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  • May 01, 2024 4 min read

    Meet the Observer – Simon Goodwin

    When did you start riding?

    I started riding in the mid-nineties when I was living in Bounds Green.  I didn’t really need a bike, I just wanted one, so I took a CBT course run by Enfield Borough Council and shortly thereafter my DVLA test in St Albans on a Honda H100.  During the test I missed one of the examiner’s directions and in my mirrors, saw him turn left.  On the radio he instructed me to make my own way back to the test centre. Oops. However, I’d passed!  As far as the government was concerned, I was now safe and legal to ride any capacity motorcycle.  I was subsequently motivated to take my advanced bike test because I wanted to be a motorcycle marshal, like the ones I’d seen in the Tour de France, and I needed an advanced riding qualification to do that.

    How long have you been an Observer?

    I’ve been an Observer since 2022.  I’ve been a member of the IAM since 1989 when I took my car test but didn’t take up advanced bike riding until the late nineties, when I joined the Thames Valley group.  Various house moves put a hold on my advanced riding for several years and it wasn’t until I joined LAM that I managed to get to test standard and in fact a F1rst, which I’d never actually heard of until the examiner said I’d achieved one.  More house moves saw me leave LAM but subsequently rejoin a few years later to take my observer training, not only to improve my own skills but to give something back.

    What does LAM mean to you?

    For me, LAM is a community of like-minded individuals whose intention is to achieve and maintain the highest standards of riding, whilst having a good laugh doing it.  It’s easy to take advanced riding far too seriously but I’ve found LAM to be particularly informal and welcoming.  The training that I received while I was learning was among the best and my test score was a direct result of that.

    What is your favourite route?

    I don’t know if I have a favourite route, although I do have a favourite type of route.  Remote, gnarly lanes are my preference.  There are plenty of those in the north of England where I grew up and it’s a fantastic place to ride all types of roads, with much less traffic to boot.

    What is your number one tip for passing the test?

    Treat the test no differently than an OR.  Take in a couple of hours riding beforehand to loosen-up, have a coffee and relax. The examiner wants you to pass.  Ride your own ride.  Keep is safe and legal and you’ll be fine.

    What is your favourite piece of riding kit?

    I love my Keis heated vest.  Heated clothing transformed winter riding for me and looking back I don’t know how I survived without it.

    What is your favourite bike?

    I love my KTM 790 Adventure, having ridden more than 30,000 miles on it.  It’s easy to ride, light, great on fuel and reliable.  I’ve always ridden middleweight bikes and, in the past, have had an Aprilia 650 Pegaso, a BMW G650GS, a Honda NC750X, and two Kawasaki Versys 650’s.  I also ride a Peugeot 125 scooter from time to time. The 790 Adventure is my favourite though and having now experienced quick shifters and cruise control, I don’t think I could go back.

    What has been your best or funniest moment on a bike?

    As I said, my motivation all those years ago was to become a motorcycle marshal.  In 2023, having ridden at local and regional level for several years, I was invited to take part in a number of international events, including the UCI Cycling World Championships in Scotland and the Tour of Britain.  As a lifelong cyclist, it was a thrill for me to be able to ride alongside (literally) Tour de France winners as part of a pro-race convoy, although I can’t say it wasn’t stressful or nerve-wracking!  Concentration has to be 100% at all times and there is very little respite.  The consequences of getting it wrong don’t bear thinking about.  The series of World Championship events that, as a team, we helped deliver in and around Glasgow were definitely a highlight of the year. It was an honour and a privilege to work alongside other British Cycling marshals from around the country, the police, motorcycle commissaires, race regulators, TV crews and press bikes.  The camaraderie of the entire team is something I will remember forever.  I feel very fortunate to have been able to help deliver those events safely and professionally using all the skills I’ve learned as a member of LAM and the IAM.  I look forward to many more.

    Ask me about …

    Cycling, not working too hard, and drinking coffee.


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