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Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group

June 2017

Welcome to TUG Dear Members, We had to use some of our reserves for this issue, but that included an account of a trip, on Harleys, to the USA by one-time EAMG member David Tymm last year which was so long that I have had to hold the second part of it over for the August TUG. I only wish I could deliver the same presentation standard that he had in his original document. My social secretary (wife) had arranged a holiday for us just before the copy date for this issue so it has been put together in a rush, and it is possible that some minor blemishes may have crept in. Please remember that to err is human, but to forgive divine. You all aspire to be riding Gods, don’t you? The final copy date for the next TUG is 21st July 2017. Chris


Chairman’s Piece


Test Passes


New Members


Membership Info


Observer Coordinator


Blinded by the Light


The Wheels on the Bus 18 Long Road out of Eden 20 Membership Form


Dates for the Diary


Picture Gallery


This and That


Eden (continued)


Events Report


Observer Profile


Further Training


What’s happening next?

Log into, 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 June 2017 Welcome to summer everyone….well the last few days have been anyway. Let’s hope it continues. I must start with a couple of apologies…….. Paula for leaving her out of my Chairman’s piece in the last TUG welcoming the new committee members. You are most welcome and already proving a valued asset to the committee. ...And Suzy for jumping the gun with my enthusiasm to get the regalia sales underway before everything is finalised, I wrongly assumed she would be ready to take orders for June Group Night. I am still wearing my Chairman’s ‘L’plates so I doubt these will be my last apologies! We had a great turn-out for the Super Sausage run and I’m glad this year they had enough stock of sausages to feed us all. Big thank you to all the leaders and the tailenders. The Essex Motorcycle Show at North Weald was on 21 st May and we had another successful day obtaining 18 potential members, we take contact details and offer 2 months free Trial membership. While any of you are out and about and chat about the group to non-members you can give anyone this opportunity. Please remember they must be full licence holders with a bike capable of maintaining 70mph. (it’s not a requirement to achieve 70mph though). We continue to attract new members and our numbers are growing steadily. It is also lovely to see some familiar faces returning. Personally I had a great day out at the Adventure Riding Academy recently with Paula. We will produce an article for the next TUG, and we would both recommend the day. We attended a stage 1 course learning a lot about slow

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control and the basics on rough terrain. I haven’t had so much fun in ages. We both had a few tumbles but bike and clothing is all included so no need to worry about damaging your own. Lastly, remember your tickets for the BBQ, 22nd July at Longmeads House. Andy Hems has them, bring family and friends all are welcome. Last year was thoroughly enjoyed by all, food was superb and plenty of it, music all day from our resident DJ Eddie, and fun and games for all. Get out there and enjoy the sun while it lasts…..


AGT’s are now held at the new location: Writtle Community Association Longmeads House, 12-14 Redwood Drive Writtle, Chelmsford CM1 JLY. Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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CONGRATULATIONS Recent Test Passes Chris Reed

29th May2017 RoSPA Gold (retest) Examiner: Mark Anderson

Kevin Scott

2nd April 2017 EAMG Observer (retest) Assessor: John Tullet

Ian Taylor

Roy Nunn

30th March 2017 RoSPA Gold (retest)

27th March 2017 RoSPA Gold

Observer: Graham Cooper Examiner: Mick Jones

Observer: Geoff Preston Examiner: Mick Jones

======================================== Welcome to New Members! Associates: Peter Hurstell Dawn Alexander Robert Copeland Dave Crossley Paul Hull John Marler Emmanuel Terry-King Full: Peter Bennetive Our apologies if you joined recently and your name has not yet filtered down to the TUG editor. r


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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. If you have paid up and haven’t received your membership card please let a committee member know. 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.

