Following your CBT (Compulsary Basic Training), the next step down the road to get your full motorcycle licence is to do your theory test and hazard perception test.

If you go to Directgov website, you can find out the current cost of the theory test, you can also find your nearest test centre and even book and pay for it on-line.

I booked my theory test for Friday 12th August 2011, which gave me two weeks to study for it. I was quite confident of passing my theory test as I had previously passed my advanced car driving test with the Institute of Advanced Motorists. However, I passed my driving test before the Hazard Perception test was a part of the driving test.

Of course, the first thing I got to help me was the official book from the DVLA – I found this too much to read through, but handy for my wife to quiz me with.

I then got a ‘UK Motorcycle theory test’ app for my Android Tablet – I found this handy to do practice tests, I find it easier to learn by doing it and learning the things that I get wrong. The only problem with this was that there appeared to be a few seconds of blank video at the start of each video clip, so I didn’t know if there was anything happening during this blank period that I would be marked on.

I then decided to spend £6.99 on 20 days access to a specialist Hazard perception website (http://www.hazardperceptionchallenge.co.uk/). I was surprised that not only do they have hazard perception tests but also the mock theory tests. They also teach you what is counted as a hazard. With mock tests for motorcycle and car, fantastic resource. I would recommend this to anyone.

Unfortunately, I kept getting low scores, not because I did not see the hazard. The reason for my low scores was because I was noticing too many hazards and reacting too quickly. The test on this site have a review function, so you can see when you clicked and when you should have clicked. I was receiving 0 points instead of 5 points becuse I reacted 1 second before it scored maximum points.

After using this site, I learned to wait for a second or two to click the mouse. This way I generally got 4 or 5 out of 5 rather than 0.

On the day of my motorcycle theory and hazard perception tests I did some research to find out where the nearest free parking for motorbikes was to the test centre. I gave myself plenty of time and rode down there. I then went in and had to show my driving licence etc to them. They registered me for the test. The people there were very rude and dismissive, I am not used to being treated like that, and I made it obvious that I was not happy with them. Anyway, I had a test to take and was trying to get in the zone. I felt so old as I was surrounded by 17 and 18 year olds, trying to do their first licence.

I was put in front of the computer and took the oportunity to do the practice tests and see the tutorial that they had. Once I started, I took my time, reading each question carefully and then looking at each answer. Don’t get me wrong, the theory test is not difficult, but I had come close to failing my mock tests because I did not read the question correctly or I thought it was too obvious.

Once I had done all of the questions, I then went back through all of them to ensure that I agreed with my previous answer.

I then took the hazard perception test. Following the first group of hazard perception tests I got a message on the screen that said that all of my points for that group of tests had been removed for ‘Inappropriate use of the mouse’. I presume this means that I clicked too many times. This concerned me because not matter how well I did on the theory test, if I did not pass the hazard perception test, I would not pass.

I decided that I would have to be more careful. I should only click when it was a definate and obvious hazard. I also had to also remember to click a second or so after I see the hazard. I composed myself and continued. The hazard perception test seemed to go quite smoothly after that.

After the test was over, I left the room and went back to the  waiting room. The man said that it would take a few minutes for my results to come out. He was still very rude with his tone and I felt that I could be rude back to him now. After all the test was over, what could he do?

I got my results with a very dull, “There are your results, you seem to have passed”. There was no “You’ve passed, Congratulations, there is your certificate”. They are so dull and rude at that place, I would recommend and one taking their theory test in Cambridge to be aware that the staff are rude and dismissive and not to let them put you off your stride.

I looked at my certificate which stated that I scored 50 out of 50 on the theory test, the pass mark for the theory test was 43. For the hazard perception I scored 55 out of 75, the mass mark for the hazard perception test was 44. This was a good result.

I left there rather quickly and came home. I found a note from my wife saying that she was at the pub with friends and I should joing them when I got back. We celebrated with beer and a curry later.


After you have passed your CBT (Compulsary Basic Training), you can ride a motorcycle on the roads in the UK.

