July 2022 - fit and well again and back on 2 wheels....phew!
Well, after my terrible June, it was great to be fit and well again and back on the bike. Big thank you to everyone who got in touch or sent 'get well' messages, all very much appreciated.
It was a very busy July, with lots of different bikes and riders, all aiming to improve their riding skills.
First up was Richard on his GSA. Richard is a customer with a difference, he came from Australia for his training, I kid you not! Richard hasn't owned a bike for 40 years, but decided it was time to get back on 2 wheels, and to ease himself in gently, he booked a 6 week, 6000 mile tour of Europe! He and his wife flew into the UK where he collected his brand new 2022 BMW 1250GSA in April. However, Richard had decided that the best thing for him to do was get some refresher training done before the tour, so from back in Oz he started researching bike trainers in the UK, and I'm very happy to say he chose me....thank you! A few days after landing in the UK, Richard collected his GSA and rode up to York for 2 back to back sessions. Although Richard hasn't had a bike for 40 years, he is a very experienced driver and he was soon getting to grips with Roadcraft techniques. After his 2 days training, he had the bike serviced and then he and his wife headed off in to mainland Europe. 6 weeks and 6000 miles later, Richard was back up to York for 2 more sessions, resulting in him successfully completing the Enhanced Rider Scheme. After completing the ERS, Richard headed off to Wales for 2 days at the BMW Off Road School and then back to London to fly back to Australia. Richard intends to be back in the UK in 2023 and assures me he will be back for some follow up sessions.
Ian was up next on his CB1000R. It was Ians 4th session since March and he has so far successfully completed the Enhanced Rider Scheme and passed the BMF advanced test. Ian now intends to take his RoSPA advanced test, I'll let you know how he gets on.
Following on from Ian, was Steve on his R1200RT. Steve is an experienced rider who decided it was time for a riding assessment and now intends to complete the Enhanced Rider Scheme. This was the first of 3 booked sessions.
Next up was Gareth on his BMW 400X 'scooter'. Gareth also owns a 750GS and bought the 400X to commute on and so decided to have a 'familiarisation' session and also get some urban riding practice in as he normally avoids town riding. After spending some time in and around York, we then headed out in to the countryside where Gareth was very surprised by the 400's turn of speed and handling, and we finished off with a little bit of multi lane roads. Overall, Gareth went away feeling he had got to know his new scoot very well on all types of roads. Gareths session also gave me the opportunity to use my X-ADV and it's fair to say that despite the BMW giving away 350cc to my Honda, it certainly didn't seem to hinder it!
Russ came along for his second session on his BMW S1000R. Russ rode really well and this second session saw him successfully complete the Enhanced Rider Scheme.
Craig came along on his R1250GS for 2 sessions in July, resulting him also successfully completing the Enhanced Rider Scheme. Craig has 2 more sessions booked for next month, and he then intends to take the RoSPA advanced bike test. I'll let you know how he gets on. As you can see, for Craigs second session, we headed south over the Humber Bridge to enjoy the Lincolnshire Wolds and called in at Cadwell Park for a brew and a debrief.
July not only saw me have my first 'international' customer, (Richard) but also my youngest, in Jesse on his CBR500. Jesse is 20 years old and only passed his test 3 months ago and now wants to improve his skills further. Great example to other young riders. Now he just needs to encourage his V4 Panigale riding dad to come along....come on dad, you know you want too!
Tom on his VFR800 Cross Runner finished off the month in style. He had a full days training in line with the BMF Blue Riband Rider Award process and the very next day successfully passed the BMF test. Great result!
Congratulatory hand shake from fellow BMF Examiner Alf.
RoSPA Group Training
I managed 2 sessions in July with my local RoSPA group (Advanced Riders North Yorkshire). On the 23rd I was paired up with Denise on her Triumph Speed Twin. It was a lovely morning and there were lots of associates and tutors, as well as some great bikes at the cafe where we meet.
Two rare 'classics' in the car park that morning, although not there for our training, great to see bikes from the 80s still on the road and looking so good.
I used my S1000R for the first session, and as you can see, it's dwarfed by the adventure bikes!
Unfortunately, the session on the 30th July wasn't as nice, but 3 associates braved the wet weather along with myself and 2 other Tutors. I was paired up with Brian on his R1200RS. Brian is back to biking after a 40 year break and is keen to ensure he is as safe and skilled as he can be this time around.
Some say, 'if ain't raining, it ain't training'!
RoSPA Examiner duties.
Only one test to conduct in July. This was with Tony on his Honda Cross Tourer. Tony put in a great ride and was awarded with a pass at Gold grade. Well done and well deserved.
Of course, for Tonys test I donned my lovely RoSPA Examiners polo, as required for each test an Examiner conducts.
On the 10th July I assisted Humberside Police to deliver their BikeSafe event.
15 riders, 'shared out' between the 8 civilian observers and 4 Police riders. I was allocated attendee Alan on his Versys 1000 and also newly qualified 'police' motorcyclist Malcolm on his marked Police RT. Malcolm is an ex police officer who now works as a driver trainer but has also recently obtained his Police Class 1 advanced motorcycle qualification. It was Malcolms first BikeSafe, so whilst I was assessing Alan, Malcolm was shadowing and observing how I delivered briefings and debriefs so that Malcolm can be an observer for future events. Although Alan is an experienced rider, it was his first BikeSafe and his first foray into 'advanced' techniques. Overall, a cracking few hours in glorious sunshine.
When I'm not training or testing, I like nothing better than.....to go out on my bike!
Social ride No 1.