Membership Fees for 2017 

New Associate Members

...£55.00 (Includes AGT Training)

Associate Member Renewal

...£40.00 (Includes AGT Training)

Full Member Renewal


Social Member


Full Member Training


(For more information on Full Member Training see page 42)















Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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EAMG's training activities seem to be ticking over nicely at the moment with an encouraging number of new members joining the Group and improving attendance levels at events such as Associate Group Training days. Accordingly, I thought I would take this opportunity to cover a few different subjects this time. British Motorcycle Federation (BMF) Discount Code EAMG is affiliated to the BMF and this provides Group members with a number of potential benefits including discounts on insurance, travel, breakdown cover & advanced tickets to BMF shows and rallies. EAMG's discount code for 2017 is CCC17A346 and if you want to find out more then visit or call 0116 279 5112. Bikesafe London Training In December's TUG I mentioned that I was booked to attend a Bikesafe London course in January. This course ended up being cancelled due to icy road conditions and my booking was switched to 1st April.

It was rather surprising to find that the pre-course briefing notes recommended attendees should bring along a lock to secure their machines during the course as Romford is only 13 miles from home for me. Nevertheless, judging by the number of disc locks and security chains fitted to the Triumphs, Ducatis & KTMs displayed outside their showrooms, it was evident that the two local bike dealers take this threat very seriously.

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The course was held at Jack Lilley's and was restricted to just 8 attendees. In the morning there were a number of classroom sessions. For me the most interesting presentation was the one that illustrated, with help from several video clips, just how bad we all are at observing what is actually going on, primarily because our brains form an overall picture by joining together multiple small snapshots and may not always fill in the gaps correctly!

Until recently the format of the day had been: classroom talks; an urban ride in to the City; lunch at Frankie & Benny's in Romford; followed by an afternoon ride on rural roads. This has now been modified following the attempted theft of an attendee's bike during a previous course by two youths on a scooter (who ended up being chased off by Bikesafe officers) - and Frankie & Benny's is no longer being used! I was paired with a judge on a new GSA and rode in front for the first leg out to Ongar, where we stopped for a drink & sandwich. The officer accompanying us started his debriefing by enquiring if I had ever been a Police rider, which was a good compliment! We continued on to Hideout at Ashdon for another cup of tea before retracing our route back to Abridge where the ride ended. Attendees receive a one page assessed report of the day and, in my view it would have been well worth the standard ÂŁ45 fee, although pretty much everyone attending had managed to attend for free or at a reduced cost. For more details see Norfolk Adventure Bike Training Centre Following an initial approach by Steve Enright, EAMG members have been offered a tour of the Adventure Bike Training centre accompaEssex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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nied with coffee & snacks (see web site https:// Phil Jones will be leading this social ride on Sunday, 25th June. The ride will assemble behind the recycling bins at Miami Tesco's, Princes Rd, Chelmsford CM2 9XW at 09:00 for a 09:15 departure. Phil anticipates that we should arrive at around 12:30 - 13:00 and, after about 1.5 hours at the venue, return to McDonalds, Widford at approximately 17:00. Mick Jones Off Road Skills Training While on the subject of off-road training, some Group members will already be aware that local RoSPA examiner Mick Jones is launching a new off-road facility in June. Mick suffered a serious setback in April when all three of his off-road bikes were stolen. Fortunately the new venture is still proceeding, with replacement bikes now being held at a secure location. Initially courses will only be available to existing customers. I am booked in for August and looking forward to trying something totally new for me. For more details see:

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Biker Down Training Simon Enticknap has arranged for Tony Smith from the Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue team to run a Biker Down Course from 09:30 on Saturday 9th, September at Longmeads House, 12-14 Redwood Drive, Writtle, CM1 3LY. The course will cover the First Aid requirements of an injured motorcyclist and lasts for approximately 3-4 hours in total. The training is divided into three modules covering: Incident Scene Management; Casualty Care; and The Science of Being Seen. Spaces are limited and filling up fast. The course is open to all members, including Associates, on a first come first served basis with a charge of ÂŁ10 per person required to reserve a place. If you are interested please email Simon a.s.a.p. on including "Biker Down" in the subject header.


