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Sunday, 30 September 2012

A run in the sun (at last)

Today was the monthly IAM training run in Auckland which necessitates getting up at 0530 to ride the 180-odd km to get there.  If that wasn't bad enough, the clocks went forward to NZ Daylight Saving time last night so it was pitch black for the first part of the ride!  However, the forecast was for warm and sunny conditions which was a change from our woeful recent weather.

We knew it would be a good turnout with 4 potential new members (2 women, 2 guys) turning up too but as it happened, several Observers were unable to make it at the last minute.  A couple attended fellow moto-blogger and IAM member Roger's birthday celebration the previous evening so there might be a reason for their no-show.  The words "ill" or "looking after the kids" might be cover for another root cause :-).  Good on ya Rog, your hospitality knows no bounds!

The shortage of Observers to assess the advanced trainees meant a hurried reshuffle and Rog and I found ourselves with 2 trainees each to assess and coach.  I had Alan, a BMW adventure bike rider who is very skilled and will be sitting his full membership test before long.  I also had Charlotte, a sound engineer from a major TV network who had come along for the first time on her lovely black Bonneville.

Great turn-out.  Charlotte and Alan's bikes in the foreground

Introducing Charlotte and her Bonnie

After explaining the rules for the ride and assessment process to Charlotte, hopefully setting her at her ease and setting up bike-to-bike comms, we all discussed the route which was a technical mix of urban work, open country sweepers and tight, narrow back roads  with regular changes in posted speed limits.  Delighted to say that Charlotte had an absolutely fantastic attitude and soaked up the comments and suggestions which will move her from an already competent rider to a truly advanced one.  She wants to come back and learn more so I can't have been that much of a bastard!!  Alan had an exemplary ride, confirming that a check ride prior to sitting his full test is imminent.  Well done both of you!

Socialising after the ride

With all the written assessments out of the way and everyone relaxing, Philip, our Chief Examiner, gave a demo for those who hadn't previously seen one of the correct method to pick up a bike by walking it up backwards.  Philip is slightly built but made it look easy and his Honda ST1300 must be one of the heavier bikes around, with a high centre of gravity.  The highlight for me was Roger having a go, mainly in anticipation of him stuffing up (that's what friends are for after all).  Kudos to Roger though and here's the evidence:

Taking the strain.......


....and up she comes!


Any riding day is a great day, but the great weather and excellent company made it 420 km of sheer pleasure!

22 comments:

  1. Geoff your weather has been pretty much like ours over the past few months, I too am waiting for the summer with eager anticipation and a great deal of "wanna-ride-the-damn-thing"! We have had some rides and have been caught in some serious rain but now hopefully it's pretty much over.
    I found this post, along with your earlier posts on IAM training rides very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andrew!
      I think the whole Southern Hemisphere has been turned on it's head - our mates over in Aussie have had it pretty rough too. May you now have trouble-free weather in SA!

      Thanks and glad you've enjoyed them. The results IAM get are really spectacular and the voluntary nature of giving something back after going through the process is really appealing. It's extraordinary that only the UK, Ireland and NZ have it operating properly, although it's supposed to be in place elsewhere.

      Delete
  2. Geoff, you have summed up a "Glorious" day - as Philip wrote for today's weather on my assessment sheet. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and, as always, came home with positive comments about my ride and a few areas to work on. Now for some fine weather over the next couple of weeks while I enjoy school holidays.

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    Replies
    1. Mark,
      Days like that bring out the best in everyone, don't they? Looking forward to getting out with you on your new steed - looks great and I think you'll do really well on it.

      Delete
  3. It was a great day Geoff, so good to have the weather play it's part. I enjoyed my ride with katheryn and Peter , both have great attitudes which makes our job a lot easier. I am sure you would of had a awesome ride home.

    Rumours are that the "Grapes" were off at my small birthday bash.....I personally feel great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rog,
      You've hit the nail on the head about attitude. I think most people come along to IAM knowing that if they bring a "show pony" attitude, they won't make it. Besides, when people commit to becoming the best of the best, they know they also commit to something worth all the blood, sweat and tears. You simply can't compare it with one day training courses, even though many are very good starting points.

