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Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great Christmas and that you're all looking forward to 2020 and a whole new decade!
2019 has been another great year, I hope you enjoy this review.
I started the new year with a new bike! With the launch of the new R1250GS and GS Adventure I decided to make enquiries regards a change. My 2016 GSA was 30 months old with 33,000 miles on the clock but I couldn't quite get a deal I was totally happy with but did get offered a cracking deal on a pre-reg, zero miles 2018 GSA Rallye. The 2018 model has had some tweaks over my 2016 bike such as the gearbox, quick shifter, final drive, as well as ESA 2, hill start assist and the TFT dash. I collected my bike on the 4th February and quickly started to rack up the miles. It's taken me to Wales and Scotland as well as numerous other places around the UK. I went with a mate through France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and over the famous Grossglockner pass and Kim and I went through France, into Spain, played in the Pyrenees and then back through France. Other than having the rear wheel replaced at the 600 mile service due to loose spokes, the bike has been totally trouble free and the current mileage is just over 19000, which isn't bad going in 10 months.
Here's a few photos from those 19000 miles, starting with me collecting the new bike 4/2/19 from Barrie Robson BMW in York.
Can you guess where?
French side of the Pyrenees.
Top of the Stelvio Pass in the Alps.
Under the magnificent Millau Bridge, France.
Nearer to home at Ribblehead viaduct.
And of course, with all those miles came lots of cleaning!
During 2019 I conducted 41 training sessions involving 30 customers. The first session was with Jim on his BMW GS Adventure back in January and the last was with Jason on his (blue) GS Adventure in December.
I'd also like to mention two customers who both came from some distance away for their training. Dana travelled from the Reading area on her Street Triple in July and James came up from Southend on his F800R in August. They booked local B&Bs and combined their training with the chance to explore some of Yorkshires' great roads and scenery.
James has since swapped his F800 for a new R1250RS and is looking to become a Blood Biker.
It's fair to say that like last year, there was another great mix of customers and bikes. The full list of bikes is:
13 BMW - (2xGSs, 7xGSAs, S1000RR, R1200RT, F800GT, F800R)
4 Suzuki - (SV1000, GSF650, GSF750, RF900)
3 Honda - (VFR1200, 600 Hornet, CBR600)
3 Triumph - (Street Triple, Thunderbird, 900 Thruxton)
2 Harley Davidsons
1 Ducati (Multistrada)
1 Kawasaki (ZZR1400)
1 KTM (1290)
1 Yamaha (XJ600)
1 Aprillia (Shiver)
Most customers came for riding 'health checks' and for pointers to improve certain aspects of their riding but four customers did go on to pass their advanced tests. Phil (Ducati) passed the IAM Masters test obtaining a 'Distinction' (IAMs highest award) while Stuart (GSA), Craig (S1000RR) and Geoff (RF900) all passed their RoSPA tests successfully. A great achievement by all concerned.
Congratulations to Phil, Stuart, Craig and Geoff.
During 2019 I conducted several motorcycle tests as well as carrying out IAM Masters Mentoring. I also assisted at 15 training sessions with my local RoSPA group (where I am the Training Officer and a Tutor.)
On the subject of my RoSPA group, I again arranged the annual tutor training weekend to Scotland where 11 tutors attended and it was the usual mix of check rides, theory and general discussions on all things advanced riding. I've planned and arranged these training weekends for the last 4 years but despite organising 2019's weekend I wasn't actually able to go! Although I did manage to see them all off and spend some of the first days training with them. In 2020 we will be heading to Northumberland.
In 2019 I assisted Humberside Police to deliver some of their BikeSafe events. I’ve been doing this since BikeSafe started back in 2000 when I was a Police Motorcyclist. It really is a great initiative, aimed at giving riders an insight into advanced riding techniques and encouraging them to take further post test training.
During 2019 I was involved in 3 tours, the first was for customers of Bowker BMW Motorrad in Preston, which saw 30 riders head to Scotland covering approximately 1500 miles in the process. This was the second year I have worked on this tour and I am pleased to say I will be doing it again in 2020.
