Introduction:

My name is Mike Bentley. I am the Managing Director of RIDEcraft (UK) and RIDEcraft (CBT) Ltd, both registered with Companies House from 2008. I am a retired Police Officer, having served 30 very proud years with Lancashire Police, ending in June 2006. I am to the far left of the photo.

Professional Background:

My career as a ‘Traffic Patrol Officer’ spanned 27 of those years, working on the roads. With that, I was privileged to have received ‘probably’ the best Driver and Motorcycle Rider training available. That training, along with my vast professional career, firmly places me at the top of my field in rider / driver training and testing – unrivalled in the District of Lancashire.

I hold the coveted Police Class One Advanced Driver Award (achieving Advanced Driving Course Annual Best Student in 1983), Police Class One Advanced Motorcyclist and have been a Police Instructor in multiple subjects. I have very many other Police related qualifications, too many to mention here.

My ‘passion’ for attending and dealing with all aspects of Road Traffic Accidents took me to the very proud position of Police Senior Accident Investigator (qualified Advanced City & Guilds), covering the whole of Lancashire County’s area. This was a dedicated role, covering the final 17yrs of my Police career, specialising in all incidents taking place on / off the roads, ranging from ‘technical’ incidents to the ultimate Fatal Road Traffic Accident and all that entails.

My Police role also elevated me to the position of an ‘Expert Witness’ within the Criminal and Civil Courts, along with the responsibility that role requires. I was also tasked to attend Factory / Work Place incidents, requested by the Health & Safety Executive to assist them into getting to the bottom of such incidents.

Over the years I developed a very specific interest in Motorcycle related incidents. With that, I have spent much time researching the behaviour and dynamics relative to motorcycle safety, helmets and clothing. It was this interest along with the influence of my Police own Instructors which led me into Motorcycle Instruction at every level.

I have also visited many Groups, giving talks on road safety, road traffic law, riding and driving techniques – using my expertise in such matters.

I have sat on many bike-related forums as a Police Officer e.g. assisting to reform ‘Bikesafe’ as we know it today, along with many other issues relative to safer riding and driving. My passion lies with all aspects of riding and driving including Road Traffic Law.

It was always my intention after I left the Police, to use my knowledge and experiences to ‘give something back’ and to continue to work within road safety issues surrounding motorcycling and driving. Therefore, RIDEcraft now deals with all aspects of Motorcycle Rider Training & Testing and is unsurpassed by any other Training Body.

Qualifications:

Prior to leaving the Police (June 2006) I put myself through a CBT Instructors course, to become a ‘Down-Trained’ Instructor with the British Motorcycling Federation in 1999.

In reality, this was all about trying to get to the crux of motorcycle-related incidents – looking at it from the ‘Instructors’ point of view. It was here that I realised the difference between those ‘training schools’ who did it for a commercial concern – and the few who did it for their passion / professionalism of training motorcycling, above and beyond the requirements of the CBT Course / Tests / DVSA requirements. Sadly, the ‘commercial concern’ greatly overcomes the few professionals.

I also undertook a BTEC Award (2001 – 2003) to qualify as an Advanced Motorcycle Instructor, Examiner, Assessor and Trainer of Trainee Instructors from CBT through to Advanced level. This was not one of the modern-day 3 to 5 day courses – it spanned many months of studying and proving myself in the classroom, on paper and ultimately, on the roads. My Police Rider / Instructor training was a massive asset with this.

I was proud to attain very high marks at those disciplines and maintain that training as much as I possibly can, along with being subjected to regular re-assessments (CPD).

I later became a DVSA approved Compulsory Basic Training (CBT), Direct Access Scheme (DAS) and Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS) Instructor, remaining current in all three disciplines.

I actively maintain my professional skills throughout all aspects via CPD. This includes the assessment of established Instructors to ensure they are maintaining skill levels necessary to prepare riders for their CBT / Test and well beyond. It should be stressed that the standard required by the DVSA for ‘L’ riders, to pass their initial Motorcycle Test falls well short of what is required to ride such a vehicle competently. This standard is always exceeded at RIDEcraft.

I’ve written an Instructor Training Manual which strives to prepare would-be CBT Instructors in the very real ‘Art’ of Motorcycle Instructor at Learner level. It is commended by the DVSA and other Authorities who’ve seen it.

I remain actively involved with the DVSA from mere chats on things which could do to perhaps make things better, to being fully involved in any Consultation issues (CBT, ERS etc.).

I’m fully committed to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) on their RoADAR side of things (RoSPA Advanced Riders and Drivers) as a fully active Advanced Examiner, Testing candidates at Car, Motorcycle, LGV and PCV disciplines.

