Learning and developing our skills leads us to becoming better versions of ourselves. I never thought that this message would be brought home to me through motorbikes though.
I got the inspiration for this blog post sitting in the car at Kempston Park. The last time I’d visited I’d been dressed in a tiger suit as the Haven Holidays mascot – Rory, while our MD presented the prize to the winner of one of the Boxing Day races. Take it from me, tiger suits and thoroughbred horses aren’t an ideal mix (especially when the person acting as your ‘eyes’ is terrified of horses!)
It was a lot safer though as I sat in the car watching the Motogymkhana . When you think of motorbikes I’m sure you wouldn’t imagine the scene that was in front of me! There were 30+ bikers all in bike gear and numbered vests walking round and round different coloured cones. Why? Good question! It was because they were walking the course ready for the second round of the competition that enables them to test their memory, bike skills and speed.
One of the things that has really impressed me since Mike started riding his bikes again is the number of motorcyclists who work on improving their bike skills. They take responsibility for having better road skills and improving their abilities on their machines as well. It certainly gives me greater peace of mind knowing that Mike is doing all he can to be safe on the roads.
My first introduction to motorbike safety was when Mike joined the MKAM (Milton Keynes Advanced Motorists). As a car driver I’d always been rather frightened of bikes as they just seemed to race past me before I’d had time to notice that they were there. With the IPSGA system that makes sense as S is for Speed and A is for acceleration. What I was pleased to learn was that I was for Information which means that the biker is fully aware of what is happening around him/her and the most important thing about the system is that it gives the rider time to react. There is a strong emphasis in MKAM on being a responsible road user. Mike has explained to me that if he is riding well car drivers should not be inconvenienced at all by his passing.
So where did Motogymkhana fit in? Well it was a more fun way to learn how to ride his bike well by understanding what he is able to do and to be fully confident in his abilities. By pitting himself against a course he needed to be fully alert, able to turn quickly and easily and be flexible in the way he moves the bike.
It’s gave me pause for thought. As a car driver I learnt to pass my test and that was that. I have never considered taking any steps to improve my skills. (it’s possible to do advanced car tests with MKAM as well).
As a coach I’m always on the alert for new techniques, methods and understandings to improve my effectiveness but I think there’s a lot we can learn from this motor biking tale. There are lots of different ways that we can develop our skills (some more fun than others).
What areas of your life could benefit from a skills brush up?