4 Sep 2012

Motorcycle Post Test Training - Part Two


So, back to training!

Ever heard of the Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS), launched by the DSA back in 2009? No? Funnily enough, neither had I; and the advertising for it was appalling. Probably the dullest leaflet I’ve ever seen and it didn’t sell the concept of getting your riding skills checked by an expert in your county for a small fee, who would then give you feedback on how good you were, possibly resulting in insurance savings. It wasn’t actually training at all, but looked like it, which is why it was so unpopular.

So here in Norfolk, it was completely redesigned and re-launched as the Hugger Challenge; you get discounts from local bike dealerships and a limited edition key ring and neck tube if you reach a certain standard of riding, as well as insurance savings. Sounds better already doesn’t it? If you compare the leaflets side by side, I know which one you’d rather try!

So, I paid my money (in Norfolk it has been subsidised to £20, check this link for prices in your area) and did the assessment. You know what? It was actually good fun; around 2 hours riding out on a variety of roads, from urban traffic jams to dual carriageways and twisty B routes whilst being followed (at a distance) by a DSA approved instructor. A few stops were factored in to point out any good things I’d shown on my ride as well as things considered to be potentially dangerous or things I could improve on. My problem was nervousness; I couldn’t filter for toffee and I hesitated too much at roundabouts- the usual really!

Overall I got a Grade B, which was very good considering I only ride in summer (go on, call me a fair-weather rider, I know you all want to!).
I even saved £80 on my insurance after doing it, so you can’t really say fairer than that.

The best thing about the ERS/Hugger Challenge is that you are only advised to do extra training if the instructor considers you to be not up to scratch – and to be honest that hasn’t happened too often from what I’ve heard from others who’ve done the assessment.
It’s especially good for those coming back to 2 wheels after a break, or if you’ve upgraded your 125 to a 600cc sports bike and feel a bit uneasy about your first long trip out on it for example.

I often recommend it to younger riders, not only does the low price and promise of no grand lectures appeal, but the goodies are of great quality, and the discounts can be invaluable to someone biking on a tight budget.

And the biggest thing to remember is that it isn’t training as such, just a friendly and honest opinion on how good a rider you are. The advice I got has helped me with my filtering issues, so that was worth the fee alone for me! Now, if the DSA could only try and make their flyers look more appealing and stand out from the crowd....

©Angela Freeman