SURVIVAL SKILLS


advanced motorcycle rider training by

SURVIVAL SKILLS


where shall we go today?















inspiring motorcyclists since 1997

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Whatever you ride...

Honda, Harley, Hyosung. Cruiser, tourer, adventure or sports bike.

...Survival Skills will help you get the most from your machine. 

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Wherever you ride...

Rural roads, city centre or alpine passes

...we have the routes that will test your ability.

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However you ride...

New or experienced. 17 to 70. Recreation, touring or commuting

...our training will build your knowledge, skills and awareness.

What do you want to discover?


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PERFORMANCE

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For the recreational rider, the one-day Performance: BENDS course focuses on developing a high level of technique on twisty roads, building cornering skills with risk awareness. Add an extra day and more skills with the Performance: SPORT two-day course.

We also offer inexpensive two-hour Basics: BENDS or HAIRPINS courses.


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SURVIVAL

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Our original course is the two-day Survival: SKILLS course. Aimed at the all-round rider or tourer, you'll cover a well-balanced mix of rural and urban riding, looking at cornering, collision avoidance and slow riding.

The one-day Survival: URBAN course focuses exclusively on traffic skills - perfect for the commuting rider.




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DEVELOPMENT

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Newly qualified or returning riders will benefit from the Confidence: BUILDER one-day course to correct weaknesses and build core skills. 


The Development: FRANCE day offers a chance to experience riding on the 'wrong' side of the road.

And check out our two-hour Basics courses too.


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OTHER COURSES

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We also offer one- and two-day REFRESHER training, two-hour RIDING ASSESSMENTS, and arrange BESPOKE training in your location by arrangement. 

Check  out the GREAT ESCAPE adventure riding trips in the UK and abroad.

SMALL GROUP training for clubs can also be arranged.

SPECIAL  OFFER  - buddy up and save on training!

Our normal policy is to run all one- and two-day training courses STRICTLY 1 to 1. This means that you will not be paired with an unsuitable trainee and can proceed at your own pace. However, we also understand that on occasion you may want to train with a friend or a partner so 2:1 training is available on request. The second person on a 2 to 1 course will SAVE 50% of the normal 1 to 1 course cost  - contact us for more details.

Where do you want to train?

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SE London / Kent

Kent isn’t all high speed rail and motorways, and if you book a Performance course, you won't be disappointed by our quiet, twisty roads. Towns are busy enough to make you think about your urban riding skills too. Just off the M25, our meeting point is easily accessible from NE & SE London, Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex.

Courses run March to November and local accommodation is available.

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NW London / Bucks

The beautiful roads of the Chilterns are not only a lovely place to train, they set a real challenge to riders whilst I can find plenty of traffic is a perfect place to hone your town riding skills. Our meeting point just off the M25 is easily accessible from NW & SW London, Bucks Berks and Oxfordshire, as well as central southern England and the Midlands.

Courses run March to November and local accommodation is available.

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Devon / Wales

Great roads and great scenery make for great riding and great learning. On demand we'll provide training in alternative venues such as Dartmoor and mid-Wales. These courses have proved very popular over the years with riders who find our usual training locations in the South East and Midlands too difficult to get to.

Contact us for available dates and prices. Local accommodation is available.

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France

As well as our one day training on the Cote d'Opal, we can also organise short touring and training trips to Normandy, to take advantage of the well surfaced and nearly deserted roads just over the Channel. We’ll spend 3 or 4 nights at a well-appointed B&B in the Alps Mancelle region before heading back to the UK.

Contact us for available dates and prices.

Want to train in London? We can organise that too!

Survival Skills isn't 'ordinary' advanced training

Conventional advanced training teaches us that if we do the right things, nothing will ever go wrong. It actually says exactly that in 'Motorcycle Roadcraft', the police manual - that if we "leave nothing to chance" we'll be 'safe'. So according to training based on 'Roadcraft' (for example, that delivered by the IAM and RoSPA), if we take up the right position at a junction, a driver will see us and wait; if we read a bend correctly, we'll negotiate it safely; if we plan an overtake well, it'll go as we expect.

Most of the time, that's exactly what happens. But expecting things to go right simply doesn't prepare us for the occasions it all goes wrong. Despite the increasing uptake of post-test training, junctions, corners and overtakes remain major accident hotspots for ALL riders including those with advanced qualifications. And that's why you need Survival Skills. 

KEVIN SAYS: "As a courier, I spent sixteen years and around half a million miles surviving the busy roads of central London and the south of England. If there's one thing that I learned, it's that no matter how good we get at the conventional 'better riding' skills, it's at least as important to recognise when things are about to go wrong. Only understanding how crashes develop is a reliable way of staying out of trouble in the seconds ahead."