Should any members have any training related queries then please contact me on 01277 623860 (before 21:30 please), text 07570 992801, e-mail or send me a PM via the Message Board.

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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Blinded by the Light Andy Davy One of the things that somehow seems easy in a car, but which is more of a problem on a bike is coping with bright oncoming sunlight. We all love going out for a ride in the sun, but as winter approaches it can be more of a mixed blessing – it’s not such balmy weather, and when the sun hits you at such a low angle it’s, well, blinding. In fact, some of the most dangerous situations I have encountered on the bike have involved the combination of sudden lowangle sun and a heavily shaded stretch of road ahead (such as when it disappears into some woods). I prefer to ride with my visor up if I can, as it allows me the clearest possible view. Anything between my eyes and what’s ahead just feels like it gets in the way somehow (I already wear glasses). I tried putting a strip of black tape along the top third of the visor to block the sun, but it had little effect – even if it kept the sun from shining directly into my eyes, the bright light just scattered on the plastic of the visor. Letting down the helmet’s internal sun visor does help a bit, but on the other hand just makes shadows even more impenetrable, so can be no less scary. I have also tried ‘military salute riding’ – raising a hand to act as a temporary sunshade – an effective, but shortterm solution. I never seemed to suffer from this in my earlier riding days, when I wore an open-face helmet with a peak (mainly because I thought it looked less naff than without). Now that I am more safety conscious and wear a flip-up helmet, I wondered – could I get a peak for it? As I already wear a Schuberth, it wasn’t long before I came across their E1 helmet (pictured). Unlike out-and-out off-road ‘adventure’ helmets, this has been designed to look reasonably at

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Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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home on the road as well. The design is excellent – the visor works independently of the peak, so can be lifted out of view, leaving the peak to simply act as a sunshade. It still has an internal sun-visor, and is also a flip-up helmet. The only thing is, having not long bought my existing (expensive) helmet, I am loathe to fork out another £500-£600 for (in effect) just a peak. So I hit the internet to see what is available and came across something called a ‘Super-Visor’. (I know, I know – they can’t help it, they’re American). It can be found at and is an add -on device that can be fitted to your existing helmet, provided it is equipped with an external visor (or ‘face-shield’ as they call it). It’s not the most elegant of devices, but at only $19.95 I thought it must be worth a go. The Super-Visor comes in black, white and ‘smoke’ (which is slightly transparent, allowing 2% of light through). The postage from the States was another $7. Everything is supplied to allow you to fit it to your existing visor. You have a choice of mounting techniques: mount it directly onto the visor, in which case the Super-Visor becomes a permanent fixture; or use the ‘lift kit’ (included) – a set of clear plastic clips that allow the peak to be clipped on and removed (the clips remain in place on the visor). I chose the latter approach. The manufacturer advises getting someone to help you position the Super-Visor exactly where you want it and to mark up where the sticky pads will need to go. It’s worth noting that once you commit you can’t go back to having a clean visor – you need to slightly rough up the surface where the pads need to adhere – so best to get this right. Of course, should you decide the Super-Visor is not for you, just fitting a replacement visor will restore your helmet to its previous state. On the other hand, if you love it and want to use it on several helmets, you just need to buy one of their lift kits (only £7.95) to add the clips to another visor.

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Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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So, does it work? Well, yes and no. It certainly works as advertised – now when I find myself riding into the sun, I just flip down the visor (with the Super-Visor attached) and the peak keeps the sun off the visor and out of my eyes. I have compared using the internal sun-visor against the visor plus peak, and its’ definitely easier to see with the latter, even in the trickiest lighting conditions. Although the peak has been designed to allow air to flow through it, rather than act as a big scoop, I was concerned that when raised it would simply act as a big sail and increase the buffeting around the head, or worse, get ripped off by the wind. I can report that having used it for some months now there’s been no sign of the Super-Visor trying to part company, and any additional buffeting is pretty minimal, visor up or down.

