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IAM Road Smart

Motorcycling Advanced Riding Course

Posted in Industry Blogs

It’s Not All About The Bike

I’ve got my bike exactly how I want it.

After some experimenting, I’ve settled on tyres that really seem to suit my riding style.

After even more experimenting, I’ve got just the right luggage setup for the summer trips.

I’ve got crash bars, a headlight protector, extended handguards, and one of those cool/dry seat covers.

And of course I’ve got the weight saving, great looks, and awesome sound that you can only get from a British-made aftermarket motorcycle exhaust from the one and only Fuel Exhausts.

Yep, it’s pretty much spot on!

But what about the rider?

So, what next? Well, a little while ago I decided it was time to invest some effort and cash into that other thing which can make such a massive improvement to the riding experience – me.

I like to think I was always a fairly decent rider, careful but certainly not Captain Slow. But no matter how good a day I was having, there would always be that one rider who would appear in my mirrors out of nowhere and just glide past with no fuss, no apparent effort, almost like I wasn’t even there.

Who are these people? How do they get that good? I wanted to find out and get some of it for myself.

After a huge amount of research, I decided to try the IAM RoadSmart ‘Advanced Rider’ course. Why the IAM? Price, mainly. You get six half-day 1:1 sessions (more if you need them, at no extra cost) with a specialist coach (they call them ‘Observers’), finishing with a test and a recognised qualification, all for £175! That’s a bargain – especially when I found out my local council were offering £100 cashback when you passed the test. Cheap as chips compared with something like Rapid Training – which does sound awesome but it’s nearly a thousand quid for 2 days, and not even 1:1 coaching.

On the downside, I was a bit concerned it might all be banging on about safety and hi-viz and the highway code, whereas what I really wanted was to be quicker and smoother.

Well, I needn’t have worried.

The Observer I was assigned to didn’t have a beard, or smoke a pipe, and wasn’t even a retired copper. He was just a normal bloke with a normal bike, but boy could he ride it!

Safe, and QUICK!

Yes, there was plenty of focus on being a safer rider. But that didn’t mean slower, it meant spotting dangers earlier, reading the road better, reacting faster, anticipating what was about to happen, getting on and off the gas at the right time – and as a result I very soon found myself riding a hell of a lot quicker.

You also learn loads about road positioning, judging corner speeds, super smooth bike control, and slick overtaking. You learn to spot opportunities to get ahead - and take them. They call it ‘making progress’.

It took me about 3 months overall, allowing plenty of practise time between each coaching session, and I passed the test with flying colours. Definitely worth the money and the effort, because next time you’re out riding and a biker comes cruising past like you’re not there – it might just be me.

I did the course with my local IAM group here in Kendal (, but wherever you are in the UK you can find out more and sign up here.

Image credit to IAM RoadSmart.