Preparing For The Test
Once you have joined the group you will start to prepare for the IAM test, this is carried out over a number of Observed Rides with your Observer. Each ride will last approximately 1-2 hours during which you will ride between 20 and 30 miles. As we are all different there is no hard and fast rule to the number of Observed Rides you will need to reach the test standard but on average it takes 6 to 8 rides. Rides are arranged at a mutually convenient time for you and your Observer (all our Observers are volunteers and may not be available every day).
Typically you will lead the ride, with your Observer close behind watching how you ride. They will stop you every so often to discuss what they have seen and as part of this they will offer suggestions on parts of your riding style that could be improved. As the ride progresses you will have the opportunity to introduce and practice these changes.
Sometimes during the ride your Observer may suggest that you follow them whilst they give a demonstration of the kind of riding style they are asking you to adopt.
Although much of this can sound rather unexciting, experience shows that once you try it you will get a real buzz and enjoy the challenge it involves. After all if you do not enjoy it, you will not get the benefit and you will probably not come back for more. So we need to make sure you enjoy yourself.
After each ride you will be given a debriefing by your Observer. Again, these sessions are not teacher and pupil, but rather a discussion of what the ride involved, stressing the good points and areas for improvement. During the debrief your Observer will complete a written report of how the ride went and your progress to date. This report lists which areas of your riding style are up to the IAM test standard, which areas could benefit from further practicing on your own before your next Observed Ride and what is still required to get up to the standard of the IAM test.