Progressive. I’ve been described in many ways, and progressive isn’t one of the adjectives that would leap to the front of my mind.
This noteworthy event in my life came from my IAM Roadsmart Observer at the end of our most recent assessment ride. Observers, in IAM speak, are those engaging characters who for the love of motorcycle riding, follow the likes of me, around the roads, quietly remarking on adjustments to our riding styles that we may wish to consider.
Along with being progressive, it seems that I may also wish to ponder the advantages of protecting my inside a little more on left turns and consider whether adjusting my line more towards position 3 when cresting blind rises, would be beneficial.
Despite these minor infractions, it seems I am approaching that point where I am to be handed off to a different Observer for the all-important “quality control” step before going forward for formal assessment.
As normal, all of this information was imparted over tea and cake in one of the many tea shops that Observers seem to have an uncanny ability track down. Who knew that there was a small tea shop, open until 1pm on Saturdays, just off the Co-op car park somewhere deep in the wilds of Lincolnshire? (Damn fine scones by the way).
Perhaps one of the best questions I’ve been asked by my Observer has to be, “How do you think your riding style has changed since starting the IAM Roadsmart course?”
Much thinking was required for me to realise that I haven’t so much changed how I ride, rather, how I now ride is an evolution of where I was.
To be getting somewhere near ready for the formal assessment is both gratifying and something I wasn’t originally keen to achieve. Having discovered the fun there was to be had from learning new things about riding a motorcycle, the thought of someone saying “Congratulations you have made it”, would mark the end, and I didn’t want the fun to stop.
Which brings me to my second realisation … there is no end. The formal process of joining the IAM may come and go and if I would like a higher level of achievement, then there is the IAM Masters to aspire to. Yet, really, every ride is an assessment, just that on some rides you are your own Observer.
There is always something that I could have been a little sharper on. Perhaps that overtake could have been crisper; that mid corner correction could have been seen earlier; a better line through those corners would have maintained more of my – let us call it – forward progress, rather than the dab of brake the line I had chosen required.
The only thing I need to sort out now is when to listen to the voices in my head, and when it is best to ignore them. (Don’t ask it is a long story).