Fourteenth ride to Advanced

Mock test today, eek, so a list of things I need to polish up on. I’m a bit down in myself having looked at the list of things I need to work on, but I’m sure I’ll be out of it later on and rearing to work on the stuff to do better!

The old nemesis of nerves got to me, which means I close down and the quality of my ride drops. But at least this is in advance of the real thing.

Cheers to Simon B for taking the time out. I might post more detail when I have the time – I’m off to our Northleach office tonight.

Thirteenth Ride to Advanced

I was ready for rain this morning, but the wind dried things out and it was a dry run. Today was labelled Motorway, so I had checked my chapter in RoadCraft on Motorway driving, and answered my set of questions on Motorways and speed.

We headed through town from our starting point just off the bypass, and headed in towards Dreghorn. I wasn’t confident of the area, which doesn’t help the quality of my riding, but I am managing to calm the nerves more these days and just get on with it. From there we headed towards Westerhailes, Longstone, Corstorphine and over the Drumbrae roundabout, stopping up for a debrief.

Then down the big steep hill and left at Queensferry Road, heading out towards Barton, the A92 and the Forth Road Bridge. We turned off at the last exit (after the roadworks) and took the road along through Newton, where Bob the observer demonstrated an excellent overtake while keeping to the 50 limit. It was good to see that done.

Then up onto the M9 and along to Grangemouth for a Coffee, Bacon Roll and another debrief. Then back along through the refinery, along through Bo’ness and back to the BP Garage just off the Forth Bridge.

A bit of everything from urban city roads to Motorway, with all other limits and sizes of roads inbetween. I’m continuing to improve, and now it is keeping up the concentration and planning, and remembering safety first in all occaisions. I missed a few signs, when warning signs are spotted the first thing to do is check behind in the mirrors (make it obvious!) so that you can see whether slowing down will create problems with following traffic. Hence when i don’t register a sign it is obvious to the observer. The other thing is looking as far as possible and scanning around – there is always more information out there in what can be seen. Hence the first phase of the system of motorcycle control – the information phase – is when you Take information in (by looking, listening, smelling etc) then use that to decide what to do, then consider what information you can give to other road users by way of indicators, brake lights, position in the road etc.

A good run today, and I understand I get a mock test next week. I had been nervous at the prospect, but Bob has been quite good at allaying nerves and building me up to the idea. So I’m looking forward to this next stage.

BMW Motorcycle in the 24 Hours Endurance race at Le Mans

Just caught 5 minutes of the live coverage of the 24 Hours Motorcycle Race at Le Mans and they mentioned that a BMW is running and on the first page of the results. Yay!

Bike number 17 is one of the boxer twin bikes, the same configuration as my bike, and with the same telelever and paralever suspension front and back. The specifications (in French) say it is 1170cc, so I think it is likely to be based on the R1200S. As I write they are 20th in the race.

I thought they might be running one of the new nice and fast K bikes, but the predecessor to the R1200S was the R1100S which supported MotoGP races in the boxercup a few years back.


Picked up my Trophy last night

I was at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Edinburgh and District Advanced Motorcylists last night. These are annual fayre for regulated organisations of any sort, and being run under the charity laws in Scotland they have to observe the formalities. So I went along to have a look.

As I haven’t obtained full membership through the process of reaching the required level in an Advanced Motorcycle Test, I was along as an Associate, meaning I could watch but not vote when it came to that bit in the proceedings. It was typical of these things, with a tinge of unavoidable dryness due to the formal nature of the thing, but ok. It is always good to get together with a group of motorcycle enthusiasts, and we had a few guests along including the honourary president Jim Pryde, the scottish IAM Motorcycle Coordinator David Coia and the IAM Staff Examiner for Scotland, Rennie Ritchie.

And the main event for me was being presented with the Associate Trophy as a result of my efforts at the Miss Laidlaw event last year. It’s the first time I’ve been awarded a trophy for anything, so I’ve got the quaich on its plinth sitting here on my desk, and my name engraved in it! They took a photo of the presentation, so if I get a copy of it I’ll try and post it here. You know the kind of thing, cup handover, hand shake, mugging at the camera. Superb.

Twelfth Ride to Advanced

Took a break over the easter weekend and did a bit of riding on my own, practicing observations doing scanning, reading road signs etc.

This mornings run was mainly the borders, but with lots of corners to practice my road positioning. Every speed limit (apart from 50 I think) with right and left hand corners. We went from our venue near the hillend ski centre, headed south and I followed Bob my Observer for a demo run down a wee twisty B road (Pentland Road). Thankfully he didn’t quite go as fast as he could have on that on his VFR, so I mostly kept up. Then we headed South on the Straiton Road.

I’ve got a bit of refining to do with my speed limits, keeping up unless there is a hazard giving reason to slow under the limit that has been chosen for the road. This firstly means knowing the speed limit for a particular stretch of road, and then combining the right gear with the right throttle.

We went down towards Auchendinny which had a series of 30 and 40 limits with up and down and left and right roads. Down to Leadburn and all the way down to Peebles. Then left at the Petrol Station in Peebles and off to Innerleithen.

Points to work on are remembering to sacrifice position for safety. This happens when taking the visibility line for left handers, I need to move across to the middle of my side of the road to keep away from oncoming traffic on the other side of the road.

Head checks for junctions i.e. just before the turn to make sure any undertakers are spotted.

All in all it seemed to be coming together better, probably down to more practice, and perhaps my new boots 🙂

On the way home I was almost collected by someone riding a GSXR in a group, I was on my own heading west along the Seafield Moor Road, and the group did various overtakes towards me, then out pops this bike and just keeps coming, so I had to get out of the way. I just hope they don’t create an accident statistic in the borders. I’m not sure if they expected me to give way, or didn’t see me, it was a bit wierd.

Biker Boots, Finally listened to Kev

Way back in the olden days, Kev pointed out the error of my ways when it came to my choice of footwear for my motorcycle. Today I got my new footwear, to give them their full name – Sidi Black Rain. And I got them in EU size 50, and like other Sidi boots they have a zip that goes almost to the sole, dealing with the problem I have with my big fat ankles. Black and waterproof, excellent, goes with my other bike stuff.

Have a picture!

Eleventh Ride To Advanced

Different routes today, and I pretty much sucked. I’m stuck on using Observations properly, my cornering is a bit iffy and my slow speed stuff too.

The cornering is getting worse, the other bits have hung around for a while. Harrumph. I’m taking a break from the training next week, I thought about giving it up today but I’m not the type to quit a course.