Latest from Survival Skills

*** TRAINING *** Evening training, wet weather & last minute bookings
EVENING COURSES – I’m very pleased to say that I’ve just taken a booking for an evening training course. As I’ve offered these almost as long as I’ve been delivering advanced training, I’ve always wondered why so few riders book one. It means you can do a day’s work and still get a ride in at the end of the day.

At this time of the year, it’s possible to start as late as 7:30pm and that means the roads are quieter too. There’s plenty of light for the two-plus hours we’ll be on the road as the sun doesn’t set till well after 9pm right now.

The only problem is that the later it gets, the lower the sun sinks towards the horizon and that can be blinding on a clear evening – so I do some careful route planning to ensure that if we have to run west, we do it early in the session whenever possible, and if it can be arranged, we ride with the sun at our backs for the second half of the course.

Of course, low sun behind us brings its own issues – we can see beautifully ahead, but if we’re running over our own shadow, we’re going to be hard to see by anyone looking in our direction…

…so that particular issue is covered on the online briefing we have a day or two before the session out on the roads.

WET WEATHER GUARANTEE – whilst the weather has finally settled down after our terrible May, it doesn’t mean we can entirely rely on it not to rain – after all, this is England! And June in particular can set off some hefty downpours!

So I offer a guarantee. No, no voodoo incantations, just a simple offer to postpone a course if I think it’s likely the weather might disrupt it.

Why bother? Isn’t it “character-building” to ride in bad weather?

The answer to that is “no”. You’re on a training course because you want to learn how to enhance your riding skills. If you’re slithering around, struggling to see where you’re going and dodging puddles in case they are potholes as deep as tank traps, you haven’t got much spare attention for trying out the exercises…

…unless of course, you’ve booked up a course specifically to look at how to deal with poor riding conditions. I do offer this option.

I’ll keep an eye on the forecast. It’s usually obvious 48-72 hours before the session that we’re liable to have a problem, and I usually make the final decision 24 hours ahead of the course. Sometimes we decide to go ahead, sometimes we can change the start time to avoid a band of rain, and occasionally we reschedule…

…all at no cost to yourself.

LAST MINUTE BOOKINGS – one advantage of having rider training as my day job rather than a hobby is that I offer courses seven days a week, not just weekends. And that suits a lot of trainees who are beginning to have more flexible working practices themselves.

As the COVID-adapted on-road sessions are now two to two and a half hours long, there’s plenty of flexibility on our start time within the day too – morning or afternoon and – as we’ve just seen – evenings during the summer months.

Working full time in training also means I’m rarely booked up every single day, so it’s always worth dropping me a line if you find you have some unexpected free time. There’s a good chance I’ll have a slot free that suits you. And right now, I have some FREE BOOKS from the Survival Skills library to give away too.

And with all that you get the usual carefully thought-out and fully client-centred training that’s personalised to suit YOU – there’s no standardised syllabus and no standardised test. Your goal is simply to be the best rider you can be.

Last Minute Availability:

Mon 14 AM EVE
Tue 15 AM PM EVE
Wed 16 PM EVE
Thu 17 AM PM EVE

And the forecast? Hot and sunny on Monday, fresher and sunny on Tuesday, humid and sunny on Wednesday, but potentially thundery on Thursday!

So what are you waiting for?

BOOK A SURVIVAL SKILLS COURSE TODAY!
www.survivalskills.co.uk

Survival Skills – ON-ROAD & ONLINE COACHING!

Traditional on-road training…
…or online coaching
THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
(updated april 2021)

The coronavirus outbreak in March 2020 required a completely new approach to delivering my Survival Skills advanced rider training. With on-road training curtailed due to the epidemic and lockdown, I transferred what I was doing online.

Even now, in April 2021 when the latest lockdown is easing and there are hopes that the vaccines will help bring the world back to something approaching normality, there’s no need to go back to the old ways of doing things.

And that means Survival Skills will continue online as well as re-introducing on-road training courses!

