Big Bike Licence: Part 1

2012 09 15 12 03 04
Shiny new big bike, with optional lurcher.

Today I did my bike theory test. I passed. I now have two years to get my grown up bike licence.

Except that I don’t. I have a motorbike that I can’t ride stored securely in a friends garage waiting for me to pass my test. It’s a nice bike, a perfect first bike after test in fact. That is, if the test you do is the current A2 – restricted to 33 brake horse power for two years then ride what ever you like.

Unfortunately, because I am a pessimist I haven’t booked my practical A2 test yet. There is now, an 8 week (minimum) waiting list at all of the test centres I could possibly manage to get to (including some that aren’t in the same area of the country as me. This meand that I’m going to have to take the Mod 2 of my test under the new rules, this is entirely my own fault for procrastinating so I’m not blaming anyone but it is difficult to find information about the new rules. At least, I found it a touch counter intuitive.The upshot of my search is that I will have to do my Module One test on a category A bike in order to get a full bike licence. If I do my Module One on a bike which is currently suitable for A2 I will only get an A1 licence which means that my beautiful bike will be spending a few more years in my friends garage while I gain experience and then take another practical test.

2012 10 28 14 55 48
Slightly overloaded 125 (everything is secure though).
2012 11 02 11 47 16
Being rescued after I hit the deck in North Wales … not a good day.

If you’re interested there is a table showing which sub-category of motorcycle you’ll need to use for your Mod 2 if you do your Mod 1 under the old rules and here are the specifics of the new rules relating to riders who pass their tests on or after 19 January 2013.

It all seems a bit odd to me, although it does also seem to be a tidying up of the rules. Each category goes on from the one below and you have to be over 24 to ride a big bike at all.

Those who know me via twitter (and who happened to be around at the appropriate moments), will know I’ve taken a couple of quite nasty slides across the black-top already so the prospect of having to do my test on a big bike doesn’t fill me with glee. On the other hand it will probably make me a much better rider than I would otherwise have been.

Here’s to being able to collect my bike as soon as possible. Though hopefully, not by van.

If you are looking to do a practical test, there’s a list of national test centres and the approximate waiting times available here, but only between 0600 and 2340 (I have no idea why, maybe they think the internet gets turned off at night).

UPDATE:

I have been down to Cheshire Biker Training who were recommended to me by the local bike shop. We talked the options through, and, as I can’t see any advantages to doing a medium bike licence (the new A2) I have booked myself in for an assessment day. So, on Friday 14th December I get to go down to the bike centre and show them that I can ride a 125. Once they’re happy that I can do that they’re going to put me on a big bike (…) and teach me how to ride all over again. Depending on how well I do, they’ll work out how much training I need to go through my Mod 1 and Mod 2 tests (I only pay for the training I receive). Here’s hoping I don’t make a complete fool of myself.