Well, that's the bike one done and I have now been proposed as a full member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
Just the car one to concentrate on now.
Since embarking on the quest to pass my bike test, on the 18th July 2007, I have had two official observed runs, and a couple of unofficial ones, as well as a couple of longer Sunday runs which happened to be accompanied by observers although the objectives those days were not to assist me, but to have fun.
For various reasons I was unable to take part in many of the Wednesday night observed runs. The bike broke down in torrential rain shortly after my initial meeting on 18th July, and took ages (and a lot of money) to dry out and get started again, during which time the MOT expired, so because of that and my unavailability for other reasons it was a full six weeks later, 29th August, before I was able to attend my second Wednesday session. Unfortunately the following Wednesday was when the car training was due to start, so it looked like I was going to have to stop the bike training until next year until Eddie, my observer that evening, being of the opinion that I was already fairly close to test standard, made arrangements for me to go out with another observer, Stuart, on a different evening. As things turned out we managed only twice, 11th September and 30th September, and since these were unofficial ones my progress card wasn't completed so I have had four observed runs but my card only shows two. A breakdown of communications on my part meant that Stuart, realising I was ready, thought I had already applied for my test, but I was waiting for him to confirm to me that I was ready and to tell me to apply for it, so that held things up slightly. My fault though!
Thanks are due to various people whose paths have crossed mine on the way to today:
John O'Donnell who took me out on my initial observed run. Eddie Roney who took me out on my second observed run, and when he found out I was starting my car training so couldn't continue the bike stuff on a Wednesday until next year he kindly arranged another observer to accompany me on an alternative "unofficial" night. Eddie was also there on both of the Sunday runs, and offered praise and criticism as appropriate and deserved. Not only that but he managed to acquire for me a copy of the Strathclyde Police Bikesafe DVD, which is very interesting and useful. Stuart (apologies, I never did find out your surname!) who was the observer who agreed to accompany me at mutually acceptable times. With life being busy for both of us we only managed it twice, but it was a very useful twice. Nigel Bowers, who sent me a copy of his Ride to Survive 2007 DVD. Bob Young, the senior observer who conducted my mock test during a Sunday run. Sandra Neillis, the Glasgow North Group secretary, who processed my test application, and who previously took the time to call me and encourage me after I emailed my initial enquiry about joining the group. And last but not least, David Morrison, the examiner, a retired police officer and holder of a Class 1 Police Advanced Riding certificate (as indeed is Nigel). You cannot get a higher motorcycling qualification than that. Class 1 riders really are experts, in the truest sense of the word, and us mere mortals can only look on their skills with envy, and aspire to get as close to their standard as we can!
This is getting to be like an Oscars acceptance speech!
Basically the people named above have demonstrated again and again that motorcyclists are different from car drivers. We actually do tend to stick together and give of our time and experience to assist other motorcyclists in lots of ways. Everyone above has gone out of their way to help me pass my Advanced Motorcycling test. They didn't have to do it, but they did. And that counts for a lot in my book.
I don't know what the motorcycling future holds for me in respect of further training, but I am thinking about trying to qualify as an observer so that I can pay back some of the time and effort expended by others on me to get me where I am now. That'll be a project for next year though.
Thank you one and all. And apologies if I've missed anyone.
Now, I have my mock Advanced Car Driving test tonight. Let's see how that goes ..........
Update: I passed the mock car test too. Now the next thing is a drive with a senior observer and providing that goes OK I'll be applying for my test soon, I hope.
Further update: Just watching The Long Way Down on TV whereby Ewan McGregor's wife, Eve, has just joined them in Malawi and is riding a motorcycle. It has made me remember how completely sexy a woman dressed in motorcycle leathers is! Sorry if that sounds sexist, but sue me, I am only human!