So, in short, it is a cost-effective solution to the problem of being dazzled by the sun. The only down-side for me is that the Super-Visor has to be attached to the helmet’s main visor, so that has to be brought into play along with it. I’d much rather have a peak available all the time and only lower the clear visor when I really need it. But that will have to wait until I can afford Schuberth’s E1.

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round. Steve Enright Not so long ago my Observer and I took a trip into ‘Sarf London’ to visit a London Bus Depot. We’d arranged this as I was keen to get my own back on him and see how he struggled to drive a London Bus safely and accurately whilst under critical scrutiny. The benefit I was getting here was twofold; I’ll explain. My Observer used to ride a motorcycle professionally in London with the boys in blue. Thus he knows the place like the back of his hand and is a dab hand at reading the roads and traffic and making it appear easy to part the ‘red sea’ of the London congestion. What I had was a masterclass is positioning a motorcycle in traffic and making safe progress in a whole range of road and street conditions. Even when the bus lane rules change between Boroughs!

The art of ‘slow speed progress and balance’ was demonstrated and awareness of other road users and anticipating their intentions. The opportunity to observe the Observer in his natural element wasn’t one to be missed and it has given me much confidence in riding in traffic like we found in The Smoke. Never has T.U.G been so important and useful and the slow speed riding days I have attended came to fruition. Did I mention it was raining? The second benefit was getting his view, quite literally, of what it’s like

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to drive a bus safely from a motorcycling perspective. We laid out a course of tightly placed cones and mock up bus stops around the depot and under the watching eye of a bus driving instructor he only went and nailed it all first time. (I think he was ever so slightly pleased with himself). As he did so becoming aware of what it like to control the big red tank without being able to see very much of what may be creeping up or moving around you. Based on this we had a long chat with the Instructor and some of the Depot’s drivers sharing learning about the modes of transport we used and the ‘cognitive workloads’ that impact on our driving/riding performance. Experience had bred confidence in both sets of professionals so that they could apply their skills, this made more ‘head space’ for them to be aware of their surroundings and the demands of the environment. There is no substitute for practicing.

So two benefits, I got more confident in my applying my riding skills and some bus drivers got some awareness of motorcycling. I think Phil decided not to give up his day job though as it could have all been beginners luck on his part. Next time he’s going on a train simulator…….

(Editor: Please note that it is not official EAMG policy to subject Observers to cruel and unusual punishments) Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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Long Road out of Eden (The first part of a USA trip 16-24th May 2016)

David Tymm It’s rumoured to be the view that convinced Soviet Cold War leader, Nikita hrushchev that communism could never work. In 1959, gliding west into Los Angeles airport in his Tupolev 114, the sight of a sea of neat houses, many with their own swimming pool, was enough to convince him of the futility of his purpose. Centrally planned, command and control economies could never yield a comparable level of mass affluence and with it the lifestyle that ordinary people aspire to. I’m enjoying the same view but from a Virgin Atlantic ‘Dreamliner’ with a sense of great anticipation rather than wearied resignation. We are about to rent two enduring icons of the American Dream, a Harley-Davidson Fatboy and Heritage Softail. In eight days, we plan to cram in Death Valley, Yosemite, Napa, San Francisco, the Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Barbara. The ever-excellent Eaglerider Motorcycle Rental has depots all over the US and one conveniently close to the airport. They offer a range of steeds including RT’s and GS’s. But this is America and HarleyDavidsons look so right when framed by the great American landscape in the same way they look frankly ridiculous when ridden by carpet magnates around Batley. So two Harleys it is and, next morning head out of the deeply unimpressive urban sprawl of Los Angeles towards Pahrump, just over the state-line in Nevada. $40 gets us a perfectly acceptable Best Western and a further $40 gets us mildly giddy on frozen Margaritas and surprising good Mexican food at ‘El Jefes’. There is no melodrama in the naming of Death Valley. Over 100 feet below sea level and 70 miles long, it’s 39.4 degrees in the shade the day we went through it. Only there is no shade. Nothing. Lord knows what it was in direct sunlight and high summer does not bear thinking about but if you tried to cross it on foot or by horse, one or both of you would probably snuff it. A camel might help but I’m sure Donald Trump will have announced plans to ban these by the time you read this. We approached it from Nevada where the gateway is the ominously named ‘Death Valley Junction’. In the days when cars had their cooling systems and air-

