My Journey to getting my License...

On 10/05/2016 at 00:04

Intro

So, with all parts of my DAS course now booked up and awaiting my participation i thought i would share the experiences i have along they way on here.

May be of interest to people looking to finally get their license or just for the elderly riders among us to see what is involved these days as their test involved riding around the block 3 times and then not running the instructor over when he jumps out in front of you to signal you to perform an emergency stop!

I will break it down into sections of each part of the journey to freedom on two wheels. Explaining each part of the test, costs involved and what to expect. Thats if i pass of course! If it all goes quiet then it means i failed and am hiding away in a corner somewhere sulking like a child.

Hopefully if all goes well i may be joining some of you for a ride or two over this summer. Fingers crossed!

I have reserved a few post slots below to try and keep all info in one place and make it easier to read! Hope you don't mind Mark!

On 10/05/2016 at 00:05

Theory Test - PASSED

The dreaded theory test!

Many people i have spoken to have said the question section was all good but that hazard perception thing! WTF is that all about? Watching a dodgy looking video waiting for the slightest risk or hazard to expose itself on the screen so you can start your clicking frenzy.

Wait a minute.... you mean you can fail the test for clicking too much as well as not clicking enough! Suddenly you realise the emo kid sat on the bench at the 23 second mark of video clip 7 was actually only ever a hazard to himself!

I must admit i have a slight head start on this part of the journey. I passed my Car theory in 1999 when I got to do the old school version of the theory test where we actually sat at a desk in a class room and used an antique item called a pen to fill out questions on a real piece of paper in school exam hall style conditions!

Then my second theory test i passed was for my HGV. This is where the head start comes in. As shown below the HGV theory test is quite a bit more involved than the car or motorbike version...

Motorcycle Theory Questions - 50 questions, 43 answered correctly.
Motorcycle Hazard perception video clips - 15 hazards over 14 video clips. Score of 45 out of 100 needed to pass.

HGV Theory Questions - 100 questions, 85 answered correctly to pass.
HGV Hazard Perception Clips - 20 hazards over 19 video clips. Score of 67 out of 100 needed to pass.

This experience also meant i knew when to unleash to clicking frenzy and when to calm it down.

I managed to pass my motorcycle theory with the following scores..

Questions - 49 correct out of 50
Hazard perception - 79 out of 100

For anyone that has their theory coming up i would highly recommend a google search of "mock Hazard perception tests" this will let you click away freely and get a feel for what they will expect on your test day.

The question part is pretty straight forward, especially if you are already driving on the roads in four wheels as the majority of the questions revolve around the highway code, with a small section aimed to be more bike specific. Nothing a few evenings in spent looking through the Theory book you can buy won't be able to educate you on.

The total cost for all this fun and excitement, £26 of your hard earned cash. Be grateful, from this point on it gets expensive!

On 10/05/2016 at 00:05

CBT - PASSED

I rolled up to my CBT feeling both excitement and dread!

Excitement due to the fact by the end of the day i will be one step closer to my full license but on the other hand this is my 3rd time round doing a CBT and the past horrors of spending the day with a group of 16 year olds while they train on the 50cc step through scooters thinking they are the next Valentino Rossi fills me with dread.

I know everyone has to start somewhere but surely they can keep the more mature, highway code educated, direct access CBT courses separate from the 16 year olds that are there for their day of education to finally get let loose on the road for the first time.

Anyway, the thought of going through all that again was short lived when i turned up to be greeted by two other gentleman in the same position as me, completing their CBT as part of their direct access course that they have booked over the next few weeks along with a lady who wanted to ride a 125cc for a year then do her direct access course.

This meant the painfully slow procedure of educating a youngster on what road signs mean what wasn't going to be a problem as everyone on the course had been driving for years and were more than competent with the rules of the road.

The day started with a quick rundown on how the bikes we would be riding worked along with all the normal safety talks and checks.

The bikes used for the CBT are Zontes Panther 125cc, which you may not of heard off. This is because they are shit. Looking them up online you will see they get good reviews for being one of the better bikes manufactured in China. If this is the case i can only imagine the other brands need stacking neatly in a pile and burning to make the biking world a better place.

They are like riding a washing machine on a spin cycle crossed with a PoGo stick. But i suppose they do the job of CBT training bike duties ok, and when the Lady of the group dropped the bike (twice!) they seemed to take it pretty well.

After a few hours of slow manoeuvres around a carpark of cones it was time for the road ride. I thought these bikes were bad in a carpark, on the road they show a whole new level of shittyness! Reaching 50mph on a carriage way (a slow process) taught me two things about these bikes, firstly they are not made to take a larger rider (I'm 6ft and 16.5 stone) due to the front suspension bottoming out just from even looking at the front brake let alone using it and secondly its the only time riding one will feel exciting, if you class feeling like you're about to die as exciting! Maybe an adrenaline rush would be a better description, or even fearing for your life!

After an hour or so evading death out on the road we returned to the training carpark where we were allowed to take the Suzuki 650cc training bike out for a little spin around the cones to assure us that it would be a more pleasant experience when doing the module one training. Which worked well, the Suzuki was smooth and controllable making all slow manoeuvres we did on the PoGo stick machine earlier much easier.

So with the day finished we were handed out CBT certificates ready for the next step to biking freedom.

Farewell shitty Zontes Panther, i hope we may never meet again!

