Bikesafe ramble - Clanger
I've just completed a Bikesafe course and enjoyed it immensely. Fifty quid bought two two-and-a-half hour evening sessions with Powerpoint presentations heavily based on the book Motorcycle Roadcraft and a two hour ride out with a Police motorbike rider. During the introductions, we said why we wanted to be on the course. A few said they wanted to keep learning and were labelled "sponge" on the whiteboard. Others said they wanted to improve their cornering and were labelled "bends". I said that I didn't ride in company any more because I found other bikers much faster than me and felt safer riding my own pace rather than trying to keep up. "Nervous" went on the whiteboard. One of the evening presentations contained a commentary by one of the Police presenters as he rode along a local road. That video brought some interesting points home about observation. I caused some chuckles and eyes raised to the ceiling when I claimed to be the only one of the 7 attendees who had no difficulty keeping his speed down to the nsl.

The best bit of the course was this afternoon's ride around bits of North Yorkshire which incorporated part of the notorious "Helmsley TT", a road mentioned by Janet Street-Porter in one of her attacks on motor biking. There were supposed to be two of us being assessed by Policeman Mark, but it looked like rain (more of which later) and the other rider didn't turn up so I had Mark's undivided attention. He gave a friendly briefing by explaining where we would be going and what he was looking for. I was to ride as I would on my own but to stick to the 30 and 40 speed limits rigidly to spare him the embarrassment of being "pinched" by his own colleagues. If I was leading he would give directions by indicating from behind in plenty of time. He started by leading on his black Yamaha R1 with Police and Bikesafe decals while I followed trying to relate his riding to the course content. Then he waved me by and I nervously entered the spotlight, fortunately on roads I knew. Bend technique, observation and overtaking safely were key areas for this ride and, with some effort, I managed to fit in some good and bad examples of all three. The Yamaha's left indicator was invisible next to a badly-adjusted headlight so I was forgiven for missing a junction. Just outside Helmsley I got a detailed breakdown of my cornering and some advice on how to improve. I wasn't to be so rigid about starting each right-hander from the gutter and each left-hander from the white line. I should try and plan further ahead and make bends flow into one another. Again, I followed Mark for a few miles and then was waved by. The knowledge that I hadn't made a total cock-up of the ride so far helped me relax and, barring some nervous horses in Helmsley and a Peugeot driver who U-turned in front of me near Chop Gate, the rest of the run was completed without incident at, erm, slightly more than the nsl. We did over 80 miles in a little under 2 hours including a 10 minute stop for a review and advice so we weren't hanging about.

As I headed for the A1 and home, the sky darkened and so much rain fell that my vision was affected so I stopped for a choccy bar and a drink under a petrol station canopy. When the rain had abated I found myself riding down the flooded main street of Morton-on-Swale. Manhole covers were displaced and spectacular jets of water were spouting from around a dinner-table sized piece of tarmac that had been bent upward by some titanic underground water pressure. This was when I discovered my boots are not completely waterproof. Never mind, it was an excellent learning experience. My Suzuki V-Strom 650 was as comfy and supple as ever and I was intrigued to see that none of the squashed insects that I remember from the Helmsley stop were anywhere to be seen. It seems that I ride a self-cleaning bike.
Stranger in a strange land
Bikesafe ramble - SjB {P}
Nice to read, Hawkeye.
Glad you had such a great time.

Similar sentiments to when I purchased my Hornet and in the process gained two days of Honda Motorcycle Appreciation Course with ex copper Peter Stride, who had been a Royal protection rider. Like you I fot lucky with 1:1 tuition and what an intense, tiring, but utterly brilliant two days it turned out to be. As a relative newcomer to biking back then, I learned more than I would have done in two years if left to my own devices and the way he could hustle his unwieldy Pan amazed me; if I was driving the Starship Enterprise I don't think I'd try to outrun a copper after seeing his riding at close quarters! :-)
Bikesafe ramble - Pugugly {P}
I did a two (8 hour) day weekend course with Bikesafe. It cost me a £100.00. Basically a Morning's classroom stuff, followed by a ride out with a serving Officer in a two to one ratio. There was a de-brief and critique at the end of day one. Day two was a one to one Morning ride out with a retired Officer and an excellent paid for lunch, this was followed by more riding and then a classroom input by a paramedic on motorcyclist First Aid and RTC scene protection. The weater was very very wet but did not detract from the course, and in fact can be said to have enhanced the experience. I've been a fair weather low mileage rider for 25 years, I learnt a lot and was totally knackered by the end of the two days. Well worth the money. I got moaned at for speeding - doesn't make me a bad person.
Bikesafe ramble - martint123
I've done a couple now - very much worthwhile. Morning chat and paramedic stuff, afternoon about 150 miles of East Yorkshire. First time was with a bike cop and second the paramedic, both 1 to 1. It was an eye opener with the paramedic - did you know they never have to pay for tea/coffee at the many layby cafe's we stopped at?! Enjoyable days out.
Bikesafe ramble - Reggie
martint123, was the paramedic called Mick? A shortish stocky bloke, slightly balding? (He'll love that description of him). If so I know him well. I used to ride the paramedic bike, alternately with him from York in 1998/99.

I know he used to attend these functions every year (based at Hemsley I think) and go out with members of the public. I did a three week course in Derbyshire in 1998, and even though I'd been riding for 20 odd years, I learnt an awful lot about positioning and observation, and potential danger. One of the best things I ever did, and I got paid to do it!

Bikesafe ramble - martint123
Reggie - ISTR he was a 'Dave'. As this was a 'Humberside' / East Yorkshire do, I think York/Helmsley is out of their patch. I think a long time ago he was a mechanic at Miles in Hull. I saw his 'office' Pan in there a month or so ago - just failed it's MOT on a rotting swingarm - one of many Pans caught this year it seems.

Bikesafe ramble - Reggie
Sorry martin123 . I never knew the Hull paramedics helped out witht the bikesafe weeks as well, and so just assumed it would be the Helmsley venue even though Helmsley is obviously in North Yorkshire, and therefore just assumed it be Mick.

Incidently, I also had a Pan 1100 a few years ago, and at about 7 years old, it failed its M.O.T. on rot in the swinging arm and also rot in the exhaust. On the new Pan, both of these faults have been corrected by the use of alloy, and stainless steel respectively which is good news as a standard exhaust complete on a Pan 1100 was/is in the region of £1000.00 for a genuine Honda part.


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