How I got my licence
Being well over 24 and rather an impatient sort of chap, I obviously went for the DAS course to find out if I could possibly pass the motorcycle test or not.
I was late to biking, being in my forties, so I was far from convinced that I could do it. I had bought myself a Honda PCX 125 scooter and, of course, had 20 plus years of car driving experience but I felt confident on awareness and knowing roads and other vehicles.
On the first day of the week, I jumped onto an actual motorcycle for the first ever time. Okay, it was only a 125 but it had GEARS! OMG! Panic.
Moving around on the bike was completely safe in their large off-road area about the size of a football pitch. I was surprised how easy it was to change gear, albeit with some jerkiness as I got used to the clutch control during gear changes at lower speeds. Brakes were fine and the power was fine. Hey, I can do this!
To pass the A licence you need to take the test on a bike with at least 595cc and which produces at least 50kW/67hp. After that you can ride ANY motorcycle, immediately.
I was given a Yamaha XJ6.
Not immediately scary but this thing is a lot bigger than the 125 or PCX and heavy! It was a completely different animal but I was pleasantly surprised to find it actually easier to control than the 125 as it was less jerky. The smoothness promoted confidence, much needed confidence!
I got to grips with turning, stopping and accelerating and then we were let loose on the open roads, amongst other roadgoers. We had intercoms and I actually did not feel as nervous as I thought I would. Stop here, look there, keep to the limit…
I can still do this!
My first real problem came with the darn U-Turns. How are you meant to turn the bike around 180 degrees in that little space! WITHOUT putting a foot down.
This was the one thing that was really doing my head in and I now had to do the Mod1 which was being taken to the exam centre and watched as I perform all the manoeuvres in the allocated space.
I did it!! Damn. I was so tense. I have it plenty of revs and concentrated on the examiners words of ‘look where you want to go’. I even did it the second time on the MOD1 when it actually didn’t matter.
Getting back to the learner centre I think the guys were as surprised as me that I had passed. LOL.
Weirdly, the MOD2 went without a hitch. It was far less harrowing than the MOD1 – for me. I went back to the learner center and of course pretended to have failed but I couldn’t keep a straight face.
“They’ve only bloody passed me!”