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Facebook Digest 24-30 July 2017




TRAINING: So it’s goodbye July and hello August. As bookings have been steady for the last few weeks, I have fairly limited availability for August and the rest of the summer holidays. So it you want to get a course booked up to make the most of what’s often the best riding weather of the year, don’t delay.

LATEST CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: From Debbie Watson after a one-day Confidence: BUILDER in Buckinghamshire:

“I have taken extra training as I had some bad experiences during my DAS that have knocked my confidence to the point I felt I wasn’t getting any better in certain aspects of my riding even after 8 years. Kevin was brilliant. I felt under no pressure from him and just did my best. I came away happier and more confident with lots to practice and improve. I would recommend it to everyone. I had a great days training today. Confidence boosted, lots learnt and plenty to practice until it feels natural. Will be back again.”

Debbie’s problems mostly centred around turning tight corners at relatively slow speed. There were a series of issues – memories of dropping a bike on DAS, her current machine – a lovely ZXR400 – which has restricted steering lock and a forward-leaning position and trying to ride too slowly whilst looking in the wrong place. Put it all together and tight turns were difficult to say the least. We spent a lot of time working on a better posture for tight turns, including counterweighting, the braced position against the tank and getting her shoulders turned into the corner to help her look along her path, plus a target to focus on, on the inside of the corner – where she wanted to go – rather than the outside which was where she didn’t want to go. We found some quiet roundabout of various tightnesses which could be tackled at moderate speeds, then worked on some tighter turns, before moving into Oxford city to work on some awkward left and right turns, up and down slopes, and some nasty little mini-roundabouts. She coped with them all! So definitely a big improvement on the day and Debbie went away with a grin rather than the worried look she arrived with. As with most of these courses, a work in progress, but now she knows where to work and what exercises will help.

LAST MINUTE DISCOUNT BOOKINGS: The following dates are available in Kent or Bucks:
– Fri 4 Aug, Sun 6
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.


The TIPS on TUESDAY series entitled ‘Zero-effort Bike Maintenance’ moved onto part four with a look at chain care, whilst SKILLS on SATURDAY returned after a two-month hiatus with a simple solution to a slithering rear tyre problem – don’t ride like a knob. FOCUS on FRIDAY looked at the confidence issues that come from tackling riding where skills are lacking. In the news, there are the latest two updates from the Ducati sell-off by Audi, a VIDEO NASTY of a very lucky rider making a mistake riders make the world over, a look at a bike intended for the Kenyan market, and an investigation of a Belgian bike gang linked to terrorism.


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

*** VIDEO NASTY *** The same mistakes the world over
A few months back (April 2 to be precise), I showed a rider on a 125 nipping through a bicycle gateway to try to pass a school minibus on the nearside, just as it turned in through the school gate. He got lucky.
Here’s a very similar incident involving a coach, but the bike goes under the wheels of the coach. The rider jumps to his feet and appears to have avoided serious injury. …
See more

*** NEWS *** The BBC’s take on the moped crime
This article sums things up – it’s not great reading. Particularly frustrating is the industry view.

*** SKILLS ON SATURDAY *** Listen to your mechanic
This particular story cropped up a few weeks back on my regular bike forum. I’m afraid I couldn’t resist reposting. Here’s the problem:
“On Tuesday I got a new rear tyre fitted to my 2017 zx6r with 2000 miles on the clock. I scrubbed the tyre in with around 150 miles of riding leant over right and left to the edge of the tyre. All very stable, happy and no issues at all….
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*** FOCUS ON FRIDAY *** Experience MINUS skills = loss of confidence
One of the points I make repeatedly is that learning by experience is a really tough way of learning. The idea that we can just jump on a bike and figure it all out as we go really is one of the smelliest of red herrings. But many riders have a genuine resistance to the idea that training can help them develop.
On the one hand, my courses cost money. Trust me, I hate spending cash, so I know just how importa…
Continue reading


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.

*** NEWS *** Belgian bike group deny terrorist links
Following the news that two brothers were arrested in Anderlecht in Belgians, authorities made the link to a biker gang from Brussels. Members themselves deny the terrorist links.

*** COMMENT *** A bike for Kenya
Here’s an interesting collaboration, a bike designed in the Netherlands, but built in Kenya. The 150cc machine has a 21″ wheel up front with an 18″ wheel at the rear carrying a massive 5.10 tyre as standard, suspension built to carry passengers or loads up to 230kg, and more ground-clearance than a standard machine. It’s intended as a true dual-purpose machine, able to handle the on-road as well as the off-road.
The frame isn’t the prettiest I…
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*** NEWS *** Ducati sale latest
Bajaj Auto Ltd, one of India’s major two-wheeler manufacturers is reported to be front-runner to acquire the European motorcycle brand Ducati.
At the company’s annual general meeting on last week, Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj, told shareholders that the company is close to forming a new alliance….
See more

*** TIPS ON TUESDAY *** Zero-effort Bike Maintenance Pt 4
Look carefully at the photo. Do you notice anything? The bike hasn’t got a chain. That’s because a few minutes earlier it had snapped, bringing both the rider and our group ride to a halt.
The good news is that the chain didn’t lock itself round the rear sprocket and cause a crash. The bad news is that it took out the crankcases. And we were in Provence. …
Continue reading

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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