Conventional advanced training simply doesn't prepare riders to deal with emergencies; the driver who doesn't see the bike at a junction, the bend that doesn't go where we expected, or the overtake that doesn't go to plan. Survival Skills are what you need to stay out of trouble (if you can) and get out of trouble (if you can't).

The reality is that riding is a continual exercise in disaster management and that's what Survival Skills emphasises. No Surprise? No Accident!

Our approach? SUBTRACT scares and ADD fun!




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Do the training, read the books

We don't just offer advanced motorcycle training courses. We've researched the field in-depth and written a series of books too. There's the trio of books that cover riding skills in-depth ('MIND over MOTORCYCLE', 'Tarmac Tactics' and 'Survival Skills'), or there are the two books containing all the Survival Skills columns written for 'The Road' magazine between 2002 and 2014. There's also the semi-autobiographical 'Riding with the Devil' which tells you how I first got into biking and working as a courier.

Visit the STORE to find out more about our books.

what do you want to read today?

And there's free stuff too

If you just want to read some short 'riding tips' articles, then look at our riding skills pages. Check out the 'Lucky 13' cartoons we helped create for the European Motorcycle Manufacturers Association (ACEM) back in 2009. And download our free 'Motorcycle Accident Top 10' PDF. It’s written to give all riders from newbie to experienced an insight into the mistakes that lead to crashes and thus give you a better chance of avoiding them. It’s the extra information like this that helps you use your existing riding skills to better advantage. The ebook is 60 pages long, so there’s plenty to keep you interested. As it’s in PDF format, you should be able to read it on just about any device.

Meet the trainer

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Survival Skills Rider Training is a motorcycle training school run by BTEC-qualified advanced instructor instructor Kevin Williams. With a BSc in the biological sciences and an MSc in Ecology, Kevin has a proven track record not just as a rider coach but also in research and critical thinking.

Since training as a CBT instructor in 1995 after a decade and a half as a courier, Kevin went on to become one of the first Direct Access instructors in the country and by 2006 had trained around two thousand riders at basic level. Since starting Survival Skills in 1997, over one thousand riders of all standards from newly qualified to police licence holders, with qualifications from the IAM to RoSPA, riding everything from Hondas to Harleys, have taken Survival Skills courses.

Kevin has been invited to work on a number of road safety schemes including Buckinghamshire County Council's 'Be a Better Biker' scheme and Somerset Road Safety Partnership's 'Rider Skills' days at Castle Coombe circuit. Kevin currently works with Kent Fire and Rescue Partnership on their 'Ride Skills' days at Brands Hatch, and as part of the award-winning 'Biker Down' team, which was awarded a Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award in 2012.   

Kevin worked as lead researcher and writer for the European Motorcycle Manufacturers Association (ACEM) on the Lucky 13 series of cartoons which were published in 2011 and have been translated into nearly a dozen European languages (you can  find them  in the Resources section on this site). 

Kevin is also an  NVQ-qualified 'e-tutor', and having written for motorcycle magazines and national newspapers, authored books about motorcycle skills and spent over two decades offering advice on motorcycle forums, he is uniquely capable of delivering training via distance learning.

Outside of training, Kevin has ridden extensively in the UK, Europe and the USA. He trained and qualified as a member of the National Motorcycle Escort Group escorting cycle races, and volunteered as a 'blood runner'. 

WITH OVER 30 YEARS OF PROFESSIONAL RIDING EXPERIENCE, KEVIN AND SURVIVAL SKILLS ARE DEDICATED TO IMPROVING MOTORCYCLE RIDER SKILLS IN THE UK.

want to know more about our activities?

Your instructor is Kevin Williams MSc BTEC

What do you want from a training course?

Ask yourself some questions...

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Start by asking "is it the training I want?" and whether you just want a standard riding qualification or a certificate that nets an insurance discount, or whether you want to develop in a specific area or need a fix for a particular problem.

For the former, the national organisations will be sufficient, but many find their 'one-size-fits-all' approach inappropriate or inadequate, particularly when struggling with a specific issue.

So personalised training is the answer. No two riders are the same and Survival Skills adopted 'client-centred' training right from the off in 1997, long before other organisations. Before you book a course, we'll discuss your training needs to help you choose from our range of courses to the best fit for your experience, needs and riding style. And if none of our courses suit? We'll offer bespoke training - Survival Skills avoids turning out 'clone riders'. We don't try to change your style to suit ours but offer you new ideas you fit to yours.

