Monday, August 1, 2011

First IAM Observed Ride.

With Geoff's encouragement, and a burning desire to improve my skills, I set out on a glorious winter Sunday morning to attend the monthly  ride with IAM.  I had had a couple of emails from Phillip McDaid (Chief Examiner) previous to this, and if there were enough observers I would be able to get my first observed ride done.  This seems like a natural progression from having completed a couple of Advanced rider training courses.  I felt as if at least I know what I was getting my self into.  The knowledge I gained from these sessions has fueled a desire to learn more. By nature I am not a technical person, yet I am discovering a passion to know, why, when,what, if, and how  we do things on a bike.

Turning up at early Deus Ex Machina cafe, I wondered in and ordered a strong large coffee and strolled around the fantastic bikes that are on display.  What a little gem of a place. I won't post any pictures as I think Geoff covered that pretty well.  While I was outside a load of classic and exotic cars pulled up.  Obviously this is a meeting place for many other clubs.  I took a few pics, with the old classic porches being my favourite.

Bob turned up just before 9, all the way from Thames, now that is dedication for you.  We enjoyed a chat and more coffee as the others arrived.  In the end there was just five of us, Bob, Philip, Wayne, Morney and myself.  This meant that I would get my observed ride in, and Phillip and I set about getting ourselves organised.  The mandatory license and warrant of fitness check, and setting up the radio complete, we set off while the other's also went.  We organised to meet again later in the day.

Being followed and watched, with every thing you are doing can be a tad stressful. But I had determined before that I would relax and enjoy the ride. I know that I will not get everything right, and after all that is why I am here. If I did get everything right then I should be the one following Phillip!

Riding out of the city, up the North Western motorway, coming off at the end of the motorway, some urban riding around this area, then on to the open road.  After  about 30 Min's ( seemed longer) we stopped and Phillip offered some feedback.  I was pretty happy in myself before this as I felt I had being consistent in my riding, I stuck to the posted speed limits at all times, only failed to cancel indicator once, and generally felt positive.    The feed back from Phillip was positive.  He commented on my following distances, and keeping to the 2 second rule, altering my road position on the motorway, and how close I stop to the car in front. My urban riding seemed pretty good.

My first part of open road riding didn't seem to go well, I just seemed to struggle to get in the grove and was a bit tentative.  I admitted as much when we stopped to discuss it.  I then followed Phillip for a while, and like Geoff very much enjoyed Phillips commentary, observation skills and generally watching him.  This must of set me in the right direction , because the next part of open riding where I lead went well.  I was far smoother, carried better lines, and I was just far more relaxed.  Phillip commented on how much better this was and It was obvious that I had done some training and had read the Motorcycle Hand book.  He could see me putting into practise many aspects of this book.  I really began to enjoy myself. I fact for a moment I forgot he was behind me, and just so enjoyed the ride.

Overall I was pleased with how I had done, Phillip offered many positive comments, and some very practical advice, many of his comments were not big issues, and easily rectified with some practise. Still lots to learn and yet I felt more progress made.

We finished at Albany mall, and this is where we me up with the others. Wehad a good chat and a debreif with Phillip.  After lunch and we went our separate ways. It was just after 1.30 and I had no desire to head home so  I headed north, just very much enjoying being on the road and putting into practice some of what I had learnt during the day.

There is something very magical about being on a bike.  When I finally got home, I was pretty buggered. But what a great feeling.  I barely broke the speed limit all day, yet you couldn't wipe the grin off my face if you wanted to!!!!

Phillip & Morney

Bob & Wayne....Bob likes to be different so he is in orange


  1. Great post! A good long ride always makes me tired, but it's such a good kind of tired! :)

  2. Bloody well done Roger - you're well on the road Kiddo. Great photos too. Will see you on the next ride if you promise not to call me a bastard again ;-). Oh, and further greetings from tropical Thailand, hehe

  3. What a great day.

    You got to ride on the way to the meeting place, got to see some exotic cars and had a great day riding and learning.

    Well done.

  4. Nice combination: cool cars, a great ride, something new learned, and lots of fun.

  5. I tip my helmet to you for trying to improve your skills. You're at that point where you have most of what you need. Now it's time to develop precision.

    Don't feel bad. I follow motor cops for evaluations and even they get nervous with me behind them!

  6. My hats off to them if they can actually get some improvement crammed into those riding habits. ;)

    Seriously, great job. Keep up the good work and great reporting.

  7. Good on you, Roger. And, thanks for writing it up and sharing it.

    I want to pick up on the comment " . . . buggered. But what a great feeling." I know that feeling and have tried to describe it. It is a unique feeling. I've brushed up against it after a long day of riding, or a day of riding near the edge of my comfort zone. I have never been happy with my choice of words, nor felt I've captured it. Your comment came really really close. Yes there is fatigue, but even more there is a very deep, contented, satisfaction

    Thanks for the share.

  8. Lady: You are just as passionate as me when it comes to riding. I am in no doubt you understand me.

    Trobaritz: Thanks, it was indeed a great day.

    Geoff: Thanks mate, looking forward to our next ride together, you still annoy me though! At least we have had some nice weather while you have been roughing it in Thailand.

    Sonja: Couldnt of said it better myself.

    Dan: You have summed it up well for me. I do appreicate your comments, and your dedication to safer biking. All said though, I would be bloody nervous if were following me to!

  9. Lori: Thanks hon, you are always full of pearls of wisdom.

    Circle Blue: You got it in one. Hard to explain to the non biker! very true! Thanks mate

  10. It's always good to improve skills and I'm glad you writing about it. About the exotic cars, I will take the Maserati, it would be perfect for the track :-)