“Right, you know what I am looking for – sharp, precise riding. Let’s go and have some fun!”
Ride two of my Skill for Life program had begun. I’d received my books through the post and had practiced my new-found skills every time I had thrown my leg over a motorcycle or scooter – hopefully my hard work would pay off and my instructor, the wonderful Andy Greenslade, would be impressed…
As soon as we’d left McDonalds – our chosen meeting place – I spotted a white transit van coming round the roundabout with a young lad in – he hadn’t seen me and wasn’t indicating to show anyone his desired destination, so I hung back and gave him plenty of room to make his mistakes. Sure enough, he cut straight across the front of me – thanks mate. However, I’d shown that I was planning ahead and thinking ‘What if?’, by him acting like a fool it illustrated that I’d been planning ahead – not just for myself, but for other road users – one advanced riding point to moi.
The rest of the ride went well – swooping round the Lincolnshire countryside and nipping round one way streets in market towns, every riding skill was tested. Since my last session I’d been practicing my slow riding and perfecting my game of ‘Don’t put your feet down on the way to work’ and it showed – Andy commented about my improved slow riding up to traffic lights and junctions.
We had our debrief chat over a hot chocolate – I’m not sure how he does it, but Andy manages to remember every tiny detail about the ride… – we’d encountered some split diesel on our travels and was impressed that I’d smelt it and adjusted my line before seeing it, he liked my snappy overtakes and was impressed by the ride in general. One thing I could improve was my overtaking technique – instead of ‘banana boating’, I need to make them more clear cut – line it up, pull out into the other lane and power on.
We’re coming to the end of summer so the ride back was dark – this was a great chance to chat about how you would adjust your riding in the dark.
Second ride complete, we organised our next meet and then it was home time. He did give me the heads up that the next meet would include a test on road signs…
Things I will be working on for next time:
- Reading my new books – ‘How to be a better rider’, ‘Traffic Signs’, ‘Highway Code’ and ‘Police Roadcraft’ – obviously not all at once!
- Keep riding to the system so that it becomes second nature
Want to know more?
The Skill for Life course costs £139 (until October 1, 2014 when it rises to £149) and can be completed with your local branch of the IAM – I’m completing mine with Lincolnshire Advanced Motorists. For more information visit the website:http://www.iam.org/riders/riders-courses/advanced-riding/skill-for-life-motorcyclists