Today’s post is a bit different to the usual. If someone had said to me at the beginning of the year that I’d have my full motorbike licence I’d of probably laughed them out of the room. However, I’m rather pleased to say I now have a full, unrestricted motorbike licence and it’s very much in thanks to guys at Lightning Pass Motorcycle Training!
For those of you that don’t know, I did my CBT around May this year with another local school, with the intention of taking hourly lessons with them and taking my tests in 2015, but when it came to it, after a single lesson with the trainer he completely shattered my confidence, told me I’d probably never take the DAS (Direct Access Scheme for an unrestricted licence) and I almost gave up on the whole thing.
My husband convinced me to try another school before giving up as he’d ridden with me and couldn’t see what the trainer was saying. I gave Lightning Pass a call, spoke with William and explained what had happened with the other school and that I wanted to take the DAS. William was very reassuring and offered me a free lesson to assess my riding and work out which of their courses would suit me best, as I’d only been riding my 125cc a few months and didn’t have that much experience.
When it came round to the free lesson, I was really nervous as I’d convinced myself that the original school were right and that my riding was awful – I needn’t of worried, the first instructor I met was lovely – I rode one of the Honda’s about the car park to to assess how I’d get on with the bigger bikes. The instructor suggested that I do the 4 day course which consisted of a 125cc road rider, MOD 1 day, Mod 1&2 + MOD 1 Test and a MOD 2 + Test day. As I’d already booked my theory test I didn’t need to book this with lightning. I went ahead and booked and paid for my course.
So day 1 arrived and I was pretty worried again, although for the road rider I used my 125cc so I didn’t have to learn to use another bike for the first day. There was another Lady with me on the course (She was going straight to the MOD 1 training). We both had a practice in the car park to make sure we knew what we were doing and practised the slalom and figure of 8.
After this we rode from the Reading to Oxford branch – if you’ve never done this, I’d recommend it! There are some really lovely roads between the two! The other trainee went with our instructor to practice the manoeuvre for the MOD1 and I met my instructor for the rest of the afternoon, Sam. I spent the afternoon riding around Oxford under Sam’s instruction. He pointed out where I was going wrong and ways to correct the issues I was having and some of the things that I had been taught previously, before riding back to Reading.
Day 2 was more daunting as this was the first of the big bike days, I was also joined by another student, Paul and our instructor for the day was Lee. I was given a Suzuki Gladius to use. After while of getting to used to the bike in the car park we stopped to go over the rules of the road and rider positions before going out for a short ride. After lunch came the Mod 1 practice – if you’ve ever looked up the the course on the DSA site it looks quite daunting, but having it layed out in front of you makes it much clearer.
So in a nutshell, 1 – Park the bike facing in one space, get off and push it round into the other space facing the opposite direction, 2/3 – Ride into the slalom and into the figure of 8 and continue the figure of 8 until the examiner tells you to stop, 4 – Ride in a straight line at walking pace, 5 – U-turn, 6 – Controlled stop, 7 – Emergency stop at 32MPH, 8 – Swerve at 32MPH. We practised these all afternoon! Lightning have a speed gun to help you see if you are going fast enough. I will say that 32MPH feels a lot faster in a smaller space than it does on the road.
The 3rd day was the MOD 2 practice and MOD 1 test. I had the black Gladius for this day. We rode from Reading to Oxford a little while before the test. I was utterly convinced I’d fail as I couldn’t do a u-turn without putting my foot down! The instructor I had needs a massive gold star for being so patient with me – I literally got it 2 minutes before we left for the test. I did my MOD 1 at Oxford Stadium – there’s a longer run up for the speed tests than at Lightnings which makes it slightly easier to get the right speed and I passed first time!
The rest of the day was spent riding around Oxford, practising hill starts, angled starts, life saver checks and riding in general, there’s a lot to take in and learn to make sure you are a safe rider.
Day 4 was some more MOD 2 practice as the other days plus the MOD 2 test. Unfortunately I failed my MOD 2, I think possibly due to nerves and booked a re-take with Lightning for 10 days time. Luckily for me I got Jason again for my 5th day. He was so good with putting up with my nervous rambling! Again we spent the morning riding around Oxford before heading back for the test. This time I wasn’t as nervous and I was back on the blue and white Gladius from the MOD 1 training day ( I swear it’s lucky!!!) and I passed!! The reality took a little while to sink in but I’m totally over the moon!! This has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. Other girls wanted ponies, I wanted a motorbike and a pony!!
It’s very much down to Lightning making this all possible. The instructors are lovely, patient and very clear with their instructions and explaining where you’ve gone wrong. Best of all they didn’t make me want to give up when I made mistakes when learning. I love the fact they use Student Record cards as they let you see how your are progressing over the course. If you are looking to learn to ride a motorbike I’d 100% recommend the guys at Lightning – and I really wish I’d taken my CBT with them as well. I really enjoyed learning with them. I went from being told I’d never take an A licence test to passing the A test in a three weeks! That’s just how good they are! To book or get in contact with Lighning check out their website below!
Ta-ta for now!