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  • Writer's pictureIan Speight

A Look Back at June 2019

*** Depending on which device you are viewing this on, the lay out may vary from the original format ***

After the busy months of April and May, it was finally time to kick back and have a well deserved holiday with my fiancee Kim, on the bike of course!

We planned the trip months ago and had the ferry and all the hotels booked by the end of 2018. We were going to Spain and Portugal via the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander, but due to ongoing issues with the ferry, with 2 weeks to go, we had to cancel everything and start again via the Eurotunnel!

It was a busy 2 week tour, taking in Le Mans, Cognac, Lourdes, Jaca, Andorra, St Cyprian, Millau, Clermont Ferrand and Troyes, before finally returning to Calais. We covered 2600 miles, had a mix of weather but still had a great time.

Here's a few photo's from the tour.

Once home it was a case of catching up with everything, including reading my way through the various bike mags that had been delivered while we were away, and what did I discover? Only that I'd gone and managed to get a mention in MCN and RiDE Magazine again.

The picture in MCN was part of their 'First Bikes' weekly feature and was a photo I'd sent in of me sat on my Honda 250 Superdream, circa 1980, at the tender age of 17. (CAT 156T if it's in your garage, please get in touch!)

The RiDE Magazine was an article about electric bikes. They'd asked for peoples views and opinions via their FB page and it was my response that had made it into the magazine.

Following the article, I was contacted by a local company that supplies electric bikes and invited to take one out to see what I thought. Hopefully that will be next month, quite intrigued and looking forward to that.

On the 20th I conducted a motorcycle test on behalf of RoSPA. I've been a bike examiner for them since 2013 and they recently underwent a 'rebranding' and all the examiners were issued with new polo shirts. I can't say the colour would be my first choice, but hey ho. Unfortunately the test didn't go well for the candidate and resulted in a 'fail'. This doesn't happen very often and obviously it's not the result that I, as an examiner, want to give or what the candidate wants to receive. That said, there were lots of positives and I'm sure he will reapply and hopefully be successful on the next occasion.

After concluding the bike test, I made my way to Barrie Robson BMW in York. If you read last months 'look back' article, you'll have read that the guys at BR BMW had asked me to put some running in miles on their S1000RR prior to it going on demo, well this time it was the turn of the new BMW R1250R. The bike is a 'naked' roadster type bike that has had several updates for 2019, including the new shift cam 1250 engine, an increase of 84cc in line with all the range of boxer engines for 2019. This increases BHP by 11 to 134 with an increase in torque to 106lb.ft. It all comes together to deliver a seemless flow of power from very low in the rev range. I've been fortunate to ride many varients of the new 1250 engine and I love it. The other main change for 2019 is the new TFT dash, which I have on my 2018 GSA and love that too! The model I rode was the HP Sport and I really like the colours, not too disimilar from the S1000R that I owned, IMHO.

I had the bike for about 2 hours and covered about 100 miles. I took it around the back roads to Helmsley and then up the 'infamous' B1257 to Stokesley, known locally as the Yorkshire TT. It's 20 miles of flowing, twisting, turning and undulating tarmac, fantastic. I really enjoyed the bike and just like the S1000RR I rode, if my lottery numbers come up, I'll be having one of each. The next 1250 variant due to hit the showrooms is the R1250RS and I hope to have a ride on that too!

By now you're probably wondering if I actually did any bike training in June! Well I'm pleased to say that I did, although due to my trip with Kim it was late in the month. However, I had the pleasure of training with the following people, Matt on his Honda Cross Runner, Craig on his immaculate S1000RR and Laeticia on her Honda Hornet 600.

On the 22nd I joined my local RoSPA group to conduct a pre test assessment (PTA) for one of the associates. It was a mixed ride, but would have resulted in a pass and come test day, I feel sure he is capable of a good result.

On 27th I rode over to Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire to meet MCN reporter Justin Hayzelden. I'd responded to an MCN request asking for volunteers for a weekly feature about bike ownership. This resulted in meeting Justin and answering various questions and having some photos taken. Justin was a really nice guy, immediately putting me at ease about what was what. Justin was riding a Yamaha Niken, this has 2 wheels at the front and is quite a strange looking bike, or at least it is compared to a 'normal' bike. It's the first one I've seen close up and it definitely looks better in the metal than it does in previous photos I'd seen of it. Not exactly sure when 'my' bit will be in the paper but hopefully sometime in July. Overall it was a really interesting and enjoyable couple of hours.

To finish off the month, on the 29th I donned my BikeSafe shirt and headed to Beverley to assist Humberside Police to deliver their BikeSafe workshop. BikeSafe is something I've been involved with for almost 20 years, firstly as a Police Motorcyclist and now in my capacity as a RoSPA and an IAM examiner. On the day I had two candiates, Paul on his 1200GS and Ben on his Honda 500. As always, it was a very enjoyable (and hot!) experience and I'm sure everyone had a great day. If you've never experienced a BikeSafe event, please have a look at their website for events near you.

On the bike front, my 1200 GSA continues to perform brilliantly and continues to impress. I've not had any real issues at all. I did have the rear wheel replaced at the 600 mile service due to some loose spokes and I did lose some pressure in the rear brake pedal whilst on holiday, but this was quickly remied by a short visit to a BMW dealer to bleed the system. It really does tick every box for me and what I currently want from a bike. Any dislikes? I'm not a big fan of the keyless system, not because there's anything wrong with it, but I'd just rather have a key, and to set the trip is a bit of a faff scrolling through various menus on the TFT, when on my previous model you just pressed a button and job done. That said, it's also worth mentioning that whilst doing BikeSafe on the 29th, I passed the 10,000 mile mark, not bad going considering I only got the bike on the 1st of February this year and testiment to how hard you can work these bikes without worry.

And finally, a few days ago I got notification that my FB page had passed the 700 'likes' mark, I'm blown away by everyones continued support, a massive thanks to all of you. My FB page doesn't have the facility to accept 'friends' but I'm hoping to get you all involved with posts in the coming weeks and months so we can try to get a little community thing going on. Obviously I can't do it without you so I hope you get involved.

And that my friends, rounds up June 2019. I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed putting it together. Until next month, bye for now.

Ian S

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