On the second Sunday of the month the motorcycle section of the Glasgow North group of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) meets for a ride which is not only longer than the observed ones which happen on Wednesdays, but is designed for pleasure, not training. Today is the second Sunday of the month so I duly went to the designated meeting point in Glasgow, having been told and also having read that they can have up to 60 riders attending so the way it would work would be that we would be divided up into smaller groups of about 6 riders of similar style etc so that no one gets left behind or feels pressured into riding faster than they feel able.
Six riders turned up, including me.
So that was how I, a new Associate member who has so far had only two proper observed rides, went on a 185 mile round trip accompanied by one observer (the same guy who observed my second run about a week ago), three senior observers, and the chief motorcycle observer of the Scottish IAM! So no pressure or anything! In fact it was fine. I didn't feel overwhelmed by the people around me, and I think I acquitted myself well. They're a friendly bunch too!
We set off up the M80, across the Kincardine bridge (read about its construction here, it's very interesting and has good historic images), where they're constructing a new crossing, past Rosyth and up to Kirkcaldy where we stopped for a toilet break and also a cup of tea with a roll and sausage with onions (well I did anyway, and I wasn't the only one).
Setting off again we went up the Fife coast to Anstruther where we stopped for about an hour and ate lovely fish & chips for lunch from the deservedly award-winning fish & chip shop at the harbour. Onwards to St Andrews (we didn't eat anything there) and back down some reasonably twisty roads and back over the Kincardine bridge and home. Very enjoyable. Once I got over the initial shock of sticking to the 50mph speed limit on the M80 that is. Felt very slow, especially when vans and lorries were overtaking us!
Off out for what I think is a well deserved beer now.
Oh, and made contact with a friend again today. One of the very limited number of friends I have who rides a motorcycle (as opposed to the friends I have because I met them via riding motorcycles, if you see what I mean. Clear? Good.) Haven't seen him or his wife for a LONG time. In fact I briefly met them when I was on crutches, before I stopped attending the cathedral, so that was many months ago. Anyway, to my shame I haven't made the effort to keep in touch but I finally managed it today. Sent him a text message last night, and he replied to it today. We will hopefully manage a ride out together soon, before the slippery leaves of Autumn make it more challenging than fun.
To the pub!