Associates on the Advanced Rider Course receive training from SAM through seven key avenues. Providing commitment is shown and participation occurs in the first six of these fields, there is no reason why students should not arrive at test fully prepared. These are:
1. Observed Rides: last between one and two hours and form the very backbone of your training. Here you methodically work with your observer to improve all aspects of your riding. Sessions last between one and two hours, and associates should expect to contribute £5 towards the running costs of the observer’s bike each time. At the end of each ride areas to work on are identified, and students are expected to practice these before proceeding with the next session. Camera and radio equipment is available to Observers for training purposes upon request.
2. Your own practice rides: your chance to practice the skills acquired in (1) at your own pace at the time of your choosing – paramount to giving yourself full value. As an observer, there is little more dispiriting than meeting a student who has not been out on their bike to practise between sessions.
3. Green Club Rides: occurring at least once a month, are laid on by SAM expressly for you. These are an important part of your Advanced Rider Course, enabling you to practice, build experience, ride in a group, get advice from different observers, and to make friends within the club. As you progress in training, your observer may invite you to join (with him/her) the more demanding Amber and Red rides. Once passing the test, you’re free to choose!
4. Control and Technique Sessions: taking a building block approach, these classroom-based sessions focus on key skills at the foundation of advanced riding. As on Green rides, all club members are welcome, but associates, in particular, are expected to attend. Make no mistake this is a key part of your training – but hopefully an enjoyable one as lively debate is encouraged.
5. Educational Material: revising the Highway Code and reading your Advanced Rider Course notes will be of major benefit to you in your riding development. Many useful articles appear on a regular basis in the motorcycling press. There’s also the internet and SAM has some highly informative DVDs. Apart from obvious and mandatory situations, it is always healthy to read this material with a questioning mind. Feel free to bring up any points with your observer or in the relevant C & T.
6. Dry Test Runs: run by National Observers, these provide ideal opportunities for associates to find out if they are test ready, get another observer’s point of view, and calm those pre-test nerves.
7. Special SAM activities (optional): you’ve got our events calendar, so why not use it to your advantage? SAM offers fantastic ‘Off-Road Days’ and track based ‘Road Skills’ days, to enable you to improve your confidence and development. These are open to all members, at very reasonable prices. For those in training for their test, we sometimes invite local IAMRoadsmart examiners, to answer your questions and inform you on what you and should expect. In addition SAM members are invited to attend iCARE or Biker Down courses sponsored by Somerset Road Safety and others, which are an excellent introduction to trauma first aid (remembering that, as frequent riding motorcyclists, it is not unusual for us to come upon a road crash scene).