South Wales Advanced Motorcyclists stages post-lockdown comeback with socially-distanced ride-out (with pictures/video)
South Wales Advanced Motorcyclists (SWAM) staged a socially distanced ride-out for members as its first monthly event after the coronavirus pandemic.
Over 30 members, associates and guests turned out for the day’s ride on 1 August, starting from Cardiff West and Bagle Brook services, taking in the Brecon Beacons, Penderyn, Llangorse Lake, Builth Wells and Sennybridge.
The usual informational pre-ride briefing was issued prior to the event by email and in its Facebook group, as it would have been impossible to address such a large group with social distancing. While cafés were open at the resting points of Llangorse Lake and Sennybridge, members enjoyed their refreshments outside, being careful to keep their distance from each other. Most had brought their own food and drink.
Group Vice-Chair Mike Donovan, who organised the first post-lockdown ride, said it was great to rekindle group camaraderie. Members have been missing the chance to get out and ride.
He added that a lot of work has gone into restarting training and riding activities: “IAM RoadSmart declared that observers weren’t able to take associates out after lockdown because we’d been so long off the road that we ourselves needed to retrain before we could take others out and train them. So we’ve had all that going on for the last three weeks and now this is the first monthly ride-out.”
Asked how it feels to be getting out again, he said: “Absolutely wonderful...the best thing about riding is the freedom it gives you and the sense of freedom that you have. You’re out there on a motorbike and you’re not stuck in a car with central heating, your radio going and so on. You feel more part of the countryside that you’re riding through. Of course from a training point of view, it’s great to be able to get out now and train these bikers and keep them safe on the road.”
The group’s youngest member is Twm Draper, aged 22, from Gilfach Goch. He said: “it feels great to be honest just to be able to get out again and to ride with like-minded people. So many people haven’t ridden for so long, to have the chance to ride with people like you and a chance to brush up your skills again is important. There’s the fun element of it as well...I commute every day, so it’s nice to be back, you get pleasure out of it as well.”
One of the SWAM observers and National Observer for IAM RoadSmart, Simon Watkins, said he had been out preparing himself and brushing up on skills, including riding a bicycle to keep his two-wheel skills up. As a trainer, he emphasises roadcraft, vehicle control and appropriate speed. He normally trains associates once a week, while other observers may be out more than that, depending on their time availability.
SWAM comes under the umbrella of registered charity IAM RoadSmart and trains motorcyclists to an advanced standard. Associates are coached by an observer before entering for the IAM RoadSmart advanced riding test. Once they pass, they become full members.
We develop the skills of A-class and A2-class licence holders through our Advanced Rider Course, other skills events and modular training sessions.
Most training is held on a 1:1 or 2:1 basis. We also hold group training days.
Whether you have just passed your A/A2 licence and want to become a safer rider or have been riding for years either on-track, off-road, or on-road, we aim to assist you in your journey to becoming a safer on-road rider