Ok, me just saying yes you should probably isn’t going to get you scrambling to book on to a course. What if you could ride faster, overtake more, corner with more confidence all while using less fuel, wearing tyres less and getting possible insurance discounts.
It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Further to that, you could use your new skills to volunteer as a blood biker to give riding some purpose? Most blood bike charities like to see some advanced rider training undertaken.
Look at me, before investing in an advanced riding course, I was one of those loonies you see out and about, riding everywhere as fast as possible, overtaking in dodgy places. Being honest, the only reason I started the course was to get the insurance discount. This was to make insuring a high cc sports bike as a mid-twenty something more affordable. That mindset quickly changed once the advanced riding penny dropped. I realised I could get to where I wanted to go quicker, safer, with less ‘oh shit moments’. It hasn’t turned me into a boring rider, it has just given me a lesson without learning the hard way.
Advanced riding isn’t a cult, despite the stigma of being ageing BMW GS riders with High viz jackets (yes there are a few). Advanced riding is merely learning the skills and techniques to ride responsibly, allowing the rider to anticipate and control any situations which may arise and cause an accident.
This knowledge gets passed down and stems from the police riders roadcraft handbook, the gold standard for advanced riding.
There are many courses to choose, with programs operated by the Police, private instructors, charities and the DVSA themselves. All aim to make riders more confident and give them essential skills useful when out on the road.
Who should do an advanced riding course?
Everybody who rides a motorcycle.
Ok, yes I get it, another vague answer, but it’s the correct answer. I strongly feel that any rider, no matter what or how you ride should do an advanced riding course. This knowledge is fantastic and completely changed my outlook on riding for the better. Even the most hardened and experienced rider can benefit from some observation and feedback. Even the top-level Moto GP riders still have rider coaches, doesn’t that say something?
What is an advanced riding qualification?
You’ve got a full motorcycle licence, be it A or A2. Excellent, well done! Many people take that as the point to stop learning. Unfortunately, most riding schools only coach you as to how to ride a bike and not good practices when riding. If you are a new, or a returning biker, what’s better than a new buddy to ride with who knows all the best roads. That’s all most of these advanced riding clubs are. Going out for a ride with a mate or two, or three having a laugh, maybe some cake or ice cream, and all helping each other to develop one another’s skill set.
All this sounds great. How do I complete an advanced riding course?
As before the process varies between each course but most involve paying a fee, and then completing the training. Some are time-based using a ‘Show and Tell’ method, some are a morning or an afternoon out, while others are syllabus based over a few weeks or months.
What riding course should I do?
This is a hard question to answer, as they are all so different.
Bikesafe, ran by the Police is meant as an introduction to advanced riding from the best riders there are. It involves a one-time fee usually around the £50 mark but varies from area to area.
Being run by the Police it teaches beginner tips and tricks with both a classroom and practical on-road assessment with a Police rider, with feedback on how to improve.
IAM Roadasmart review
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) runs the Roadsmart course, which is a more intensive 1-1 course usually with an observer of a high standard. He/she will instruct and provide feedback and improvements with a final assessment ride usually from an ex-Police rider.
The course revolves around getting you out of bad habits, and improving your rider skills, looking further head and taking in as much information as possible from the road and signage. The course itself change my mentality whilst riding and is actually quite fun, read more below.
Alternatively, there is the RoSPA course, which can be taken as an intensive four day or can be module based at your own pace like IAM. Hopefully, in the future, I’ll complete RoSPA and know what the syllabus is like.
Breaking away from the government, road safety organisations and charities does away with the red tape and bureaucratic nonsense, which quite often is a massive turnoff. Going straight to a person who knows their stuff (AKA Neil from Jewell Bike Traning) and believes me he doesn’t let you forget he knows his stuff. By cutting out the boring crap, lets Neil get down and dirty with cake crumbs and coffee stains in making you the best rider you can be, either virtually or in person.
Based in Cheshire, Neil, has all of the top level advanced riding qualifications, including IAM Masters at distinction level, the highest civilian riding qualification available.
Check this video below from Neil, an IAM National Observer giving feedback after an ‘advanced (cake) ride’ with me. This is a great example of what advanced riding is all about. Skip to 4:30 in the video to see what Neil does best with his feedback.
If you ride with a camera, you can send Neil your footage and he will review it, and provide feedback on the ride.
Which riding course right for me?
On the whole, no matter which course you pick, there are only benefits, and I wholeheartedly recommend doing some advanced riding, it will completely change your outlook on riding. You will 100% learn some new stuff, you could even get an insurance discount, be a faster and more efficient rider. What is not to like?
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