I met my IAM observer, Ian Souter, for my fourth observed ride of my Advanced Riding Course at Ashridge. It had been raining on an off all morning, although more on than off and that set the scene for the afternoon too. When I met Ian, it started peeing down so we stood under a tree to wait for it to ease.
Ian took that opportunity to whip out a deck of cards from his pocket and give me an impromptu quiz on the highway code. Oo er, I did not have a heads up about this and had not done any revision......
End of bridge parapet, abutment wall, tunnel mouth and no vehicles except bicycles being pushed.
Today we would be taking a ride through a couple of towns, onto a third where we would park up and have a chat. Ian would be observing my riding to see that I am putting into practice what I have been learning over the last few weeks. He reminded me about keeping my bubble of safety and making sure I was in the ideal position when riding.
The rain had stopped for the moment so we got on the bikes and headed off. We set off through the first town which was quite busy so there was a lot of stop/start traffic and after about 45 minutes of riding we parked up to have a chat.
So, overall that was a really good ride. There is a bad habit I have picked up over the years. Ian said, whereby I am getting a bit too close to the vehicle in front, in this case at a set of traffic lights at roadworks. Ideally I should be leaving a 4 second gap to the vehicle in front. By going too close to the vehicle I am shutting down my vision.
I overtook a van on an open piece of road and apparently this was spot on, I did my checks, moved out, left plenty of room and was back in safely. Ian said it was a progressive overtake. Ian did pick up that I went 5/6 mph over the speed limit to do the overtake (Oops!!) and that is something to watch out when on my test!
Ian said my riding through the town was nice and controlled, which I was well chuffed about.
So, we would be going for another ride heading back to where we started through some villages and on the way back we would be getting on a dual carriageway and coming off and then back on at the junctions along the way except for the first one as this exit is for an industrial estate only and you cannot get back on.
It would appear that the second junction on said dual carriageway you cannot get back on either! We ended up going through a village which had really narrow pot holey roads. Still, all good practice I suppose! We did eventually get back onto the dual carriageway and came off/on the next couple of junctions. We eventually came off the fourth junction and parked up for a chat.
So overall my riding was really good! I used the positions and limit points well and my use of position 1 was much better than in previous weeks.
When we came off one of the junctions of the dual carriageway, Ian said when the slip road starts he comes off straightaway whereas I come off about a car/car and half length into the slip road. I just need to be aware that a car may come up on the inside and I should think about coming off sooner.
The last slip road we came off had a particularly short exit and once you come off you need to be hard on the brakes and down the gears to make the corner. Ian said my riding here was excellent and he liked that I didn’t start braking on the dual carriageway itself and waited until I was on the slip road.
Apparently I am generally looking like an advanced rider. Cool!
I need to practice between now and my next session to make sure I am consistently riding as I should be. The next ride will be longer to prepare me for my test which is about an hour and a quarter long!
I am particularly looking forward to the next observed session where I’m told cake will be making an appearance!