Richard Hart

Head of Something @ Somewhere
Kent, UK

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On Your Bike Pt. 4

See Part 1, 2 and 3 here: On Your Bike Pt. 1 On Your Bike Pt. 2 On Your Bike Pt. 3

The final step of getting my bike licence finally arrived. The Mod 2 is a 30 minute ride on normal roads where you’re followed by an examiner who is in touch with you via radio. You’re expected to do some independent riding where the examiner will ask you to follow the signs towards a specific location, to see how well you pay attention to your surroundings and road signs. After that the examiner will take over and give you instructions on where to go so that they can see how your react to various situations, like junctions, hazards etc. You’re marked on things like observation, so forgetting to do your shoulder checks can result in a minor mark and if forget enough times you’ll get a major mark, which is an instant fail.

As my test was at 2:40pm I was able to get a good amount of riding time in before we had to make our way to the test centre. I hadn’t been able to sleep properly the night before and waking up to rain dampened my mood slightly. But the anxiousness/excitement kept me alert and to make life easier, the sun eventually came out. I knew that my riding was fine and that the only reason I might fail would be because I let nerves get the better of me. My instructor said that as long as I rode like I had been that same morning, I should pass fine. Finally test time came around and I was feeling pretty nervous, but next thing I know, I’m on the bike heading out. Disaster struck as soon we came out the test centre. I suddenly found myself  behind a learner driver, and with the examiner right up behind me I had the difficult task of taking the first junction extremely slowly while attempting to not hit the learner or examiner. Still behind the driver as we completed the turn the examiner told me to overtake them. I was worried that I had probably failed at that point as the examiner shouldn’t be telling me to overtake, that should be my decision. With that in mind I thought that if I had already failed, I’d just treat the rest of the test like a relaxed ride around town. It helped that the first part was the independent riding section as I was just left alone to calm down and make my own way onwards. So it was much to my surprise that at the end of my 30 minute ride I was told I passed with a clean sheet. No minor marks at all. I was ecstatic and so relieved that it was finally over. After a lot of stress and worrying I finally had my motorbike licence.

It’s been quite a long journey to getting my licence, considering I booked it all the way back at the start of July. I wouldn’t have done as well as I did if I didn’t have experience riding motorbikes/mopeds in the Philippines and Thailand as well as having ridden a bike around London since I was kid, not to mention driving consistently for the past 14 years. So I had a lot in my favour going into this. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for people doing a 5/6 day DAS with no bike experience at all. Couple that with the stress and anxiety of taking the tests and going in green must be extremely difficult, not to say that it’s impossible to do.

I was going to write my advice on how to get through your DAS, but this post is long enough so I will leave that for another time. I’ll write out some thoughts and advice that helped me get through it all as I’m sure that will be useful to many new riders out there. Special thanks to everyone at Off The Kerb Motorcycle Training in White City for getting me through my DAS. I can’t recommend them enough if you’re looking for training!