The record temperatures this February encouraged a lot of bikes out on to the road. At H Café on Sunday there were many bikes that appeared to have spent the previous months carefully cocooned in garages, having been lovingly cleaned before being put away. I imagine that many riders spent an hour or two cleaning and checking their bikes before a Sunday run in the warm, dry and sunny weather. Everything looked shiny, bright and ready for action.

Some of the riders, though, looked decidedly rusty. Contrasting with the polish that had been applied to their bikes, the lack of polish in their riding was clear. It struck me that we’re generally very good at making sure our bikes are ready to ride, but less good at making sure that we are. The IAM SAFE checklist that Andy Slater discussed in a previous issue is a good way to check before each ride, but it’s also important to recognise where our skills may have slipped when, for example, we haven’t been riding as much as normal due to poor weather. So please take the time to build up your riding skills when you’ve been off the bike for a while and make sure that your riding is well polished – not just your bike.

Keeping skills up is also a key theme for our Observer Day being held on 2nd March. Almost all our Observers and Trainee Observers are coming along to a day of workshops and discussions, prepared by the Training Team, to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. The day is a classroom-based day, and together with our Observer Weekend in July (which is focused around riding), is designed to keep our Observer skills honed around the four key areas of being an effective Observer:

  • Creating a learning environment
  • Knowing your stuff
  • Relating riding issues to the System
  • Riding to the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Standard (as a minimum)

    I am grateful that so many of our Observers are keen to continue to improve their knowledge and
    skills since these form an important element of the training and development for Associates and Full Members and enable us to develop truly ‘thinking riders’ that view Advanced Riding as an ongoing skill development.

    If you’re interested in becoming an Observer then please come along to one of the introductory discus- sions with the Training Team at 10:00am at the St. Crispin’s meeting, or drop an email to observerinter-

    Safe riding