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Facebook Digest 26 June – 2 July 2017

LATEST CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: I got an email from one of my old trainees at the tail end of the winter. She’d had a collision with a turning driver at a junction, and although she’d nearly avoided him, she didn’t quite manage to stop and landed awkwardly and suffered some bad fractures. She also had psychological issues as a result of the crash and had engaged a psychologist. In response, I sent her some advice on avoiding these collisions, plus copies of the series of articles I ran earlier this year on regaining confidence after a crash. I followed it up a few days ago and was very pleased to get this response:

“I’m doing alright. I still jump sky high at the slightest hint of sound or movement but I’m much happier on the bike and, hopefully, remembering all we discussed during my day out with you, including covering the brake when in doubt and I’ve found it useful a couple of times already, so it was a good thing to learn. I’m still waiting for the psychologist to get finished and do her final report. You set my mind at rest far more then she has managed to so far so I’m very grateful to you.

So, more proof that writing (and reading) about riding issues really does help

LAST MINUTE BOOKINGS – The following dates are available with a LAST MINUTE DISCOUNT – Wed 12 July, Thu 13, Fri 14, Sat 15 and Sun 16. All free for bookings in Kent or Bucks. SAVE £15 on a One Day course, £25 on a Two Day course and £35 on a Three Day course. I’ll even throw in a free book. Please note that availability can change at the drop of a hat, so check with me ASAP to grab your chosen date. Check the forecast then drop me a line at info[at]survivalskills.co.uk.

TRAINING – I ran one of my more challenging courses over the weekend, a two-day course designed to rebuild a new rider’s confidence on corners generally and hairpins specifically, after a holiday on her bike to the Alps went rather wrong. She founds she struggled so much dealing with mountain bends that rather than ride the bike over a couple of passes, she put it on the train under the Alps.

I’ve written before about just how difficult it can be to tackle confidence problems, which is why it makes sense to get training BEFORE tackling a difficult task, not afterwards. That’s because we’re not just learning new skills, we’re UN-learning – unlearning the fear that we’ve learned goes with the activity.

So we took the course at a very gentle pace, to give her plenty of time to try things out and realise that they really do work.

Over the two days we worked on a raft of techniques. starting with some simple counter-steering exercises along a road with a sequence of smooth and predictable bends, which allowed me to start working on better positioning and deeper, later turn-in points in corners.

Then we worked on counterweighting, which helps speed up the rate of roll when the bike is steered, which makes it change direction more quickly, which is useful for tighter, more awkward corners.

We focused on improving observation skills generally, including one very useful tip which help pull the eyes further round corners to gain a longer view of where the road goes next.

By discovering reference points, we now had some locations within a bend which we can match to machine inputs – the entry where we start steering to follow the corner, the turn-in where we angle across the bend towards the exit where the machine is upright and back on the throttle.

Once we know where the entry to a bend is, then we can time deceleration and getting back on the throttle.

The second day’s ride took in a long run over the top of the Cotswolds. We worked on a more positive approach to deceleration by setting-up the brakes whenever she was doubtful about just how fast to enter corners, which allowed her to move smoothly into positive braking when it was needed.

With more confidence she was going to get her speed down for the upcoming corner, she started using more drive out of the previous bend and we went from being a mobile chicane to catching up cars!

That route’s mid-point (we have lunch and turn around on the other side) is a steep, twisting hill towards Tewkesbury. It’s not quite an alpine pass but the descent is a challenge for a rider who struggles to plan ahead to adjust speed and steer accurately. And the ascent requires a good balance of throttle and lean to get round the sharp corners. She coped perfectly.

We finished up with half a dozen runs up and down my ‘secret’ hairpin bend just outside Oxford. It’s tight, narrow, steep, and busy with traffic. And horribly surfaced. OK, the first couple of efforts weren’t perfect, but she got round, even saving a mid-corner stall. But the last run round was smooth enough.

As she said, it wasn’t perfect, but it was much better than she’d managed in the Alps. And she was even confident enough to do a full-on emergency stop to avoid running over a cat on the way back. She just clipped it, and it got up and vanished at high speed)

We’d over-run her allotted time by two hours on Sunday (including twenty minutes spent tracking down the cat’s owners and checking it was OK – it’s fine) but it was all worth it to get her confidence up.

