How I become a rider? Part 5 ? getting my licence

binWhen I did my licence the process was a bit different than today. If you want to know how it looks now click here. But I encourage you to read through the POV experience just for your own entertainment 😉

My CBT Was running out

So I was forced to make a decision – I decided to get the proper licence and ditch the cursed L-plates ;). It was not really about getting a new bike initially but just about upgrading my licence. I read all about it. I found out there are couple stages and that I will need to prepare.

I am a cheap bastard

So I figured out the best route for me will be to prepare to the exam myself and pass on my cg125 (no hire costs). That meant that I would be restricted for 2 years to 33bhp but I didn’t care. I had no intentions on buying “a litre” 😉

I got myself a CD

Yes – the first part is a theoretical test. You basically need to go through all the tests and practice – there are also hazard perception vids that are good to practice as they may be a bit weird. The CD prepared me well me that and when I went to pass the test I was done in 20 min with a near perfect pass 😉 I was always good at tests 😉

Preparing for practical

That bit was much harder to practice without taking a course. TBH I did not practice much (just one evening went to a Tesco car park and trained doing figure 8 manoeuvre ;)) and I was a bit stressed about how it will go. I watched some youtube vids and read some articles to understand what were the manoeuvres.  It is important to know what is expected and what the common mistakes are. All slow manoeuvres were easy for me. After all I had experience riding in the London traffic and my bike was light and agile… Tip: when on slalom/figure 8 you can go as wide as you want – common mistake is trying to go tight and making it harder. I was a bit worried about avoidance and emergency stop as you need to get to 50kmph and it is harder then you think on a 125. Anyway I booked my test…

Surprises have started

when it turned out that my booking was cancelled due to some sort of road works around that test centre… That was a big problem for me. I had to take the test quickly and pass on the first go (mod 2 soon after) as I was close to expiring on my CBT… I had a choice of waiting (unacceptable) or choosing another test centre… So I prepared for a ride 60 miles outside of London…

Of course it was raining!

Yes, not only was the journey estimated for 2 hours but it was to happen in the rain. Lucky me… with all my hope in GPS I went on the journey. It was long. It was wet. It was scary. (I was used to the lower city speeds) My 125 could do 60-67mph max and that is a rubbish speed… all the cars want to overtake you as you are slow 🙁 visibility is poor and they pass you spraying water… NOT FUN.

I arrived to the test completely wet

I was the only one there! Not sure if it was the weather but for Mod 1 there was no one else. I think I got some extra credit for both having all the right gear and making it regardless of the weather as the instructor looked impressed. I got a hot Mocha from the machine (50p) and warmed up while waiting for instructor to take me to the test site.

It was very quick

And I was not stressed. I had enough of the ride and I did not care anymore;) As expected all my slow tasks were a walk in the park. Parking was weird as I do not usually push my bike like that but no issues. All those hours spent in London traffic paid out as I have found slow riding very easy. But then it was time for the high speed stuff that I never practiced… I had to repeat one of them (not sure which one but I was 2 mph too slow at the first attempt). On the second try I pushed it properly (on 125 you need to gain speed early) I leaned into the corner and went fast. Water splashing from under my wheels I went trough the speed trap, completed the manoeuvre and in the end passed the test. Result.

I didn’t even feel the cold going back home

I was so excited knowing that I am just one step away from getting my license! I also had just one try on that one – my CBT expired a day or two after the test! 😉 I studied possible routes (no idea how I found a list of routes for that test centre but it is possible) and went through them on google street view. I was looking for tricky places – what are the road speeds, what types of intersections and roundabouts are there etc.

And the day came

Went there, registered and was prepared for the test. Quick licence plates reading test, safety riding questions (I got a pillon rider question and something else) and I was ready to go. My examiner was riding a respectful 1000cc red Honda and was nice but not joke type of guy. He explained it all and we went. TBH the most tricky part was in the first 5 min when we went into some traffic and of course a car started pushing into my lane while the light was changing.  To avoid him I had to move into another lane accelerate and I lost my instructor. I was a bit worried he might find my style too aggressive but he said to carry on. It was stressful throughout but no major issues occurred later and we came back after about 40min (I do not remember exactly) and I was really worried about what I’m about to hear. Then he says I passed. He said he gave me 3 minors and explained them. One of them is that I tend to ride bit too close but overall he told me I ride confidently and maintain a very good control over my bike. That was heavenly sounds to my ears! AND I HAD MY LICENCE!

In the next part I will tell you how I got my bigger bike and how I got it wrecked.