I met my IAM observer, Ian Souter, for my fifth observed ride at Ashridge. We were lucky with the weather today, although it had been raining in the morning, by the afternoon it had stopped and pretty much dried up by the time we met which was good.
Ian explained what we would be doing this session and what I should expect. Today we would be taking a ride to Woburn to find cake and coffee and then ride back via a short stint on the motorway to include coming on/off the motorway a couple of times.
To see that I am putting into practice what I have been learning over the last few weeks, Ian would be observing my riding.
We would also be looking at overtaking. Ian explained that there were two types of overtaking – single stage whereby you are out and back in, in one manoeuvre and then a three stage whereby you are following a car that you wish to get past but there is not an overtake opportunity.
In this case we should be 2 seconds behind the car and if it looks like there is an overtaking opportunity, move to 1 second behind and then we move out to the other side of the road to increase our view and then if it’s safe to do so, accelerate quickly past the vehicle. Obviously if it is not safe to overtake, drop back behind the vehicle safely and smoothly.
The final part of the overtake sees us returning safely back to our side of the road, not forgetting to check our mirrors and/or do a life saver check to make sure that you have clearly passed the vehicle. So, moving up, moving out, overtaking, back in.
Excellent, it’s always going to be a good ride where the bike, overtaking and cake is involved 🙂
After about 15/20 minutes of riding and short of where we were heading, Ian pulled past me and we pulled over. Uh oh. I assumed that I had done something amiss but Ian just wanted to say that he couldn’t fault my riding so far at all. I kept my bubble of safety and my positions were all good. I was well chuffed with myself. What I had been learning over the past few weeks was all starting to come together.
One of the roads on our route was closed so we ended up re-routing and this took us on the motorway on the way to our planned stop. I’m not a huge lover of motorways (as like many people I should think) but I did it.
When we stopped Ian did say that my motorway riding was really good, my planning was very well executed, my balance between progress and restraint was spot on and all overtakes were well executed and I moved appropriately back to the nearside when I could. The only thing I should be doing is when joining the motorway, I should make use of the bike’s acceleration to get myself up to speed quickly to merge when joining the motorway. I was joining at about 45 mph and then accelerating.
I was also pleased to hear that all my overtakes on normal roads were well executed too.
Coffee and cake to celebrate my progress was definitely well deserved (although I would also have had this if I was commiserating too !!!)
After a very leisurely chat, we then went back to the bikes to head back. When we got to a certain point, Ian headed his way home and myself my way.
I am away for the next two weeks on my holibobs but when I return I will have one more observed ride, then a mock test with Ian! Another mock test with a national observer will follow and then Ian will put me in for my test. Oo er!!!
For my next observed session, I will be planning the route and Ian said to make sure it includes a cake stop – I can definitely do that 🙂