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I had my first official observed ride for my IAM qualification today. I did a taster ride a few weeks ago but this was my first as an associate. I thought I might record my experience here.


After being assigned an observer in the week we had a brief phone conversation to introduce each other. Many of the questions were the same I had had at the taster session. How long had I been riding, what has motivated me to do an advanced course, what did I specifically feel I wanted to improve on. We arranged to meet today, I pulled up just as my observer did. After the preliminary chat about the way sessions would work and some questions on what I had checked on my machine before coming today I was given an overview of the route we were going to do and off we went.


Of course you're told to ride as you normally would, but you're always aware someone in on your tail observing you. Even pulling out from the pub car park I was thinking "don't drop it" :lol:


The other thing about being observed is you make mental notes of "bet that comes up later". But never mind, just get on with it, that's what you're there for. Clearly no-one is going to turn up to the first observed session to be told "wow-ee, you're amazing and to be honest we'll put you up for your assessment now".


In short, the positives were:

 

  1. Very safe riding generally, if all I ever wanted to be was 'safe' I'm at a good level
  2. Road positioning generally good
  3. Slow control at junctions was very good (this was picked up as I said it was one of the things I wanted to improve, I think I'm OK at junctions it's more tight manoeuvres like u-turns)
  4. Observations were very good
  5. My observer was happy how I could explain my thought process when he asked "tell me about what you were thinking when [scenario on the road happened]"

 

This was then counterbalanced with the stuff to work on:

 

  1. Whilst I'm 'safe', I'm very cautious. I can apply the throttle more positively when the speed limit goes up
  2. When it's a NSL country road, I'm riding at around 50mph. He doesn't want me to ride out of my comfort zone but also wants my comfort with riding at the speed limit on those sorts of roads if conditions allow to increase
  3. Pointed out as a probable hangover for being taught to pass the DVSA test, he felt there was a few gaps with oncoming cars that I could make (slow, measured) progress, as opposed to coming to a stop
  4. He felt there was a perfect opportunity to safely overtake a vehicle, instead I followed it at around 10mph below the speed limit for several miles
  5. I was setting up well for corners, but then drifting back to the centre of the lane rather than waiting a touch longer into the corner and committing to the turn in
  6. Once I'm at the speed limit (not when I'm dawdling on those NSL roads!) he wants me riding closer to the centre line in the road (vs the DVSA 'centre of the lane at all times' approach) so that I'm in a stronger position

 

I came away happy with both positive and constructive feedback. I've been told that it shouldn't be too much work to bring me up to assessment standard, and that considering I'm relatively new I'm in pretty good nick. None of the stuff to work on really surprised me, I know on country roads I need to build up my confidence to get up the limit and know I can slow the machine for the bends (whereas at the moment I can see there's a bend coming up in the distance, so am not trusting myself to get to the limit and slow again)


Booked in some time in a few weeks time to go out again, but in short really enjoyed it and it's nice to have some third party feedback on what to improve now :thumb:

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  1. Pointed out as a probable hangover for being taught to pass the DVSA test, he felt there was a few gaps with oncoming cars that I could make (slow, measured) progress, as opposed to coming to a stop

Is this moving slowly in town or something else?

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  1. Pointed out as a probable hangover for being taught to pass the DVSA test, he felt there was a few gaps with oncoming cars that I could make (slow, measured) progress, as opposed to coming to a stop

Is this moving slowly in town or something else?

 

Sorry, could have been clearer - so if there was a parked car on my side, with an oncoming car, there were times where the road was ride enough for me to carry on through albeit at a reduced speed.


Whilst training to pass the mod 2 I was advised a couple of times by my instructor that whilst I could get through the gaps I was committing to an examiner might feel it was a bit too tight a squeeze so stopped doing it *cough* when being watched, so just need to get back into the habit of doing it at all times.


Obviously he's not suggesting I hoon through a gap barely wider than my shoulders at 30mph, but just wants to see me keep up the slow control to carry on through the gap, being prepared to stop if necessary. Or if required slowing down on approach a bit more so I don't need to come to a stop and put a foot down if I can safely avoid doing so (ie better forward planning)

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I like the idea of the IAM but don’t like idea of getting sucked into group rides and the social side of it but then I suppose it’s easy enough to say no thanks.

