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  • Writer's pictureIan Speight

A Look Back at January 2020

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Kim and I kicked off the new month, year, decade, with a New Years day ride to the seaside, Whitby was our destination. It was very dry and sunny and absolutely heaving, in fact I could not believe how busy it was! Despite the queues we did eventually manage to get in a chippy for the obligatory Whitby fish and chips. Cracking day and a great way to kick start the year.

As you would expect, not a lot of customer training to do in January. One customer (Martin) did book for a day but we had to postpone due to the distance he was travelling against the predicted weather forecast. Hopefully next time the weather will hold, fingers crossed.

It's always great to here from customers and get updates on what they've been up to, so I was very pleased to hear from James who trained with me last year. James came all the way from Southend on Sea and stayed in a hotel in York and following his training has taken and successfully passed his RoSPA bike test, swapped his BMW F800 for a BMW R1250RS and also become a volunteer for Blood Bikes. What a great result and a great thing to do.

If you're interested in becoming a Blood Biker, check out their website for full details.

With no customer training, I made the most of my role as Training Officer for my local RoSPA group (Advanced Riders North Yorkshire). Each Saturday was spent preparing for a new qualification that myself and two other group tutors agreed to take. More on that later in the month. Here's a few of the guys from the group on various Saturdays throughout the month, as you can see there's a good mix of bikes.

On the morning of Sunday 12th January it was my turn to be followed, assessed and examined as it was my triennial RoSPA retest. I met my Examiner (Chris) at Seaways Cafe, Fridaythorpe and the weather was truly awful (which it has been for my last 2 retests, maybe I should do it in the summer?!). We sat in the cafe and gave the weather a 'good coat of looking at' for about an hour but realised it wasn't going to get any better so headed out on the road. The roads were filthy, the rain was torrential at times and 'just' very heavy the rest of the time, there was lots of standing water and I even had a kamikaze pheasant to deal with, how Chris manages to get such hazards arranged I'll never know!! After about an hours riding we returned to the cafe for my debrief. Chris was very thorough as he discussed each section of the ride before giving me my result, a Gold pass! I received my report and certificate a few days later.

RiDE Magazine - Back in October I went down to the Peterborough area where I met up with bike journalist Jon Urry and photographer Simon Lee to assist with one of their monthly features. The idea is an owner of a particular model gets to ride the new version of the same bike and decide whether they would keep their own and 'upgrade' it or trade' it in - hence the title, 'Trade or Upgrade'. I was there to compare my 68 plate R1200 GS Adventure against the latest R1250 GS Adventure. The article was published in the latest edition of RiDE magazine which was available from 15th January although I think it's officially the March edition??

It was a really interesting day, lots of photos, chatting bikes and of course riding both bikes back to back. My conclusion was that whilst the new 1250 is an improvement on my current bike, they are small improvements because it's already a fantastic bike. So, would I 'trade or upgrade'? At this time I'd opt to upgrade, which I suppose I have, as I've added a few extras to mine over the standard GSA but no doubt when my bike is 3 years old I will certainly be considering a 1250.

On 21st January I met up again with Jon and this time photographer Jason for another RiDE feature. The idea was to try to replicate a customer experience with Jon taking the role of the customer. We met at Cadwell Park and used the roads around the Lincolnshire Wolds for the photos and riding. The weather remained dry for us but by 'eck it was cold, with the temperature never rising above 4c and sun so low it was quite difficult to see the road ahead at times. Not sure when the feature will be in the magazine but I'm really looking forward to seeing it because the day went really well so I'm hoping for very positive comments.....(he says with everything crossed! haha). More on that once it's published but for now, here's a photo of me and Jon feeling the pinch at Cadwell Park.

BikeSafe launched it's 2020 workshop dates in January and I'm pleased to say that I have again been invited by Humberside Police to help deliver their workshops. I've been involved with BikeSafe since it was launched in 1999, back then as a police motorcyclist and now in my capacity as a RoSPA and IAM examiner, Tutor and Mentor.

BikeSafe is national initiative aimed at getting riders to take post test rider training and nearly every police force in the country runs them. If you've never been on one, check out the BikeSafe website for full details of which forces run them and their available dates.>humberside

The last day of January saw my bike click passed the 20,000 mile mark, which isn't bad going in 12 months (I got the bike on 4/2/19). In that time it's been almost totally trouble free. I did have the rear wheel replaced at the 600 mile service due to loose spokes and last week one of the rear indicator LEDs failed. Both issues were dealt with by the excellent team at Barrie Robson BMW in York under warranty. Last week they also fitted a new pair of Michelin Pilot Road 5 Trails. These are my second set on this bike and the 5s continue to impress just like the previous PR4s. I usually get around 6000 miles per set but the last 5s lasted 8600 miles and still weren't quite down to the wear markers, so hopefully this new set will perform the same.

And finally, January saw my FB page 'likes' pass the 900 mark and currently stands at 912. I can't thank you all enough for your continued support and encouragement. I hope 2020 sees me pass the 1000 mark which will be absolutely amazing. Once again, thank you all so much.

And that my friends ends this look back at what I got up to in January. Until next month, ride safe everyone.

Ian S

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