Frequently Asked Questions

Group FAQs

What does DSAR do?

Devon and Somerset Advanced Riders are a volunteer group, affiliated to RoSPA (RoADAR), who deliver advanced motorcycle training on a one to one, group or ad-hoc basic. Training is based on the Motorcycle Roadcraft book and is geared towards passing the graded RoSPA test.

How do I join?

It really is very easy to join. Simply go to our Join the Group page, press the ‘Buy Membership’ button and pay using PayPal. Once you’ve paid you will automatically be granted access to the member areas of the website and our membership coordinator will be in touch shortly after to gather more of your details and plan your training.

How do I join?

Group Membership is £10 per annum, Group Tutors receive a slight reduction at £5 per annum to reflect their efforts on behalf of the group.

What can I expect?

Once you have registered with the group, you can join in the training activities:

  • The group runs theory sessions several times a year and we would invite you along to one of these as a good starting point for your training.
  • You will receive an initial ride assessment from one of our senior tutors
  • We run monthly training rides, which are only cancelled if the weather would make it dangerous to be out on the bike
  • When they become available, individual or small group training with one of our tutors
  • Access to the group forum
  • and plenty of other social and training opportunities.

Can you tell me the difference between RoSPA and other advanced motorcycling organisations?

The closest organisation to RoADAR would be the IAM, who also offer training to an advanced test. The principle differences are that the RoSPA test will result in a fail, or a graded pass at bronze, silver or gold. In order to keep your skills sharp and relevant, the RoSPA test must also be retaken every three years. The IAM test results in either a recommendation for membership of the IAM or not and your membership of that organisation is for life without need for retest, providing you continue to pay your subs.

The reason many of us are passionate about the RoSPA system is that we believe firmly in the need for regular check-ups. We wouldn’t trust a surgeon to wield a scalpel on us if we weren’t confident that he’d been regularly checked, the same with an airline pilot and we feel the same way about riding our bikes: our lives depend on this skill.

How quickly can you get me through my test?

It very much depends on a number of factors. When is the next tutor coming available in your area? How often you are able to train? How much time you are able to invest into practising between training sessions? What level of riding skill are you starting from? In short, it will be different for everyone but some riders are test-ready after just one session and some take it steady and can take up to a year. On average, riders take between 5-10 sessions to get up to test standard.

I’m not happy about something to do with the group. Who can I take my complaint to?

We pride ourselves on our standards and our dedication to our members, and we would like to hear from you if anything is wrong. You can find a number of contact emails to direct your inquiry to on our Contact Us page or you could use the contact form on the same page. Also, if you feel comfortable speaking to your tutor, any of the committee or other tutors, about the matter in the first instance, then they generally have the answers to most things, and if they can’t help directly they can pass your complaint to the relevant person.

I don’t see the point of group training rides. Do I have to attend?

Group training rides are an invaluable part of the training we offer. They provide some specific training input on the day, often tutors attending are willing to follow and give some more feedback on your riding and you can follow and observe some of the group’s passholders. Watching and reflecting on how others ride can often help your training. But, if after a good chat with your tutor, you decide they simply aren’t for you then that’s fine. You will be missing out on plenty of Carrot Cake and cups of tea though.

Training Specific FAQs

Can I ride a bit quicker than the speed limit when I’m training?

Of course you can, it’s your licence and we’re not in control of what you choose to do. Just don’t expect us to condone you breaking the law and don’t expect us to follow suit. If you don’t get stopped for speeding, you’ll probably get to the debrief point before your tutor and will have enough time to buy him a cup of tea and slice of carrot cake before he turns up to confirm this. Your tutor won’t have had much chance to watch your riding so he won’t be in a position to give you any feedback other than the excess speed, but will gladly eat some cake.

Do you use radios and/or cameras?

Many of our tutors use radios and some also use a video camera. The use of these tools though are very much geared around what is most suitable for your training and our tutors have developed a set of tools that work best for them. This can discussed in more detail with your tutor, or any of our tutors.

I never seem to get out and ride with my tutor. Can I change tutor?

Most tutors have more than one associate on the go at a time, but if your tutor can’t get out as often as you’d like then speak to your tutor and they’ll arrange a change of tutor or maybe even a second tutor. If it really isn’t working out, or if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your tutor about it, you can get in touch with the training coordinator. Don’t forget though, the monthly training rides often have a spare tutor floating around, will to spend some time with associates.

I only ride a 125cc bike but I want to do the training. Will that be a problem?

RoSPA requires that you take the test on a bike that is capable of reaching and maintaining the national speed limit. If your 125 can do this comfortably then there shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll certainly lack the power of some of the bigger bikes if you’re out on group rides but all of the principles of systematic riding apply. Get in touch if you need to discuss this further.

I only ride a 125cc bike but I want to do the training. Will that be a problem?

RoSPA requires that you take the test on a bike that is capable of reaching and maintaining the national speed limit. If your 125 can do this comfortably then there shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll certainly lack the power of some of the bigger bikes if you’re out on group rides but all of the principles of systematic riding apply. Get in touch if you need to discuss this further.

I’m quicker than all my mates and I’m in the fast group on track days. Are you sure you can help me?