Once booked, you'll get course-specific 'crib notes' covering the course content, plus a full briefing by email, so you know what to expect on the day. The course itself is based on up-to-date education techniques and uses a building-block approach ensuring we cover all core skills whilst retaining flexibility. We move at your pace, setting challenges appropriate to your ability and maximising learning - you're never asked to do anything you're not ready for. In particular, there's no push to 'make progress' on our courses and training routes are risk-assessed. There's no standardised test at the end of the course, because Survival Skills is not training you to 'test standard', but to be the best rider you can possibly be.

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Next, ask yourself "what do I want from the trainer?" Do you want a club atmosphere with enthusiastic - but part-time - observers? Or do you want a professional, independently-qualified, full-time rider coach with a long history of training at all levels from CBT to expert

Once again, for some riders the former is fine, but if you have a specific issue or simply want a higher standard of training, then you want the latter.

Kevin honed his riding skills spending a decade and a half as a full-time courier, riding in all weathers, not just in the pressure cooker environment of London but all over the UK. 

A proven communicator, presenter and writer with a higher degree in science, Kevin has worked with Bucks County Council and Somerset Road Safety Partnership on rider safety schemes, and is part of the international road safety award winning Biker Down team in Kent.

With an Edexcel-moderated BTEC in post-test instruction, and an NVQ in distance learning, Kevin is one the UK's most highly-qualified and experienced rider coaches.

Having worked with over three thousand trainees at all levels of rider from absolute beginner to expert - including some off-duty police - Kevin has the educational and technical knowledge to deliver appropriate training for all riders. 

You can be sure you're getting top-quality training from a top-notch instructor. The fact Survival Skills has been around for over twenty years speaks for Kevin's continuing success as a trainer. 

what about the RPMT?

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MB, an IAM observer, contacted me although he was generally happy with his riding. First he wanted a second opinion from someone outside the organisation. Second he was looking for a better understanding of bends, to improve his own coaching ability in cornering skills. 

We met in Kent and it was quickly obvious he was a careful, competent and observant rider. As well as breaking down cornering as requested, there were constructive comments I was able to make. On a narrower two-lane road, I felt he was holding a position near the centre line on left-hand bends that was a little too exposed. He also reacted the sight of junctions, when earlier observation of the signs would have warned him about them before he saw them - the emphasis on effective use of signs is a key element of Survival Skills training and surprised him. Setting up overtakes, he would have benefited from taking views up the nearside of big vehicles. 

MB's email a few days later read: "I found the feed back useful and have implemented a new style of riding where hopefully, I don't position to far right on left hand bends unless the road is wide enough , I react to the sign post before I can see the hazard and I'm working on positioning to getting a better view past larger vehicles. So I felt I got a lot from our session, not to mention that when riding through urban areas today I found myself looking at the boxes on pedestrian crossing to see if they where lit up, which I must of picked up on a subconscious level from the commentary ride, so I'm very happy. I had a club social ride last Thursday evening and when we reached our destination one of the more senior observers had noticed a difference, and gave me a nice complement."

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I first met SG way back in 2008. She'd passed her test but was feeling defeated by her Moto Guzzi V7. After a chat, she booked a Confidence: BUILDER one-day course. As she was nervous I met her at her home then took a carefully planned route to see what the problems were. She was struggling and depressed, not least because she couldn't turn right. I put her through a series of exercises that produced a nervous smile by the end of the day. "Maybe I CAN do this after all." 

I bumped into her a little later at the Cassington Bike Night. She had a big grin because she’d ridden there with a friend, something she said she would never have done before the training, and promised to come back for the advanced course. Over the next few years, emails told me about more adventurous trips, then she booked a two-day Performance: SPORT course on her new BMW F650GS, so she could head abroad to the mountains. 

On the day, she looked comfortable on the Beemer, using the skills she’d learned earlier. On day one, we laid the cornering foundations for her tour but on day two, we bashed some serious twisty and hilly roads including my ‘secret’ hairpin not five miles from Oxford city centre. This time she went home with a big grin on her face. A year went by then a new text arrived: "Did my trip to Europe last summer, to Sardinia and the Stelvio pass.” 

Impressive but what followed the following year was even more so - she texted me from a trip to Morocco, which she made on her own. The latest updates show that she's got seriously into off-roading. 

Not bad for a woman who couldn't turn right into her own road a few years earlier!     

No Surprise? No Accident!

Always ready to lead with new thinking in rider training, Survival Skills is a founder member of the 'No Surprise' motorcycle safety initiative. No Surprise seeks to change the way we think about both riding and training. Conventional training has always promoted 'more' or 'better' skills as a way of avoiding crashing, yet despite steadily improving riding standards, the majority of crashes involving motorcycles continue to happen in the same places they have always done; junctions, corners, overtaking. And they continue to involve advanced motorcyclists.

