Prime of Midlife

I Refuse To Have The Crisis
Motorcycle Test Day, Final Part

Motorcycle Test Day, Final Part

Having just been told that I had passed my Mod 1 test, I was relieved, shocked and delighted all in the same breath.

The examiner left the small office and Alan my instructor from Scotriders congratulated me as we made our way out.  It was about this time that the blind panic set in that I would be going to do my Mod 2 in a matter of minutes.

First things first, nicotine levels had to be gotten back to normal so I didn’t get jumpy.  It’s not something that I normally have difficulty with, but I was taking no chances today.  I quickly ran out of the centre and around the corner.  Alan just as quickly followed me and told me I had to be on the other side of the gate.  Honestly, I must have looked such a sight in my waterproofs and helmet hair standing at the gate to the centre puffing away.

Once I was sorted I headed back to the test centre to await the start of my Mod 2.  Alan had realised that the bike the examiner normally used was not there, so I would be getting followed by a car rather than a bike.  For some reason this made it seem easier for me.  I think I was always worried that the examiner would be right beside me and found that an intimidating thought.  If he was in a car, then I would be pretty much on my own on the bike and that was a much better option.

Eventually the examiner came into the office again and Alan and I headed in.  Again, there was the paperwork to sign and this time there was a radio receiver to wear.  Normally this would not be a problem, but my nerves were such that Alan had to help me get the radio into the pocket and the wires squared away.  I felt like a five year old getting looked after by their big brother.

Now it was time to get on the bike and head off.  Well at least that is what I thought.  I had completely forgotten about the reading of the number plates and the show me tell me questions.  Number plate was good, then I was asked about the brake fluid, which thankfully I had asked Alan about the previous lesson as my bike had a second reservoir under the seat.  My final question was about balance when carrying a pillion.  Thankfully all answered correctly. Now it was time to get on the bike.

I was told by the examiner that I should drive for the traffic and that he would be giving me instructions as we went. Also, that should there be a problem with the radio just to stop and wait for him.

This was it, this was me actually going for my proper big bike test, I was terrified.

I managed to get out of the centre and down to the main road in one piece so that was a start.  As we started down the main road my brain was going ninety miles an hour trying to figure out what way we would be going next.

We did roundabouts, we did junctions, traffic lights and turns.  My head was like one of those radar things on top of ships, checking everywhere, double checking and triple checking, I trusted no vehicle out on the road that day.

Then when I was following instruction I was asked to go a certain road.  I knew this road, this was the road with the horrible right hand corner.  The corner where one of my fellow learner riders had come off the bike.  My heart was in my mouth as I turned the corner and smiled.  There was roadworks, there was only one lane open so I couldn’t make a mistake and it wasn’t nearly as bad a turn as normal.

I should have known better, it wasn’t long before I was taken on a road I didn’t know and asked to turn right at the lights.  These were evil lights for turning right, no priority arrow, a whole lot of cars coming towards me so I had to wait and the angle was that of being on the road at 6 o’clock and turning right towards 4 o’clock.  Then, to top it all, two of the cars coming towards me started sounding their horns at each other and trying to cut each other up.  That was it, both feet went down and I prepared again.  Checking first gear, indicator, lift right foot back up and ready to go.  By the time I had done that I was much calmer and when the traffic cleared I made the corner.

Every so often I would be asked to pull over.  I remember the request to pull over about a cars length behind another vehicle, so I knew when that one was done.  The other times, I have no clue quite what they were but once was so that I could be told I was to ride without instruction for a while.  That was so much fun and scary at the same time, trying to remember what was further down the road, what was I likely to meet.

Eventually I was told to head back to the centre.  Thank goodness the examiner said that on a road I know or I would have had to ask for directions.

We got back, I parked up and we went into the office.  Take off the helmet and gloves, looking at the examiner expectantly, then he asked for the radio and that was another situation where I just wimped out and Alan had to help.  By this time I was sure I had failed and the examiner didn’t want to tell me and that is why he was delaying things.

I was wrong, it turned out I passed my Mod 2, the examiner offered to send my licence away which I obviously agreed with.  There was a lot of Oh my God, a lot of thank you and a whole lot of smiling.

We went back to Scotriders and my other instructor Pete was there so it was hugs all round and even more smiling.  I cannot thank Scotriders enough for their help in getting me past my test and for keeping me positive throughout the experience even when I was doubting myself.

I headed home in the car and immediately went on the phone to insure my big bike.  Ten minutes later and I was out on the bike.  I only drove three miles to the town and bought a pint of milk but it was such a great feeling, I ended up going out 3 times more that day, gradually going further each time.

Just over a month later and I have covered a few hundred miles on the big bike, gone on the motorway and hopefully will be able to go on one of the Scotriders ride outs in the near future.

It’s a whole new world and I am loving every minute of it.

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