The most important people are those who attend our courses. We go to great lengths to get feedback from our students. Its really important to us that we give the best training on the market. If its good then that's great if its not then we change and are happy to accept constructive criticism. We’re glad to say there hasn't been much.
I was really impressed with Vince. I hadn’t ridden a bike for ages when we met up and was borrowing an unfamiliar bike to do the course on. I was anxious and all over the place to start with - he recognised that and really helped to calm me down when we stopped quite soon for petrol.
When we stopped after riding for a while he explained clearly what I was both good at and what needed improving. I’ve struggled with corner entry for years and it was so simple - he spotted I was in the wrong gear. He was encouraging and pushed me just the right amount (in my ear when approaching corners). He was also very good at spotting when I was getting overwhelmed at my crapness at doing u turns and he very subtly changed tack and lo and behold we ended up doing them in a different way (without me really noticing) and I managed them.
During the day my confidence increased incredibly and I was able to ride to Belgium (my first ride abroad) the next day feeling great. I went out two days later, in Belgium, on a ride with a group of bike journalists and didn’t embarrass myself. I’m a psychotherapist and counselling tutor and spend my time working with people to help them with their difficulties and also teaching interpersonal connectedness. I thought Vince had a great capacity to empathise but he didn’t rescue me - he pushed me (but not to the point where I dug my heels in). I was impressed. Many thanks, Fiona
BMW Owners mag
This appeared in the BMW Owners mag having been written by the mysterious "Flash"
"What ME? Training! Ha!" Wednesday 21 July, Rapid Training, Advanced Course. Somewhere off Jct 14 of the M1. Met my instructor ("P") yesterday morning at 0900. Cup of tea and pre-briefing out of the way we put on the radio kit and set off, me on the RT and P on a R1100GS (with K1200S wheels and the widest rubber seen off a Ducati). details.
We left M.Keynes and passed the first National Speed Limit sign. Off I shot in typical Flash "Oy-you-get-out-of-my-way mode" and led a charge for about five miles before he pulled me over. "Aggressive, too fast, bad positioning, aggravated weaving, unaware of hazards" were some of the nicer things he said about what, until now, I had laughingly called my "style". "So apart from that it was OK then?" I quipped, desperate to extract a smile from Mr Granite-Face....to be fair to myself (and who will be if I'm not?) I had not been riding to my normal standard. The fact of being followed by P, trying too hard, and coming to terms with the radio had all combined to overload my common-sense chip. P set off ahead of me for a demo ride...and deep inside me what was left of my biking vanity rolled over and expired. He was brilliant. Poetry in motion. Following him, we caught up with some cars about to enter a right-hander. He was so far over to the left that I feared for the safety of the hedgerow.
All the while he was keeping up a non-stop "pursuit" type commentary and I heard him say "Exit visible, going for overtake" and he was gone. Disappeared. He had gone from the extreme left hand side of the road, half-way round a bend, to a slippery smooth rocket-assisted overtake while I was still sitting, flat-footed, waiting to see past the cars and around the corner. It's the image that stays with me now and the one that did the most to affect my riding for the rest of the day and who knows, to infinity and beyond. I bulldozed my way back up behind him, shoving articulated trucks and pram-pushing pedestrians into the undergrowth. I'd managed to follow P while he had been keeping up his commentary ("Low-flying aircraft above, possibly US Presidential hope" "Beware of falling pound" etc). Back in the lead. I'd taken on board the fact that it would be a "good thing" if I were to use the left hand side of the road more and so I did. I was smoother and more in control of my destiny and, although it felt as if I was going slower, I was probably faster overall. We silked and smoothed over the Cotswolds (GOD! What biking roads!), strictly observing the 30, 40 and 50 speed limits and enjoying ourselves elsewhere.
P had started to smile occasionally and agreed to remove the handcuffs from my throttle hand. Watching him in the mirrors he never stopped rethinking the position of his bike on the road, always looking for the optimum line of observation. I began to emulate and to relax and enjoy myself. At the end of the day things had come together very well indeed. P thanked me for a fast and enjoyable run and (praise indeed) told me that he wouldn't have been over those roads any faster had he been on his own. Criticism? There were still some. My tendency to go into bends too fast was still surfacing occasionally, most noticeable when, after a series of fast, sweeping, bends, we would come to a series of hairpins. He was right and talking about it with him I realised that it's something I do deliberately to get the maximum angle of lean. I'll do it to the point of tightening up, half way round a bend, just to get the buzz.
It's not big and it's not clever and it will actually slow you down by breaking the optimum line. "But it's FUN" I exclaimed. He pointed out that, although he had backed off more than me before the bend, he was back with me again at the exit "And I'm safer" he said "and sometimes you're going too fast and miss the apex" (insufferable boy). It's something I'm going to have to work on. But I think I'm going to enjoy doing it. Smiley moment for both of us? A guy on a Monster who caught us as we roadcrafted through a village at 30mph. P said he thought he was being followed by an Astra van with a broken exhaust. We emerged from the village and wound it on in time-honoured police fashion and watched as the Ducati disappeared off our radars. Lovely stuff. If you haven't done it I can't recommend it enough. I returned home completely knackered, the fatigue caused by the total concentration required to ride at that level. I love these guys!
My Rapid Training Day
Having been a member of the KAMG, and preparing to be test-ready for just over two years, my patient observer suggested that I might benefit from the bike training given by the class 1 motorbike instructors at Rapid Training. I booked a one day course with Rapid Training, which gives one to two training – their aim being to enable riders to get the very best from their motorcycle and at the same time increasing safety margins. I wanted to improve my smoothness and gain confidence in my riding in general, particularly when overtaking and at slow speed.
Having been told to come prepared for wet weather biking, I was relieved on the morning of the ride to wake to a perfect spring day – and set off on my Triumph Speed Triple to meet with my instructor Rob, at his house in Kent. My fellow trainee was Hamid from London who bikes to work on his BMW 1150RT. As well as riding in London, Hamid had experience of riding on the continent and the USA. Rob was riding a much cherished 1993 Honda Fireblade. Introductions and pre-brief out of the way, we were shown how to use the headsets through which Rob would give us directions and commentary and set off.
We had a half hour observed ride each and then stopped for a cuppa and hour long debrief in Sevenoaks. Rob laid out the learning points that Hamid and I needed to concentrate on: safety, system, smoothness, speed and progression. We discussed making progress with timing and planning rather than just speed. On our second observed ride I focused on my learning points, particularly planning to get the correct position, speed and then, if appropriate, gear for any hazard. Rob thought that my ride looked far more assured and noted that I even made three stage overtakes with confidence.
We stopped for lunch in the Bedgebury National Forest and Rob gave us a briefing on using the ‘limit point’ to enable smooth, progressive and safe cornering. Rob’s commentary on the next ride concentrated on getting us to adjust our drive to the limit point and to focus on the distance you can safely stop on your side of the road. The next observed rides focused on cornering, hazard awareness and overtaking. A final debrief in a coffee shop in West Malling marked the end of the days training session, and Rob gave us some key points to take away – value peripheral vision, scanning for hazards, and remember that progress is as much to do with being in the right place at the right time as it has to do with speed.
A couple of days after the training day, I received my course report which I have shared with my KAMG observer. Benefiting from the knowledge and skill of the instructor has given my riding an extra smoothness and confidence – hopefully up to standard to pass the test in due course. The day was informative and enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to improve their riding skills and increase their confidence.