Motorcycle license, done

 

Jenny O'Grady | jogrady6@hotmail.com | @jonpogrady

I got my license 4 months ago. After wanting it for so bloody long, I nearly passed out realising I’d done it. 

I have always been around motorbikes; my dad has owned bikes since he was 14 and always had a massive love for them. I was on the back on his bikes from a young age, going for a ride with him was the most exciting thing. I always had fun clinging on the back and going faster than mum said was acceptable. For me being in a car is about getting from A to B, but on a bike you are out in the elements, getting blow about and feeling wild. For some reason I never thought about actually going for my test, and me being the rider. 

In 2013 me and my boyfriend, Dave, set off on a Euro trip in his BMW 2002. We drove from Dover to Calais, made our way through France, Switzerland and down Italy, reaching the Amalfi Coast. On the way we broke down around 10/11 times, Dave built the car so was always able to get us going again. Weirdly enough when we broke down was when we met the best people. Our favourite stories from the trip are made up of people pushing us down busy roads to nearby car shops or garages, being invited into family homes for dinner and making some long term buddies. On the way back we were already planning the next road trip. We were chatting about the different routes we could take and places we’d want to see next time. We thought, what could we change to make this even more exciting? ..exploring different countries, on a motorbike would probably be quite amazing? 

As well as wanting a different mode of transport, we both felt slightly unchallenged in life, maybe even a bit bored. We decided we both wanted to get our motorcycle license. 

There was something massively liberating about the idea of having my own motorbike and travelling everywhere, anywhere on it. 

I booked my CBT for as soon as I could, went and did the days training. It was awesome! I was with 5 guys all in their 20’s, same as me. As soon as I arrived they put me down for a scooter CBT. When I explained I wanted a motorbike they apologised for their slight sexism! The day went well and although I was really sketchy learning the gears, I had a lot of fun. I got my certificate and was on eBay that night looking for a little bike to get some practice on. I found an YB100. We drove to London that weekend to pick it up.

Meanwhile Dave had done his Direct Assess course and had his full license. Due to his love of Top Gun, he brought GPZ400R. We spend a lot of hours working on and polishing our bikes, for 18 months we went on rides out together but we became restricted on how far we could go with my little bike. The 100cc was so good for experience on the road and getting confident, but not being able to keep up with the traffic was damn scary. 

I wanted my full license. After a few weekends training I was ready for my Mod 1 test, I was pretty nervous and to be honest was preparing for a fail. While practicing I was really struggling on the u-turns, I usually didn’t have enough revs and was putting my foot down half way through the turn. Not ideal. On my last practice day before Mod 1, in the rain, I must have tried the u turn about 6 times, only competing one successfully.  

The test morning came and I had told myself it was ok if I had to book for a second test. Amazingly, the test went really well. I can’t remember much of it because of the frantic blur I was in, I went onto auto pilot and before I knew it the test was done. I was sat in the office being told I had passed! Never, ever felt so relieved. 

Although it wasn’t over.. the training for Mod 2 then started. I was feeling more confident about the road ride as I’d had my 18 months on my 100cc. 

Test morning came once again, and it was raining, heavily. In the 20 minute ride to the test centre I was freezing cold and wet through. I arrived at the centre about 10 minutes early and I met the examiner. We went outside to do the questions and eye sight test, then set off on the ride. The examiner was driving behind in a cosy car, with the heating blasting..! The ride was over in a flash and I was back in the test centre, being told I had passed! Years of constantly thinking about wanting my license and I finally had it. 

Took a few hours to sink in, then I got bike hunting! Choosing a bike was really hard. I wanted a bike that could be mostly on the road, but do some slight off roading too. After a lot of researching I have gone with an XT660X, the basics of the bike are perfect for what I need.

Dave and I have now decided we are going to ride to Spain in August 2016. A lot of people have said I’m crazy for trying to do this trip on an XT, but I think with some changes to the screen and seat, I’ll do just fine. Also with me being a new rider, it’s going to be a massively challenge, but that’s what it’s all about. Dave now has a bmwf800gs, which is perfect for the trip.

We are doing a trip to Scotland in the Easter holiday, to test a few things. It’s going to take about 4 hours to get to our destination, so will give us a good idea how long I can ride for and what I need to change on the bike before our trip to Spain.

There is an amazing feeling of adventure on a bike. I’m beyond excited to get going and riding new, wild places. 

Have fun all, and travel safe

Jessica Haggett1 Comment