So, like nearly all courses, a work-in-progress but now she knows where she needs to work to continue her improvement. And she also knows she can thoroughly enjoy a one hundred and twenty mile ride across some testing roads.

More information about the courses is available at http://www.survivalskills.co.uk

LAST WEEK ON THE SURVIVAL SKILLS FACEBOOK PAGE – TIPS on TUESDAY started a new series on zero-effort bike maintenance and SKILLS on SATURDAY continued the Weekend Workout series.  The VIDEO NASTY featured a rider doing something more than daft in a car wash, while FOCUS on FRIDAY took at look at how motorcycle training in Tasmania has been refocused to look at avoiding crashing rather than the old-fashioned UK approach of riding the perfect ride (and hoping you don’t crash). There’s also a comment on a new THINK campaign that suggests that riders in the South East fall off more than other areas without suggesting how they reached that conclusion. Would you ride a bike with a headlight liable to ‘reboot’ mid-ride? I’d not be entirely happy with that, yet with Canbus style electronics, that’s what KTM have built – there’s a recall for a software update that can only be supplied by a dealer. Ironic, when I also argue that manufacturers are putting zero effort into making bikes theft-resistant.


IMPORTANT – can’t see the links? Turn off any anti-tracking browser extensions that are blocking Facebook.

Enjoy your reading!

*** VIDEO NASTY *** Burnout? Washout!
I’ve no words for this epic fail! At least it was clean when he crashed it.

*** COMMENT *** Another year, another campaign
This one is targeted at riders in the South East, who are more likely to be “killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in the south east [than] in comparison to other regions”.
Fair enough, that’s a direct observation drawn from the data. …
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*** TRAINING *** The Performance: BENDS course
…costs £215 for five hours of one to one training. Considering I just found another school charging £295 per person with a training ratio of up to 3:1 and an eye-watering £395 for 1:1 training, I think my prices are a bit of a bargain. I only charge £415 for two days!
Here’s what you need to know about the Performance: BENDS one-day course. …
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*** SKILLS ON SATURDAY *** Weekend Workout Pt 6
What riding have you got planned this weekend? Why not spend a few hours giving your riding a Weekend Workout? Here’s the next part of the Survival Skills FREE step-by-step guide to improving your own weekend riding skills.
If you’ve missed the previous parts, I really do recommend you go back and start from the beginning – although I started with what might seem like some very basic stuff, putting effort into getting the basic…
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CONVENIENT LOCATIONSSurvival Skills is taking bookings for any of my regular training locations, Oxford, Buckinghamshire and Kent. And don’t forget – one day of our Performance: BENDS or SPORT courses booked in Kent can usually be taken in northern France at NO EXTRA COST on deserted, well-surfaced roads just minutes from the Channel Tunnel. Our route takes in sweeping bends, twisty roads and around a dozen hairpin bends – perfect training for those looking to take a summer ride down to the mountains of Europe!

As well as the regular training locations, I also train several times a year on the wonderful roads of the Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales to train on the wonderful roads up into the Cambrian Mountains. Training can also be arranged in Devon, visiting Dartmoor. Contact me for more details and to discuss suitable dates. I may also be visiting Cumbria this year – watch this space!

Survival Skills courses are about real-life riding and incorporate thinking from the new ‘No Surprise? No Accident’ campaign and the latest rider safety ideas based around ‘insight’ training into rider safety. Drawing on the latest theories of human error and accident reduction, which have proved successful in redesigning pilot training and reducing aircraft crashes resulting from pilot error, my courses look at risk assessment and risk management. 

I’ll show you where to predict that things might go wrong, how to predict other road users mistakes and how to eliminate our own ‘pilot error’, and why it’s so important to avoid being surprised as we ride. I’ll demonstrate how to use easy-to-apply risk management techniques and explain that by reducing the nasty surprises, we’ll enjoy our riding all the more, because riding is a lot more fun when we don’t scare ourselves every time we ride.

