Richard Hart

Head of Something @ Somewhere
Kent, UK

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On Your Bike Pt. 3

See Part 1 and 2 here: On Your Bike Pt. 1 On Your Bike Pt. 2

After a couple of days out on the bigger 600cc bikes it was time to take the first half of my full bike licence test, otherwise known as Mod 1. This part is made to test your ability to control the bike in slow situations as well as dealing with hazards. It’s a reasonably quick test (usually under ten minutes) and consists of 9 set exercises: Manual handling (moving a bike by hand), slalom, figure of eight, slow ride, u-turn, cornering, controlled stop, emergency braking and hazard avoidance.

All of these take place within an enclosed area. The test itself isn’t particularly difficult, but it’s extremely easy to let nerves get to you and cause you to make a mistake. If put a foot down or clip a cone it’s an instant fail. you’re expected to treat it like a proper road, so you must do all of your shoulder checks before proceeding to do any of the manoeuvres and you must perform certain exercises at a specific speed. Failure to check over your shoulder is a minor mark, and if you do it enough times that’s a fail. Some common mistakes are not starting off with enough speed when approaching the slalom  so come the second/third cone you’re in big trouble as well as crossing the marked lines on your u-turn. The girl who did her test before me clipped a cone on the final hazard avoidance test which meant she failed. It’s not un-common at all to fail the mod 1 test.  I received one minor mark for going through the speed trap on the hazard avoidance one kmph below the set speed of 50kmph. If you go 48 or 49 they will pass you with a minor mark, anything less and you’re given one more go to reach the required speed. I rolled off the throttle a little too soon, unlike on my emergency stop where I went a marked 55kmph through the speed trap (well above the required speed). It’s perhaps better to go a little faster than required. Don’t look at your speedo, get a feel for what your bike sounds like at 50kmph while in second and use that to judge approach. I heard of one person going over 70 through the trap, in the pouring rain for their emergency stop, they nearly ended up in the hedge and sadly didn’t pass.

A week until the second half which is a 30-40 minute ride on the road. I’m more confident about that, hopefully nerves won’t get the better of me.