Saturday, 22 October 2011

Testing Day 2.0

It's amazing how tense and nervous a person can be, even after over 5 decades of experience in the world. Friday was my second attempt to pass my motorcycle license test and, although I tried to project an aura of self confidence, I really was rattled. Thoughts like, "If I fail this time, how many more times do I go before I give up?"  and, "if I keep failing, will they make me redo my regular license as well?" I didn't sleep that well the night before and I had butterflies in my stomach most of Friday.

I went to Dave's place to pick up the bike and his son was there to greet me. He was an amiable guy and told me how he had failed his first time which his father, the motorcycle teacher, was not overly proud of! He gave me some words of advice including that he hoped that I had the two girls testing me again because the guy was really picky.

It was raining hard so before taking off to practice, I put on a pair of gortex cycling overbooties so that my hiking boots would stay nice and dry. They attach with velcro and have served me well on many a cycling trip. I then headed off on the Suzuki Marauder 250 for Poco.



I had about an hour to practice which I did. The heavens opened up with torrential rain which splashed around my face. I don't like the full face visor closed all the way so I kept it open about half way which protected my eyes but drenched the lower half of my face. I tried to cover all the route that I had gone on before and then, for the last 15 minutes, practice my nemesis, the U-turn.

If you recall from my very first time at motorcycle school, I fell off trying to do a U-turn. I think that one incident has scarred my for life as it was also the reason I failed my first attempt due to a too wide U-turn that nicked a lawn. My first 10 or so practices were OK but then I started to make them wide again. I finally discovered that cranking the throttle in short bursts gave me the needed speed to make the U-turn properly but without going so fast I was out of control or headed for the curb. Still, I was shaky and did not look forward to that part of the test.

When the heck do you need to do a U-turn anyway?

I sped over to the testing centre, parked, turned of the bike and promptly fell over.

What had happened was the flap on the bottom of the gortex overbooty caught on the peg on the left side. When I tried to get off, my leg wouldn't go and I was thrown off balance. I fell down and the bike fell over as well.

Sometimes, Buddha or Lady Luck smiles at me after having a good laugh. I practically bounced off the ground and picked up the bike (lucky it was only a 250) and then looked around. Nobody saw me! Two minutes later and a crowd of people were in the lot but at that time I was completely alone amongst the other vehicles!



Sporting a slight limp from my scraped knee and no longer wearing the aforementioned vortex overbooties, I first hobbled, then walked into the testing centre. After doing the necessary paperwork, I met my tester, the guy!

His name was Gary. He seemed nice enough but I secretly knew that he was the ├╗ber picky tester who could not be taken for granted! Actually, we chatted a bit before the test and he was friendly and sort of made me feel a bit at ease!

The weather for the test had turned, well, pretty nice. It was cloudy and the roads were wet but there was no longer any driving rain. I left the centre and proceeded to ride the first half of the test without incident. I was feeling pretty darned confident and thinking, maybe I'll actually pass, when Gary said, "When safe, show me your U-turn."

I remembered the trick with the throttle and worked really hard to look where I wanted to turn. There was only one chance at this and I knew that this was my pivotal moment. I went around the U for the first half perfectly. Then, I twisted the throttle a bit too much and the bike jerked. It jerked a couple more times but I stayed on and next thing I knew, I wasn't on someone's front lawn, I was on the road headed in the correct direction!

He continued to test me, taking me through a multitude of school and playground zones. At one point, I was going 50 kmh and I looked to the right and saw, right beside me, a middle school. Luckily it had a school zone sign without a speed on it so I was OK. Twice in the latter half, I lost Gary as I went through a yellow light but there was no way I was going to slam on the brakes and get an automatic fail.

During the final half km, I was going a bit slow when I realized that I had missed a playground sign. Luckily I was probably at the upper threshold for speed and I didn't get a fail due to it. We then made our way back to the centre where I parked the bike and got off, this time without falling to the ground.

He came close to my helmet so I could heart and said, "Well you've passed," to which I yelled, "Yes!" right into his face.



It wasn't perfect - he said my U-turn was a bit shaky, I cut a couple corners when turning left, and I was a bit too far right at one time but otherwise, I nailed it! I thanked Gary, got my photo taken for my new license and headed off, for the last time, on the Suzuki.

What a feeling of accomplishment! What a relief! Now, time to look at a new scoot in earnest.

Yes!

8 comments:

Barron said...

Congratulations!

bobskoot said...

Dave:

it was so exciting reading your words. Congrats for getting your class 6. The stress is over, now just go out, ride and celebrate.

see you on the road

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Dar said...

Good for you! I know exactly what you are talking about, the dreaded u-turn and nerves before & during the ICBC test. Over the last 3 weekends I completed the novice course and traffic safety course. I took my road test on Tuesday the 18th and passed.

I was riding a 250 Honda Rebel. Test morning got off to a rocky start. I arrived at the bike pick-up early to practice only to discover that my licence had fallen out my coat, luckily my husband brought it out to me. But this put me behind and gave me little time to practice & warm up the bike. So I did a few emergency stops, practiced a u-turn and left. I then got stuck in traffic because of road construction and was almost late. By the time I got there my nerves were fried and I was stressed to the max. I made it through the road test pretty much without incident and was stressed to the max. I missed a shoulder check, my u-turn wasn't pretty, but I did it. The examiner commented on how rough the bike was running, I told him it wasn't mine I was borrowing from the training ctr. I knew I was anxious throughout the test. He took me through a very scenic route (who had time to sight see? Not me) it was 9:30 in the morning so traffic had lightened up.

I only had a few demerits, and the instructor back at the training ctr said my sheet was pretty clean! Yay!

I took my bike out for a celebration ride and yup, I did 2 perfect u-turns. I hate test anxiety! I know exactly what you have been going through.

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SonjaM said...

Congrats! See you on the road. Everything else is 3P (practice, practice, practice).
Cheers from PoMo

SonjaM said...

Congrats! See you on the road. The rest is 3P (practice, practice and I say it again practice).
Cheers from PoMo

Robert Wilson said...

My tester basically said "Screw the U-turns, you don't do them like this in the real world!" We still had to test on them but his attitude was it's not that big of a deal which put many of us at rest. The rest of the test - turns, quick stops, and serves - were what really counted. So we concentrated on those and felt a whole lot better. Congratulations!

Dave Dixon said...

What great comments - and the occasional anecdote! The actual license arrived in the mail yesterday - feels good!

Anonymous said...

Dave,

Congratulations on passing the test !!

Forty-five minutes of pure stress...bet your really happy its over...I know I sure am.

That said, the 2wheel2ition course was tremendous.

Now that we are both legal, let's get together and go for a ride, or if the weather isn't good, just shoot the breeze.

Really enjoy your blog !

Charles

(nsew@telus.net / 604 466 0883)