Survival Skills courses are also client-based; that is, rather than force you to ride like me or to pass a test, I’ll fit your new skills around your existing style of riding. Of course, I’ll help you improve in the areas you thought you were weak in, but I’ll also show you what you didn’t know you needed to know.

WEATHER GUARANTEEthough she tries hard, my weather genie can’t always arrange good weather and there is little point in attempting training in tempests and storms. Whilst we train in ‘ordinary’ rain, if the forecast looks particularly poor, I’ll always recommend postponing the course.

So if you are looking for personalised, real-world training from one of the most qualified and experienced instructors in the country, then drop Survival Skills a line via the new contact app at the website: http://www.survivalskills.co.uk

I’m already taking bookings for up to eight weeks ahead, so if you’re interested in a course don’t wait too long – remember, weekends in particular book up fast! Survival Skills closes again for the winter at the end of November 2017.

*** FOCUS ON FRIDAY*** Training – back to front?
In an otherwise routine story by a local paper from a small island off the Australian mainland comes a significant indication that the official attitude to rider training is slowly beginning to change. Read on…
Infrastructure minister Rene Hidding said the rate of motorcycle accidents in Tasmania had become too high. The solution being put in place is to roll out more mandatory training, as has been done in so many other plac…
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*** Biker Down *** Another evening, another Module 3
And so on yet another sweltering day, it’s off to Biker Down this evening. And I’ll be riding down on the CB250RS – yep, it’s a practical classic.
The last one was on the hottest day of the year so far, when it hit 34c in London, and today isn’t far behind – and if anything it’s even more humid. …
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*** COMMENT *** Is technology going mad?
I’m far from a Luddite. I’ve owned a computer since the days when you had to write your own program in 500 lines of code, I had a mobile phone when it was a brick, I had a PDA when you had to use a stylus, I had a GPS when all it could do was point an arrow at where you wanted to go next, and I bought a Japanese motorcycle at the time that most riders were still hanging on and hoping for the rebirth of the British motorcycle industry.

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*** COMMENT *** Bike theft – are manufacturers doing enough Pt 2
Should bikes be factory-fitted with anti-theft tear-gas kits? Last month (June 8 – you can find the article most easily via my WordPress blog and the weekly roundups) I asked if manufacturers are doing enough to combat bike theft.
My conclusion was no. …
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*** TIPS ON TUESDAY *** Zero-effort Bike Maintenance Pt 1
I recently read a tale of woe, where a dad was asking how he could get his money back from a bike shop, after the bike he’d bought for his son seized up due to lack of oil. He said that as the bike had been sold with a full service, that should have included fresh oil. Of course, he only had the bike shop’s word for the full service, but equally the bike had covered several thousand miles after purchase and it turned o…
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WHAT’S THE DIGEST FOR? The Facebook Digest helps with a number of problems.

Firstly, some people don’t ‘do’ social media, but if you follow this blog, then you can access the posts on FB just like any other webpage.

Secondly, even if you are FB regular, you won’t get every post appearing on your own newsfeed. For example, Peter said: “I’ve just noticed that stuff from this page hardly ever appears on my feed. What can I do to fix that?” The simple answer is ‘follow this blog’! It lists each post I make. There’s more about the problem here:

And finally, I know that FB is hopeless as an archive even with the search facility – sometimes I can’t even find my own posts! So recording FB posts here via a weekly ‘digest’ means we’re recording them here in a way that allows them to be retrieved in the future. 

MISSING OUR POSTS? Many of you will not get our updates. If you are on Facebook, we ask people to LIKE and SHARE all our posts, and to comment on posts; it helps spread the word but even helps what YOU see. Facebook is picky about what it posts on your own wall so if you want to see our posts that depends on your interaction with our page – the more you interact, the more you see! So know you know what to do to get this particular post visible to our followers! We’re not asking you to go clicking everything in sight – but it really is YOUR input which helps others see what we write.


About Kevin Williams / Survival Skills

Motorcycle trainer, motorcycle author, motorcycle safety consultant, motorcycle forum moderator, former courier and ever a recreational rider. Is there a common theme here?


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