For Xmas, I was lucky enough to be given $200 to be used for motorbike "stuff", so after much thought, I decided to chip in an extra $40, take a day off work and booked into Allstar Motorcycle Training in Dandenong (www.allstarmotorcycling.com.au) and do my licence test. I figured, why not? I've been riding for three and a half months, done just under three thousand clicks, and I've heard it's fairly straightforward so I should get rid of this silly black and yellow plate.
A word on that... In theory, an L plate is there in part to let people know that your skills aren't up to scratch and that they should take care around you, expect the unexpected and give you room. Instead, I've found that there's a group of hardcore imbeciles who, no matter what you do, see that L plate and feel a need to behave like complete MORONS around you. They tailgate, overtake unsafely, and generally do everything completely wrong. To those asshats, I'd like to say a hearty "Go forth and multiply!"
Anyway, this morning dawned with a clear blue sky and I set off feeling a bit apprehensive but reasonably confident about the course/test. I'd booked for the full day (6 hours) so there was to be some training before the test, and that's good since the test was to be done on a naked 125, and I ride a cruiser. A little bit different, heh.
There were 5 of us in the course (someone just didn't bother to turn up), and the participants ranged from 21 to... well, me. The old guy. At 39. As for experience... well, it turned out I had the most experience. One bloke reckoned he'd had "some experience," having ridden "about 100km" since he got his learner's. Ok. Everyone else was somewhere between that and myself with what I said above. That meant I was the lucky one who got the new bike and everyone else got the old shit-heaps. My bike was a brand new CBR125E with 15km on the odometer, while the rest were busted old CBR125Rs with... tons on the clock. LOL.
Long story short, the course was way shorter than the advertised six hours, but I think that was mostly because there were no stragglers, and after just 3 hours, it was time for the test. I was expected to have to go first, but there was another bloke who the instructor keep referring to as... well, a "retard"... who drew the short straw.
He passed, then someone else passed, and then it was my turn.
I have to say, the nerves suddenly come out under test conditions. Everything I'd done REALLY comfortably all day suddenly became a lot more intense. But still, left curve - no worries. Right curve - no worries. Then the funny light-box thing, and I got left swerve, right swerve and two emergency stops. All no worries at all.
And then it's over and I'm unscrewing my L plate and home for a celebratory beer.
All said and done, I just wanted to say thanks to Netrider and all the fantastic people who've posted and who take the time (their OWN time) to give great advice and operate group rides, learner sessions and so on, without whom I guarantee I would not have learnt so much or ridden as much as I have. You guys ROCK!