February and March 2021 - Still no training, so I got a new bike, a new kitchen and a wife instead!
As stated in the title, all training was still on hold in Feb and March but the Government announcements suggested there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel with some restrictions being eased on the 29th March and we're hopefully only a week away from the majority of shops and businesses re-opening on the 12th April.
I could have restarted training from the 29th March but took the decision to wait a couple of weeks to give people time to get some post lock down rides under their belts. My first customer is booked for 11th April and I must say I cant wait to get back to it!
As you would imagine, enquiries over the winter lock down had been few and far between but when the Government announced it's 'road map' to end restrictions the phone started to ring and the email enquiries came in thick and fast. It seems a lot of you want to get back out there and continue your rider development. In fact, as I type this, all available dates in April and May are now fully booked and June places are filling up, so if you're thinking about having some training, please get in touch sooner rather than later!
Motorrad Tours 2021
As some of you know, one of my many motorcycle related jobs is that I work as a Tour Leader for Motorrad Tours. This year I'm due to lead 4 tours, the first of which are back to back tours to Scotland, both are looking like they can go ahead. So, I'm keeping everything crossed that nothing changes as I love Scotland and never get tired of riding it's amazing roads and enjoying the fantastic scenery and friendly hospitality.
BMF - Regional Chief Instructor/Examiner
Back in December 2020 I passed the BMF Blue Riband Rider Award and hoped by the end of February I'd be appointed as an accredited BMF instructor. Well, the good news is that after much discussion, I've been appointed as a Regional Chief Instructor and Examiner. My area will be Region 2 which covers the North East of England and I'll be responsible for conducting Blue Riband Rider Award training and tests as well as training and testing other BMF instructors in my region.
In February 2019 I bought my 1200GSA as a pre registered, zero miles 'new' bike. Over the last 2 years it has taken me (and Kim) to many places in the UK and Europe and covered lots of training miles. In fact, in 24 months of ownership I covered 32,750 miles. It was my second GSA in a row, the first one I kept for 30 months and did 33,000 miles. Both bikes had been fantastic, but after 65,000 miles and 4.5 years of GSA ownership, I decided it was time for a change. I looked at the usual suspects, BMW R1200/1250RT, S1000XR, Kawasaki Versys 1000, Ducati Multistrada, FJR1300 as well as looking at some sports tourers like the KTM Superduke GT and the Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX. I also considered keeping the GSA and buying a second 'fun' bike, but in the end I decided to trade the GSA in and just remain with 1 bike.
Obviously the new bike needed to be nimble, easy to manage, comfortable, reliable, preferably shaft drive, have luggage capacity, be great for days out and touring, pillion friendly and most of all, suitable for training, so here it is.....
The BMW K1600GT Sport!
I've previously owned two K1600s, the first was a second hand 1600GT bought in June 2012 on which I covered 6000 miles before part exchanging it in December 2012 for a brand new GT SE. I kept that bike for 30 months and covered 30,000 miles.
This third bike is the GT Sport version and has had a few updates over my previous bikes and even has a reverse gear!
Although I bought the bike from a BMW dealer, it is a bike I know as it was previously owned by a good friend who owned it from new. It's 3 years old and has covered just 7,600 miles - although I should point out that the reason for so little mileage is because Dale shares his annual mileage around 5 other bikes!
I still haven't been very far on it but initial impressions are very good and the memories of how much I liked my previous K16s came flooding back. I'm still in awe of how BMW made such a big, heavy bike ride and handle so well, obviously it's never going to be S1000RR 'flickable' but it is still capable of surprising a few people through the twisties! And of course, there's that roar from that 6 cylinder, 160BHP engine, which sounds just awesome!
Married! Yes that's right, after 8 years together Kim and I have tied the knot. Covid restrictions meant original plans went out the window and after 2 postponements we decided to just go for it and 'ran away' to Gretna Green! We had a very lovely ceremony at the Famous Black Smiths Shop followed by photos outside. Restrictions only allowed us one night of married bliss before we had to head home so the honeymoon plans are on hold until things have finally settled down. Many thanks to everyone who sent messages of congratulations.
As some of you will remember, we moved home in January so once back from the Wedding, it was all hands to the pumps in preparation for our old kitchen being removed, some other associated building work and alterations carried out and the new kitchen being installed. I'm pleased to say all is now more or less complete and mighty fine it looks too, we're well chuffed. Here's before and after shots.
My Facebook audience continues to grow and I'm pleased to say I have now passed the 1100 'likes' which is amazing! It might not be the 122 MILLION Cristiano Ronaldo has (whoever she is?) but I'm truly thankful to everyone for your continued support, it really is much appreciated.
That rounds up this latest 'Look Back - but if all goes to plan in April, I will have plenty to tell you about next time.
Stay safe everyone.