Getting a full UK motorbike license

Hey guys,

This is my first blog on this website. Here I’m sharing some notes on my journey to get a full motorbike license. I’m hoping this will be useful to anyone out there who wishes to get a full UK motorbike license.

Right so first things first, as I’m well over 21 with some basic riding experience in India, I decided to go for the Direct Access Scheme (DAS). This will allow me to ride any roadworthy motorcycle in the UK. To find out more information about which route you can take to get a full UK riding license check out the DVLA website.

I live in Bristol and I spoke to 2 training schools: Bristol Motorcycle training centre and Ace Motorcycle Training.
Decided to go for Ace as its easier to get there by public transport and they are (very loosely) associated with the ‘adorable’ Fowlers show room.

Ace use the following motor bikes for the DAS:
CBT Bike: 125cc (Honda CG125)
Module Bike: 500cc (Honda CB500)

The journey to get a full UK motorbike license via DAS is split into 4 stages as follows:

  • Stage 1 (CBT)

This costs about £125. I took mine on 11th Feb, 2012 (Saturday, 8am to 4pm)
Got to the training centre at 8am, showed my car and paper license. Used the training centre’s gear: Jacket, High-vis, Gloves, Helmet. We started practice in Bristol City FC’s car park at about 9am. Went through Highway code Q/A at about noon. And we were road riding at about 3pm.
The problems found with my riding:

  1. Gear changing (foot left on the gears),
  2. indicators left on after turn,
  3. and I left a junction too early once which caused the traffic on the main road to slow down :-(

If you cause other road users to slow down, stop or put yourself and/ or others on the road in danger you fail the motorcycle test!

However since nothing major was wrong with my riding, I was successfully awarded a CBT certificate at the end of the day :)

  • Stage 2 (Theory test)

==Theory Exam Material==

The theory material cost me £11, I used the following material

Official DSA Biker Pack  – Theory Test CD-ROM and Better Biking DVD (2011 edition)
LDC Driving Test Complete – Using this for hazard perception

==Exam==

The theory exam costs £31 and can be booked via the DVLA website.
I took mine on 17 Feb, 2012 (Friday, 8am to 9am)
The whole test lasted about an hour from getting to the centre to leaving the centre.
Passed the test with 48/50 in multiple choice and 61/75 in hazard perception :)

  • Stage 3 (Module 1)

This costs about £155 which is mostly for the training and includes the test fees (£15.50)

==Training==
I had my module 1 training on 26 Feb, 2012 (Sunday, 9am to 4pm)
Overall I didn’t find the handling of a big bike too hard to manage.
My trouble points on the day were U-turns, blind spot checks, emergency stops and hazard avoidance.

  1. With U-turns we practised on a circuit which was shorter than usual, so I was hoping it won’t be an issue in the actual test.
  2. Must always remember to do thorough blind spot checks. Chin to shoulder. On U-turn, and every time you stop and start.
  3. I kept skidding my back tyre on emergency stops. I was advised to go easy on the back brake and pull the clutch at the very end.
  4. My speed was less than 50kph on hazard avoidance, however by adopting a good line approaching the hazard it was easy to maintain a high speed.

==Test==
I took my module 1 test on 29 Feb, 2012 (Wednesday, 9:00am to 9:15am)
Got up nice and early, and was at Ace at about 7:30am. We left the training centre for the test centre in Kingswood, Bristol at about 8:15am.
On the way to the test centre I turned off the engine switch by mistake which stalled the bike ;)

  1. At the test centre I presented all my documents (license, paper copy, CBT pass certificate) and followed the examiner into a caged fence area which was full of colored cones.
  2. Test Begins! The examiner was very nice and patient and was happy to clarify instructions.
  3. So when instructed I performed the following manoeuvres bay parking, slalom, figure of 8s, slow riding, U-turn, controlled stop and emergency stop (52mph).
  4. Final manoeuvre of the day was the hazard avoidance for which I clocked 46mph first, the examiner gave me a minor and another go. He advised that I picked some speed at the cornering as I got in.
  5. So there I went again to perform the hazard avoidance for the second time, I clocked 50mph this time! Which is bang on target, any less and I would have failed!!!

Examiner congratulated me for passing the test with just 1 minor, ecstatic! :)

Got to work at about 11:30am that day.

  • Stage 4 (Module 2)

This costs about £245 which is mostly for the training and includes the test fees (£75)

==Training==
I had my module 2 training yesterday i.e. 4th Mar, 2012 (Sunday, 8am to 3pm)

It was pouring down when I got to Ace at about 7:45am. Everything that could go wrong on the day went wrong. It was raining so heavy that my gloves and boots which are meant to be “waterproof” started soaking up water like a sponge! Then the instructor’s bike broke down, so he spent about half an hour fixing it! Eventually he gave up and took my bike, so I hopped onto the back as a pillion and we went to his home where he picked his other bike. And at one point the radio’s stopped working while we were on the road!

But even though everything was going wrong on the day, we still managed to spend a decent amount of time on the road. The instructor was reasonably happy with my riding and asked me to focus on forward planning i.e. taking good road position in good time and doing thorough blind spot checks.

There was one particular exciting moment on the day, when I approached a round about to take the third exit. When I was about to exit the round about, I somehow found myself in the second lane (overtaking lane). My instructor who was following me advised me on the radio to rev the throttle and not let the white van on my left undertake me.

Because if you get under-taken on the test day you fail the test!

Anyways I managed to beat the white van in the race. There is a valuable lesson to be learnt here about 3 exit round abouts:

  1. Approach round abouts at speeds <30mph
  2. If taking the first exit, indicate left (if necessary) and approach round about in the left hand lane. Do a lifesaver check on your left side as you’d when turning left at junctions.
  3. If taking the second exit, don’t indicate on approach and approach round about in the left or middle hand lane, indicate left after you’ve past the first exit and when you are about to approach the second exit and get in first lane. Do a lifesaver check on your right side
  4. If taking the third exit, indicate right and approach round about in the right hand lane. As you go past the first exit, turn the indicator off and get in the middle lane. As you go past the second exit, indicate left before approaching the third exit and get in first lane. Do a lifesaver check on your right

At the end of the day we went through some show me/ tell me questions. You can download (pdf format) a full list of safety questions from the DVLA website.

==Test==

I have my module 2 test booked for tomorrow i.e. 6th Mar, 2012 (Tuesday, 8:30am to 09:15am)

I’ll report on how I got on with my module 2 test tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed!