T.U.G Web Feb 2020

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Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group

February 2020

Welcome to T.U.G. Dear Members, The meat of this issue is an article by Mike O’Dwyer which first appeared in T.U.G nearly 20 years ago, and was reprinted in 2004. It is still a most enjoyable read and completely relevant. We have yet another plea from Richard Parker for ride leaders, as this will be his last year in the Full Member Ride role. We may well end up looking back on it as a Golden Era if nobody steps in. John Murphy introduces to the delights of the Burgman, and its CVT belt transmission, and the Events Report is a bit thin this issue, despite valiant attempts to pad it out. I am off to New Orleans at the end of March, so the copy date for the April issue is an early 16th March, 2020. Please send me some copy! Chris

Chairman’s Piece


Richard’s Plea


Test Passes


Membership Info


New Members


Training Team News


Pride Takes a Fall …


Membership Form


Dates for the Diary


Picture Gallery


Two Years and 42k


Events Report


Observer Profile


Further Training


Editor (TUG@eamg.org.uk)

What’s happening next?

Log into www.eamg.org.uk, then

Runs and Rides Forum

And follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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CHAIRMAN’S PIECE February 2020

The New Year is turning out to be a mild one, the first full member ride had a great turnout of 22 bikes, with food at the Wetherspoons in Thetford. I had a great day, blowing away a few cobwebs. Disappointingly last year we had some people attend the full member rides who had not renewed their membership. I’ll be a lot more visible on rides this year and will be keeping an eye out for any non-members. As full member rides are not open to guests everyone attending needs to be a paid up member. 2020 membership is now due and you can now set up a standing order to auto renew so no excuses! Rant over! Chris Johnson begins another year as editor of T.U.G. please make 2020 the year you write an article. He does a great job with our magazine and I am thankful for his efforts. We still have room for advertisers, if you or anyone you know have a business you would like to promote to other members the cost for the year is £100 for a full page or £60 for a half. The website attracts many subscribers to the newsletter and our face book page is growing in strength so T.U.G. is also seen by many who are not members.

We have a strong committee working well with the training team, all give their time voluntarily to make this group the success it is. My


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thanks go to all. I’m really pleased that all are happy to carry on in their positions; however Suzy would like to hand over the merchandise role if anyone has a few hours to spare to boost our corporate presence! And we always have room for new members with new ideas. Committee meetings are bi-monthly and held Asda Chelmer Village on the second Wednesday each month and all members are welcome. Lastly a reminder that associate and full members attending AGT observed rides will now be contributing towards the Observer costs. £10 will be handed over at registration desk on arrival. The observer will claim expenses from the group, but putting the money through the club’s funds ensures we can claim gift aid.

Wishing all of you a safe and enjoyable 2020

Congratulations to Maz Merrygold on winning the Jane Wilson Trophy.

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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Well in spite of TUG articles in February and December 2018 (reproduced below) yet another year has passed and I am still doing the rides! I've introduced a second ride each month from May to October to encourage more ride leaders but still no one has offered to take over the role. This will be my last year so unless someone steps up these regular Sunday outings will be a thing of the past. It is not a difficult task - just find an eating place look at map and plot a route there and back - you could even use sat nav!!! or I could give you a wodge of envelopes..............Richard




Ben Reeves

3rd December 2019 RoSPA Gold Observer: Richard Parker Examiner: Mick Jones

Julian Jones

17th January 2020 RoSPA Silver Observer: Phil Jones & Neil Bullock Examiner: Mick Jones

Paul Cardin 19th December 2019 EAMG Observer Observer: Richard Parker Assessor: John Tullett

Roger Moore

11th October 2019 RoSPA Gold Observer: Graham Cooper Examiner: Mick Jones

Terry Hale 24th January 2020 RoSPA Silver Observer: Geoff Preston Examiner: Mick Jones

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Membership Information Dear Members & Prospective Members, The membership form is on the website or page 22 if you wish to join or if you are renewing.

Also please remember to spread the word about EAMG, recommendation is such a valuable tool and current members are always the best advocates for what a good group this is. The membership appears to dip in the first quarter because renewals have not all been made promptly! The membership figures given below are as in the last T.U.G. since renewals dribble in during January, and the current figure is not representative

Membership Fees for 2020 

New Associate Members


Associate Member Renewal


Full Member Renewal


Social Member


Full Member Training


(For more information on Full Member Training see page 42) This is in addition to the Full Member Fee















Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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New Members

Associate Members: Vipul Miskra Tracey Comfort Full Members: Allan Phenix Teri Olley

Andrei Dumitru

Chris Olley Ian Comfort

The editor has viewing access to the membership database and hopes he has not missed too many people this time., or got their names too badly wrong. Sometimes it was not clear (to my old eyes) if a new member joined as a full member. Please accept my apologies if any of the above have the wrong status,

We wish you all heartily welcome to the Group, and hope that you can take full advantage of the wide range of training and social events which we offer, We all aim to be, not just better riders, but happy better riders!


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Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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TRAINING TEAM NEWS John Tullett Training Team Update Since the last issue of TUG Paul Carden has passed his Observer test with me, having completed his Observer training in record time with Richard Parker. After nine years of active observing Andy Hems has also stepped down as an Observer. Many thanks to Andy for the time and commitment he put into helping to train other Group members. New Online Training Feedback Form Hopefully you will have found your training with the Group beneficial? You might even consider that there are aspects of EAMG's training that could be developed further? Either way we would really like to hear from members and we have a new online Training Feedback facility that can be accessed directly from the Group's home page at www.eamg.org.uk This new online Training Feedback form has been developed by Group member Stephen Fletcher using Google Forms and it offers a simple fully automated alternative to the old paper based feedback form. We hope that this new facility will help to encourage members to make their views known to the Training Team so please check it out and give it a try. Obviously you can still talk to any of the Observers face to face if you would prefer! Herts Biker Down Courses & Air Ambulance Donation Following on from the two EAMG Biker Down courses run by Tony Smith on 26th October and 23rd November, the Group were able to make a £440 donation to the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance charity. This total was made up of £280 in donations from the courses and an additional £160 raised by Jill selling donated motorcycle equipment online.