Intention:

After having worked for other Training Schools and generally observing what goes on in this ‘industry’, it became my intention to open my own Motorcycle Training School as a ‘Centre of Motorcycling Excellence’ (‘COME’ Biking). This was to pursue my passion in biking – presenting a professional training body to those who’d like to learn to ride ‘Powered Two Wheels’ safely and properly.

I wanted to provide real motorcycle training, rather than teaching riders to pass a test OR cut-corners on a CBT Course, which is generally what goes on. A common comment I hear from such Instructors ‘training’ candidates for the DVSA ‘L’ Test would be “come on, let’s go and do another route” (DVSA Test route!).

There’s too many Training Bodies suggesting their Instructors come from misleading backgrounds; they claim on their websites that they cover areas they’re not based in (so you’ll need to travel unnecessary distances along with unnecessary costs); suggested unqualified Instructional level, unrealistic training courses and claiming the Highest Pass Rates (which are not publicised by anyone / DVSA) – none of which are true. It is also classed as ‘False Representation’ in Law.

The usual way is to quote you for e.g. a short DAS training course (say three days in total i.e. training and testing). Once you’re there and quite possibly unable to achieve the required skills over two short days – it’ll be suggested you need further day(s), creating a further expense, now more expensive than anywhere else.

OR – you sign-up for what appears to be a very cheap combined / crammer course (CBT & Test) over five or seven days. The reality is that if you’re not able to keep-up day-to-day due to a lack of experience on a motorcycle, or you don’t quite grasp what’s needed quickly enough, the course has to be stopped and you lose all your fees for the remaining days and Tests.

RIDEcraft Motorcycle Academy will not mislead you about any of our courses. We have a good reputation for straight talking and recommending realistic courses, where you’ll get the necessary time you need to complete whatever goal you seek. 

RIDEcraft’s logo is ‘Melior Quam Ceteri‘ which means ‘Better Than The Rest’. This means that any Trainee who chooses to come to my Academy will receive training, the level of which cannot be achieved at any other Training Body I am aware of.

A more recent trend as RIDEcraft grows in popularity, are riders who’ve been elsewhere and got so sick of the poor level of training / attention, they come to us. Then they see and experience the reality of real Professionalism from Professional Instructors delivering Professional Training.

Whilst I am not allowed to say by whom – we are regularly complimented by DVSA Examiners that they can always tell where our candidates were trained – RIDEcraft. Trainees receive compliments about the way they conducted their own test and the quality of their riding. We also receive Trainees who’ve been indirectly recommended to us by DVSA Examiners for their Motorcycle Training. It’s something I’m very proud of and absolutely true at RIDEcraft.

We are based on the Docks in Preston. No other Training Body operates in this district, contrary to what they may claim on their websites. So, if you want to learn how to ride a motorcycle properly, at any of the levels available, then give me a call for an informal chat with no commitment if you don’t like what you hear.

Mike Bentley


The Instructors:

Steve Fox 

Steve  is a born / bred ‘Lancashire lad’ who now lives in Leyland and has done so for many years.

His initial career took him down the path of an Electrician. This ranged from the installation and maintenance of a broad range of Commercial and Industrial equipment / Plant. He was also actively involved with ‘Portable Appliances Testing’ (PAT) along with ‘Electrical Installation Condition Reports’ (EICR). The latter is required by Landlords and anyone else renting-out property, to make sure all is safe for the occupants. He has also enjoyed training many apprentice Electricians, staying in contact with many of them to this day.

It is this ‘attention to detail’ which Steve has brought into Motorcycle Training. He took his Motorcycle Test back in October 2004 and has become a serious ‘Biker’, riding as much as possible since. Steve then felt a ‘pull’ towards Motorcycle Instruction so made himself known to a local Training School. He went-on to become a DVSA Authorised CBT & Direct Access Instructor.

All told, he has worked at two previous Training Bodies before he finally came to RIDEcraft where he is now based, full-time. Recently, whilst he and I were helping one of the other Instructors who needed his confidence boosting; Steve announced to he we were helping-out, that he had found adapting to RIDEcraft / ‘what Mike’ wanted was “a steep learning curve” in comparison to his two previous posts. Steve and I have been friends for many years, his arrival at RIDEcraft introduced him to ‘real and professional’ motorcycle Instruction, insisted upon at RIDEcraft.

