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  2. Look what I just won on the Demon Tweeks website - an amazing RST Blade II leather jacket and matching trousers! I never win anything normally. To be honest, I entered the competition and totally forgot about it until I received an email to congratulate me on my win. All I have to do now is shed the weight so they fit me ? ; you see, I purposely asked for a size too small for me as a reason to lose the pounds (well, stones really ? ). Demon Tweets regularly runs competitions - pop along to their website for an opportunity to win some grear prizes!
  3. The growth in our membership at has been slower than we planned. Therefore, we have decided to reach-out to the fine people of the Social Media world for help. How do you feel about helping us turbocharging the sign-up rate to our motorcycle ride out community? Your help would be very much appreciated. Simply share this post with all motorcyclists that you know, and ask them to do the same. Together we can make GlobalRideOuts a great resource for all avid bikers. Thanks for your help. Mike
  4. Having now completed the 3 Countries Advanced Motorcycle Course (May 2017), I thought it time to to let you know how things went and what I thought of it. The whole event started with an extra (free) day of training which was more about getting to know each other as well as getting an insight on how the process works; a taster day before the course started proper in the classroom on Sunday. Saturday 20th: Those that could attend, met at the McDonald's restaurant, Rhydycar Leisure Park, Merthyr Tydfil. After something to eat and/or drink, we were paired-up and assigned to an Instructor for a monitored ride around South / Mid Wales; returning to the same waypoint for a chat and debrief. Sunday 21st: The location for this was Driver Management Training Services (DMTS) in Aberbargoed. The whole day was dedicated to the theory side of advanced riding, and was based on the following publications Police Rider's Handbook - Roadcraft IAM Advanced Motorcycling, Essential Guide. “How to be a better Rider”. The Highway Code It was quite a long day and, if nothing else, demonstrated to us how little we knew or how far out of date we were. Tip: make sure you know what a STOP sign looks like and what you are required to do when faced with one. If you are unsure - ask Russell; I think he might know. On a serious note - make sure you have properly read and understand these publications before you attend the theory day. Monday 22nd: Our meeting & departure point for the first of the practical riding days was 07.30hrs at the McDonald’s restaurant, Rhydycar Leisure Park, Merthyr Tydfil. This was the start of a very long day's riding in small groups to the hotel in Scotland. The route took us up through Wales, the Lake District and into Scotland via Gretna Green. The weather was reasonable - right up to the motorway approach to the hotel when the heavens just opened; not great when you are still in leathers. Man - was I tired (and slightly damp)! Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th: These were spent pumping-out the miles around the Lochs and Mountains of Scotland. The roads are excellent and interesting riding; ideal for putting you to the test and allowing the Instructors to monitor your riding so they could offer constructive coaching on ways to improve. Whilst the weather wasn't the best, the views were still stunning! Thursday 25th: TEST DAY - For those of us that had elected to undergo the RoSPA (RoADAR), IAM and Enhanced Rider, this was crunch day. Weather wise - everything changed. The weather was amazing with wall to wall sunshine. I can only speak for myself but I totally enjoyed the experience. My examiners Bill (RoSPA) and Mike (IAM) were very professional but kind and encouraging. I would never have believed it, but I came away with a RoSPA Gold and an IAM Pass - thanks guys! Friday 26th: Whilst there were still some tests to be conducted, these were completed on the return to South Wales. Again - another amazing day weather wise. The return journey seemed to be quicker - it must be because we were going downhill to Wales! As with most courses, there are good points and not so good points, some of which I understand were 'discussed' with Andy Smith. The hotel was very nice, the food (breakfast & evening meal) were delicious, and the staff were excellent. Overall, if you want to really improve your riding (and yes, we all have room for improvement), and enjoy yourself doing so - contact Andy and book yourself on the next course as soon as possible. The Instructors know their stuff and are very keen to help. The students were from very diverse backgrounds and it was a pleasure to spend the week with you all. All the best and be safe.