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conditioning checked by a ranger before you were let in, this was probably a thriving town but now it is eerily quiet. A few miles on a sign points to ‘Dante’s View’ (ho ho) twelve miles up a twisting road. If you find your way out here, this is worth the detour for the view of the vast landscape that unfolds at the very top. The only sign of humanity is the road running through the valley floor, cars on it reduced to specks even through binoculars.

After a water stop in Furnace Creek, we check fuel range and we’re fine to make it to the other side. But the road runs out after forty-five miles leaving us a worrying forty-two miles from the fuel stop we need to retrace our steps to. We make it but by four in the afternoon, the heat is still hanging like a cloak and we are still a hundred and forty miles from Bishop. By the time we get there, we’ve done over 300 miles in searing heat and the beers at the Mountain View Microbrewery Restaurant hit the spot and then some. Anybody still labouring under the misapprehension that American beers are like making love in a canoe (f***ing close to water…) needs to search out these new wave brewers. Living on the fringes of achingly trendy East London, I have developed a slight aversion to ‘Craft Beers’ as the movement has become synonymous with pofaced Hipsters and all the bull that goes along with this urban tribe. While Mountain View and others eschew this nonsense and set the bar impressively high on the quality front, it does comes at the price of your sobriety: some are over 10% alcohol with several ‘session’ IPA’s clocking in at over 6%. (Continued on page 34)

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

All Full Member Rides will leave Sainsburys Springfield, Chelmsford, at 9.30am

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7th 12th 19th 26th

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

5th 7th 12th 19th 26th

Mick's Associate Member Ride Group Night - Bikesafe Essex Associate Group Training (AGT) Observer Peer to Peer Ride (1701) Richard's Full Member Ride

2nd 4th 9th 15th ? 23rd 30th

Full Member Training (1701) Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Super Sausage Run (to be confirmed) Richard's Full Member Ride Mick's Associate Member Ride

2nd 7th 14th 21st 21st 21st 28th 28th

Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Observer Peer to Peer Ride (1702) Richard's Full Member Ride Wings & Wheels Show, Stow Maries Aerodrome Essex Motorcycle Show, North Weald Full Member Training (1702) Mick's Associate Member Ride

4th 6th 11th 18th 25th

Slow Riding Day Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Mick's Associate Member Ride Richard's Full Member Ride

2nd 2nd 4th 9th

Maldon Motor Show (to be confirmed) Mick's Associate Member Ride Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT)





Diary 2017


(Continued on page 29)

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Carpentry - Brickwork

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uPVC Cladding, Fascias, Soffits

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01621 828276 (Office) 07836 277223 (Mobile) Domestic and Commercial Work Undertaken Insurance Work also Welcome Member of The Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors Flagstaff Farm, Green Lane, Althorne, Essex, CM3 6BQ

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16th 23rd 30th

Observer Peer to Peer Ride (1703) Richard's Full Member Ride Full Member Training (1703)

1st 6th 20th 20th 27th

Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Audrey & John's Cotswolds Ride Mick's Associate Member Ride Richard's Full Member Ride

5th 10th 10th 10th 17th 24th

Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Essex Air Ambulance Run/Show Mick's Associate Member Ride Slow Riding Day Richard's Full Member Ride

1st 3rd 8th 15th 22nd 22nd 29th

Copdock Show Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Observer Peer to Peer Ride (1704) Full Member Training (1704) Mick's Associate Member Ride Richard's Full Member Ride

7th 12th 19th 26th

Group Night Associate Group Training (AGT) Mick's Associate Member Ride Richard's Full Member Ride

