stopping distance in wet weather conditions and to remember that some bikes do not have ABS. As shown in the video, she told him to keep an even front and back pressure when braking and that some boots can easily slip off the pedals in the rain, particularly if the pedals are metal. She advised Joe to keep out of other driver's blind spots and to continually assess the road surface ahead.

Hit the road with Motorcycle Direct

  • Joe takes his bike out for his first spin. Freedom!

  • British winters are terrible for motorbikers, especially with the rain. Joe remembers Claire's advice about riding in bad conditions, making sure there's plenty of distance between him and everyone else on the road.

  • Joe loves riding and already has plans to buy a bigger bike as soon as he reaches 21 years old!

Expand to read more on motorcycling regulations

With his bike registered and taxed Joe takes it out for the first time on a short journey so that he can build up confidence.

A week later, when Joe is about to commute to college, it rains. Joe remembers Claire's advice; tries to remain relaxed, and is glad for his carefully chosen motorcycle gear, including a jacket which has a waterproof membrane laminated directly to the outer shell.

Joe discovers that MotorCycle Direct is on Twitter and tweets to thank them and shares pictures of his new bike. He is also excited to discover that after two years of holding the A2 licence he can take another practical to get the A licence, enabling him to ride any type of bike.

Hit the road with Motorcycle Direct

Angela's Story

  • Angela, 34, wants a touring motorcycle so that she can travel around Europe with her boyfriend. They plan to go to Italy in the summer.

  • Angela holds her A1 licence but needs her full A licence in order to ride the type of sports tourer that she wants for long-distance riding.

  • Angela starts her lessons for her full licence and passes.

Expand to read more on what Angela did

Angela's boyfriend Tom regularly travels around Europe with his friends. Although Angela already commutes to work occasionally on her Piaggio Fly 125 scooter, she wants to go to Italy with him this summer and is feeling inspired after viewing all the brochures of medieval villages, mountains and coastal roads.

With their plans to set off in September, Angela doesn't have much time to research and upgrade her licence. Angela took her CBT, theory and practical for her A1 licence when she was 17 which means she can ride a scooter or motorbike up to 125cc.

She finds a good instructor by word of mouth and undertakes her full A motorcycle licence. As she is aged over 24, she was able to do the direct access scheme.

Hit the road with Motorcycle Direct

  • Angela shops for a sports tourer and realises she'll need some good insurance!

  • Angela speaks to David at MotorCycle Direct about long-distance travels and what she needs to plan for. He's an experienced biker and knows his stuff! Angela is in safe hands.

  • David provides Angela with a checklist of items including European breakdown cover and multibike cover.

Expand to read more on considerations for buying a motorbike and Touring Motorcycle Insurance

Angela and Tom go bike shopping for a sports tourer and they consider some of the main considerations for buying a motorbike.

Angela does some research on the internet and discovers that MotorCycle Direct offer Touring Motorcycle Insurance. She speaks to an experienced advisor named David who assures her that they insure many sports tourers and that he has one himself.

David takes her through the insurance and additional extras that can be included, such as European breakdown cover. As she is just about to purchase her dream bike and some new gear, she decides not to take out these optional extras, however David has given her some useful advice based on his own experiences and knowledge, such as to take all the correct documentation on the trip and to make sure prior to setting off that the tyres are at the correct pressure when luggage is added. He tells her that more tips can be found on He also suggests that lockable luggage can be more preferable as they offer more security and are more waterproof than soft panniers. He then gives her the link to the AA touring tips for Italy and warns her that some areas are restricted to residents only and could result in a fine.

David advises her that there is a whole guide dedicated to motorcyclists covering topics from how to reduce your insurance premium to top tips for administering first aid.

Hit the road with Motorcycle Direct

  • Angela and her boyfriend take their bikes on a practice run. Angela's bike breaks down.

  • Angela ups her insurance cover before the trip. You never know what will happen. Insurers to the rescue!

  • Angela and her boyfriend are all packed and prepared and ride off into the sunset. Italy here they come!

Expand to read more on helpful tips for biking abroad

As advised by David at MotorCycle Direct, Angela and Tom go on a practice run with her new bike, she finds it takes time to get used to riding her sports tourer and the longer distances but as they return home, Angela's bike breaks down; she remembers that David had also mentioned about the importance of breakdown cover especially for longer distances.

Angela phones David and takes out European breakdown cover, which will be essential for their summer trip! She discovers that it can be added to her policy at any time and without any extra fee.

Taking into account all of David's tips, Angela and her boyfriend are all packed and fully prepared - Italy here they come!

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