Fantastic day today all slow speed covered to test standard and also high speed to test standard. Well done John great progress today.
Thank you Graham, a thoroughly enjoyable work out as usual mate. A lot of `Show me` action on your part which I'm sure helped David as well as me.
Action speaks louder than words, My first girlfriend told me :O(
My journey continued January 2018
Eventually I was given a MOD 1 test slot at the D&VSA after my RJH Training as my story depicts.
My initial plans for the future is to ride no more than a 350 CC geared bike, but for some reason there's no kind of `step` system for potential riders to take the DAS test on a lighter weight Bike other than a heavy 600 CC. The seat height is a major factor for my short leg reach which I'm sure is also the same for many others as they try to balance Up Right as soon as they mount. The bike is always at an angle when stopped which gives one the feeling of insecurity . First one has `heave` up to a steady balanced position kick up the side stand, then tip the bike from left to right to enable the first gear to be selected. Then `heave` back the the left to stay safe on the foot brake. The fear of dropping the bike is always present, Not just for the embarrassment but the risk of damage to Bike and physical body.I'm fully aware that the High standard of the professional instruction, in my case RJH, is designed to build up safe riding ability to which there's no question of their methods at all. But there's no getting away from MY personal apprehension throughout of my physical `age related ` weakness
to be able to counteract this kind of problem.
I'm fully competent on road not matter what hazard etc pops up. Even the very slow riding in traffic and avoidance tactics. Controlled stops, emergency stops, not a problem at all , I can even get around a MINI roundabout in complete control . But then the U Turn manoeuvre kicks in my fear of `dropping` to which all my thoughts are c entered on my balance rather than being on the control aspect, Slow speed, Clutch and engine. If I had longer legs I would have the added security in mind that I could always safe the moment if I had to put my foot down without disaster befalling...Pardon the PUN....I can say that I've done this U Turn successfully a few times in training, but never without this niggling mental pressure being present. In every other test manoeuvre I'm fully capable at success without this `fear` of failure.
I arrived at the D&VSA test ground full of confidence that I would pass and not fail myself or, more importantly, my trainers and Friends. This was after Graham and I had ridden through some horrendous heavy winds and rain conditions from RJH to Atherton with a single fault.
We then had a very long waiting period in the reception area, which didn't help my mental composure... only an elderly person would understand that remark..... Long days are bad enough to get through, but long stressful days are never in full pristine concentration.I eventually entered the test ground with the inspector who had a very calming attitude. All was going well as I did the Manual handling procedure that I had concern with previously in training because of my physical strength pushing a heavy bike in reverse.
The normal procedure is to hold the handle bar with the left hand to steer while the right hand holds the rear grab bar to push. But in my case of weakness I also have to PULL with the left hand. This then makes it almost impossible to steer in a straight line, but I did manage to complete to the required standard.
Then came the slalom and figure of eight at slow speed which was a resounding success because my short leg and balance wasn't an issue. The next was the very slow `walking pace` manoeuvre to end up in the precise parking cone area, again not a problem. Then came the U Turn procedure ! All was going fine as I did everything in the correct order. Engage first gear, make the mandatory observation shoulder check, then move along the White line and then do another shoulder check look forward then start the slow turn. Going well at this stage. I did touch the next white line with the front wheel, but that is acceptable as long as one doesn't go over it. It was at this moment as I was about to straighten up the bike to park alongside the final line I felt as though I was going to unbalance and my fear syndrome raised its ugly head and I mixed up the controls as I pulled in the clutch and revved the engine.... temporarily loosing rear traction then letting out the clutch which sent me way off course. I knew then I had failed as I reported to the inspector where I had made the mistake. He confirmed I had failed the test but offered me the choice to continue the other remaining manoeuvres. I told him there was no use to continue because I knew I would get through all of them without any problem. My only question is why isn't there a second chance on the U Turn test if the rider knew where he had made the mistake and told the inspector ? I'm not suggesting this second chance should be given on ALL the other manoeuvres. I speak to many experienced Bike riders who tell me they would most likely fail this U turn at slow speed and they have long legs !
But the outcome of my trial is it's left me very despondent and demoralised. All I have left in life is a lonely existence , I may as well be in a prison cell without my short future of freedom on two wheels with my cherished spanners and camping equipment to tour the British country.
Well Mike, I've written to Honda to inquire why the car industry can make a self steering car, yet the bike industry is still sitting on the fence ?
Graham, I could have done that U Turn if you hadn't stood at the test fence waving your United Football FLAG Shouting " We'll never walk alone "..... John supports Bolton ?
