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My long journey from non-biker to biker - Part 2
So, if you read my previous post you'll know that I was determined to get my full licence sorted... and I did it... And I managed it in a fairly short time frame.
THEORY TEST - booked it on 4th Feb 2015, passed on 3rd March 2015
I've kind of been practicing/revising for my theory ever since passing my CBT in April last year and trust me, LEARN THE HIGHWAY CODE (it does change every year), how you do it is up to you, but I recommend getting the latest copy and read it from cover to cover (blokes, leave it in the loo and when you do your erm... you know what! read a few pages over and over again!!!), I also got an app for my phone & tablet from Deep River Development called "Motorcycle Theory Test & Hazard", it has about 700-800 questions and also 42 hazard perception videos and cost £2.50 (bargain or what??).
You can do a full mock test, concentrate on specific areas, flag items for review and it also explains the correct answer too.
Not sure about other phone platforms.
The Driving Standards Agency has an official DVD.
I also used this website
MODULES 1 & 2 - TRAINING & TESTS - booked on 3rd March, passed Module 2 on 13th March (yep! Friday the 13th!!!)
So, straight after getting back from my theory test I jumped on the bike and headed over to 1st Gear Motorcycle Training in Farnborough and had a chat with Michelle about the 'NEXT STEP'
I was asked about my biking experience on the 125cc and from this I was advised to go for the experienced plus course, which was four days, two days training on a 600cc bike followed by an hours warm-up before Module 1 and an hours warm up before Module 2 (this was chosen as I have commuted daily for almost a year and I’ve had a few decent 100+ mile rides at the weekends).
Day 1 (Saturday 7th March 2015)
This started of with a walk round the bikes we’d be riding - Yamaha XJ6N, and a chat about the HUGE difference between these and the 125’s we’d been used to for however long we’d been riding.
The difference is massive and I thought I’d psyched myself up… how wrong I was!
We then jumped on the bikes for a warm-up on the off-road area to get used to the heavier bikes, throttle response, clutch biting point and the brakes.
After about 30-40 minutes we had a break for a brief on how the rest of the day would pan out and also things to expect, rough routes and how to treat roads on much more powerful machine and of course get the comms sorted so we could hear the instructor.
We headed out and covered 3 test routes, swapped lead and had a debrief after each route, we then headed back to the school for final debrief and a spot of lunch.
After lunch it was mod 1 practice around the cones, which isn’t that bad to be honest (bigger bikes seem much more stable at slower speeds due).
Day 2 (Sunday 8th March 2015) - Erm… pretty much exactly the same as day 1!!! (but we had mock test at the end of the day, with a speed gun for the swerve and emergency stop)
Day 3 (Monday 9th March 2015) - Warm up, mod 1 practice, mod 1 test
This is the layout of the MMA (Motorcycle Maneuvering Are), however they have both left and right handed versions make sure you practice both
The examiner opens the gate and from that moment you are being watched, treat everything as if you are on the road and remember to shoulder check at the appropriate time (U turn especially or it’s an instant fail).
Before starting each exercise, I visualised going through it before the bike even moved then I set off
Remember to relax and don’t panic.
Result of the Mod 1 was a pass with only the one fault and that was the swerve test, I was under speed by 1km/h (you get two attempts at the swerve and emergency stop if you’re under 50km/h).
Day 4 (Friday 13th March 2015) - Get wired up with comms, 40 minutes road warm up, mod 2 test, rip off ‘L’ plates
The examiner takes you to your bike and you do a thing called “Show Me - Tell Me”, the examiner asks you two questions from a list that your training school will have given you.
I got “TELL ME how carrying a pillion passenger would affect the bike and what changes you would make and how you would change your riding style to suit carrying a pillion” and then “SHOW ME how you would check your steering”
The later tripped me up, not because I didn’t know how to check the steering, but I did the fatal error of putting the steering lock on, as bike school machines tend to be kept in lock-ups, their steering locks tend not to get used and can stick if you put one one!!! Aaaaargh!!! Finally got the lock off after a minute or two, but was rather embarrassing.
We finally got out on the road and I was nervous for the first mile or two, then I kind of forgot the examiner was there and treated the voice in my helmet as a very experienced sat-nav with post-ride feedback.
I felt I’d made a couple of slight errors, hesitated at a couple of junctions and possibly the fact that I’d missed the sign for the independent ride part (turns out a bus obscured the sign on a bus lane, so he corrected me).
We got back to the test centre (my heart was beating hard at this point) and as we were walking back to the building he said “How do you think that went? btw, you have passed” we get into the building for the debrief and there was no debrief, ZERO faults, certificate signed, shook the examiner's hand and that was that.
So, now the fun starts... well, the overwhelming decision of Which Bike to get... TO BE CONTINUED