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Tony Smith has kindly offered to arrange another Biker Down course for EAMG in 2020 if there is sufficient demand? We need somewhere between 12-16 individuals to reserve a date. If you are interested please e-mail me via training@eamg.org.uk Alternatively, if you are happy to attend a general Herts Biker Down course then email your details to bikerdown@hertfordshire.gov.uk and you will be contacted as soon as a space becomes available. Associate Group Training (AGT) Our first AGT of the year will be held on Sunday, 9th February (weather permitting?) at the usual venue of Longmeads House, 12-14 Redwood Drive, Writtle, Chelmsford, CM1 3LY. As Jill explained in December TUG's Chairman's Piece a ÂŁ10.00 charge is being introduced for Associate & Full members wishing to participate in an observed ride at AGTs, to be collected when you sign on.

For the benefit of any new members the format of the AGT is: 09: 30 - A Roadcraft talk for approximately 20 minutes. This month Senior Observer Assessor John Tipper will be our speaker with Richard Parker as supervisor. then either: OPTION A: - Associates and Full Members signed up for Further Training for Full Members (FTFM) will be able to participate in an Observed ride. Individuals should arrive by 09: 15 at the latest, to get signed in before the Roadcraft talk commences. Please also ensure that your bike has a full tank of fuel. If you are considering joining EAMG for additional training you are welcome to attend as a Guest, at no charge, to check us out. You will be asked to sign a disclaimer to confirm that you have a valid driving license and relevant insurance. If you have any questions you would like answered beforehand please e-mail me via: training@eamg.org.uk o


OPTION B: - Full members will also have the option of attending a social ride.

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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You will be able to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at Longmeads House if you wish, for a modest fee of £1. EAMG Membership

This is not strictly related to training but, as annual subscriptions run for the calendar year, I wanted to include a gentle reminder that you should have renewed for 2020 by now. The good news is that a standing order option has just been introduced, which will allow you to pay now and then automatically renew your membership on 1st January each year. Once your standing order has been set up you will no longer be required to fill out a membership form every year (unless your personal details or gift aid preferences change).

EAMG's account details follow below. Please remember when setting up a standing order it is important to use a reference (your surname and postcode) to help us to identify your payments. Account name: Sort Code: Account Number: Bank name and address: Reference:

Essex Advanced Motorcyclists Group Ltd 30-96-94 00791646 Lloyds Bank Ltd, 78 High Street, Rayleigh, SS6 7EB


Membership fees are as follows:    

Full Member £25 Further Training for Full Members (FTFM) £45 New Associate Member £55 Renewal Associate Member £40

BMW Club Track Days With spring in the air your thoughts might well be turning towards booking up a track day or two? Well if they are, the Riding Perfection days organised by the BMW Club are likely to be a good place to start. There is no need for you to ride a BMW, as long as you have a road legal bike that will be fine. These days are usually very popular and they could well be fully booked fairly soon after you read this!


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Here is an abridged copy of a message recently forwarded by Robert Bensley, who organises these events: " Hi everyone, I'm now taking entries for the 2020 BMW Club road bike only track days. They are most suitable for beginners, for experienced riders they are well

behaved days! You will see I am trying to follow on from Mondays into the Tuesday as a 2 day event, you may enter the Tuesdays if you do not require the instruction, or both days.

I am pleased to say the BMW Club bike dates for 2020 are confirmed, they are 18/ 19 May at Cadwell, 29/ 30 June at Cadwell and 24/ 25 August at Snetterton, you will see that they are Mondays with the option of Tuesdays as well, rather than make this a long message please email me (via robertbensley@btinternet.com ) for exact details.

You may remember in 2019 these days were fully booked at the beginning of February, basically if I get enough response I can run 6 days in 2020. I now have the forms, the prices will be ÂŁ150 for the Mondays and ÂŁ140 for the Tuesdays. There will be continental events again next year, details of the Nurburgring courses, Gully Racing, Bikersdays and the Stephane Mertens riding school available on request. Don't forget Neil and Ann Leigh at aeaventures for a short or long break in the Ardenne, close to the 'Ring' and Spa Francorchamps. Thanks for reading, Robert Bensley." In a subsequent update from Robert he has advised that the bike days are filling well but he needs to receive sufficient numbers of completed entry forms before he is able to sign the final contract to book the Tuesday dates. I also spoke to Richard Judd at Richard Parker's January Full Member social ride and it sounds like most of the BMW Club Instructors will be attending on the Mondays & Tuesdays so there could well be access to tuition on both days. ---ooo0ooo---

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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Should any members have any training related queries then please contact me via e-mail to training@eamg.org.uk , or on 07570 992801 or speak to the most relevant member of the Training Team.


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Pride Takes a Fall Mike O’Dwyer Forward by John Tipper Ever considered becoming an Observer? Mick O’Dwyer was one of our Founder Members of EAMG’s Training Team when the Group became independent. He was one of the first Senior Observer Assessors and a contributor to the Group’s Training Manual. Sadly Mick’s wife fell ill and I believe they both moved to France. Mick was a RoSPA Diploma holder. He was a great guy and a superb rider with a smooth and flowing style but his progression didn’t come easily. This article first appeared in the Group magazine in February 2001. Sandra Murphy’s inspiring foreword in TUG, December 2004, summarises her experiences when training with Mick but Mick’s superb article speaks for itself and is well worth another entry.