WEBCAST – ‘Elevenses’
Join me, Kevin Williams, every Wednesday and Sunday at 11am for topical news, controversial views and better biking tips on my ‘Elevenses’ LIVE show – pop along to my free-to-view Facebook page and set a reminder! And if you miss it, you can always watch it on catch-up on Facebook, YouTube or Ko-Fi.
www.facebook.com/survivalskills
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60 SECOND SAFETY – YouTube channel
I’ve had a YouTube channel for years but have always been too busy to fully exploit it. But with some time on my hands last year I started work on a totally new series of videos called ’60 Second Safety’. Each video takes just ONE aspect of riding, and covers it in just ONE MINUTE. As of April 2021, there are now over THIRTY of these quick-fire videos covering everything from cornering to city centre traffic. And look out for other videos covering other aspects of motorcycling. Make sure you pop over, take a look then bookmark it and come back to it at intervals to see what’s new:
www.youtube.com/survivalskillsuk
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THE FACEBOOK ARCHIVE – now on Ko-Fi
I’ve been writing about how to improve skills since the mid-90s. Some of the posts I’ve written are on here, but since 2014, most of my writing has been on the www.facebook.com/survivalskills page. Whilst Facebook is great for new content, searching for an old post is hopeless. So over the last year, I’ve been re-writing old posts from the long-running ‘TIPS on TUESDAY’ and ‘SKILLS on SATURDAY’ series and moving them to the all-new Facebook Archive. Right now, there are over FOUR HUNDRED ‘Better Biking’ posts up and ready to read, originally published on the Survival Skills Facebook page and dating back to 2014. As of April 2021, over FOUR HUNDRED articles are already in place, and some are FREE TO READ. Become a supporter and get a MONTH OF ACCESS to ALL the articles and more, for the price of a coffee:
www.ko-fi.com/survivalskills
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VIDEO SURGERY – the doctor is IN
I’m also offering 1:1 online video sessions from my virtual office. Got a riding issue or a question about biking skills? Drop me a line here and I’ll organise a live webinar with you. No charge, just an invitation to contribute a donation to support the work I do:
www.ko-fi.com/survivalskills
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TOO FAR AWAY FOR ON-ROAD TRAINING – TAKE THE e-COURSE
Want to get your skills in tip-top shape ready for when we can all get back out on the road? Then take a look at the brand-new Survival Skills
e-course that delivers the content of the Performance: BENDS one-day course in an online environment. There are various pages that you can view FREE, and as for the rest? Well, subscriber access is FROM AS LITTLE AS £3 PER MONTH! Plus you get access to the Facebook Archive. You can check out the content page here:
Subscriber Content Index

For any questions on any of the Survival Skills online activities, drop me a line.

Looking forward to seeing you on-road… or online! Take your pick.

Survival Skills Rider Training
www.survivalskills.co.uk
for the best in advanced rider coaching
(however it’s delivered!) 

Kevin Williams
Survival Skills Rider Training
…because it’s a jungle out there

Advanced Riding in 500 words!

Advanced Riding in 500 words!

BIKER BULLETIN FROM SURVIVAL SKILLS ADVANCED RIDER TRAINING

Hazards and Risk Assessment:

A hazard is anything that may or will cause us to alter speed or course, or come into conflict with other road users, and so put us at RISK. Risk is “the chance of something going wrong multiplied by the impact on us if it happens”. So it’s a good idea to identify high risk manoeuvres and to try to eliminate them from our riding.

Anticipation:

Is asking “What if…?” to avoid surprises. Avoiding surprises also avoids panic reactions.

Systematic Riding:

Is about building a flexible riding plan that encompasses the WORST CASE SCENARIO.

Plan for the worst case scenario:

Don’t expect things to go right, expect them to go wrong, and we’ll be prepared if it happens!

If we plan for things going right, we’ll be surprised when they go wrong!

Things that can go wrong can be simple (if you ride close to car doors, what if one opens?) or complex (what if the bend ahead tightens, or the driver ahead and signalling right stops to let a car out of the side road?)

So if things go wrong, you can decide how you can get out of trouble. It could be as simple as going a bit slower!

The Killing Zone:

Is the ‘at risk’ distance where the rider, once committed to negotiating a hazard, can no longer avoid an accident. Think about speed, view and safety bubble to reduce the ‘killing zone’

Speed:

Can you stop in the distance that’s clear in front of you? At very least, can you swerve? If you can’t, you’re riding too fast.

