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I did mention that I was going to start an advanced level of IAM in a previous blog post
Well, a couple of weeks I got to go out on the first observed ride.
There was to be two of us, plus my previous Observer. He had paired us together as he though we would compliment each other’s riding styles.

The meet up was after a SAM slow riding morning.
The rules for the day were to ride as we normally would, applying IPSGA.
Posted speed limits were to be adhered to, but national speed limits could be stretched subject to a maximum speed, and always maintaining safety.
The whole point was to push what we had already learnt undertaking the “vanilla” IAM course.
One of the reasons to push national speed limits was that if you could not read the road at an enhanced speed, how could be expected to do it at the national speed limit.

To be honest it was very rare that we did exceed the speed limit.
This is because we did not spend much time on major routes, be they A or B classified. We spent most of our time om the back roads where even reaching national speed limits was challenging.
It provided an excellent opportunity for me to find out how much my standard has slipped in the previous year.
Saying that, everyday during my commute I consciously practice all the aspects of IPSGA. I tend to concentrate on a different aspect each day, trying to improve on its implementation.

I had also been reading “Full Control”, written by “The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations” (FEMA), and was taking the opportunity to use some of the points I had read in there.

What can I say, I had one of the best rides that I have ever had.
At no time did I feel I was out of my depth, plus I was riding with like minded riders.
I was out on my commuter, the ex Police ST1100, the other guy was on a TDM900 and the Observer was on a BMW S1000RR.
My best memory was a back road through fields and hedgerows, the sun was warm on my back, we were going through a tight right hander with the Pan laid over. I took the opportunity to check the positioning of the two behind me, looking down at the right mirror, just to see the observer tucked in behind with his arse hanging off the seat.
Pure magic!! 😀

At the end of the day we were told had we taken the test we would have been in the high 80s. A very good pass is 92%, though I am aiming for something higher than that.
The feedback, for me, was overtaking could do with a little work to make it a bit smoother, plus I missed taking a couple of, technically difficult, overtakes.
When turning left I need to stay closer to the left side (nearside) of the road.
I also need to make sure that I use all four fingers when braking.

All in all is was a brilliant ride and I now know what I need to work on.

Two more observed rides are on the cards, usually a month apart, and then onto the test.
This course requires that I put a lot of time into practice, which means at least 60 miles a day and preferably not commuting miles. My commute is 60 miles.
At the end of the day, it is for me to decide when I am ready for the test. But, what with the number of miles to cover, the cost of petrol and the blinking weather, I am not sure when that will be.

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