(Foreword by Sandra Murphy) This article first appeared in the Group magazine back in February 2001, which was at the time I joined EAMG. I was especially interested in it though as Mike took me for my first observed ride when I attended my first AGT. I was crap and had a lot to learn, but Mike has a special way about him which left me feeling extremely positive and eager to learn more. Since this article Mike has continued to go from strength to strength with his riding. He is now a ROSPA Diploma holder, went on to become a Senior Observer with EAMG and ultimately became a Senior Observer Tester for the Group. Mike and the article have inspired me to train to become an Observer with the Group, and at times when my Senior says “No one said it was going to be easy”, I reread Mike’s article and realise everyone goes through the same process. Hopefully it will help other Trainee Observers and, who knows, maybe even some Associates who want to give something back to the Group after passing their test. Mike’s hard work and dedication show what can be achieved thanks Mike. —–ooo000ooo—– There was an advantage to being brought up on a council estate in the fifties and sixties. The local police officers used to inhabit section houses on the same estate, and we would see each other on a regular basis. They would cycle to work, and we would walk to school, and inevitably a mutual respect and friendliness was built up in

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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passing. The policeman who stepped out in front of me one lazy summer afternoon in 1964 was gigantic, and unsmiling. I remember this giant in black gabardine, one huge hand clad in a black leather gauntlet, the other hand pointing to the kerb. I recognised him, he recognised me. Justice was great in those days. Scrumping (theft of apples from orchards) was frowned upon, and a terrifying, verbal warning was issued by the local plod. Breaking windows in derelict buildings was more serious, and some lads were ‘had up’ in front of the local magistrates for this heinous crime. Aged nine, I was caught smoking, and was marched home by a policeman. The pain he inflicted on my left ear was nothing compared to the pain inflicted by Dad when the copper had gone. Back to the monster in gabardine. “Oh, it’s you. And just what do you think you’re doing?” “What do you mean?” The picture of innocence, me. “That’s not your motorbike is it?” “No, it’s my Mum’s.” This part was true. “Does she know you’re riding it?” “Course she does. I’m testing it for her.” This part wasn’t true. “How old are you? “Eleven.” There followed what would now only be classed as harassment, brutality and abuse on a grand scale. I don’t particularly remember the lecture, because tears were welling up in my eyes, my face felt as though it was on fire and I had begun to shake uncontrollably. “Well, you can take the bike back home to your mother” he stormed. “If you’re big enough and stupid enough to ride it on the road, you’re big enough to push it back home. Next time you feel all grown up, do what the other kids do, and ride something over the tip.” So we did. And that was the start of my becoming an Observer for the Group. We rode bikes all summer long. They were old Bantams that had seen better days. Franny-Barnetts that had been consigned to the tip, only to be resurrected by the ingenuity of youth. We rode them to death; then consigned them to the pond. No licence, no helmet, no need. Brilliant days, the sixties. A James, a Honda 175, a Norton Commando, Honda 750, BMW R80RT, Kawasaki Z1300, all preceded the responsibility of children. The bikes went, for a long time. A need dormant, but not extinguished! Family all sorted, time to go back to biking, and I stumbled on the Group. I had been a professional driver for a large part of my career in the Fire Service. I had driven fire engines up to 22 tons, and had obtained my IAM Advanced Certificate in both the Private and Commercial vehicle lasses. Boy, was I good! Dr Derek Davis was my Observer, and he put me right from the very outset. My pride took a dent, but I eventually took the Advanced Motorcycle Test and passed. Pride restored. Derek thought I may have a little potential and suggested that I might like to think about becoming an Observer for the Group. Why not? After all, I had driven vehicles on the blue light on thousands of occasions, and


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passed my advanced bike test and, let’s face it, I was good, really good. The badges proved it, didn’t they? I met Steve Shortis for the first time on 1st April, 2000. The date was a dead giveaway. I had to show him my skills on an assessment ride before I could begin my Observer training. “So, you want to be an Observer. Can you tell me why?” I’d thought about this, and replied that it was something in the genes. Mum had been a nurse, and would go off to work on her bike when I was a kid. I was a serving fireman (sorry, fire-fighter), and I enjoyed helping others. I’d had bikes, and seen all too often the result of bad driving and riding. I’d picked up the bits. If I could prevent an accident by becoming an Observer, then that would be good. ouldn’t it? I felt like a prat, but I meant what I’d said. Convinced of my commitment we began the assessment ride. I was great. Info, position, speed, gear and acceleration. I loved it. Mr Shortis didn’t. He stopped me. “You Ok?” “Yeah” “What do you think of it so far, Mike?” “Great, Steve. I’m really enjoying it.” “I’m glad you are. “What do you mean?” “Your riding. It’s so boring.” “WHAT?” “Your riding. It’s crap.” “No, it’s not.” “It is. Let me explain.” It was like that copper all those years ago. No tears this time, but I was getting a bit flushed, not with fear, but with anger. I had f***ed my assessment. Yes, FAILED. Poor positioning, late positioning, downright incorrect positioning. Pre-overtake lacked everything. Lots of missed opportunities. Speed limits, imprecise. Riding with the manual in one hand, the front brake in the other. And so on, and on, and on. And on. My pride had been severely dented, my ego destroyed. I went home and vowed to sell the bike. Better than that, I’d give it away. After all, I couldn’t ride it. It wasn’t fun. This negativity lasted all of two hours. The next step? Think about what had been said to me, contact Dr Derek, and get things sorted. I wasn’t offended at being told that my riding was crap; I tend to be a bit blunt myself sometimes, and being a good judge of character, Steve had gauged his language to me in a way that would have the desired effect. I was being told that my riding was adequate for a person who had taken the IAM test, but as a potential trainee Observer, it was severely lacking. Fair enough. My first lesson as a potential trainee Observer. You can’t treat everybody in exactly the same way, in spite of what the PC zealots might have you believe. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another person, and language and communication skills are an important weapon in the Observer’s armoury. My next assessment ride took place on 5th June 2000. Mr

