Wheel alignment

Monday 29 October 2012

A great day on two wheels

The last Sunday of the month signals the Auckland province IAM advanced training run.  For the previous few days, the forecast had been showing wet conditions which was a bit disappointing.  I don't mind riding in the rain but when you have to ride 180 km to the venue, do the assessment ride for a couple of hours and then ride home again, wet conditions do get a bit tedious!  As it happened, a high pressure weather system hung on for a bit longer than expected, allowing us to ride in warm, sunny conditions.  Even got to wear my silver and black "chick magnet" (I jest, of course!) leathers instead of the bulky cordura winter stuff.

Special thanks to Ken and Mark for some of the photos.......

Some of the assembled bikes - a great mix

Arty-farty shot of some of the hardware.  The wicked 750 Kawasaki in the foreground is owned by Catherine, one of several recently-joined women members

It's a mark of the enthusiasm of IAM members that people start assembling at least an hour before the ride to grab a coffee, socialise and start zoning in.  The other noticeable feature of these gatherings is that although there's a lot of leg-pulling and laughter at each other's expense, there is never any unwarranted bravado.  People who join IAM know that the expected standards are so high that you have to be on your game 100% of the time and the level of support for each other to achieve that is outstanding.  The photo below is of Morne, an extremely experienced Observer who is supremely talented in giving great feedback to Associates and trainee Observers alike.  He typifies the spirit and generosity of the voluntary organisation.  There are sometimes jokes about the IAM being an organisation for "Old Farts" but that couldn't be further from the truth - look what Morne rides!

Morne and his GSX-R 750

Pre-ride socialising over coffee - Mark, the writer and Kim.  We look far too serious!

 IAM Associate Brett to Roger, "Ewww....has something died in your boot mate?"

As Roger noted in his BLOG , there was an even split between Observers and Associates on this occasion so we could put in some real quality 1:1 ride time.  Chief Examiner Philip allocates the pairing, based on the particular individual skill requirements to be assessed.  I'm paired with Ian, an experienced rider who has recently sold his Honda VFR 1200 and bought a Triumph Tiger 800 adventure bike.  The ride is also for my on-going training, to meet the practical competence component of following and assessing a "quick" rider!  A major requirement of the advanced roadcraft training is what is euphemistically described as "the ability to make progress", whilst obeying normal road rules and I was really looking forward to a spirited ride!   

A route was chosen with a mix of open road sweepers, tight narrow stuff and some urban work to test Ian and his handling of the new bike.  Delighted to report that it was an "A" standard ride and that Ian's pre-full membership check ride shouldn't be too far away.  It was great to ride at real pace in perfect safety on surprisingly empty roads given the great weather.  The Tiger 800 was hugely impressive.  Even on dual purpose tyres, the handling was outstanding in the tight stuff and would give a sport-orientated bike a run for its money with someone like Ian on board.  The look on his face was priceless when I told him he was within a whisker of decking his pegs through the tight stuff - he simply hadn't realised how far he was leaned over!

A wonderful day where not only do people get to have a fun ride in great company, but everyone adds something to their riding.  In my case, a well-spent 420 km.  Simply can't lose, can you?


  1. What a perfect day, great bikes, great company, great roads and great weather. Lucky bloke!!

  2. It looks like a great day out Geoff. All "educational" too :)
    Can you point me toward more detail on the IAM program please? We don't seem to have anything like it on this side of the ditch and I am interested in learning more. Cheers. Dave.

  3. Hi Dave,

    It's based on the advanced training for police riders in the UK. You can see a write-up on the two "bibles" which form the basis for the training here: http://geoffjames.blogspot.co.nz/2011/05/review-and-related-ride.html and here:http://rogerfleming-raftnn.blogspot.co.nz/2011/05/police-riders-handbook-to-better.html. Available from Amazon UK and IAM UK.

    As far as the training applies in a practical sense, this is the write-up of my 1st assessment: http://geoffjames.blogspot.co.nz/2011/04/advanced-riding-masterclass.html and some musings after passing the full membership test: http://geoffjames.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/raising-my-riding-skills-some.html.

    Hope that helps.

    1. Thanks Geoff. I also got the email from my brother, so thanks again. I will have a look once I return from your fair shores. Yes, I will be taking the tone of your country down a notch or two again on Friday!

    2. No worries Dave,
      If you fly into Auckland at some time in the future, maybe we can sort out an assessment run for you so you can see how it works first hand!

  4. The weather cooperated and it was a most productive day, I was envying you have a nice long ride up and back. Although your use of the word 'chick magnet"..considering your latest birthday may be a bit ,well, presumptuous!

  5. Wasn't it just a great day mate? Now look here..... if Jennie can drool over that old Sean Connery fella, I'm sure I can find someone, somewhere who is visually impaired......

