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  • Writer's pictureIan Speight

August 2023 - Training, testing , holiday planning, and a return to the IAM as an Examiner & Mentor.


A slightly earlier blog this month because later today (25th August) Kim and I will be heading off for a 2 week bike trip into mainland Europe. We are getting the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam and then having a night in Koblenz, 2 nights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Germany), 2 nights in Salzburg, (Austria), 2 nights in Bolzano (Italy), 2 nights in Fussen (Germany), 2 nights in Colmar (France), and a final night in Marche-en-Famenne, (Belgium). We'll be taking in the Grossglockner, Stelvio and Umbrail passes, as well as a number of other great roads in the Alps, Black Forest, Vosges and Ardennes. There's also the small matter of me turning 60 whilst we're away (on 1st September to be precise). We had originally booked for longer, and to ride more days, but my continuing knee problem's demanded a rethink on days away and daily mileages, so a slight rethink was needed. They'll be a full 'report' in next months blog, but here's a rough outline of the planned route.

IAM Roadsmart.

I am very pleased to let you know that I am returning to IAM Roadsmart as a bike Examiner, Masters Mentor and hopefully as an assessor for the National Observer qualification. It's only just been signed off and I have to retake my Masters and pass the NO qualification myself, but fingers crossed, that by the end of September I will be good to go. Thanks go to IAM Roadsmart Area Service Delivery Manager, Steve E for his help and encouragement to get me involved again. My new Examiners pack arrived mid month and contains everything I will need.


Although I have been riding, I haven't ridden anywhere near as many miles as I would normally ride in August, limiting training sessions and not riding much more than a 100 miles per ride. This has all helped to improve things but it's a slow process and I'm just hoping it copes with my Birthday bike trip (see above).


Another great mix of riders and bikes. First up was Paul on his Triumph Tiger 850 Sport. Paul is a life long biker who decided to have a skills check and see what 'advanced' riding is all about.

Next was Geoff on his Tiger 1050 Sport. Geoff already holds an advanced qualification and will soon be taking his triennial retest.

Graham came along on his his KTM890. Graham has held his full bike licence for around 40 years and decided it was time for a skills refresher.

Ian was up next on his BMW R1250GS Tripleblack. Ian already holds RoSPA, BMF and ERS qualifications but is a great believer in CPD to keep him in tip top form. Needless to say, Ian only needed a couple of pointers here and there. I forgot to get a photo of Ian, so here's one of him enjoying his GS through the bends instead.

Neil finished off the month on his 1250GSA. Nick holds IAM Masters and RoSPA Gold qualifications but felt his cornering wasn't quite where he wanted it to be, so came along for a refresher and to look specifically at his technique. We implemented a few tweaks here and there, and Neil went away to work on the suggested changes.

Customer updates.

It's always nice when customers let me know how they're getting on with their riding, and two riders did just that in August. John contacted me to let me know he had passed his IAM advanced test. John approached me last year having been unsuccessful in his first test and wanted a fresh set of eyes to assess his riding and see where improvements could be made. Great to see him get a positive outcome in his latest test. Well deserved.

I first met Mark pre-Covid when he had some training with me to prepare him for his IAM Masters, which he went on to pass successfully. Mark then came again and passed the BMF advanced test. His latest achievement is that he has recently qualified as a National Observer for IAM Roadsmart. A really good rider who can now pass on his skills and abilities to new IAM Members.

RoSPA Examiner duties.

Only one test conducted in August, which was with candidate Peter on his R1250GS. Peter gave a great display of advanced riding which was smooth, progressive and safe, and this resulted in him passing successfully with a Gold grade.

RoSPA training.

I managed a few Saturday morning sessions with my local RoSPA group and even a couple of social rides with them too. Here's some pre ride tea drinking.....I mean briefings!

Steve was one of the associates I paired up with in August.

Glyn (on the left) was another pairing, pictured here with our group Chairman....Chair person? Steve P.

Debriefs and more tea.

Social rides.

RoSPA Tutor Simon arranged a Wednesday evening ride to the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge on the North York Moors. 7 of us turned up and had a great ride up to the pub on some cracking roads. As you can see, a great mix of bikes too.

The Lion Inn, great location and great food. From L to R - Me, Denise (F750GS), Richard (Goldwing Bagger), Andy (Triumph 1050 Sport), John (BMW R1200RT), Phil (CB1000R) and organiser Simon, (1250GS Adventure).

Another ride out saw 3 of us head over the Wolds and up towards Whitby.

Me, Brian, (R1200RT) and Dave (V4 Multistrada).

And here's Dave on another occasion in August, where he appears to have turned into the Crow whisperer, or is it a Blackbird? or a Rook?!

My BMW 1250GSA.

Mileage this month - 1491 (as of 25/8).

Total mileage so far - 5888 (as of 25/8).

It was a little bit of a pamper month for the GSA in August, as it had its 6000 mile service, and a new set of tyres fitted. BMW Tech, Max at Barrie Robson BMW took care of the service and Leeds Bike Tyres at Scholes fitted a pair of Michelin Road Pilot 6s.

As you can see from the above figures, I wasn't quite at 6000 miles for the service, but would be significantly over that figure if I wait until after our bike trip. Plus, there's peace of mind knowing the bike had been serviced and fully checked over prior to a long trip. Likewise the tyres, whilst the front was pretty much down to the wear markers, the back still had about 3mm on it, but I decided to fit a matching pair in preparation for our trip. I had Michelins Road Pilots fitted, which I've had on all my GSAs and have always been impressed with their grip, stability and wear rate.

And that my friends, rounds up August 2023, until next time, ride safe, drink tea and eat cake.....

Ian S.


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