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Facebook Digest 31 July – 6 August 2017




LATEST CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: From Tariq after a £75 Basics: HAIRPINS two-hour course in Kent
A couple of months ago I wrote about a two-day Performance: SPORT course cornering course I ran in Oxford to help Claudia overcome her loss-of-confidence issues after discovering that her training hadn’t equipped her to ride a long and heavy cruiser around European mountains.

Tariq working on the Kent hairpin

Whilst in some ways hairpins are corners like any other – they are just bends that just go on longer – they do demand some extra skills. The first issue is that they are often tight – whilst new riders spend a lot of time negotiating cones and riding around Figure 8’s, hardly anyone connects that with hairpin bends but it’s exactly the same technique that get us round the back of a cone that gets us round the apex of a hairpin. Second, they aren’t flat but often steeply inclined – that worries a lot of riders, but if we can do a steep hill start, we can negotiate a steep hairpin. But most importantly, hairpins need good advance planning, and that comes with an understanding of the challenges they pose plus some good observation. Failure to plan sets us up for getting it wrong, and then the risks of sheer drops begin to drag our attention away from the road.

So we spent a couple of days working on cornering generally, including tighter turns, before finishing on Day Two on my ‘secret’ hairpin not far from Oxford.

It may well be not unconnected with that article that I got an email from Tariq asking me to book him onto one of my short two-hour basics courses, specifically one looking at hairpin bends. Tariq had recently taken a BikeSafe session and was looking into the IAM but felt that something a bit more focused was required to prepare him for a trip to the mountains of Eastern Europe, so I booked him on a £75 Basics: HAIRPINS course.

Now, many people are sceptical about just how much training can be delivered in two hours but I expedite matters by providing the briefing online, and by maximising the use of our contact time. Plus the route is carefully planned to define particular challenges before we end up on the hairpin itself. In this case, the bend is in Kent. And here’s what Tariq had to say about the course:

“Just to say I found the two hour cornering training delivered by you today has really helped. It has taught me new skills which I can now go on and practice. Some of the training reinforced roadcraft skills and some which I haven’t read or been taught before. Thank you again.”

TRAINING: As bookings have been steady for the last few weeks, I have fairly limited availability for the rest of August and the summer holidays and I’m taking bookings into September. 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.

LAST MINUTE DISCOUNT BOOKINGS: Sorry – none at the moment

LAST WEEK ON FACEBOOK: At the end of July, the government announced that internal combustion engines (except in hybrids) would be banned from 2040. Although that seems a long way off right now, I’m starting a series of articles on just how that might affect bikers in the next two decades. In the regular series, SKILLS on SATURDAY looked at escape routes and how to choose the best one, whilst TIPS on TUESDAY pointed up a common maintenance error – over-tensioned drive chains. I don’t only offer training, I also offer advice to riders where I feel it’s appropriate and in FOCUS on FRIDAY Emma writes to say just how much my advice helped her start to get to grips with the psychological impacts of a collision with a car. In other items the VIDEO NASTY features a shocking head-on collision that resulted when a rider got more interested in remonstrating with a driver than looking at what was coming the other way, whilst connected motorcycles look to be the thing of the future, but we shouldn’t expect self-driving bikes just yet – the technology in cars is struggling to spot kangaroos in Australia.

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

*** COMMENT *** No more petrol bikes by 2040?
If you’ve been living under a large rock, you may have failed to spot Michael Gove’s commitment to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040. The commitment, which follows a similar pledge by French president Emmanuel Macron, is part of the government’s response to fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health, and would help meet government targets under the Paris climate accord.
The a…
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*** VIDEO NASTY *** If you’re going to pick a fight…
…do it by dialling 101. The full story is in the link but the rider has not only suffered “life-changing injuries” but was charged with dangerous driving too. Fortunately, the van driver coming the other way suffered only minor injuries.
Terry Hammond originally pleaded not guilty at Colchester Magistrates’ Court but by the time he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court last month he had changed his plea to guilty. …
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*** SKILLS ON SATURDAY *** The Avenue of Uncertainty
I heard a great cricketing term the other day; the ‘avenue of uncertainty’. It’s the zone in front of the batsman where he has to push the bat out to meet the ball because if he leaves it, it might bowl him or hit him on the pads for a leg before wicket appeal. But it’s also the zone where there is an element of doubt about exactly where the ball will end up – it might move through the air or off the pitch, and if that happ…
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*** FOCUS ON FRIDAY *** Latest feedback from Emma
I got an email from Emma, 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. …
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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.

*** COMMENT *** Connected motorcycles – the future Pt 1
Austrian bike manufacturer KTM has opened a new R&D centre in Rosenheim, which may be surprising given the bike builder’s country of origin, is in Germany. But then cross-border operations are nothing new.
The site was apparently chosen to benefit from close proximity to a higher education institution and a “pool of experts” who will concentrate on electronics development in the motorcycle segment….
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*** COMMENT *** Self-driving Volvos don’t spot kangaroos
There are more than 20,000 kangaroo strikes every year in Australia…and the system apparently struggles with cyclists and motorcycles too, apparently. Yet none of this is deterring the Swedish manufacturer from releasing the driverless cars in Australia.

*** TIPS ON TUESDAY *** Zero-effort Bike Maintenance Pt 5
A few years ago, a survey of bikes ridden to a safety event in New Zealand found 50% had some kind of mechanical fault. Not too surprising, but what do you think was the most common fault?
It was a cared-for chain that had actually been over-tensioned!…
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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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