A Look Back at August 2020
Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Well, I'm very pleased to say that after the Covid lockdown and my gall stone issues, August was back to normal with lots going on and plenty to tell you about, including why I'm stood with a 'Blood Biker'.
First up was Baz on his Kawasaki Z1000SX. I've been a long time fan of the SX and quite fancy one at some point in the future to run alongside my GSA, so I was really looking forward to the session. Baz had a great first session and has decided he would like to take his advanced test in the future and has booked two more sessions.
Next up was husband and wife bikers Peter and Carol. Peter was riding his brand new BMW 900XR and Carol was on her Kawasaki 650. They 'discovered' biking later in life but that hasn't stopped them from cramming lots in. Touring the UK, Europe and Asia as well as several track days with the California Superbike School! Peter and Carol travelled up from their home in Lincolnshire, staying in a hotel in York before embarking on their days training together. We covered lots of techniques and lots of miles on what was one of the hottest days of the year.
Following on from Peter and Carol was Paul on his BMW R1200GS. Another good session and Paul will be back again in September.
Next was Ivor on his Ducati Multistrada. Ivor already holds an IAM 'First' and now wants to take his IAM Masters. Ivor had three half day sessions in August and is now awaiting his test date....no pressure!
Mark on his 1200GSA is another rider wishing to take his IAM Masters. Mark had two sessions in August and will be having another couple of sessions before test day.
Last but not least was Howard on his Triumph Bonneville. Howard is my first 'titled' customer, having been awarded an MBE in 2011 for his work with young people. What a fantastic achievement! Howard is also very involved with the Triumph owners club and as well as his modern Bonneville he also has one from the mid 70's. Howard had two sessions in August and already has more dates booked for September.
This photo of Howard was taken outside Bomber Command and for those eagle eyed amongst you, he was only 'posing' for the photo and not about to ride off, which is why his helmet isn't fastened!
On the RoSPA front, I donned my official Examiner tee-shirt (it's such a lovely colour isn't it?!) and conducted three bike tests in August.
First up was Vadim on his Suzuki 1250......
....followed by Geoff on his Triumph Tiger Sport.....
....and last but not least, Jeff on his Africa Twin.
All three passed their tests successfully, obtaining a Silver and two Golds respectively. Well done guys, great achievements.
Bloodfast is a specialist medical logistics company who transport blood, blood products, biological samples, surgical instruments and a host of other items using a fleet of cars and bikes. Bloodfast approached me last month and asked me to deliver ride assessments to their team of riders based around the Enhanced Rider Scheme syllabus.
First up was Kai on the FJR1300.
Kais assessment was followed by assessments with Neil and Andy, (but Neil decided to take the photo rather than be in it....so here's me and Andy next to the Bloodfast bikes)
Next up was another session with Kai, this time accompanied by Bill. We had torrential rain that day with lots of standing water, strong winds and filthy roads, but still managed to cover 150 miles. As you can see from their faces, they really enjoyed it!!
I am very pleased to be associated with Bloodfast, their team and the services they provide and look forward to further training with them next month.
In MCNs edition dated 26th, I managed to pop up in 2 features. The first was regarding the 'Top Gear' road, the A4069 in Wales, a road I was aware of but only got round to riding it for the first time this year.
The other article was a buyers guide for the BMW GS Adventure, in which I managed to shed 4 years off my age....thank you MCN!
Back to school!
In my role as Training Officer for my local RoSPA group, I arranged a slow speed/slow manoeuvring refresher day for the Tutor Team. Slow speed riding is something we are often asked about, so what better way to be able to explain it than to go back to school! The venue was Anchor Motorbike Training in Dewsbury where owner Keith Clarkson put us through our paces around a 'course' based on the Mod 1 that learner riders have to complete.
You may ask why 'advanced' riders need this, but most of us are at an age where we never had formal training and were allowed to put some L plates on a 250cc bike and off we went. Come test day, the Examiner stood at the side of the road and you rode passed him a couple of times before performing an emergency stop and then you got your result, which if you didn't stall the bike or lock up the wheels usually resulted in a pass!
Despite the changeable weather, it was a fun couple of hours and although there was the odd foot down and dab moment, the guys were soon mastering the slalom, figure of eights and feet up U turns with aplomb. So, what are the top tips for slow riding? Relax, don't grip the bars too tightly, loosen the shoulders, twist from the hips, balance the throttle, clutch and rear brake, and look where you want to go.....easy!
Here's a few photos from the day.
From L to R - RoSPA Tutors John, Chris, Paul, Dave A, (me), Dave T and Mick with Anchor Motorbike Training owner Keith at the front. (Missing is RoSPA Tutor Dave R who took the photo!) For more information about Anchor Motorbike Training check out; www.achormotorbiketraining.co.uk
And finally, as some of you know, away from my bike training I work for Motorrad Tours (official travel partner to BMW) as a motorcycle Tour Leader and tomorrow (the 30th) I will be setting off to Scotland to take a group of customers on a 7 day/1500 miles tour around the Highlands and Islands. I'm really looking forward to the tour and to catch up with the customers, some of whom I know from previous tours.
The bike allocated to me for the tour is this rather fine looking BMW (obviously) R1200GS Rallye and I'll tell you all about the tour and the bike next month. www.motorrad-tours.com
And that rounds up this slightly early edition of a 'Look Back' at August.
Thanks for reading.