3rd 5th 10th 17th

Richard's Full Member Ride Group Night (Xmas Quiz) Associate Group Training (AGT) Mick's Associate Member Ride



Group Nights @ 19:30, AGTs @ 9:15 am

(Continued from page 26)




Diary 2017

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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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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This and That Dave Iszard I like to ride over mountains and for years the Alps have been my favourite. Back in 1997 I went to the Picos de Europa in northern Spain and where I have fond memories but it wasn't my favourite. October last year we ( Nicki and I ) participated in a classic bike rally around the Picos and I expected more of the same. It turned out so different. Organised by the local motor cycle club (mcindianos) in conjunction with the local hotels to extend the holiday season by an extra week. The cut off number for entries were 350 all dispersed around a number of hotels locally. Held over seven days with a different route each day we were taken to locations that would be difficult to find on your own. The local knew just were to take us, finding remote locations that were just incredible. Each morning at ten we would meet in the town square of Colombres, and some mornings there were all 350 of us. When the siren sounded we would all set of with our easy to read route sheets. 350 bikes all setting of at once. I must point out that your bike must be made before 1988 to be eligible for the event so you can imaging the noise of bikes that dated back to the 1930's all leaving en-masse. Out on the road the mass of bikes quickly spread out and some times we found ourselves riding alone despite the amount of bikes on the road. One day especially stands out on a round trip route of about 150 miles we rode to a ski resort but after the resort the road climbed and climbed, my old Triumph was in first and second gear for miles. when we arrived at the top we were above the clouds. The clouds dispersed and we were looking down on the villages way way below. Each day on route we would be met by the lunch wagon with an array of delicious foods, usually at the square of some mountain town on route. Needless to say my favourite mountain range is now the Picos. Those wishing to ride on this event can go earlier in year for modern bikes. I rode my Triumph, a 1970 650cc Trophy and Nicki, her 1982 Honda CD200. No we didn't ride them there, they were put in the back of the Transit and enjoyed a crossing to Santander from Portsmouth curtesy of Brittany ferries. this was a bit of a sting at ÂŁ550 return and that was with 20% event discount. (Mr Brittany rides in the event himself). The hotel and event entry was another 800e so its not a snip but I regard it as an annual holiday. I'm saving my pension and have entered for this year with the Triumph and a 1959 Ariel 500cc, Can't wait.

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GETTING AWAY WITH IT. (Part 2. ) ...continued from April TUG

I had survived to 21 and all this while my brother Joe had been busy collecting his own motor bike injuries. He was now sponsored by Frank Sheen on Spanish Bultaco's before Barry was old enough to race but that's another story. Enter the grass track period. I was asked if I would passenger on a racing outfit for a season. A triumph 650, highly tuned and running on methanol is ferociously powerful. To drive one of these you need to be deranged, to passenger on one you need to be mental. On our second race of the season we turned the outfit over in a big way and myself and the driver Graham were knocked unconscious. I regained consciousness to see Graham having his legs strapped together by St. Johns ambulance crew. Being unconscious was a new experience and while I had no other significant injuries, the shock made me sick as a dog. Graham saw the error of his ways and swapped to road racing. I took up solo grass racing, there were several off's but no injuries until a dusty meeting at Newmarket. The rider in front fell off and vision being bad I ran over him and went flying. The result of that was a dislocated collar bone. Not sure I was getting away with it so much now. Grass tracking was an adrenaline OD but I had little success, winning 50p for coming second in a heat. So it was on to classic road racing for ten seasons. Falling off was much easier now as with luck you slid off and came to a leisurely stop in the grass but I was to have a bazar accident at Cadwell Park. It was the first race of a two day meeting. I had pulled a big number out of the hat and was at the back of the grid. These races always started with a dead engine bump start. My bike started quick and I couldn't find my way though a tightly packed grid of 36 riders. Another quick starter behind collided with me and as I tumbled off I put my foot through the back wheel off a passing Triumph. My whole leg was gathered up into the back wheel twisting it as it went. The rider oblivious to what had happened was still accelerating and towed me some way up the track until I broke free. A crushed foot and badly strained knee, the effects of lasted for some years. I have a theory, you have an expected life of three score and ten. you spend the first 35 years trying to destroy your self and the next 35 years trying to preserve your self. At the age of 39 I joined the Essex Advanced Motor Cycle Group and with advanced training passed down I'm hoping to survive a bit longer. I have been a continuous member now for 28 years and I consider it has paid off.