My second tour was to BMW Motorrad days in Germany in July. If you're a BMW fan and you've never been you really should put it on the bucket list.
In total there were about 50 customers who travelled with Motorrad Tours and whilst most used the tunnel, I was on North Sea Ferries with the 'Northern Contingent' of (L-R) Mike, Graham, me, Nigel and Dave.
My last tour of 2018 was to Annecy and the French Alps. I love the Alps, amazing scenery, great roads, I never get tired of going there.
I became a Tour Leader for Motorrad Tours back in 2016 and really enjoy the job which is completely separate and unconnected to my bike training. www.motorrad-tours.com
Barrie Robson BMW, York.
In 2019 I was able to continue my association with Barrie Robson BMW and enjoyed leading one of their summer customer ride outs. A 200 mile loop of the North York Moors followed by ice creams at the seaside.
Barrie Robson BMW also invited me to ride several new models in 2019 including the R1250RS, R1200R and the big one, the S1000RR!
I'm fairly familiar with the 1250 engine because I've ridden the 1250GS and GSA with Motorrad Tours so it was interesting to see how it compared in the RS and R. The RS is a sports tourer so you get some protection from the fairing and the R is totally 'naked' so gives you a more 'raw' experience. I suppose I liked the R the most as it was nearer to the S1000R I previously owned although in a slightly more forgiving and comfortable package.
Moving onto the S1000RR, what a motorcycle!! Having had sports bikes in the 90's and early 2000's I was really excited to ride it but also acutely aware that I'm not the same age or shape that I was 20 years ago! As I pulled away from Barrie Robson's I thought it might be a brief ride as I initially struggled to locate the foot pegs and at the same time realised that my rather portly waistline was resting on the petrol tank! However, I persevered and much to my surprise, rather than suffering, I started to feel more comfortable and confident. In the end I managed about 160 miles on the RR, it was fantastic and it didn't leave me with any aches or pains.
I look forward to more great experiences with the whole BR Team in 2020 and will continue to offer their customers a 10% discount off any training they book. www.barrierobsonmotorcycles.co.uk
Miles Kingsport Honda, Hull
Another great supporter has been Miles Kingsport Honda in Hull. I've known the guys at Miles's for over 25 years and had numerous bikes off them and although I am now riding a BMW, they always give me a warm welcome and I continue to offer their customers 10% discount off any training. www.mileskingsport.com
2019 saw me manage to get a mention in various publications throughout the year. My favourite was this article in MCN regarding owning my GSA for (almost) 1 year. I met the journalists at Cadwell Park, which is where the photos were taken.
I last popped up in MCN in the December 18th copy in their weekly 'First Bikes' feature, it was a photo of me on my first 'big bike', a CB900. Here's the original followed by the MCN photos.
Of course, not to be out done, here's Kim in MCN too!
Hopefully 2020 will see us both popping up here and there, so keep an eye out for us!
My Facebook page continues to grow, with the number of ‘likes’ currently at 888, not quite up to Kardashian numbers! but great all the same. It would be amazing to see it pass 1000 in 2020. I really appreciate everyone's support, FB is a great tool for any small business, it reaches so many people so quickly and also gives people the chance to ‘share’ posts around their own FB friends, family and groups. Please 'share' me again in 2020!
Looking towards 2020
I can only hope that 2020 turns out to be as good as 2018 and 2019. I will continue to work with RoSPA and the IAM and as a Tour Leader for Motorrad Tours and look forward to working with Humberside Police on their BikeSafe events.
Training wise, 2019 was a good match for 2018 and I'm pleased to say that I've already had lots of enquiries for 2020 and taken my first booking.
I would like to thank you all for your support, for the comments, likes and shares on FB, to the people who've seen me out and about and who came over for a chat and to those who booked and trained with me in 2019. It's been another great year and I've met some more fantastic people.
Last, but not least - The Gorgeous One
As always a special mention goes to my Fiance Kim, who supports me in everything I do. Kim shares my passion for motorcycling and we cover thousands of miles together each year.
I hope you enjoyed this 2019 review and I look forward to meeting you in 2020.