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Combining Motorbike Touring with Training

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Tutoring again – telling associate to speed up!!

What a great day that was! Spent it tutoring one of the guys from RoSPA. Really nice chap and enthusiastic about his riding too.

Took him down to the Divine Cafe, a favourite Wiltshire RoADAR meeting point, via Royal Wootton Bassett and Avebury, then back along to Marlborough and to the Triumph showroom in Swindon for another cuppa tea.  Only around 60 miles all told, but we stopped often and chatted about bikes, his riding and so on.

Major points – he is a really good rider, corners well and at appropriate speed too. Makes it difficult for me to really provide useful advice, however, no such thing as a perfect ride. So, couple of points I picked up on were making sure there was sufficient safety margin between him and oncoming traffic, and to speed up! Yes, speed up!!  Being told to speed up is not what he expected to be told. He missed the national speed limit down to Avebury and thought it was a 50mph zone!   That little error would have knocked his grade down from Gold to Silver had this been the actual RoSPA test!

The point is though to ride at the appropriate speed according to the road, traffic and weather conditions. 50mph was too slow in this instance. If it had been wet, raining, muddy, then 50mph would have been appropriate.

Live and learn!

 

How to improve your riding

You’ve got the full license and no longer need to show “L” plates. Does that make you a good rider? Do you think you can ride well; or do you ride like a jerk? Only a jerk thinks he can’t improve.

We all think we ride (and drive) well. None of us like being told we make mistakes – after all, when we make a mistake most of the time no-one gets hurt. It’s nearly always someone else’s fault anyway! To some men, to be told you need to improve your riding or driving is like saying you have a small willy! Fighting talk!!!

As a rider its small consolation lying on a cold marble slab in the mortuary knowing that it “wasn’t your fault”.

Doesn’t matter whose fault it is – you’re dead; you no longer exist; you are an ex-biker like it or not! The other person has insurance – no harm done there; slap on the wrists; a few points on a licence; maybe a suspended sentence. You are maggot food, they aren’t!

How do we improve our riding and increase our chances of coming home in one piece and not being carried by a grieving relative in a small urn?  Accept that no matter how good you are, you can always improve.

You need to appreciate that as a rider you are more vulnerable when hit by another vehicle. Understand too that if you do come off it is going to hurt. Maybe an advanced riding course is for you; at the very least, you will get advice and tips on how to maintain speed, safely and hopefully avoid being the ornament on the front of a tractor!

Like anything in life there are no guarantees that you won’t get hit or come off your bike after taking the Advanced Riding course. But, it will improve your overall chances of survival!

What is Advanced Riding – it’s a system of riding that constantly uses the information around you to help you make decisions on the route you are planning to take. It looks at road conditions, traffic, road positioning, your machine and you! Advanced Riding is all about making good progress, safely. It’s not necessarily about slowing you down. Advanced Riding enables you to objectively look at your riding and focuses on where you could improve.

You do need to have that discipline to objectively critique your riding performance otherwise you won’t improve. I’m not trying to say that non-Advanced riders are jerks, just that none of us are perfect and we can always improve in one way or another.

A personal tutor will be assigned to you when you start your Advanced Riding journey. He/she will assess your riding and prepare a plan to help you improve. This is done over a few weeks/months depending on your progress – you do need to listen to the advice given as advice is given with the best of intent. Between tutor sessions you are expected to practice what you have been advised typically over 200 miles. Tutor sessions typically last around a couple of hours each time and you may ride anywhere between 30 and 60 miles; it does depend on you and your tutor. At the end of each session, your tutor will assess the various areas of riding with a score between 1 and 5 (5 being the highest). You probably won’t get all 5’s so don’t expect too.

Before I go any further, Advanced training is practically free. You just contribute £10 towards your tutor’s costs eg fuel. There is no financial gain for your tutor having you come back for more training sessions.

When you join the RoADAR group you will receive a copy of the “Roadcraft” book which is the book the Police use. This has all the information needed to pass your Advanced Riding/Driving test if indeed you take the test. Click on the link at the bottom of this page for the Wiltshire RoADAR website for more information.

What have I gotten out of it? Improved riding skills, increased satisfaction and a desire to get out on my bike more often than is good for me! Even in the wet!!

 

 

 

 

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