    Love all the banter :-)

    1. Geoff:

      Do a Poll: post up a photo of your "chick" magnet leathers.

      can Guys drool too . . . ?

      looks like you had a great day of riding with "friends"

      Riding the Wet Coast
      My Flickr // My YouTube

  6. Bob,

    You'll see more of them in due course but I dread to think what the poll might say. Apart from Roger of course, who desperately wants a set so that he can look cool.

    It was indeed a wonderful day with friends, although if a stranger overheard Rog and I abusing each other they might wonder about the definition of friendship :-). Still, that's what mates are for, isn't it?

  7. It looks like a wonderful Spring day, at least I'm assuming it's still Spring. That group doesn't all ride together do they? If people are paired up does that mean everyone goes their own way once you're finished with your coffee?

    1. Hi Richard,
      Yep, still spring with the temperature in the low 20's C - perfect. Fortunately to the n-w of Auckland, we're blessed with a whole range of different routes covering different conditions so we choose them according to need and head off in different directions. You rarely meet up with others on the road. I've uploaded a whole range of routes to the IAM DropBox so that Observers can either download them via Google Maps, or if they have a Garmin GPS, they can download the routes directly. I did this out of pure self interest! Being a non-local and relatively unfamiliar with the area, I spent a couple of days in the area, recording where I went to build up a portfolio of routes.

  8. Gidday Geoff!
    Nice to see your still out and about my ol mate, would love to catch up sometime when your up this way again! I can still remember the unbelievable transition your modification to my old Blackbird made, truly unbelievable! Email me mate, please.... hsvsrno1@gmail.com ...... Cheers, Kimbo

    1. Gidday Kimbo - great to hear from you - it's been too long!

      Would love to catch up with you again. I'm picking that you're still a Westie *grin* and our IAM rides leave leave Massey on the last Sunday of each month. We're usually finished by early afternoon, so will email and see how we can organise a get-together.

      Take care.......

  9. Mark on a MP3-40029 October 2012 at 18:00

    Serious discussion?? - oath it was... something along the lines of "do children bleed to death or die of lockjaw and starvation induced by tetanus when they have their fingers chopped off by an enraged teacher using a blunt and rusty kitchen knife?"
    [You can delete that part if you like.]

    Yes, the discussion was serious - kitchen knives was, in fact, the topic of conversation...

    Was a superb day! Had to take the car today after 2 weeks of riding to and from work - you can't filter with a car :-( or use the bus lanes :-(...

    1. Mark,
      Oh, maiming schoolkids to bring order to the classroom was the fun bit, no need for deletion at all! The advantages of sharp knives in the kitchen and the money spent on them did indeed bring some gravitas to the discussion :-).

      Funny how a few hours of riding in those conditions can lift your soul eh?

  10. A very enjoyable ride and thanks to Bruce - we went on SH16 to Helensville and the on towards South Head to the end of the tar seal - some challenging (for me at least) twisty bits! Looking forward to welcoming IAM guys and gals to our place after the November ride.

    1. Keith,
      It sure was a great day and we're blessed with some terrific routes which are both scenic and challenging. Very much looking to your BBQ and catching up with both you and Ann again.

  11. Well with as much fun as you seem to have at least you know you can't call the IAM days work.

    And you know you can't use a loaded statement like 'chick magnet' with out pics. What's that saying? - pics or it didn't happen.


  12. Hi Brandy,
    I think you've hit the nail right on the head - when you're able to laugh as much as we do when faced with such an exacting day, you know you've got the balance pretty well sorted. In fact, camaraderie is something our Chief Examiner has touched on in the latest IAM newsletter. Copy coming Brad's way within the hour.

    Hahaha - that got a bite, didn't it? Ok then, will post a pic in due course, but you will let me down gently, won't you???

  13. Sounds like a great bunch, Geoff.
    Still looking for someone over this side of the ditch. Whenever you ask around, the usual reaction is a blank stare......"IAM - woz that?...rider training mate....do a track day or maybe the RAC course....sigh...."
    I've done track days and, great fun though they can be, I prefer the uncertain realms of real world roads.
    Ah well - keep it up.
    The roads north of Auckland - know them extremely well - quick evening trips to Muriwai to watch the sun set, and returns not interrupted by damnable hopping things......

  14. Hi Jon!
    It's a genuine privilege to ride with those guys. Huge fun and riding to the highest of standards, but so willing to help each other get there. IAM is really strong in the UK where it started, in Ireland and NZ. Really surprised that it's not in Oz. You can see from Flyboy's comments that your east coast mates are really keen.

    I love the west coast beaches, especially Bethells on a really rough day. Bit different from Perth eh?

  15. Great day out Geoff. I'm with Jon and Dave i'd like to join up with the IAM training. Maybe I'll have to fly over to NZ and do the training there!

  16. Cheers Steve,
    Maybe we can coax IAM UK to help you guys out. More than one way to skin a cat!


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