Fourth Ride to Advanced

I woke up on Sunday morning to pouring rain, which my waterproof clothing deals with admirably, but I hate the reduced visibility that steamed up visors bring. But if I never rode in rain I’d be stuck in a lot in Scotland, so I got on with it.

I set off along the road and it was ok, with my helmet visor open on its lowest click to stop the steaming up. I tried breathing through my nose or mouth but it didn’t seem to make much difference. I took the ride in on the A71 pretty gently, but it was ok, the only thing that caught me out was standing water which I arrived at at the same time as a van on the other side. Not being in a position to swerve, I ran through the middle, creating a bow wave that splashed over my right boot. I’ve still been wearing my steel toecapped Dr Martins and the water ran up over the laces and down by the tongue. Cue wet feet for the rest of the morning.

Fuelling up at Dreghorn was followed by a roll and coffee at the Little Chef, which was nice and warm. I only left a little damp patch.

When I met up with the other EDAM folks, I was glad I’d made the effort. With the rain putting one or two off from turning up, I stood a better chance of getting an Observer. And right enough I was able to go on a run with the same Bob from last week, and started my progress card. Associates do a number of runs up to a mock test, and a number of areas are checked each week. After last week’s run I’m up to week 2 of the card, which is a great start and really reassuring when it comes to my goal of my Advanced test this year.

Bob and I did a run around town, neither of us fancying a run out into the country in the heavy rain. I found it quite a tricky route, I really hate the lack of visibility that comes with the rain, and in town with all the things to see I wasn’t that happy with my ride. Bob seemed happier, which cheered me up a bit. There were a few 90 degree turns, some with no way of looking along the road until you were right at the junction. One or two with slopes and cambers all over the place, the steep camber caught me out in one place and I didn’t do that well at parking up.

Points to work on? On certain turns or roundabouts I was missing the speed limit change, ending up going too slow on the road I was in. I guess I was thinking too much of the turn and not paying attention to what was going on around me. I am also a bit slow at getting away from the side of the road, or when traffic lights change. In my own mind another variant of the “get on with it” I try and tell myself. Mirror checks and blind spots are another, I need to switch myself to a left – right mirror check. Along with other stuff I have the highway code to get to know, more roadcraft, and my pre-ride check (brakes, fluids etc) and starting and stopping drill. All in the name of safety! And for the test I need to show the examiner that I’m paying attention to signs by a corresponding mirror check and application of the system.