Riding to the New Year

Eunice is finally legal.

P plate motorcycle
Riding a P plate to the New Year!

Getting your Class 2b licence is a proper way to start the new year, especially when you dragged half of the preceding year taking your motorcycling course. I asked others who were on the same riding course at Bukit Batok Driving Centre and six months was the average duration. I took three months and spent a little less than SGD 1200 to get my licence. I can top that with a healthy shot of frustration that made passing the traffic police test all the more celebratory than necessary.

Here is the BBDC motorcycle training area. You need to chope your bike with a helmet quickly before the lesson starts.
The BBDC motorcycle training area.
You need to chope your bike with a helmet quickly before the lesson starts.

The two-part test started from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm; half of that was spent on waiting for results between the in-centre circuit and the public road route. Out of the 50 who took the test, there were a little less than 30 of us left in one of the centre’s classrooms. The others were asked to retake the five-hour ordeal. When the instructor finally announced that we passed, the room roared! People shook hands, some were manically screaming, just add lo hei recitations, mahjong tables, quarrelling relatives, and it’s the new year. Huat Ah!

To get to that blowout was not easy. Some ah beng’s will tell you that the motorcycling course was easy and they passed the first time, they would also be telling a half-truth (unless the said ah beng had prior experience). There were more times I was early for my lessons than late (another half-truth). There were even more times when all I wanted was to douse myself in motor petrol and ride around the circuit, ghost-rider style. It would have been lit. Yes, I am exaggerating but a few courses were bound to get one of the rails. For me, it was the figure eight obstacle, everything else was fairly doable. I remember it was unimaginable for me to slide through the S-shaped entrails and come out to its backside. I took that lesson four times (one of my classmates took the plank lesson six times)! Hoping to pass, I watched YouTube videos for tutorials. Sooner or later, I got to a six-year-old dancing with her minimotor at a Cool Fab race and had to pick my jaw off my lap. That gave me the guts to do the retakes. I eyed the rear end of that obstacle with a more aggressive perspective.

singapore motorcycle class circuit
Circuit route. Night and morning classes are SGD 5 more than the SGD 25 off-peak lessons in the afternoons.

There were days that I booked the lessons consecutively: once or twice a day, every day. My advice is to book the next lessons and evaluations right after your current one – just before the instructor’s debrief as he would be keying in your results first – because the slots sell out quickly. When I’m driven up the wall, I took a break for a week as it does take a toll on your body: hands, shoulders, back fatigue, or knees and ankle bruises because of the falls. It’s fine to repeat a few of the lessons as you would be getting different instructors and you will learn techniques that the previous one was not able to cover. All of it will help with the traffic police test.

Back when I started, my foolish aim was to finish the motor course in a month. Weeks went by and it became apparent that that was out of my clutches. I thought if I were on any other neighbouring countries, I could have paid a fraction of the money, take no test, and still get my licence in a day. But now, I do feel like a new year going through it all here in Singapore.

singapore motorcycle class
The first class. You will learn to push your motorcycles around in circles to get used to the weight.

From P-plater to saddle warrior – or not? Passing that Traffic Police test might just turn out to be the easiest part of it all. Watch this space as Eunice chronicles her firsts in the colourful, chaotic world of motorcycling. Thrills and spills guaranteed!

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