A word from our Chief Observer

The club’s Chief Observer Graham Scott reviews a highly successful year with a few words of congratulations and thanks to the Associates, Members and Observers who make up Cambridge Advanced Motorcyclists

My thanks to all Members & Associates for their contribution this year to growing the group and raising the standard of motorcycling in our region. But special mention has to go to all in the Observer Team for so generously volunteering their time and experience for the benefit of their fellow bikers. Their commitment shines through when I tally the 2019 test successes: 20 so far, with 4 more due before the year is out (weather permitting). I believe this to be the best year yet for Cambridge Advanced Motorcyclists

All those who achieved the status of Member will have truly benefited from the mentoring of their Observers during their rideouts. This year’s record crop of F1RSTs (five awarded in 2019, compared to a respectable three in total in the three preceding years) underlines the quality of the riders we have in our Observer Team. On behalf of the club, I heartily thank them all

I have spoken at length with the two candidates who were not able to get through the test at their first go this year: in both cases they observed that ‘it went wrong on the day’. As a very happy postscript, one of these individuals went on the achieve a F1RST on re-test two days later!

Candidates who achieved the standard necessary to become full Members this year can view their achievement with pride. Likewise new Observers who joined the team in 2019: all have shown ‘they have what it takes’ and have committed to sharing their expertise with others. All this has made my job as Chief Observer easier, rewarding and worthwhile. And let’s not forget the Ride Leaders & Tail-enders who have supported and enhanced the Observer philosophy with group rides throughout the year

But let’s not sit back and congratulate ourselves too much: safer riding is always a work-in-progress, and with six new associates joining (having visited the NEC Motorcycle Show) recently there’s plenty more work to be done

I wish you all a great Christmas, and look forward to seeing you in the New Year and doing it all again. As I usually say before rideouts… stay between the hedges!

Sincerely yours. Graham

2020 Skills Days unveiled

Hot off the press: dates have been announced for the popular track-based IAM RoadSmart Skills Days. Fifteen of these one-day courses are on offer (including one reserved exclusively for female riders), with dates from April to September 2020. As in previous years, there are three venues to choose from: Thruxton, Croft and Mallory Park

For a member’s first-hand account detailing what to expect and why it’s worth the investment read Steven Libby’s account here

For more details: IAM RoadSmart Skills Days

Sunday rides: new start points

Committee members are pleased to announce that Sunday rides can now begin from any of three possible start points –

  • New: the car-park at Tesco Royston
  • New: parking area at Shell services Four Went Ways
  • The car-park at Tesco Milton

It is anticipated that most rides will set off from Milton as usual, but the start point is chosen by the ride leader and it is essential that riders check the Events Calendar the evening before a ride to confirm it is going ahead & where it starts

In adding Four Went Ways and Royston as start points Committee members hope to:

  • Encourage participation from those members & associates for whom the journey to Milton is impractical
  • Reduce the burden on ride leaders, some of whom put in appreciable mileage getting to Milton (in addition to pre-riding & leading outings)
  • Increase the reach of rides, allowing leaders to take riders on new roads and to new locations

Google maps showing the three starting points can be found below. As always, please arrive fully fueled and in time for the 09:20am briefing


Tesco Royston


Shell Services Four Wentways


Tesco Milton


Christmas dinner 2019

A reminder that all members & associates (along with partners & guests) are warmly invited to the Club’s annual Christmas dinner, which is again being held at the Lion & Lamb Inn in Milton. Festivities begin at 7:00pm on Thursday 12th December

If you haven’t yet booked a place, you can download the booking form here. Having chosen your meal options, please return your completed form to Catherine Ryan. Payment should be made to the Club at the time of booking – full details are in the booking form

To ensure your places, please make your payment & return the booking form not later than Monday 25th November 

We look forward to seeing you there…

Two places left @ i2i

An email sent to members earlier this month detailed the news that we are planning to team up once again with i2i academy, who are offering to run their Machine Control courses for our members over the weekend of 20th & 21st June 2020 at Rufforth Airfield near York

For bookings made before Christmas, i2i are offering us this season’s prices, making the York event £30 cheaper per day than the Bovingdon venue which we used this year

To qualify for a 10% discount, we need to book a minimum of 10 places. The club will subsidise the course for members, bringing the price down further. With early booking, group discount and the club contribution, the cost is £186 per person for the 2 days

