Well a lot has happened over the summer, with very little of it involving Motorbikes I'm sorry to say!
I had 5 weeks off work due to stress, which was not a good place to be I can assure you. But it did give me time to think about where I was heading work wise. Which is where the stress evolves from. So time for a change.
It all seems to be taking a long time, but I will get there eventually. Step by step I will make things happen.
Now, I prefer to call it therapy, but riding a motorcycle is just that for me. Exhilarating, with your senses on overtime, reacting to every twist and turn, the surface of the road trying to catch you out, all makes me very happy.
I have often thought what it would be like to ride a big and powerful bike, "Lucille" is blessed with just 8 h.p. and she has to work had to shift me and my gear around.
With just a provisional licence enabling me to ride up to 125cc and my CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) fast running out. I was undecided what to do.
Do I resit my CBT again, or do I go for it and take a Direct Access course.
Kiera suggested I go for it, and after a bit of thinking about it decided to book a Direct Access course.
I booked with Maverick Motorcycles - Mike Nelson is ex military, so I knew that we would get along fine, I later found out that we both served at Sennelager at exactly the same time, and both new the same people! Small world.
With just a couple of days before I was due to start my course, I managed to do my back in. This meant that riding a bike was near on impossible and very uncomfortable.
But with pain killers inside me, I carried on.
I was very nervous on the first day, not only had I never ridden a bike with a clutch and gears but I was going straight on a 600cc Yamaha!
The first day was spent on a disused airfield going around cones, and generally getting a feel for the bike and how to control this thing that wanted to get away from me at every opportunity!
The next day, we spent the morning at the airfield practising the manoeuvres then we went for a ride out on the open road!
To say I was nervous was an understatement. I struggled with throttle and clutch control, and half the time I had no idea what gear I was in.
I kept going, and it got better.
Now, my back was beginning to ease, and so I was now off my seriously strong pain killers. However, one of the side affects of these is that they bung you up. Now that I had stopped taking them it is a known fact that what goes in at some point must come out!
With my Part 1 Module the next day all was looking decidedly dodgy!
The test is split into two parts, Mod 1 and Mod 2.
Mod 1 consists of various manoeuvres, one of which is a slalom round some cones which has to be done in excess of 30 mph. Easy you say, but not when you are thinking you are about to shit yourself any second.
Thankfully I managed not to fill my trousers and passed, not sure how, as it was all a bit wobbly.
Next day, was my test. To be honest I was not in the right frame of mind, I had to stop twice on the way up and dash to a loo.
So it was no surprise that I failed my Mod 2 which consists of driving out on the open road.
Failing to make sufficient progress was my biggest fault, and one which as an ex driving instructor I should of been more aware of.
But, these things happen, as disappointed as I was, I put it down to experience. On a positive note, once more I had managed not to shit myself!
My next Mod 2 test was a few weeks later, and I felt a whole lot better about the whole experience.
Thankfully, this time I passed. Again, there were a few iffy moments, but with the correct life saver checks I managed to keep myself out of trouble, which at the end of the day is the aim of the test.
So there I was with a Direct Access pass enabling me now to ride any size bike I like.
If only I had one!
It did feel good to loose the "L" plates off of "Lucille".
We decided that with a wedding looming that we would put off buying a motorcycle as that was the sensible and grown up thing to do.
The journey continues...........