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Shortis demonstrated. I tried to keep up. We swapped, and he followed me. Very closely. We stopped and talked about things, formally debriefed the ride, and he told me that he would assign me to Observer Training, but that I still had a lot to do if I was to demonstrate the high standards that are required of Observers. So I did it. I rode thousands of miles, practising what I had been shown. I went out with another Senior Observer, I studied Roadcraft, The Highway Code and Know Your Road Signs. I spoke to other Observers in other Groups. I attended every AGT that I could and Observed guest riders and Associates. I was permitted to go out with two Associates on some occasions, all under the watchful eye of a Senior Observer. In the back of my mind I had to remember that the standard that I had to demonstrate was one which would leave the Senior Observers confident that I could keep a ride in control. I had ample opportunity to demonstrate this on the evening of 20th June 2000. Rush hour. I had met an Associate and the Senior Observer at Passingford Bridge. The evening was ideal for riding, and I had chosen a route that would take us back through Ongar, on to Dunmow and out to Maldon. It’s worth mentioning that as a trainee Observer, you may be given a briefing by your Senior Observer that will give you some idea of the Associate’s ability. It is then your responsibility to select a route that will get the best out of the Associate. Long routes are not necessarily the best; a systematic fault, unless corrected, will occur on routes of three miles or 300 miles. My route on this particular evening was going to permit the Associate to demonstrate safety, smoothness, a ride that was systematic with good progress. Introductions and comprehensive briefing complete, we set off. The first four miles were progressive to say the least. The first three overtakes were good. Just what I needed. A lovely evening, a seasoned rider on a fast machine; this was going to be a good ride. After an “exhilarating” ride to Ongar, we hit the Fyfield Road – not quite literally, you understand, but – well, read on. Things began to hot up. The pace went from progressive to ballistic. The speed was way above the legal limit, and the overtake which did it for me is etched on my memory forever. Left-hander ahead, trees and bushes in full bloom on both sides of the road give a severely limited view into a bend, let alone out of it. Target vehicle approaching the bend at a speed that would make it extremely dangerous to attempt an overtake – you’ve guessed it. An overtake from the following position, accelerating towards a rapidly closing gap, into a blind left-hander. I’ll always remember four things about the overtake: • The colour of the Ford Probe that came out of the bend as the Associate was level with the target vehicle. • The size of the gap between the offside front quarter of the Probe and the Associate’s right leg. • The look on the face of the Probe’s male driver, and • The realisation that I had to do something about the situation. I had to regain control, before somebody, probably the Associate, was injured. Say no more. (Continued on page 30)


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All Full Member Rides will leav e Sainsburys Springfield, Ch elmsford

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2020 Tuesday, 7th Sunday, 12th Sunday, 19th

Group Night - Natter Night Richard's Full Member Ride Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride

Sunday, 2nd Tuesday, 4th Sunday, 9th Sunday, 23rd

Richard's Full Member Ride Group Night - AGM Associate Group Training (AGT) Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride

Sunday, 1st Tuesday, 3rd Sunday, 8th Sunday, 15th Sunday, 22nd Sunday, 29th

Richard's Full Member Ride Group Night— Triumph Lings? Associate Group Training (AGT) Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride Observer Peer to Peer Ride (2001) Associate/Full Member Training (AMT/FMT 2001)

Sunday, 5th Tuesday, 7th Saturday, 11th Sunday, 12th Tuesday, 21st Sunday, 26th

Richard's Full Member Ride Group Night Super Sausage Run Associate Group Training (AGT) Bob's Midweek Ride - TBC Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride

Sunday, 3rd Tuesday, 5th Sunday, 10th Sunday, ??? Sunday, 17th Tuesday, 19th Sunday, 24th Sunday, 31st

Richard's Full Member Ride Group Night — KTM Associate Group Training (AGT) Essex Motorcycle Show, North Weald Observer Peer to Peer Ride (2002) Bob's Midweek Ride - TBC Associate/Full Member Training (AMT/FMT 2002) Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride

Tuesday, 2nd Sunday, 7th Sunday, 14th Sunday, 14th Tuesday, 16th Sunday, 28th

Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Slow Riding Day Richard's Full Member Ride Bob's Midweek Ride - TBC Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride

Sunday, ?5?th Sunday, 5th Tuesday, 7th Sunday, 12th

Maldon Motor Show Richard's Full Member Ride Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT)







Observer Peer to Peer Ride (2003) Bob's Midweek Ride - TBC Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride Associate/Full Member Training (AMT/FMT 2003)

August Richard's Full Member Ride Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride Bob's Midweek Ride - TBC Audrey & John's Cotswolds Ride (to be confirmed) Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Essex Air Ambulance Run/Show Richard's Full Member Ride Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride Bob's Midweek Ride - TBC Slow Riding Day Observer Peer to Peer Ride (2004) Copdock Show Richard's Full Member Ride Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Associate/Full Member Training (AMT/FMT 2004) Bob's Midweek Ride - TBC Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride Richard's Full Member Ride Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Bob's Midweek Ride - TBC Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride Group Night - Xmas Quiz Associate Group Training (AGT) Richard's Full Member Ride Mick & Alan’s Associate/Member Ride

Diary 20 20

Sunday, 2nd Tuesday, 4th Sunday, 9th Sunday, 16th Tuesday, 18th Sunday, 23rd September Tuesday, 1st Sunday, 6th Sunday, 13th Sunday, 13th Sunday, 13th Tuesday, 15th Sunday, 20th Sunday, 27th October Sunday, 4th Sunday, 4th Tuesday, 6th Sunday, 11th Sunday, 18th Tuesday, 20th Sunday, 25th November Sunday, 1st Tuesday, 3rd Sunday, 8th Tuesday, 17th Sunday, 22nd December Tuesday, 1st Sunday, 6th Sunday, 13th Sunday, 20th

Group Nigh ts @ 19 : 30 , AGTs @ 9 : 15 am

Sunday, 19th Tuesday, 21st Sunday, 26th Sunday, 26th

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Picture Gallery ■ Picture Gallery ■ Picture


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Gallery ■ Picture Gallery ■ Picture Gallery

