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Passing By


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Hello,


I've been lurking on this forum for the past week or two as I was, like most of you, practicing for and undertaking tests, to get my bike licence.


I passed mod 2 yesterday and would like to make a guide based on my recent experiences, to help new riders and as a thank you for this handy forum.


Get your head together:

Deciding you want a bike licence is a big deal, or at least it was for me, my family all very against it, and my dad in particular showing 0 support for the move. I wanted to ride since I was 15 and only now at 27 have finally made it possible, as I decided I am doing it for me, noone else, and that I really want it.


You have to really want it, because you're going to have to pay a fortune (£300 in tests alone) to learn, and then more for a bike, a helmet, a jacket etc. etc. etc.


So if you're gonna do this, on your own, or with support, great, buckle up, but be there in your head before you even sit a CBT.


CBT:


I did mine twice, the first time I did it I did nothing after it for over 2 years and it expired, hence the spiel above. Make sure you can take some time out (even if it's just a day a week, or fortnight) for lessons up to mod 1 and mod 2 before sitting your CBT, as there's no point paying £100 to let it expire. Ignore this if you just want a scooter or whatever but if you're planning to get a CBT then ride a 125 for a while to get experience, my advice would be not to bother. You'll pick up lots of bad habits and make passing harder. You can always pass mod 2 and then get a 125 for a year? I saw 3 or 4 125 riders through training who kept forgetting lifesavers etc.


Your CBT is CBasicTraining: YOu won't fail unless you show that you are really a danger to yourself and others. Listen carefully, and enjoy it, £100 down and you're ready to start learning!


Your theory:

Just practice practice practice. Get a practice book or DVD or whatever and just do mock tests til you're passing it every time with 1 or 2 wrong answers. Read up on the bike specific bits like brake distances and carrying pillions/towing trailers cos they're guaranteed to arise.


Regards the hazard perception, don't click in a pattern (i.e. every second) but definitely click away, at everything that is not just an empty road. Cars on the road? click, pedestrians walking? click, chances are, if you're clicky friendly you'll get the hazard they're marking you on before it even develops and that means full marks, again, don't click if there isn't a hazard.


Lessons:

I learned at "bike it" in Paisley, a really good bunch of guys who made the whole experience enjoyable and never made me feel stupid or nervous. I recommend a bike school as opposed to one instructor, cos I learned from 3 different instructors, 1 was particularly softly softly, 1 liked to ride about a foot behind me, and 1 was quite aggressive and didn't molly coddle me. The mixture shaped me well as I felt my confidence grew and I just got on with it, relaxing more at times but always enjoying it. I can't speak about having 1 instructor start to finish, but I can only recommend what has worked well for me.


Mod 1:

Wow, I have no idea where the nerves came from. I am generally a laid back guy, and thought mod 1 was a quick lap of some cones to get out of the way, but when I entered "the cage" for my practice, I turned to jelly. Heard all kinds of stories but didn't think it'd happen to me. Foot down in the 8 and the Uturn, whapped some cones, couldn't get speed up etc. On the day I nailed it, 1st time and no minors, here's some tips:


Breathe.

Seriously, deep breath before you do anything.

Now, don't think to yourself as you do things, you'll only start to over analyze how imperfect it is and you'll lose concentration. I found it best to just say what I was doing. "Ok Tony, slalom time, in between these two, then these two, nae bother, round the cone we go, and again" etc.

On the U-Turn, if you're about to put your foot down, accelerate - you're going to slow.

When coming out the bend and through the speed trap - look down at speedo as you leave the bend!! a quick glance will tell you either to maintain the revs, or give it a bit more, and that's the difference between doing it once or twice.

Emergency stop: through the trap and off the gas, front brake slow but progressive, back brake once you're almost stopped, now clutch in. If you have to forget something, forget to clutch in and you'll pass with a minor. clutch in too soon and you might skid.

For the swerve try not to go too fast. 50kph, not 60! and go through the trap towards the side you're swerving to, not the middle.

Seriously but, remember to breathe and remember - you've got this!


Mod 2:

Think of mod 2 like this - The examiner has a pass certificate with him to give to you, and all he wants to see, is that you've been getting lessons and that you're a safe rider.

He does not want to catch you out. He does not want to fail you.

During independent riding I took 2 wrong turns. I did them safely and there is nothing he can mark me down for. It isn't a memory test, or a test of my navigation skills. As long as I do my lifesavers before moving lanes and turning, I'm on to a pass.

Ride slowly - I don't mean sit at 30 in a 40 but I mean don't get caught up in this "progressive riding" thing that was clouding over me on exam day. Ultimately, if you don't overtake a car that he feels you should have - minor. If you overtake a car and then get stuck in the right lane when you should be in the left - probably difficult to avoid a major fault and fail.

I overtook a lorry on test day, and it meant I had to do 45 in a 40 to get past it, and at this point, my stress levels were rocketing. Just use your common sense and don't feel it's a race or a rush. I got no minor for speeding to pass the lorry.


I hope someone can get something out of my advice, I am by no means a brilliant rider, I am absolutely brand new, and only now shopping for my first bike.


I just thought I'd share my experiences as they're fresh in my head.


Wish you all good luck in your tests and to your future of biking. Thanks to all who took the time to give advice to me and others alike when I was shitting myself about getting through the tests.


Relax, Be Safe and Enjoy it!






Peace,


WeeTony

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