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Module 1 Test

Blog date October 2015

October 14th 6.00am ... beep beep beep. Why the hell is my alarm going off at this time? Then the truth dawns - it is Module 1 Test day ...NOOOOO!
I don't want to get up, I don't want to do this. I feel sick with dread at the prospect. I just lie in bed with time ticking away. This is just silly I have to do it if I want to pass my test so I finally push myself out of bed.

Even though I get out of bed later than planned and have to do battle with rush hour traffic I get to Wigan in plenty time to go into the cafe for a nice brew. I feel better and more confident after the ride down on my bike.

My instructor today however is not Steve but Malcolm. This unnerves me. I had just presumed it would be Steve again as this is my test day. However it quickly becomes apparent there is no need to worry as I quickly warm to Malcolm. A different character than Steve, much more quietly spoken. He is however  just as capable as Steve in his instructions even though is manner is different. This is probably no bad thing, getting different experiences and opinions while learning .

I am joined today by another learner Andy who will also be taking his Mod 1 straight after mine. Andy is a nice lad who does not yet own his own bike but has ridden bikes on fields. He is doing DAS and completed his CBT only the Saturday before. With far less experience than me Andy is a very confident rider and rides very well.

I also find I am on a different bike than the one I have used before. Although lowered this one is the unrestricted one and the side stand has not been shortened like the one on the other bike. The bike practically stands upright and therefore makes it extremely difficult to get on and even worse to get off. It would be all too easy to push this bike over as you dismount and I will have to be very careful where I chose to stop and put the side stand down. I am annoyed about this because I do not think this is really good enough. This is the bike I am going to have to take on test and I really could do without things being made harder. Things only feel worse once I am riding it. The gear lever is in a different position than on the other bike making it quite hard to get my chunky boot underneath and making it harder to change gear. 
Well all those who know me well know I was not born under a lucky star and if I ever want anything at all it never comes easy to me. So is it really surprising that I have a different instructor and a different more difficult to ride bike on my test day?

All this gets my nerves going and my heart is beating hard as I ride the bike onto the pad. However surprisingly I ride the bike just fine. I find the revs once again much easier to control than on my 125 cc and the figures of 8s and the u-turns again prove to be much easier than on my Keeway. It just seems to hold the speed steady, much better and the bike also balances better so I  feel more planted and less twitchy. 

We then ride to the road by the canal. I lead at first then Andy takes the lead for a short time with me then leading for a second time. I hate being the lead bike but I guess it good practise. Once by the canal the cones are put out to practise all the other Module 1 manoeuvres. 
Like last time the slalom is no problem and I enjoy it once again. My speed trap is not consistent. My speed keeps varying each time. My emergency stop is too long. The avoidance test is even worse with me missing the box completely. Oh dear, oh deary, deary me. More practise and I do get better and complete each manoeuvre successfully at one time or another but not consistently. I am certainly not feeling super confident.

I practise the manual handling and Malcolm explains to me that there is no set way that you have to get the bike from one bay into another. If needs be you can push the bike back, then forwards, then back again, it does not have to be completed in one complete reverse U. You can place your hands wherever you want on the bike in which ever position feels best for yourself. You can also swap techniques at any time because it is just about getting the bike from one bay into the other. I am glad Malcolm has told me this because it makes it much easier to move the bike using a variety of techniques and therefore I feel much more confident in moving the bike. It is still hard work though and the sweat runs a river down my back as I push the bike around on a sunny day in my full bike gear.  

Soon enough all the morning is used up on practising and it is time to ride to the test centre. My test is booked for 12.25pm at St Helens Test Centre. I take the lead to the test centre and I arrive with 12 minutes to go before my test is due. I park the bike up in one of the bays facing forward so as to make an easy ride onto the pad when I am on test. Andy was lucky enough to have a chance to use the test centre during one of his training days. I however have not yet seen the course laid out for real so I have a peek through the gates. Their are two set tests laid out. One on the right side and one on the left. I am hoping I get the right side as this is the side I have done most of my practise on and feel more confident about. Malcolm's keen eyes note that their is only one speed trap set out and that it on the right side. Bonus I get to do a right side test.  

Luckily there is no real time for my nerves to begin to build as after a quick look at the course it is time to go into the centre and I am quickly called into the office. My examiner introduces himself as Ted and after the formal speech of how I was to treat the test as if I was on the road I climb back onto my bike. Trying to keep calm I ride onto the pad as instructed into a bay with green cones with my bike facing forward. I take a deep breath and tell myself to be calm and to remember all my life savers and observation cheeks. The manual handing goes fine with me only needing a tiny adjustment to ensure the bike was lined up nicely to back it into the other bay. I was sure to look around me at all times just as if I was pushing the bike out into a busy road.

