Yes, you saw that correctly – CBT training. For those of you who are not in the UK or have no idea about the rules in the UK regarding motorbikes, you have to do a CBT course to qualify riding a motorbike up to 125cc. Not officially a test, but like a kid on my course found out, you can fail.
It is fair to say that Africa With Autism is a challenge on many levels, not least because I have no previous experience on a motorbike. (I am fairly certain that a moped in Thailand doesn’t count!). So I am learning from scratch how to ride a motorbike, took my CBT a few days ago, and still yet to do a Motorbike Road Theory Test, and 2 more road tests before I am licensed to ride a motorbike befitting such an expedition.
The CBT was fairly easy. It is like learning to drive a car in that you have to remember to do a bunch of stuff consciously until you get used to it and start to do it automatically, which is tricky when you are on the road and turning right (that would be like a left turn in non UK countries) without stalling. Fortunately though, restarting is fairly quick and easy.
The thing that surprised me the most was the amount of effort required from my body. Another major challenge I am facing before actually going to Africa, is fitness. I am aware of this and had started (rather pathetically it turns out) to do a bit of exercise from which to build up on over the course of the year. However, 4 hours on a little bike and the next day I was physically exhausted. You know that feeling where you have can feel a virus attacking your system and your muscles feel weak? It was like that, only no virus :).
This was a massive wake up call. I am going to be riding in various challenging conditions and challenging roads, and whilst I was aware I had work to do on fitness, 4 hours on nice easy roads wiped me out and told me that, what ever I thought I needed to do wasn’t enough. Time to step up the pace. Cross trainer has not been reprogrammed and the first session today, I have to say, was far more productive than any previous!
The next training I will be doing will be over a weekend with two days full on the road, followed by a test on the third, and the final test 3 days after that. Only one month to prepare – OUCH!