From-the-Saddle-574x480Hi everyone. I hope you’ve all been enjoying the lovely weather we’ve been having lately. These longer days and warm evenings are a fantastic opportunity to get out, explore new roads and see new places. I joined the Slough team on their monthly ride out recently and had a great time on some of the roads between Northampton and Banbury, and edging into the Cotswolds. Under ‘New Management’, the Slough team have opened their doors to all. So if you are in the area, I recommend you get along to see them. Just contact Adrian Needham or see Slipstream for more information.

This is my first opportunity to thank everyone who attended this year’s Observer Weekend and made it such a great success. Some great coaching sessions helped us to think a little bit more about how we operate as Observers and interact with our Associates. Wall-to-wall sunshine certainly helped and the extra riding time on Sunday morning was appreciated by all. The only downside to the weekend was that Dawn Armstrong had an ‘off’ just a few miles from the hotel at the end of the Sunday morning ride, which resulted in her being airlifted to hospital. It will take several months before Dawn is able to ride again, but it will give her plenty of time to line up another bike! I am sure we continue to send her our best wishes.

Unfortunately, the sunshine has also brought its fair share of two-wheeled nutters onto the roads again. My latest encounter was with a guy in shorts and a T-shirt, riding a Hayabusa.
Filtering at high speed through near-stationary traffic is maybe not the best way to enjoy a long and happy life. I thought perhaps he should have a sign on his back saying ‘Organ Donor’, because riding like that he could end up being one very soon! They are out there,  so keep a good look out for them. Remember to use all the skills you have learned to stay one step ahead of the game.

I was asked recently about ‘acceleration sense’, which is the ability to accurately use the throttle, and adjust the speed of the vehicle, in response to changing road and traffic conditions. It comes with experience and a feel for the bike you are riding, but also requires good observation, anticipation and judgement of speed and distance. Good acceleration or throttle sense will result in a nice smooth journey; poor throttle sense may often result in excessive use of the brakes. Don’t forget that bikes are very responsive to throttle changes and twins in particular can slow down a lot just by closing the throttle. Always be aware of what is behind you when slowing down, and consider if it’s also necessary to squeeze the brake lever just enough to cause the brake light to come on and alert the driver behind. Next time you have the opportunity, why not ride along a route you know well and try to use more anticipation and acceleration/throttle sense, and see how it affects the smoothness of your ride?

Ride safe everyone.

Andy Wedge
Chief Observer