Tuesday, 23 February 2016

4th observed ride 15.02.16

This ride was squeezed in at relatively short notice, what with a half day coming up with Philip McDaid the following week. We're all busy so it's about making the most of whatever opportunity presents itself.

The basic focus going into this ride, on the basis of run 3 assessment, was to maintain riding standard whilst giving commentary. Key comment was use observational links.

So this sounds simple of course, the multi tasking aspect of stuff that isn't second nature to me as yet...yikes this feels like hard work at times! But looking back at how I've made progress to date I'm not put off by this, just realistic about needing more practice.

Commentary overall seems easy, yet it's getting into the groove of providing the right amount of detail, whilst maintaining my riding standard...aarrgghh I'm needing to practice this lots more. The confusing aspect of how we were expected to do this in a work setting, combined with the faster pace of a bike, I'm finding myself running out of time. You know you're taking in the info in front of you, yet it's coming at you faster than you can provide an overview about it? Yes it's just about practice, and I just know I'll get better and more concise at it. I guess this is how frustration feels...

The irony is that in my work setting, by virtue of time on the job and extensive training, I feel in my element. Here on the bike, not so much. No this isn't a negative outlook, just a sense of not making sufficient improvement in my performance. Oh well, I've always been my own worst critic, and as long as it keeps me improving I can live with that.

By nature I've long been a chilled out rider, with my mantra being "nothing to prove" and this has to some degree come about by my work environment. The concept of "making good progress" in the IAM sense, at first anyway, seems at odds with that. On reflection though, it makes perfect sense. The sense of getting on with it, without undue risk taking, reflects the advanced riding/driving concept nicely.

Herein also lies a funny aspect I suppose. Riding a Busa one could never be accused of being short of power, yet it's perhaps my reluctance to let those horses loose whenever the opportunity to overtake comes up, that shows my learning curve still has a way to go? I'm not sure, but having covered a fair few miles on two/four/or more wheels has me quite relaxed about not rushing into an overtake. In the IAM sense, this long standing habit of mine needs to change, at least on two wheels.

Geoff also added a valuable insight, which should be obvious I guess. Whenever I'm doing (or not doing) something, it's worth sharing it verbally so the observer or examiner is aware of my thought process. An example being staying in the right hand lane whenever making progress is best there, or it suits an upcoming turn.

One final comment. I wonder if it'll resonate with others. My hobby of biking had become kind of stagnant, as in lacking purpose, other than to be an escape from day to day activity. To this end, a degree of law breaking had snuck in there, not all of it intentional. Looking at it now, even though I've only been part of the IAM realm for five minutes, the enjoyment of riding and more of a sense of purpose...is back. Feels rather neat. Now to progress thru and make it to observer in due course!


  1. Enjoyed the post Rob. Your last paragraph really resonates with me, probably with most people who have been with IAM. There's much more to it than I can describe here but it's shifted my pleasure from riding fast (with all the attendant risks) to riding well. That's not to say that I don't enjoy a good fang from time to time but it's now a question of time and place, backed up by a system which allows you to decide what's prudent and what's not.

    As always, a great insight Rob!

  2. Thank you Geoff. My thoughts often include things like: "To finish first, you first have to finish." I recall Rodger Freeth saying this. Or: "Style and grace instead of an insane pace." Not sure who mentioned this, but I've sometimes said this to myself when I've found myself getting a little bit quick for public roads...

  3. Hi Rob. I am really enjoying your views on the IAM process. Unfortunately, we have nothing comparable in Oz (that I am aware of) as I think I need something to make my motorcycling more rewarding.
    Your comment that your riding "felt like it lacked purpose" really resonates with me. I have almost given motorcycles away for mountain bikes because I find the cycling much more rewarding and less likely to see me interacting with "the law".
    You have inspired me to look into the IAM system and to check out JK's blog to learn more. (I think Geoff did send me a link a few years back but I guess I wasn't ready)

    1. Hi Dave, Yes I'll admit for myself there was a year or two between first conversing with Geoff and taking the plunge so to speak. Even if your starting point is to get hold of the two main books, Motorcycle Roadcraft and IAM How to be a better rider, no harm in having a closer look at the system. Most of it's common sense...
      Cheers, Rob

    2. Thanks Rob. Books ordered.