Super September 2021 - New training, new jacket and a new bike!
Thanks go to everyone who trained with me in September, it was the usual great mix of people and bikes.
First up was Bill on his 1100RS. It was Bills second session as he trains towards an advanced test so that he can apply to become a Marshal with the NEG.
With no previous experience of advanced techniques, it was decided in his previous session that we would initially work towards Bill passing the Enhanced Rider Scheme syllabus and I'm pleased to say Bill completed the ERS successfully during his September session. Further down you can read how he performed on RoSPA test day.
Next up was Ian on his very rare Suzuki GSXR1100. Ian is a lifelong biker with a good riding history, who wanted a riding health check to make sure his standards were still up to scratch. Ian's bike has a 'rotated' gear selector meaning his gear box works 1 up 4 down, as opposed to 1 down and 4 (5) up like most bikes. It was quite funny trying to fathom out his gear selection in his initial ride until I realised what he'd done! That said, Ian was quite impressed that I'd spotted it! It was a really good session and with some minor tweaks Ian was soon back on it.
Following Ian was Paul on his F800GT. Paul had 2 sessions in September, one of which satisfied his wish for some wet weather riding....and boy was it wet!
Paul hadn't ridden for 36 years until last year and came to me for some refresher training and to look at what advanced qualifications may be open to him. In a very short space of time Paul has gained lots of confidence and his riding has come on leaps and bounds.
Pauls second September session was much drier and after successfully completing the ERS last month, next month he will be taking the BMF Blue Riband Rider Award.
Steve was up next on his Fazer 800. Steve hadn't ridden since he was a teenager and was looking for a few pointers to reassure himself he was doing things right. Good first session and Steve will be back again in October.
Pat came along on his 1260 Multistrada. Pat has been riding for around 20 years and just like Ian above, decided it was time for a riding health check, because as Pat said "you don't know, what you don't know".
IAM Masters - Pre-test assessment.
Glynn trained with me in 2019 and has since passed his IAM test and become an IAM Observer. Glynn contacted me for a pre-test assessment as he is now about to take his IAM Masters test. Glyn's bike was another bike that threw up some gear selection issues because it's the DCT version. This means there's no gear lever at all, so assessing how Glynn was using and selecting his gears wasn't so straight forward. Instead of being able to see his feet/gear lever, I had to watch for more subtle changes in the bikes balance, sound and smoothness.
Customer Test pass
I mentioned Bill earlier, well I'm pleased to report that he took his RoSPA test on 30th September and contacted me to tell me he'd passed successfully achieving a Silver grade. A great result, well done Bill.
BMF Examiner duties - Simon Weir.
On 17th I travelled to Wragby in Lincolnshire to meet up with journalist, author and world traveller Simon Weir to take him through the process of becoming an instructor/assessor for the BMF Blue Riband Rider Award. Simon already holds a RoSPA Diploma in advanced motorcycle instruction and wanted to add the BMF qualification to his portfolio.
The BMF qualification, like the RoSPA Diploma, required Simon to display a high standard of riding for approximately 1 hour, across a variety of roads and then I took the role of student and Simon had to brief me, follow me and then critique my ride in line with Roadcraft techniques and the system of motorcycle control. The main difference between the 2 qualifications is that to pass the BMF assessment the candidate must be able to confidently and competently use comms. Simon completed the assessment successfully and we finished the day with some refresher training on giving commentary and 'on the move' positive feedback.
Simon will now be able to deliver the Blue Riband Rider Award as part of the services he offers.
Obviously, no session is complete until the end photo is taken and as I live to the north of the River Humber and Simon to the south, it seemed fitting to have a photo by the bridge.
RoSPA Examiner duties.
As well as successfully completing the BMF qualification with Simon, we also conducted his RoSPA Diploma triennial retest, which he also completed successfully.
I also conducted 1 RoSPA Advanced Tutor retest and 3 'normal' RoSPA tests in September.
Andy E came on his GSA to take his triennial Advanced Tutor retest. Andy is an experienced Advanced Tutor with his local group based in York. Andy ticked all the right boxes and came away with a successful result.
Dave A was next up on his R1200RT. Dave gave a great display of advanced riding and passed successfully with a Gold.
Andy H was next and needs a special mention.
Andy's test was conducted in torrential rain and gusting winds with lots of standing water, lots of spray and reduced visibility. In fact, had it been as bad at the start as it was mid-way round, I would have given serious thought to rescheduling. Andy even had a road closure to contend with and we had to stop at one point to wipe our visors clean! Added to all the above is the fact that Andy only obtained his full motorcycle licence in January 2020 and then due to the lock-downs has only managed to ride around 3000 miles, so to say his test was going to be a challenge is an understatement but Andy did not falter, he gave a great display of restraint and progress, he adjusted his lines to compensate for the conditions and where he lost some view, he lost some speed. All in all, an excellent ride in horrendous conditions. Andy should be exceptionally proud of his achievement in not only passing but riding to a Gold standard in what was horrible riding conditions for any level of experience or skill.
