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Putting Theory into Practice

You think it's nerve wracking as a new associate? No taking away from the fact it is, it continues when you become a Group Tutor too!

There's a first time for everything, and no matter how prepared you think you are there's always butterflies!

This is a new Tutors review of her 'first time'!

Having been allocated an associate, swapping phone numbers and arranging a suitable day and venue and watching the weather like mad (who likes to concentrate with rain dripping down the back of their neck?) finally the time had arrived for me to do what I had wanted to do - share my knowledge and enthusiasm with someone else!

In the preceding days I kept looking at my Roadcraft book and tried to think of a teaching plan, something that I am familiar with formulating when at work, but it all sounded too formal and constrained. So I decided that this first session would focus on developing a rapport with my associate and finding out what he was looking for when he joined the group and then to follow him and do an overall assessment looking for any major safety items to address.

We met and chatted about his bike and its history. I was trying very hard not to waffle on too much – something that I am guilty of and not just when I am nervous. I read through what Chris had written on his initial assessment and overall it was not too dreadful. We decided on a venue for a brew and I let my associate choose the route, my theory being he would be more relaxed on familiar roads and easier for me to pick up any glaring issues.

After a few moments of mechanical unpredictability with his bike we were off towards Fimber.

Not far into the ride I identified an issue with observation and reactions to potential hazards.

On reaching the roundabout at Fimber, after a couple of safe overtakes and knowing where we were heading I made another mental note to discuss the use of indicators only to be surprised when we headed straight on!

Serves me right for presuming I told myself. Lesson learnt. Carrying on we took a left towards the beautiful estate of Birdsall and along some single track roads before emerging onto the A166 and heading towards Fridaythorpe for what I decided was a well-earned brew for both of us.

While my associate was buying the obligatory black decaf for me I did a bit of PR for the club discussing our taster day with one of the regulars.

Work in progress that I will follow up when I next see him!

Choosing a quiet table away from everyone else we discussed how the ride had gone. I was pleased to be able to feedback positively on his overall machine control and handling especially on some of the more challenging road surfaces and then brought up about recognising potential hazards as in cars crossing over into our lane to overtake cyclists and what the best course of action would be that we could take. We also discussed observations at length and I could feel myself going into waffle mode again and kept repeating in my head Chris’s mantra of K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid!)

On completing the training log we discussed each item as I went through scoring it. I then kept the comment section brief and documented a few points as ‘homework’ before we met up again.

My homework is to decide on a suitable route for the next session – yet another good reason for me to be out on my bike!

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