By Clive Shardlow - South Lincolnshire Advanced Motorcyclists (SLAM)
I joined Boston Advanced Motorists (now South Lincolnshire Advanced Motorcyclists - SLAM
) in 2011 having come back to motorcycling after retirement. I hadn’t ridden a motorcycle for 37 years since selling my BSA A7 Shooting Star soon after getting married. When I bought my new motorcycle, technology and performance had advanced dramatically and I decided it would be prudent for me to have some extra training. I thoroughly enjoyed the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Riding Course
and after passing the test went on to train to become an Observer. The group had a thriving social side and we had regular Sunday social rides, long weekend tours and longer tours in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Eventually a group of us toured further afield in Europe. In different years we visited the Nürburgring and The Ardennes, the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Hartz Mountains and the Picos de Europa.
In 2016 I started training for the Masters qualification where I learnt about mentoring, whilst passing on knowledge and de-briefings from Andrew my mentor. I went onto pass the Masters test in May 2017 and I was then elected Chairman of BAM in 2018.
Later in 2018, the car section of the group was amalgamated with the Lincoln car group which then became IAM Lincolnshire
, and we became a motorcycle group, South Lincolnshire Advanced Motorcyclists
We’re a relatively small group with approximately 100 members and we live in a rural area so there is not a large demand from riders to take up our services.
Unfortunately, many biker groups don't have an indoor meeting place which makes it more difficult to take our presentation to them. We usually get about 12 advanced motorcycle passes in a year, but with lockdown restrictions we were unable to do any promotion or conduct observed or social rides.
It wasn’t until April 2021 that we restarted our observed rides, with the agreement of both parties, meeting outside and sending de-brief notes via email. When May 2021 arrived and COVID-19 restrictions eased we had our first social ride with a small group, meeting outside, everyone either took their own food or used an outside coffee stall at Belvoir Castle
. In June, when all restrictions were lifted, we were able to conduct observed and social rides ‘as normal’.
Four of our observers are part of the Police and Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership Bikesafe scheme
. There has seemed to be a higher demand than usual this year so we hosted a Bikesafe
Day once a month throughout the summer.
A number of the candidates on the course subsequently decided to enrol on an advanced course. Perhaps, during lockdown, riders were thinking of ways to improve their riding because they were feeling rusty because they hadn't spent much time on the road. Whatever the reason, we have found that there has been a greater demand for advanced courses without us having to do the usual promotions.
In fact, at one stage, we had to ask new members for a little patience as our nine active
Observers were fully booked. Despite not being able to get out on the bikes for a considerable time at the beginning part of the year, we have had 14 passes so far with two more almost test ready.
We are delighted with the success of our new members and are looking to recruit and train some more Observers in 2022.
At the end of November 2021, we were asked to send representatives to the Pride of South Holland Awards in Spalding
. This is an event to recognise local people and groups who volunteer in the local community. We were surprised and delighted when Nigel Bean, an Observer and our previous Chairman, was presented with a certificate in the Volunteer of the Year category - and even more surprised when SLAM won the Special Achievement award.
We are very pleased and grateful that our Observers have been recognised for the time they give to make the local roads safer. We couldn’t do it without them.
I hope in 2022 we can continue to deliver the advanced course, find some interesting social rides and hopefully have another motorcycle tour. I hope all our groups have an enjoyable, successful year and drive and ride safely.