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There Are Old Riders and There Are Bold Riders, but There Are No Old, Bold Riders……

 

 

 

The avid reader of my inaugural blog entry may remember that I had booked on a Bikesafe Course to get me restarted on the Tiger in a roadcraft-worthy manner. The idea being that I could pick up some useful information and stay alive in the process. Nothing at all to do with the fact that the course is fully subsidized by local authorities and lunch is included!

The course is held at a Fire Station just on the northern edge of Swansea. Mid & West Wales Fire Service have been extremely active in the last few years in the Road Safety arena, and quite a few of the Bikesafe courses in South Wales are held at Fire Stations. There were 12 riders there for the course, across all age groups. The course was led by a serving Police Motorcyclist who was joined (just in time for lunch!) by 3 more Police Bikers, who would be doing the afternoon assessments. There were also some RoSPA Gold Riders helping out with the assessing.

The morning session comprised various videos of different scenarios such as cornering, overtaking, road positioning etc and plenty of discussion on each video. It was quickly apparent just how many of us had read the Highway Code since passing their test! (A clue to how long ago I did my test – the examiner was on foot walking around the block and jumping out every so often to tell me what to do).

 

The afternoon session was practical with observed rides with regular stops for feedback. The Bikesafe course is not formally assessed, but they do provide feedback during the rides, and then a written assessment after. Its then up to the rider if they want to go on higher-level courses and obviously further improvement. I was lucky enough to be 1 to 1 with my observer, but some were 3 riders to 1 observer.   We headed North and ultimately covered about 90KM on the ride, with a (free) lunch stop at the Owl’s Nest Tea Stop in Llandovery (a VERY biker friendly café), and then back towards Swansea over the Black Mountains. (See route on map). Lots of different types of roads covered, and lots of thinking was carried out!

 

The whole idea of the training is to be in the right place, in the right gear at the right time. It’s all about making smooth, safe progress and avoiding the hazards of modern driving (e.g. other drivers). It certainly makes you think. There is quite a bit to take in, and it definitely has helped me feel more confident. I also recognize that you never stop learning so once I have got a few more miles in I will be looking to try the next level of training which includes a formal assessment and grading that is recognized by DVSA. It can lead to cheaper insurance, but even if it doesn’t I like the fact that I’m reducing my risk of being in an accident in the first place.

Rich

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