As many regular readers know, fellow Kiwi blogger Roger Fleming and I are both taking formal steps to raise our game in terms of riding ability. Both of us have shared our practical training so far through the blogs as well as reviewing some very good motorcycle books which support our practical work. David Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling, 2nd edition" is HERE and Roger has just completed an excellent review of "The Police Riders Handbook to Better Motorcycling" HERE. The latter book which Roger reviewed is also required reading for my Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) training programme. The other publication which I'm using for the training programme is "Advanced Motorcycling - the essential guide", produced by the IAM.
Approximately 10 pounds from Amazon UK plus postage
Advanced Motorcycling complements the Police Rider's Handbook and although although the subject matter is naturally similar, the content in terms of detail and presentation is sufficiently different to make owning both absolutely worthwhile.
The content of Advanced Motorcycling is broken down into 3 broad sections:
- Preparing to ride. Everything from clothing, riding position, how to check for blind spots etc.
- Basic principles of advanced riding. Gives the underlying theory of advanced riding and demonstrates how individual techniques link together to form a system of advanced riding which allows you to be in total control, all the time.
- Riding techniques in action. Through the aid of photos, diagrams and clear language, the theory of advanced riding is translated into practical, everyday situations you'll encounter; enabling you to absorb and apply them without great difficulty.
The secrets of careful observation
I'm finding this book superb and in terms of readability, it sits nicely between "Proficient Motorcycling" and the "Police Rider's Handbook". As with the latter book, it's aimed at reasonably experienced motorcyclists wanting to take their riding to the next level rather than raw beginners who need foundation work first. However, that's not to say that relatively inexperienced riders won't get something out of the book because they most definitely will.
None of the three books mentioned in this post are about riding fast, racing lines and so on. They are about advanced roadcraft - staying safe on the road through the application of a range of techniques. The last two books link these techniques into a system of control. I wouldn't be without any of them - they are literally life-savers and highly recommended to anyone who cares about their riding. David Hough's book is American and the other two are British. Just to reiterate what Roger and I have mentioned previously, these books completely transcend which side of the road you ride on.
The Related Ride
Regular readers will remember the recent highly stressful observed ride I took in the company of the Chief Examiner (motorcycles) of the NZ branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists HERE. I've just had an email from him saying that an IAM Observer has been allocated who will be responsible for guiding me towards passing the advanced motorcycle test following a whole series of observed rides which will progressively become more demanding. That means getting off my butt and putting in a lot of practice before I get the call!
Today offered a fine window in what has recently been pretty dire weather overall in NZ, so the opportunity for a ride and to practice some of the techniques couldn't be passed up. A 200 km loop of the Coromandel Peninsula was a good distance but not having ridden for 3 weeks exposed more than a few shortcomings. I thought of our fellow bloggers up in northern USA and Canada who have such long weather-enforced lay-ups. Must be really hard to dial in again! In fact, using the IAM examination criteria, I made quite a few blunders on the first half of the ride and was quite disappointed with myself. However, it's amazing what a break and a bit of food does and a pit stop at Tairua did the trick! Sitting near the harbour in bright sunlight munching on a pork and salad-filled roll settled things down nicely.
Weird old boat on harbour edge
Old 2 deck ferry converted into a cafe
Even wearing the hi-viz!
Leaving Tairua, everything suddenly felt "right" - I was relaxed and dropped straight into the groove, holding it all together nicely for the rest of the trip. Amazing how a break and a rethink can completely alter a ride. Personal assessment for the first half 5/10, second half 8/10. Lots of room for improvement before the next IAM observed ride!