Lucie Donlan and Luke Mabbott have gained a legion of fans after appearing on the popular TV show, Love Island. The real-life couple love can regularly be seen on their social media channels taking new experiences together.
Their latest challenge is to obtain their motorcycle licences. We caught up with Lucie, 22 from Newquay, and Luke, 25 from Redcar, after completing their Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) as part of the new Bennetts Ride Free campaign.
Here’s how they got on:
Bennetts: You recently completed your CBT on behalf of the Bennetts Rider Free initiative and can now legally ride a 125cc motorcycle on the road. What made you both want to do this?
Luke: I think we did it just because if we do go abroad, then we can ride bikes there. It’s something that we’ve both always wanted to do, so it was a good experience to see what it’s all like.
Lucie: I think that’s the thing, we want to go on loads of trips. And to be able to do the sort of adventure-fuelled trips that we love, having your licence and the right sort of training enables you to be able to go somewhere and just do it. We love going on adventures together and riding somewhere like Morocco in the sand dunes would be insane. Getting our CBT done is something that we’ve both always wanted to do, so having the opportunity to do it as part of Bennetts Ride Free actually just meant that we went and did it.
Luke: Plus, my brother and Dad have their licences and I don’t want to be the only one that hasn’t gone and done it!
Have motorcycles always been around you?
Luke: My dad has owned a couple of Harleys. My brother is really into his bikes and now my little nephew has got more bikes than me! He’s got a little crosser and a retro trike. When my brother was younger, I remember him running over my Dad on a trike!
Lucie: I’ve had some off-road experience at a place called Days on the Dirt. I did it for my 21st Birthday and spent the weekend learning loads about getting into off-road riding: I’d always wanted to do it. Since then, I’ve always wanted to do more but that is my only prior bike experience but, it did kick start me into wanting to do more and at least complete my CBT.
So many people in Newquay have scooters with boards on the side actually, they cruise down to check the surf with them and some cruise down with little dogs on the back too - it’s quite cool.
Luke: From a practical point of view, it’s so much easier on a bike around here (Newquay) and getting parked.
Above: After practicing in the car park, it’s off to the open roads
When you think of motorcycling what springs to mind?
Lucie: I always think of off-road and riding motocross, because I really enjoyed my off-road riding experience. I really wanted to get my licence to enable me to be able to hire bikes abroad and use as a confidence boost for when I’m riding off-road, as its just extra training.
Luke: I think for me because my Dad and family have always been into motorcycling, I think of different things. Like he rides on the road but when we were younger, we used to go trials riding and I fell off a good few of times – nothing bad, though.
What do you think about Bennetts Ride Free initiative?
Lucie: I think it’s a good initiative to introduce people to the benefits of motorcycling and get more people confident on the road. It was an amazing experience when we did it.
Luke: It was nice to do it together; I found the CBT day well organized; you just go at your own pace too, which is nice. They don’t rush you. But yeah, I think it’s amazing.
Lucie: It’s also a really great time to be running this sort of competition (chance to win one of 90 CBT courses for Free) for people. Lockdown has been tough on many and it’s a really nice thing to offer the chance to win such a great experience for when these restrictions come to an end.
Luke: Getting your CBT or bike licence is one of those things that you say you want to go and do but never get around to booking and doing it. So, this just gives you the push.
What was the actual process of completing your CBT like?
Lucie: It was really relaxed.
Luke: I think that it was nice and chill, which is really important. If you’re nervous, the last thing you want is to feel under pressure. We took it really slow, at our own pace, and the fact that we did it together made it so much more enjoyable and helped put us both at ease.
Lucie: It was nice as well how you start off with quite simple exercises. Just practicing things like the gears and going from one side of the test area to the other. If you’ve never even been on a bike before there are loads of opportunities to just practice the basics and take it quite easy. The instructors were really helpful and made us feel at ease.
What would you say to someone thinking about riding on the road but who maybe needs some encouragement to get started?
Lucie: I think just booking it and getting it done. I’d been wanting to do mine for like two years and I kept saying that I wanted to do it, but just never went and did it! Now, when I look back on it, if I’d just gone and done it I would have had two years riding experience by now! Not only that, I would have been able to have gone and done all these cool things on a bike.
Luke: I agree - just go on and get it booked: you won’t regret it. It will be something to look forward to. And what’s nice is that you’ll meet other people learning to ride, people that are in the same position as you - wanting to try something new. And you will make friends when you’re there, there’s a real community around motorcycling; even as someone new to it I’ve experienced that.
Above: Lucie and Luke with their CBT certificates and posing with the Kawasaki Z125
What are your plans now you’ve started your two-wheeled journey? Full licence next or more training?
Lucie: Luke, you want to do your full licence don’t you?
Luke: Absolutely. Like I said before, my family have their full licence and I can’t be stuck on just a CBT - maxing out a 125cc chasing my Dad down; they’d leave me for dust!
Lucie: I think that I’d like to wait a little while longer, just to get my confidence up really. Get a nice little bike and just build my confidence up on the road, building towards riding something bigger and going on much bigger main roads. I think I’ll give it a year or so before I do my full licence, your CBT lasts for two years anyway.
What’s your dream motorcycle?
Luke: It’s got to be something in a bobber or cruiser style. Something like a Triumph Bobber or a Harley Sportster is a bit of me.
Lucie: I’d like something where you can put the surfboards on the side and go down to the beach on. One with really thick tyres – like the old Suzuki VanVan, or maybe a Honda Monkey.
What about a dream motorcycle road trip?
Lucie: I think it’s got to be off-road in Morocco.
Luke: America! Something on the West Coast would make an epic trip.
What about the riding kit? You’ve chosen Shoei Neotec system helmets with the Sena communications kit. Is that so you can communicate easily while you ride or just enjoy your own playlists?
Luke: I think system helmets when you can flip the whole front up is so handy. You can’t really shout over to one and other when riding, so with the Sena system it’s so clear and easy to communicate. The intercoms were great if we were struggling with something too, we could just chat so easy.
Lucie: It’s so easy to operate and speak through the intercom. We were able to pair this system with the instructors’ ones, so there was never any need to panic as you know someone can hear you clearly right away.
Luke: The Shoei Neotec is super comfortable too; you couldn’t even feel that the intercom was in there at all.
How did you get on with the Alpinestars clothing?
Luke: My brother is obsessed with Alpinestars, so when I got my gear he was a bit jealous!
Lucie: It looks so nice as well, I felt super secure and safe in it. I can’t believe how stylish it is and so comfortable. I loved how fitted the trousers were as well.
Luke: I love the fact that it looks so casual but actually you know there is the technology in there to protect you when you’re riding.
If you want the chance to win a FREE Compulsory Basic Training course and to find out more about getting on two wheels, visit www.bennetts.co.uk/RideFree