Sharon's Biking Blog
Module 2 Test
Blog date 21st October 2015
Once again I wake to the beep beep of my alarm at 6am. It is Module 2 test day. Pulling up my blind I peer into the darkness and see that it is raining hard. Urghhh no way. Not only do I have to ride all the way to Wigan I have to do it in rush hour, in the dark AND in the rain. Oh joy of joys.
The weather report said showers early morning so I hope that by 7.15am when I am due to leave home the rain will have stopped.
7:15am and it is still raining hard. I venture forth in the dark and rain in full waterproofs. The roads are slippery as hell. It has not rained for a while and we all know how the first rainfall after a dry period brings all the oil etc to the road surface to deposit beneath our wheels a treacherous film. Just to make this situation even more hazardous this first windy day of autumn has also ensured that a layer of wet slippery leaf litter is spread right across all the roads. What a fine day for a Module 2 test.... did I mention I was not born under a lucky star?
These dangerous riding conditions catch some drivers seemingly unaware and I find myself delayed twice on route to Wigan by two separate road traffic accidents. As first light finally begins to appear it reveals leaden grey skies. This does not look like a mere shower and the wind is also getting stronger. The rain is what I call sticky rain, the worse kind of rain for us bikers. Heavy rain at least flows down your helmet and you still have some vision. However sticky rain is that very fine rain that soaks you in seconds and shrouds your visor with an impenetrable barrier which renders you unable to see at all. The only solution is to flip open your visor. Today this action finds my face assaulted full force with both the wind and rain blasting into my eyes... Did I mention I was not born under a lucky star ? Great day for a Module 2 test.
Due to the delays caused by the road traffic accidents I finally arrive at the Wigan Rider Training office a few minutes late. My profuse apologies are quickly brushed aside with reassurances that it does not matter. I think everyone feels a bit sorry for the sodden creature that drips before them. I explain I have already been on the bike and hour and half and I am told to get a hot drink and have a little rest and warm up before we get started.
I am to do my training for my Mod 2 today with another guy called Alan. Andy who did his Mod 1 with me last week did his Mod 2 the day before and I am happy to learn he had passed. Well done Andy.
I am back on the MT07 today which has the shorter stand so thank goodness for small mercies. Steve is once again my instructor for the day. We go out for a ride with Alan leading at first and then me taking over the lead a bit later on. After the ride around we stop for a de-brief with Steve giving us his usual no nonsense and truthful assessments on our riding. If you do something wrong Steve will tell you and I like that but I also like that he also offers praise where it is due and that helps keep your confidence up. More importantly Steve gives some great advise on how to improve our riding and to put right any wrongs. Over all Steve seems quite happy with my riding. He encourages me at one point to get my speed up so I do just that - only to then be told "Hey! Slow down". Hee hee that was fun.
Steve then takes us on a couple of possible test routes including the notorious hard to negotiate Chequerbent Roundabout, at Westhoughton, Bolton. I have never liked multi-lane roundabouts and this one is a horror if you do not know it well enough to understand which of the lanes you need to be in for the various exits. It is badly signed and as we stand to the side of it we observe many cars suddenly changing lanes in haste as they find themselves in the wrong lane. We give it a go a couple of times on the bikes, exiting at different routes just to give us a feel for it. Urghhh I hope this is not the the route I get. I know this area a little because the boyfriend lives nearby but I do not know it well and local knowledge of a road counts for a lot when on test...gulp.
I am finding the MT07 easy to ride today but the real challenge is the weather. It is still windy, it is still raining sticky rain and the roads are still full of slippery when wet fresh leaves.
All too soon it is time to ride to the test centre. Not St Helens this time around like my Module 1 but to Atherton, test time 12.17pm. Research on the Atherton test centre has told me the following.
"The centre is located in a busy area. Expect the driving test routes to be challenging and to include roundabouts, mini roundabouts and junctions. Expect A roads and dual carriageway systems to be included. Rural roads may also be a feature of the driving test. These high speed roads combined with sharp bends can be hazardous, especially to the inexperienced. Atherton MPTC Test Centre has 12 Driving Test Routes."
