Sheffield & District Advanced Motorcyclists Club (SAM)
We are committed to improving
motorcycle riding skills and road safety.
SAM is an independent registered charity (no. 1089671) that provides public education and training in advanced motorcycling skills. Its aims are to increase public awareness and understanding of motorcycling and the advanced knowledge and skills required to ride safely on public roads. It is an affiliate group of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM RoadSmart) and works closely with local statutory and non-statutory organisations in promoting public information and education on motorcyclists and motorcycling in its designated region. SAM’s volunteer motorcyclists are all highly trained to and maintain national standards of advanced motorcycle riding. They provide training and prepare motorcyclists for UK nationally recognised advanced motorcycling tests. SAM works closely with other charitable groups who require advanced motorcyclists to support public events, such as NHS dispatch rider services and many other socially responsible, local community supporting activities. SAM also provides a calendar of social events to ensure the ongoing cohesive communal support for its charitable activities. SAM provides an essential public service in encouraging, promoting and marketing improved safety on public roads in the UK and internationally through IAM RoadSmart.
How do I find out more?
The first thing to do is to contact our Membership Secretary. Then what usually happens is that you come to our Saturday morning meeting place at Meadowhall Retail Park to have an Assessed Ride with one of our Observers. (If you cannot make it on Saturday mornings then it can easily be arranged for you to meet one of our Observers at a suitable time during the week).
This ride will be a very relaxed affair during which the Observer will have a look at your riding and give you feedback on the changes that you can expect to occur if you do join the Club – they will, probably, also give a demonstration ride so that you have a clear idea of the sort of riding that you will be aiming for. At the end of the ride you will receive a written description of your riding indicating those aspects that could benefit from some work – hopefully, you will feel encouraged to continue by joining SAM and moving on to the next stage.
What Happens When I Join?
When you join SAM you will be assigned to an Observer – an IAM Green Badge holder who has undertaken additional training to be able to pass on the skills of advanced riding – who will be responsible for coaching you through all the stages leading up to your successful attempt at the advanced test. On your first ride with them, your Observer will decide on the aspects of your riding that would benefit most from some work during your initial rides.
As well as looking at your riding and discussing with you what they have seen and what you should be aiming for, they will give demonstrations illustrating what they are looking for and clarifying what advanced riding is about. Everything they do will be based on the IAM book “How to be a Better Rider”, the Police Motorcycling Manual “Roadcraft” and, of course, “The Highway Code”. You will be expected to read and be familiar with all three books and your Observer will check on your knowledge and understanding of their content.
After several sessions – the number depends on the individual – your Observer will say that you are “Ready-for-Test” and will organise for you to have a pre-test assessment with one of our National Observers whose job it will be to verify that your riding and bookwork is up-to-standard. This ride is also designed to give you a flavour of what it will be like on the actual test ride so that you can experience the extra tension that is automatically associated with a test of any sort and be ready for it.
Now, perhaps after some more work with your Observer, you will sit and should pass your test.
Who should do advanced motorcycle training?
Everyone who owns a motorcycle or scooter that is capable of the national speed limit and is interested in improving their riding skills and safety should consider doing advanced training. SAM’s Observers will coach you so that you are in the right place, travelling at the right speed, in the right gear and with all the information that you need to plan your next move. This does not mean riding slowly – unless safety indicates that you must – one of the skills you will learn is the ability to make spirited progress whilst having plenty of time to make the decisions that enable you to ride smoothly and accurately.
I’ve heard about the IAM RoadSmart Programme, what is it?
IAM RoadSmart is the new brand name of the IAM. The advanced courses apply to both car drivers and motorcycle riders and readily available through the IAM RoadSmart website. The advanced rider course is currently costs £149 but, for under 30-year-olds, is available for a discounted price of £99.00 with the Sheffield Advanced Motorcyclists club. On paying the Advanced Rider course fee (See IAM website below for any other offers) you can join a local group. The fee you have paid will entitle you to as much guidance as you need to prepare for the Advanced Test for however long you remain a member. Learning materials and your Advanced Test fee are included. More information is available at www.iamroadsmart.com/courses/advanced-rider-course.
What are the benefits of completing the advanced motorcycle training and passing the Advanced Motorcycle Test?