I climb back onto the bike and take some deep breaths to try and slow down my heartbeat. The next manoeuvre is the slalom  between the yellow cones with the figure of 8s added to the end through the blue cones. You complete 2 rotations of the fig of 8 but you do not have to keep count yourself as Ted tells me he will wave me to come towards him when he is happy I have finished this manoeuvre. I am glad we start with the slalom as it is my favourite manoeuvre. I do not think ahead of the figures of 8s at the end but start off just concentrating on the slalom. The bike glides effortlessly through the cones and as I approached the blue cones for figures of 8 I tell myself I can do this and I do. I do not know what has come over me but I feel in complete control of the bike. This is not a twitchy nervous slalom and fig of 8 it actually feels unbelievably easy.

Once pulled up next to the examiner the next test is the slow speed control at the end of which I have to stop within a box. Remembering my shoulder checks first the slow speed, which is simply riding the bike at walking pace, turns out to be another easy manoeuvre for me.
 
Next is he U-Turn. I feel my stomach tighten in a little knot of fear but I take more deep breaths and remind myself to turn my head quickly and look well ahead to where I want to go. I make my mirror and observation checks before moving off again and I am careful to ensure I do my life saver shoulder check just before I make the turn. Phew I do it and stay within the two white lines. Once I come to a stop Ted asks me whether I breathed at all during the test so far. This makes me laugh and relieves some of my tension. I am grateful that Ted is a pleasant nice examiner. I laughingly tell them that no I never breathe at all while doing tests.

Now for the cornering and controlled stop. I am told to enter through the blue and red cones to ride through the corner at a speed of around 19mph, 30kph and then to exit through the cones and come to controlled stop in the blue box. I do my observations before setting off but get a bit confused about the route and as a pull out of the corner I think I may have hit one of the blue cones. I quickly check back but thankfully it is ok I have not hit the cones. I pull up within the blue cones.   

Ted then tells me to turn around using as much space as I need to then face the opposite direction to be in position for the next test which is the cornering and emergency stop. Ted tells me to come to an emergency stop in the blue box. I am confused because I thought the blue box was for the avoidance and controlled stops, not the emergency. I tell Ted I am confused and why and Ted laughs and says he is sorry and that he is glad one of us knows what they should be doing. Once again a little laugh relaxes my tension. I am to repeat the cornering manoeuvre as before but this time I have to ensure that when I go through the speed trap between the yellow cones I am travelling at a speed of 32mph, 50kph. Once I have passed through the speed trap the examiner will then hold up his hand and I have to come to an emergency stop. I am nervous about being at the right speed for the speed trap but all I can do is my best. Observations again before moving off and at least this time I know the route through the cones. Once out the corner I rev the bike up hoping I get up to speed and then Ted's hand is up in the air and its time to brake hard. I try my best to remember to pull my clutch in last minute and I bring the bike to a stop smoothly without any skids or stalling.  

Once again I turn the bike around with the essential observations. One more test to go now this being the cornering and high speed avoidance. Taking the same route as before and again through the speed trap at 32mph, 50 kph I have to steer the bike  through  two blue cones at the end of the course before then straightening the bike up to finish within the blue box. So far I think I have done ok so I try hard not to let myself overthink the fact that is the last test and therefore the one I could undo any good work so far. I am nervous because I have not been consistent on the avoidance in my practise. But more deep breaths more telling myself its ok I can do this and off we go. Through the speed trap, roll off the throttle and through the blue cones and stop successfully in the blue box. Ok heart is hammering now.

I know the test is not over until I have ridden out of the pad and parked my bike up back into the bay outside of the test area. So I make all observations when Ted tells me to exit the pad through the gate and park my bike up in a empty bay.

I suspect I have done ok speed wise because I was not told do repeat any of these exercises as you can have another go if you fail to reach the required speed first time around. So I can safely assume I had reached the required speed on the speed traps. I also know I had not put my feet down and had stayed within the white lines and stopped in all the blue boxes when required to do so. So I am fairly certain I have managed to pass but not 100% sure because you never know how many minors you may have picked up. 

