Theory

Emphasis is put on mental training as well as practical machine control. If you are to develop a systematic approach to your riding you need to know the system. You also need to know how to read the road and what to look for. The only way to do this is through study then practice.

To help with this we offer a theory class where we run through the elements of advanced riding through a mixture of presentation and question and answers.

…but you should also consider studying “Motorcycle Roadcraft” and the “Highway Code” throughout the course

   

Observed Rides

For the practical part of the course each member will generally need about 6 observed rides but this will be dependant on individual ability and the amount of practice you put in between observed rides. Observed rides last approximately 2 hours and have either a 2:1 or 1:1 trainee to Observer ratio.

The observed rides will start with an assessment ride where your Observer will identify areas of development and work with you to draw up a riding development plan. As the course progresses you will focus on different areas of your riding; working towards the test standard step by step.

One-to-one

Once you sign up, you will be assigned an Observer who will make contact with you. They will try to meet at a mutually agreed place and will look after your development from start to finish.

Slow Speed, Machine Control Day

Supplementary to the course we provide slow speed, machine control days. These allow you to learn and practice slow speed manoeuvres such as:

  • Figure of 8
  • Feet up U turns
  • Counter steering
  • Emergency braking
  • Very, very slow speed riding

As well as topics such as ‘How to pick up your bike’ and the ‘Hendon Shuffle’.

These courses are very well attended, not only by trainees but also by Full Members and Observers!

Practice

One thing you will need to commit to is plenty of practice. We think that between each observed ride you will need to do at least 200 miles of riding on unfamiliar roads in order to improve (i.e. not on the roads you use to go to work!).

HBAM does have regular social rides to help with this but there is no better method than getting out on your own and putting into practice what you have learnt. You are free to make your own mistakes without anyone looking over your shoulder and you will really get to grips with your riding and become more confident.

Riding on your own helps you learn to analyse your own ride, identifying areas you know you can do better and working on them. Many people find that they become their own harshest critic!

The Test

Every member gets to do the test at the end of their course. It is a 90 minute, one to one, assessed ride with a serving or retired Police Class 1 rider which is well worth the course fee on its own!

Here you will get to demonstrate your new skills to the Examiner who will then give you a detailed appraisal of your ride. If they think you have shown enough skill they will recommend to the IAM that they grant you full membership.

The test covers a variety of roads and situations. In the test you will need to demonstrate that you:

  • are aware of what is going on around you
  • naturally ride in an advanced style
  • have good control over your motorbike

Although it is not easy, no-one should worry about it as we never recommend you take your test unless we think you are more than ready. To make doubly sure you will go on a check ride with one of our Senior Observers which simulates test conditions.

In our experience most people taking their test actually enjoy it. The Examiner always picks great roads for the ride and, as long as you have worked hard on the course, your natural ride will be what the Examiner wants to see so just relax and have fun!

Becoming an Observer

Observers are volunteers who give up a large portion of their spare time, free of charge, in order to train Advanced riding techniques to others.

Without Observers HBAM would quite simply not be able to exist. As an Observer you are our most precious resource and provide an invaluable service to the club. So if you have passed your test and are interested get in contact with the Chief Observer (if they have not already contacted you!)

Why be an Observer?

On the face of it being an Observer is not a very attractive proposition. You give up large portions of your spare time, go out in all weathers, have extra paperwork to do and not get paid for it!

However there are many rewards to being one as well:

  • Your riding continues to improve. As an Observer you learn new skills as well as improving the ones you learnt to pass your test. Most Observers find their riding moves up to ‘another level’.
  • It gives an excuse to go out on your bike. Not only is it a great excuse to give the other half as to why you have to go out on your bike again but it also encourages you to go out when perhaps you otherwise would not and get a bit rusty.
  • You get a very rewarding hobby. Training another person and watching as their skills improve because of the things you have shown them does give you a warm feeling.
• Your riding continues to improve. As an Observer you learn new skills as well as improving the ones you learnt to pass your test. Most Observers find their riding moves up to ‘another level’. • It gives an excuse to go out on your bike. Not only is it a great excuse to give the other half as to why you have to go out on your bike again but it also encourages you to go out when perhaps you otherwise would not and get a bit rusty. • You get a very rewarding hobby. Training another person and watching as their skills improve because of the things you have shown them does give you a warm feeling.

Observer Grades

HBAM has 4 grades of Observer which fulfil the roles needed within the Observer Corps.

  • Trainee Observer.
  • Qualified Observer.
  • Senior Observer.
  • Chief Observer.

What we look for in an Observer

  • Availability. Observers need to be free to observe a minimum of 10 hours a year but in reality this will be more like 20 hours. You will also need to be available for occasional meetings and training rides.
  • Communications skills. The most important ability of an Observer is to be able to pass on the advanced system we promote. This means that an Observer needs to be able to talk to the Associate in a way that the Associate understands. The Observer also needs to encourage and inspire the Associate in their training. It takes a lot of tact to tell someone their riding is poor!
  • Riding ability. The Observer needs to have good machine skills and a good theoretical and practical grasp of the System. The Associate needs to be able to see the Observer ride in an advanced style so that they can learn from it. Observers also need extra ability to follow an Associate and keep themselves safe at all times.
  • Availability. Observers need to be free to observe on at least 15 weekends in the year.
  • Commitment. Observing does take time and effort. HBAM needs to see a commitment from an Observer on both of these.

What is involved in training?

Observer Training Day. Your first step is to attend an Observer Training Day. Here you will be introduced to the theory of being an Observer as well as being shown the paperwork side of the job. There will also be a practical where an experienced Observer will show you how to follow an Associate and common things to look for in their riding.

Observing Associates. Working with a Senior Observer over a number of observed rides you will at first shadow the SO seeing how they observe and debrief, then you will be put in the hot seat with the SO following you!

Observer Test. To qualify as an Observer you will need to:

  • Sit a written test on Roadcraft, The Highway Code and IAM knowledge.
  • Have a practical observed ride where you observe an Associate.
  • Senior Observer.
  • Perform a demonstration ride for the SO who is testing you.