So last year I decided to do what I should have done when I was 17. Take my motorbike test. It was a process that took nearly 4 months. I booked my compulsory basic training (CBT). This is an day long course that teaches the basics of riding a motorcycle firstly off road in a specially set up training area and the on the road. I’d ridden motorbikes when I was 16/17, so the course wasn’t that difficult, but I did learn alot.
The minute I had my CBT certificate in my hand, I bought a brand new yamaha MT125. I also bought all the safety clothing and helmet. Unlike driving which i see as a means of getting from a to b, riding a motorcycle gave me a real sense of freedom. The feeling of the bike underneath me, the smells, the motion of leaning into corners and of course the speed. The 125 would quite happily do 70mph.
I next completed my theory and hazard perception tests. Although I was nervous before taking them, my years of driving a car helped massively. Thankfully, I passed them first time.
I then booked an intensive training course which included both parts of the motorcycle test (module1 and module 2). The course lasted 3 days. There were two of us on the course and the instructor. We had a one way intercom so we could follow instructions and directions from the instructor. The first day was spent riding 700cc motorbikes at the same off road site as the CBT. I had to practice slow speed manoeuvres and bike control. The manoeuvres I learned where exactly the same as the ones i would be doing in my test. The following two days where spent riding on the road.
Now I know to experienced riders a 700cc motorcycle is relatively small,but the power and acceleration was all new to me. Both scarey and exciting.
We did a combination of riding. Dual carriage way, rural and urban. We rode around some of the different routes that would be used in the actual test.
At the end of the third day it was time to take the off road module 1 part of the test. That took place at the dvla training centre in Ipswich.
The other man on the course (Brian) took his test first, he passed. No pressure on me then!! I was very nervous. I took a betablocker and I had polo’s in my mouth (mints help to calm me down).
The examiner was very patient and explained everything he wanted me to do very clearly. I first had to complete and eyesight test by reading a number plate. Then we went in to the off road testing site itself. As soon as I was inside, I had to follow all the rules of the road. Every time I moved off, I had to do an over shoulder life saver check. The first maneuver was to park my bike in a parking space, get off and move it into another one to show i had control of the bike. Then followed maneuvers that included riding in-between cones, completing a figure of 8 and doing an emergency stop. Some how I managed to get a little lost when doing the figure of 8!! As I left the testing area, I feared the worst…..however I passed!!
When I met up with my instructor (who watched the whole thing), he asked if I wanted a sat nav because he saw my botched figure of 8 !!
I then had to wait a week before being able to take module two. On the morning of the test it was pouring with rain, I could hardly see where I was going. Although I had very expensive wet weather gear on, I was soaked by the time I got to the test centre. I was first up to take the test. Again I had taken a betablocker and had a mouth full of polo’s. I was cold, wet and nervous. There rain however played to my advantage. There where so many cars on the road, I spent more time than usual stuck in traffic.
The examiner followed behind giving me instructions through the intercom. It was going okay until he asked me to pull over in a safe place. We were stationery for a minute or so and the he said to pull out when safe to do so. As I looked over my should, a car flashed and I pulled out. As I looked in my mirror I realised he wasn’t flashing me, but letting a car out of a side road. I though, that’s it I’ve failed. Because of this I relaxed and rode in my own style rather than trying to over think what I had been taught.
When we got back to the test centre, I was expecting the worst. I was ready for the embarrassment of facing my instructor and Brian.
I looked at the examiner and he said ” I’m pleased to tell you, you have passed. Well done” I nearly passed out. He said he read the car flashing the same as I did. The gods where with me that day!!
The same day as passing my test, I traded I my 125 for a yamaha MT07. I had an akrapovic race exhaust fitted to it ( it sounds lovely, and yes it is legal officer).
Now whenever I’m having a bad day, I go for a nice long ride. It clears my head and gives me freedom.