A review of 2020
Hi everyone, I hope you had a great Christmas and that you're all looking forward to a different 2021. It's been a very strange year and one that we could never have anticipated 12 months ago. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this horrendous virus and let's hope the much anticipated vaccine does it's job and life can start to get back to some sort of normality.
Despite the Covid lock downs, a few hospital stays and an operation, I still managed lots of training, some touring, 2 new qualifications and I featured in a few magazine articles along the way. So, here's my review of 2020, I hope you enjoy it.
2020 was not as anticipated so not surprisingly customer numbers were down on 2019, that said, I still had some great customer training sessions. In fact, not including RoSPA/IAM tests or the Bloodfast guys, (see below) 24 customers enjoyed 35 sessions.
Dave on his Triumph kicked the year off...
...and Steve on another Triumph finished it off. Steve is an IAM National Observer who I met at BikeSafe. We got chatting about my training and he decided to have a 'skills check'....(IAM speak for a riding assessment). Obviously Steve is already a good rider but great to see someone at Steve's level not sitting back on their laurels and still wanting to be assessed and critiqued.
Of course, it wasn't just Triumphs being used for training, there was the usual mix of makes and models. Here's a breakdown of the customer bikes being used in 2020.
9 BMWs - (2x1200GS's, a 1250GSA, 750GS, S1000XR, R9T, 900XR, K1600GTL, K75)
5 Triumphs - (2 Bonneville's and 3 Explorers)
4 Kawasakis (Z1000SX, 2 x 650s, GTR1400)
2 Ducati Multistradas
1 Suzuki (SV650)
1 Honda (CB500)
Customer test passes
Six customers notified me of test passes following training with me.
Dana G and Dave B passed their IAM tests, James P passed his RoSPA and Ivor and Mark J their IAM Masters. For those of you saying that's only 5 names not 6, Ivor took his Masters twice, increasing his grade from a Pass on his first test to a Distinction a week or so later!
Enhanced Rider Scheme
2020 saw 11 riders successfully complete their ERS, which as it has been my first year delivering it, I'm pleased with the take up.
Covid put paid to lots of tests in 2020, in fact I only managed to conduct 4 motorcycle tests during the year and 3 lots of IAM Masters training (although that does equate to about 36 hours of training).
I continued in my role as RoSPA Training Officer for Advanced Riders North Yorkshire, over seeing the training of new group tutors and as the year comes to a close I have started to deliver radio (comms) training to the tutors for use during training of associates.
BikeSafe returned to the calendar in September and October and I was pleased to get the call and invited to help deliver the events. For the first event I was paired up with Paul on his MT10.
The October event started with torrential rain but fortunately it did dry out and it was another great day.
I was paired up with Gary who was riding his lovely urban tiger Fireblade.
So, away from training, what else did I get up to during 2020.
January - RiDE Magazine - Triennial retest.
My year kicked off by meeting motorcycle journalist Jon Urry from RiDE Magazine at a very cold Cadwell Park, for a feature called Riding School Rated. We spent the day chatting about the training I offer, did some riding, rode backwards and forwards a lot for photos and generally had a great time. The feature was published in the following months edition. Here's a few photos from the day and the article.
Here's the link to my Blog;
January - Triennial test and Slimming World!
January was retest time. I met my Examiner (Chris) at Seaways Cafe, Fridaythorpe. The weather was truly awful (which it has been for my last 2 retests, maybe I should start doing them in the summer?!). 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 café for my debrief. Chris was very thorough as he discussed each section of the ride before giving me my result, a Gold pass! Well chuffed.
Every January I decide to lose weight and this usually lasts for about 48 hours before my will power fails! This prompted me (with encouragement from Kim) to join Slimming World. I had some scepticism but after 6 months I'd lost whopping 4 stone! I did lose a bit more and then put some back on but I've managed to more or less maintain that 4 stone loss. Kim also lost 2 stone and now looks even more amazing! January 2021 will see me 'back on it' as I strive to lose another stone and see my weight finally get under 15st, a place it hasn't been for a number of years.
Here's a 'before and after' - 19st 10 to 15st 10 but still a bit to go.
February - RoSPA Diploma.
In February I took and passed the RoSPA Diploma in Advanced Motorcycle Instructor Training. Over 2 days I was assessed on my riding and instructional skills as well as completing a 75 question test paper on Roadcraft and the Highway Code. A few days after completing the course I was notified I had successfully passed all elements and managed to achieve a very respectable 96% in the test paper.
I was joined on the course by RoSPA Tutors Simon (on the left) and Paul (on the right). We spent a lot of time together in the weeks preceding the assessment to make sure we were properly prepared for the course and I'm pleased to say that they also passed successfully. Well done guys.
For full details of my Diploma experience, have a read here
March - Enhanced Rider Scheme.
Following on from my successful RoSPA Diploma qualification, in March I qualified to be a DVSA Enhanced Rider Scheme trainer/assessor (ERS). This was no easy task and included having to take various test papers and a hazard perception test, something completely new to me!
For full details of the Enhanced Rider Scheme, check out my blog https://www.ianspeight-training.co.uk/post/enhanced-rider-scheme
March - Motorrad Tours.
Between the 5th and 8th of March I travelled to Wales for the annual Motorrad Tours training weekend. This is when all the Tour Leaders get together to review the previous years tours, have some refresher training on various aspects of the role and learn all about the year ahead. I've worked as Tour Leader for Motorrad Tours since 2016, it's a great job that is completely unconnected to my rider training and I've been fortunate to take several groups of Motorrad Tours customers to some fantastic destinations around the UK and Europe. I'm looking forward to next years tours, subject of course to any Corona Virus restrictions.