In fact, technical skill alone isn't the answer. What's needed is a modest level of skill, then knowledge, and finally the understanding how to use the technical skills and knowledge together, an approach known as 'insight training'. An important insight is that the key risk factor is surprise. When we're surprised, we don't respond appropriately... whatever our level of technical skill.

Surprise derails our training. No Surprise? No Accident!

Don't just take our word...

...here's what our trainees have said...

Had a fantastic couple of days with Kevin. Having ridden sports bikes for more years thank I care to remember i added an adventure bike to the garage. A blast but a completely different ride. Kevin is a very knowledgeable, patient, skilled & all round good egg. I have to thank him for giving me my biking mojo back.

Denise Woofinden March 2017

Really fantastic couple of days! I met Kevin for the first day's training in September, learned a huge amount then spent six weeks or so practicing and today was the second training day. Kevin has a pretty unique way of training, he is able to explain very technical things in a way I could understand (I'm not techy) and his knowledge is astounding! And the patience of a saint :) His approach of 'risk minimisation'' is a concept that I could really understand. I think when I first went to Survival Skills I was looking for faster cornering but Kevin has taught me much more than that! I wouldn't have a moment's hesitation recommending Survival Skills to anyone!! Thank you!

Cheryl Carlisle September 2015

I first meet Kevin on the Biker Down course run by the Kent Fire and Rescue service where Kevin gives the module 3 presentation, I thought that he talked a lot of sense so bought his books and followed his news feed on Facebook, after almost a year I decided to take up the ride assessment that Kevin offers, I was so impressed with the way it was delivered and what I learnt I wish I hadn't of waited so long, so I've just been back for the Performance: SPORT two day bends course, and what a two days it was, highly recommended. Kevin is the font of all knowledge for all things motorbike related.

Matthew Barnes August 2014

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"I had a great ride home. The concept of using the middle third of the road [on a wide road, where the limits were relatively low and we were riding within a busy stream of traffic] worked really well, central positioning [at a safe distance using the middle third of the lane] behind cars worked a treat instead of hovering on the right when waiting for an overtake [where there was no opportunity], and looking at the braking surface is a great improvement. All in all, I got a lot of value from the session and felt it improved my riding significantly. I noticed my standard of observation was back up to a high standard too. Job done! thank you."

Greg Southey June 2011


more reviews of our training

Thank you very much for your course observations and constructive comments. I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 days and really felt it has been of great benefit in confirming those things I was doing right and reminding / informing me of ways I could improve my riding in both technique and personal survival. I would certainly recommend the course to anyone looking to brush up their riding and survival techniques. Thanks again for a very enjoyable 2 days both from a course point of view but also for two days pleasant riding in the Kent countryside.

Mick Warling March 2017

I took a 'Bends' course with Kevin to try to give my confidence a bit of a boost as I had been doing a lot of commuting and hadn't been on the 'twisties' for a while. I met Kevin and found he listened carefully to my riding history and then he explained how the course would run. We set off and Kevin started by giving me a commentated ride, although there were a few problems with the radio link I was able to glean the gist of what was being said. We then set out onto some lovely roads in Kent where I was able to put the theory into practice. Kevin was available on the radio to give me a breakdown of my riding throughout the route. However this was not constant or annoying, for a lot of the time the radio remained silent and we just enjoyed the roads. Kevin stopped the ride regularly and he was able to give a detailed breakdown of the ride. In short Kevin has a wealth of knowledge, information and techniques he is only too willing to share and I found a few of his little gems extremely useful. All in all a great trying day with a thoroughly nice bloke. Hope to see you for the second day soon Kevin.

Ian Pattie October 2014

I am a Cardington-qualified CBT/DAS instructor but had a day with Kev to get a check up on my own riding - well worth the money and had a good day out to boot!

Andy Taylor ADI December 2013

CONTACT SURVIVAL SKILLS / BOOK A COURSE

Please note that available dates listed here are open to all on a first-come, first-served basis so availability may change without notice. Dates that are not currently on the calendar may become available at short notice, so if you can't see a date that suits you, contact us anyway - we may be able to rearrange our commitments. 

To reserve a date, contact us using the booking form below stating which dates you'd prefer for training and if they're available, we'll reserve them for SEVEN days pending payment of a deposit. Please note that your deposit confirms your booking and if we don't receive your payment within seven days, the reservation will be cancelled and the date(s) opened up for general bookings again and you may lose your chosen dates. 

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