I joined Forth Valley IAM in summer of 2022. This was due to getting a leaflet handed to me promoting the IAM at Edinburgh Harley Davidson.
It is the best decision I have ever made. In the last 18 months or so I have been given great tuition from my Observer. I went on to pass my test and received a FIRST.
More importantly, I have been welcomed into a local biking community of wonderful people from wide and varied backgrounds. We meet up regularly for local ride outs in all sorts of weather and have a laugh and joke while scoffing coffee & cake or bacon rolls.
Everyone in the group has been massively helpful and supportive.
I am continuing my training to more advanced levels and am working towards my National Observer qualification. I take out my own associates in preparation for their tests and I was recently invited on to the Forth Valley IAM group committee.
I have several further training courses that I’m looking forward to this year, as I am constantly looking to improve my skills.
I joined the IAM for more than just passing an advanced motorcycle test and, as with all organisations, the more you put in the more you get out. It is a very rewarding experience.
I now feel part of the Forth Valley IAM family and have close friends I would never have met if I hadn’t joined.
Many thanks to all the current and future members for all the skills, laughs and great times while out and about on our bikes.
If you’re in two minds, or even just curious, I’d thoroughly recommend signing up for IAM Advanced Motorcycle Course - and don’t leave it too long. Each associate is paired up with one of Scotland’s best riders, all of whom are passionate about improving your skills and safety. They all do it on a voluntary basis, giving up their time and miles to support you to become a more accomplished and aware version of yourself.
The process itself is both enjoyable and challenging. You need to be prepared to take on board all the feedback you’ll get from riders who never seem to miss a trick. You might also find there’s a phase where you feel less able than when you started, but as you start to put new habits into action through practice, it all begins to click into place.
The community itself is super supportive, and can’t do enough to get you to the point of being assessed, with plenty of opportunities to hone your skills on social ride-outs. And get your loyalty cards sorted - you’re about to visit more biker-friendly coffee-stops than you ever knew existed while you get debriefed on how you did!
I bought my husband Max - an experienced motorcyclist - an IAM Advanced Rider Course as a birthday present in the spirit of ‘there’s always something new to learn’. He became an Associate in spring 2019 and I joined him soon after. I had returned to motorcycling after a 35 year gap and wanted to upgrade my skills and become a more confident rider.
Working through the Advancer Rider course (with different observers) was very beneficial for us, both as individuals and as co-riders. Training separately, but together, meant that we could debrief after rides using the same language and we were able to support each other as we worked through various sticking points - there were many visits to large empty car parks to practise slow riding techniques! The hard work paid off and we both passed our tests with flying colours a few months later.
We learnt a great deal from the Advanced Rider training and would like to thank our observers for their time, good humour, and in my case, patience!
We can also recommend the IAM Rider Skills Days - road skills training at a race circuit. These are excellent for ongoing skills development and we plan to book an annual course from now on. Max put his Advanced Rider status to work in spring 2020 when he joined Blood Bikes Scotland. He remains an active volunteer Blood Biker and thoroughly enjoys doing something good whilst out riding.
Since reaching the ripe old age of 60, it was a scary thought to know that it was more than 43 years since passing my initial driving test!
Having recently retired from a professional flying career I felt it was high time to brush up on my driving skills and knowledge and discard the many bad driving habits I had picked up over the years. Some research on the internet took me to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and what seemed like a very reasonable fee to sign up. Low & behold, after a bit of a wait, I was paired up with an IAM observer who, unbeknown to me, was the Forth Valley Group Chairman, Mr. Angus Maciver. Over the coming weeks and months Angus and I met regularly in the Stirling area where he shared his knowledge and expertise, both in my car and over countless cups of coffee! Interestingly, what I thought would come naturally in talking through manoeuvres, as I had been doing throughout my career as a pilot/ instructor, turned out to be just as challenging in a car. Learning the IAM system and studying the Highway Code in more detail than I ever have in the past has all contributed to me becoming a better, more aware & patient driver.
The highlight of the whole experience was passing the IAM test in July this year. Driving on our roads is still one of the riskiest things we all do, the IAM and other similar groups only contribute to safer driving therefore I would highly recommend this training to other road users. To cap it all off, I received a refund cheque in the mail today for £50 making the training fabulous value for money. Thank you again to the Forth Valley IAM observers Angus, Derek & Alastair for dedicating their time to me, and look forward to the possibility of contributing my time to others in the future.