We used i2i in both 2018 and 2019. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with universal agreement that it was an excellent investment in skills acquisition. The training is original & fun, with explanations of the physics of motorcycling, practical demonstrations and of course the opportunity to have a go yourself. To find out more about i2i check the British Motorcyclists Federation’s review here or read member Ian Dunckley’s reflections on of his i2i experience here

Paul Lester & Catherine Ryan relax at i2i

In order to secure the dates & prices detailed above we need your response by 31st October. If you would like to attend please let Catherine know ASAP (cm.ryan@tiscali.co.uk), quoting your full postal address, mobile number and an emergency contact number while you are on the course

Places are strictly limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that full payment will be required upon booking with i2i

Sunday Ride 6th October 2019

Well done to Barry Dickinson as the only rider to brave the wet weather for today’s ride-out!

As Advanced riders, it is important to practise riding in a range of conditions, rather than just those sunny dry days. The right gear will ensure that you remain dry and warm, whatever the conditions

We enjoyed a great ride with the added benefit of a large English breakfast at the Tavistock Pub in Bedford

Thanks to Keith Tremeer for a sterling job as Tail Ender

F1RST-class ticket

Congratulations to Anton Flexer, who recently passed his Advanced Test with a F1RST award. Anton provides this account of the journey

I began my IAM observed rides with Rich Bell in October 2017, with a watchful eye from Julie D’Alessandro. Having ridden for 7 years it seemed like time to polish up my skills & iron out some bad habits I could feel developing

We rode into winter (with & without heated grips), the feedback suggesting I was making good progress. Then, in January 2018, I was knocked off my bike. The spill proved the worth of my protective gear, but unfortunately left with me a bike in bits. Luckily a fellow biker, passing in his pick-up, scooped me up and dropped me home, bruised but in working order, along with a broken bike

The silver lining was the opportunity to get a new bike, but this put a bit of delay on the training. After some further great sessions and more learning I was feeling confident. Sometimes life gets in the way: with two kids under 3, I took a year’s break. I started back up again in May 2019 with new Observer – Keith Tremeer – who picked up seamlessly from where Rich had left off with the consistent support of Julie

With further sessions I was again feeling confident and deemed ready for a pre-test ride, kindly conducted by Chris Curryer. Chris gave me  feedback focused on specific points. A final confidence boosting check-ride with Keith, and it was time for the test

I arrived for an early morning start with PC Simon Burgin at Trumpington. It was a beautiful autumn day and the genuinely enjoyable ride had me smiling as we rode south towards Barley. I was hoping at a minimum for a solid pass, and it was a very pleasing surprise to have come away with top pass in the form of a F1RST

My thanks to Keith Tremeer, Rich Bell and Julie D’Alessandro for getting me to this point. I have enjoyed myself, learnt a lot and remain impressed by the commitment of the volunteers who make this happen!

Next step: finally manage to join a Sunday ride out 🙂

IAM Skills Day review

Many thanks to Associate member Steven Libby who, having recently completed an IAM Skills Day on the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire, has written and shared a review of his experience. Read Steven’s account of his Skills Day here

Inspired by Steven’s review you may wish to sign up for a Skills Day at Thruxton, Croft or Mallory Park. A total of eight Skills Days were held between May and September this year, with one date reserved for female riders. The 2019 season is now ended, but we’ll keep you posted when the 2020 schedule is announced so you can get your name on the list at the earliest opportunity

Associate Theory Evening

Thursday September 26th, Orwell Pavilion
See the Events Calendar for timing & further details

The evening is aimed at Associates preparing for their Advanced Test, but full members are also very welcome for a refresher on the theory of advanced riding. Observers are also encouraged to attend and share their insight and experience

This training takes the form of an interactive session which is led by experienced National & Local Observers. There will be plenty of time for questions & discussions. It doesn’t matter if you have been to a previous session, there are always new topics to debate! Please let Catherine know if you will be attending (if only to ensure she gets sufficient biscuits)

Night Ride

This event will provide an opportunity for members to gain more experience riding at night in a variety of road types, from motorway to B-roads. Departure details can be found in the Events Calendar here

The evening will start at 7.30pm with a briefing on night riding by our group examiner, PC Simon Burgin. The ride will cover approximately 90 miles, with a coffee stop at the half-way point, before finishing at around 11pm

The ride is limited to 12 motorcycles and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that it is a prerequisite that riders wear suitable reflective clothing

For more details and to book a place, please contact markpawson@live.co.uk by 14th September