Unfortunately, the other test I conducted didn't quite go to plan for the candidate and resulted in a fail. This is quite unusual and I think I've only had 5 failures in 8 years as an Examiner.
So, away from training and testing, here's what else I got up to in September.
On the 23rd I met up with journalist Kevin Raymond to help put an article together for a future edition of RiDE Magazine. It was a cracking day and really interesting listening to Kevin talk about his life with bikes. Kevin did ask me not to give too many details away but said I am ok to post these photos of him taking photos! You'll just have to wait for the article to be published, which could be anytime over the next 6 months.
I met up with some of the customers who came away with me for the Motorrad Tours/Barrie Robson BMW tour to Scotland for a social ride around some of Lincolnshire.
Thanks go to Mike P for organising the route, coffees and lunch stops. It was a fab day, both in terms of the riding and the catch up with everyone.
Mike P in the red top with Mark, Ian, Dave, Sharon, Julie and Dave.
Meet and greet - Rider Development Weekend.
Another get together was with the guys who will be attending the rider development weekend in October. It was great to get everyone together (except Neil - who was in Scotland) over a brew and a butty before we headed off for a short social ride. All deposits and balances are now paid, so on the weekend of 8th-10th October we will be heading off to the Scottish borders. Full details in Octobers round up.
Working round the table are Tony (black jacket), Andy, Chris, fellow instructor Alf, Stuart and Mark (red neck buff).
It was my birthday in September so Kim and I headed off on the mighty K1600 to check out some routes and a hotel for a potential future customer weekend to Newcastle. Now I know it's not necessarily where you'd think of going for a bike trip, but the roads to and from offer some great riding and with a suitably placed hotel with secure parking, it could be a great location for a riding weekend away on the bike whilst incorporating some training.
We had a meandering route north taking in Ripon, Pateley Bridge, Masham, Leyburn, Reeth and Stanhope before the final leg into Newcastle. It was my first ever visit and I was quite surprised how nice the city is. After a day off the bike on the Monday we headed home Tuesday via Durham, Stokesley, Helmsley, Pickering and Malton.
We stayed at the Vermont Hotel, which was very nice and had gated secure parking. They even reserved us a space!
Dainese Carve Master 2
It was new jacket time in September. I have to admit to being a bit of a creature of habit and if something works, I don't like to change it. Back in the 90s I bought a Dainese jacket and thought it was ace. Warm, waterproof and comfortable with good armour and pockets. Hence why I am now on my 7th or 8th Dainese jacket! The latest is the Carve Master 2 Gore-Tex with 5-year warranty. I bought the jacket from the great guys at Infinity Motorcycles, York. Here is the link for full details.
New bike! - Kawasaki Versys 1000GT
As much as I love the K1600, it's not the perfect bike for training on and Kim finds the suspension a little 'jarring' over lumps and bumps and as we normally spend thousands of miles together on the bike, it needs to be right for her as well as me. After our weekend to Newcastle, Kim declared that she wouldn't want to go on our annual European tour on the K1600, so the hunt was on for a second, more pillion friendly bike.......OK, OK, none of that is strictly true.
I've been debating a second training bike for a while, so when Kim said she thought she might struggle with a European tour on the K1600, it was a good excuse to start a serious look at what was out there. There's lots of bikes I'd like to have in my garage but like most people, funding them can quite often be the deciding factor and as I wasn't going to sell the K1600, I had to be careful.
I've been toying with a Versys 1000 for the last couple of years but just as I was about to buy one, Covid kicked in, bike training stopped and all of a sudden 2 bikes weren't a priority. Now that things have settled down, I decided to revisit the idea and started to have a look. I decide to go and see the guys at 5 Ways Motorcycles in Hull. I had involvement with 5 Ways for a lot of years, in fact I first bought a bike off them in 1992! A Yamaha FJ1200. That was followed by a Kawasaki ZXR750, then another FJ1200 and then a YZF750. But that was a long time ago, so it was nice to get a warm welcome from owner Gareth who was soon showing me around the 2020 model Versys I'd gone to look at. Although a 2020 model, it was brand new with zero miles and not pre-registered. We agreed a deal, complete with full GT kit and 1 or 2 other little extras and I should be picking it up around the 12th October, subject to the kit and extras arriving on time. And here it is (GT kit and extras to be fitted)
Despite having bought numerous new and second-hand bikes over the last 40 years, I'm still really excited and can't wait to get it. You'll be able to read about my first impressions in next months round up.
And that sums up my super September.
Ride safe everyone.