Twelve Test routes, well I guess the two we did just might cover some of that then haaa. I am beginning to feel sick as we pull into the test centre.
Module 2 consists of the following
- Eyesight Test
- Safety Questions
- Road riding
- Independent Riding
There is quite a wait and as I sit here I have time for my nerves to start and I begin to worry. My first worry is whether I am going to pass the eye test. I am short sighted and have astigmatism. Astigmatism means you have oval rather that round lenses in your eyes and this can gives things a double edge. I have worn contact lenses and/or glasses since I was 14. Even so my eyesight is still not perfect with these aids. I worried so much about this that prior to my test date I actually took online tests to check my eyesight and also measured out distances from cars licence plates in car parks to try and reassure myself. I could read them....just, so this is still a worry for me.
For the eyesight test you have to correctly read a number plate on a parked vehicle that is 20 metres away if it is a new style plate or 20.5 metres away for an old style plate. If I fail this part the test will not continue and that will be that and I will fail. I look out of the windows at parked cars and their number plates and try to will my eyes to see them clearly.
My examiner for the day eventually appears and well ... he is frankly a horrid man. He starts by telling me off in front of a packed room for daring to be soggy and wet and sitting on the soft chairs. Apparently because I am some kind of leper for being wet I should have been sat on one of the two hard chairs at the other end of the room. He then tells me to come over to where he is standing. I feel like I have just been punched in the stomach and as I join him he then rolls his eyes and sighs. Again in a loud voice for the benefit of all in the room he asks me in a chilly voice whether I think it would be a good idea to have my helmet on the test and if so why I have just left it on the chair?
I am shocked. I never expected an examiner and therefore a fellow biker to act in such an unpleasant way. Surely they are aware that candidates will be nervous and therefore you would hope they would try to relax you, like Ted did with me on my Module 1. Another examiner comes out and goes to his client with a big smile and hand outstretched. He tells them not to worry and they will have a good day. Well clearly just like Ted most examiners are usually normal, nice, decent people. But oh no I get Mr Nasty, Mr Ice, Mr I am so sad I have to try and belittle other people...did I mention I was not born under a lucky star?
Any time he talks he does so with a cold voice and a face set in stone. I am told to put on the radio he gives and to put my helmet and gloves on and then he marches me outside.
So first part eye test -
He points to a car and asks me to the read the plate. I begin to panic,oh shit I am not 100% sure. If the examiner was a nicer man I might have asked for a tape measure to be brought out to make sure of the distance but I dare not ask this one. I think he wants to fail me on sight. I in my soggy wet bike gear seem to have offended his eyes and disturbed his soul. So I just say what I think I see without being a 100% sure and pray for the best. He simply turns around and tells me to follow him to my bike. Huh I guess that means I read them right then?
The second part of the test is the vehicle safety questions -
Examples of the type of questions you can be asked are available on the link below but your instructor should have gone over these with you during your training https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/motorcycle-show-me-tell-me-vehicle-safety-questions
Mr Horrid asks me to show him how to operate both front and back brakes and to then tell him how I would check my tyres to ensure that they are correctly inflated, have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road. At least I know my stuff here and show him how to operate the brakes and answer confidently the second question. Again I receive no feed back from him. No indication if my answers were good, bad or indifferent, no smile to crack his miserable face. In any other given situation I would be telling this man what I actually think of his unpleasant manner but there is too much at stake here and I bite my tongue. I guess this is the very reason he gets away with treating people like this, he knows people are not really in a position to complain out of fear of how it may affect their test results.
He then tells me to get on my bike while he himself climbs into his car. Well no surprise there then. He just did not feel like a true biker to me and the fact he gets into his car on this most horrible wet and windy day just sums him up for me. Pfft.
Third part of the test - Road Riding and Independent Riding
The Road Riding consists of normal stops, an angle start (pulling out from behind a parked vehicle) and a hill start. Directions are given via the radio.