There are many… Apart from becoming a safer and more skillfull rider, you are likely to save substantially on Insurance premiums, the younger you are the more you are likely to save. This may assist in your progressing to a more spirited machine at an earlier stage. On the road, your new levels of skill will keep you safer and enable you to reduce your legal point to point elapsed journey times. SAM also guides their members towards selected external schemes and programmes which provide the opportunity to progress your skills even further.
It is also likely that you will acquire additional friends who possess a high level of riding skill. Opportunities for riding out with these and other members of SAM will provide you with much enjoyment. Smaller groups within our membership also arrange or take part in various trips and tours both within the UK and Europe.
SAM operates very much like a motor cycle club. Fifty or more members typically congregate most Saturday mornings at Meadowhall Retail Park at around 9 am before riding off in small groups to an agreed destination for breakfast and thereafter a ride on roads especially selected for motorcycling enjoyment. The types of machines in evidence vary enormously from Sports, to Touring or Adventure related examples. The occasional Scooter or Cruiser style machine can also be seen. The age of the machines varies. In time you may also wish to take a more pro-active part in our activities by upgrading to ‘Observer’ status so as to assist others to achieve their ‘Green Badge’.
I want to get my partner an Advanced Rider course as a gift, they ride a motor scooter are they eligible?
Every person who wishes to join the Advanced Rider course must hold a full licence for the class of vehicle they intend to drive. In the case of Motorcycles, the machine must have an engine capacity of at least 125cc (to comply with UK motorway regulations) and must be capable of reaching the UK motorway speed limit of 70 mph and maintaining it. In the case of a Motor Scooter the same rules apply, however for Scooters under 125 cc’s a special scheme called ‘Road Rider Plus’ is available. Full details are on the IAM website.
How long will it take to prepare for the test?
This does vary enormously, some people require very little additional preparation whilst others may learn at a slower pace due to time constraints or a short term lack of experience. Also not everyone likes to learn in the same way. Our Observers have seen every kind of rider you can imagine and are experienced in finding the method that is best suited to each individual. You might think that for one reason or another you are an exception… strangely, we have found that most people are… so fear not..! The intention is that you enjoy the process enormously as you progress towards your test.
What happens after I have passed my advanced riding test?
Firstly arrangements will be made to present you with your certificate and Green Badge at club night which is held at Treeton Miners Welfare club on the first Monday of every month.
Beyond that it is very much up to you. As we have already mentioned club members, Observers and their Associates, meet from 9 am Saturday mornings at Meadowhall Retail Park at which:
- members take the opportunity to catch up with each other and generally socialise
- Observers will be taking their Associates out as part of their preparation for the advanced test
- other members will form smaller groups and ride out usually for breakfast somewhere
If you would like to continue to be involved please come down Saturdays. In due course you may decide you want to take your involvement further by training to be an Observer thereby eventually giving others the benefit of your experience.
Ongoing involvement in whatever capacity will of course mean you remaining a member of both the IAM and SAM continuing to pay the appropriate annual subscriptions.
How do I join the ride outs?
Once you have passed your test the best way is to get your Observer to firstly give you some advice about riding in groups and the ‘marking’ system that SAM uses (in larger groups this tries to ensure nobody is lost en route). As the ride outs can sometimes be quite demanding ask your Observer to introduce you to the members leading ride outs and perhaps asking him/her (your Observer) to accompany you a couple of times to help you find your feet. We will do all we can to help you get involved post test but of course you will need to do your part making yourself known to existing members.
I’ve heard there are ride outs on other days – can I join them?
Yes, there are some informal arrangements on other days (Thursdays for instance). Again the best route to finding out about these (and how to become involved) is to talk it over with your Observer who is likely to be able to make some introductions to enable you to further your involvement.
I am interested in training to be an Observer – how do I find out more about this?
Once you have had a period of consolidation (following your test) you decide you would like to be considered for Observer training you should approach the Guidance Secretary in the first instance.
To become a National Observer involves additional training and the sitting of a separate test, taken by one of the IAM’s Staff Examiners, involving the observation of a ride given by an Associate and the subsequent debrief followed by a demonstration ride at National Observer level.