Before you can get out on the road, you need to complete compulsory basic training (CBT). But, what is it? What should you expect? What do you need to bring with you? Read on to find out…
What is a CBT?
A CBT is a day of basic training, that should give you enough basic knowledge and a grounding in key skills so that you’re safe to be out on the roads. What it isn’t is a test, so you can’t fail, although if you’re not safe your instructor will likely stop before you complete it.
You can take the CBT on either an automatic or a manual bike/scooter. Currently once you’ve completed it, you can go on to ride a manual even if you did the CBT on an automatic. I’ve heard that this may soon change. The first time I did a CBT, I struggled to get to grips with a geared bike straight away, so completed it on a wee automatic scooter (I did some extra lessons afterwards to get comfortable with a geared bike before I got my own).
What to expect on the day?
It’s likely that rhere will be others training with you, if you’re lucky they’ll be of a similar level to you so that the day can be targeted at your level and you’re not held back doing basics you know or alternatively rushing through parts that you need to cover in more depth. It’s worth asking when you book your CBT if there are other riders booked too.
Your CBT will likely start with a classroom (or in the shopfront or a picnic table in the car park of a curry house…) session where you’ll be talked through the elements of the training, about proper safety gear, pre-ride checks and a bit about the highway code. This was quite a quick element in my last one as both the other trainee and I mostly knew what we needed to already.
This will be followed by a period on an off-road training area. This will likely be a big, hopefully empty, car park. This is your opportunity to get to grips with the bike you’ll be riding, make sure you know where the controls are and what they do. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not sure.
Here you’ll run through the basics of riding a bike: setting off, stopping, how to make left and right turns, u-turns and a few other bits. One bit that I found really informative was a demonstration of how huge your blindspots are.
Once you’ve completed the mandated exercises and your instructor is happy that you’re not a danger to yourself and other road users then you’ll head out onto the roads. The roads section should be a mixture of urban roads and a bit of more open, faster roads.
Your instructor will be looking for you to be riding safely with good observations, not for a flawless ride that would pass your Mod2.
It’s likely that you’ll make at least one stop to debrief and discuss the ride. Ask questions and try to take on board the feedback that they give you. There can be a lot to think about as you’re riding, especially if you’ve not ridden before, so don’t worry if it’s seeming like there’s lots of points you can improve on.
After your ride, you should go through a debrief with your instructor, this is another good opportunity to ask questions and also a good time to discuss next steps if you’re planning to get your full licence.
After all that, you’ll get a nice piece of paper saying you’re allowed out on the road 🙂
What do you need to bring on the day?
As a minimum, your provisional licence.
The motorbike school will lend/hire you a bike and safety gear. However, if you have your own, makes sense to use it.
If you have proper motorbike boots and jeans, wear them. Otherwise wear sturdy jeans and footwear (ideally over the ankle). It’s unlikely that the school will lend you these.
You’re going to be there for the whole day, so worth bringing something to eat and drink (or cash if you’re not out in the middle of nowhere).
Can you do anything to prepare?
It’s worth brushing up on your highway code, there are also some good books about riding safely and lots of videos and forums on the web.