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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Adrenaline on the surge, but careful not to red-mist, I overtook the same target vehicle at the earliest opportunity. Road clear ahead, Associate is now the target vehicle. Time to stop for a serious chat. Mirror check, abort overtake, I’m now a target vehicle. The Senior Observer has beaten me to it. That’s why he’s a Senior Observer. He block overtakes both me and the Associate, and pulls into a lay-by. “OK, everyone? Good. Mike, debrief, please.” Cool as a cucumber. I debriefed the situation to the Associate, then gave an account of my own actions to the Senior Observer. The lesson here is that I had realised that a ride was getting out of control, and had demonstrated the ability to contend with the situation. This was just one extreme situation that had to be dealt with during Observer training. Had my own riding not been taken apart prior to my commencing as a trainee Observer, I very much doubt that I would have coped with this potentially lethal situation. There’s always a funny side, though. In the heat of the situation, I had forgotten about Steve Shortis, who was observing me. Having realised that there was the possibility of the ride going “belly-up”; he had the overall responsibility to restore normality. Picture the situation in your own mind. A blur as the Associate, travelling at 80mph+ nearly wipes himself out, the target vehicle and the oncoming vehicle, a trainee Observer who needs to extract his digit and resolve the situation, and a Senior Observer travelling at similar high speed through the Essex countryside. This really showed me how important it was to concentrate, and to expect more than the unexpected. As an Observer, I would need to consider my own safety, the safety and riding of Associates and of other road users. Each Associate I went out with had to be debriefed at the end of the ride and a written debrief statement completed. My communication skills were honed, my riding was pushed outside my own comfort zone, thanks to the skills of Steve Shortis, and my confidence grew, until I was ready for my Observer Test. Or so I thought. It was 31st July, almost four months to the day after starting my training, and boy, was I good! The test starts with a question and answer session, conducted by, you’ve guessed – a copper! “So, what do you do for a living, then?” Proudly puff out chest, fix broadest smile and reply, “I’m a fireman”. “Oh, right. Trumpton, eh?” “Er, yeah. What do you do?” “I’m a traffic policeman. Let’s get these questions out of the way, shall we?” I’m getting flushed again. The questions provoked discussion, not argument you understand, just discussion. The session lasted about 30 minutes and confident with my performance in that area, we rode off up the A130. I should have stayed in bed that day. We did about 35 miles, and at the end of the ride I was asked

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how I thought I had done. During my reply the Chief Senior Observer, ungauntleted by now, was making copious notes. I’d had my say. Now he had his. I knew when his notes reached the bottom of the A4 sheet, that I had f***ed again. I was still crap. No doubt about it. Crap. Go home. Sell the bike. Better still, take a sledgehammer to it. Back to square one. I went home and analysed the effort that had gone into this disastrous test. Not my own effort, but that of others. I tried to calculate the hours of coaching that I had received and the disruption that had been tolerated by my family, and the families of others in their attempts to get me up to standard. I thought of the hours of reading and riding that I had done. All for nothing. I wasn’t good enough. “Steve. It’s Mike.” “How did you get on?” “I don’t think I did very well.” “Go on. What happened?” So I told him. All of it. Every single, minor error. I mentioned the stupid, idiotic, imbecilic mistakes that I had made. The lack of proper bend assessment, the lack of creativity, the hesitancy, the swooping, and the complete and utter cockup at a roundabout in Maldon. I mentioned the dangerous overtake just for good measure. “Don’t worry. We’ll sort it”. Yeah, right. I had been Fry’d, and I knew it. It was back to the drawing board again. We analysed the Examiner’s sheet, and condensed it into three areas of improvement. Then we worked on them – together. My confidence restored, it was time to try again. November 30th, almost nine months after I had set myself up for Observer training. Nine months after I had committed others and myself to hours and hours of time, and money. This was it. It was a particularly horrendous day, weather-wise. It was sunny and raining at the same time. The wind was about force six. Gusting seven. The roads were everything from dry to greasy, debris-strewn and pot-holed to clear. The first test had taken five hours from start to finish. I was prepared for a marathon again. I’d even packed sandwiches, enough for me at least. I met the monster again. If he got hungry he could eat a child or two. No questions and answers, but a discussion on what I had learnt from our last outing, and what I had done to improve my riding. We did it all. Slow riding, dual carriageways, Broads, overtakes galore. I loved it. We stopped and discussed my progress so far, and then we rode again, harder this time. At the end of the session, I felt drained. We finally stopped, and again the whole ride was subjected to a postmortem examination. Would I be gutted, again? Fry’d to a crisp? Did that late braking incident mean that I had to do it all again? Had I done anything dangerous? Would my pride be shattered once again? There followed a debrief of the whole ride in the most minute detail. Things that had happened aeons ago, and which I had hoped he wouldn’t notice, were dredged up before me. It struck me that Judgement Day would be like this. Stuff that I had long forgotten about

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would be brought to the forefront of my consciousness, prior to that Final Judgement. What a memory this man possessed! “I’ve got no problem with you Observing. See you at Group night. Keep learning”, he said. That was it. I’d done it. I’d just become an Observer with EAMG. Like the man said, there is still much to learn, but I’m extremely proud of what I have achieved, not only in terms of motorcycling, but in what I have learned about others, and myself. The Senior Observers, and especially the former Observer Co-ordinator Steve Shortis, demonstrated a commitment to the Group, and to me, that I have never witnessed before, not even in an organisation uch as the Fire Service. The standards that they set are high, but not unattainable, with a bit of effort. EAMG Observers even got a mention in the latest edition of the IAM Magazine, which stated that they are a dedicated bunch, and the only group in the country to meet in the rather baronial surroundings of a golf club. So, do you want to become an Observer? I speak from recent experience when I advise that you will need to swallow your pride, and face up to your weaknesses, whatever they might be. It may be in your riding, in your inter-personal skills, your communication skills, your presentation skills or your knowledge. If you do take the plunge, in return you will receive the very best coaching that is available from a group of highly motivated and dedicated people, and in turn you will be able to put something back into the Group. I have four Associates at the moment. The reward of all this work for me is to be able to impart or demonstrate a technique which makes a positive difference to an Associate’s riding. That technique may go some way to improving the Associate’s riding so that they can achieve a good pass at the Advanced test, and they may be so impressed that they may wish to contribute their skills to the Group and become an Observer. Go on – give it a go. It’s only your pride that may be dented, not your bike. Have fun.

Editor: I think this is Mike 15 years ago. Memory is so frail.


