I loved the experience and freedom a bike offers
A few years ago I had never been on a motorbike. Encouraged by a friend I did my CBT and loved the experience and freedom a bike offers, not to mention it was a new skill and challenge.
A few weeks later, after just 1.5 days of lessons, I passed both Mod 1 and Mod 2. Suddenly I had a licence to buy any bike in the world and to become a statistic very quickly. I still pinch myself at how I could pass a difficult test with zero experience. I therefore decided to join IAM RoadSmart as an associate and supplement their fantastic training with some slow riding days, track skills days and also a BikeSafe workshop with Warwickshire Police.
Leading to both improved safety and more enjoyment on two-wheels
The ‘method’ and training of the IAM and The Police (via their Road Craft) is very similar. IPSGA runs throughout both; Information, Position, Speed, Gear and Acceleration, but the style and emphasis are a bit different with the Police very focused on Position and therefore observational advantage, so they can plan even further ahead, whereas IAM focuses more on safety and the way you think about your riding.
Make no mistake the Police are also very interested in safety which is why so many hard working officers and police riders give up their weekends to help the biker community to stay safe and improve their skill levels. Whilst the clue is in the name – BikeSafe, these valuable police-led workshops empower an awareness that to increase ones skills, by default leads to both improved safety and more enjoyment on two-wheels.
Very lucky to have a 1:1 BikeSafe observed ride a week before my IAM advanced motorcycle test
With the support of Sgt. Shaun Bridle (Warwickshire Police), I was very lucky to have a 1:1 BikeSafe observed ride a week before my IAM advanced motorcycle test. This combined with a two-day RAMG IAM skills weekend (just before my test), brought everything together and I passed my IAM test at the first attempt.
I am grateful to all my observers, mentors and friends at the IAM for getting me through the course including Mike, Phil, Roxy, Andrew, David, Stephen and not least my main Observer Kevin who put up with me for about a year and Russell who covered for Kevin in the last few months. I am likewise very grateful to Shaun and other members of the BikeSafe team who have also invested time in my biker skills development.
Bikers are not injured coming out of a bend but many are sadly injured going into a bend
There are so many lessons learnt from all of the above individuals, but one that particularly stands out (shared by Shaun) is that of ‘drawing a line in the road’ – at bends or hazards.
In other words as you approach a bend you need to have taken in all the information, get yourself in the right position, speed and gear BEFORE you get to that magic line – such that the bike is steady, stable, level and only then do you start the acceleration through the bend. By getting yourself sorted before the LINE it will make the ride smoother and safer.
If you miss the line then you may end up going into the bend too fast and that is not good. As the IAM always say (and folks this is key on your test), slow in, fast out. But that transition should happen at the line.
As my examiner also said, ‘bikers are not injured coming out of a bend but many are sadly injured going into a bend’. Slow in is key, but get that speed sorted before the Line you have drawn in the road.
Where is that line? It all depends and will vary based on the bend, the conditions, your bike etc. and will come with experience but crack the line on the road where IPSG finishes and A starts and you will be a better, safer rider.
Note A does not mean do a wheelie. A means start to open the throttle because as the bike leans into the bend the circumference of the part of the tyre touching the road will reduce and your tyre speed will naturally drop (laws of physics) and so you have to have positive throttle just to maintain the same speed. Then as the limit point moves away you can open that throttle further and get away from that hazard quicker and enjoy the rest of your ride, until the next bend. Then you do it all again.