What is the training like?
All training is done on a one-to-one basis with an assigned observer. Runs typically last an hour and a half, and will cover a wide variety of road types from small country back lanes through sweeping A roads to motorways. At intervals, you will stop and your observer will advise on any improvements that can be made to your riding.
In addition, CAM run a series of classroom sessions giving theoretical knowledge to back up the practical advice, and occasional machine control days where you can hone skills such as braking, countersteering and slow speed manouvering away from the road.
What will I learn?
How to read the road; how to anticipate and deal with hazards; how to avoid other peoples' mistakes; a smooth, efficient, fast riding style; how 'the system' of machine control can help you; better mechanical sympathy; better machine control; accident avoidance; hundreds of other tips and tricks for better riding.
What sort of bike do I need?
You can train with us and take the test on any bike provided it is roadworthy and able to sustain 70mph.
Do you use radios during training?
Currently, no. Remember that we train by observing rather than instructing. Your observer will watch you riding for a while, then stop you and give advice and suggestions, rather than give instructions.
I can't remember directions / I always get lost is this a problem?
No. Your observer (or assessor) will describe a route before you set off, but it doesn't matter if you don't follow it, you're not being tested on your memory! Your observer will help by indicating well in advance, so if you are using your mirrors you will know where to go.
Do I have to stick to the speed limit all the time?
During observed runs, your observer will expect you to keep strictly to signposted 30 and 40mph limits, especially in built up areas. What matters though is that your speed is approriate for the conditions. In national speed limits you should constantly adapt your speed in accordance with the hazards around you, and exercise your own discretion.
During the test, yes, the assessor will expect you to demonstrate that you know what the speed limit is, and ride up to it accurately if safe to do so. It is worth checking your bike's speedo using a GPS unit or similar well before the test, as bike speedos can over-read by 10% or more, and you may be able to go faster than you think.
I've completed a Bikesafe weekend, should I do the IAM training too?
Yes. The Police Bikesafe courses are just a quick introduction to advanced rider training, and there is a limit to how much they can teach you in a weekend. CAM is perfectly placed to help you take that training further.
I've been riding for 25 years, what's the point in doing advanced training?
While experience is always a good thing, bear in mind that the riding system we teach has been developed by many expert riders and instructors over several decades. No individual rider could reasonably be expected to work out all the hundreds of advanced riding tips and tricks for themselves — there is always more to learn.
I've just passed my test, should I start advanced rider training straight away?
You may if you wish, but it might be beneficial to get a few months experience under your belt first. You need to be able to handle your machine confidently and easily to allow you to concentrate on other matters such as anticipating hazards, road positioning etc.
Do you still train if it's raining / windy / freezing cold / foggy / dark / winter?
Yes. It's important to be able to ride safely in all conditions, so with the possible exceptions of ice, snow or gales you should get out there and practice! As they say, there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.
Where can I read more about advanced training before taking the plunge?
All our training is based around the police riders' handbook Motorcycle Roadcraft, so reading at least some of the book before you start would be really helpful.
You should also be familiar with the latest version of the Highway Code as this has changed substantially in the last few editions.
Time and money
How long does it take to reach test standard?
It depends entirely on how much practice you do, and how quickly you learn, but remember that the test is not easy. 6-10 observed runs and 8-10 months is typical, but there is no upper or lower limit. Our observers will continue to help you as long as you need them.
How much does it cost?
Under the IAM's new Skill for life program, a one-off payment of £149 includes a year's membership of CAM, a year's membership of the IAM, a copy of How to be a better rider and the test fee. Our observers, who are all unpaid volunteers, will provide you with as much training time as you want or need for just a few pounds petrol money per run.
Do I have to pay up front?
No, there's no need to pay up front if you're not sure. Why not arrange a trial session with one of our observers? Or simply turn up to a social run and introduce yourself for a free assesment ride (nice and early please!). Contact us for more information and to book a ride.
Do I save money on insurance?
Yes, most companies will give a reduction in your premium if you pass the advanced test. This varies between companies and you should ask them what they offer when renewal time comes around.
Riders who reach test standard also have far fewer accidents than average, which translates to much more significant insurance savings!
How do I know when I am ready to take the test?
Your observer is the best person to judge this. When they think your riding has reached at least test standard, they will advise you to apply for the test, and will usually arrange for you to take a mock test with another observer for practice.
What is the test like?
The test takes a format very similar to observed runs. The assessor will direct you on a variety of roads, and follow closely behind you. They may ask you do to a few slow-speed manouvres (U-turns etc.) and may ask you a few quesions about Roadcraft and the Highway Code at the end of the test. It takes around one to one and a half hours. At the end of the test, the assessor will tell you if you have passed, and also give you detailed constructive feedback on your run. Pass or fail, you should listen to the debrief!
What if I fail?
No big deal! Anyone can have a bad run, especially if you suffer from nerves on the day. Simply continue training and reapply when you are ready. Don't give up!
What if I pass?
Although our main aim is to help you train for and pass your advanced test, your involvement with the club need not end there. Full members are encouraged to stay active in CAM, join social rides and events and also lead rideouts. If you want to give something back there are lots of ways to help the club which is run entirely by volunteers, or take the next step and become a trainee observer.
Aren't you all a load of self-important pipe-smoking slipper-wearing BMW riders?
No! Well, apart from the BMW part perhaps.