The CBT (Compulsary Basic Training) certificate lasts for 2 years and until you have passed your full motorcycle test you must:

* only ride a motor ycle up to 125 cc
* always have  ‘L’ plates front and back
* not carry a pillion passenger
* not to ride on the motorway

To get your full motorcycle licence you need to take three further tests:

* Motorcycle theory and hazard perception tests
* Module 1 (off road test)
* Module 2 (on road test)

You have to pass both Module 1 and Module 2 on the same CC motorbike. If you are over 21 and go down the Direct Access route, then you will not be ristricted to any size of motorbike once you have passed both Modules. This means that legally you can buy and ride any motorbike as long as you have tax, insurance and the motorbike has a current MOT certificate.

If you are under 21 years old or pass your Module 1 and Module 2 or you pass them on a motorbike under 46bhp eg a 125CC or 250CC, then you can only ride a bike that is under 33bhp for two years. You can buy a bike that has any bhp, but you must have a limiter professionally fitted to limit it to 33bhp, which is kind of like de-fanging a lion. After your two year restriction, you will be unrestricted and will be able to ride any size motorbike.

I think I will do the Direct Access, then I will not be limited to which bike I get. Life is too short.

Camrider, which is one of my local motorcycle training companies have a winter offer on, which is 25% off until February 2012. I think I will be taking this up as it brings the price of the 4 session Direct Access down to £315.

Catching up

I have to apologise for not updating my blog much this year. Last year my laptop broke and I mistakenly thought that a tablet computer would replace my blogging tool.

I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab and for a while it was fine creating blogs. I soon found its limitations. Even though WordPress as got an android app, it is not very good. Photographs are difficult to upload and difficult to position nevermind anything more complicated. Also typing on a virtual/on-screen keyboard is no replacement for the real thing when typing a blog.

I thought a tablet would allow me to be more mobile and be able to write it anywhere. But the annoyances were too muck and ended with me not writing in my blog at all.

I have now got a new tablet with a 10.1 inchscreen and is able to browse web sites with ease. In fact, I’m writing this using my new tablet now. My new tablet is a tablet with a difference. The difference is that you can plug it into a keyboard and have a normal keyboard to type on, not only that but it also has full size USB ports and a SD card slot, which means uploading. The keyboard also increases the battery life from 9 hours to 16 hours. The tablet is the ASUS Transformer.

The blog posts that I need to catch up on include:

* Cycle touring in Normandy
* The London to Cambridge cycle ride 2011
* Off-roading at Thetford forest
* Review of the ASUS transformer for blogging
* The UK motorcycle theory and hazard perception tests
* Review of the Yamaha YBR125
* Motorcycle filtering

I will be writing these blogs over the next few months, but not necessarily on that order.


I researched somewhere to do my CBT and I chose to use Camrider, as I live near Cambridge and I had seen their High-Vis vests on some riders who were being taught in the area.

I booked my CBT about 6 weeks before I actually did it. This was because Camrider was booked up for the first coupe of weeks then I had work commitments and a booked holiday and events.

On the morning of my CBT, I left my house with plenty of time. My wife said that I could use her car for the day. Unfortunately, I arrived at the training place a few minutes late. The place was not very well sign posted as I was looking for a logo similar to the one on their website. I drove up and down the road, knowing that I was in the right area but not seeing their sign, which had a different logo to the one on their website.

After my instructor introduced herself, we went into the classroom and began.

There are 5 stages to the CBT:

  • Introduction
  • Practical on-site training
  • Practical on-site riding
  • Practical on-road training
  • Practical on-road riding


This part was conducted in the classroom and gave important information about the bike, controls, safety clothing, legal requirements, crash helmet and differences between what you can buy cheaper from the internet and what you must buy new.

Always buy a new crash helmet from a shop for 2 reasons:

  1. You do not know if the helmet has been in an accident, dropped, falled down the stairs or anything. In the CBT we got shown a helmet that from the outside looked perfectly fine, but the cross section view showed that  it had been in an accident and the polystyrene inside had compressed, but the plastic had regained its shape. This helmet would offer you no protection in a crash, but you would not know that until it was too late.
  2. You may not know if the crash helmet will fit you correctly if you buy it from the Internet. If you know that you fit a ‘Medium’ Shoei helmet, if you get a different make, you may need a smaller or larger size, they are not all standard sizes .

