First ride on the way to the advanced test

Had my first meet up with the local IAM bike club this morning, I started out early, and promptly turned back at the next village. With the pouring rain I had rubbish visbility and my neck was getting a bit raw. So back to the house to spray a couple of coats of my Hein Gericke rainy visor stuff, and to zip the flappy bit on my jacket that goes around my neck to keep it out of the draft (or hooks round the front of my chin, but that just gets tangled up with the chin strap on my helmet). There were one or two moments in the rain with slippery drain covers on corners and tricky roundabouts, but it is all practice.

There are a number of groups affiliated to the IAM around the country, run by volunteers, who support others to get through the advanced tests. They don’t train but “Observe” and each run is a ride with a stop off for some observations, then off again etc. After one of these runs I’ve got to brush up on Roadcraft and the Highway code, and got the usual blind spots probed. So off to learn the bits I couldn’t remember, and so on.

It’s early days, but hats off to them for volunteering their time to do this sort of safety related stuff, I chose it as the most economical way of improving my riding and it had a good start.

So I’ve got the elements of the system (from Roadcraft) to get in my head, the highway code (e.g. horn use), bike checking drills and stopping and starting drill. Other specifics include sacrificing the visibility line on left hand corners when there is oncoming traffic, proper lifesaver checks (i.e. almost chin on the shoulder). Lots to remember, but good fun.