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IF YOU’VE ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, WHY NOT TAKE A LOOK AT OUR BOOKS?
The MAG Columns: this popular column has been running for nearly a decade in the Motorcycle Action Groups magazines, and are now available for the first time as a collection, updated and expanded, in one collection in either paperback or ebook format.
Over 40 articles deal with topics as diverse as recovering from a cornering mistake to safer overtaking, from overcoming tenseness to riding abroad, from riding in bad weather to coping with poor road surfaces. 
Fascinating topics include the development and improvement of the mental skills we learn as we ride a bike. 
Order ‘The MAG Columns’ direct from our publishers!
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View:

When working out where to position yourself, ask three questions:

1. where are the areas you can see into?
2. where are the areas you can’t see into?
3. is there a position which gives you a view into those blind areas?

And a fourth, supplementary, question:

4. if you move there, would you be safe?

This works just as well for the corners you’re approaching as it does for blind junctions, parked cars and pedestrians.

Safety Bubble:

The ‘Safety Bubble’ is a zone of safe space that surrounds us in traffic, in bends and junctions. Keeping the safety bubble as big as possible by keeping following distances sensible and not putting ourselves into dangerous positions helps gives both us and other drivers time to think and react.

Prioritise the bigger hazard:

Which will hurt most? What you CAN’T see is usually more dangerous than what you CAN!

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should:

Overtaking goes wrong fairly regularly and often hurts when it does, so it’s high risk – don’t overtake just because you can, overtake because it’s useful progress and you can do it with minimal risk.


Finally… continually ask yourself some questions as you ride:

1. is what I am doing SAFE? You shouldn’t put yourself or others at risk
2. do I know WHY I’m doing it? Lots of techniques are applied without thinking, both at basic training level and advanced, everything you do should have a reason
3. does it LOOK safe to other road users? If it doesn’t, they may not behave as expected!

Survival Skills Rider Training has been offering advanced riding skills and better biking tips to motorcyclists of all ages and abilities since 1997. For more information on a Survival Skills advanced motorcycle riding course, check out our website  at www.survivalskills.co.uk. For more FREE and INEXPENSIVE tips and tricks, head over to the Survival Skills Ko-Fi page and find HUNDREDS of better biking articles from the Survival Skills Facebook Archive! And don’t forget the Survival Skills YouTube channel with free-to-view videos!

FOUND THIS ARTICLE USEFUL? WHY NOT SUPPORT ME AT Ko-Fi
AND OPEN UP ACCESS TO HUNDREDS OF BETTER BIKING ARTICLES?

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Elevenses – topical news, controversial views and biking tips – LIVE!

CONFINED TO BARRACKS? MISSING YOUR BIKING FIX?

Then head on over to www.facebook.com/survivalskills and catch up with my new ‘ELEVENSES’ LIVE webcast!

Make a brew, grab a biscuit and pull up a chair and enjoy 30 minutes of topical news, controversial views and better biking tips ready to get back out there!

Join me, Kevin Williams, LIVE every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 11am BST.

MISSED THE SHOW?

You can catch up on Facebook or via my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/survivalskillsuk

(And if you enjoy the webcasts, consider a small contribution to support my work during this difficult time at www.ko-fi.com/survivalskills)

*** Coronavirus (COVID-19) *** UPDATE from Survival Skills

On Saturday 14, I put in place a policy with regard to the CV-19 outbreak. Having a duty of care to my customers, I said I believed – as things stood on Saturday – there was relatively little risk in going ahead with practical training, as it is an open air activity, which allows us to maintain ‘social distancing’.

On Tuesday 17, official advice ramped up another notch to avoid ‘non-essential contact’, ‘unnecessary travel’ and to ‘work from home if possible’. The driving test system was still functioning, though I did hear of tests being suspended at some centres. At that point, I decided to suspend ALL face-to-face training on Wednesday 25 March, pending new government advice.

However, as of this morning (Thu 19 March), there have been major new developments. Yesterday, the driving test system was suspended – all tests in all categories were cancelled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and a further announcement was due to be made. I anticipate that all tests will be suspended until further notice. Meanwhile, here in London, tube stations are being closed and services reduced on buses and tubes. Schools will be closed tomorrow.

Although not yet told to shut down, it’s hard to see motorcycle training as essential, so I am bringing forward my own shut-down with immediate effect.

