In the second of his review of his IAM Road Smart Advanced Rider Course, Paul Oxborough, Founder of Mental Health Motorbike, talks us through his week two reflections and what he feels he’s learned as a result.
It’s now about a week and a half since my second session with IAM Road Smart’s Regional Service Delivery Manager Peter Serhatlic and what's been interesting is that I've been able to really put some of the training into practice. We've had a number of big events, including a weekend event down at Silverstone, which was a good two hour each way drive. It's very, very busy on the way out of Silverstone, but the roads gave me a lot of practice.
Week Two was all about the corners. It was learning how to push the bike into the corners safely, how to position yourself to be in the right gear. What focused on was the vanishing points. Historically, corners have always been a little bit tricky for me. I've tended to back off, to ease off and slow right down.
This week I learned that understanding how vanishing points work, whether they're running away from you or running towards you, really helps you to get into the right gear and to keep your speed at a level that allows you to not slow down.
So it's about some information processing and making that judgement call. If a corner is coming towards you, the vanishing point sort of eases off. It starts to run away from you, keep that speed on and then you can accelerate out of the bend. Why has taking me so long to learn this? Thirty years of riding and I’ve just taken so many risks.
I’m finding IAM Road Smart, very interesting. Peter is my age and a very, very experienced biker. He has a history as a police biker and now he’s one of the senior instructors for IAM Road Smart. Just having the ability to pick his knowledge and learn from it, I'm finding really useful.
He's also from Doncaster. I'm from Rotherham. So a spade's a spade with Peter. As a Yorkshireman, I appreciate that. So it's nice to have an instructor that I can relate to.
What’s more, he's really pushing me; He's pushing me to remember the things that we did on session one and just reading his report on that, it’s clear from his observations that I'm picking up a lot of things. It's quite a privilege to have that level of support and something I would seriously recommend.
In Session Two we headed towards West Yorkshire - the Scunthorpe area of East Riding with a lot of long lanes and the temptation to go over the speed limit if you're not careful. There are also a lot of very interesting, technical bends and built-up areas. We went through lots of villages with potential hazards. It was half term, so there was lots of children around and parents with prams.
It was about managing speed. And I am managing it so much better. I'm now very, very conscious of how fast I’m going - just keeping it two miles an hour under what my speedo saying, which is about a two to three miles-an-hour difference.
Those few miles-an-hour are the difference between control and putting yourself in at unnecessary risk if a car door opens or somebody walks out in front of you: Just having those extra three miles an hour less means that you can stop. You're in control. In the past that's always been a problem for me – I’ve always tended to be three, four or five, six miles an hour over the speed limit. So thank you IAM Road Smart for reconditioning me!
It's a fabulous organisation and it’s here to turn you into a better, safer rider or driver and that means the people around you are going to be safe. Some people probably think they don’t need training; they think they're good drivers. But over time our skills deteriorate, or our eyesight gets worse and thinking speeds tend to change.
Having this level of training just means that you can adapt to how your body is changing. The training will help you to modify your behaviour. So as much as I like to think I'm still 21, I'm not. So this is a really good way of just reconditioning, rethinking, and reprogramming bad habits.
The training has been so worthwhile in the two sessions so far, I've got another session coming up so look out for my next review.
To read about Paul’s first IAM Road Smart Advanced Rider Course session go to https://www.iamroadsmart.com/media-policy/news-and-insights/blog-post-details/blogs/2022/05/03/24-hour-reflection-part-1. To find out more about our Advanced Rider Courses go to https://www.iamroadsmart.com/courses/advanced-rider.