I wanted to check my ability and pick up tips for improvement
I learned to ride on the flat roads around Lincolnshire in the early 80’s and passed my test in August 1988. The test was a very simple figure of eight around the Grantham streets and an emergency stopping exercise. My first ‘proper’ motorcycle was a Yamaha TZ 250 in a very un-PC Camel cigarettes paint scheme. I think it was more luck than skill that I managed to survive with just one accident – braking on some diesel while turning left to the gym (ironically) and breaking my right wrist having launched over the bars and smacking the road pretty hard.
I have now been riding for 32 years and had a range of bikes from 250 to 1000cc. Currently on a Triumph Tiger 800 XRx. I never did any training in the early days but in the last 10 years I have attended BikeSafe Lincolnshire, Performance Plus at Cadwell Park, California Superbike School at Cadwell Park and recently the BikeSafe West Mercia.
My main reason for attending BikeSafe was to improve my confidence in my own ability as riding in various groups (mainly with guys) has led to my doubting myself. I wanted to check my ability and pick up tips for improvement.
I was getting a bit nervous about the forthcoming observed ride
The morning session went really quick and was a lot of fun with light-hearted stories about serious issues. The videos were helpful and reminded me of the things that I do know about staying safe. All in it was an enjoyable session bringing together key learning points. By the end I was getting a bit nervous about the forthcoming observed ride, but I think everyone else was also feeling the same way. Overall, the morning classroom session was brilliant and probably made more fun by the course tutor (Macus McCormick) who definitely made me feel more at ease.
Finally, it was time to set off on our observed ride. I was paired up with another rider and our Observer was Big Mac who explained what we would be doing that afternoon and the ‘rules’ also reinforcing the earlier message from the morning that we should ride as we normally do. We set off and for the next three hours we took places in riding in front of our Observer, sometimes both of us in front and at the end we rode behind our Observer. We stopped a couple of times for a debrief and a mini break where we discussed how we were doing. Back at HQ we had a debrief and told how we had done which was really reassuring.
What I actually learned was that I ride better than I had thought and that what I am doing is on the right lines. I know my own nemesis is slow riding, u-turns and hill starts so I am going to focus on those for my next stage of training. My plans now are to see what the IAM group is like in my local area but am also investigating the Take Control course and Enhanced Rider Scheme.
I would definitely recommend the BikeSafe course
I would definitely recommend the BikeSafe course. It was exceptional value for money as well as being informative and fun. With three hours in the classroom and a three-hour observed ride, the course offers more time learning than any other area. After riding for more than 30 years I still need/want to improve, and BikeSafe was just the perfect way to begin the next stage of my training.