Blog Search

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Something to live up to

Got a call this afternoon from Philip McDaid, Chief Examiner (Motorcycles) for the Institute of Advanced Motorists in NZ.  He wanted to know whether I'd accept being appointed to the position of IAM Examiner, currently one of 6 in NZ.  Must say that it was quite an emotional conversation in terms of both being immensely proud to be asked, coupled with trepidations about upholding the incredibly high expectations and standards.

When starting the journey in April 2011, it was principally driven by the fact that I was seriously lacking in talent and the chances of  injury and/or expensive encounters with the gendarmerie were pretty high.  There's no need to go over old ground as the journey so far has been reported in the blog since that initial assessment where Philip was able to confirm that I would indeed benefit from mentoring using the UK Police Roadcraft System (my mates were far less diplomatic!).

Apr 2011 - Initial Assessment - Philip's expression nearly made me pee myself!

Eight months after joining, I passed the Advanced Roadcraft Test after a lot of blood, sweat and tears.  Serious doubts as to whether I'd ever be good enough. Well, we made it but by then, it became pretty obvious that no matter what a person does in life, learning never stops.  Progressing onto Observer (mentor) training was a great way to build further skills as well as paying it forward for all the time and effort from others which had helped me to become a better rider.  That took the best part of another year to pass and then it was on to Senior Observer after a couple of years of building experience.  A lot of the learning has also spilled over into my personal life, especially interpersonal stuff.  A real life example of win-win!  Now it all starts again with another round of intensive learning but to be honest, would we really want it any other way?    Retirement sure doesn't mean taking it easy!

Dec 2012 - Just passed my Observer Test and have dust in the eye (well, maybe a teardrop)


Mar 2017 - Out for a brisk social run with other Observers

Interestingly, a comment made by Dan Bateman, a training manager at Team Oregon in the USA when I passed my Advanced Test in 2011 still stands out as much as it did at the time.  He said

"Also remember that you will forever be known differently now.  It is a tremendous responsibility to always reflect the proper ideals"

It's something I'm acutely aware of and that's going to be even more important now.  The hooligan tendencies haven't entirely disappeared and I hope I can live up to the standards!

Arrested whilst loitering outside a country toilet!
(Steve is a police instructor and fellow IAM member)


16 comments:

  1. Nice one Geoff. So have you accepted? Do we need to call you "your majesty" or something like that?

    Obviously it's all that hard work paying off and being recognized as one of the best! Mucho respect!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Andrew! Yep, have accepted. A smart response would be "kiss my ring", but that might have the wrong connotations ;-) . It's really nice that something which started out as pure self-interest has actually had benefit to the wider riding community, as well as making me maintain a decent standard (and knowing the NZ Road Rules in pretty good depth!)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations! This has been a real passion of yours and I applaud your commitment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Richard. It's a perfect example of doing something for the community which in turn gives something back. A side benefit is that Jennie thinks it's great because it keeps me from getting under her feet!

      Delete
  4. Congratulations Geoff that’s a great achievement. Blood fantastic!!!

    I still remember the day we met you on the Coro and actually got to ride with you. I thought to myself “Steve, you’re on a completely unfamiliar bike, on unfamiliar roads and hung over to buggery and he is an IAM instructor riding in his own bike in his backyard so be careful, and anyway how hard could it be to keep up with this old guy”

    Well turns out you can ride pretty bloody fast, and I bet you weren’t even trying too hard. I got to watch as I followed you. You were setting up each corner and taking the perfect entry and exit lines. I was thinking in my head, “Steve he’ll be watching and evaluating your bloody piss poor effort at riding the Coro, better shape up” which added nervous to my hung over riding making it even worse. Riding really is a head game. I wonder if you thought I’ll be pulling these Aussie’s out of the Thames soon as you looked like your were riding almost effortlessly!

    But it was fantastic to follow you and watch and learn from behind, and also great to meet you and Jenny.

    All the best my friend

    Steve

    The Road to Nowhere

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Steve, that's very kind of you! Spot on about it all being in the head because the ride up the Coro coast was none of the things you thought! Knowing you guys did trackdays, there was no way I was going to step it up and embarrass myself! Just focussed on being smooth to make good progress.

      Reckon I've got a year or two yet before the motorised wheelchair :-) . Take good care of yourself mate!

      Delete
  5. Congrats Geoff! Retirement definitely does not mean giving up on living. You are setting a great benchmark for us youngsters to strive for. Best of luck with the new venture. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave! Absolutely! By and large, it means doing what you want, when you want (subject to Executive approval). Giving something back to the community is also something I enjoy. Nice that IAM satisfies both of these things. Both travelling and going fishing with Jennie is the other part of the equation!

      Delete
  6. Congratulations Geoff, that's quite an achievement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks David! Given my past as more than a bit of a hooligan on a bike, it's a surprising result. A good example of poacher turned gatekeeper!

      Delete
  7. Congratulations Geoff, well done. A great achievement. They are better for having you. (I know....you are better for joining them)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words Brandy. Nice to have an environment where everyone gets something out of it.

      Delete
  8. As said by others but I'll reiterate it Geoff, nice work and good on you. Observer training next for me too and I'm looking forward to the conference later this month.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks Lee - if I can do it, anyone can! Reckon there's a couple of years left before retirement. I may be presenting on the course and look forward to catching up at month end - should be fun!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Again, congratulations Geoff! Just looking at the helmet in the 2012 photo, I'm wondering if it is the same one that you still wear? What's your (evidence based) thinking on how long to keep a helmet in service for?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks Jules! A wee while to go before I retire to my pipe and slippers! I bought that Shoei in the photo in 2009 I think (in Melbourne actually!)and retired it last year when I bought my GT Air. I know popular wisdom (dunno whether it's evidence based) says around 5 years for a replacement. I know that mine far exceeded that but the truth of the matter is that it was the most comfortable helmet I've ever had. Very reluctant to change but conscience got the better of me. It's still in a cupboard as backup!

    ReplyDelete