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Why Do People Decide to Buy an IAM RoadSmart Advanced Rider Course?

Why Do People Decide to Buy an IAM RoadSmart Advanced Rider Course?

I have ridden motorcycles since I was 10 years old and motorcycles have been my life and my passion ever since.  I’ve had two serious motorcycle collisions on the road, one in 1990, the other in 2009, neither of them my fault, and neither would have happened if I’d been riding like an advanced rider. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!  Well my reason for doing the Advanced Rider Course is a simple one - I thought I was an amazing rider, when in fact I was rubbish.

For no particular reason, I had decided that I was going to undertake some motorcycle courses in the summer of 2018. I went to Humberside Police’s Beverley office for the day-long BikeSafe course on 11th August 2018. I had thought that with 30 unbroken years of road riding experience that I would be better than any of the riders there, and probably on a par with the police riders. Pride comes before a fall!  The BikeSafe course shocked me by highlighting just how badly I had been riding my motorcycles on the road for over 30 years! How I was still alive was a miracle!

So, to correct those highlighted deficiencies in my riding, I decided to do the Advanced Rider course with IAM RoadSmart. On 13th August 2018, I booked online and was directed to my now beloved WYAMs. I say beloved, because I didn’t actually want to be in a motorcycle club when I booked the advanced rider course. I just wanted to learn to be a better rider and perhaps even pass my advanced test. I had absolutely no interest in being in WYAMs. I could not see the point or necessity of having to join WYAMs.

My Observer was not only a very accomplished and experienced motorcyclist but he was an amazing human being too. We became very close friends as he taught me how to be a better rider, and to this day, I’m pretty confident he has no real grasp of how much his sessions saved my life and rescued my crippled mental health. Because in between starting the advanced rider course and finishing it, I underwent a cataclysmic breakdown in my domestic situation, and I was at rock bottom.

My test took place on a filthy, rainy mid-January morning. It remains a completely blurred memory to me.  I do remember it felt like the worst I’d ridden in a really long time, and yet I passed. The Examiner later said that I would have got a First Class Award if I hadn’t skidded on the cattle grid on the slip road just off J22 of the M62. Fortunately, I stayed on the bike, but he was right I hadn’t ‘observed’ the cattle grid because I’d been going too fast as I went over it turning left - hence the skid. A costly mistake!

Knowing how important structured riding was to me and my emotional wellbeing, my Observer suggested that I consider Observer Training. I agreed, got the approval from the committee, and was assigned to a Local Observer Assessor for training.  I had the familiar structure of regular training sessions, this time as a Trainee Observer; it was another life saver. I passed the Observer Assessment process and I’m now the club’s newest Local Observer.

Looking back, I view the dual processes of instruction for my test, and instruction to be an Observer as not only incredibly informative, but also as transformative of me as a rider. The whole advanced riding journey has been a truly Zen like experience for me.  But the most unexpected surprise for me was the club - WYAMS. Because as I said, when I booked my Advanced Rider Course with IAM RoadSmart online way back in August 2018, the last thing I wanted was to join a motorcycle club! And ironically being in WYAMS is the part of the whole process that has nourished me, and enthused me, and helped me recover as well as making me a better rider.

Two of the most memorable motorcycling days that I ever have had have been club runs! One Tuesday run to the Lakes and one run to Whitby. Bearing in mind I have been riding motorcycles pretty much non-stop, on and off road, for over 40 years, in Europe, America, Asia, and Australia, to say that two of my best days riding ever has been with WYAMs, in the last 12 months, is truly saying something!  The wealth of riding experience on the training and club runs is probably unparalleled. I defy anyone to go on a club run and not be beaming from ear to ear inside their helmets. I defy anyone who goes on a club or training run not to learn a huge amount from watching the riding of the elder statesmen.

Your Advanced Riding journey doesn’t stop at your test pass, but rather that’s where it begins! Undoubtedly your riding will improve as you deploy these skills riding solo, but in observing other experienced advanced riders on club or training runs you also learn by osmosis. You critique your own riding by conscious and unconscious comparison. You improve as you ride with good riders. Simple! You cannot buy that quality of training - and you don’t have to, it’s FREE on the club and training runs!

They say that there’s none so zealous as the converted, and in my case, that’s absolutely true.