Archive for May, 2011

Breatnac’s biking blog

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)

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