Rob, Maybe next time I could have Lisa's party before the test. That way I wouldn't feel so bad at failing because the cakes wouldn't go to waste !
I've disappointingly found that my body is older than my mind and it's no longer as strong as is has been throughout my life of activity 😒 Therefore my dream of riding a heavy bike can no longer come to fruition. I'm finding, riding and controlling, with short weak legs are a hazard when sitting on the bike and kicking the side stand up and taking the weight to get the bike upright. This is also true when stationary at lights, junctions etc. I need a low seated position. None suitable in training . Not able to save dropping the bike at slow speed because of the angle of weight and leg reach are out of sink.
On the Mod 1 test I also find the Manual handling too challenging by my lack of physical strength which takes a lot of my energy which then causes me to feel drained to continue mentally alert for the continuing exercises. Tired !!!! Slight mistakes make a fail in any physical test.
Yet on the road riding I can go for many miles without feeling drained and in complete alertness. I've had to make the sad decision to restrict my dream to just take the Mod 1 & 2 tests and ride a 125 CC. This for a man who's had many physical and mental challenges throughout life and never failed, many being life threatening, is a serious blow to ones future prospects and dreams of achievement. Life is all about moving forward, bettering oneself without causing hurt etc to others. Share and give back.
So my failed Mod 1 test was a bad disappointment to get through the exercises with ease on my 125 CC, only to fail on the High speed at 46 KPH rather than the mandatory 50 KPH ...... TWICE ...... In my logical mind I question why the FULL test has to be taken again when one only fails on the high speed section ? If my car fails the MOT with one item, then a retest is done on that item alone. I'm not saying that all the rest of the Mod 1,IF failed, should not be re taken fully, of course it should, but the High speed is my point.
I've been more upset by letting others down who had full faith in me to succeed. Rob, Graham, Lisa and a couple of friends plus my Son. So to continue being my usual self by never letting anyone down in my past. I'm going to give it another go at the Mod 1.
If I get tired again then I'll accept my fate. Watch this space.
Mod 1 test May 2 2018.
My test was due at the time of 1410. I was fully prepared to complete the test with no more problems because I was mentally and physically on top of what was needed to pass with not faults.
I had the bike in perfect condition, clutch, brakes , throttle and chain tension fully lubricated.
I knew the trip to the Test centre was about 25 minutes, so I left my house in good weather an hour earlier intending to practice certain manurers along the way that I thought would be a weak point, even though I knew I had everything under control.
I was in a good mood with settled mind that nothing was going to fail. I was within about 2 miles from the Test centre as I came to a give way junction winch I'd changed down to gear one. When my exit was eventually clear to proceed I sloped the clutch as usual to get up speed to change up gear. It was then I discovered they my left foot wasn't feeling the gear lever. I looked down to find the reason was that there was no longer a gear lever ! I was mortified at this discovery because my test was getting closer and I was hoping that the lever holding bolt had fell out causing the splines to slip off.
I parked the bike , in first gear, and walked back to the junction where I knew I had just changed gear. I found the lever on the pavement, how it had got from road potion 3 to the far left was puzzling to say the least ? My idea that the holding bolt had caused the problem was proved wrong. The lever had fractured behind the lever that attached to the Spline and holding bolt.
I was now in a state of panic because there was no way I could take the test. I rode, in first gear, along the main road trying to signal to following traffic to over take me with my Left arm waving them on. I dare not use my right arm for obvious reasons that the throttle would close and bring my to a sudden stop, so many times I had to use my right arm by pulling in the clutch and coasting.
I was by now very up tight wondering how I was going to get the the test centre to inform them of my plight. I was also very upset because Graham had told me he would be there to give me moral support on his day off.
I soon came to an Auto parts shop. I entered the shop hoping they would be able to point me in the direction of a motorcycle parts shop who my be able to help.
I explained my bad luck to them and they pointed out there was a motorcycle shop nearby. KAIS of Atherton. I rode there in first gear and entered the shop that seemed to be all Off road dirt bikes, but shelves of Levers ec. This sight made me happy thinking they may have a gear lever for my Yamaha 125 YBR, But I was soon brought down to earth when the owner told me he had nothing that would do for me. I told him my plight regarding the test and time. He kindly told me he would be able to weld it up, but it would take about 15 minutes. Time was running out fast, but I agreed that he should try and help. Too His word he completed the job and only charged me £ 10.00. I was also looking good to be just about on time because I was only about 10 mins to go to the test time.
I soon found that my clutch ` sweet spot `had been altered that the reach was far greater than I had been training with. The Gear lever had been fitted in a position that my foot couldn't select the gears easily but I was pressed for time and had to try and make progress. I arrived at the test centre dead on time and Jon, the inspector was waiting for me. I apologized form my close call and explained what had happened, in just a few words... Graham wasn't in attendance as I thought he would be....
