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Survival Skills training – more course reviews

This time by ‘Suzuki Boy’ after a London Traffic course.

“Met Kevin on Saturday for my advanced riding course and what a thoroughly good egg he is.

“Apart from being knowledgable he has all the hallmarks of an excellent teacher, non-judgemental, patient and perceptive.

“The two day course ran for 10 hours over Saturday and Sunday. During that time we covered a fair bit of ground. For me it was a case of being made aware of bad habits picked up from years of riding in London and 17 years of riding in general. All the classics were there, particularly where London riding is concerned. Riding on the bumper of the car in front, not enough use of the mirror, although life-savers weren’t too bad, not enough indication, over confident filtering (especially on double white lines, oops), hugging the white line etc, etc.

“But after talking things through and practising how to avoid and remedy my bad habits things started to progress nicely. By the end of the second day I’d learnt how to counter-balance on slow speed corners, invaluable for riding in London on a lardy bike. I also really got into and enjoyed the ‘point and squirt’ cornering technique that Kevin showed me, very similar to the method used and developed by Keith Code. In fact by the end of the second day while leading, 9 times out of 10 I was picking the same lines as Kevin following. Which considering his experience can’t be a bad thing. Over taking still needed some practise though, which I enjoyed getting to grips with blatting up the M20 to make a quick trip home.

“All in all a thoroughly informative and fun weekend, I learnt plenty of new stuff and broke a few bad habits from London riding, leaving the course feeling safer, smoother and quicker through corners. Although obviously it doesn’t end there as it’s all about practice.”

The second review followed a course for a couple up near Bury St Edmunds, not an area I’ve been to for a few years, so a bit of route planning with a map in advance was in order. Over to Paulybab:

“We both learned a huge amount over the 2 days Kevin spent with us.

“I won’t go into detail about everything we covered/learned but a couple of things stood out:

“First was; my partner has been having a problem with bends for the last few months. Technique and knowledge were ok but she had just lost confidence so was tensing up and rolling off the throttle when she should have been keeping it on ( very simplified version!!). We’d tried all sorts, including speaking to some really knowledgable long term bikers, but to little avail. Within a couple of hours Kevin had her confidence restored and leaning into bends like a good ‘un (in the wet too!). If we’d stopped right there it would have been worth the money

“The other thing was Point & Squirt, which I had thought I understood and was able to do, but turns out I didn’t really fully understand. Listening to Kevin’s explanation and then watching him demo it made me see very quickly what I wasn’t doing correctly. I still need to practice my newest skill but at least I’m practicing the right method now. The key learn for me here was that the biggest bar to learning something is to think you know it already.

“We really appreciated Kevin’s ability to flex his teaching styles as we both learn in quite different ways (I really like to understand something first before I try and do it). His building-block approach to skills and learning worked for us too, although you need a bit of faith for a few hours at first.

“We loved Kevin’s hi-tech etch-a-sketch which could do everything from showing us video clips to being used by Kevin for drawing cornering lines for us to understand.

“We also loved Kevin’s satnav system, which he seemed to be able to programme to take us down roads we didn’t even know existed even though they were relatively close to where we live (Particularly down that single lane cart track of a road with grass growing down the middle and a ford half way down it – never been across a ford on bikes before ).

“The weekend was full of things we learned (and to be honest I thought I knew a fair amount already), loads of stuff to think about and practice subsequently, and plenty to learn in the future.

“Thanks again Kevin for a great weekend. It wasn’t spoiled in any way by the rain spells – in fact we came away thinking that if we can do it all in poor weather we’ll be even better when it’s dry (sorry you got so wet on the way home though )

“The only training I’ve done before was the CBT/DAS last year, followed by the IAM stuff later in the year (passed test in November). Done a couple of slow control days with the local IAM group, and did Bikesafe recently.

“IAM & Bikesafe were a “civilianised” version of Roadcraft and as such were fairly inflexible in promoting the concepts therein, particularly positioning/cornering lines.

“Kevin’s approach was based around giving us more “tools in the toolbox” and getting us to understand the pro’s & con’s of any course of action.

“He was also more “real world”. An example of this was on a LH bend (country road) – I’m positioned just inside the white line a la Roadcraft. Kevin asks me later what do I actually lose if I sit a couple of feet inside the line – my answer; I lose very little in terms of view and gain in terms of safety margin re someone coming the other way on/over the white lines. I’ve been working out for myself for a little while that taking “extreme” positions doesn’t necessarily confer advantage, but it was really good to have someone with Kevins’ knowledge/experience to give me “permission” to do it.

“Conceptually, Kevin’s training seems to be based on the practical/what works best approach that not only allows for mistakes from yourself and others but shows you what to do to avoid them or cope with them if it happens. It also (very importantly!) looks at machine control skills which in Roadcraft, as far as I can see, are noticeable mainly by their absence.

“In terms of “usefulness” I have found all of the training I’ve done useful. I regard them as additive rather than one being better than the other. I’ve also learned a huge amount from reading about riding skills on this forum, Kevins’ website and several others (incl the MSF site recently after picking up the idea from an article in my local IAM magazine.”

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Just a small message to say how much i actually enjoy reading your insights into motorcycling and its inherent issues that come with being a rider on british and european roads. I appreciate it a lot.

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