Sunday, 15 May 2016

Bike Safe Training In Cumbria

Lucy and I got booked onto the Bike Safe scheme run by Cumbria Police, so at 07.15am this morning we got on our bikes and rode down through the Lakes on the newly re opened A591 to Kendal.

It was a truly beautiful Lakeland day, with all the Lakes looking like a mirror and despite the cool northerly flow of air coming through the day promised the be a beaut!

For the first 3 years I rode bikes, I was lucky enough to have a good friend who was an ex Grade 1 Police motorcyclist and a RoSPA Gold Instructor, so from an early stage in my riding career I had free instruction about a lot of the key things, like road position, right gear, right speed, observations etc etc. It's stuck with me for all these years and despite having 3 really epic crashes in the nearly 20 years of riding, I still feel the benefit of it. Thus I was all in favour of Lucy starting to get into this kind of personal development early on in her riding career.

There was an eclectic mix of people and bikes turned up, from a lass who had just past her test 6 months ago to time served bikers and all in between.

The morning was spent in a classroom watching clips of various bike scenes, all about positioning, braking and the definite no no's for riding in both urban and rural environments. A lot of the clips showed the how not to, then the how to side of things just to get the message across.

It was a shame to be inside but  it was a well put together, though slightly dated, training session and the two police officers ran it well with a mix of humour and seriousness coupled with some honest answers about riding and an understanding of the kind of people who ride as well as a recognition that like all groups of people, there were prejudices in the police about bikes/bikers etc. refreshingly honest in this country!!

After lunch it was a split in the group, half went out on observed rides with both the police guys and some volunteer Institute of Advanced Motorist observers, the other group stayed in and did some bike specific first aid refresher stuff including and discussion about removal of helmets or not!

This was a good session run by one of the volunteer fire fighter team, Jay, a good lad with a good sense of humour!

When it was time for us to go out, we went with Lee, a very experienced police rider... I went first around the loop, out of Kendal to Shap, down to Orton and back to Kendal. I knew most of these roads so had an unfair advantage over Lucy is some ways. My feedback at the end of the ride was pretty good with Lee noticing both my lazy follow the car road position and the fact that I don't go right to the left edge of the lane as I approach a right hander! Bad old habits in both cases.

Lucy was nervous but Lee had her ride first then went in front and showed her his road position, which was radically different to a 'normal' rider as you would expect. On the whole two runs I think he touched his brakes 4 times! Good skills and superb riding.

Lucy's feedback was positive too, she had good road position in general but needed to brush up on her braking points, awareness and getting into position for bends earlier.

We rode back up through the Lakes after the session had finished and you could tell she was more confident, her speed had increased slightly and she just rode with more 'presence'.

Another beautiful day out on two wheels!!