I PASSED!! Woooooo I got my Class 2B licence today!!! I was feeling quite nervous yesterday and even had a bit of trouble sleeping at night. This actually felt more unnerving than going for Ironman races lol. After the past few months of going to ComfortDelGro Driving Centre regularly for bike lessons, theory tests and revision, I am SO SO SO happy that I passed!
Honestly, I feel learning how to ride a motorbike is harder than learning how to drive a manual car. You need to use all four limbs to control something (left hand for clutch, right hand for front braking, left foot to shift gears and right foot for rear braking) and you have to think about balancing, manoeuvring and positioning; plus you’re so vulnerable being exposed to all the elements.
I actually first went for Class 2B lessons in 2010 but I quit after two lessons because I was skinny and weak AF back then and I kept dropping the bike so I gave up. It was always at the back of my mind to get a motorbike licence but I just never got around to it… until now. I like learning new things and I guess after cycling the past few years, I have more confidence on the road as a cyclist, which would help towards being a motorcyclist.
My entire Class 2B journey has not been the smoothest or the easiest and I struggled some. Within the circuit, you have to complete the slope, the figure of 8, the crank course (90-degree turns), the plank, the pylon slalom and the emergency brake. The plank, crank course, pylon slalom and figure of 8 – in this order – were the hardest for me.
Eventually over time more practice will definitely help, but the key is to understand how the bike works. For example, after changing up to gear 2 in the crank course and pylon slalom, let go of the clutch slowly and glide through, whilst opening the throttle slightly. You can use the rear brake to help if you accelerate too much, but if you brake too hard to try and counter that, you risk lowering the speed too much and might end up stalling.
Once you understand how to control the clutch and throttle, as well as how the gears work, it becomes easier. For example, use more of the rear brake when stopping because too much front brake will cause lurching or hard braking.
There are eight lessons altogether but you might take a few times to clear each lesson. For Practical Lesson 1, unless you already know how to ride, everyone clears it after two tries. Practical Lessons 5 and 8 are internal assessments, where the instructors take the role of testers and grade you. This is quite stressful!
Lesson 5 is only within the circuit, whilst Lesson 8 is both circuit and road assessment. I took three FREAKING times to clear both – it was really annoying! I would make stupid mistakes like falling off the plank, stalling in the crank course, taking too long for the figure of 8 and crank course etc. It got quite demoralising and frustrating, and I did have fleeting thoughts of quitting. But hell no, I was already so far in, it would be such a pity.
When I finally passed Lesson 8 and booked my Traffic Police test (which I had to wait six weeks for), I told myself I’m gonna work hard and keep practising. You can go for circuit and road revision lessons while waiting for the test and yes of course I went. I’m not gonna miss the maroon and blue revision bibs hahaha; I wore it so many times!
The instructors at ComfortDelGro Driving Centre were also very kind, friendly and helpful. Initially they seemed fierce but as you get to know them more, they are really really nice. Thank you Reduan, Mus, Roland, Seri, Afiq, Shawn, Bahtera, Rom and all the others! Don’t be shy and just ask them for help or get tips to correct your technique. Also, make sure you remember all the checks and blind spots.
Before my test, I was doing visualisation of the test route in my head. “Going out from the nursery, look left and right, check back right, blind spot left, look right again, turn out into left lane and change to right signal, move towards centre line, check back right, change lane and stop at stop line…” – and this is only for the first turn, out of the parking area to start your test!
The testers are strict and even if you didn’t get any immediate failures, you can fail because of accumulation of points. For example, wobbling is 4 points, failure to check one blind spot is 4 points, making a sharp/wide turn is 2 points etc.
The Traffic Police test is a day-long affair so I kept the entire day open. It was a long day indeed! We reported at 6.45am and I only left at around 2.30pm. There was a lot of waiting in between though, and that makes you more nervous!