More than 50 years ago when I first heard of the IAM [Institute of Adanced Motoring], I thought it seemed a good idea to take their course, but never got around to it. So when a meeting with the organisation was set up by the U3A, I thought I must not miss it.
Actually, the timing was also very suitable because, being in my 80s now, I was wondering if my driving was up to scratch – reaction, time highway code etc etc – and it seemed a good idea to have someone knowledgeable to check me out.
An excellent manual was sent when I joined, and I was appointed a very able and sympathetic ‘Observer’ who took me out on drives of about an hour each time and assessed me, letting me know where improvements were needed.
When he felt I was ready, he suggested I take the test to become a member – before the test one is an associate – and that was arranged. I was delighted that I passed, almost 63 years after passing my national driving test!
My only regret is that I did not do this years ago. I find that I am now driving better, safer and with increased confidence – even my wife appreciates the improvement!
I could not recommend the IAM course highly enough. It is fantastic value, and so very very worthwhile.
I would recommend IAM Skill for Life* course to any motorbike rider. I am now riding in a way that makes me feel more visible and confident. The Observer ride outs and literature from the ‘How to be a Better Rider’ book were explained and put into practice. This experience has given me more pleasure from my riding and has increased my awareness helping me make good progress on my journeys. I embraced the explanations from my Observer, Bobby Anderson, who made this an enjoyable experience.
When I initially decided to investigate the possibilities of the IAM course, I was quite apprehensive about the whole thing! When I phoned up, I was told that I could have a FREE DriveCheck, so – nothing ventured, nothing gained!
When I went for the drive, I was immediately put at my ease and, contrary to my expectations, I felt greatly reassured and immensely enjoyed the experience. I learned at lot – and it was “all for free”!
Because so many people in the IAM are volunteers I found, to my astonishment, that a course of some 8 sessions was only £139 – for one-to-one tuition with an advanced motorist – quite extraordinary! It wasn’t therefore a difficult decision to sign up for the ‘Skill for Life’* course! To my great delight – I passed!
I have no hesitation whatsoever in thoroughly recommending the ‘Skill for Life’* course to anyone who may be contemplating it – it is fantastic value for money!
I had great fun doing my Skill for Life* course. My Observer was extremely pleasant and put me at ease right from the start.
I managed to get rid of all my bad habits and now find myself doing all the things I was taught.
I enjoy my driving even more than before and I would recommend everybody to take the course.
I found the whole course beneficial highlighting subjects I was aware of but now fully appreciated. This Skill for Life* course improved all aspects of my driving. My observation skills improved and I’m now more aware and appreciative of other drivers. I was so impressed by the course that I encouraged my daughter and grandson to take the course too!
It was a very close ‘near miss’ with a 7.5 tonne lorry that sent me in the direction of IAM. That and the fact that I was about to start back full-time working after a 3-year career-break; the thought of driving in rush hour traffic was giving me nightmares. On my first few drives with Angus, he must have wondered what he’d taken on. I had no problem with getting up to speed, but my observation and reactions were not good – hence the near-miss! He’s an excellent tutor and amazingly before long my family and friends began to notice the difference in my driving. I even started to enjoy driving, something that to be honest I never did – it had always been a means to an end. I passed my test second time around and haven’t looked back. I am very proud to be an IAM member; while I no longer talk my way through every drive, I do still put into practice the system I was taught and I wouldn’t hesitate to do a refresher if my old habits were slipping back. I recommend the IAM ‘Skill for Life’* course to everyone. It’s real driver training that every driver should do and I don’t understand why it’s not mandatory.
There was no way my husband (Dave) would let me have an IAM qualification without him having a go too. He’s always loved driving and saw himself as a bit of an expert on the road, but equally I wouldn’t allow him to do it until I had passed mine! There’s always a bit of banter about my driving ‘skills’ versus his, as I’m sure it is in most households, but typically he surpassed me and got himself an IAM F1RST! We both go to the group meetings when we can as they are always informative and fun and there is always something new to think about.