Unfortunately, my training is by far and away my main source of revenue, and like a lot of other self-employed people in all kinds of service industries, if this outbreak of CV-19 is as prolonged as the worst case scenario predicts, I will be under significant financial pressure.

If you are in the same position as I am, I sympathise. Should you be in a more fortunate position financially, there are a few things you can do to help out me in this difficult time.

ONE – you can book a course for the rest of this week, over the weekend and up to Wednesday 25 March.

TWO – if you can’t join me for a course in the next few days, you can support me by purchasing a voucher to be used against a course at some future date – something to look forward to in these difficult times. You can do this directly via my Ko-Fi page – anyone contributing there will automatically receive a voucher for the same amount towards training.

https://ko-fi.com/survivalskills

THREE – of course, I’ll be continuing to post free-to-read better riding articles and news, so even if you are not in a location that makes it likely you can take a course at a future date, you can always make a donation directly via my Ko-Fi page

FOUR – as many of us, particularly those of us who are of… ahem, more advanced years… are likely to have a lot of time on our hands, I’m going to be launching a series of webcasts and webinars to look at particular riding issues. I intend to make these free to view too, though donations via my Ko-Fi page will be gratefully accepted.

FIVE – you can buy my books online at:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SurvivalSkills

As it’s likely that deliveries of physical goods will also be interrupted, I’ll be making available e-books of all my products in the next couple of days – watch this space.

SIX – I’m working hard setting up the first module of my ‘Performance: BENDS’ e-course. This should be up and running by the end of the week at the latest, and you are all welcome to sign up for this course. I’ll open up the first module free, then
subsequent modules will carry a modest charge. Watch this space.

I know we’d all rather be out there on our bikes as we head through spring towards the warmer and sunnier months, but even if we can’t ride, we can still talk bikes and better biking.

To round off, let’s all try to help each other through this difficult time.

Thanks for reading, and if you don’t already, follow me over on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/survivalskills

*** Coronavirus (COVID-19) *** How Survival Skills is approaching the outbreak

LAST UPDATE SUNDAY 15 MARCH
I’m sure that you, like me, have been following the news on the CV-19 outbreak here in the UK with some concern over the last few days.

Right now, major sporting events have been unilaterally cancelled by the organisers, and it looks like the government will be introducing emergency laws next week to ban gatherings of over 500 people.

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I’ve also been looking to see how other organisations within motorcycle safety are reacting.

I received word that at least one of the Fire and Rescue Services have put non-essential public contact activities on hold from today and have cancelled Biker Down, and I believe that other FRSs are ‘consulting’. A motorcycle safety day I was booked to attend has also been cancelled.

What about the DVSA? They issued guidance to ATBs on Friday 13 March which basically repeated standard government advice to “stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms”. They are also offering a free re-booking service at short notice if either the trainee or the trainer has to cancel because of symptoms. The implication is – as of Friday 13 – unless you know you are ill, business as usual.

One extra piece of sensible advice really should have been added to that:

“If you have recently travelled from anywhere which already has a more serious outbreak of COVID-19 – China, South Korea, the Middle East and Italy are obvious examples – you should be self-isolating for 14 days”.

Although it wasn’t in that guidance, it appears that should a driving examiner test positive, the driving test centre will be closed.

The Driving Instructors Association (DIA) have pointed out that trainers should suspend training too if exposed to a suspected case.

As a trainer, I have a duty of care to my customers and whilst I think it’s important not to over-react, at the same time I do believe we all need to be prepared for rapid changes in the situation.

Right now – and I’m aware that because of the exponential upward trajectory in diagnosed cases this could change rapidly – I believe there is a relatively low risk in going ahead with practical training. It’s an outdoor activity in the open air, and we can stay out of service areas and cafes too. So as it stands today, I think with some simple precautions courses can continue to go ahead with minimal risk to either of us.

If you are looking at taking a course, I’m accepting bookings in two ways:

– booking on a day-by-day basis just a few days ahead

– booking ahead as usual but with a proviso that the course could be cancelled as circumstances change – if we end up following the same path as Italy, the decision could be out of our hands in a couple of weeks. For that reason I WON’T be taking a deposit for any training booked from today.

However, if you have already booked and you are concerned about going ahead, then I’m happy to offer an indefinite postponement – and give you a FREE SEAT on an e-course (see below).