  5. This post is really a follow-on from my previous post. When it comes to making a claim on your motor insurance, it can often be a confusing and intimidating process. The result is often that you don't get what you are entitled to or feel your vehicle is worth. As in the case of my Suzuki GSXR1000 K5, the insurance company will try to enforce their own internal policies / rules upon you. For example, they will try to apply a Total Loss judgement (based on something like 50 - 60% of the market value) when all you want to do is get your vehicle repaired and back on the road! My claims process was not proving to be an easy one, and the insurance handler was making it as awkward and difficult as possible. Obviously, I was not happy with this at all. So I started searching on Google for information on the claims process and came across a great guy called Tim Kelly. Tim is the Director of a company called Motor Claim Guru. He is a highly qualified Independent Engineer with 20 years experience as an Engineering Assessor of damaged vehicles. He sits on the Council of the Institute of Automotive Engineering Assessors. He also has an expert knowledge of the claims process from start to finish, the law relating to it and is also recognised in court as a qualified and experienced professional witness. Tim's website ( ) is packed with useful information and advice should you wish to navigate the claim by yourself. - and it's FREE. However, in my opinion, you should just contact him directly through the website, explain your situation, and he will advise you on whether or not it would be of value to hire his services. To be honest, he puts in far more work than the fee covers. The outcome that Tim was able to negotiate was far beyond what I thought possible or expected. If I or my family ever need to claim again, I will not hesitate to contact him again. Cheers Tim...the motoring consumer AND insurance industry needs more people like you!
  6. In mid-February of this year, I learned a painful lesson about the dangers of listening to your heart rather than your head. Rewind to late summer of last year (2016), when I had the opportunity to buy a beautiful condition (basically as new) Suzuki GSXR 1000 K5 which had only completed 871 miles (and still only has 2354 miles). Although I hadn't ridden it a huge amount by February 2017, I had certainly learned to love this bike. Not only had I ridden it on the road but I also used it for Levels 3 and 4 of the California Superbike School training on the Stowe Circuit, Silverstone, and loved every minute of it! Fast-forward to February 2017 again... I was invited out for a ride around South/Mid Wales with a bunch of friends. I tentatively agreed to go the next morning. Unfortunately, the night before the ride, I had a lousy night's sleep and was feeling shattered when it came to ride-time. However, it was a beautiful morning and the forecast for the day was looking good, so I decided to go anyway (besides, my wife was suggesting it would probably make me feel better - who refuses an opportunity like that? ). Anyway, we all met at a well known bikers' cafe and after about 15 minutes we hit the road toward the West; the ride was a spirited one and was going well right-up until I approached a certain, nondescript roundabout. There was nothing difficult about the approach road or the junction with the roundabout itself (other than a slightly poor patch of tarmac) and should have been no problem at all. Unfortunately, the results were not as to be expected! What went wrong? Well, it's difficult to say for sure but, according to my fellow riders and my own recall of events, as I approached the roundabout, a small family car (on the roundabout) was approaching the same junction that I was. So, rather than just go straight out, I hesitantly decided to allow the vehicle to pass first; I was only travelling at about 30mph by this point so could easily slow enough to let it go. As I did so, the rear wheel locked, came out to the right and, because I had some left lean angle on by this point, the bike and I low-sided on to the left with me smacking my head hard on the road as we both slid toward the centre verge of the roundabout. Not only was a lot of damage done to the left side of the bike as it hit the inner curb, but I was temporarily knocked-out; writing-off a £400 helmet at the same time! Thankfully I was wearing a good set of leathers as well, so no further damage was done (other than bruising). That said, the smack to the head resulted in serious concusion for about 6 weeks. What lesson did I learn from this event? Had I listened to my head that was telling me I was too tired to go riding, none of this, or the resulting pain of an insurance claim, would have happened, and I would still have the bike in the beautiful original condition it was when I found it. Because I was so tired (made worse by the long hot ride) there is no doubt in my mind that I would have reacted properly to the locking of the back wheel. Rather than the whole thing becoming a surreal moment, unable to realise the need to release the brake pressure just enough to recover from the lock, therefore avoiding the consequences, it was as if I was just a passenger, unable to do a thing to help! Human Factors, such as tiredness, dehydration, hunger etc. are ignored at our own peril. No matter how much training we have had or how good we are (think we are), we can all be caught-out by such things, which can totally ruin your day. Although I have since completed intense advanced rider training with 1st Class Rider, resulting in a RoSPA (RoADAR) Gold award and an IAM pass, I now realise that if I don't heed the warnings I am given, all that training is meaningless and I would be as likely as anyone else to make a mistake while riding.
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