At the age of 51 I decided to take my bike test in early spring this year. Through the team at RMT I progressed through really enjoyable and high-quality training that allowed me to get my full license in June.
On the road
I immediately got a bike and, before long, had racked up 1,000 miles. But, during those miles, I realised I was encountering roads and hazards that I wasn’t fully comfortable with. I found myself still braking as I entered some tricky corners. And, sometimes on tight downhill junctions, I’d find myself running wide. Also, the etiquette and rules of filtering were unclear to me. All in all, these issues were beginning to detract a little from my enjoyment of riding my bike.
Plenty more to learn
Realising I had plenty more to learn, I enrolled on the Enhanced Rider Scheme with RMT for a day’s riding on a beautiful Bank Holiday Monday in August. I really had no idea what to expect.
We started with a classroom session, which did a great job of repositioning the training we were about to do. It was no longer about passing a test to the satisfaction of the DVSA examiner, it was now all about roadcraft in the real world. During this initial session our trainer, Simon, introduced us to the IPSGA system of riding. That stands for Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Accelerate, and it proved to transformational later in the day.
After the classroom session, we rode along a variety of roads in the Worcestershire countryside with Simon. We stopped regularly along the way for a quick de-brief on how we were riding and to discuss concepts such as counter-steering. Each time we switched position on the road to allow someone else into Simon’s spotlight!
Lunch and learn
By the time we reached the pub for lunch it was clear to me that I was accelerating too hard and then braking too hard between corners. By concentrating on my speed and gears I was starting to become a little smoother. Over lunch we had a much deeper discussion based on Simon’s observations, which he related it back to the IPSGA system. The penny was beginning to drop!
Putting it all into practice
After lunch we started to head back, again over a variety of roads. But it was on a long section of twisty A-road that I really started to put my new knowledge into practice. By using better gear selection, I was able to regulate my speed much better on my throttle. This meant I was significantly reducing the times I needed to use the brakes as I approached a corner. As I rode, my confidence and enjoyment were increasing by the mile. And the number of instructional comments from Simon were decreasing by the mile!
Coffee and debrief
Once back to the training centre we sat down with a coffee and had a really good collective debrief. We looked at each aspect of our riding and had a great conversation. We all came away with a clear picture on where we were beginning to develop some strong skills and which areas we need to focus on for further development.
Reasons for riding
On the journey home I realised that I was beginning to ride to a system that makes me safer, gives me more confidence and, as a result, increases my enjoyment. The very reasons I wanted a motorbike in the first place!
I’m now off to get another 500 miles under my belt before returning to look at some other areas that need work.
The Enhanced Rider Scheme was a great day, and I’d highly recommend it!