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Two Years and 42,000 Miles on a Suzuki Burgman 650 John Murphy I have been riding since 1966 and have always owned at least one bike during that time. Since 2007 I have been a self-employed motorcycle courier, initially on my 1300 Pan European, but, since December 2017 on a Suzuki Burgman 650. Why, you may ask, a Suzuki Burgman? Well, my last Pan, which I had bought new in December 2009 began to misbehave in 2017. By this time, I had covered 175,000 miles on it and was hoping to get to, at least, 200k but events conspired against us. A mysterious misfire developed which proved impossible to resolve. It was intermittent, only happening after a period of low-speed running, in heavy London traffic for example, and became worse and more frequent through the year. At its worst it made the bike almost unrideable and put heavy strain on the clutch and transmission. Despite the best efforts of the guys at Essex Honda, neé Hadlers and soon to become Chelmsford City Motorcycles, the fault could not be resolved and I began to think about replacing the Pan. At first, I was minded to get another Pan, they are great bikes and suit me well. I could have found a lowmileage one or even an unregistered ‘new’ Pan (Honda stopped production in 2012) but, having ridden nothing but Pans since 2005, I thought it was time for a change. The number one criterion for me was no chain drive. I dislike exposed chains; in fact, I have ridden only shaft-drive bikes since 1991. In that time, having covered 380,000 miles on three bikes (one Yamaha XJ900F and two Pans), I have had no problems with final drives and my total maintenance has been changing the oil in the drive at the requisite intervals. I wonder how many times I would have had to adjust and lubricate a chain and change chain and sprockets over that sort of mileage? So, a new bike, not chain-driven. Hmmm, not much choice really and certainly not in the Suzuki range for which Chelmsford City are a dealer. I didn’t fancy a BMW, the 1400 Kawasaki had a too-sporty riding position for me and, as for Guzzis, I needed something reliable. I was looking at the bikes in the Chelmsford City showroom and casually cast my eye over the Burgmans on display. OK, they’re scooters but, so what, still have an engine and two wheels! The 650 looked interesting, decent weather protection, electric screen, heated grips, electrically-folding mirrors, blimey, heated seats as well!! OK, so far so good, what about the final drive? Well, it’s not chain, it’s not a belt, it is in fact a series of gears the length of the swinging

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arm all neatly enclosed in a sealed case with its own lubrication. This sounds better and better! It has a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), also known as ‘twist-and-go’ with a switchable ‘manual’ operation as well. OK, that’s unlike any other bike I’ve ridden but it is the same as my Honda Jazz so I know what they are like in real-world traffic. By now, the situation with the Pan was getting to the point where I had to change, what I use the bike for calls for reliability and the Pan would surely let me down in a big way ‘ere long. Anyway, it now had 180,000 miles on it so I’d had good use out of it! I decided to take the plunge and on 17th December 2017 I rode off on the Burgman AN650/Z Executive, to give it its full title!

The running-in period was 600 miles which was, as usual with new bikes, a bit tedious and, what with the Christmas break, I didn’t get it done until 3 rd Jan. I had a couple of 150-200 miles jobs in the running-in period but my first long-distance run was on 10th Jan which entailed taking some documents from Takeley to Chepstow for signature then taking the signed docs to Coventry. This was a 420-mile round trip so was a good test of the Burgman’s capabilities and, I’m pleased to say, it performed really well. The 650 parallel-twin motor felt very much like the 650 BSA I had in the dim and distant, but didn’t rattle or leak as much!!! So, what’s good and bad about the Burgman? It handles and holds the road well. I replaced the original Bridgestone tyres with Pilot Road 4s after the Bridgestones became too worn and have stuck with them ever since. Over the past two years I have found the rears last 8-9,000 miles, the fronts 10,000. Comfort is good although the seating position, i.e. with legs out front, takes some getting used to and, even now, I find myself ‘looking for the footrests’ occasionally. One feature I dislike is the size of the fuel tank. It’s only 15 litres which is enough for 180 miles but I seem to be filling up much more than on the Pan. Mind you, that tank was 29 litres so not surprising. Despite it being ‘only’ 650 it is plenty quick enough on today’s crowded roads. It will sit at 80 mph on the Sat Nav all day on the motorway and not many vehicles can get away before it from a standstill. The weather protection is good but not as good as the Pan. The electric screen is strange, it works fine but, if raised to give more protection it actually provides less! There’s some funny aerodynamics at work here which I only realised towards the


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end of my first winter with the bike as my gloves were getting much wetter with the screen up than when in the lowest position. A peculiarity of the bike is the effect of not having the engine between one’s thighs. Pan and indeed every other bike I’ve owned, a certain amount of heat radiates off the engine onto your legs. In the case of the Pan this heat was considerable, they are well-known for being very hot! On the Burgman there’s nothing like this and my legs now get quite cold even on otherwise, not-cold days. On the Pan I would deliberately wear thin socks and trousers under my Aerostitch suit because I knew my legs would get too hot otherwise. On the Burgman I have had to dig out my thick socks and trousers. Reliability has been excellent…….apart from two major issues that were fixed under warranty.

At 26,000 miles I had collected in Colchester for a delivery in Guildford and was tootling down A12 near Marks Tey. A strange vibration made its presence felt that, at first, I put down to the ropey road-surface. Unfortunately, it grew in intensity and I recognised what I thought were the signs of a rear-wheel puncture. Managing to pull off onto a section of hard-shoulder I heaved the bike onto the centre-stand and squeezed the rear tyre, funny, feels OK, how about the front, no that was fine as well. It was only on re-checking the rear that I discovered significant lateral play in the wheel – the wheel-bearings has collapsed. I called the AA and waited for recovery who, after some time due to poor communication within the AA, took me and the bike to Chelmsford City M/cs. It was assumed that the wheel could be removed, new bearings fitted and all would be well but that was not to be, the bearing surface in the hub had been damaged by the bearing breaking up so a new wheel was called for. After some discussion with Suzuki it was decided that the wheel would be replaced under warranty – hooray! – but there were no wheels in the UK and the replacement would have to come from Germany – boo! After a bit of a conflab the guys decided to take the rear wheel from their showroom bike, replace the bearings with better quality than original equipment and put the wheel on my Burgman. This was done and I was mobile again about two days after the incident. I was not very impressed, bearing-failure at 26k miles was not a good omen for Suzuki quality. I have discovered subsequently that Burgman bearing failure is not uncommon, either a bad batch at the factory or bearings not sealed correctly. Probably explains why the warranty claim was actioned so quickly. The second major incident was at around 31k miles. I was on M11 south of M25

