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  • Writer's pictureIan Speight

July 2023 - Training, BikeSafe, demo day, slow speed refresher, and my first ride on a cruiser!


As some of you may recall, in 2021 I tore my meniscus and this resulted in no riding for a few weeks. It's the same knee I damaged several years ago when I was in the Police and this recurring issue happened again in July, and as a result put paid to some planned training and other commitments. Kim and I had planned a weekend away on the bike in July but ended up going in the car, and as I type this, I should be leading a Motorrad Tour around France and Germany, so as you can imagine, I'm gutted to not be doing that. However, I'm hoping that not riding as much in July will ease things again and I'll soon be back up and running......well, when I say running, I don't actually mean 'running'!!

Anyway, here's what I did manage to get up to in July.


Due mainly to my knee problem, I only completed one training session in July and this was with Charles on his 1200GSA. Charles is an experienced rider with many years, and many miles under his belt. However, he hasn't ridden as much as he used too, but he's hoping to change that, so decided to have a skills check. The weather conditions were changeable but he was undeterred, and after starting in the rain we finished in the sunshine.

RoSPA Examiner duties.

Geoff on his VFR1200 was my only test candidate in July. Geoff is an experienced rider who has been involved with RoSPA training for many years and has completed many tests and retests over the years and has also has completed the RoSPA Diploma in Motorcycle Instructor Training. Needless to say, there were very few discussion points at the end and he was awarded a well deserved Gold pass grade.

(Now I know some of you are sticklers for the small details, so just for clarity, although we're stopped on 'double yellow lines', we were on private land, not a public road and had permission to be there! lol).

RoSPA Training.

I managed to fit in 4 sessions with my local RoSPA group in July, and all were for pre test assessments. First up was Pete on his 1250GS. Great couple of hours and finished off at a café I've never been to before.

Next up was Gary, also on a GS. Gary is an experienced rider who only needed a couple of very minor tweaks to what was otherwise a great ride.

Richard followed on from Gary, also riding a GS! Richard is a fellow Tutor with our group, so as you can imagine, there wasn't many things to discuss.

Finally Geoff, on his......not a GS! On his Triumph Tiger Sport! Geoff currently holds a RoSPA Gold and will be taking his triennial test in the coming weeks.

Good luck to all the guys for their tests.

Slow speed refreshers.

On Wednesday 19th, I assisted with delivering a slow speed refresher for members of the group. It was well attended with 15 riders across 2 sessions. The safe area was marked out as it is for a Mod 1 'course', something that some of our members have never experienced because they passed their bike tests before CBT/Mod1/Mod2 ever existed! Despite the odd rain shower, it was a great couple of hours with everyone acknowledging that slow control is not something riders practice very often. Here's a few photos from the evening.

Briefing from Phil B.....he doesn't normally lean to the left, so must have been explaining something!

The rain came, but it didn't last long.

Drying out, and clear sky's approaching.

Trying to lead by example, with Brian on his Harley looking on. Although a wave to the photographer is not necessarily recommended!

Helen negotiating the slalom. Helen passed her test quite recently, so this was still very familiar to her, and it showed.

'Hazard avoidance' exercise on his Vstrom.

Pete on his Tiger 900.

Turn your head and look where you want to go.

Jeff on his CB1000R.

Brian on his Harley.

And last but not least, Richard, who came along on his very recently purchased Honda Goldwing DCT. First up was getting used to throttle control for tight U turns.

Then it was on to the hazard avoidance.

Despite the rain, we had lots of positive feed back from all those who attended, so this is something we will no doubt organise again.


On the 1st July I assisted Humberside Police to deliver their BikeSafe day. It was a well attended event with 8 'clients' shared between volunteer observers and police riders. I was paired up with Adrian on his Vstrom 1000. Adrian has some experience of advanced driving techniques and he was soon transferring these across to his riding.

Adrian and his Vstrom.

A good mix of bikes.

Pre ride briefings.

And we're off.....

Final debriefs.

The weather stayed dry, although it did turn very windy, but all in all a fab day.

Barrie Robson BMW demo day event.