Practical on-site training

During this part, we got shown around a motorbike. We were shown where all the different controls were. We were then shown safety checks that we should preform on the bike daily, weekly and periodically.

Practical on-site riding

For this part we were taken to the training ground, which is like a car park and we all selected a bike. Some people were doing the CBT on an automatic scooter. Myself and a few others were doing the CBT on a 125cc manual motorbike.

Our first task was to walk the bike in a loop putting it on and off both the side stand and the centre stand. This is an important thing to know, in case you run out of petrol and need to walk your bike a distance. During this we also turned left and right as you have to balance the bike slightly differently depending on the way you are turning.

Next, we started the engine and rode the bike a few feet and stopped, and we repeated this about half a dozen times.

We then rode around in a circle then a figure of eight and started changing from first gear to second and back. We also learned the emergency stop and indication and turning at junctions including OSM (Observation, signal maneuver) – PSL (Position, speed, look) .

Following this we had lunch.

Practical on-road training

After we had finished our lunch we started with our on-road training. This was again classroom based and was very theoretical. This involved the instructor drawing lots of pictures of junctions, cars, lorries, buses etc and asked us what we should do in different scenarios.

Once the instructor was happy that we knew what we were talking about and she had asked us some highway code questions about signs, speed limits and road markings, we could continue to the next section

Practical on-road riding

This was the final and most important part, we were going on real roads with real traffic. We got fitted with radios, so our instructor could give us instructions, but it is important to understand that I had never ridden a motorbike several hours ago, and here I was just about to go on real roads. I would be in control, although the instructor would be behind me, advising me, no-one could stop me crashing or losing control. It was all in my hands, with some helpful words in my ear. But I was confident that I was able to do this and my instructor was confident that I could do this.

Each instructor had 2 students, so I set out with my instructor and a guy who had been riding a 125 automatic scooter for 2 years and was only doing his CBT because his current CBT was about to expire.

I set out quite tentatively at first, and building in confidence the more we did. We stayed out riding for about 2 and a half hours, having a couple of 5 minute breaks in between. I ended up being about to ride down ‘A’ road at more than 50 MPH.

We got back to the training centre and our instructor said how well we did and issued us with a completion certificate.

I would recommend Camrider, for Cambridge based people. Their methods of teaching we very informative and helpful and it certainly got results.

After a drive home, we celebrated with some friends in a pub, drinking wine and playing darts. I must say at this point that I do not normally drink wine in a pub, I am an ale man. However, it was a celebration and my wife fancied red wine. So we shared a bottle of red wine with our friends. We ended up going for a curry as well, woo – whoo!

These days, I commute to work on a bicycle everyday. The only time that I do not cycle is when the temperature is close enough to zero degrees that there might be ice. I have cycled in ice and it is not fun, it is just not worth the risk of loosing control on the ice. I pick my two children up from childcare twice a week. Their after-school childcare is about 6.5 miles away from my work and I generally only have 30 minutes between finishing work and picking the girls up. This includes the time it takes to put my cycling gear on, putting the panniers on my bike, unlock the bike, cycle 6.5 miles, lock my bike up at the childcare, take the panniers off and sign the girls out.

I sometimes find it a struggle to get back in time, especially if I am tired from work. A couple of weeks ago, as I was about to leave work to pick up the girls and someone at work asked if they could have a word with me. Not wanting to seem rude, I had a five-minute chat.

When I realised the time, I shut down my computer and rushed down to my bike, by the time that I was ready to set off I only had 15 minutes to cycle back. I raced back on my hybrid bike at an average speed of 17.5 miles per hour. I got to the childcare at 6.02pm, two minutes late. As I was cycling, I was looking at my speedo and saw that my speed at the time was 22 mph and the speed limit for the road was 50 mph. I was thinking that I would have no problem getting there on-time if I could cycle at 50 mph.

It is amazing how much you think when you are cycling. I was thinking that the only way to keep being able to get through traffic jams easily, but be able to travel at 50 mph in order to get back for the childcare is to get a motorbike.

As a 39-year-old man, this may be a mid-life crisis but I thought I would look into get into motorbike.

To ride a motorbike in the UK to need to do the following things.

