Skill for life: Carli’s advanced riding diary | ‘Zoning in’


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“There’s no way back now – you’ve developed new habits. It’s a joy to ride with you.”

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Ride out five and here I was, positioning myself perfectly in the road, anticipating actions of other road users and maintaining my 360 degree bubble of safety.

Andy was giving me a mock test this time. I completed the theory questions, traffic signs knowledge and told him I had completed the MPOWDERY checks*, as well as rolling and static brake tests before my ride to meet him and explained them to prove my knowledge – then we were off.

My ride to work had been wet and cold, the weather had taken a turn and winter was well and truly upon us – however, on the ride the sunshine had come out (albeit low) but it was a great chance to show that I could ride in adverse conditions. Mud on the road, puddles on bends, cars rushing around in the rain and drivers without their lights on…

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This session was about exam polish – however, unlike a number of exams I have taken, I haven’t just learnt things for the test with the intention never to use them again. Everything I’ve been taught, I will use every time I get on the bike for a ride as it enhances my riding and keeps me safe.

I get so much more enjoyment from the bike now that I ride to an ‘advanced’ standard – I’m not sure whether it’s because I feel more in control or because I know that if something crops up, I can deal with it effectively because I have a system – either way its great fun. I feel so much more focused and relaxed on the bike – it’s zoning in to all the important stuff to build a full picture and letting everything else fade into the background.

Our 70 mile ride incorporated the ford again – and this time we got pictures!

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I shall be sending off my form to book my test this week and squeezing in one more session with Andy to make sure I am fully prepared…

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*MPOWDERY checks: Mirrors, petrol, oil, water, damage and drive train, electrics, rubber, you

Want to know more?

The Skill for Life course costs £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

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