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towards London in lane 3 at 70 mph when suddenly, no noise, no vibration, no nothing, no drive! Thinking (hoping) it might be an electrical problem I tried going into manual mode and power mode but all to no avail and I coasted to a halt on the hard shoulder with a bike with a perfectly functioning engine but no gearbox! Again, the AA were called, this time arriving very quickly and, once again, I was recovered to Chelmsford. On wheeling the bike into the workshop, the guys at Chelmsford City said it felt like the main belt in the CVT had gone. This is a ‘fitted-for-life’ component, i.e. it requires no maintenance and lasts the life of the bike. Also, to replace this belt requires a total strip-down of the bike, engine out, the lot! Hmm, let’s see what Suzuki say. On contacting Suzuki, the guys at Chelmsford City were told ‘those belts don’t fail’, unfortunately for Suzuki, that was to be called into question! A small amount of dismantling enabled a probe to be inserted into the transmission and bits of steel-belting and Kevlar were extracted showing that belt-failure had indeed occurred. There was then much discussion between Chelmsford City and Suzuki that I was not party to over a couple of days, the upshot being that Suzuki would honour the warranty claim and a new, complete CVT unit was despatched from Germany. When it arrived, the guys set to with a will and, from being several large chunks, the bike was completely reassembled over two days. The belt failed on 26th July and I was back on the road on 4th August. So far so good, now up to 42k and all is well – touch wood!


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On interesting aspect of these enforced no-Burgman interludes; on both occasions I was loaned a 650 V-Strom whilst the Scooter was in dock. A great bike that I could take a shine to but, I found gear-changing a real chore! Now, if you had said that to me when I had my earlier bikes I would have laughed in your face, surely a well-executed gear-change is one of the satisfying aspects of riding a bike? Well, not for me it isn’t, not now after having the delights of the Burgman seamless transmission for two years. There, that’s something I never thought I’d be saying but, as they said in Motor Cycle News recently in an article about large scooters, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

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Events Report Chris Johnson If you look at my EAMG picture website you will see a horrible absence of ride photos for a couple of months. This is because I haven't been on rides. Illhealth struck. How, when you have had a flu jab, can you get two successive bad bouts of flu? Answers gratefully received, preferably scribbled in pencil on the back of a tenner. This started on 24th November, 2019, when I had been hoping to attend Mick and Alan's ride to the Ambience Cafe in St. Neots, a nice little 110 mile run. There is no information about the run on the forum apart from an apology from one guy for holding the group up whilst he refuelled. He pleaded a faulty fuel gauge, with indications that he was not confident that this excuse would be believed. Richard's ride on 1st December, 2019 was also to St Neots, but to a newly discovered cafe which offered very generous portions. Six attended in 5C temperatures for a 150 mile outing.. Apparently Richard found a puncture when he got his bike out but, rather than risk dirtying his other newly cleaned bike, plugged the puncture and soldiered on. He obviously has more confidence in his puncture repair abilities than I have in mine, and Lord only knows I have had enough practice (but I have also had some pretty nasty punctures). Tony Seamen kindly sent me this account of the ride: T " he ride today was very nice and relaxing over damp and grit covered surfaces. Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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6 brave souls and bikes turned out for our trip to St Neotts and Walkers Cafe. On the way we did stop for coffee at McD near the A505/A1193 junction. My breakfast at the cafe was very nice and large for the price. The way home was more straight forward complete with a fuel stop. But Spider could not resist spoiling the party by getting a rear wheel puncture. Stopped on ERW just a mile short of our destination. We could not find it so limped along to Mc D only to find no one there. I think we then found and plugged the puncture while in the garage next door. I am now awaiting an update from Spider to learn if he made it home ok." Spider has been seen around since then so, if in fact he did suffer an alien abduction, they substituted a distressingly accurate replicant. Mick and Alan had a ride to the Rushbrooke Arms, Bury St. Edmunds, a hundred mile trip on 15th December.. They reported 13 bikes and a good day out, but I have no further details. I think that was at the start of my second dose of flu. Christmas then started interfering with real life, and it wasn't until the 12th January that Richard held a ride to Thetford. I brushed the cobwebs off the bike and attended this or, to be brutally accurate, the outward leg of it. There were 21 or 22 bikes (I kept getting interrupted whilst trying to count them) and the temperature was an acceptable 10C. It was a grey sort of day and there was a lot of surface water on the way out. Richard set a very sensible pace for the conditions. The Wetherspoons at Thetford was a good lunch venue. I cannot remember exactly what I ate but I think it was something healthy, with chips to take away some of the nastiness of healthy food. We seemed to take a long while setting out, but eventually people started moving. The bike was a bit boxed in, and by the time I had freed it few were left, and so I followed the roundaEssex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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bout exit of the last biker I saw. Story of my life, nowadays. The next bike I saw was nearly 60 miles later, but long before then I had realised that I must have taken the wrong exit. I ended up going directly home via Diss, Bury St. Edmunds, Newmarket and the inevitable M11. There was nothing untoward reported for the real ride back, and John acted as sweeper both ways. The following week, on 19th January, Mick had a run scheduled to the Blue Egg at Great Bardfield, a trip of about 90 miles along back roads. Sub-zero temperatures where forecast for the start of the day and so the ride was cancelled. I had mixed feelings about that. I dearly needed another outing to get me used to riding again, but it was bitterly cold and, even with heated clothing, I do not enjoy riding in the cold. This has been a short report but I have been out of things and, in truth, it was a fairly quiet period. Here are a few more snaps from the Thetford run.


