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  • Writer's pictureIan Speight

A look back at July 2020

It was great to get back to training in June and with bookings going well, I was really looking forward to July. Unfortunately my gall stones continued to 'play up' so although I was discharged from hospital on the 29th June, I didn't get back to feeling 'normal' until Tuesday 7th July. This meant I had to cancel or reschedule all the training that was booked in for the first week, not a great start after just getting up and running again after the Covid restrictions, so a massive thank you to everyone for your understanding and patience.

On the 7th I was finally back on the bike for a half day with Mark on his GSA. Mark is an IAM member and has signed up to take the Masters test. As an IAM Masters Mentor I will take Mark through his pre test training to cover all the elements required to pass the test. I've been a Masters Mentor for the IAM since 2017.

Next up was Andy G on his Triumph, another half day session with lots of miles and elements covered. As well as Andys modern Bonnie, he also has one from the 70's, how cool is that!

Following on from Andy was Richard on another Triumph. This was Richards second session and although he started off just wanting a 'taster' of advanced techniques, he is now considering taking his advanced test in the future. We had a really good session, although there was some strategic rain dodging incorporated into the routes and we managed to stay mostly dry.

On Friday 10th, I took my bike to All Year Biker for some well earned TLC. I've taken various bikes to these guys over the years but in the past Lincoln was my nearest rep, fortunately there's now one in Sherburn in Elmet and what a great job Josh does. This is the second visit with my current GSA and Josh manages to get the bike looking almost like new again.

If you live in the Yorkshire region I can't recommend Josh highly enough, if you live further afield, check out the All Year Biker website for your nearest rep

After having the bike thoroughly deep cleaned I headed off to meet Geoff who was due to take his RoSPA Diploma triennial retest. Off course, having just had the GSA cleaned, the sun disappeared, the clouds gathered and it subsequently chucked it much for a super clean bike!

The diploma retest consists of the candidate giving a short presentation on a pre-arranged subject, followed by a 1 hour assessed ride where the candidate must ride to RoSPA Gold standard. The examiner then takes the role of a student and the test candidate has to brief him, assess his riding over a 20-30 minute route and then debrief him identifying any faults, the causes of the faults the way to rectify them, as well as identifying good points. Geoffs test was conducted in varied weather conditions from dry and sunny to torrential rain but Geoff took it all in his stride which resulted in a well deserved pass and successful re-qualification.

On Sunday 12th I rode over to Beverley to meet the guys from the Hull and East Riding Advanced Motorcyclists IAM group for a ride out event they had organised. I've been a member of the group for the last few years but since moving to York 18 months ago I don't get out with them as often as I'd like, so it was a good opportunity to have a catch up and meet some new members.

About 12 bikes turned up and after a quick briefing we set off on a meandering route around the North York Moors. First stop was Perrys at Sleights near Whitby. A lovely location right next to the river with lots of outside seating and where a light lunch was consumed and men talked all things bikes!

From Perrys we headed on to some really lovely narrow, twisting roads as we traversed the moors, firstly south, then north, then south again before arriving at our second stop, Rosedale Abbey.

After many ice creams and cakes were eaten, we headed off again and I peeled off and headed home, leaving the rest of the group to continue south back to Beverley.

It was a great day, a great route and great to catch up with the guys at the group.

Here's a rough outline of where we went.

Total mileage for me was 252 miles and as you can see, the tempt was mid 20's by the time I got home.

Unfortunately, after a great day out, I returned home to find oil on the back tyre and wheel and on closer inspection found an oil leak from the rear final drive hub. Bugger.

I rang BMW assist for some advice and they suggested that they arrange for a tech guy to come to my house on the Monday morning to assess the leak and take things from there. The guy arrived as arranged and quickly identified what he thought was nothing more than a loose filler plug which he tightened up and suggested I take the bike to my nearest BMW dealer for them to check the oil level, torque the plug to the right setting and give the bike a check over. I rang Barrie Robson BMW in York who said to bring the bike in which I did and they whisked the bike straight into the workshop. A short time later the bike was returned to me, they had drained and refilled the oil to ensure the correct amount was in the hub, had torqued the bolt to the correct amount and even gone to the trouble of cleaning off all the oil from the wheel, tyre and mudguard. What great service!!

With the bike sorted, my next job was to buy some new textile trousers, so I went to Infinity in York. I've bought quite a bit of bike gear from the shop in York over the years and always find the guys there are very knowledgeable about the products they sell.

On arrival I spoke to James and we discussed my 'wants' and he quickly came up with several suggestions, from £100 up to £600! I ended up buying a pair of Dainese D Dry.

At the time of typing this review, I've already covered 2000 miles in them. they are very comfortable, they have 2 pockets and a zip out thermal lining. So far they have kept me bone dry. On the minus side, with the lining out and in warm weather, the nylon lining can cause a bit of 'sweaty leg', but other than that I can't fault them and the fact they zip to my Dainese jacket is a bonus.

On the 17th I met up with my long time biking mate Daren at Seaways Cafe, Fridaythorpe and we headed off for 6 nights around Scotland. We normally head into mainland Europe but decided to 'do' Scotland for a change this year and had booked the trip back in January but Covid looked like it might put the mockers on it. Fortunately Scotland eased restrictions meaning hotels and guest houses reopened on the 15th, just 2 days before we were due to go....phew!

The first night was in Crossford near Dunfermline, followed by nights in Grantown On Spey, Borgie, Kinlochewe and the last night was in Drymen. We didn't follow the NC500 route as such but did continually dip on and off it. Total mileage for the trip was 1405.

The start....

I arrived home on the 22nd and on the 23rd I was off to Steve Sirrell Bike Tyres Leeds for a new set of Michelin PR5 Trails. I've previously had PR4 trails and the 5s are every bit as good. I usually get around 7500 miles out of set which is slightly more than the I used to get from the 4s.

With new tyres fitted, it was back home to give the bike a check over and start packing in preparation for me and Kim to head to......Scotland!

We had planned to go to Spain and Portugal, everything had been booked months and months ago, but like everyone else, we had it all cancelled due to Covid19. So a few days earlier we decided on a Plan B bike tour. We did think about the south coast or maybe Wales, but we both felt Scotland offered more. We fired up and quickly booked 7 nights away. Moffat, Fort William, Inverness (2 nights), Perth (2 nights), and finish off with a bit of pampering for 2 nights at the excellent Slaley Hall near Hexham.

We had a fantastic time, the weather wasn't always kind to us but to be fair, we never had any serious rain and definitely had more dry weather then wet. We visited the narrowest hotel in the world - The Famous Star Hotel in Moffat, as confirmed by the Guinness Book of records, the highest village in Scotland, Wanlockhead and we even passed a Tibetan retreat! Total mileage for the trip was 1097.

We arrived back from Scotland on Saturday 1st August, which is why this review is a day or 2 late!

I can't finish without announcing that my FaceBook page has passed 1000 'likes' and as I type this, currently stands at 1018. So once again I want thank everyone who continues to support me and take an interest in what I get up to.

And that sums up this review of July. August is looking like a busy month with training booked in not only for my own customers but also on behalf of the IAM and RoSPA and then at the end of the month I head off to lead my first tour of the year for Motorrad Tours. The tour is to Scotland and is called Highlands and Islands and is a fantastic tour and even though it will be my third visit to Scotland in 5 weeks, I'm really looking forward to it.

Until next month, thanks for reading.

Ian S

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