** Depending on which device you are viewing this on, it may vary from the original format **
April 2019 has achieved two acolades, firstly it will go down in the weather archives for being the warmest Easter on record and secondly for being one of my busiest months so far! So grab yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and read on......
April consisted of six training sessions, a long weekend in Wales for the annual Motorrad Tour Leader training, an extended Easter weekend in Scotland on the bike with Kim, an appearance in RiDE Magazine, a customer IAM Masters test pass, 'Ride The Wolds' event, BikeSafe and a BMW customer ride out.....phew!
Lets start with Motorrad Tours, Tour Leader training. This years training took place between 4th and 8th in the Brecon Becons region.
On the morning of Thursday 4th, along with fellow Tour Leader Alf, we set off from Yorkshire on our bikes in glorious sunshine, the plan being to ride the M62 to Chester, drop into Wales, have lunch at the Ponderosa Cafe, before enjoying some of Wales finest roads north to south, to the training venue, simple. Things got off to a great start but started to go downhill as we reached the Welsh border. Soon the sunshine disappeared and the clouds gathered, rain turned to sleet and sleet turned to snow, the Horsehoe Pass and lunch at the Ponderosa became an impossibility and we ended up taking shelter in a cafe near to Corwen. Fortunately the weather finally abated and we continued to the destination, arriving 7 hours and 270 miles later.
The weekend was a mix of looking back at last years tours and all the tours for 2019 and 2020, learning about new tours and new locations as well as being updated on the BMW range of bikes for 2019. We also attended the opening of the new BMW dealership in Swansea and it was all rounded off with an 'adventure maintainance course' on the Monday. This covered lots of things from brake pad replacement, to puncture repairs and tyre changing and even how to 'pump out' a misfuelled bike.
All in all it was a great weekend and good to catch up with the whole Motorrad Tours Team.
So who trained with me in April? Well, there was Stuart on his GSA, (2 sessions), Ian on his Suzuki SV1000, Tony on his R1200GS, Steve E on his Harley and Steve VB on his R1200GS. Quite a mix of bikes and riders. Thank you to you all for booking with me and for all your positive feedback on your sessions, it's much appreciated.
On the 11th I had some great news, friend and customer Phil H had successfully passed his IAM Masters test, obtaining a Distinction in the process, a great achievement and very well deserved.
Phill came to me as part of the IAM pre-test Masters Mentoring scheme. Phil is the second customer who I have trained under this Masters scheme and I'm pleased to say it's 100% pass rate so far.
On 13th I attended my local RoSPA group for the weekly training sessions. It was a good turn out and I was there to conduct a pre-test assessment on one of the members as he makes his final preparations for his test.
On 14th I attended an event called 'Ride the Wolds', this was the second year for this event which had been organised by another local RoSPA group and was designed to give riders a free observed ride and hopefully encourage them to take up further post test training. I supported the event as 'Ian Speight Advanced Rider Training' but there were representitives from the IAM and RoSPA as well as local motorcycle dealers and suppliers. It was a really good day with all available riding slots filled.
The Ride The Wolds event also gave me a great chance to catch up with various people I'd not seen for some time, particularly Gareth from 5-Ways Motorcycle Centre and Tim and Andy from Miles Kingsport Honda, who have always been supportive of my rider training venture. All in all a really good day.
When this months RiDE magazine landed on my mat, I was pleased to see I'd managed to get another little mention in one of their features. Always nice to get a picture of the bike in a mag, especially if the pannier stickers are visible!
From the 18th to the 22nd Kim and I enjoyed a short bike tour to Scotland. We stayed in Edinburgh for the first night and then moved to Oban for 2 nights, (had a day riding on the Isle of Mull as we've never been before) before dropping down to Dumfries for the final night. We were really lucky with the weather and managed to cover somewhere in the region of 850 miles.
If you've never ridden in Scotland, you really should go, it has fantastic roads, amazing scenery and great hospitality.
Once back from Scotland it was planning for the final two events of the month, the first BikeSafe of 2019 for Humberside Police and the first customer ride out with Barrie Robson BMW Motorcycles of York, who very kindly invited me to lead their ride.
BikeSafe on the 27th was a very well attended event with 10 clients attending along with 4 police riders, myself and 5 other representatives from RoSPA and the IAM to conduct the on road assessments.
I was paired up with Chris on his BMW R1200RT and after a quick pre-ride briefing, we were out on to the roads of the Yorkshire Wolds for his riding assessment. Chris was a good rider who'd come to BikeSafe after a short winter break from riding and wanted to ensure he was up to speed for the season ahead.
BikeSafe is a government backed initiative, organised and run by local police forces, aimed at getting riders to take up post test training. Some forces don't charge anything, others charge a nominal fee. If you've never attended a BikeSafe event, you really should, check out the website for details of your nearest participating force. www.bikesafe.co.uk
And finally, the last event of the month was leading a customer ride out for Barrie Robson BMW Motorcycles of York. The team at BR BMW have been a great support to me over the last 15 months and I was very happy to take up their invitation to lead their customer ride.
It was the first ride out of the year and the weather was very kind, which resulted in 21 bikes and riders attending. The route was approximately 210 meandering miles around the Yorkshire Wolds, with stops for coffee and lunch, before finishing on the sea-front at Scarborough, where many icecreams were consumed to round off an excellent day.
Keep an eye on the Barrie Robson BMW website for details of future ride outs during 2019. www.barrierobsonmotorcycles.co.uk
And that my friends, rounds off a very busy April!
Thanks for reading and until next month......