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Observer Profile Phil Reader

Current Bike(s): Triumph Street Triple & KTM SuperDuke GT Fantasy Bike: Fortunately my KTM

Previous Bikes: FS1-E, GS125, GS550, GS700 (Import), CBR1000F, CBR600-FP, ZXR750-H1, ZXR750-L2, ZX7R-P2, Honda SP1, 954 Fireblade, 04 Fireblade, 06 Fireblade, Versys 650, BMWS1000RR, Triumph 1050 Tiger, Preferred road/area to ride in the UK and Overseas: North Yorkshire and the Scottish Borders, Suffolk and Norfolk. I do enjoy certain regions of France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany including the Nurburgring Nordschleife. As long as the road is twisty and fun to ride I am happy. Age when you first rode a bike and what bike was it: I was 14 and the bike was an old Honda C90 that a few friends were given to ride in our local woods, we made a track and timed our laps. At 16 I bought an original candy Orange Yamaha Sixteener Special (SS50) commonly known as the FS1E. I went on my 1st Biking Holiday on that bike with friends, it was such fun we repeated the trip 3 months later. When and why did you develop an interest in riding a bike: I was not a stay at home sort of lad, always wanting to get out and about and this meant riding a pushbike everywhere, so buying the Yamaha at 16 was a natural step up. A year later I had a 12 year break from bikes but the bug never left me and at 29 I bought a 125 to commute on. I passed my test 6 months later and I have never looked back (apart from the odd lifesaver).

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Reasons behind becoming an EAMG Observer: After passing my bike test I was asked if I would like to join the voluntary training team teaching new riders to pass their part 1 and part 2 tests (now known as CBT). I did this for a couple of years and enjoyed every minute. During this time I was offered Advanced Rider training which at the time I didn’t know existed, I jumped at the chance. A few months later I passed my IAM Advanced Motorcycle Test that was back in 1992. My IAM Examiner Clive Fry invited me to join EAMG, a year or so later I joined the club as a Full Member. One group night in 1994 (?) a request for members to train to be Observers was announced, as I enjoyed the learner training I thought I would give it a go. Scariest or most embarrassing moment on your bike: Scariest moment was on track at the Nurburgring, Motorrad Bike only day riding full laps without stopping and an open pit lane. It was dry, warm, sunny, perfect conditions and very quick. Just before lunch I went out on track having completed quite a few laps that morning and wanted to ride 4 complete laps in one go. The 1st three laps were very good quick laps, as I flew past the car park area on the main straight for my 4 th lap I still felt fresh so I kept the pace up. Further on while riding in excess of 140 mph with just 6 inches (as usual) from the white line at the side of the track I had a momentary lack of concentration, I rode over the white line to the very edge of the tarmac with only a couple of inches left, I had to heave the bike back onto the track, that was scary, I thought it was going to be curtains.

Best bit of Advice: Never Give Up Trying to Improve!


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Further Training Opportunities for Full Members EAMG FMT & AMT - 2020 1st January 2020 celebrated EAMG’s fifteen years of independence enabling the Group to draw upon the most appropriate riding techniques to meet the training needs of our members, without having to accommodate restrictions imposed by a governing body. With independence, came the responsibility to ensure our training standards progressed and maintained at the highest level. EAMG Observers fulfill a crucial role within the Group. All are required to hold a current RoSPA Gold qualification before they can be considered for observer training. Once qualified, Observers are re-tested internally every two years by one of four Senior Observer Assessors (SOA’s). In turn, SOA’s are re-tested externally every two years by Police Class: 1 riders. Full Members and Associates can be assured that EAMG’s training is of the highest standard. EAMG; ‘Promoting Motorcycling Excellence’.

Full Member Training (FMT) One-day further training courses were introduced for Full Members prior to EAMG’s independence with hundreds taking the opportunity over the years to have their riding skills assessed. FMT format allows greater focus on many aspects of advanced motorcycling over longer distances on less familiar roads. Make no mistake, passing an advanced motorcycle test is an excellent achievement but it’s only a measure of your riding standard on test day. Riding skills require continued practice to be retained or they will sadly be lost. Associate Member Training (AMT) Similar training courses are now available for Associate Members who may be approaching test standard, have been recommended to apply by their 1 to 1 Observers or those familiar with riding greater distances than covered on a typical Observed ride. Associates will be encouraged to make their most recent Ride Report Forms available to ensure the Observer on the day has the necessary information to identify needs and address any issues that may be apparent. Ride Format Duration of rides will be circa 150-200 mls for Full Members and 100-150 mls for Associates. Regular stops, most including refreshments, will include debriefs so that issues identi-


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fied can be addressed during subsequent legs. We will NOT be riding in one large group. Allocation will usually be on a 2 to 1 basis to avoid continuous Observation. Every effort will be made to match riding ability and/or aspirations. Routes will be pre-planned and forwarded to all participants beforehand. Initial briefing will be comprehensive and a full Ride Report Form will be provided.

2020 Events Joining Fees


AMT— (£30)

Sunday, March 29th

Sunday, May 24th

Sunday, July 26th

Sunday, October 18th

Register by completing and returning this form to: Payment method to be confirmed Organiser: John Tipper Email: john@reveillerrides.co.uk Tel: 0208 360 8590 Name: Address:



Email: Riding Experience Aspirations: Annual Mileage:


FTFM - 2020 Membership Secretary

Observer Co-ordinator

Paula Hockey

John Tullett



Additional Membership Fee

Contribution to Observer

£20 pa

£10 per ride

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

Chris Johnson, Editor Printed by Colchester Press. Please mention EAMG when replying to advertisers - it identifies you!

http://www.eamg.org.uk Affiliated to the British Motorcyclists Federation Registered Charity Number 1107703

Disclaimer and Copyright Notice: The articles published herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Essex Advanced Motorcyclists Group. They are the opinions of individual contributors and are published with a view that free expression promotes discussion and interest. Any spelling or grammatical errors are the responsibility of the editor .. Inclusion of adverts is not to be construed as EAMG endorsement, although most advertisers are excellent, but seek personal recommendations.Text Š EAMG 2018 Illustrations Š EAMG 2018, except where indicated otherwise. Group material may be reproduced provided acknowledgement is given to EAMG and the original author.

@EssexAdvMCgroup @EAMG.ORG.UK Pictures: www.edmxtech.co.uk/eamg.htm TUG email: TUG@eamg.org.uk Twitter:

Essex Advanced Motorcyclists Group Ltd, Registered Office, St Laurence House, 2 Gridiron Place, Upminster, Essex, RM14 2BE Registered in England & Wales, Registration No. 5258261


Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982