A Look Back at June 2020
June brought some light at the end of the tunnel with more easing of lock down restrictions as we continue to live with this Covid-19 virus, which has now killed in the region of 45000 people! Unfortunately for Kim and I our annual bike trip was cancelled due to travel restrictions as was my first 2 trips with Motorrad Tours. On the plus side, the government made further consessions in early June which gave motorcycle training the green light to restart. RoSPA gave groups the 13th and the IAM 15th.
Knowing that training would be restarting I decided to get out and get some miles back under my belt so had a long day out with my good friend Daren on his 1200GS. We met in York and headed through Leyburn, Hawes, Buttertubbs pass to the highest Inn in the British isles, The Tann Hill Inn, standing at 1732 feet above sea level.
From Tan Hill and our socially distanced selfie, we headed to Kielder Water for a late lunch before heading home via Darlington and then the 'Yorkshire TT' between Stokesley and Helmsley, parting company at Fridaythorpe. Door to door mileage for me was 333.
It was a fantastic day, blew away the cobwebs and ensured I was ready and bikefit for the restart of training.
On the 6th I was invited by Kev at Barrie Robson BMW in York to ride the new for 2020 BMW S1000XR. If you want to read more about my day on this exceptional bike, here's the link - https://www.ianspeight-training.co.uk/post/riding-the-new-2020-bmw-s1000xr-te
Like many of the RoSPA and IAM groups, I too was preparing for the restart of training. Face masks, hand sanitiser and gloves were obtained as well as ensuring I could maintain social distancing whilst training to ensure the safety of both myself and those who trained with me.
The 13th saw me join my local RoSPA group for their first post lock down training session. The governement restrictions still said no more than 6 people to congregate in a group and cafes were still closed. As training officer for the group, I had to come up with an alternative to our usual training routine and venue, so we changed our meeting point from a local cafe with a small car park to a very large car park in York which is for a cinema and several restaurants, all of which are currently closed. We also arranged for some tutors and associates to meet at seperate meeting points to avoid the 'more than 6' rule.
As each associate and tutor arrived they were paired off to the far corners of the car park to start their sessions. We also cancelled our usual agreed end destination so that we didn't meet up on mass. A risk assessment was put together by advanced tutor Steve R and these were given to the associates to confirm they were Covid free (as best as can be deemed) and social distancing training explained.
Here's the guys carrying out their socially distanced pre ride briefings.
We have now had 3 weekends of training and although the second weekend was tweaked slightly after the first, all is going well and the tutors and associates have all adapted to the changes.
From my own training point of view, it's been a great restart. On the 16th I updated my FaceBook page to advise I would be restarting training from 22nd and such was the interest I actually started on the 19th! The response was fantastic with all June dates booked within days and as I type this July is also fully booked and I have bookings well into August with over half the available dates already taken. Thank you to everyone who has made an enquiry or booked some training.
On the 18th I was out with RoSPA tutor Paul S on his BMW R1200R, Paul qualified as a group tutor just 2 weeks before lock down kicked in and wanted a revision lesson and check ride to make sure he was ready for the restart.
On the 19th I was out with Dave B on his Truimph Explorer. The weather was very kind, with warm temperatures and dry, quiet roads which resulted in a great 4 hour session.
On the 20th I was training with potential new RoSPA tutor Dave R on his Triumph Tiger. It was a good session which saw him complete his scenario stage, leaving him one more section to complete before being officially signed off and allowed to 'fly solo'.
On the 22nd I was out with Clive on his fairly rare BMW K75. Clive works in outside broadcasting and in the past has covered Moto GP and F1 events, he can also ride a motorbike very well! His K75 may not have all the bells and whistles or horsepower of a modern motorcycle but it was great to see Clive making the most of what he's got.
Next up was Richard M on another Triumph Explorer on the 26th. Although Richard has not under taken any previous advanced training, he does ride with friends who are current or ex police motorcyclists so had picked up quite a few pointers. It was a good session which flowed well and Richard has already booked his next session.
On the 28th my GSA was in for it's 24000 mile service and the guys at Barrie Robson very kindly lent me a BMW 310R to use whilst mine was with them and although I didn't complete lots of miles on it, I was quite surprised by the little bike. The gearbox was quite slick, although needs to be worked due to the engine only producing 34bhp. The brakes did give me a slight scare at the first wet roundabout when the small single front disc didn't appear to do anything, followed by the rear locking up! But after some recalibration of my brain and expectations I quite enjoyed the rest of the ride and the braking issue was more to do with me than the bike. The dash displays everything you need to know, fuel range, speed, revs, time, gear indicator and whilst I wouldn't call the suspension 'plus' it's not clattery or bone shaking either. With plenty of revs and regular gear changes you can hustle along quite nicely.
The 29th and 30th of June should have seen me training Andy G on the 29th and doing a RoSPA Diploma retest on the 30th but unfortunately my 'impressive' *** gallstones had other ideas and after a 'flare up' in the early hours or Sunday 28th, I spent the next 36 hours in York General. This is the third episode in hospital because of the gallstones but until Covid settles down, non emergency operations are on hold, which isn't great as another flare up and hospital stay could be on the cards at any time.
***Impressive is how the consultant described my gallstones but did point out for clarity that in these circumstances 'impressive' wasn't a good thing!
In other news - since January I've been on a diet. I've always kinda battled with my weight but since retiring from the Police I had become quite carefree with my food intake, so I decided it was time to do something about it and joined my local Slimming World group. It wasn't an easy thing to do and I will admit to nearly turning around at the door but with Kims encouragement I joined, infact we both joined. The groups are on hold at the moment due to social distancing so virtual groups are held and we weigh at home and submit our weights. On discharge from hospital I came home to find my 4 stone loss 'award' had arrived. It has been a struggle at times and I would still like to do another half stone to a stone but all is good. Well I say all is good, half my wardrobe no longer fits me but now most of the other half (that I'd grown out of) does! Kims support as always has been a driving factor and she has also lost 2 stone and now looks even more amazing than normal and with 6 stone lost between us, the GSA will be flying along thinking it's had an injection of extra BHP!
So there you have it, June summarised. Training is back on and in full swing, bookings are good and the government has announced further easing of restrictions from 4th July. It even looks like I will be going to Scotland twice in the next couple of months, in July with Daren and again in Sept with Motorrad Tours leading Highlands and Islands. That just leaves me and Kim to sort something and the year won't have been a total loss.
Thanks for reading and until next month, ride safe.