Oh deary me.

About time you read about me screwing something up for myself again. I’ve been having far too nice a time recently.

In many ways I blame the bike school, despite my extraordinary propensity for self sabotage. They are taking on too many students and the instructors are run ragged. If and when they get investigated it’ll be the instructors under the bus and someone in the office off to Turks and Caicos with a pillowcase full of gold.

First of all, I didn’t need to pass mod 1 today. Getting my license now would’ve given me more time to sort the bike and more relaxed practice time before the pressure riding from Brixton to Oxford when I’m tired. Yeah I can still get the certificates I need in order to get up onto a big bike. It’ll just involve a bit more juggling, and mean I’m a bit less experienced and a bit less safe when crunch comes, plus it’ll affect my work a little more. Ho hum.

I went into the test this morning thinking I needed it. So I failed it immediately. Because there’s nobody better at making things hard for me but me and I was helped massively in the sabotage by the school. It was like they were actively trying to make life harder for me. Perhaps they were. “They told you it’d be easier to take it here than in London, didn’t they?” said one of them yesterday with an edge. “Uh. No?” I replied.

I got there today to be told I had to make my own way to the testing centre on a 125cc small bike. Fine but annoying and they could’ve told me. The big bike I was supposed to be testing on was there already, apparently. So I worked out my route and puttered over with a bit of time to spare but still with no idea which bike I was testing on. The instructors are still treating me like a tourist and are passionately disinterested in making my life easier.

I get to the testing centre twenty minutes before my test and I still don’t know which bike I’m on. The instructor who is there gives 0 shits about helping me and fucks off with a student almost immediately. He doesn’t return. The rider before me fails their test for the fourth time and sits disconsolately in the car park. Great school this. Three students. No instructor. And I’m not sure what bike I’m on.

My test time arrives. Alan appears with a clipboard. I show him my papers. “I don’t know what bike I’m on. I need to practice a bit as I’ve been on a 125 all morning and the weight is going to throw me. Also it’ll be good to get a feel for the clutch and so on. Can I get a later slot?” “No, your slot’s now. You might as well use that bike.”


I don’t even know if I’m insured on it. I don’t even know whose bike it is. I think it’s the school’s. I get on this unfamiliar big bike having been on a tiny one. “This is shit,” I’m thinking. From the moment I arrived at the bike school I’ve been pinged around.

Now a totally different type of machine. It weighs a ton. I only need a few minutes to change my head but I’ve forgotten and I’m nervous and pissed off. I’m not in the headspace to take a control test here. In fact I’m actively angry. I’ve been building towards this for ages and I’ve just been dropped in a hole.

So I drop the bike on my leg at the very start of the first maneuver and then stand there like a drunk trying to pull a carrot until it’s upright again.

Alan walks up to me with his clipboard. “That’s that fucked isn’t it” I say. “Don’t suppose¬†we can just pretend it hasn’t happened and start again?” “Nope.”

Fail before I’ve started. So much for plan A. The only school in Oxford is the one I’ve been with and they’re clearly cowboys. But they’re the only option I’ve got if I’m going to make this work in time and it’s just got a lot harder. I’ve got to wait until Tuesday to retake now by which time I’ve started rehearsals for The Tempest so I’ll be too busy. So I’ll have to wait until performance starts, and then try again on a show day in the morning. Apparently they’ll give me a free day of mod 1. But this is turning into far too much time spent. I’ve got lines to learn, dammit. Aargh.

You’re not supposed to pass first time as then you don’t value it etc etc etc. I’m too old for this shit. Fucking cowboy school. Fucking idiot me.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

One thought on “Fail”

  1. Those instructors are on a head trip. They get pushed around by others in their lives, and this position of authority gives them the opportunity to exercise control. Unfortunately it is people like us who have to deal with them.


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