Steve Laughton
'.....I didnít start riding a bike until I was 29, because my parents wouldnít let me. But I decided that I was grown up enough then to start, so I took lessons and passed my test in 93. I rode around 20,000 miles a year for the first three years, but I had lots of questions about riding techniques, but I usually found my friends didnít have the answers.

I was recommended to the local IAM group by a staff member of Hein Gericke, and shortly after that I joined Nottingham Advanced motorcyclists.

I started my training in the spring 1996 and I found that all my questions were answered because the people who helped me to improve my riding had all asked the same questions when they started, and they now had all the answers.

I learned to slow ride, and go around corners confidently, which were just two of the skills I needed help on. As the year continued my skills and confidence grew to a point that I passed my test that summer.

Once I had passed my advanced test I was invited to train to become an observer, and I started that in the autumn. I have been observing now for over 12 years, and I get lots of pleasure from helping other riders gain confidence in just the same way my observers helped me all those years ago.

So if youíve been saying that you will get some training one day, then stop thinking about it and take the plunge. You will get more enjoyment out of your riding than you could ever imagine.'

Paul Thompson
'.....Coming from a background of Policing I had a fair idea how vulnerable a motor cyclist was and with my wife being a committed pillion I felt it was my responsibility to be as safe a rider as possible, I had seen first hand over a number of years numerous accidents involving bikes. I had always been very impressed with the manner and style of riding of Police Motorcyclists and having done the Police car response course I knew that the IPSGA worked! But how could I to put that into practise on the bike?

Having seen that the Nottingham Advanced Motorcyclists had an annual NRS event at Holme Pierrepont I signed up for the free assessment ride! The Observer put me instantly at ease and I was asked to ride as normal for the first leg of the ride, following a stop and a briefing as to what I was doing right and wrong I was treated to a demonstration ride by the observer back to base! Impressed at the professionalism of the group I signed up there and then.

Itís always a bit nerve wracking being under scrutiny, especially when itís something you think you rather good at and it turns out you arenít as good as you think! My Observer Phil soon put me at ease and I found myself enjoying the training rides. The advanced test day came and putting all I had learnt into practise I breezed through it!

Since becoming a full member of the IAM I enjoy my riding more, and feel I am more aware of my surroundings. Am I safer on the road as an Advanced Motorcyclist? Well there have been several occasions where my heightened observations skills avoided me being T boned by car drivers Ė not all driving Volvos!

So I say yes absolutely!

Marc Ford
'.....I started off doing a one day Advanced Training day with a DSA Instructor in Norfolk of all places, it cost me £100 in 2009. I did learn I wasnít as good a rider as I thought. Excellent in the city, but rubbish in the country.

The cost of one day training meant I had to look at local training on a cheaper basis and by luck someone handed me a flyer whilst chatting to some mates at the local bike meet. The Nottingham Advanced Motorcyclists were having an open day FOR FREE . I emailed my details and a space was left for the afternoon which sounded too good to be true.
I attended the open day, did an assessment with an Observer, asked lots of questions and was told the Skills For Life course was only £139, bargain compared to what I paid a couple of weeks earlier. I was booked in on a one to one training with an Observer, but this had to be changed as my work patterns altered and I moved onto the fortnightly Block Course . This turned out to be an excellent move as I trained with a whole different bunch of Observers and I always turned up early and had a chance to chat with all the other trainees who were on the course. Weíd swap stories and gossip about bikes and routes and the Observers who we had been out with.

My final assessment came along and I was test ready !

For some reason I seemed to have gotten lost in the booking system and it seemed like ages before a date for my test came along, which was a bit of a problem as I had just sold my bike and the biking season was coming to an end with it being October. Only one thing to doÖÖ go buy a new bike.

I did my test on a wet Saturday on a new bike that wasnít even run Ėin, and still passed as the training I had received was excellent and covered all aspects of all-weather riding.

The winter came and went and March 2010 a request was received for trainee Observers for the coming season, why not, more training and a chance to pass on all my riding experience to others. I loved it although my wife now sees less of me as Iím off somewhere on the bike yet again !'

Mark Ellis
'.....In 2004 I returned to biking after 13 years away with family commitments. One of the things I found was a lack of confidence after so long away so I took a Bike Safe course with the police in Stoke. They suggested extra training and my wife bought me a Skills for Life package the following summer.

My initial was with Terry Towler and further showed what I didnít know. He even survived a collision with a pheasant during the run. (Broke the bike but he didnít fall off)

I moved onto my training on a one-to-one basis with an observer and began to learn a lot very quickly. My training took quite a long time due to a long layoff over the winter with bad weather and then my bike broke down.

Eventually after nearly a year of training, although it was only 6 runs I took my final assessment with Steve Laughton and found I needed even more training, but the group couldnít be more helpful. Observers were queuing up to take me out. So after a couple more runs I was deemed to be test ready.

My test was taken, on a day of horizontal rain, from Mansfield and as I sat at the end looking like a drowned rat I was delighted to be told I had passed.

I must say that I found all the people involved with the club so helpful and since joining I have learnt so much.'