Safety and fun are two words that keep coming up when you speak to Glyn Hill, chairman of Suffolk Advanced Motorcyclists.
The group is committed to promoting advanced motorcycling and road safety.
“The bottom line is safety but motorcycling still needs to be fun,” he explains.
SAM, part of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, has been improving riders’ skills and safety for around 40 years.
The group averages around 275 members who enjoy a variety of events and activities. These include monthly breakfast runs on a Sunday and a monthly Saturday jaunt ending with an afternoon tea stop all year round, weather permitting, and Thursday chip runs during the summer.
It also has a monthly meeting, with guest speaker, on the third Wednesday of each month, attends various local motorbike shows as well as helping us at demo days over the year and at the Stonham Motorbike Show on Sunday 7 May. It also helps the group’s recruit new members.
Riders only need a full motorbike licence to qualify for IAM advanced test training.
They’re known as associate members and assigned a local observer to hone their riding skills. They normally have six to 10 observed rides to prepare for the test.
Observed rides are often every two weeks so riders can practise new skills they have learned.
Once considered ready for the advanced test, they have a check ride with a national observer to confirm it.
The first year’s membership costs £175 which covers joining IAM and SAM and the advanced test which is good value for motorbike training. All the observers are volunteers so SAM likes associates to pay £15 per observed ride to cover their mentor’s fuel and costs.
“We do it for fun,” says Glyn.
No riding experience is necessary after passing the standard motorbike test.
“My view is if you get riders directly after they pass their test they’re not going to have any bad habits. They may take a little longer in the uptake of making progress but you’re starting with a blank canvas,” says Glyn.
“One of the things I encourage is for associates to think about their ride, when they get back, and whether there was anything they could have done better.”
That said, many associate members have been riding for many years and want to take their riding to a higher level or make it even more enjoyable.
SAM works closely with the team at Orwell Motorcycles.
“We’ll help out Orwell in any way we can.
“When you go into Orwell there’s often someone from SAM in there somewhere!”
For more information, and to contact SAM, visit the website at suffolk-advanced-motorcyclists.com