Getting in gear…


When I first learned to drive (many moons ago), I learned on automatic transmission and I was able to take my Drivers test after only 4 or 5 lessons.

Of course, like almost any skill learned, once you’ve been doing it for a long time, it comes like second nature and doesn’t require much effort. Fast forward to the present and I’m now living in the U.K. where the overwhelming majority drive manual transmission cars. :-/

Nothing is wrong with manual cars, in fact I think they’re great and give you full control of your driving. In fact, in my early days of learning to drive, an old friend taught me how to find the gears and I had a rudimentary trial at the whole thing but gave up as I thought it would be quicker and easier to get my license with an automatic car. (I was in a rush to get my license you see and couldn’t bother with the whole- clutch-brake-gear-hand brake-accelerator thing). 🙂

finding the right gear

finding the right gear

I said, “Oh, once I get my license with the automatic, I’ll come back and learn the manual.” If you’ve read my first-ever post on this blog, you’ll remember what I said about me and procrastination. 🙂

Now, umpteen years later and my putting off learning to drive “stick shift” has come back to bite me in the proverbial butt. 😛

I’m in the land of manual and while there are a few automatic vehicles to be had (if you search really hard) it really makes sense to learn how to drive stick shift…especially if there are vehicles available for you to drive but they’re not automatic. -_-  lol!

Also, if you’re an independent sort like me, you like being able to get up and go whenever you feel like. So…there I was two days ago, with hubby…in an abandoned parking lot (well except for that one lady that came to change her baby’s stinky diaper) preparing to tackle this driving stick shift thing.

Now, I know some people reading this blog (especially the ladies) will wonder how on earth I got on with hubby teaching me to not just drive but drive manual! Maybe some guys may wonder how my hubby managed to teach me (without losing his marbles, or gripping the seat for dear life) but I’ll chalk it up to good communication and remembering the bigger goal (my independence). 😉

Well, the first part of the lesson included showing me how to find all the gears and making sure I was fluid. Once I got that down, it was on to the part I was least looking forward to learning how to ease off the clutch at JUST the right time while getting the hand brake down and giving the accelerator some gas, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. -_-

There is a delicate balance there and you have to really re-train your brain from the “mash-and-go” style of an automatic. Balancing that clutch and the accelerator gave me a warm time to figure out. I got it a few times and didn’t get it other times then got it again and again.

Once I circled the lot a couple times, I was thinking “okay, my knees have had it for today and so has my brain” I don’t have the best knees (old dancing injuries) but apparently hubby wasn’t thinking what I was thinking. He was like, “Okay, now the next time we circle at the bottom, I want you to move from first to second gear while you give it a little gas.”

I was thinking “Errrrrr, okay.” Of course I stalled out! LOL! I did it two more times and got it on the second try. At that point, I was ready to call it a day. My brain was trying to figure out “what trickery is this?!” and my knees were asking me to be merciful. So I told hubby that was enough for today. He seemed surprised that I was done already 😀

For the past day and a half I’ve been practicing in my head and this afternoon I’m off to try again.

I’ve set myself a personal challenge of being able to confidently drive a manual car in 10 lessons or less.

Let’s see if I can do it! Off for lesson number two!

audi-a5-coupe

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8 thoughts on “Getting in gear…

  1. Lol…you have/had it easy – real easy. I learned to drive stick after taking a friend to pick up her car from the dealer. Her car was stick but mine was an automatic. I let her drive to the dealer since she knew the way and we were in a rush to get there before they closed. Once there and after all the transactions were done, she hopped in MY car and told me “if you want to get home, drive that”, pointing to her car. Well, I wanted to get home. A few sputters on the parking lot and I was on my way home. I did have minor experiences with stick shift, but nothing that would make me feel confident to drive on main streets in evening traffic.

    You have/had it easy, my friend – real easy…lol

  2. LOL, You got lessons from ya hubby? LOL I tried that with my girlfriend when i was living in Guyana, lets just say tears flowed and it was not from me. There was no patience on my end. Keep at it though, stick shift is the most fun part of driving. When i moved to the USA i had a stick shift also, but traffic forced me into an automatic.

    • Hahaha! Poor girl!
      Hey RasMorty!
      Well, so far he’s been patient…with me but not my left foot! 😀 It’s too “heavy” when it’s not supposed to be and then too light when it should not be.

      I was better my last lesson though. So I hope I get a hang of it soon while he’s hanging on to his patience!
      😀 I must admit, I do like a challenge. 🙂

  3. Lol….I taught myself to drive manual. My mom had a manual jeep and that was the only transport in the home. I had to get something for my son who was a baby at the time and asked mom to take me….she responded that I had a license and an available vehicle! I’ve watched her drive for years so I figured I had the idea down pat….after many jerky move offs and stalls and angry horns blaring I made it to and from the supermarket in one piece. There after I continued until i perfected it! My first car was a manual Lancer (I even owned an Evolution) and my jeep is also manual….automatic is soooo boring lol

  4. LOLOLOL………..that was hilarious! I learned in one day (not to brag) but I had to learn quick as my dad bought a jeep for my sis and myself while in college. I learned in the back lane in good old Winnipeg and from then on out I am hooked…..nothing beats a stick shift! p.s. love the article and your blog. 🙂

    • That’s good! Well I guess if you had no choice it kinda gives you the impetus to do it right away! Plus it’s easier when you haven’t been set in your ways. I haven’t done a lesson in a while but I really had the hang of it better the 3rd time. 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and commenting and glad you like the blog! Don’t be a stranger now! 😀

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