IF AT ANY TIME YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT TAKING A COURSE THAT YOU’VE BOOKED, I’LL POSTPONE FOR AS LONG AS NECESSARY.

With all that in mind, I’m actually working as we speak to put my training back online as an e-course.

I trialled this successfully some years back – many of the people who took it were surprised with just how much they could learn – but the platform I was using was shut down just as I was getting the courses going. Although there are a number of other options, It’s taken an age to find another that was flexible enough for me to use in the same way.

E-learning is an accepted way of delivering skills in many fields, and has been for quite a few years. Because motorcycling is seen as a hands-on skill, many riders really do under-estimate how much learning on any rider training is theoretical…

…and any theory content obviously CAN be delivered remotely – I’m sure you’d agree you can read a book or watch a video, and learn from it, and of course I also provide comprehensive briefing notes and links to videos before any course that tell you not only how the day goes ahead, but also gives you an overview of the course content and how it can be applied.

What’s not so obvious is that we CAN learn practical skills too. If you’ve purchased my book Survival SKILLS (which has had a lot of positive feedback too), you’ll know each section of the book concludes with some simple-to-try practical exercises which allow you to go out and directly try out the theory.

Although I cannot be there to assess the results directly, previous trainees have supplied GoPro footage which can be critiqued. And of course, there’s nothing to stop you booking a practical session after all this has cleared up.

So to sum up. Although I am not suspending practical training immediately, I think it’s sensible that I continually review the situation over the coming days depending on developments.

I hope to have the first module of the e-course up and running by Monday or Tuesday 16 or 17 March. What I’ll do is open up the first module for free, so you can see how you get on with it.

Stay safe out there, everyone!

*** OFFERS *** Yes, it’s Black Friday

I know it’s another US import but hey, ho… everyone is offering special one-off prices and my publisher is no different. So until midnight tonight, you can take advantage off a whopping 25% discount on the entire range of Survival Skills paperbacks:

– the DIY guide to better riding ‘Survival SKILLS’

– ‘Tarmac Tactics’ an in-depth look at riding everywhere from town centre to mountain top

– ‘MIND over MOTORCYCLE’, the book that puts brain into biking

– ‘The ‘MAG Columns I and II’, easy-read articles from my column in ‘The Road’

and not forgetting:

– ‘The Science Of Being Seen’ – the book behind the presentation

Don’t miss out. Get yourself some winter riding and be a better biker next year. Or treat someone you know to a Christmas present with a biking theme.

As always head to http://lulu.com/spotlight/SurvivalSkills to order.

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Why Survival Skills?

…because it’s a jungle out there

Since 1997, Kevin Williams MSc and Survival Skills Rider Training have led the way in making high quality rider training courses and advanced motorcycling skills accessible to all riders. The goal of Survival Skills has always been to help motorcyclists at all levels – newly-qualified, intermediate, and advanced – to develop skills and ride with more confidence and enjoyment, not just by offering practical training courses but by offering books, online advice and even working on numerous rider safety projects – often for free!

“Ordinary training?
No, extra-ordinary training”

Barbara Alam

the Facebook Files 2014-2017


LATEST NEWS

The Facebook Files for 2014 are NOW AVAILABLE!
(and so are 2015, 2016 and 2017!)

Every post in the Survival Skills TIPS on TUESDAY and SKILLS on SATURDAY series – almost 400 articles – are now available on my new http://www.ko-fi.com/ survivalskills page. And there are also exclusive ONLINE COACHING articles to help you get the most from your bike for the least amount of effort and cash – just read the articles in comfort then put the tips into action in your own time!

The full index is here.

What have I been upto in New Zealand?

Find out here!

SOBS in New Zealand – a successful trip!

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Why Survival Skills?

…because it’s a jungle out there

Since 1997, Kevin Williams MSc and Survival Skills Rider Training have led the way in making high quality rider training courses and advanced motorcycling skills accessible to all riders. The goal of Survival Skills has always been to help motorcyclists at all levels – newly-qualified, intermediate, and advanced – to develop skills and ride with more confidence and enjoyment, not just by offering practical training courses but by offering books, online advice and even working on numerous rider safety projects – often for free!

“Ordinary training?
No, extra-ordinary training”

Barbara Alam