It was tougher than I thought to do the driving license. The new driving policies for category A (for motorcycles with large capacities >600 cm3 ) were introduced in Jan, 2013. It was revolution in both theoretical and practical exam. The bar was set higher especially for the practical exam.
Besides, the figure 8 which you have to do 5 times, you must do slow slalom, slalom with medium velocity of 30 km/h (they have electronic board that measures the speed), bypass obstacle with min. velocity of 50 km/h (from each side, left and ride, in order to check if you can do countersteering), stop and start on a hill, do the emergency braking (first you have to accelerate to 50 km/h) and brake at designed point. If you positively pass the exam, then you are ready to take a road exam to check if you know the road rules.
In Poland you can not bring your own motorcycle what means you ride on the sluggish, used by many beginners motorcycle which more than once survived the crash. Anyway, some years ago I wanted to do the license but there was no motorcycle in my family so even if I had done the driving license I would not have a motorcycle to ride on. I decided to wait, wait but the time flies so I pushed my dad who has always dreamed about Harley Davidson to buy a one. And he did it – Sportster Harley Davidson was standing in Aug, 2013 in my garage. Now I had a motivator to take the exam.
I signed for the course which started in October, first weeks of the theory and then driving lessons. It was getting cold in Poland, around zero Celsius degrees (32 F), sometimes the temperature was -10 C (=14 F) but the fun to ride was priceless. Then the judgement day came – first attempt to pass the practical exam (I passed the theoretical exam earlier at the first attempt). Exam should had been started at 2 pm but I was called one hour later – gosh so many nerves during this hour of waiting you can not imagine! Suddenly I saw 6 people waiting on their turn – did not why such a queue like in the supermarket was done. So the examiner asked who wants to be the first. Out of nowhere I heard my voice saying: I want to be first. I was shaking, really, and when your hands are shaking it is quite difficult to operate the clutch and brake. I answered some questions about the construction of motorcycle, checked the machine an was ready to do the first task – which is famous figure 8. First circle and I touched the ground – Shit! – I screamed – what is wrong with the motorcycle? I had one more chance to do this task. But I touched the ground again after 1st circle. This could not be real! The easiest task and I failed. I was thinking maybe I was too nervous and so on. But wait – I said to myself – I’m gonna see how the others are doing this task. One by one failed the exam on the figure 8. Something was wrong with the motorcycle – that was the first taught of everyone but no one knew what exactly it was.
I had to accept the failure. According to the saying of Bill Gates: ‘It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure’. So I bought some extra lessons to do all the exam tasks once again, this time focusing on figure 8 so that at the end of the day I was dizzy from spinning the circles. I had my next exam date at the beginning of December so it was very dangerous because any day winter could come (like in the Game of Thrones). Two days before my exam, snow started pouring so they put on hold all the motorcycle’s exam until further notice. Fine – I thought- another obstacle on my way. I had to wait till the beginning of the April when the winter break ends. During this 4 months of break I was dreaming about the exam and how to deal with the fear and nerves. I said to myself this time or never – I have to pass the exam to stop spinning the circles and finally go for the real ride of freedom. Exam date, Apr 28th was one of the happiest days of my life – 1 hour lasted my exam – what a relief – I can ride!!!
Now I am a little closer to my another dream from the list which is ‘Take a Harley-Davidson motorcycle ride in Arizona’