This was sent by Ian Edgar, a member of CWAM
Why getting further training is a MUST for motorcyclists getting back in the saddle...
On coming back to biking in my mid-forties, my wife insisted on three things:
The first two were no problem, although I think she was mildly shocked that within 5 days of this 'deal' I had a 150bhp monster in the garage! However, I made good my promise and joined the IAM and subsequently CWAM. My initial thoughts were that it would be full of 'health & safety' types who had no understanding of the 'fun' element that had really appealed to me about bikes. I also knew (and still do) that riding a hugely powerful motorbike is taking an unnecessary risk. But life is about risk, and the generally anodyne lives we lead means the thrill of managing the natural environment around us is missing.
So, my lessons in 'risk management' began. At first, I really didn't get it as I was: quickly slowed to legal limits, picked up on how I stopped, how I controlled the bike when stationary, how I planned my next action, etc. Over the coming check rides it seemed to me that as soon as I had 'mastered it' the next Observer pointed out another area for me to work on!
However, what gradually dawned on me was that I was actually speeding up, though not in the way I used to ride - I wasn't expected to go faster, but I was actively encouraged to go faster! This was done by: being in the correct gear, in the correct position on the road, having the correct view of where I was going and a reasonable expectation of what was going to happen when I got there. Having to justify why I was doing 40mph on a single track road when the limit is 60mph can be quite challenging!This gradual learning process over quite a few Sunday mornings just happened, and I used it as a reason to be out on my bike, even in the rain!
After the compulsory 'mock test' I was assured I was ready for the 'real test'. Although I didn't know this at the time, in reality the training I had received had taken me slightly above the standard needed to pass the advanced test. This was just as well as the test day was like Armageddon, with rain hammering down as I sat with a policeman in the Motorbike Museum contemplating venturing out into the floods - I do not exaggerate, you couldn't see the road for water! As is usual, the test was not my best ride although the conditions were taken into account. When asked if I had avoided the white lines on a pedestrian crossing I had to say I didn't know because they were under 6" of water at the time! I passed, and was told by my assessor that he would be happy to ride with me as I had 'managed the conditions in a way that is required to pass the advanced motorcycle test' - a very practical stance I thought.
There are many opportunities to develop your skills with CWAM after passing your advanced test and you will be positively encouraged to become an Observer to help others to develop. For me, my learning really began after the test as I was able to put into practice what I had learned in a more relaxed manner and I continue to ride with CWAM on a 'social' basis at every opportunity. This allows me to ride with like-minded riders who are unlikely to knock me off, but are able to use their machine's potential in a safe, professional manner. I will also have intermittent re-assessments to make sure my standard of riding is maintained.
So, 'health & safety' types? Well, all I can say is you should contact CWAM and 'try it for yourself' as I believe I make better overall progress now - quicker in some places, slower in others.
Overall, I would say the fun in biking has been enhanced and I'm still in one piece to enjoy it!
Thanks Ian, glad you made your wife happy!
Ali at thebestof Coventry
Member since: 11th July 2012
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