Here's the 2020 Tour Leader team, a fine bunch if ever there was one.
Back row L-R Adrian, Mark, Nigel, Bob (stood on his RT), Alf, Danny, Pierre.
Front Row L-R Chris (cup in hand) Mark, me, Steve and Paul (knelt down)
Obviously Covid lock down kicked in shortly afterwards and that was that for the next 2 months! All training cancelled and very few of us went anywhere.
I did sign up for NHS volunteering but so did about a million others! As a result I was only used once.
April & May - Lock down and hospital!
Although not Covid related, April did see me being admitted to York hospital for 4 days with what turned out to be gallstones. The staff looking after me were amazing and it really came across how serious the whole Covid situation is. I was on the 'safe side' of the hospital but all the staff went to great lengths regards PPE and hygiene.
As we moved into May, all training continued to be cancelled as did all BikeSafe events and my Motorrad Tours trips as well as the annual training weekend with my RoSPA group.
June - S1000XR and hospital again!
June saw restrictions lifted and I was able to get back to riding.
On 5th June I had the pleasure of spending a day on the brand new for 2020 BMW S1000XR TE, courtesy of Barrie Robson BMW, York. It's a cracking bike and on the radar come change time.
Here's the link for my review.
Just as lock down was eased and I was back to riding, I ended up back in hospital with my gallstones flaring up again. Ouch!
July - Scotland, not once but twice!
Once out of hospital I was back on the bike and setting off on my first of 3 trips to Scotland. The first trip was 7 nights/1400 miles with long time biking buddy Daren. It was a great trip and saw us take in many of the bucket list roads Scotland has to offer.
Back home, I had 2 days to get my clothes washed and ironed and a new set of tyres put on the GSA and then I was off to Scotland again, this time with my fiancé Kim. We had 10 fantastic days away and despite some dodgy weather, had another great trip.
August - Bloodfast.
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 and asked me to deliver ride assessments to their team of riders based around the Enhanced Rider Scheme syllabus. I was obviously very happy to oblige and over the course of the month carried out several assessments.
Here's me with Bloodfast rider Andy C.
In MCNs edition dated August 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.
September - Motorrad Tour to Scotland
In September I took a group of Motorrad Tours customers around Scotland for a 7 night tour. The Highlands and Island tour starts and ends in Edinburgh and covers around 1400 miles. It's a fantastically popular tour that runs at least twice a year.
Here's a few photos.
Covid permitting, I will be leading 4 tours in 2021
For full details go to www.motorrad-tours.com
October - Hospital again!
I finally returned to hospital and had my gallbladder successfully removed. It's classed as a routine op but things didn't quite go to plan. Although the surgeon was very happy with the way things went, there were a couple of issues meaning instead of going home the same day of the op, I had a couple of days stay for 'observational' reasons. I'm pleased to report that as I type this, my recovery has gone very well.
November - another lock down and a new action camera.
I've been toying with the idea of getting an action camera for a while and the obvious choice always seems to be GoPro, but they are quite expensive and I had no idea if I'd like it or whether it would end up back in the cupboard after a few weeks. This prompted me to start looking at what alternatives are out there.
Now before I go any further, what you need to understand is that I am a complete technophobe! So, I started researching the net, watching You Tube reviews and looking at my options. One make that kept cropping up was the Crosstour range. The CT9900 always compared well against the GoPro so I decided to take the plunge and buy one.
The camera records in 4K at either 60 or 30fps as well as 1080 and 720 options. It has stabilisation and comes with 2 ready charged batteries, water proof case, remote control unit and a host of other fittings and accessories. You can also down load an app and Wi-Fi your footage straight to your phone. The only thing you have to buy extra is an SD card up to 128gb and away you go! Well I say "away you go" I haven't actually gone anywhere yet! The cost of all this tech, just £79.99 but I got a £25 'Black Friday' discount. Here's a few photos of the camera, but for full details go to; www.crosstour.com
I've only used it a couple of times and for a very limited trial so I'll let you know in the new year how I'm getting on with it.
December - The first step to another riding accreditation.
December was pretty quiet on the riding front, but I did have a ride down to Leicester to have a 90 minute assessed ride. This was the first step towards a new accreditation to deliver and assess training for an organisation I haven't worked with before. It will be the new year before my training is complete and then I will be able to reveal all.
My Facebook page continues to grow, with the number of ‘likes’ currently at 1062 which is amazing, I really do appreciate everyone's support. FB is a great tool for any small business, it reaches so many people so quickly and also gives people the chance to ‘share’ posts around their own FB friends, family and groups. Please 'share' me again in 2021!
Looking towards 2021
Training is already looking positive with several enquires for the new year. I will continue to work with RoSPA, the IAM and the DVSA and hopefully complete the training process for the new qualification.
On the tours front, I'm allocated to lead 4 tours for Motorrad Tours, one of which will be as an instructor for the new Academy Training and Rider Development Tours, something I'm really excited about.
I will hopefully continue to work with Humberside Police on their BikeSafe events and then there's the small matter of a house move and a wedding in the next couple of months!
I would like to thank you all for your continued support, for the comments, the likes and shares on FB. Also to the people who've seen me out and about and who came over for a chat but especially to those who booked and trained with me in 2020. Despite everything, it has been another great year and I've met some more fantastic people.
Last, but not least - Kim
As always a special mention goes to my Fiancé Kim, who supports me in everything I do. Kim shares my passion for motorcycling and we cover thousands of miles together each year, she is my pillion in a million, best friend and proof reader, so if there's any mistakes....
I hope you enjoyed this 2020 review and I look forward to meeting you in 2021.
Happy New Year!