I’ve been riding a ‘big bike’ for twelve months now and the last eight of them have been spent working for the world’s largest motorcycling publication. I am very aware of how enviable a position this puts me in amongst the British motorcycling community and whenever I mention to someone whom I have just met about what it is that I do, they unanimously tell me that I’m a ‘lucky bugger’ and that ‘messing about with bikes for your job must be amazing’.
They’re not wrong of course. I am lucky and the biking opportunities here are incredible, but they’re also not without their issues; especially when I spend all day working with people whose entire lives have centred around motorcycles and when you consider that as a 30-something divorcee who learnt to ride later in life I’m basically nothing more than a glorified marketing statistic. The pressure of being so inexperienced in amongst some of the most experienced riders in the country can actually be quite intense. So when BMW contacted me and asked if I’d like to go on one of their Individual Rider Training courses I jumped at the opportunity.
Set in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside my day was spent with Paul Mostyn, a Metropolitan Police Officer and all-round top bloke who has played an integral part in forming bike safety initiatives across the UK for the past decade. The format was simple. A little bit of initial classroom work - discussing the mechanics of braking and corner entry - and then out onto the B-roads for an initial ride and to listen on the one-way radio as Paul talked me through the finer points of positioning and techniques for maximising my view of the road. It’s the kind of knowledge and advice that seemed so basic in theory, but in practice and with the right instruction it became all the more clearer and effective that I began to wonder how I’d ever ridden without it.
As we sat and discussed my riding over a cup of tea in beautiful Finchingfield I ask Paul as to why his methods differ so wildly from the training I had when I first sat on a bike? The question is rhetorical of course; when I began this motorcycling journey, I was taught how to pass my test, today with the BMW rider training and under Paul’s instruction I feel that I’ve finally been taught how to ride.
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