I wake up a bundle of nerves, but I make myself listen to May’s speech and then do an hour of a photography lesson to keep my mind off things. The test is at 2:30 pm and I’m not due at the school until 1pm for the warm up. I take some rescue remedy, do some cleaning, the 24 forms of t’ai chi and then I’m ready to go.
I set off on Yami, the little red 125, and we have a lovely ride over to the school. I’m feeling confident and am really enjoying the ride. I reacquaint myself with Suzi, the 650, and her controls. I’m doing my slow control skills using only the clutch and keeping off the brake.
I get away without hesitation and Steve takes us on a road we’ve not been on since I started learning. It’s downhill with bends and as I’m leaning into the bends and loving the ride, I realise how far I’ve come. The first time I did this, I was terrified and exceptionally cautious.
We get to the test centre and Alex has just passed. Steve says that I’d had a good ride, but there were two minor faults due to a bit of indecision.
It’s the same cast of characters. Take one examiner, Martin, talks me through the test procedure and we set off. In take one I was a bit wobbly as I left the test centre for the main road, but today I’m impressed with my own control of that tight junction and awkward roundabout. I relax, feel confident and really start to believe I can do this.
We have to pick up speed and I round a bend and see a large sewage hole cover that I don’t manage to avoid. What a place to put one! No harm done, but I count a minor fault in my head for hazard avoidance. Unperturbed, I carry on without further incident and I’m asked to pull in at the side of the road.
“How do you feel?” Says he.
I’m feeling okay, I know I’ve not done anything to have failed. He gives instructions for the independent part of the ride, where you have to follow road signs for about 10 minutes.
For reasons, unbeknown to myself, I put the bike on its stand while the instructions are given. As I try to straighten the bike back up again, I realise it’s heavier than usual – I’m caught by camber at the edge of the road. Again, no harm done, but it’s enough to distract me and I have to repeat the instructions several times to myself to get them to sink in.
I’m waiting at the side of the road, watching the mirrors for an opportunity to pull out. Despite not indicating yet, someone stops to let me go. I’m not in gear. He has a moment of indecision, I have a moment of hesitation, but I’m finally going, swearing to myself as my riding affected another road user, and that can cost you the pass. I remind myself that if I keep riding as I have been, that might not necessarily be the case, but while all this stuff is going through my head, I’m indicating to go right as I should be, but then go straight on.
Now I know I’ve really blown it.
If you remember how liberated my language has become since discovering the joyous freedom of biking, I would share how much so with you now, except I don’t want to change the family friendly status of the blog.
It was in short, one disaster after another from then on.
I’m booked in for Take Three and Steve is especially silent as we travel back to base.
I get off the bike, he shakes his head and he looks at me despairingly with that look that really makes me feel like I’ve let him down.
“If you’d have ridden like that on the test, you’d have passed!”
Good to know. But I’ve still got to do it.
My CBT instructor looks at me hopefully and I shake my head.
“It was a clusterpoo of poos.”
Featured Image: Public Domain (but correct me if I’m wrong)