On the 8th July, I had a fantastic day at Barrie Robson BMW demo day. I spent the day leading the demo ride outs and chatting to customers. It was a very well attended event with more or less every bike from the BMW range available to ride, from the mighty R1800 down to the little 310. Several people took the opportunity to ride more than one bike throughout the day. The guys from my RoSPA group (Advanced Riders North Yorkshire) were doing taster rides and Andy, Chris and Stuart from North Yorks 'Firebike' chatted to customers and gave advice on collision scene management/first aid and helmet removal.

Riders and their 'demo' bikes ready for the off.

Lots of bikes and people.

The rain finally came, but it was soon gone again and didn't affect the event.

He's a good looking fellow on that poster!

Overall, it was a fab day and even the weather was kind to us, with just a couple of showers in the afternoon. A massive thank you to everyone who attended, took the time to come and say hello and to everyone at Barrie Robson BMW for your continued support.

BMW R18/S1000XR

A couple of days before the demo day, I had the pleasure of riding 2 very different BMWs. Both bikes were brand new and registered for use on the demo day' and needed some miles putting on them to scrub tyres in and get a few miles under their belts prior to the event. In the morning I was out on the R18 and in the afternoon, on the S1000XR.

It's the first time I've ridden an R18 and as it's different to anything I've ever ridden before, it's somewhat difficult to judge. It sits very low, easily allowing for both feet firmly planted on the ground. The bars are wide, meaning that despite its weight, it not too bad to man handle through the bends. It only has 1 dial, an analogue speedo, but it also has an LED section that has lots of info you can scroll through, such as mpg, time, date, service intervals, average speed, trip mileage etc etc. I did notice there's no fuel gauge or fuel range to empty, it just has a warning light. All controls and buttons fell easily to hand but the footboard and a 'heel n toe' gear change took a bit of mastering! Overall, I quite liked it. It was comfortable, happily trundled along at 60/70mph and the engine is packed with grunt for swift overtakes. Despite is low slung chassis, I never touched anything down and it returned 50mpg during my ride. If you've never tried one, you should, it's different, but not in a bad way, and it might surprise you.

Look how those cylinders dominate the whole looks fab!!

Only a single dial, but lots of info can be scrolled through via the menu button. The dial still had its plastic film on it, hence why it's not as clear as it could be.

I think it looks mighty fine, although Kim would want some sort of backrest, which I'm sure is available from the BMW accessory catalogue.

I have ridden an S1000XR many times. I've done 2 Motorrad Tours on them, 1 to Scotland and 1 to Germany and wrote about them on both occasions. This latest ride just reminded me of how friendly they can be, and then immediately pull your face off! A real Jekyll and Hyde motorcycle. The engine is super smooth, the quick shifter a joy to use and the handling precise and confidence inspiring. The dash will be familiar to anyone who is used to the BMW TFT set up and if you're not, it is fairly easy to navigate to get all the info you want. My only slight criticism, is the seat very much 'locks you in place' with not much wriggle room....or it could be that I've just got a fat ar*e!! Over the years, many riders have complained about vibrations that spoil the ride at certain revs and speeds, but that something I've never experienced on any XR I've ever ridden. If you want a reasonably comfortable sports bike, that goes like stink, handles brilliantly, has cruise control, heated grips, engine modes and offers the option of having hard panniers and/or top box, then make your way to your nearest BMW dealer, this is the one for you!

My BMW R1250GSA.

Miles this month - 893.

Total mileage so far - 4397.

As you have read above, although I had quite a few rides, most were fairly short and I didn't ride at all for 8 days due to my knee, the result being a lot less miles this month than last month. The bike is still performing faultlessly and it's my favourite GSA of the 4 I've owned. The reason for this, is that the engine is the smoothest yet, despite the fact that on paper, it is exactly the same as the other 3 1250s I've owned. I can't explain it, but there's less road noise and the engine and gearbox are super smooth, as is the quick shifter. I'm not a fan of the indicator set up, I'd prefer that they weren't 'on' all the time as daytime running lights, and not too keen on the rear indicator/brake light set up. I understand there is a work around, so I might explore what work and costs are involved.

And that my friends, sums up my July 2023. Thanks for reading, until next month, ride safe.

Ian S

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