Sunday, August 28, 2011

It is a challenge

I joined IAM  again on Sunday for another ride.  This time I was to meet my newly appointed mentor, Simon.  A UK trained, and now serving in New Zealand motorcycle police officer.  We had exchanged a few brief emails earlier in the week, and it was decided to meet on Sunday as that suited both of us.   I was very much looking forward to meeting him, and learning from some one with a wealth of experience.  

The weather in Auckland this weekend has been fantastic, and even though I was prepared with thermals and linings in my jacket there was really no need.  I got to Deaus ex Machina nice and early and enjoyed a coffee while waiting for some others to turn up.

In no time there was about 8 of us, but only two observers.  None the less this was no problem as Geoff,( who made the trip from Coromandel, now thats dedication). myself and another guy went off with Simon and the others went there way.  As Simon is my mentor I drew the short straw and had the radio, with the other three following.  Just when I get use to being followed by one I now have three watching my every move.

I will say this, Simon is a very UN pretentious, humble and neat guy.   I instantly felt at home with him and discussing the finer art of motorcycle control.  He put me at ease and I can see that I will learn a lot from this fellow.  His willingness to put some time and effort into training others, is a reflection on the carnage he sees on our roads on a daily basis.  I have a great deal of admiration for men ( and women) who do this job.  especially those who are prepared to give up their time to contribute to safer biking here in NZ.

We set off for the ride, which as usual included some motorway, urban and open road riding.  Stopping after about an hour to review my progress and have a very healthy discussing between all four of us on some aspects that we were unsure off.

We continued on and I remained in front.  I swapped the lead with Simon on a couple of occasions and it is a great  delight to watch what  is obviously a very technical and experienced rider show me how it is done.

The feed back I received afterwards was great, a lot of positives and a few negatives.  The most glaring was my over taking maneuver.  Technically I did it well, but my choice of where I did it was wrong.  Some thing I knew but didn't really comprehend till afterwards.  I felt as the day progressed I was riding smoother and getting more and more relaxed.  

Some thing that I find hard to explain to some people is how much more I am enjoying my riding since I have embarked on this journey.  There is some thing very satisfying about getting your cornering and riding technically right.  Far more satisfying than just honing through corners and hoping for the best.  Knowing the bike is going where you want it to go, and knowing you are controling it is a one of the great joys of biking.  I feel more confident, yet it is tappered with  healthy restraint.


  1. Excellent post Roger and it's interesting how 3 of us turned up nearly an hour early, just so that we could be on our bikes and enjoy each other's company.

    For the benefit of other readers and the fact that Roger is too modest, he rode exceptionally well and it was a pleasure to watch him up front.

    I might also mention that it was worth paying money to watch his expression at the half-way debrief. It was clear that he thought that it was someone else's turn to fall under the eagle gaze of the examiner and was keen to shove the radio coms system onto someone else, but the examiner wasn't having any of it. Sorry for laughing out loud Roger, but the look on your face.....

  2. Hey great stuff Roger. I take it from your post that these IAM instructors are volunteers. A great thing in this 'fee for service' world that we live in!

    We've also had some great early Spring weather after our incredibly wet Winter.

    Cheers Jules.

  3. Geoff: I had it well and truly planted in my mond that once we stopped the pressure was off...........this may explaing my some what shocked look when I kept the radio! One day the shoe will be on the other foot!!!

    Thanks for your kind compliment on my riding. I am the opposite to you, a bit uncomfortable on back country roads, but seem to come alive in busy traffic. Go figure..

  4. Jules: They are indeed volunteers, which kind of makes me feel guilty. Yet they have there reasons for putting some thing back i to biking, some thing I (as well as Geoff) am passionate about. As they say though you get out of life what you put into it. Spring has almost sprung!!!!!!!!!yah!!

  5. I admire the way riders connect down under to teach and absorb info thus refining riding skills. I would like to try to do things like that here where I live. How do you find instructors? How does it work?

  6. Roy, Thanks for stopping by mate. I am not up with how things work in Isreal, but i am sure there must be other like minded people like yourself. I do recommend getting the book...."Motorcycle Roadcraft" se my earlier blog I did a review on the book. That way you will also get the title and know what to look for. Also have a look at "Confessions of a ageing motorcyclist" by Geoff James, his blog has lots of great stuff. You can find him by looking in my followers he is there.

  7. Stressful stuff being followed by instructors. (Even being followed by other riders bothers me.) I don't want them to know how much my riding sucks, but I want the critique that leads to better skills. Can't get one without the other.

    I love learning a skill, perfecting the ride. It's not just the safety factor, it's the joy of mastery too. (not that I've mastered anything!)

  8. If it's any help, your IAM Observer has to undergo a two yearly re assessment of his skills from associate introduction to check ride, demonstration ride, commentry delivery to de brief whilst carrying out a check ride on an associate. This will be done by a Senior Observer or similar. The Observer being revalidated inevitably reverts back to a whimpering wreck!
    Nothing changes......