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Steve King & friends review our courses on the Kent & Sussex Bikers forum

It’s always good to get feedback on our courses, positive or negative (the only way we can get better is when people make critical comments and we do listen) so here’s a selection of what people have said about our training:

Steve King – Advanced Bends Course with The Spin Doctor

Hi all, I have just got back from 5 hours 1 on 1 advanced training.I had the chance to do a freebee Bends course with Kevin (Spin Doctor), partly through me gobbing off and through some last minute cancellations.

I met Kevin at his house in Langley Heath Nr Maidstone. I was greated by a shaggy looking fella with a warm welcome and a coffee. After about 20 minutes of basic do’s and don’ts and what we intend to do, we set off.

Section 1

We set off at a sensible pace with me leading and Kev behind doing commentry pointing out basic hazards, signs, clues for blind junctions and exits. This section is made up of short rides and quick debriefs including a few stops to look at hidden hazards.

He stopped me to point out a wonderful fast sweeping left hand bend with no junctions, hidden hazards etc. The bend is in fact about 50 yards from a T Junction which has NO early warnings and the first thing you see is the give way sign with about 100 yards to spare (see below)

No visible sign for junction, no clues

We then had an uninterrupted ride where I had the chance to put it all into practice and make my own calls for hazards and lines. This was followed by a hearty lunch and catch up at one of Kev’s regular stops.

Section 2

Advanced lines, braking, positioning, entry, exits and counter steering.

After lunch we had a chat with photos and diagrams about better cornering techniques and ‘systems’. We headed off with Kev up front exaggerating alternate lines into bends and counter steering followed by a quick chat at the roadside. I then led the way with Kev observing and advising on better visability and positioning if needed. We then put it all into practice on a longer ride on variable roads and surfaces back to his for coffee.

In Summary

I thought with 18 years experience I would not achieve much but how wrong I was! Bloody good course and well worth doing, there are an amazing amount of clues and early non obvious signs that we don’t see. By knowing where these are and what to look for you can go smoother into bends and out safely the other side.

All you need is someone like Kevin to help you read between the signs.

Thanks again Spin Nods

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Sophie says there’s “Always room for improvement !!”

I had a good day out with Kevin yesterday working on bends, reading the roads, dangers, stopping techniques (in an emergency kinda way) and general everyday biking stuff many of us take for granted. Most riders probably don’t consider they need tuition or advice once they have passed their test and with the costs involved in doing the tests now, it can be an expense that many people just can’t accommodate. However, it is definitely something beneficial that members could consider for themselves.

I passed my test more than 20 years’ ago, jumped on a 125, passed my theory and practical within 5 days, rode an RD350 for less than a month I think and then jumped on a brand new Ducati 748. I had probably ridden less than 1000 miles all in and I still wonder to this day how I didn’t kill myself.

As Princessvanvan knows….. tests these days are much harder, traffic is worse, congestion, irate and ignorant drivers, twisty, broken up roads, low speed limits and the need to get everywhere yesterday are all things we deal with in everyday life.

I did some training with Spin when I returned to biking this time last year and with the help of Miketiger, found and purchased my SV650. I joined up with KSB to refamiliarise myself with biking, find friendly bikers to go out riding with as after 12 years of not riding at all, I felt a little out of my depth. I dropped the bike the day I got it. That didn’t help!

I did some motorcross over a grass verge on the way to the training session and knew then that I had made the right decision to seek help!! It was the making of me really as I learned how to countersteer and not use physical strength and energy to move the bike around. Suddenly it was fun to ride out again and nice not to find myself in a self induced coma upon return home, due to being utterly exhausted.

I also did a training day in France last year with Amber and Spin was good here too, I would not have had the confidence to go straight over to Europe and do a rideout without having some support from somewhere first or on the day. Although I think both myself and Amber were nervous on the day!!! As a result I am going on Steve King’s Original French Frenzy next week and looking forward to it this time, rather than being sick with nerves!

Yesterday, the progress I made was again, good (apparently!). Having only been back to riding just over a year (some months of which was too damn cold to ride!) I feel that I have made some real difference to my own riding and enjoyment.

So, for any newbies who are in need of a little confidence boosting or wish to know how to enjoy biking rather than it being a means from A-B….get in touch. Similarly, oldies and experienced riders can probably still learn something too……….. Just a thought.Think

Tis all good….Thumbsup

Thanks to Sophie for those observations. Talking of observations, here’s what Jason said about our one day ‘Performance: BENDS’ course:

“The observation stuff you do really made me think. I thought [well known police-run advanced school] covered it all but that was like a 5 on the scale where what you do is a 10. I never realised you could get so much information as you ride!“

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MikeTiger and RamRider’s review of their Riding Assessments

RamRider: – Went out and had my assessment with Kevin last night with Mike also attending. The weather stayed on our side for the evening which made for a good ride, once we sorted out the radios some interesting roads were chosen, so all aspects of your riding can be looked at.

