A long time ago . . .

A long time ago, when I had hair, was young and unattached, I got into motorcycling. During the early days I would go along to the local motorcycle dealer and watch as new riders jumped onto bikes with little or no instruction and rode off into the distance, or more likely dropped the bike, hopefully with no injury.

This prompted me to get involved in the local RAC motorcycle training schemes and help out when I could with new rider training. Unfortunately due to marriage and family commitments I gave up motorcycling as it was quite difficult carrying a baby and a pushchair on the back of a bike!

Now the family have grown up I decided to get back into motorcycling and immediately went on advance training, as I was a bit rusty on the skill side of things and concerned about safety. Having passed my IAM test and realising the skills for life that had just been given to me, I decided to get back involved and train to be an Observer, and a year or so later I am now fully qualified and have two current trainees under my belt.

Typically these riders are encouraged to sign up for training and then allocated an observer to take them on ride outs across challenging terrain to teach them advanced riding techniques. In essence this involves meeting up in a car park, riding around on the beautiful Hampshire roads (sometimes in glorious sunshine and other times in torrential rain) with stops for debriefs (and coffee) on the rights and wrongs of the ride, attempting to educate the trainee in the correct way to ride safely. It also involves a bit of reading and looking at the Highway Code, which if we are being honest none of us have looked at since passing our tests years ago.

Ultimately what we want is to induct riders into a safer way of riding but still with the emphasis on enjoying it and in turn reducing casualties on the roads. Not only have I gained a lot from this personally but I’ve also met loads of likeminded people. It’s my way of giving something back to motorcycling and something that I absolutely love.

Ian Cotgrave
Managing Director