This is a guide to some of the best challenges and experiences LAM Members and Associates can think about at those times when you wonder, “What shall I do today?” The 40 are a kind of “bucket list” but you can of course adapt them to make your own choices.
The experiences cover those you can do in a day or others that may take some arranging or planning and may take a trip away. The full list of experiences will be spread over a few Progress issues, with a variety of challenges each time. Some are easy - others far more challenging.
They are listed as standalone experiences but of course you can vary them to suit your circumstances, bike or time available. They can be done on your own or as part of a group. Some can be combined in one ride and therefore getting two boxes ticked in one go.
1. Join the IAM and LAM
This one is your first box ticked if you’re reading this article. So, you’re on your way. However, don’t forget that joining LAM means that the skills you have learnt (or are learning) need to be used, extended and practiced. These challenges will give you an opportunity to do this.
2. Ride 100 miles in a day
For some this may not be much of a challenge – it may just be a normal commute but for others (dependent upon where you live in the LAM catchment area) it may be a long ride. The ride can include motorways but aim for A and B Roads. Expect to be riding for around 2 to 2.5 hours and if this seems a long time, include a coffee, toilet break or lunch along the way. If you go on a LAM trip away; 100 miles or 2 hours is the typical time between petrol stops so it is also the basic longer trip building block for any longer ride. As an Associate, practice embeds those skills needed to pass your Advanced Test and this would be a good training session. Aiming to ride 200 miles or more in practice between ORs is a good target for gaining that elusive systematic and safe progress.
3. Go to the seaside for a swim or paddle
Again, this one will depend on where you live and how much time you have available. Last year it was the only way many people were able to swim when leisure centres and indoor pools were closed. I now have a swimming waterproof pouch to keep my keys dry but last year I often left my stuff on the beach with a couple I’d assessed as safe and reliable. Pick your day and be safe in the water.
4. Do a Track Day
This one has come early as it may take some arranging for the future. The IAM do their own Track Skills days and these are excellent for exploring the capabilities of your bike and oneself amongst similar individuals and in a safe environment. Doing an IAM track day will also give you a tick in the box to a future challenge (more later). Many LAMkins regularly do track days so a post on the Forum may provide worthwhile advice.
5 Sort out your Bike Shed
Where you keep your pride and joy may vary from a custom built shed or workshop to squeezed into a corner of the garage or under a cover outside the front door. Wherever it is, consider security and do what you can to safeguard it, making it difficult to steal. Try to sort some way of getting a charge to the battery, to avoid those times when you leave your lights on (if that’s possible on your bike). If inside, then have a tidy up and get rid of any junk that makes manoeuvring your bike around difficult. Make sure your tools are readily available and you have plenty of light for fettling or doing your POWDER check.
6. Ride down that road you keep seeing
Investigate that road you keep passing and wonder where it goes to. It may be a great ride near to home, on your way to work or en route to one of our Group Meetings. Maybe it’s one you pass when visiting someone. Allow a bit of extra time on that journey to see where it goes.
7. Stick to the speed limit
A good training ride this one. Next time you’re commuting or going somewhere you often visit. Get to every speed limit as you pass the signs both up and down in speed. See and respond to every speed limit sign. They’re often at a place where you’re looking at other hazards; at a roundabout, in a hedge, near a school, entry to a town or village. My favourite is one I was presented with on my Advanced Test; a 20-mph village limit within 100mets of an exit off a National Limit dual carriageway. My examiner told me one Associate on his test went through it at 50-mph.
8. Group Ride
For many Members, Group Riding is the “raison d’être” for being a Full Member of LAM. The ride process we use allows for riders of varying levels of experience cover a variety of distances. We suggest that you complete Group Rider Training, an experience to be covered in a future article.
However, as an Associate, riding as part of a group may hold out some level of nervousness, “Will I be able to keep up? Will I get stressed and go too fast trying to keep up, will I hold up faster riders? How will I get home? How does group riding work?” As an Associate we have Associate Only Rides (AORs) which are aimed to give Associates an opportunity to practice the skills from your Observed Rides in a non-threatening environment with other Associates like yourself. The ride Leader will have chosen a route to suit Associates. All we ask is that you’ve done one or two ORs before joining an AOR.
9. Machine Control Day
LAM has organised Machine Control Days for 2 decades. These skills days enable you to practice slow riding, braking, manual bike handling skills, picking up your bike and provide an understanding of how our eyes and brains work at lower speeds. So, if you always get in a “twitch” if you have to do a U-Turn on a gravel drive then a Machine Control Day (MCD) is for you.
10 Ride somewhere for that extra special Full English Breakfast
There are many great cafes within 30 miles of most of us. Find a mate and go and get a week’s Cholesterol fix in one hit. A post on the forum will have members blagging on about their favourite Café.
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