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Unlike many bike insurance companies, many of our staff are enthusiastic bikers, who like nothing more than a good ride out and are far happier on two wheels than four. So when we hire staff who aren’t already bikers, we feel we have to do our bit and help them get bitten by the biking bug, too.

So, as well as their exhaustive insurance and underwriting training, which lasts several months, we round up all the trainee staff who aren’t already into bikes, and send them off to do their Compulsory Basic Training (CBT).

As you can imagine, letting a bunch of novices loose on a bike often has hilarious consequences, so we got the latest batch of victims recruits to record their experiences for posterity. Here is Richard’s diary, we’ll have more in due course:

CBT: Richard Rowsell

The day was 14th June 2007 when I took my CBT…

The phrase that I repeated most during this experience would be “oh cock”, let me explain.

On the morning of the 14th I called M.I.C.K.S (Riding School – apparently it’s supposed to stand for Motorcycle Instruction Course Keep Safe, but since it’s run by a guy called Mick, we’re guessing he was a C.Hi.P.S. fan) to see if there are any spaces, I found that there was an opening later that day at 13:15.

13:05 – Arrived at M.I.C.K.S

13:20 – Given brief about what we will be doing and reassured that all will be ok and have fun

13:40 – Taken to the off-road area to try out the bikes, completed the moving off and stopping section. We were allowed to go down a track and back that I did several times at high speed with no problems. Here comes the first “oh cock”… I went down a part with loose stones and turned around, I moved off and changed up the gears but missed a gear change and massively over-revved causing me to think “oh cock, this isn’t good” so I grabbed the front brake and due to the big stones we were on, buried the bike into the floor. I continued forward but luckily kept upright, leaving the bike in a cloud of dust.

// Damage Report – Electrics OK – Footpeg Bent – Gear Lever is now at new Snazzy Angle – Front Left Indicator is Hanging Off – Front Light at Funny Angle \\

14:30 – Taken back to base where lots of Gaffer Tape was the order of the day… followed by several minutes of bending the gear lever into a less interesting position

14:50 – Said to Julie (An instructor) “I may have dropped the bike” Got told, “you’re not a biker as you have to crash 3 times to earn the title of biker”

Sulked for 20 minutes…

15:10 – Taken out on road on recently repaired (if Gaffer tape counts) bike, although the gear lever is still at a funny angle

15:15 – First junction, buggered up clutch and pulled a mini wheelie!

15:40 – 60mph side road, getting overtaken by massive lorries. This is scary as hell, as my mirrors don’t even show anything behind me, as they are rubbish {we are going at 35mph}

15:55 – Radio contact is lost!

16:00 – Car overtakes me and cuts me off from the group so I cannot see the instructor and he cannot see me

16:46 – Other pupil in front of me stalls the bike on a big junction, the instructor is the other side of the road

17:25 – QE Hospital roundabout – Instructor goes straight on, other pupil goes round the whole roundabout! “oh cock” I know to go straight on but follow to keep her company just in case she panicked.


Thanks goes to Rob “the Bossman” Balls for the opportunity to do this.