I’m not sure if I have blogged this already, but what the heck I’ll blog it again and you can tell me if I am degenerating into an old fart and repeating myself.
Last year I spent a couple of days with a company called i2imca who run motorcycle training in Yorkshire. You may know that I have spent time last year and the year before with the local groups of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) getting their coaching up to prepare for the Advanced Car and Motorcycle tests administered by the IAM. And subsequently trained to be one of what they call an Observer – someone who helps others to prepare for their advanced test.
An observation of advanced training in the UK that is based on the Roadcraft system in the UK as the IAM approach is, is that their focus is on observation and planning rather than machine control. This is not really a fault, the Roadcraft book is used by the Police and other organisations sits alongside intensive practical training at their training schools and unless you happen to be at one of those schools, you don’t see this aspect of the training. Why they should happen to publish the roadcraft book as they have done over the years is something I must admit I don’t know so I will find that out and share it one day.
The i2i training scheme was borne of this understanding by an Observer in Yorkshire who was a corporate trainer by profession and combines elements of machine control based on the physics of motorcycles, a bit of motocross offroad knowledge and a bit of training psychology. They split their machine control training over 4 courses of a day long each. Course 1 introduces their ideas and philosophies and you go along to this on your own motorcycle, riding up and down on a bit of tarmac away from public roads. Course 2 takes place on off-road bikes and using their kit to practice the techniques in more slippery conditions where slides and skids happen at lower speeds in a controlled environment. Course 3 is back to using your own bike to build on the techniques, and Course 4 is on their bikes again but this time with types called supermotard, which are like off-road motorcycles with road tyres.
A new idea i2imca took on last year was running Course 1 and 3 back to back on a Saturday and Sunday, so I went for this in April 2008 and spent the weekend getting my bits frozen off (it snowed the second day) and having a great time learning how to do things I didn’t realise I could on my old BMW. For one thing I learned how to “hang off” my bike – I did not get my knee down, but I did learn how it helps steering and feel and how it relates to counter steering. Having enjoyed that I planned to complete the course (and checking with Tom that they had boots for my big feet) and I am off to Yorkshire at the beginning of April this year to a different venue to do Course 2 which is all about off-road. Using their bikes and their kit, I will be trying to learn how to cope with skidding wheels etc. Although it isn’t that far away, I am fully anticipating that I will be really sore after the course so I am going to get the Train down to Thirsk and I have booked my B&B – really looking forward to it.