Once you get used to having someone watching you and talking (and yes it did feel you were on your test) I settled into my riding, though not perfect, it was good to have someone pick out a few points where you could change and improve.

Overall an enjoyable ride and to get some advice on your riding, this is well worthing doing regardless of your experience.

Thank you Kevin

MikeTiger’s thoughts:- As Ramrider has already mentioned, we went out for our Riding Assessment last night.

Yes it does feel strange and feels like you’re back taking your test again, however once you settle in, it really isn’t a problem, you just treat it like any normal rideout and get on with the riding.

Ramrider had his assessment first and I followed behind Spin for the first half. We all stopped off and Spin went through Ramrider’s ride.

The second half my riding was assessed through a variety of situations and scenarios you could meet on an everyday rideout, from joining and leaving Dual carriageways (motorways) , Traffic lights and road markings on roundabouts, bends, to town riding and rural.

We all stopped off again for Spin Doctor to discuss how my assessment went.

The two of us were then escorted through Canterbury with Kevin giving us a running commentary through our radio earpieces, of all the hazards that presented themselves to him as we rode along.

The evening was not all serious either, we did have a laugh too.

Everyone on here whether you’ve done Bikesafe, IAM’s or not done any extra training yet ‘should do this’.

Thank You for a very informative evening Kevin.

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Richard “Panel Man” talks about his two hour ‘BENDS BASICS’ course

If it helps encourage people, I would like to say that I benefited enormously from one of these taster sessions last year: I am not sure I am going much faster, but I am now further inside my comfort zone! I am much more confident that I can tighten my line / swerve around an unexpected hazard / take a less than ideal cornering line around a pothole or manhole cover when needed.

And the counter-steering lesson made my first track day a few weeks later much more enjoyable!

For any on here who are coming to biking later on in life [cough, cough], you may be interested to hear that my bike rides are now not followed by applications of Deep Heat and 1,000mg of Ibuprofen to stop the pain in my elbows and wrists; it’s all due to the LBM (Light Bulb Moment) sparked (sorry!) by Spin riding by and steering round a corner with one finger.

‘Oh, so you don’t need to grip the bars as though your life depends upon it..?’

Ok, I realise this is just getting me to very basic competency, but I felt it was such a momentous step forward!

Thanks to Steve for his objective write-up on the day, I enjoyed the day out with him too, for the comments by Richard about how the ‘Bends Basics’ course improved his overall riding enjoyment, likewise with Patrick and Mike on their assessments.

Meanwhile, here’s a comparison of the Survival Skills approach and Roadcraft-based IAM training from Paul. As you can see, it’s not a case of ‘better or worse’ so much as a different perspective on advanced motorcycle training.

“The only training I’ve done before was the CBT/DAS last year, followed by the IAM stuff later in the year (passed test in November). Done a couple of slow control days with the local IAM group, and did Bikesafe recently.

“IAM & Bikesafe were a “civilianised” version of Roadcraft and as such were fairly inflexible in promoting the concepts therein, particularly positioning/cornering lines.

“Kevin’s approach was based around giving us more “tools in the toolbox” and getting us to understand the pro’s & con’s of any course of action. He was also more “real world”. An example of this was on a LH bend (country road) – I’m positioned just inside the white line a la Roadcraft. Kevin asks me later what do I actually lose if I sit a couple of feet inside the line – my answer; I lose very little in terms of view and gain in terms of safety margin re someone coming the other way on/over the white lines. I’ve been working out for myself for a little while that taking “extreme” positions doesn’t necessarily confer advantage, but it was really good to have someone with Kevin’ knowledge/experience to give me “permission” to do it.

“Conceptually, Kevin’s training seems to be based on the practical/what works best approach that not only allows for mistakes from yourself and others but shows you what to do to avoid them or cope with them if it happens. It also (very importantly!) looks at machine control skills which in Roadcraft, as far as I can see, are noticeable mainly by their absence.”

Paul’s done a good job of encapsulating the Survival Skills approach to riding. Look for the benefit of any particular manoeuvre, and temper your decision whether to make it by the potential for it going wrong.

Extended positions in bends can give great extra views – but in many cases, they give no worthwhile extra view but put the rider at far greater risk.

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