January; a new year, a new qualification, new opportunities and a new home, welcome to 2021!
Updated: Feb 3
Hi everyone and welcome to 2021.
With the continued lockdown I haven't been able to do any training in January. However, I'm pleased to say that I am still getting lots of enquiries and bookings 'on the off chance' training can go ahead. And remember, you can book without any upfront payment so you're money stays with you if your training has to be cancelled or postponed. You only pay once your training is going to proceed.
BMF Blue Riband Rider Award
On December 18th I rode down to Market Harborough to take the BMF Blue Riband Rider Award.
BMF stands for British Motorcyclists Federation, a respected and powerful lobbying group which acts to protect all of the UK's motorcyclists from unnecessary interference by European, National, Local Government and Anti-Motorcycling campaign groups. The BMF is a member of many government advisory groups and also works in Europe to help British motorcyclists.
The Blue Riband Rider Award is recognised by the insurance industry with some companies offering discounts for those riders who successfully obtain the qualification.
My assessor on the day was Alan, riding a Honda Crosstourer. Alan is a vastly experienced rider who I believe was instrumental in setting up the original Blue Riband course, so no pressure!
Unfortunately, on the day the weather was less than kind, it pretty much rained the whole time, and back in December we were under the Tier system which meant no cafes to duck into for pre-ride or post-ride briefings. Instead, we met in a wet and cold car park and finished in a wet and cold layby. This was followed by a 125 mile wet and cold ride home!...oh the joys of motorcycling.
The assessment route covered a variety of roads and riding environments with Alan in radio contact to give me directional input. The assessment lasted around 90 minutes and at the end Alan delivered a verbal debrief and my result. I passed!
Here is my ride report and summary which was emailed to me post assessment. As you can see, the rider is assessed across a number of different areas and graded accordingly.
So why did I take this BMF Rider Award?
Firstly, because I'm a great believer in CPD (continued personal development) and being assessed by different organisations is a good way of keeping me 'fresh' and doesn't allow me to rest on my laurels, so to speak.
Secondly, although I've known about the BMF for many years, I didn't actually know they still did the Blue Riband Award! Once I found out they did, see answer above re CPD.
Thirdly, as an independent instructor I want to know exactly what advanced qualifications are out there so I can advise my customers accordingly, so that they can be fully aware of all their qualification options.
Lastly, if I'm going to talk and advise about it, I need to have experienced it myself!
So what does the full Blue Riband Advanced Rider Award course consist of?
The course is usually held over a day and a half.
The first day begins with a short discussion about the various techniques you will practice. This is followed by theory, demonstration rides and practical training. The day is divided into sections, with numerous comfort breaks where candidates are actively encouraged to discuss the training so far.
Providing you have reached the required standard by the end of the first day, you will then be able to take the Blue Riband Rider Award assessment. This will usually take place the very next day with a different instructor/assessor.
For a less intense approach to the course, there is the option to separate your practical riding into multiple sessions. You can do these at times convenient to you and your instructor.
How much does it cost and what you will receive?
The cost is £250 and this fee covers one full day of training plus your assessment with a different instructor and if you successfully pass, you will receive a certificate, pin badge, bike sticker, wallet card, completed assessment report form and 12 months full membership of the BMF.
The BMF Blue Riband Rider Award is then valid for three years from your date of achievement.
For more information, check out;
Having completed the assessment successfully, I have now been in discussions with the 'national lead' for the BMF and hopefully by the end of February I should have met the necessary standard to become an accredited BMF Blue Riband Rider Award Instructor and Assessor. This means I will be able to deliver the BMF training myself and also assess a rider on behalf of another Instructor. More on this next month.
In 2021 I will again be working with Motorrad Tours to lead some of their tours.
One of the 'dealer tours' I will be leading will be with my local dealer, Barrie Robson BMW of York. I've had 4 bikes from Barrie Robson BMW over the last 6 years and can't speak highly enough of them, they're a great team.
The tour is a long weekend jaunt to beautiful and stunning Scotland. If you're interested in the tour here is the link.
I'll be returning to Scotland again in September for Highlands and Islands. I've led this tour a few times and never tire of the stunning scenery and great roads it offers.
Tours or training? Now you can have both! - Motorrad Tours Rider Development Tours
I'm very pleased to be part of the Training Team in 2021 for the Motorrad Tours Rider Academy, meaning you can now tour and become a better rider all at the same time!
The Motorrad Tours Academy is a range of tours with coaching from some of the most highly qualified and experienced advanced instructors in the UK. All the usual features of a Motorrad Tour – great routes, lovely hotels, route notes, GPS routes – all with the added benefit of returning a better rider.
Interested? Here's the link to all the 2021 Rider Development tours;
Very pleased to have been invited by Humberside Police again to help deliver their BikeSafe events in 2021. BikeSafe is something close to my heart and something I have been involved with since 2000, initially as a Police motorcyclist and now in my capacity as an accredited trainer observer.
We should have moved home in October last year but as is often the case with house moves, things didn't quite go to plan and we finally moved on 15th January. We're still surrounded by numerous boxes and have a 'to do' list as long as your arm but we are settling in and loving our new home. We didn't move far from York, just to a village on the outskirts so I still have all the great training routes and roads on my door step.
And that my friends sums up January 2021. Hopefully next month we will see details of how lockdown will start to ease and we can all get out and ride our bikes again and I can get some training done.