IAM Skills For Life – Machine Control Day

For my birthday my lovely wife signed me up for the IAM Skills For Life course, something I’ve wanted to do for a while which should really help improve my riding. On Sunday I attended the first day of the course – the machine control day. Out on North Weald airfield I was practising some key riding skills; low speed riding, balance, emergency stop, counter steering and so forth.

The riding was not easy, but really useful to practice in a safe environment off the road and quickly highlighting some bad habits I’ve fallen into (in particular how I cover my front brake). There were loads of IAM observers on hand to help, give encouragement and ask the right questions to aid us pinpointing our own mistakes.

IAM-MachineControlDayThe low speed riding was particularly daunting, full lock to lock turning at 1-2mph, no feet down. I found I could turn fairly tight OK, but struggled at such low speed. On the emergency stop in a very short distance, I ran into issues using too much rear brake and from covering the front brake with just my index, ring and small fingers (don’t ask how I got into doing this!) Previous off’s have been from locking the front wheel with excessive brake, so overcoming this to brake progressively was tough. Definitely something I need to practice further.

It was also good to catch up with other bikers also learning, there was a positive and encouraging atmosphere all round. Then to finish off, a couple of us had a slap up all day breakfast in the local NAFI.

Next up I have some theory nights to attend and a few observed rides. Really looking forward and can’t wait.



By Arthur

Seasoned London commuter, doing my best to stay rubber side down and never stop moving forward.

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