Group riding & riding abroad can be daunting
The best way of accomplishing skills is by receiving professional training. So with a friend, I attended a DVSA Enhanced Riding Scheme (ERS), with the intention to improve my riding skills and learn to ride safely in a group.
Riding in a group can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before and you’re used to riding alone. However with the correct training and experience it can be very enjoyable and rewarding.
The training put an emphasis on improving areas of your riding that increases confidence and makes you a safer rider. For example, correct positioning and observation when riding in a group, approaching junctions and dealing with overtaking slower traffic in a safe manner. Having discussions in a classroom before a ride, allows you to question the instructor on a 1:1 basis and gives them an idea on what to include in the session.
Completing ERS encouraged me to ride more
The instructor, Laura, kept in constant communication informing us on correct positioning on the road, at junctions, and following traffic. We traveled along a variety of roads including rural areas, villages, towns and on to dual carriageways. We were given feedback on correct and safe road positioning whatever the location. She gave all of us the opportunity to change position in the group so that we could gain experience leading or following fellow riders. As we travelled along we learnt how to read the road ahead and adjust speed and road positioning for the oncoming situations.
We stopped for a deserved coffee break and discussed the session when we had the opportunity to ask questions on our progress. Everyone felt that they had learnt something that would improve their riding. Then once more into the riding but by this time the teaching was coming into practice and I felt that there was a definite improvement in my riding with an increase in my confidence. At the end of the session another briefing took place were our instructor discussed the areas where she could see an improvement and where further training required or of benefit. This encouraged me to ride more and put into practice my newly learned skills.
An overseas trip was needed
So what next? An overseas trip was needed…. I found out that there was a trip organised by the same motorcycle training company and they were taking a group over to Normandy in France, for a long weekend staying in a Chateau situated in a remote rural location. The group consisted of fourteen bikes of which there were three qualified instructors and eight that had never ridden overseas before. On the day, we met up and were instructed on how the group would travel to the ferry port.
By utilising our training we successfully arrived at the ferry port and boarded for our six hour crossing. Whilst on the ferry we received additional training relating to riding in a foreign country, again the emphasis was on the correct positioning and observation when riding in a group.
On arrival we disembarked and with trepidation set off on an eighty mile trip in the dark. By following all the training given, my confidence increased and I became more comfortable riding in a new and strange environment.
The journey to the Chateau was a complete success and was the start of a fantastic weekend riding through glorious countryside and scenic coastal roads. More training was given during the weekend including etiquette to other riders and motorists you met on our journey.
The skills I picked up on the DVSA Enhanced Rider Scheme sessions on group riding and ridiing abroad, has given me more confidence and made me a safer rider who always wanted to motorcycle overseas, to one that now does.