Along with what he does at the Academy, I can vouch for his ‘Continuous Professional Development’ when, back in December 2012 Steve asked me to carry out an Assessment of his riding ability, now 8yrs after his substantive Test with the (then) DSA. We were planning a full Advanced training course but things got in the way of that back then. However, his Assessment ride revealed a keen and able rider. 

He is now an Advanced Motorcyclist with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, maintaining his contact with them but now more-so at RIDEcraft. Steve wishes to again have his abilities checked / improved with me – when the two of us can find the time to do so! He can be seen to my left in the photo above.

Whilst all the Instructors at the Academy are seriously valued, I see Steve as my ‘Second’, able to run the activities when I cannot be there, due to his wealth of previous experience. You’ll find him at the Academy 4 to 5 days a week. 

Mark Robinson 

Mark was born and bred a ‘Manxman’ so was brought-up around the famous ‘TT’ races, whilst living ‘on the Island’, growing up. At the age of 18yrs he decided to join the British Army where he remains to this day some 35yrs later, living in Lostock Hall, Lancashire.

He has reached the admirable Rank of ‘Warrant Officer Class 1’ (SSM), his career taking him all-over the world including tours of duty in Germany, the Falkland Islands, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, Iraq and then Afghanistan. He is now based in Manchester, visiting Fulwood Barracks most Fridays.

Mark took to riding in June 2013 and soon felt the passion of wanting to become a Motorcycle Instructor. He found RIDEcraft in May / June 2017 when I then took him ‘under my wing’, to show him how to teach Motorcycling properly and professionally.

After some intensive Training, Mark received his ‘Authority’ to Instruct, via the DVSA, enabling him to work ‘unsupervised’ in April 2018 – he’s not looked back since. He generally works on Fridays after lunch and certainly Saturdays. He is also available to the Academy when I am in need of ‘Instructor Cover’.

Also, on RIDEcraft’s Facebook page  – he is also a very good Drone Pilot – you’ll find his work under ‘Videos’. 

Mark is absolutely dedicated to RIDEcraft, a first rate Instructor and I look forward to furthering his training in the future. He is in the middle of the photo above or 2nd from my left.

Russ Watkinson

Russ does have ‘letters’ after his name! In all seriousness – his name is Russell C Watkinson MIET – which stands for ‘Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology‘.

He in lives in Churchtown, Southport. He took his Motorcycle substantive Test with the then DSA in November 2006.

Russ travels to / from work just a ‘tad’ further than most! He sets off on a Monday evening, being due back the following Thursday evening – from a major Airport near London. I am always very keen to tell those expressing an interest in him, that “he is very high” as a Senior Electronics / Engineer, with over 30yrs in this field, dealing with all things Electronic, at the UKs largest Airport.

In his ‘spare time’, Russ is a 3rd Dan Taekwondo Martial Arts Instructor and a Coach for the ‘National Taekwondo Team’. I can tell you that he and his Team win many Competitions. He has his own Taekwondo Academy in Ormskirk, Lancashire, ably assisted by his wife Alison and their family.

Since his Motorcycle Test, Russ has done a lot of riding, including trips to Europe. In the meantime, he often rides to / from his place of work. Similar to Mark, he came to RIDEcraft in late 2017 to begin his Training. Being guided carefully, he attained his ‘Authority’ via the DVSA in April 2018. Due to his demanding role at the Airport and at his own Academy, Russ is limited to Instructing at RIDEcraft generally on Mondays only but has offered me his services at weekends if needed.

Another ‘string’ to Russ’s bow – he makes those with ‘Learning Difficulties’ / ‘restricted upbringing’ very welcome at his Academy. This is also something RIDEcraft does under the banner of you “cannot be disadvantaged“. So Russ becomes an extra asset as-well-as being a “general all round nice guy” (his words!). As with the others – Russ is a Bike Instructor because of his passion for riding, bringing an almost unique calmness in what he does. You’ll find Russ on the far right of the photo.

Rob Whyte 

Rob began is love of ‘Powered Two Wheels’ at the age of 16yrs so started this ‘love affair’ by getting himself a 50cc scooter. Like so many of us and seriously understandably, his parents weren’t impressed!

At 17yrs he took his Car Test but the pull of bikes stayed with him. His next move was to some Motocross riding. In time, he passed his Motorcycle Test then went-on to pass his LGV Test, now driving artic units and trailers for a local firm. Interestingly a ‘wagon driver’ often becomes a ‘biker’.

Rob now rides everyday, regardless of the weather to get him to and from work. This is the difference between a ‘Biker’ and a ‘Motorcyclist’. The former is out riding regardless of the weather whilst the latter needs the sun to be shining and the roads very dry.

