GENERAL COURSE BRIEFING NOTES
Welcome to your Survival Skills Advanced Training Course. The notes below will tell you more about the course you have booked and how it is run, so please read them carefully, then sign the disclaimer attached to the email, and review the course notes that go with your particular training course.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
The Legal Bit:
You must hold a valid UK or EU motorcycle licence (or one from a country recognised by the UK), and your motorcycle must be appropriately insured, taxed, MOT’d and roadworthy, and legal for use on the road. Please remember to bring your driving licence and insurance certificate on the day.
There must be no legal or medical reasons why you should not drive. If you require glasses to pass the standard eyesight test (the ability to read a number plate at 20.5 metres in daylight), you must wear them whilst driving. Please ensure we know in advance of any health or medical issues that do not render you unfit to ride but may still affect the conduct of the training course – for instance, the requirement to take medication at regular intervals or dietary considerations.
You must wear an approved safety helmet. Dark, non-E marked visors are illegal for use on the road and could invalidate your insurance. For this reason please ensure you have an approved clear or tint visor. Suitable protective clothing comprising jacket, trousers, gloves and boots are highly recommended, as are waterproofs if needed over leathers. Hi-vis clothing is not provided but you may wear your own if you wish.
Please bear in mind that you will be fully responsible for your own actions during the course. Although advanced riding at times involves making progress, we must remember that we are not exempt from the normal laws governing the road. Survival Skills cannot condone breaking the law. Neither Survival Skills Rider Training nor the instructors can in any way be held responsible in the event of an accident or prosecution.
Make sure your bike is in good order, including brakes and tyres. If you have a loud race exhaust fitted, it can and does interfere with the radio link so refitting baffles or a legal can would be helpful (though not essential) if you can do it easily. If you hire a machine to undertake the course, neither Survival Skills Rider Training nor the instructors can in any way be held responsible for any charges relating to said machine.
Deposit and Cancellation:
Under Consumer Contracts Regulations, you have a statutory 14 day cooling-off period beginning the day after the course was confirmed by email in which to claim a full refund.
Should you be forced to cancel the course due to unforeseen circumstances, Survival Skills will also voluntarily offer a full refund if you cancel the course 28 DAYS before the first day.
For later cancellations the deposit is NON-REFUNDABLE. However, so long as you give 48 HOURS NOTICE of a cancellation, the deposit would be credited to another course or date. I’ll simply reschedule the course for another mutually convenient date with no charge.
If you cancel the course with LESS THAN 48 HOURS NOTICE, the deposit is non-refundable, a new booking must be made, and the full course cost will apply.
All training is weather-dependent. If there are potential safety issues (for example, a Met Office weather warning for torrential rain, flooded roads, gale-force winds, thick fog, or ice and snow), then I will most likely postpone the session and rearrange it for a later mutually convenient date. Whilst I do train in ‘ordinary’ bad weather, if the conditions deteriorate so much that I feel you are no longer learning anything from the training, I will usually recommend abandoning the session and rescheduling to a mutually convenient date. There will be no additional charges for any such rearranged session.
By booking and undertaking an advanced course with Survival Skills you indicate your acceptance of these conditions.
ON THE DAY
I use a one-way radio link using either a Bluetooth system or PMR radios and an earhanger earpiece to keep in touch with trainees, but its use is NOT compulsory – you don’t have to use the radio if you don’t want to. Whilst you are riding I try to keep chat to a minimum and restrict myself to directions to avoid distraction , but it is useful to give tips and hints, and on occasion I may lead and give a commentary ride. Don’t worry if you don’t hear anything for a few minutes. The Bluetooth system has a range of around 1/2 mile whilst the PMR radios have an even longer range. The PMRs are on a shared licenced frequency so you may pick up someone else’s voice occasionally. Make sure you can hear the radio in the car park, before you set off, not too quiet, not too loud. If necessary, pull over somewhere safe on the road and ask for it to be adjusted.
–Comfort: the standard training earpieces do not not fit all riders comfortably, particularly if your helmet is tight around the ears, so if you prefer bring a pair of in-ear Walkman-type earpieces with a standard jack – nearly all these fit either system. I do not supply in-ear sets for hygiene reasons. If you already have speakers in your helmet, they can be connected to the trainee radio if you have a standard 3.5mm socket or adapter jack, but if you need to use our earpiece you may find that removing your own speakers first is a good idea. If you do not wish to use the radio link, feel free to say so.
–Radio Limitations: we are using a radio link – although far better than older sets, it will never be 100% clear and reception on windy says or in certain areas can be poor. Whilst the Bluetooth system has noise-cancelling technology, there is always some wind noise and the clarity of reception can be badly affected by your own hearing, noise in your helmet and if you have a race can fitted, my microphone will reflect your exhaust noise straight back to you! At motorway speeds wind noise can become a problem. If you have difficulty hearing the radio, we can operate without it.
–Important – Low Battery Warning: when the batteries on either radio are low, you may hear strange beeps, communications will become intermittent, and eventually we’ll lose contact. The instructor set uses a lot more power, so it’s usually my set that stops working but there’s no audible warning in my earpiece, so make sure you tell me at the next convenient point and I will change the battery!
— Care of the Radio: Whilst reasonably robust, radios are not bullet proof and will not survive being dropped at speed. Please look after it whilst it is in your care and use the bag provided, not a pocket. Regretfully I will charge you for repairs or replacement if the radio is damaged by neglect.