Kim and I headed in to the Yorkshire Dales for tea and scones at Ravenseat Farm, home of the Yorkshire Shepherdess. Kim knows more about the series and the people involved than me, so was chuffed to meet the daughters and see the 'famous' lady herself. From there we headed south through Hawes, Kettlewell, Grassington, Pately Bridge and back home. Cracking day on the Versys.
On our way in to the Dales.
Served by 2 of the daughters at Ravenseat Farm. Very polite and chatty and happy to have a selfie with Kim......and of course, I got dragged in too!
Beautiful setting for a brew and a scone.
Time to head home.
Social ride No 2
The 18th July was the first day of the 2 hottest days of the year, so we headed out nice and early to try to beat the mid day heat. It was a cracking morning with Lee (Tuono 660) Paul (F800GT) and Ian (1250GS). A 130 mile meandering route from York, up to Olivers Mount and then back to The Motorist at Sherburn. The more I ride the X-ADV, the more I like it.
Final tea and cakes before heading home.
Social ride No 3
On Saturday 23rd, we headed off to Scarborough with our neighbours. Me and Kim on the Versys with Richard and Linda on their Tracer 900. We didn't set off until late in the afternoon, so the roads were very quiet. Fish and chips and ice creams were consumed and then it was another meandering ride home. It was the first time we've all been out together on the bikes and it was thoroughly enjoyable.
Social ride No 4
On Friday 29th, I met up with Paul (F800GT0, Alex (F800GT) and Pete (700 Tenere) and Paul led us on a meandering route over the Yorkshire Wolds to Filey for fish and chips and then a further meandering route back to York. Around 130 miles covered and despite some very dark clouds, it stayed dry the whole time. Result.
Don't be fooled by Pauls casual stare away from the camera and his empty hands, he had a fish supper too!
Annual bike trip, ferry organised, routes sorted and hotels booked.
Every year for the last 20ish years or so, I've been fortunate to have a European bike trip with my long time biking buddy Daren. During Covid, we still managed to get away to Scotland, but 2022 will be the first time back into main land Europe since 2019.
We booked our ferry months ago and will be sailing from Hull to Rotterdam and then heading for 2 nights in Cochem and then heading south to Baden Baden. From there it's south to Andermatt in Switzerland for 2 nights and then back north to Colmar and finally our last night will be in Holland. We have decided to leave our big adventure bikes at home and as we both own Honda X-ADVs, we have decided to take them. Should be a right laugh, or it could be horrendous. I'll let you know next month!
Here's our route, courtesy of Darens Basecamp skills. Each colour represents a different day. The smaller coloured 'circles' are loops from/back, to the hotels we have 2 nights at. So we have a loop option or a day off option.
My Bikes - RD350LC - NS400R.
Next up in my biking history was the Yamaha RD350LC, followed by the Honda NS400R. I've included 2 bikes in this months blog as I didn't own the RD very long and don't have any photos of it, in fact, it's the only bike I've ever owned that I don't have a photo of! The reason I didn't have it long, is because it was a heap of junk! I bought it off someone I didn't know having seen it advertised in the local paper.....remember this was the 80's the internet hadn't been invented yet. I went to view it in the dark. (1st mistake) and turned up at the address. It wasn't in the best area of Hull, in fact it was one of the worst, but I knocked on the door to speak to the seller. (2nd mistake). The seller wasn't home but his Dad agreed to show me the bike and after a quick walk around (in the dark), agreed to let me take it for a test ride round the block. The bike started ok but was quite smokey....but the Dad assured me 'they all do that on start up'. I wobbled off and waited for the legendary power band to kick in.....but it didn't. In fact, the fuelling was pretty poor. I got back and spoke to the Dad. He again assured me that because the bike was 'cold' they all smoke and they all lack any go until they're warmed up. As a naïve 19 year old, I took him at his word (3rd mistake) and paid the full asking price (4th mistake). I rode the bike home and even when warmed up it ran rough as. Of course, I'd signed a receipt saying no warranty or come back (5th mistake) so spent the next few days back and forth to the local Yamaha dealer trying different jets for the carbs and trying to sort out why it was so rough. After a few weeks of trying, I gave up and decided to trade it in and bought the Honda NS400R. I bought the bike from Blakeys Honda, in Hull, from where I'd bought my earlier CX500 Turbo. The 400R was described as a street-legal road-oriented two-stroke sports bike. It was produced between 1985 and 1987. The NS400R was inspired by Honda's NS500 500cc GP-bike ridden by Freddie Spencer.
You had a choice of 2 colours. HRC or Rothmans. I opted for the HRC.
The bike initially suffered with some running issues which saw it spend more time with the dealer than me in the first few weeks, but eventually all was well and I really enjoyed the little 400. It wasn't very economical and didn't quite have the noise or kudos of the RD350LCs but it was great fun to ride, mainly because it only had 72bhp and most of that was high in the rev range, so you went everywhere at full throttle! It had a top speed of around 130mph, which used to give some of the older 750s a run for their money and usually left them behind through the bends. All in all a great little bike and now commands serious money, with used examples exchanging hands for between £8000 and £10,000!
Here's mine, fully clothed and naked.
I sold the NS400R when I moved out from my parents and into my first home of my own. Fortunately, as luck would have it, just when I thought I wouldn't be able to afford a bike for a while, a mate decided to sell his Honda CB900 and at a price that was too good to turn down. More on that bike next month.
As you can see from the training pictures above, in July I got to meet another great bunch of people, riding a wide variety of bikes, and proves that advanced riding is right for any age, gender, or experience and whether you're riding an adventure bike, a sports bike or a scooter/DCT, I have the bike to compliment whatever you're riding. If you'd like to book some training, or just have a chat about what options are open to you, then please get in touch.
Until next month, ride safe everyone.