Ian Stavert, Editor SBM
We all think we’re good riders don’t we? We’ve all been riding for a while and not had any accidents – so why would I need any advice? Bradley Smith, Mark Marquez and even Valentino Rossi have ‘performance coaches’ to point out where something could be done a bit better – NOT what they are doing wrong and these guys are at the pinnacle of their sport.
Let’s call it advanced thinking – not advanced riding.
I made contact with Roddy Benzies from Get2grips. Roddy retired from the Police in Autumn 2014 where he trained Police Scotland motorcyclists and drivers, so he knows his craft. Roddy started Get2grips in April ’16.’
My initial contact with Roddy was over the phone, I was impressed straight away when I was asked ‘what do you want to achieve with me?’ – now that is a great first question. It basically says to me that a) this wasn’t going to be an ‘off the shelf day’ and b) it makes you think why you called.
I met Roddy at Kenmore for early coffee on a bonny, sunny morning. I was asked about my riding background, I explained I have held a bike licence since 16 and these days ride around 15,000 miles a year. During my work, I’ve been on numerous training courses on road, track days and off road – (perk of the job).
So then over my coffee I was asked again – what did I want to achieve from the day? My answer is always simple, I want someone with more or diverse experience than I to give me some pointers as to what I can do better on the road, or, point out any bad habits. Just be blunt tell me how it is! Roddy being a very modest man came back, “I doubt I can say much that will help” – how wrong he was!
I won’t give away all Roddy’s tips, bits of advice and pearls of wisdom, that’s how he makes his living – just let me say this. By the end of the day which was a good few miles and around 4.30pm – my brain was absolutely fried! If bike cops go through this for weeks, fair play to them!
Not once did I receive any negative criticism, my thinking and observation was challenged (positively) numerous times, for all the right reasons and far beyond what I would normally do – the way I analyse signage, contours, corners, road feature, traffic the list goes on. This was done both over the headset as we were riding and at our debrief stops.
The major cause of biker issues in Scotland are Left hand bends, overtakes and junctions with other traffic. All of these things we discussed at length – self-preservation was what it was all about.
My highlight of the day was following Roddy for about 25 miles, whilst he gave a full blown finely detailed commentary of his ride what he was doing, when and importantly – why.
As I said earlier I have done many training courses before, but my day with Roddy at Get2grips was the best on road training day I have ever done – bar none. I learnt a huge amount, some of which I didn’t realise until a few days later when I was applying what I’d been advised, and believe me it works.
If you want to develop your thinking and riding – meet Roddy, irrespective of what you ride and how long you’ve been riding.
On the strength of this experience we’ve asked Roddy to help us out with this edition of Scottish Biker.