Sounds like you’ve really mastered handling your bike, but advanced riding isn’t about A to B speed, where all the traffic is going in the same direction at a similar speed and there are very few additional hazards to worry about. It’s easy to memorise each corner and ripple of 2 miles of racetrack but the public highway is a different environment entirely and needs to be treated as such. Your observations and an ability to demonstrate restraint are crucial to your continued enjoyment of life on two wheels.

If you’re as good as you say you are then you’re likely to pick things up very quickly. One of our previous members has recently achieved another Gold Pass and he’s a senior trackday instructor.

I turned up to training in t-shirt, shorts and trainer and my tutor refused to take me out. The law only says I have to wear a helmet. Isn’t this against my human rights or something?

We’re an advanced motorcycle group and as such we expect you to think really carefully about the suitability of your protective clothing. The DSA who are responsible for the standard tests are very clear what they expect as a minimum level of acceptable clothing so we would expect this AT LEAST also.

Your tutor may also be considering what they might have to deal with in the event of an incident and if you’ve chosen riding kit that would inevitably leave you needing serious medical attention in the event of even a low-speed spill, they are unlikely to want to accompany you.

General FAQs

Will it really make me a better rider?

That’s really down to you. We can show you plenty of ways to improve your riding, increase your confidence and help you to become a safer and more systematic rider but you’ll need to be open-minded about adapting, changing and improving.

I had a crash/close call recently and I’m just a bit nervous about riding at the moment. I don’t really want to do a test. Can you just help me get my confidence back?

We can definitely work on confidence issues and we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised just how quickly you turn things around with a little guidance and support.

Isn’t advanced riding all about hi-vis jackets, pipes, slippers and Honda Pan Europeans?

A common and outdated misconception as advanced riding groups seem to be overpopulated by the BMW GS these days. In reality, we’re a mixed bunch of varying ages and backgrounds who ride a variety of different bikes and share a passion for biking.

I only managed a bronze/silver pass and think I could have done better. Do I have to wait another 3 years until my retest?

The RoSPA test MUST be taken at least every 3 years but if you’d like to attempt to improve a previous test result you can always retake the test before then, for a small retest fee. We can offer plenty of support leading up to your test to maximise an improved result.

I want to ride Blood Bikes but I’ve been told I need to be an advanced rider first. Can you help do that?

A RoSPA test pass is normally an accepted qualification for Blood Bikes. Some of the group’s valued members are volunteers for several of the local Blood Bike groups.

I haven’t turned fifty yet – am I too young to join an advanced riding group?

Not at all. Many of our members are younger than 50. The group attracts a good range of very young through to the more ‘mature’ rider.

Do you ever organise group rides to Europe?

A lot of the members go touring abroad and although there is no ‘official’ DSAR group ride to Europe, some informal DSAR group rides have been organised over a long weekend in France.

I’ve done the IAM test and passed that so I don’t think I really need any training. Shall I just book my test straight away?

You may well be ready but it always pays to organise a session with a tutor, to ensure we can highlight any room for improvement. Although the system of motorcycling is the same for both organisations, an IAM pass doesn’t differentiate your ability so you may be riding to a Gold standard already or you may just scrape a Bronze pass at RoSPA. The opportunity for a little feedback and identifying areas for a little ‘polish’ could be the difference between getting a Gold pass or not.

We pride ourselves on a high Gold pass success rate and offer everyone a mock test with our training officer, or one of our senior tutors.

Committee FAQs

How often does the committee meet up?

About once a quarter though there are often meetings related to specific sub-committees (eg. training) or for other purposes. See the Events page for the next committee meeting.

Website FAQs

Would it be possible to view just new posts on the forum?

We’ve tasked the little php gremlin with this one but it might take him some time. Watch this space.

Other FAQs

What’s all this I keep reading about Carrot Cake?

Carrot Cake is considered one of your ‘5-a-day’ by many advanced riders, but those with slightly different taste buds are permitted to eat most other types of cake. Training rides with tutors will include refreshment stops to discuss and debrief your riding. You will often find that this is also an opportunity to enjoy a cup of tea and some cake.

I think this system of motorcycle control is a load of nonsense. I’m good, safe rider so won’t I pass my test anyway?

You’re probably not alone, but the RoSPA test is based on ‘The System’ which offers a Safe, Smooth and Systematic approach to developing and adapting a flexible riding plan. If you can’t translate the book into the ride you display on the day of your test, you’re less likely to pass. The examiner will be using Roadcraft as a guide to what to look for, and if you choose to apply your own system of motorcycle control you may expect to hear a difference of opinion at the end of the test.

If sheep are covered in wool, why don’t they shrink when it rains?

Answers on a postcard. Although, only motorcycle riders understand why a dog sticks his head out of the window while your driving.

Useful Links

We may not have the answer to everything you might be looking for. Here are some links to sites we think may be helpful: – The homepage for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) – The homepage for RoSPA Advanced Drivers And Riders (RoADAR) – The homepage for Roadcraft, the book that we use as reference for advanced motorcycling.

The Highway Code – An online copy of the Highway Code – The home of the holy Carrot Cake – A road safety resource from Devon. The PANIC app for mobile phones is a fantastic tool if you’ve been involved in a crash or are an early arrival on the scene of a collision.