Whenever passengers ask about the world renowned Knowledge, it's very easy to just quote back the number of roads and places of interest that you have learnt whilst studying. It's easy to forget the finer details.
So today I'm going to indulge myself and reminisce about three years of my life that made me who I am today.
Each cabbies journey is different. That's the great thing about the Knowledge; it's open to absolutely anyone.
For me I was 25 when I first sat my cheeks down on my Honda Dylan 125. I had a love hate relationship with that bike throughout the three years studying. Three times I came off it. The most dramatic one on Lever Street when a squirrel run out as I passed over a row on manhole covers on a wet day. I proceeded to brake, fell off and slide down the road! At least I saved the bastard squirrels life!
In all seriousness the Knowledge is dangerous. The sheer amount of time and milage that you cover on the bike means you remain vulnerable at any point. You also can't pick and choose when you go out on the bike. Rain, sunshine, high winds, you just got to grit your teeth and learn to love it.
What you also quickly learn is that you will be handed setbacks throughout your entire study period. My first one came roughly 20 runs into the first blue book whilst playing football. A rather large centre back, otherwise known as a fat git, pushed me mid-air whilst jumping for a ball. I fell awkwardly and broke my collarbone. A month off the bike and my playing days where over.
It was after that that I chose to hand in my resignation and look for a less stressful part time job to get the Knowledge done and dusted quicker. Luckily a role was made for me at the organisation which kept me working at the same firm now, but for 20 hours a week and less pressure.
It was now full stream ahead. I quickly got the runs done and revised a book a day. I pointed about 1,000 points and put in for my map test. I passed first time and had my first appearance looming having never tried point to point testing (P2P).
I quickly got found out on the first appearance. I still hadn't done the first 3,000 points! Ma'am Sadler made me feel like a dunce and rightly so as it was clear I was running before I could walk.
I crammed the points in and all the cross sections and saw progress. I scored in my third appearance to give me hope. However, I was still struggling with P2P as I was calling on my own and focussing time elsewhere.
I quite rightly got redlined. For round two I then joined Wizann and got myself a call over partner. The game changed!
Throughout the course of the Knowledge you build up friendships with people you probably would never have spoken to before. It doesn't matter what your background is, you will however share one huge goal in life; to obtain that badge.
I had two long term call over partners. One I met up with at the Wizann knowledge school called Ian and the other a gentleman I come across at the Avery Hill Metrogas call over group named Pete.
Ian was a determined and focused character looking to forge a new career away from the kitchens as a chef. Pete was a more relaxed older man who was looking to retire as a tree surgeon.
In the last 9 months of appearances I was sat in Pete's attic, yes you read right attic, at least twice a week calling over the latest points sheet whilst spending a further 3 days with Ian at Wizann. Life becomes all about the Knowledge.
Since the redline I then flew through the appearances scoring in all but one. A huge weight lifts from your shoulders at that point. It is also huge testament to those that stood by you through the testing period.
I met my now wife just before starting the Knowledge in Peru of all places. She was studying in St Andrews on the East coast of Scotland with a certain future King and Queen. At least once a fortnight she or I would travel up and down to see each other over the weekend. It would give me 6 hours on the train up to Leuchars to revise like made. Before she graduated and moved down to London I had my own knowledge board set up in her room.
The Knowledge went wherever I went.
The Knowledge is a test that requires determination from not only the student, but from friends and family too.
I've always said anyone can do the Knowledge. We're not rocket scientists we are just a group of very determined individuals. If YOU want to complete the Knowledge, YOU will complete it.
What's your knowledge story? Send it in to us using firstname.lastname@example.org