Passed your test and got your bike licence? Congratulations, but there's still a lot to learn. Do you want to take your riding to the next level? Here's eight things you need to know
Riding a bike ain't easy. Even the experts accept that learner training is, at best, no more than a solid grounding to work from. In fact, learner training leaves some stones well and truly unturned, and it's these moist, dark areas of riding we're going to look at.
And we're not making this stuff up. To ensure at least a veneer of credibility, we enlisted the expert know-how of Kevin Williams, a riding instructor offering a range of courses tailored to all levels of riding under the 'Survival Skills' banner, and Gary Baldwin, an accident investigator with Thames Valley Police and the man behind Bucks-based Rapid Training.
"Learner training isn't far off," says Gary, "but you need to look at the end result and ask where riders have problems after their test. And experience tells us that braking and cornering are two of the key areas that need more work doing. Riders are obviously meant to sort it out for themselves, which is fine if they do but if they don't it leaves them struggling.
Kevin Williams teaches both qualified and learner riders, and sees the problem as one of self-perceived competence. "To some extent it's down to how well the rider feels they are in control as they come away from the test centre. Many blokes will be happy they're riding at a good standard; okay, they can keep the examiner happy for half-a-hour, but that doesn't mean they're riding well, only adequately. On the other hand you get others who feel they have a problem and know they have problem areas. The issue is to persuade people there is something more to learn."
The first lesson covers road positioning
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