Sunday, November 18, 2012

Update Observer Training

It has been a while since I updated my progress on my observer  training with IAM.

I think it is important at this stage to remember why I wanted to do all this in the first place.  I know for Geoff it was to up skill, as well as continuing his riding years.  For me it was a bit of that , but  the over riding factor was a desire to put some thing back into motorcycling, and to be in a position where I could offer advice on being a safer and better biker.  IAM is the perfect platform for me to do that.  If I was ever in situation like this again I would like to think I can be pro active and not passive about motorbike safety.

Since  our training weekend back in  late July  (read about it here) ,  I am been trying to get out with Morne for some regular training and feedback  Back in March I met a young fellow who came around to see my BMW, we got to talking and he showed an interest in IAM.  Long story short, he joined up and became the perfect guinea pig for me to practice on.  So I have been able to get out with Jarrod, and Morne following me, it has proved to be very beneficial to all concerned.  Morne has been brilliant in making himself available to me for training.  I considered it important that I take control of my training and push on, not leaving it to others to organize   It is my responsibility to organize it and get it completed and Morne has been very willing and giving of his time unconditionally. At times I have had to go to great depths to get to the monthly Sunday rides and fit other training in between.

I have spent a lot of time on my own as well, riding along practicing my commentary skills has been a fun exercise.  (Although do feel like a bit of a loony talking to myself inside my helmet).

At first I found it all very hard, following and observing an  associate as well as concentrating on my own riding and safety.  But the stuff I learnt to become a member in the first place is now well ingrained in my riding and I don't really have to think about it as much as I first did.  Safety still remains an over riding factor in all we do.  Being an observer is not just about watching the rider in front, you are thinking of his safety too and this reflects on how you follow and where I position my bike.

One of the biggest things I have had to struggle with is my 'recall", so when debriefing and going back through the ride and remembering the very things that are important and that I want to relay.  This skill has slowly been developing and I think will continue to improve as I progress.

I have managed to get most of my "Training card" signed off, just a couple more to complete and I think I will be getting  very close to sitting the observer test.  Personally and with out sounding  like I am tooting my own horn, but I think I will make a great observer.  I am relaxed, I think I make my associate feel at ease, I am  seeing stuff that once upon a time I wouldn't have even noticed.  I think my commentary and observation skills are really good, and I am relating well what I have seen back to the associate.   It is of course not  for  me to say.  It is important to me to maintain the standards that are all ready set.  But I have thoroughly enjoyed all the observer training, and certainly haven't found it as stressful as going from associate to full member.

IAM provides the perfect opportunity to those that want to up skill  and I have found those that come along to learn are a pleasure to teach and impart knowledge to.  The first chapter of Motorcycle road craft covers the mental aspects and I have become a firm believer that if you don't have the right attitude you wont get to chapter two.  What we learn and teach saves lives  and promotes safer riding, this still remain's my driving force behind all the hard work.

It is not always easy to get to the Sunday rides, I have my kids every second week and for the last few months there weekend falls on the same weekend as the rides. But I am lucky that I have two great kids who see what I am doing as beneficial and continue to support me, as well as my sister who watches them for me.
I hope that in the years to come they will see me as a roll model, and that doing stuff voluntarily and with out payment for a cause you believe in is a rewarding and productive use of time.  Life is not always about what you is about what you give.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cape Reinga...Part 2

We left Opononi, but not before enjoying a great breakfast. I really do love those continental hotel brekkies, not great for the waste line but who cares when you are away.  A short drive to Rawene where we caught the ferry over to Kohukohu.   I think Fei was really enjoying seeing some scenery and  generally having a good time.  

Although we had got up to the sun shining it was evident that we were going to get a mixed bag all day.  Standing in the sun waiting for the ferry, next minute sitting in the car while it poured with rain. Still I am in a car..and the harley riders in there lovely leather gear looked really well prepared for the conditions, (cough cough.) As it turns it there was a massive bike gathering just north of Kaitaia where there were hundreds of bikes, mainly cruises , needless to say I didn't stop.  On the way to the Cape many overtook us, often in dubious circumstances, and I watched as they wobbled around the corners.  I seriously despair at the skill level of some of these guys sometimes. One  guy cut in front of us with only inches between his rear tyre and my front bumper.

We encountered fierce winds, and torrential rain on the way up.  When we go to the cape you could not see  your hand infront of your face.  And it was raining   And I felt the need for a snooze.  Typical really, drive all the way the and I want to nap.  Jase headed off towards the light house while I looked at the inside of my eye lids.  When he came back he did say it wasn't as bad down by the lighthouse as what it was here. And then it started to rain again.  I made the decision to wait it out for a while and see what happens.  15 minutes later the fog had cleared and we were able to walk down and take better and clearer pics.  Just goes to show. Being the point where the Pacific ocean and the Tasman sea collide you never really know what weather pattern you will get.

We left the cape andheaded towards our destination for the night, Kerikeri.  A lovely little town and a place I have stayed at often.

 I had booked us into a Bread and Breakfast.  I have stayed in a few BB's but this one would have to be one of the best ever.   Moongate Villa A beautiful home run by two very friendly guys.  Beautiful gardens, lovely rooms,  where the attention to detail was evident where ever you looked.  And as for the breakfast...holy shit it was good.  This place is well worth staying at if ever you vistit was worth every penny.  I could not find fault.  I am sure Fei and I wont hesitate to go back there again.

Normally I am always in a rush to leave any motel and hit the road....not the case Sunday morning, eventially leaving just before 11.  Just goes to show what a wonderful relaxing pace it is.

We took the old coast road from Russell back to Auckland....and as a testiment to the weekend felt I had been away for a week.

It was the weekend I needed.....that we both needed .

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cape Reinga...Part 1.

Now here is one for the books.....I did it in a car, yep....My partner Fei  had never been there,so I  offered to take him on the bike but considering he had actually never been on a bike   I thought the prospect of 16 hours riding over three days may have been a bit much.  So being the nice guy I am, and the fact I had no plans  (interpret that as crap social life) I decided we would go in the car.

We left Friday and our first place to stay for the night would be Opononi  on the Hokianga harbour.  We bailed out of work just after three and headed north.   Sitting in the passenger seat and actually looking at the scenery was a bit of a shock, I am normally focused on my next corner, vanishing point, while exiting under controlled throttle before the rinse and repeat process begins....

In Dargiville we stopped and had a look at th the wood turner there that uses old kauri and turns  the wood  into the most beautiful items.  Many years ago Northland was covered in giant Kauri, very few remain.  Most of the Kauri now comes from the swamps where over 4000 years a go a giant Tsunami buried the Forrest.  The kauri is preserved and is now dug up and used.  No more standing kauris are allowed  to be cut down.  It is a beautiful wood, and I personally love it.

On the road again we stopped at Tana Mahuta...of King of the Forrest.  I have shown pics of this before, but thought it wouldn't hurt to show some more.  It really is a big bloody tree and the pics just don't do it justice.

We were almost at our destination for the night.   I was so enjoying being in the car for a change and noticed stuff I had just never seen before.  Although it never compares to road trips on the bike it was a pleasant change.  As the sun set we were greeted to a magic sunset Opononi is only a small town but being located right on the harbour it has it s own magic about it.   My friend Jase went wild with the camera and I have stolen a few of the best to post here....I think the pics says it all...

I think these pictures say more than I can, as usual click on them to enlarge them....they are brilliant.
We stayed in the Copthorn Hotel.  Loved it, and the food and the cooked brekkie...,man I love hotel cooked brekkies...and then we headed north...

Part  2 looked some thing like this.........

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