      Oh, and I'll expect you to bench press Philip's bike next time for your encore :-)

      Delete
  4. Looks like a good time was had by all. Looking at Rog is like I'll huff and I'll puff and then I'll pick your bike up for you.

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    Replies
    1. Steve,
      It's always a fun day! Yeah, I think the guy behind Rog in the first photo was there to catch it in case Rog flung it over backwards. Now that was a demonstration of faith in his abilities!

      Delete
  5. I'm glad the spring weather is finally looking up for you! Looks like a great day to be out with some good people. Thanks for capturing fearless Rog actually performing some heavy lifting, that didnt involve a bend in the elbow. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Lori,
      Hahahaha - love it!!! I think there was rather a lot of elbow-bending the previous evening by the sound of it. Maybe that's why Rog sweated a bit :-)

      Delete
  6. You made it to the ride. Good for you. The organization seem to attract a wonderful bunch of people with great attitude.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sonja,
      Thanks - my ribs were fine but shoulder ached a lot at open road speeds. Nothing that Ibuprofen couldn't fix :-).

      Yep, IAM does attract great people because they know what's ahead of them!

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  7. Great stuff Geoff. I am glad you had a nice sunny day for your IAM training run.

    Nice photos of Rogey picking up the bike too. No easy feat. I can tell you from first hand experience that method works wonders. Of course, now we are all awaiting those bench press shots. Best get to it Roger. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brandy - hopefully, we've seen the last of the winter weather!

      So you've had to do the rear lift too - well done!

      Hope you've seen Brandy's comments Rog - we all await the next end of month ride ;-).

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    2. I think it is clealry obvious from my stunning physique, rippling abs, that I donot need to bench press...

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  8. If you say so mate, but think of your adoring female fans in the U.S and Canada. They'll be bitterly disappointed!

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  9. Looks like NI IAM is going from strength to strength Geoff. When Jo and I first qualified as Observers with CWAM we, like your group, were busy trying to train new Observers whilst still trying to train Associates and ended up regularly taking out more than one 'newbie' at a time. We did manage to group the new Associates by ability to take some of the strain off the Observers. Best way to gain Observing eyes watching two at once and keeping them together and maintaining your own forward obs....excellent.
    p.s
    cleaning one Striple is a pain...cleaning two........!

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  10. Hi Dylan,
    It is indeed and we deliberately haven't advertised widely either! We tend to group by ability if we can but having yesterday's mix was great too. For part of the ride, I had the experienced rider(Alan)observing from the rear and watched him in the mirrors. He was able to contribute to Charlotte's intermediate debrief which was good experience for him too. After I gave a short demo of extreme positioning and use of the gearbox, Alan went up front with Charlotte behind me. I could still observe her in the mirror but also gave her a commentary over the comms set about what Alan was doing and why. Really enjoyed the occasion, made even better by Charlotte and Alan's enthusiasm.

    Yeah, I can imagine. The only way I get to drive Jennie's MX 5 is by keeping it clean too but at least it has nice big panels!

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  11. Ahah, I thought you might have used the comms to talk to Charlotte about what I was doing and why. Presume it probably helped her too, so cool.

    So did Rog actually pick up the bike? Looks like he was trying to turn beetroot instead!

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  12. Hi Alan,
    Yep, it was great extra coaching for Charlotte as well as observing for me. Yep, Rog picked it up just fine. The camera was there to record him either exploding or splitting his trousers but no such luck - he was great!

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  13. Geoff:

    your weather is improving, while ours is deteriorating. We can only look forward to colder and wetter for the next 6 months. We are envious that you can go for a ride and have great weather too. It's obvious that all of you get along with each other and have a great time

    happy belated birthday to Roger, and he is so strong for picking up that ST

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

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  14. Hi Bob,
    Yep, IAM riding is so demanding that everyone else goes the extra mile to help others reach the standard. It's a wonderful and stimulating environment to be part of.

    Yeah, good old Rog. We'd have preferred to laugh at him getting it wrong (like the supportive friends we really are)but we were delighted that he mastered the technique.

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