Back in the test centre building I go into the office with Ted. He tells me I have passed. I am so pleased I grin ear to ear and end up saying ,"No f***ing way!" Errrrr sorry about that Ted. Even though I thought I did ok out on the pad to actually be told I have passed is simply unbelievable to me. I had been so nervous prior to the test I was really unsure I would pass. I had read way too much on forums with people saying they had failed Mod 1 at least once if not more times that I never believed I would be someone who passed first time. It feels kind of unreal. I pass with one minor for being at 48kph on the speed trap for the avoidance test. Who the hell would have thought it. me, Sharon Parker passing Mod 1 first time around! I try to let the news sink in while eating a well deserved bacon butty and waiting for Andy to complete his test. Glad to say Andy also passed so absolutely fabulous news all round.

However we could not now both go home and relax, we have another half day training to do for our Module 2. So its back on them there bikes. Half way there there now though Hoorahh!!

Sharon's Keeway 125 on the sandy bluffs in WalesI think all the miles and adventures I have have done on my 125cc including a bit of sand surfing paid of big time today
Batty the cute toy bat has fainted in shock at Sharon's success
Batty fainted when I told him I had passed Mod 1 first time. It is good to know he has as much faith in me as I have in myself

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Reader's Comments

Monk said :-
Congratulations Sharon.

It took me two attempts at Mod 1, first time on the e. stop I rolled forward!!!I've recently passed Mod 2, again second time, left my indicator on too long first time round!

If you haven't already I would encourage you to get on and do Mod 2 even if it's just for the experience, but giving that you passed Mod 1 with flying colours Mod 2 should be a breeze.

Here's wishing you all the best with it and I'd be very interested to read about the experience.

All the best,

Monk
19/01/2016 09:49:53 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Monk,

Thank you for your congrats.

A huge big congratulations to you too on achieving your full bike test. I think you have done great. Have lots of fun on your new bike. I look forward to hearing about your new adventures.
19/01/2016 23:29:02 UTC
said :-
Thabnks Sharon It's great that you passed Mod 1.

I would be very interested to read your thoughts and feelings around Mod 2, as you, like Ren, write so informatively and I'm always interested in reading the experiences of others because it's incredibly helpful with my riding.

I'll post something about the Vulcan expereince soon as.

Best to you and, please, do post something about your Mod 2 day, if you feel you can.


20/01/2016 14:49:14 UTC
Doug said :-
Need the next instalment! :-)
22/01/2016 00:02:38 UTC
Monk said :-
Yes Doug it's only fair...come on Sharon put us out of our misery...
22/01/2016 00:21:22 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Oh yeah...great...fine... Everyone's desperate to know what SHARON is up to, everyone loves SHARON's reports. And poor old me working my little butt off bringing you exciting and interesting items about how to fix brakes or getting very wet. No one wants to know what is in store for me.

I think I'm going to go and sulk in a corner.

I have been cracking the whip and Sharon is working hard on her next blog post. Apparently she thinks her report will be boring and is trying to find a way to make it more interesting. From what you guys are like she could write the same word 1,000 times and you'd still love her.

Pfffft!
22/01/2016 08:24:43 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Never mind Ren I still love you........
22/01/2016 16:08:10 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Ian. I shall continue doing stupid miles on silly small bikes just to bring you mediocre stories about dull places I've been to - just for you. Where would you like to go to next? The local chippy? Maybe a foreign adventure as I pop out for a Chinese?

Anyhow Ian it's about time you told us all about your bikes. Send me an email - renwithnell@hotmail.com
22/01/2016 16:59:58 UTC
Monk said :-
Ren...It's true, Sharon is popular because she's at that point, after quite awhile, of putting herself through that gruelling act of doing Mod 2...which is bound to be of interest to us all...having said that... I'd love to read about your trip to the chippy!! :-)
23/01/2016 02:09:56 UTC
Ianwhittaker said :-
Well done Sharon xx
18/02/2016 14:21:44 UTC
Sharon said :-
Thank you Ian x
20/02/2016 13:39:35 UTC
Carolynne Sinclair said :-
Loved your Blog. Just passed my Mod 1 today at St.Helens. 3rd attempt. The fact I've failed twice makes you even more nervous! Was shaking so much couldn't sign my name properly. Palpitations before, during and after test. Well done passing 1st time xxx
19/12/2016 22:01:11 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Carolynnne,

Big huge congratulations to you for passing your Module 1 test. I have great admiration for your determination not to give up and carry on until you got that pass. I can well imagine how the nerves multiply each time, so well done too in avoiding a heart attack.

Good luck for Module 2. Lets us know how you get on and when you pass what bike you get. You will pass we already know this because you have already proved your will not accept failure. It is never about how many times it took to pass. End of the day it is about your passion to ride that matters most.

Love hearing other riders stories so thanks for your message xx
20/12/2016 20:12:56 UTC
 

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