Get a provisional motorbike license.

You need a provisional motorbike license, even if you have a full car driving licence, this does not cost anything but you need to send your driving licence off to the DVLA and it should return within 3 weeks.

CBT (compulsory Basic Training)

You need to do a one day course called a CBT (compulsory Basic training). You need to book this with your local motorcycle training school. It should cost about £100. The course consists of learning on a 50 cc automatic moped doing some manoeuvres in a car park. You can then move up to a 125 cc motorbike. You finish the day with a 2 hour motorbike ride on the road. If the assessor thinks you are safe to ride by yourself they will give you your CBT. If the think you need you need some more tuition time before going solo, they will not give you your CBT. In this case, you will have to pay £100 for another day of tuition in the hope that you are good enough this time. Most cycling schools will offer a life-line. If you pay an extra £30-£40. You will be given tuition for as many days that is necessary in order to pass you CBT.

The cost of the CBT generally includes the hire of the bike, helmet, gloves and wet weather clothes, if the weather changes.

Following the successful completion you are able to ride on a bike up to 125 cc, but you do have some limitations:

  • You have to put ‘L’ plates on your bike, front and back.
  • You cannot carry pillion passengers.
  • You cannot go on motorways.
  • If you do not pass your full bike licence within 2 years of passing you CBT, you will have to take your CBT again.

The route to your full bike licence.

Following your CBTs you need to take and pass the following tests.

  • Theory test, including hazard perception test
  • Practical test – Module 1 (Different manoeuvres in a car park)
  • Practical test – Module 2 (on road).

I will go into more detail of these in later blog posts.

As I have started to do biking stuff, I have split these posts using the Categories on the right into:

  • Cycling (Blog posts to do with cycling)
  • Biking (Blog posts to do with motor cycling)

If you have any comments on this post, please add them below.

I was speaking to my colleagues at work on Friday and a conversation started about why motorists hate cyclists and why cyclists hate motorists. As I both cycle and drive I can see these arguments from both sides. I have put some of these below and my personal view of them.

Cyclists do not pay road tax, they have no right to be on the road.

Can we please get rid of this one straight away. Apparently car tax pays for motorways etc not local roads, local roads come out of your council tax. So as long as cyclists are paying council tax, they have a right to be on the road. If cyclists start cycling on the motorway, then you can complain.

I hate the way cyclists will be driving on the road and suddenly decide they are a pedestrian and drive on the pavement.

If you are not a child and you are able to cycle on the road, you should. I must admit, I have done this in the past and for me it was mostly lack of trust of drivers on large intersections, so instead I would hop onto the pavement. I over came this by learning how to reserve space on the road etc. It must be said that cycling can be dangerous, especially if drivers are not making giving them room etc, self-preservation is a good reason to hop onto the pavement sometimes.

Why do cyclists have blinking lights, it is annoying?

I used to have blinking lights on my bike because I was under the impression that it was safer as drivers would see you better. After speaking to other drivers and cyclists, especially when one member of the CTC didn’t want to cycle behind me as my blinking light would give him a headache. I decided not to have them blinking anymore. Blinking lights are a double edged sward, if  your lights are annoying other road users, especially drivers it will make it less safe as they may be blocking your lights from their view with their hand. Now they cannot see you at all. They know you are there, somewhere, but not your exact position. This driver is now driving one handed, until they pass you as quickly and probably not as safely as they can. Cyclists with rear blinking lights make me fitter, as they annoy me so much, I have to increase my speed so that I can pass them. Don’t put your lights on blinking, no-one likes it.

Why do cyclists go through red lights, the law applies to them as well

Cyclists go through red lights for 3 reasons:

  • They may go through a red light at a busy junction when the crossing is allowing pedestrians to cross. This us usually because the cyclist does not feel safe at that junction and needs to go before the cars have a chance to hit them.
  • They may go through a red light where you have a pedestrian crossing with no-one on it. This is because it takes a lot more leg energy to stop and start again then to continue at the same speed. I think of this as loosing more weight and strengthening my leg muscles by stopping at every red light.
  • Some cyclists go through every red light, do not wait at crossings etc. This is irritating to me as a cyclist, especially when they go around my bike to skip the light, I then make it a challenge to catch them up and overtake them. If the truth is told, most of the people that do this are not difficult to catch up. I have never seen any one in proper cycling gear going through red lights unless they felt unsafe at a busy junction.

