RoSPA: First Observed Ride

So I went out on my first official RoSPA ride today was my first observed ride out with RoSPA.

BMW S1000RR Ladybower ReservoirAfter the novice mistake of not checking my tyre pressures when I left the house I hopped on the bike and headed out for a quick blast to brush away the cobwebs of having not rode the bike since the Epic Adventure at Easter.

As soon as I accelerated away at the first junction I knew that there was something wrong with the bike. It didn’t want to turn into corners when normally I just have to think left/right and it’s already heading for the apex.

If course all this started to chip away at my confidence on the bike as it felt so alien compared with the last time I rode it and I was dreading the prospect of my observed RoSPA ride.

I started telling myself “it’s gotta be the tyres, it’s gotta be the tyres” and so was standing on the pegs trying to look at the front tyre while riding which isn’t the easiest thing to see on a fully faired sports bike.

Since I was 10 miles from the nearest petrol station I just had to grin and bare it until I got the opportunity to get to an airline.

Once I was at the petrol station I was like “it better be the tyres, but what if it’s not?”

Anyway, upon checking the front I was 3psi down & 4psi on the rear. I was relieved to say the least.

Once the tyres were back to pressure I swung my leg back over the bike and immediately I was back to familiar territory. The Metzeler Interact K3’s have a tall profile, especially the rear which jacks the back end of the bike up and being a short arse requires me to stand on my tip toes.

So confidence restored I headed to the meeting point so I could hook up with my observer and have my riding scrutinised to the nth degree.

After meeting my observer & fellow associate Tom, we had a quick chat about my previous riding experience and what I wanted to improve on we headed out with Tom leading the way and myself say at the back.

To be honest we would have looked an odd trio of bikes with the two guys up front riding Triumph Tiger Explorers & myself on a 190bhp missile.

After about 20 miles we stopped and Tom was debriefed on how his riding was. This was invaluable to me as I got the learn pick up some valuable pointers which would benefit me from when it was my turn to lead the trio.

Despite coming on the back of a massively positive trip to Wales I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a tiny bit nervous about being watched so closely. The Wales had given me loads of confidence but this was built up on the race track smooth & flowing roads of North Wales, not the pot hole riddled, cow shit covered roads of North Devon.

But lead out I did around roads I’d never been on before and despite my bike being totally unsuitable for the roads, I’d have been better off on a KX80 than an S1000RR.

After another 20 miles I pulled up at the designated spot, and after quickly checking my fillings hadn’t been rattled out it was my turn to be debriefed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think I’m an ok rider but am a long way off from what I would call “advanced” (maybe it’s my mindset that’s holding me back). Sure I have great days on the bike but I also have those days where it just doesn’t happen it it doesn’t click and you get back home and can’t wait to get off the “bloody thing”.

And I guess that’s why I decided to go and do the RoSPA training. I want to have consistently great days on the bike and for that to happen I think training is key.

After all how to top sports men & women get better? Practice, practice, practice. But not just mindless practice. They have a coach who gives them feedback and gets them thinking about and working on their weak points.

So, how did I get on?

My observer actually said that my riding was good. Smooth, consistent and although there are some rough edges to polish but that’s why I’m there to get feedback, to learn and to improve.

And it really doesn’t cost you anything more than your time, and if you love being out on your bike I believe time spent with RoSPA is a good investment.

MK 🙂




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