Like most, I too decided to spend a small fortune and do the DAS course with a company in Southend-on-sea.
The first day was taken up with the CBT which I found quite easy. I havent ridden a bike for nearly 20 years so I was pleased with how at ease I felt.
All was good with the figure of 8, U-turns, emergency stop etc. Even out on the road I felt very confident.
After the first day and passing the CBT we moved on to the bigger 500cc bike. Again, I felt fine doing all the maneuvers - turn in the road, emergency stop and riding was a joy.
At the end of the week I did my test. We had practised many of the known test routes which were very varied from country back roads to busy A roads.
My only concern up to this point was being almost forced to ride at 70mph (traffic permitting) on a busy A road. My instructor had made it very clear that I would possibly fail if I just sat at 55/60mph.
The examiner would want to see me overtake and make good progress. This I felt was wrong. Doing 70mph on a bike with no fairing or screen was a bit scary.
I was blasted by the wind to such an extent that I could barely move my head to check the obviously blurred mirror's. Anyway, at the test centre and after answering the maintainence questions the examiner and I set off.
At the end of the road please stop. Of course I thought he said turn left so he had to prompt me again to stop... oops. He got me to read a number plate, which was a long way away, but I just managed it.
We then set off and did some riding. I must admit I was concentrating quite hard and the examiner had to repeat his instruction on more than one occassion.
We then stopped for the U-turn, the ride went ok until he asked me to walk the bike in a U-turn.
I got off and placed the bike on the side stand which I didnt engage properly and I almost dropped the bike. Luckily I was right next to it. You can imagine by now my nerves were shot.
We did the emergency stop and then continued to ride. He stopped me a few times for a hill start and an angled start and then we headed back to the test centre again having to travel on the A road at 70mph.
As we came up to the last roundabout he asked me to turn right, third exit but the roundabout has traffic lights so I had to move to the left lane so I was able to go straight ahead.
As I came off the roundabout I then had to take the first right. I did my checks and all was clear. As I moved over a van came flying up on the outside. It was too late and I was already almost over in the right lane.
I knew that was going to be a fail. Back at the test centre I got the bad news. He said that I had some minor faults.
I had stopped at a couple of give way junctions when I should have just carried on riding but the big one was the van.
I asked what I should have done differently and was told that I should have made a better lifesaver check.
Fair enough... it's not the end of the world. I have already booked my re-test so lets see what happens next time.
I must ask the question.....what is the point of the U-turn? I dont think I will ever get myself into a position where I will want to do a U-turn without having at least one foot near the ground for support.
It may look good to turn a bike with both feet on the pegs but in reality it's never gonna happen!