Unnecessary instruction?

Published: 02 October 2012

I wanted to take my full bike test, but felt I didn't need to pay to use a riding school.

So my journey began with me booking my theory test. I logged on to direct.gov.uk to book which was really simple and I was pleased to find that the longest I had to wait was about four days.

On September 11 I managed to ace the motorcycle theory test. I put this down to a copy of the Driving Test Success CD that my daughter previously used for her test. 

Next step, book module 1. I thought I'd leave it a couple of weeks until I could borrow a bike, or at least buy a cheap one to ride on test.

I managed to borrow a friends' LML Star Deluxe after he had added me to his insurance (which he said cost him £27).

I turned up for module 1 on September 25 and went straight through. Although the module 1 may look daunting on video, or from descriptions you may have heard from various sources, it’s not too bad at all.

There's plenty of room on the swerve avoidance, slalom, figure of eight and the U-turn. A lot of the manoeuvres dimensions can be found online along with a diagram of how the mod 1 test area is set out.

I have three bits of advice for the module 1 test 1. Make sure you do your over shoulder (lifesaver) checks before you move away every time. They say they want you to do safety checks as you would on a public road.

2. If you can, use a big wheel bike. Only because it’s hard to hit a minimum of 48kph on a scooter in a confined space. It took me a two attempts (which they will allow if you fail to hit speed first time) on both the emergency stop and the swerve test.

3. Make sure you watch the Official DSA module 1 videos on YouTube or on the Driving Test Success CD.

Off I skipped to direct.gov.uk. I’d looked at mod 2 dates before I turned up for mod 1 and saw that there were no vacancies until November 5.

I spoke to the examiner about dates after my mod 1 and he said riding schools block book test times and sessions for their pupils before hand (which I thought was a pretty cheeky thing to do), but there are sometimes cancelations.

So he told me to not just check online, but to also ring the DSA on a daily basis. I booked my test for November 5.

The next day, I looked online. A cancelation came up for 8.15am on October 1 so I immediately changed my booking (the DSA do make you aware that if you give less than 5 days notice for cancelations, you will lose your fee).

I turned up at Lee on Solent test centre 30 minutes early ready to take my chances. It was pissing down with rain and the wind was blowing. I thought maybe the examiner would cut things a bit short as they wouldn’t want to get too wet for the rest of the day.

I had a very nice lady examiner who, after I got kitted up, walked out and got in a car. Fan-bloody-tastic! She took me on the full 35-40 minute test.

I got back with my open face helmet, completely soaked face and glasses and she said: “Well Mr Tomlin, I’m happy to inform you that you’ve passed.”

I passed my A2 and can ride anything I want after 2 years. All for the cost of a theory test, £31.00. Module 1 test £15.50. Module 2 test £75.00. Insurance and a bottle of bourbon for the loan of my mate’s bike. A little bit of time and effort-

It probably cost less that £200 in all.

All I’m saying is, if you can ride a bike, you don’t have to go to a riding school to take your test. It can be done without instruction.