Although I really fancy this though-


https://www.circuitbasedtraining.co.uk/motorcycle-training/advanced-cornering-350


Anyone have any experience of it?

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Learning to corner is fine.....looks like a sound introduction to the art....but don't forget you also need all the other stuff that goes in between the corners! Only other thing is that on a track, there's (generally) nothing coming the other way. That can ruin your day pretty fast.

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Got an email today with the words "just a brief recap", but following up with over 900 words covering things observed on the route in detail, comprehensive feedback, links to videos and material to review etc.


Very happy with that :)


ps I'm not a stooge for the IAM, other advanced training and qualification providers are available

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Oh, and on my way back from our debrief coffee I refused the gesticulations from some teenagers on the side of the road to do a rev bomb, and instead gave them a dignified salute.

 

I assume this is the thing where someone standing around amid a gang of youths looks at you and makes a sort of throttle revving gesture with their right wrist? I've had people doing this on 2 occasions recently. It bewildered me on both occasions.

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Oh, and on my way back from our debrief coffee I refused the gesticulations from some teenagers on the side of the road to do a rev bomb, and instead gave them a dignified salute.

 

I assume this is the thing where someone standing around amid a gang of youths looks at you and makes a sort of throttle revving gesture with their right wrist? I've had people doing this on 2 occasions recently. It bewildered me on both occasions.

 

That's the one.... although now you mention it I just realised they were using their left hands. I should have slowed down, twisted the left hand lever and yelled "nothing's happening guys"

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I like the idea of the IAM but don’t like idea of getting sucked into group rides and the social side of it but then I suppose it’s easy enough to say no thanks.

Although I really fancy this though-


https://www.circuitbasedtraining.co.uk/motorcycle-training/advanced-cornering-350


Anyone have any experience of it?

 

Not got any experience of the circuit training but as far as IAM go, there's absolutely no pressure to go on weekend rideouts or socialise - sure you get invited and encouraged to go along but that's not for everyone. I just went to my training and test sessions, now I'll occasionally go on a run if it's a good location and suitable time but family comes first at the weekend (or so the Mrs tells me!)

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ooh I'll be interested to hear how it goes.

For me I dislike the perceived pressure to "make progess" (sometimes I'm happy behind a car doing 50 so I can enjoy the scenery) so interesting this was brought up and how much it will be "required"


Keep us updated! :thumb:

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It's already been clarified that progress doesn't just mean "overtake anything doing less than the speed limit". He was including adjusting your speed on approach to a roundabout so you can fit into a gap in traffic you've spotted rather than rush up to it, come to a stop and have to get moving again.


It was also impressed that any overtake would have to be completed safely and without breaking a speed limit, and I'd get just as much kudos for assessing an overtaking opportunity and then aborting it because on balance I decided it wasn't safe so dropped back again.

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It was also impressed that any overtake would have to be completed safely and without breaking a speed limit, .

 

on a tangent... I did a bike safe and my police instructor told a story of when a guy he was with was trying to overtake a BMW uphill... and kept looking at his Speedo to make sure he didn't exceed the limit. Meanwhile the BMW had sped up and there was now a car coming the opposite way. His moral of the story if you need to break the speed limit a smidge to overtake safely do if :lol:

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Regarding the circuit based training I can thorough recommend it. Yes it is on a track and that's the whole point. You don't need to worry about oncoming traffic and there are no potholes etc. It gives you confidence setting up for a bend and what an average bike can do. You DON'T have to get your knee down or scratch your pegs. You do get shown various techniques for what to do it things go lead shaped which may save you grief down the road.

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[mention]S-Westerly[/mention] it is the grief saving element I’m interested in so it might be for me.


[mention]SometimesSansEngine[/mention] It sounds a worthwhile pursuit. I suppose my only reservation was that you’d be riding everywhere like your on a test the whole time. A 900 word write up is somewhere between generous and crazy sounding! Was it all useful stuff?

Are you trying out the Bristol IAM? I was looking at Cheddar, it looks ok?!

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@SometimesSansEngine It sounds a worthwhile pursuit. I suppose my only reservation was that you’d be riding everywhere like your on a test the whole time. A 900 word write up is somewhere between generous and crazy sounding! Was it all useful stuff?

