A Look Back at March 2020 - A month we'll never forget.
Earlier in March I was thinking about what I'd write for this update, I was originally going to start off with comments about how March had been a better month after the wet and stormy weather of January and February and go on to tell you about the training and riding I'd done. How wrong was I?! By mid March Covid-19 had taken hold and in a matter of days the UK and the world in general became a different place. As I sit typing this (2/4), we are still in 'lock down', with over two thousand deaths in the UK and more and more people suffering with the virus every day. I really hope you're all safe and abiding by the restrictions on movement as suggested/imposed by the Government.
Despite Covid-19 and before lock down happened, I did manage some riding, not much, but here's a brief summary.
Between the 5th and 8th of March I travelled to Wales for the annual Motorrad Tours training weekend. This is when all the Tour Leaders get together to review the previous years tours, have some refresher training on various aspects of the role and learn all about the year ahead. I've worked as Tour Leader for Motorrad Tours since 2016, it's a great job that is completely unconnected to my rider training and I've been fortunate to take several groups of Motorrad Tours customers to some fantastic destinations around the UK and Europe. I'm looking forward to this years tours, subject of course to any Corona Virus restrictions.
Here's the 2020 Tour Leader team, a fine bunch if ever there was one.
Back row L-R Adrian, Mark, Nigel, Bob (stood on his RT), Alf, Danny, Pierre.
Front Row L-R Chris (cup in hand) Mark, me, Steve and Paul (knelt down)
For more information about Motorrad Tours and their tours and destinations, please visit their website at www.motorrad-tours.com
Enhanced Rider Scheme Trainer.
As some of you will know, last month I took and successfully passed the RoSPA Diploma in Advanced Motorcycle Instructor Training and part of the reason for taking the Diploma was in order to be able to apply to become an Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS) Trainer. This is a Government backed and recognised qualification that is overseen by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
Having successfully obtained the Diploma, the next step was to take the DVSA theory and hazard perception tests at my local DVSA Theory Test Centre. The tests took about an hour to complete and consisted of 100 questions on the Highway Code and teaching/training a 'student', followed by 14 hazard perception clips. The pass-mark is 80% on the questions and 57 or more on the hazard perception clips.
I got my result at the completion of the tests and am very pleased to announce I passed both parts, scoring 96% on the question papers. With the Diploma and tests completed, I contacted the DVSA to register as an ERS Trainer and my confirmation letter and certificate/ID came a few days later. Well chuffed.
So, what is the Enhanced Rider Scheme?
The Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS) checks your motorcycle riding skills and provides training to help you improve. There is no test, however you can get discounts on motorcycle insurance once you’ve successfully completed the scheme as you are issued with a certificate (see below). The scheme is suitable if you have just passed your test, are returning to riding after a break, are upgrading to a more powerful motorcycle or just want to check your riding standard. You’ll first have a rider assessment where you’ll ride in different road and traffic conditions long enough for your trainer to make a good assessment of your skills. If this shows you don’t need further training, you’ll get a ‘DVSA certificate of competence’ straight away. Otherwise, you’ll get personalised training to improve your skills and get the certificate at the end of your training. The DVSA certificate of competence gives you discounts with most motorcycle insurers. The type of training depends on what you need to brush up on. You might be offered all-day courses or shorter sessions.
For full details of the ERS, check out https://www.gov.uk/enhanced-rider-scheme
Back to the virus situation, by 10th March I had cancelled all training booked in for March and April so when the Government asked for volunteers for the NHS Volunteer Responder Scheme, I immediately signed up. As I type this I am fully registered and the scheme went live 1/4/20. I've not been used or contacted to do anything yet, but I shall do my bit when asked.
At the moment, none of us know how long this will last but the signs coming from China is that things there are slowing up with new cases reducing. The UK is apparently about 3 weeks behind them, so fingers crossed that there might be signs of us getting back to something like normal by the end of April/beginning of May.
If you're one of the thousands affected by the virus in any form I hope things aren't too bad and wish you all well. In our house, Joe is home early from Uni and Anna is furloughed. Kim is still working from the office but may be working from home very soon (NHS Payroll). And to those workers still out there in any key worker role, whether you're NHS, a lorry driver, shop worker or whatever. Thank you for what you are all doing to keep us safe and the country going. Top job.
Hopefully my 'look back' at April will have more positives, until next month, thanks for reading.