The rules of the road should apply to cyclists as much as drivers. But drivers have to acknowledge the vunerabilities of cyclists as one of my mates said to a driver, I have two kids at home, I don’t want to make them fatherless tonight. Drive carefully.

< Day 1

Monday 28th June 2010

As the midges had been so bad the previous night it meant that we went to bed early. I woke up early after having broken sleep thanks to the incessant noise of the sheep baaing all night. I felt quite disconnected from the world so I decided to sit in my tent listening to the Chris Moyles show on radio 1.

I then made breakfast, which was porridge and a bottle of protein shake. When Mark woke up he cooked some eggs, gammon and mushrooms. Which he offered some to Phil and I and we shared some of it. When Phil was cooking his breakfast he took a tub from out of his bag. The tub contained flour and an egg. He used this and the milk that we had bought the previous evening to make pancakes. He was quite impressed with his cooking skills until he had to eat it. He decided that it was not that nice after all.

We packed up and it took me an age to disassemble my tent and back everything into my panniers. I put this down to two things. My tent is a very cheap one, therefore it is not quick to put up or take down. Also I have small panniers where I need to put my sleeping bag etc at the bottom. This means that I have to take everything out of my panniers to unpack and repack my panniers. Mark had the right idea with lots of pockets in his panniers, which meant he only needed to take the things out that he needed.

We discussed our route and being aware that we didn’t have that many hills and about 15 miles to make up from the previous evening we decided to make this a long ride and try to make up the 15 miles. We set off just after 9am after packing the clothes that we had washed and hung up the previous evening.

We set off heading south, until we nearly got back to Merthyl Tidfil. we then went north up the cycle route heading towards Breacon. As we started to cross the Breacon Beacons and the cycle track turned from solid road to slightly rougher track. The views were wonderful of trees surrounding us while were were in the Brecon Beacons National Park. We stopped on a bridge to have a break and take some pictures.

We had a stunning view of Pontsticill Resovior and what initially looked like an old building. However the more we looked at this building the more like a prison it looked. Phil spotted a steam train quite close and a small detour would have taken us the to station for this train. Phil expressed an interest in going so that he could get some photo’s for this son. Phil explained that his son really liked trains. I was not bothered either way, but Mark seemed concerned with the time and the distance that we had to cover that day. So we headed off in the opposite direction, towards our destination for that day.

I tried to get as good a picture of the train as I could from that distance. unfortunately my camera only had a x3 optical zoom. As we continued the track got thinner and rougher. We stopped on top of a very thin but tall bridge, with very tall trees coming out of the stream below.

We continued and climbed over the Breacon Beacons where we met some more cyclists. This was our first view of the nice scenery of mountains, but this will not be the last. We continued over the Breacon Beacons and on to a lock on a canal, we decided to stop there for lunch. once again I got my cooking things out and made my rice dish. Once we finished our food we washed up packed up and continued.

As we hadn’t travelled as far as we were expecting the previous day and we knew there were big climbs ahead we decided to make up the distance. We knew that that day was the day to make up the distance as it was the flattest terrain of all the days that we were doing.

We pushed on and made up the distance on the relatively flat land. During the afternoon there was one big long hill that really tested us. Luckily with the distace that we covered this was the only big hill of the afternoon. We arrived at Builth Wells pretty exhausted. We stopped at the shops for supplies.

After stocking up on supplies we struggled on to the Campsite near Disserth.

Our camp site was opposite a pretty church. Phil expressed an interesting in drawing the church, so he sat his tent up to face the chuch and Mark and I arranged our tents around Phil’s tent.

After setting up our tents we cooked our food, discussed the day including the big hill that we encountered. We also disussed the Cambrian mountains, which would have to assend the following day.

A hot chocolate with Mark’s whiskey in and an early night was in order. The two reasons for this was our exhaustion from the day and the unrelentless midges. We tried talking with our tents closed but I fell asleep before I knew it.

Day 3 >

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