Conduct of Course: The course will be a mixture of theory and practical riding. We will have discussed the suitability of each course before taking your booking as well as asking what you want to gain from the course, so no previous knowledge (other than the Highway Code) is assumed or required. The level of content will be adjusted up or down to suit your own particular level as required.
As we train, we will discuss a particular idea, then put it into action on the road, correct as necessary, then conclude with a mini-debrief. Survival Skills courses use a ‘building block’ approach to training, so it may not be immediately obvious where a particular exercise is leading – bear with me.
Day-long sessions are approximately 5 hours long, usually with a mid-ride break for a cuppa and something to eat, and will finish with a short verbal debrief – a full debrief will be provided by mail on all full-length courses. Short two hour sessions will not stop mid-course and will conclude with a verbal debrief.
— Take your time: take your time to apply new techniques, don’t try too much too soon. This applies both on the course and when you get home. If it isn’t working for you, say so and we will try and work on the technique from a different angle. I will not rush training on a course to fit it in – we operate at your pace, and if we have not completed the course, I will tell you and suggest we continue in another session. That includes ‘After Sales Service’; Survival Skills is happy to offer advice AFTER you have gone home. e-Mail me or phone me with your problem and I will do my best to sort it out.
— On the Road: usually I will follow you. This puts me in the best position to see what you are doing. Although I shall generally follow at a safe distance, sometimes I may be quite close to have a better look – don’t worry! Sometimes I may slip in front or lead away, to demonstrate a particular point. Don’t sit too far back or you won’t see what I am doing – the two second rule is too far in this instance – but don’t sit right on my back wheel either – keep a reasonable distance. If you need to be close, for instance in town traffic to avoid being separated, ride slightly staggered to one side or the other.
— Ride for Yourself: ignore me (as best you can) when I am behind you. Importantly, make NO allowances for me except when starting off from the kerb and pulling up. If you can safely perform a manoeuvre such as an overtake, pulling out of a side road or moving away onto a roundabout, then go for it and don’t worry about whether I can make it or not. If I need to catch you up, I will tell you on the radio to pull over and wait for me. If you are following me, ensure any manoeuvre you make is SAFE.
–Pulling away and Pulling up: the only time I ask you to think about me is when pulling away into traffic from a standstill – make sure you pick a gap we can both get out into -and when pulling up again. I may ask you to pull up from time to time, perhaps for a quick chat, or maybe to change the battery. Where possible I will direct you to stop somewhere safe such as a wide road or a bus stop. Occasionally (such as when you have overtaken a slower vehicle and I have got stuck in traffic), I may ask you to find somewhere for yourself. Remember the Highway Code, find somewhere safe and give other traffic time to react to your manoeuvre. Yellow lines and bus stops are OK for a temporary halt. If you need to stop for some reason, make sure everyone (including myself) knows what you intend.
–Following Directions and Finding your Way: we are not really interested in your ability to find your way around so don’t worry if you go the wrong way! The general rule is follow the road ahead at all times unless I say otherwise. If I don’t say anything on the approach to a crossroads, assume straight ahead.
Where we need to turn or at a roundabout or other potentially confusing junction, I will try to make the directions as easy to follow as possible and give you them in plenty of time, but do look at signs to help you understand where I want you to go. For instance on the approach to a roundabout, I may say something like “take the second exit, straight ahead towards Ashford” – check the sign! Most importantly don’t worry if you find yourself heading for the wrong exit, do whatever is safe – we can always turn round.
If you do not hear (or understand) an instruction shake your head and I will keep repeating until you get it. If you arrive at a roundabout or some other junction before you’ve got the message, go wherever you like but keep it safe. Don’t stop in the middle of the junction, turn round and ask “which way?” (yes, it has happened!)
–Getting Separated: it happens… don’t worry. Follow these rules. Keep an eye on your mirrors. If you suddenly realise I’m not there, don’t panic, slow down a little (but not so as to impede traffic) and carry on for a mile or so. If you come to a junction, if you have a straight on option take it. If you have to turn left or right, or the junction is a roundabout, find somewhere safe and in easy view, pull up and wait – don’t park down a side road!, If after a mile I have not appeared then pull over and wait. If you really do think you have lost me after waiting 5 minutes or so, ride back to the last point you saw me and wait there. Finally try my mobile – 07855 045 085!
–Speed Limits: the aim of these courses is to learn and practice riding techniques and this is often easier at reduced and moderate speeds so there is NO pressure to make progress on these courses. All we expect is that you are able to ride at a pace which “goes with the flow” and within your own comfort zone. We need to comply with speed limits but to do that with an eye on safety, so if it is necessary to exceed the speed limit briefly to make a safe overtake, do it but don’t use excessive speed.
–Road Signs and Traffic Signals: ensure you pay attention to and obey all road signs, particularly those giving orders. Don’t be tempted to follow me through traffic lights if it would mean passing them on amber – I WILL wait for you!
Finally – remember Dad’s Army’s Corporal Jones! DON’T PANIC!
The aim of these courses is to make you a better and safer rider, but at the same time let you get more fun from your riding. We aim to enjoy ourselves on these courses! If anything in these notes is not clear, ask me on the day of the course!
Don’t forget to sign and return the disclaimer, and make sure you read the notes for your particular course in the Members Only area of the site.
Looking forward to seeing you on the day,
Survival Skills Rider Training
…because it’s a jungle out there
Not RoSPA, Not IAM, Not Police
Just real world training with a real world rider!