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“Bends Basics” training with Kevin Williams

Thanks to Noah Tucker for giving me permission to post this review of my “Bends Basics” course. He sent it to me via email after posting it on the Versys website, but as it’s a ‘members’ only’ site I’ve reprinted it here.

‘Bends Basics’ training with Kevin Williams / 10 October 2011

Having had a few years out of the saddle followed by a couple of months on my Versys- during which I have felt at times that I had possibly lost the knack of some aspects of motorcycling, or otherwise was not really getting used to the handling of the Versys given its quite high bars and C of G, or even worse- had I somehow lost my motorcycling mojo?! I was thinking that some advanced training might be a good idea.

So, I spotted the ‘Bends Basics’ course by Kevin Williams for only £60 for a half day, phoned for a slot, and went down to Canterbury last Saturday for the session. (He also does courses in Oxford).

Though I haven’t been on any other motorcycle training since passing my test in 1986 & so don’t really have anything to compare it to, this was a very educational experience & seems (judging by the couple of days since) to have had a very positive effect on my skills and confidence.

The course covered more aspects than I would have thought possible in its relatively short duration, including counter-steering, recognition of hazards including ways to estimate the curvature of bends, positioning for view & safety on the road, and slowing / acceleration and speed in, through, & out of turns using engine and brakes.

Kevin W. has a very appealing and confidence-inspiring manner, he has the air of a slightly grizzled old timer (though only a little bit less old & grizzled than me I should add!) and he has amazing observation skills which he uses to diagnose and correct any issues with ones riding. Eg, in my case, he advised I should not change up gear so early after setting off, and also showed me a ‘hinge’ technique in tight corners, specially useful with the Versys given the upright position of the rider.

The session was very enjoyable in itself, set as it was in lovely & twisty country lanes. But so far (Sunday & Monday) it has improved my urban riding confidence to a very noticeable extent.

So, I think I need to bear in mind one of the several wise sayings that Kevin Williams remarked to me on Saturday afternoon- that by itself, rider skills training makes no improvement on safety; because riders often just use their better skills to enable them to go faster rather than safer- unless they take on board recognition of hazards and how to read the road.

Check:

Thanks Noah, and very pleased you enjoyed the session and that the course has worked for you. Kent does have some lovely countryside that’s often overlooked in the dash down the M2 and M20 to the Channel ports.

The ‘Bends Basics’ session lasts approximately 2 hours, you’ll cover around 35 miles in that time with a mix of theory and practical riding and it costs just £60. Visit http://www.survivalskills.co.uk/bends_basics.html for more info. Courses are still available until the end of November.

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