It was 10 years ago to the month when I joined the Institute of Advanced Motorists as a means of upskilling and prolonging my riding career in a safe and fulfilling manner. The blog has documented the road to being coached in Police Roadcraft, passing the IAM Advanced Test, then further training and tests to become an Observer (mentor) and an Examiner 4 years ago. All that was due to well-known US motorcycle safety author David Hough emailing me in 2010 having seen an article I wrote and pricking my conscience. Certainly a fantastic outcome and I've tried to pay it forward as thanks to all those people who put their time into making me a better rider. A real win-win if ever there was one. Made some wonderful lifelong friends too. One of them and fellow IAM member, Tony, turned 57 a week ago and we celebrated his birthday with a 200 km brisk scamper round a biker nirvana on our doorstep; the northern Coromandel Loop. Being a Monday with all the visitors having gone home, we virtually had the road to ourselves in warm, sunny conditions. Absolute heaven!
However, I'm 74 later this year and still love riding. Whilst there are no concrete plans to stop, I'm becoming more comfortable with the idea of not riding as I've had such a great length of time on 2 wheels. I'll be retiring as an active IAM member at year end, but will still ride socially, at least for a while. Whenever the time comes to stop doing something that has consumed a large part of our lives, I reckon it's really important to have a fall-back interest to keep us mentally and physically active. I have a reasonable range of other interests. None of them would replace motorcycling on their own but the mix would probably be an acceptable substitute. Annual international travel was also regular until early 2020 (Wuhan in July 2019!) but that's come to a grinding stop.
Competitive sailing was once a big thing in my life but that requires a high degree of physical fitness. Not interested in just cruising. We have a runabout for sea fishing as it's something which Jennie and I can do together. Unfortunately, it hasn't been in the water since last November due to weather, tides, other commitments and so on. Note to ourselves - just make time and stop procrastinating!