There were about 50 of us taking the test and I immediately sought comfort in that. At least you’re not alone! For Class 3, you’re alone with the instructor in the car and that is freaking scary. We signed in to get our bib allocation and it goes in order of foreigners first, then by age in descending order – ie. the older ones get the smaller numbers. I saw this guy take bib 10 and I was like, eh he must be quite old ah. Then I got bib 8, f*ck. LOL!
After that we went out for one round of warm up. That’s it – just one round. I don’t know why I had the impression that we would get one hour of warmup! This was before the centre opened for lessons so we had clear roads (no Class 3/3A students blocking you heehee). After that, we waited at the motorcycle reporting area for about 45 minutes for the testers to arrive. Seeing them walk in with their white uniforms sent my heart rate racing LOL.
We went out in batches, with bibs 1 to 10 going out first. THAT’S ME! OMG test time! I kept giving myself positive self-talk, telling myself to stay calm and trust myself, but I could feel my heart thumping so hard against my chest. I pushed all negative thoughts away and just focused on what I had to do, following what I visualised. I didn’t want to look at any of the testers and just kept focusing on the course.
I felt everything went well – no major mistakes, probably some small ones here and there – but until you get confirmation, you will feel super nervous. After I was done and I removed my gloves, I realised my hands were cold! Sheesh, in the heat no less.
We waited for everyone to come back and then we had to wait for our results at the training shed. This wait was quite agonising! I think we waited almost 45 minutes? When the results came back, they called out numbers and you had to return your bibs. These were those who failed in the circuit and hence weren’t allowed to continue the test out onto the road. I squealed with happiness when they skipped my number, ahhhhhh! Now for the last part on the road to complete this. I feel like the hardest part – the circuit – was over and now we just have to stay cool and bring it home.
For the road segment, we went out according to bib number again and I just wanted to get it over and done with. Anything can happen though, so I just kept telling myself to stay calm and just do what I’ve been doing the past few weeks. After we came back, we went up to a room at Level 3 and waited for about AN HOUR for the results. The suspense was excruciating!!
An instructor came in and called out some bib numbers to leave the room. If your number didn’t get called, it highly likely means you passed but we still had to wait for the official confirmation. Finally, FINALLY, the list came in. The moment the instructor said, “Congratulations guys, you passed”, the entire room broke into cheers and squeals. YASSSSSSSS!
I got 10 demerit points (you need to get below 20 to pass) – 4 points for wobbling, 4 points for missing one blind spot, 2 points for incorrect technique during e-braking and 2 points for a sharp turn. I have no idea where I got these, whether in the circuit or out on the road, and I thought I did all my blind spots but who cares because all that matters is that I PASSED.
Then they got me to recite the safe rider pledge (which I thought was some kind of prank at first then realised it was real) to the room of beaming faces. Aww everyone, we did it! It was already 12 noon and the next step was for us to do the expressway familiarisation ride. There were two sessions on the same day, at 12.45pm and 2.35pm. I managed to snag a spot for the 12.45pm one and whew, it was so exhilarating to ride on the expressway at 80-90kph, after we have been pottering around at 20-30kph within the circuit and at most up to 40-50kph on the road.
Last step before we left was to update our driver’s licence. And that’s it – officially a Class 2B licence holder. BOOYAH!
If you can see me now, you can’t wipe this giant grin off my face – I AM SO HAPPY REALLY. I know it’s not a big deal to some or most, but I was legit nervous. I mean, I knew I could do the test and I held some confidence, plus I did a lot of revision lessons, but I had previously taken three tries to clear both Lesson 5 and 8, so there was a part of me that feared careless or stupid mistakes I might commit. Also the waiting time for a TP test is six weeks minimum; I didn’t want to wait again and have to spend more time and money.
Hence I was truly elated after passing, on my first attempt. I felt like a big load has been lifted off my chest, after all that time, effort and money spent. I honestly took this for fun (and it really is) and I don’t intend to give my car up, but I didn’t expect it to be so stressful HAHAHAHAHA. Well, all’s well that ends well. Time to go bike shopping – hello Carousell and SGBikeMart!