He lives in Newton-with-Aycliffe near Kirkham. On a trip to Makro on The Docks at Preston, he saw RIDEcraft training riders. He made himself known to me, telling me of his passion for riding. He then undertook his Training to then realise there’s so-much more to a Motorcycle instructor than meets the eye!

In March 2020 Rob gained his ‘Authority’ via the DVSA and now tends to work each Sunday plus other days, when he can fit it in around his LGV Duties.

There’s no doubting Rob’s passion for riding and now Instructing. He is now another very valuable asset at RIDEcraft. You’ll find him on the photo, 3rd on my left, between Mark and Russ.

Wulstan Melling (‘Wully’).

‘Wully’ started riding at an early age, passing his Motorcycle Test at the age of 17yrs. He began his journey by working at his local Motorcycle Dealership, washing bikes and tidying up on Saturdays, to help finance his Motocross activities. There was a bike training school working from there so – Wully joined them and became a CBT Instructor when the mandatory Course was introduced in 1990.

Staying with Instruction throughout, he eventually moved to Cleveleys near Blackpool where he lives to-date. He began working for a local Training establishment (now shut-down) and at Blackpool Honda. 

However, Wully became very disappointed with the standard of motorcycle training in the North West so, he opened up his own training school in Preston. As is so often the case, Wully wanted to deliver ‘quality’ Instruction. However, other establishments locally provided a cheap and quick ‘attendance’ where ‘training / ability’ was never the concern. 

After struggling for a couple of years he gave Bike Instruction to look after his ailing parents – most admirable, hanging up his Instructor gear for 10yrs! In the meantime his passion for riding took him to the ‘Iron Butt’ challenge which is basically to ride 1000m over 24hrs as safely possible. https://www.ironbutt.co.uk/w3/firstukride.php.

With his life stabilising, he came to RIDEcraft to chat with me about returning to Motorcycle Instruction. Very similar to Steve, Wully brought much experience with him. I arranged for Steve to guide him through his retraining where I found it interesting to hear from him ‘he’d never done anything like this before’. Bluntly, the establishments he’d been to previously were regularly ‘cutting corners’.

With some professional guidance from Steve and then myself – Wully regained his ‘Authority’ in September 2020.  You’ll see him at the Academy 4 to 5 days a week.

He achieved his Advanced Motorcycle Awards with the I.A.M. in 1992 and then RoSPA in 1993.

Wully brings a valuable, calm and steady ability to help Trainees achieve their goals. He is a good Instructor, giving his ‘all’, relating his own experiences to his Trainees.

His photo is not on the site yet but I’ll be sorting that very soon.

Mike Stanley

Mike lives in Lostock Hall. He began his employment with Hewlett Packard as a ‘programmer’, having been interested in computers from an early stage in his life.

For the past 6yrs he’s been into Landscape Gardening, supervising others he works with. He has told me that he designs garden ponds / pools to the requirements of his customers on his computer and that he was proud that the finished product was just as his drawing. That alone revealed an ‘attention to detail’ in him which he will require, if he’s to become an Instructor at RIDEcraft.

Mike came to RIDEcraft for his motorcycle training complete (CBT & DAS), during the summer of 2017, taking his DVSA Tests at Kirkham and Darwen.

Being around RIDEcraft for his training, enjoying what it stands for, opened-up an interest in him to become a Bike instructor. He was forced to wait the statutory 3yrs beforehand, after passing his substantive Motorcycle test.

In the meantime, Mike looks the epitome of a Harley-Davidson rider astride his ‘Hog’ which – as is the way with these fantastic machines – he’s personalised it front to rear. He is currently undergoing his Instructor Training for his ‘Authority’ which is planned certainly for this late Spring / early Summer. 

Conclusion:

Any and ALL of the Instructors working with at RIDEcraft really have been specifically chosen by me. In my opinion, they are ‘probably’ the best Instructors you will ever meet / experience. My objective opinion is based upon my considerable knowledge of really what can and does go-on in Motorcycle Training, built-up from my days within the Police to the present day.

It is my responsibility as the ‘Authority Holder’ of RIDEcraft, to maintain active ‘Standards Checks’ on all of the Instructors. With that, we are also subject to the same by the DVSA every 4yrs. I can assure all readers / those interested in Motorcycle Training that the Instructors at RIDEcraft truly are regularly assessed. These are sometimes covert, sometimes announced.

It’s always an ‘interesting’ task when I listen to them, helping their Trainees with the many laughs along the way around a very serious issue. 

The reality is – of which I am very proud to say – they truly are the best I know of!

Mike Bentley