How We Do It
We carry out training in two ways:-
- We meet on the first Sunday of every month at Cobham Village Hall in Surrey, come rain or shine. Starting as an Associate member, having signed in and maybe bought a tea and a bacon sandwich from our cafe, you’ll be paired up with an Observer.
- Alternatively, if Sunday is not a good day for you, you can sign up for our ‘by appointment’ scheme where you are paired with one observer, local to you, who takes you through your training at times to suit you both.
Whichever way you choose, the Observer will put you at ease, discuss your history and experience of biking and explain how the observed run will proceed. You’ll then head out for about 2 hours on a variety of roads, sometimes leading, sometimes following your observer as he or she demonstrates an element of advanced riding. We don’t use radios on the observed ride, but typically there will be one or more stops for discussion about theory, practice and technique.
We understand that not everyone ‘clicks’ but not to worry, your Observer will change each Sunday. If you do prefer a particular Observer or your life doesn’t allow you to get down to Cobham each month, you can also approach the club for a mentor who is available to carry out midweek runs
The method we teach is based on the Police system of motorcycle control, designed to make you a better and safer rider and is used by the emergency services to train their own riders. Known as IPSGA, the system is made up of four phases – position, speed, gear & acceleration, all encompased by information. This may not seem like rocket science, but even the most competent riders develop bad habits over time.
After your observed ride you’ll return to Cobham for another cuppa and sit down with your Observer for a debriefing. Using the same scoring as the IAM Roadsmart test, your Observer will give you constructive feedback and areas to work on, if any. Scores and comments will be included on one of the observed run sheets included in your Associates Advanced Rider Course (ARC) logbook provided by IAM RoadSmart. Please bring the logbook with you for every observed run’ Ahead of your next observed run you should work on what you have learnt so far, aiming to cover about 100 miles or so.
At the end of the observed ride and debrief (typically between 1 and 2 pm) you can join in on one of our social rides or head home. We have a corner/junction marking system for social rides that ensures that you can ride at your own pace (RIDE YOUR OWN RIDE), knowing that every key junction will be marked. You need to know how this marking system works, so the social rides following on from the observed runs are specifically tailored for this purpose.
After an average of 6 observed runs dependant on your initial experience and time spent practicing advanced skills between observed runs you’ll then go for your IAM Roadsmart test. Your examiner is usually an ex or serving Class One Police rider who will be looking for you to demonstrate a safe, smooth and progressive ride with restraint where necessary for your safety.
Most riders will pass the Advanced test first time, but if you don’t we’re here to support you with further training.
We don’t make any charge for observed runs, but we do ask that you make a contribution of £5 towards your Observer’s fuel expenses.