But my metal state wasn't as good as it should have been by now.
Jon and I entered the test area and we continued with all the necessary exercises/ The manual handling was fine, but the slalom and figure of eight went very well but I could feel my concentration was slightly lacking because of the clutch being out of my comfort zone. The slow riding was OK in my mind, but later I was told by Jon that I was a bit too fast. I then knew why this had happened.... But I was then asked to do the fast speed exercises . Controlled stop was fine. But my speedo reading Higher than it should was a concern, but I now knew about this discrepancy after doing a road side check with the radar numbers.
I was so pleased at getting through all the previous exserises by now. The next one was the High speed controlled stop within the 4 blue cones which went to plan. Then came the dreaded High speed emrgency stop , which I failed on a previous test TWICE. Bike speedo problem . I went through the high speed bend at the top of the yard, then on strieghting up for the 50 KPH speed register I had to go up from 2nd gear to 3 rd withing the alloted space. This is where I failed because the gear selector problem caused me to miss the gear. My mind then was not in sinq and when Jon put up his hand for the emergency braking, I did stop in time and under control by when I was trying to select neutral with the faulty lever and looking down, The bike leaned to my left and my short leg couldn't hold it at this angle. The bike ,Slowly, dropped. FAIL !!! I also learned that I han't done the necessary speed too for the obvious reason I just explained.
To top it all, when the bike was picked up, it was found that the Clutch leaver had snapped off at the swivel joint which meant the clutch was now usless.
Jon asked if I knew anyone who could help me get the bike back home. I informed him that I had a spare in my back box... Bent but servicable....
I eventually fitted the spare lever and also took off the gear lever that had been placed out of place.
All the way home, had had problems changing gear and I suspect that the new weld was catching on the casing which I'll be looking at when I get a new lever soon and the bike is on my Hydraulic table.
So even though I knew I was totally able to complete the full Mod 1 this time. I was thwarted by mechanical breakage !!!
At least I don't feel as bad as my previous attempts to pass, because the problem was mechanical.
My long journey to achieve my `permission` to again ride a motorcycle ( After a long period of 50 + years) hasn't been without its problems for sure. But without the training at RJH Manchester with Graham being my full time trainer, and advice from Rob “ The Boss” and Ian I would never have achieved my goal. Graham has the “patience of a saint” as my sweet Mother used to say when she watched me working on my ES2 Norton 500 with my very limited tool kit, but in those days one didn't need the size of tool kit that is needed these days :O(
RJH makes one feel like a Family member, and in my case a concerned good Friend too. Lisa has also been an inspiration with her continued faith in me to achieve my goal too. I'll certainly be internally grateful to them all.
But due to no fault of RJH I had to eventually decide to not go through the Full Licence Mod 1 & 2.
Time and bodily strength was working against my ultimate dream and mostly my short leg reach from seat to ground on the big bikes that one has to ride ( 600 cc), Mentally sound though . So I decided I would just go for the 125 cc Class because I'm no longer a speed freak at my age, I just want to be able to potter on country roads, but with the `permission` to use a motorway if I ever need a short cut ! Smell the fields rather then Diesel fumes. I'll also leave the endurance riders to there own fate, as I enjoy what life I have here on this trouble planet, plodding along at national speeds with like minded riders. My good mate Mike Craig has been nurturing me along from the very start, in fact he's responsible for suggesting that I get back into the Bike World.
And also for many rides out testing and advising along the way. Hill starts being the main feature.
So here I go on my new adventure as I hang up the keys for my trusty Yamaha 125 YBR and get astride my brand new Piaggio sports 300 trike. Mike took my out on a very long `Maiden voyage` on Sunday as we took in a few Motorways and A roads for 120 Kilometres which I found none of it was stressful in the least, because my RJH trainers has done a complete job on getting yet another SAFE biker on the road. I can't praise them enough and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone in the future, though I have done in the past. They have been expanding at a fast rate with new training area's and bikes to suit every need. Adding new instructors along the way, I've not yet met then all, but I have had the pleasure to meet Sylvia at Northwich and impressed with her enthusiasm and skill,
I'll soon be doing a Utube video on the Piaggio trike which there will be a link here. Maybe Rob will think about adding this Trike tuition because there's no doubt in my mind and short experience that to go from Car to trike without bike training is a death wish ! It's a know fact that anyone is allowed to jump on this Piaggio, be it a 125 up to a 500 CC as long as they have a full car licence. NOT a good situation at all :O( “ RJH the route to take”!!! 😎