My Journey into Biking

Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved bikes… in my younger years going on the back of other peoples then eventually getting my own Motorcross bike in my late teens (what a fun bike that was!) I wasn’t able to get a bike when I lived in my old house as I didn’t have anywhere to put one (sobs) That all changed when I moved house… I made sure I got a garage! It wasn’t until this year I really thought about getting a big bike! But first there was a number of tests that stood before me!

If like me, you want to be able to ride anything… even a 1000cc Yamaha R1! You’ll need to get your Category A licence, which give you no restrictions! The Direct Access Scheme is the quickest way to get an unrestricted licence. This is the journey you’ll need to take if you want to pass your test…

Complete CBT

CBT stands for Compulsory Basic Training and is a legal requirement before you can ride any motorbike on the roads. It’s a full day’s course and costs is the region of £100 to £120. The day is split into a number of parts but the main ones are; offroad training , where you practice manoeuvres off road and the road test in the afternoon, where you are out on the road under instruction by a motorcycle trainer. If you’ve not ridden before, it can be quite difficult to pass in one day! There were 6 people on my course and only 3 of us passed in the day!

Once you’ve passed you can now legally ride on the road with L-plates, you’re just restricted to a 125cc bike and you must have L plates displayed! ! I did go out and buy a bike straight away.. I went for a reliable Japanese bike, a Yamaha YBR which I knew I’d be able to sell on.

Theory Test

Even if you already have a car licence you’ll need to pass the motorbike theory test. Buy a theory test app to practice it’s worth it! .. you don’t want to have to retake it! as there can be up to a 4 week waiting list to book.  It’s split into multiple choice questions and the hazard perception. The hazard perception part can catch a lot of people out so put in lots of practice… Don’t click too many times on the hazards as you’ll score zero for that question!

Familiarisation

Now the fun can really start… Going from 125cc to a 600cc bike was a whole new exciting world! The difference in power is immense! I started on a Yamaha Diversion, a 600cc I remember the first time I got on and began riding I was like Wooahh this is a crazy amount of power! Familiarisation is all bout time out on the roads, getting used to the bike, controls and that power! After a couple of hours riding, my confidence was up and I felt quite comfortable with the bike.

MOD 1 Training 

I actually fast tracked and did my familiraisation and MOD 1 training in one day. Most people who’ve been through both two parts of the bike test will tell you the MOD 1 test is the hardest out of the 2! MOD 1 is an off-road test and covers slow manouvures like the slalom,  figure of 8, and U-Turn all require good clutch and throttle control. You also need to do a controlled stop, emergency stop and hazard avoidance, the last 2 have to be done at a minimum of 31mph… that doesn’t sound fast but believe me it is when your going through a bend on a tight course!

Mod 1 Test

Test day came around and to say I was nervous was an understatement! It was an early start to get a bit more practice in on the slow manevoures before my test. The worst part is the wait before your test starts! The best thing you can do is try and relax! Don’t rush, take your time and take deep breaths to compose yourself. Just make sure you don’t put a foot down or touch any cones (that’s an immediate fail!)

Mod 2 Training

The training for the MOD 2 test is a bit easier than the MOD 1 stuff, the slow riding exercises can be quite difficult. MOD 2 takes place on the roads, so it should be a lot more comfortable. Getting ready for the MOD 2 test is all about fine tuning everything you’ve learnt so far; getting your road position right, doing lifesaver checks at the right times and being able to ride for yourself, which will form part of the MOD 2 test, the independent riding part, where you will be given place names to follow to show you can ride for yourself.

Mod 2 Test

The MOD 2 test is similar to road riding you do on the CBT. It lasts around 40 minutes and will have; show me/tell me questions about your bike, road riding (following directions from the examiner) and independent riding (following signs where you show you can ride for yourself). On the test you’ll be asked to stop a number of times including an angle start (from behind a parked car) and also a hill start. I did my MOD 2 test on a Suzuki Gladius, a bike I’d not ridden before! I was a little apprehensive at first but after 20 minutes or soon it was like I’d been riding it weeks, I was so comfortable and confident on it… exactly what I needed before my test!

The wait before the test seemed like an eternity as did my MOD 1 test! Just before you set off compose yourself and take deep breaths, it does help and just use the examiner as a Sat Nav. The test itself goes really quick, try and enjoy it.. I quite enjoyed mine! Don’t make any silly mistakes on the way back to the test centre, if you’ve had a good ride you’ll get a nice blue certificate when you pass!

Passing my Mod 2 test and getting my full bike licence was such a proud moment for me. It was like I’d fulfilled a boyhood dream.. It took a while before it fully sunk in! I didn’t waste any time getting a new bike… the following evening my new Kawasaki ER6-N was delivered, all 650cc’s of it! Then it was time to have some real fun… The power in my new bike is unreal! I can’t wait to go on some long adventures on it!

The Direct Access Scheme is by far no means a cheap thing to do. But if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do like I have, it’s definitely worth it! I’m looking forward to  Presuming you pass everything first time, Direct access & CBT will cost around £700-800, depending upon which riding school you choose and where you are in the country.

I’d love to hear if you’ve passed your DAS or planning on taking it or about your experiences of biking, drop me a me a comment in the comment box below.

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