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Learning to ride
Would you swap your four wheels for two? BBC Gloucestershire's Chris Sandys has taken the journey to become a fully fledged motorcycle rider. Share his experience here.
If you missed the reasons for this journey of mine or you want to hear the whole learning process explained, scroll down to the bottom of this page and click 'Next'.
Step Four: The Test
After a good four days of training, I was not actually that nervous about the test...well, less so than instructor Marc who'd failed to mention that he has not yet had a candidate fail a test in Gloucester!
After meeting the examiner at the DSA test centre in Quedgeley, I was kitted up with a radio ear piece, given a few instructions and then taken outside where I was asked a couple of questions about motorbike maintenance.
Then we were off!
The examiner followed behind in a car whilst giving directions through the ear piece in my helmet (just the same technique as used throughout my training).
The time flew and in about 40 minutes of riding the examiner assessed how competent I was on a variety of roads, various junctions and with the U-turn element and controlled stop.
Once back at the test centre I was asked a question about carrying a pillion before being told whether I'd passed or not.
Chris with his new bike
It's with great pleasure that I can tell you that I passed!
A few texts and a phone call later, instructor Marc and I rode back to the training facility for a much-needed cup of tea and a sit down.
I'd bought a second-hand 600cc motorbike in preparation for this day and it had been stored away, out of reach, while I was doing my training.
Now though it was all mine - the joy of ownership only tainted slightly by the fuel light flashing at me!
However, even that didn't spoil the party as I filled up at the nearest petrol station with a full tank costing only £11. Marvellous.
I then rode my new bike home, put it away, had a late lunch and went to bed...shattered!
Rather sensibly (I thought) I didn't get the bike out again till the next day once the initial jubilation had passed and I'd let my head rest with a good night sleep.
There was no stopping me the next day though, with the sun shining and my wife at work, I was free to indulge my new passion...although as my brother pointed out (also a biker), he'd rather I spend more time riding it than cleaning it.
Six months back this was all just a dream. Now though, having spent about £4,000 in total (including the cost of my second hand motorbike, all the kit/clothing to go with it and the full span of training), I'm a fully-fledged rider.
Now to enjoy it!
Click 'Next' below to read how Chris got on with his Direct Access training
last updated: 26/02/2009 at 14:54
Have Your Say
IS Gloucestershire a great county for owning a motorbike? What advice can you offer Chris as a new rider?