Are you trying out the Bristol IAM? I was looking at Cheddar, it looks ok?!

 

It was all ridiculously useful. A good summary of everything we discussed, some nice words about my performance and some useful resources to watch. To be honest the fact he took the time to write it, plus he's going out with me in his spare time for literally not much more than having refreshments bought for him was pretty motivational to me - it's really made me feel like he has my best interests at heart and wants to help people like me get more out of riding.


I'm between three groups really (Bristol, Bath & Wiltshire) but chose the latter for two reasons: the instructor who really helped me loads after my first mod 1 disaster (see my write up in the the mod 1 experiences thread!) rides with them, and I randomly bumped in to a former work colleague as he was returning to his bike in a car park who had done his qualification with them and now rides blood bikes & spoke very highly of them.


A taster session would definitely give you a good idea at least. If you decided it wasn't for you right now then that would be more than fair enough.

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@S-Westerly it is the grief saving element I’m interested in so it might be for me.


@SometimesSansEngine It sounds a worthwhile pursuit. I suppose my only reservation was that you’d be riding everywhere like your on a test the whole time. A 900 word write up is somewhere between generous and crazy sounding! Was it all useful stuff?

Are you trying out the Bristol IAM? I was looking at Cheddar, it looks ok?!

Have a look at your local ROSPA Advanced Motorcycling Group as wrell as the Felix (purrr). They cover similar stuff, just a bit of a different approach to the IAM - for instance, they like to retest every 3 years so it's a bit like doing CPD.


Edited to add:


https://www.roadar.org.uk/groups/south-west/index.htm


That's who I trained with and was very happy with them. Just take your time to suss out what's available and what suits you. Also useful to get some books to study - the Highway Code (yes, really - one benefit is that you will be able to participate in the interminable discussions on here re. the primacy of Rule 267 over Rule 268 etc. etc......zzzzzzzzzz....), Roadcraft, Know your Traffic Signs, Roadcraft (natch) and, if it is still published, Not the Blue Book by Dave Jones.


That should keep you going for a bit. But glad to see you're actively considering this route towards further development. Keep us posted.

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Thanks [mention]Speedy23[/mention]


I currently definitely know my highway code and road signs. Im not a competitive person with other people but I am sometimes with myself and there was no-way I was going to be satisfied with less than 100% on the theory test so I put in quite some hours reading to make that happen. Although rule 267 and 268 are pretty cut n dry in my opinion :lol:


Never heard of this one- Not the Blue Book by Dave Jones. Will have a look for it :thumb:


I am going to take my time making a choice (thanks for the link) because Im still getting to know the bike and can easily list things I need to work on so would rather wait a bit, smooth out some of the rough edges Im aware of and then use the advance training to help push me up a level.


So does one have to spend hours grooming show cats the same as show dogs or can you put them in the ring without them looking CLawful? :lol:

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Thanks @Speedy23


I currently definitely know my highway code and road signs. Im not a competitive person with other people but I am sometimes with myself and there was no-way I was going to be satisfied with less than 100% on the theory test so I put in quite some hours reading to make that happen. Although rule 267 and 268 are pretty cut n dry in my opinion :lol:


Never heard of this one- Not the Blue Book by Dave Jones. Will have a look for it :thumb:


I am going to take my time making a choice (thanks for the link) because Im still getting to know the bike and can easily list things I need to work on so would rather wait a bit, smooth out some of the rough edges Im aware of and then use the advance training to help push me up a level.


So does one have to spend hours grooming show cats the same as show dogs or can you put them in the ring without them looking CLawful? :lol:

.....we have foreign short-hairs (Korat and Thai Lilac) so just have to clip their nails and give 'em a quick comb and they're good to go..... :thumb:


.....however, the nail-clipping can be fun...imagine wrestling with a ball of teeth and razor-blades... :shock:

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Never heard of this one- Not the Blue Book by Dave Jones. Will have a look for it :thumb:

 

After doing some searching this might be the only copy going for a reasonable price online:


https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb/books/david-jones/not-the-blue-book/GOR002907191


Although if they're using the same reseller as Abebooks were using for that one copy then sorry, I've already nabbed it :?

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