The final hurdle
Having cleared the module one test in Swansea, next stop on the road to two-wheeled nirvana is... Merthyr Tydfil
Paul Calf once said that there was no worse place to be than Rhyl… on a Bank Holiday Monday… in the pouring rain… with Dave Lee Travis. Whilst I cannot confirm or deny any of the above - and today was just a normal Tuesday outside Westminster, despite what the news channels might have you think - his words came back to me and brought a smile to my face this morning … sat in a traffic jam… on a motorcycle… in Swansea… in rush hour… (you guessed it) in the pouring rain. My journey to the city’s test centre for the module one assessment was, I supposed, an example of the downside of motorcycling so it was at this point that I decided that the test itself could be no worse. In fact, as the sun came out on our arrival I suddenly began to feel confident and optimistic about the whole thing.
To me it was a lot like preparing to go on air – I knew I was prepared for the challenge but the nerves were jangling and I couldn’t wait to get started and show what I could do. Of course, I knew there was also a good chance I could fall flat on my face and that almost happened, literally, on the first exercise – pushing the bike from one parking bay to another – when I very nearly dropped the thing on the examiner’s toe.
That actually focused me a lot more and I managed the rest of the course without a single minor fault, although I was asked to repeat the swerve test because my first effort was not up to speed (47km/h, when it should be 50km/h). My excuse for this was that in riding this particular course for the first time I was concentrating more on where the cones were and picking a line through them than I was on the speedo, which I could have avoided by learning exactly how many revs I needed in second gear to hit the right speed and relying purely on the sound of the engine to know I’d hit it.
Either way, I cleared the swerverama at the second attempt and my riding partner for the week John (who bizarrely also clocked 47km/h at the first attempt and cleared at the second) and I were home and dry, with the small matter of the module two road test to master tomorrow. After a few more trial runs in Merthyr this afternoon I feel ready to go and confident of another clear round. If I don’t I may have to turn to Paul Calf’s more famous catchphrase: “bag of sh…!”