I am really, really nervous. The instructors demeanour has really unsettled me. I have a talk to myself telling myself not to let him get the better of me. I just cannot help but feel he wants to fail me and has been determined to unsettle me from the off. I am going to have to put up a hell of a good fight and ride very well to scupper his plans. Besides I have to do this not only for me but also for Bob. (see notes below about Bob)
On the bike I try to breathe slowly to gather my thoughts and slow down my heartbeat. Mr monosyllable gives directions through the radio which I follow. After only a couple of radio directions and about 5 minutes into the ride he informs me we are to begin the independent ride. No time to settle down on the bike then ehh Mr want to fail me?
The Independent Ride consists of riding independently by following traffic signs, a series of directions or a combination of both. I am told to follow signs to Walkden and Farnworth.
If you know me you know I am bad and I mean BAD at directions and following signs. I much prefer following Ren's tail lights. However I knew this was to be part of the test and I have done much to try and improve my navigation skills. I admit this had not proved very successful but it is an improvement of sorts.
The weather is so horrendous it makes seeing anything very difficult let alone reading signs themselves. If I keep my visor down I can see nothing. If I flip it up the wind pushes needle sharp raindrops into my eyes making me see little better either way. The leaves even decide at one point not only to adhere to the road but to also affix themselves onto the very sign I need to follow making it hard to read. Did I mention I was not born under a lucky star ?
I battle through and somehow I successfully follow the signs and I am relieved to hear that the independent part is now over.
The hill start is only a tiny slight rise and I handle that with no problem. The angled start does not go perfect. The wind catches the bike just as I go to pull off giving a slight wobble put nothing major. I tackle junctions, traffic lights, bus lanes and roundabouts. Oh yes Mr I will make everything as difficult as I can makes sure I do the route with the Chequerbent Roundabout on it. Not once, oh no, he had to have me tackle this roundabout twice. Once at the beginning of the test and one towards the end when we are going back to the test centre.
At last I pull into the parking bay at the test centre. As I edge into the bay I put both feet down as I stop the bike in the bay due to it being at a slight angle and I want to be sure I park up safe right at the end (something I was to regret later)
Despite the horrendous weather and the extremely slippery roads and the horrid examiner I am confident that I have done a pretty solid ride. I do not think it was perfect but I thought maybe 3 minors or even 4 if the examiner is being harsh. As I spot Steve I almost give him a big thumbs up because I am feeling that sure of myself and the ride I have just done. But then I see Mr Ice glaring at me and decide I best refrain from showing any emotion what so ever in case I cause him to suffer a melt down.
The examiner asks in his now familiar icy tone if I want my instructor Steve present for the de-brief. With my helmet still on and my heartbeat thumbing I do not catch what he says and I ask him to please repeat the question. Oh he repeats it allright, he roars and bellows it at me. Nice ... he clearly is going to finish the day just as he had started by being a complete d**k.
Yes I wanted Steve to come with me so we all go into the office.
Without any trace of a smile or even looking me in the eye Mr Slime tells me I have ........passed. YaahhhhOOOOOOO. YIP YIP HOORAYYYYYYY. YESSSSS Yesssss YEARSEYYYYY Yabber dabbaaa DOOOOOO. I begin to smile I begin to feel soooo happy..... I just made a fatal mistake. Mr I am miserable so you must be too, does not want to see me smile, he does not want joy and happiness to infect his desolate soul. So I now suddenly get a berating from him. Why did I do this and that, why didn't I do this or that? I should have done this I shouldn't have done that.
I had hoped that even in his car he would have been aware of the horrendous weather conditions today and made some allowances for it but noooo. The slight tiny little slip as I slid on wet leaves as I stopped at traffic lights, observed by him and marked as a minor. Putting both feet down when I parked the bike observed and noted as a minor (hence why I regretted it) . Not being able to read a sign clearly due to leaves stuck all over it and therefore moving into the correct lane a fraction late according to him noted and given a minor. I also picked up a further 2 minors for steering, 1 for unnecessary signal, 1 for appropriate speed, 1 for undue hesitation, 1 for normal riding position and finally 1 for approach speed at a junction. Tally that little lot up and I got the princely maximum allowed 10 minors. Bummer.
Really I mean REALLY. Now you know me I do not have much self belief and confidence in my riding ability. So for me to be ready to give Steve the thumbs up after the ride meant that I had to have ridden well for me to believe I had passed. I am my own worse critic. Well I was until I met this guy anyhow. He is clearly the best critic in the entire universe.
Then just to ensure there would be no return of a smile to my face Mr I hate you now because I passed you finishes off with this little gem of wisdom for me to take away with me and my pass certificate. "In light of my score of 10 minors you need to seriously consider further training". I glance at Steve and he is looking at the ceiling biting his lip. I take his lead, bite my own and leave the office. My emotions are all over the place. I am overjoyed at passing my test but I also feel battered and bruised. I am reeling from the examiners dressing down. He did not say one positive thing, nil , nada to me at all about any aspect of my riding, not one single word of encouragement was offered. I feel elated and deflated all at the same time.
Steve tells me to sit down and he will come and have a chat with me in a minute once he gets Alan off on his test. Unfortunately Alan will have the same examiner as me. I hope he likes Alan more than he seemed to like me. Steve and I chat while we wait for Alan to do his test. He tells me that his heart sank when he saw who my examiner was. He had a well deserved reputation for being unpleasant and for generally being a d**k. He was well known for hardly passing anyone and on the rare occasion he does pass someone then it is always with high to max minor scores. Finally he is also known to be over fussy and over critical.
Steve goes on to say that he knows me far better than the examiner having spent hours of training with me and he knows I am a good rider who knows my stuff. That I have good skills and I have great control and balance. Steve does reassure me a lot and finally brings a smile back to my face despite feeling like I have just had my stuffing ripped out. I know deep down I did not deserve such a harsh dressing down and a score of 10 minors but I also know those 10 minors will bother me for a long time. I am something of a perfectionist I guess. As a child I always set myself a target of no less than 80% in any exam that I took. Believe me that score could only be attained through a hell of a lot of hard work. I am no natural at riding and I was no natural at learning topics in school either. So the fact that a pass is a pass will not sit easy with me. Those 10 minors will chip away ever so quietly at my confidence bit by bit if I am not very careful.
Alan returns and he tells me that the examiner really set his nerves off and he never normally gets nervous about anything. Hmmm seems that our Mr Nasty really has unsettling people down to a fine art. Why does he do this? Why would you want to be so cruel and twisted as to try and make an already nervous person feel worse and why would you try to unsettle to them to such a degree you could maximize the potential for their failure? I can not comprehend why he is in the job that he is.
Yes I look a total mess and I am every bit as wet and knackered as I look. But that is a pass certificate in my hand and that is what counts.
Steve had told me while we were chatting that if he got 2 passes from this examiner in one day it would be a miracle. Well hallelujah miracles do happen because Alan only went and got a pass too. He got 9 minors though. Hahhh seems like our examiners reputation for high scores can also remain intact. Well done Alan and finally come on Sharon bloody forget the examiners scores and nasty words ... well done me.
Can you bloody believe it ... I Sharon Ann Parker is now in possession of a full motorcycle licence! Watch out world here I come ......with no additional training what so ever haaaa!!
I would like to say a big bike thank you to Wigan Rider Training for their low bikes and great instructors. But the biggest thanks has to go to Ren for having the patience to take a numpty like me and turn her very slowly into a biker capable of passing her test and gaining a full bike licence.
Passing your bike test is one of the best feelings in the world
This post is dedicated to the memory of Bob Drac Allaway. Bob was tragically killed while doing what he loved best, riding his yellow peril motorcycle. Bob had the biggest smile, the best bear hugs and the most generous caring heart of any biker I knew. He was also totally crazy!! That was why we all loved him so much. As a new rider on the scene Bob always made me feel so welcome and I will miss those hugs big time. Bobs funeral was booked for the same day as my Module 2 test. Initially I was going to cancel the test and re book for another day so I could attend Bobs funeral. However when I went to pay my respects to Bob and visit the site where he lost his life I had this really strong feeling that Bob wanted me to go ahead and do my test. Sounds silly but it felt like it was what he wanted.
Bob, I felt the whole day that you was looking down on me and laughing at the mad weather and the horrid examiner. I hope I did you proud.
Bob - one of lifes gems.