On 10/05/2016 at 00:05

Module one Training - Completed

I left my house to attend my day of Module 1 training a little nervous! The 125cc bikes used for the CBT had knocked my confidence on the slow speed riding due to their ability to be utter shite in every way possible.

Over the last few weeks of waiting to attend this training day my head had cruelly twisted the fact that why had struggled on the slow speed stuff wasn't anything to do with the 125cc bikes i had been riding that day making it difficult but rather down to the fact i was shit at riding! This thought had continued to fester and grow over the time leading up to this day to the point i had convinced myself i was doomed to fail from the start.

I got to the training grounds early where one of my fellow learners turned up shortly after i did. He was a small guy wearing spray on jeans and some sort of mesh motocross style body armour suit under a hoody! Strange choice of clothing but he came across confident and enthusiastic about getting this training done so he was ready to complete his Module 1 test that was booked in 2 days time. He seemed to be happy with his abilities and positive that in the next few hours he will of perfected all the manoeuvres. This fucked me off quite a lot!

So when everyone else had turned up we were split into two groups, me and Mr cocky spray on jeans man were paired up to go and start our U turn training while the other group started on the slalom and figure of 8.

He jumped at the chance to be the first one on the bike to start taking on the U turn section, so i stood to the side ready for my lacking confidence to take another kicking as i watched someone else perfectly perform the slow speed manoeuvres. Except this didn't happen, instead he got halfway through the turn and grabbed a fist full of front brake leading to him hitting the deck and the bike gracefully falling on top of him! Maybe it was nerves or an unintentional error, who knows? But he got up, set himself up for another attempt and did the same thing all over again hitting the deck in exactly the same spot.

At this point the instructor took him to one side for a little chat regarding maybe he isn't quite ready for this yet and a 125cc might be his best option for now. My childish side laughed at his misfortune like it had convinced me his cocky confidence was responsible for my lack of positivity in my own capabilities. The grown up side of me thought shit, please don't be worse than him!

So on the bike i jumped and took on the U turn, the first smooth but a little wide, the second just on the white line, the third was fine as i practised and practised until i was capable to pull off ten good U turns in a row without issue. The bigger bike was a game changer. A game changer that had brought back my confidence in riding. Fuck you little Chinese CBT 125cc bike, you were to blame all along!

My new found confidence at slow speeds continued to grow through out the day on the bigger bike, nailing the slalom and figure of 8 first time along with the emergency stop and serve test.

By the end of the day i felt confident to take on the module 1 test. Sort of.

Just have to wait two days till test day to find out!
TheNotSoBigCheese
TheNotSoBigCheese
Moderator

On 10/05/2016 at 10:04

Hey mate, great thread! Thanks for deciding to share your experiences, I am sure it will be an interesting read and very helpful to those looking at getting their licence :-) So when does your training start?

Oh that bloody hazard perception! Turns out you can click too early as well and it wont register because you click before the "score zone" What I ended up doing (on my 3rd attempt when I passed!) was to click as soon as I saw the hazard and then again 2 seconds later. Was so relieved when I passed because my MOD1 was only a couple of days after and would have had to cancel it!

Looking forward to your updates and wish you all the best for getting your licence!
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On 10/05/2016 at 10:31

It's all about the double tap click when you see a hazard. Stops you from losing out if you're a little premature!
TheNotSoBigCheese
TheNotSoBigCheese
Moderator

On 21/05/2016 at 21:50

Nice one on passing the CBT mate! You are now one step close to riding that MT 09 you having waiting for you! It's amazing how much easier slow riding is on a big bike compared to a 125, I was quite relieved about that as my slow riding was crap on my 125!

Shame they use Chinese bikes :-( Guess that's just because they're cheap, but doesn't really do anybody any favours if they are bad to ride.
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On 14/06/2016 at 22:54

Updated the Module one training, took my mod 1 test today but will have to do the write up on that tomorrow! Hope you enjoy.
TheNotSoBigCheese
TheNotSoBigCheese
Moderator

On 16/06/2016 at 19:52

Nice update mate! Sounds like you have been getting on well :-)

Haha Mr cocky pants. The other chap on my CBT was a bit like there. Came in with a Go Pro on his lid saying he had been riding bikes off road for years. Failed his CBT because he was pretty bad and couldn't grasp how the roads worked.

Fingers crossed you passed the MOD 1?!
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On 05/06/2017 at 22:05

Fantastic reading mate ,loved it

On 11/06/2017 at 12:11

Just passed my mod 1 0 faults too
TheNotSoBigCheese
TheNotSoBigCheese
Moderator

On 11/06/2017 at 21:38

Yes mate! Well done!
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On 12/06/2017 at 10:25

Mod 2 BOOKED this Thursday hopefully all goes well
TheNotSoBigCheese
TheNotSoBigCheese
Moderator

On 12/06/2017 at 20:39

Best of luck to you mate, fingers crossed for you! MOD 1 is harder then MOD 2 in my opinion, just remember your shoulder checks, watch your speed and don't ride with your visor up!
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On 15/06/2017 at 17:55

Passed finally able to take those L plates
TheNotSoBigCheese
TheNotSoBigCheese
Moderator

On 15/06/2017 at 23:01

Superb mate, well done! That's great news, now you can burn the L plates! So you get to go big bike shopping soon?
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On 16/06/2017 at 17:45

Yeah going to finish payments on my 125 then use that as abit of a part exchange with what ever I can save in that time for the new bike.

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