Monk said :-
Get in there!!!!!!!! Even though you were very cruel and made us all wait...WELL DONE!!!!!!Big bike time!!!!
23/1//2016 5:16:01 PM UTC
Sharon said :-
I am sorry I made you all wait for so long. But my work hours have changed and now I work 5 to 6 days a week. It has had a huge impact on my free time with very little time spare to ride my bike let alone write about it. Things well improve once I retire in errr lets see 21 years ...nooooo... I just want to ride my bike not work for a living pfft.
23/1//2016 5:25:24 PM UTC
Monk said :-
Great to hear Sharon...
As you will know, from Ren, after you've had your licence, I think it's for, three years, you could become a CBT instructor...I think you'd be excellent particularly with Ren by your side.
In terms of the toad who took you out on the Mod 2 from hell, forget it, you've done it and in the worst possible conditions, including Mr Toad bottling out and following you round in a car...you should have lost him!! :-) Good on yer!!!!
Can't wait to read the next instalment!
All the best...
23/1//2016 5:41:53 PM UTC
Henrik said :-
Well done !!!
Looks like you grew the last few inches needed in that pic with the arms up :-)
24/1//2016 10:08:09 AM UTC
Mark said :-
Well Done - I Have Recently Passed My Bike Test As Well And Understand Everything You Went Through - Its Tough But WELL WORTH IT -Well Done Once Again.
26/1//2016 1:10:09 AM UTC
Sharon said :-
You are right Mark all the hard work is worth it at the end. Congratulations on passing your test too. Hope you are having fun. I still can not really believe I actually own a full bike licence even after 3 months. Whenever I now see riders on L plates out with their bike instructors or examiners I still get a little rush of relief and pleasure. The relief comes from knowing that I do not have to go through all that again thank goodness and the pleasure from knowing those L plates are no longer required on my bike. I, me, little old Sharon Parker actually gone got herself a full bike licence...Wow!!
23/2//2016 12:40:11 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
No....no I still can't believe it either...
24/2//2016 10:13:34 AM UTC
Paulapotch said :-
I came across your bike story while reading others experiences and it brightened my day. It has brought back memories of my Mod 1 two weeks ago and has made me smile thinking about my Mod 2 test in a couple of weeks. You're a brilliant writer. Very informative, funny and inspiring. I always second guess my riding and worry I could drop the bike on test and then there's the nerves of course. I am now thinking there is hope for me and my quest for a full licence.
I can hope and wish for the pass Certificate but I will remember your horrendous conditions and think mine could not possibly be that bad - or could they? . . . only time will tell lol
Thank you and happy riding ????
8/5//2017 6:30:06 PM UTC
Sharon said :-
Thanks for your lovely comments about my writing. So glad you found this article useful to you.
Well done on passing your Mod 1 and good luck with Mod 2. I sure hope luck is on your side and you get good weather and a human being not a Demon for your examiner.
I am currently off the bike short term due to an operation but hope to be back riding soon.
Learning to ride and gaining my full bike licence is one of the best things I have ever done. I adore riding, the thrills and sense of freedom it gives me. For me it is my stress cure, my happy place and my therapy.
My next adventure will be riding the NC500 route around Scotland in June. So excited.
Let me know how you get on with your Mod 2. Safe and happy smile miles to you x
9/5//2017 9:59:56 AM UTC
Borsuk said :-
Just taken the plunge and contacted your instructors school about doing my DAS in October. Now have to see about smuggling my bike onto the boat and practicing during night shift. Do you think Air France will accept it as hand luggage?
25/5//2017 12:38:09 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
While I imagine your ship is not exactly small Borsuk I do think you'll be lacking in traffic...roundabouts...hill starts...junctions...traffic lights...
If you're taking your test on a large motorcycle then ideally you'd want a large motorcycle to practice on. As such I doubt you'll get that on as hand luggage. You could of course have it crated out to the ship on the pretence that it's "experimental engineering".
26/5//2017 10:13:13 AM UTC
Sharon said :-
Well done. I really liked the instructors I had at Wigan. Just hope you don't get the same examiner as me...yikes!!
26/5//2017 6:27:10 PM UTC
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