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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“The biggest peesh uvve sheet Hurley ave eever muade” is the considered verdict of a local backwoodsman in Lee Vining as he sees us dismantling the ignition switch of the Fatboy armed only with an adjustable spanner. He went on to explain Harley had been going steadily downhill on the quality front since 1969. Good news for him as he owned a 1968 model. He further opined that the modern ignition switches are particularly ‘sheet’ and prone to random failure. Consistent with his theory, this one had developed a habit of cutting out on freeways but this sounds worse than it was given the fact there was rarely any other traffic around. The solution was to turn everything off, whimper softly with no one looking, then turn it on again to find everything had righted itself. On this occasion, this did not work but prodding it purposefully did. Some packing under the switch and crossed fingers got it going again but with a degree of nervousness. Tienega Pass awaits and this is not the place to break down. It’s a stunning piece of road that takes you into the very heart of Yosemite and the valley through which runs the Merced River. A sort of ‘Greatest Hits’ of the iconic American Great Outdoors awaits: El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and many other views familiar to those who have ever seen Ansel Adams’ peerless photographs of the region and all are within a mile or two of each other. An overnight stop in the Tenaya Lodge is some well deserved comfort after three budget nights. America does many things so well and big, well-run, luxurious hotels are one of them. Sitting out on the terrace sipping another superb beer before lobster and steak in the Embers restaurant makes me what to cry out, not for the only time during the week: “What a great country!” It’s also in these venues you tend to see the very best of the American people. Outdoorsy, well-off, middle-class Americans really are the friendliest folk you could hope to meet. Countless times, complete strangers come up just to say hello, ask where you’re from and make suggestions of places you might visit or roads you might ride. All without being remotely overbearing or intrusive. Just outgoing, positive, humble and kind. Route 120 out of Yosemite towards Stockton is the same delight at it was fifteen years ago. The New Priest Grade road (confusingly older than the Old Priest Grade) marks the end of the fun stuff as a fairground ride of switchbacks, twists and turns spits you out on a fairly dismal slog across the northern bay area and

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thence to Napa. Dinner is in Yountville, a sort of foodie-Disneyland which has been transformed in twenty-years from a nondescript offfreeway town that Mary ChapinCarpenter would describe as ‘a blur from the drivers side’ into a veritable theme park of eating and drinking. This is largely the work of one Thomas Keller, owner of the three-Michelin starred ‘French Laundry’ and various other establishments in the town. This has acted as a magnet for other celebrated purveyors of Bacchanalian excess and many contemporaries have followed and set up shop here also. We ate at Keller’s one-starred ‘Bouchon’ as the ‘French Laundry’ is catastrophically expensive and has a rather prissy ‘gentlemen are expected to wear a jacket & tie’ dress code which we can’t be arsed with and wholly impractical when travelling by motorcycle. Bouchon’ is a bit toppy price-wise and utterly incongruous as it’s done up to resemble a Parisian bistro. It’s also quite superb and if you yearn for a level of subtlety that even high-end American restaurants often lack, it’s a good place to aim for as the culinary high-spot of a trip if you’re into this kind of thing. We cut across the county the next day following the route of Russian River to the Pacific Coast and the Bodega Bay, the town in which the Alfred Hitchcock film, ‘The Birds’ is set. Often assumed to be fictional, it’s a real town alright and you can see why he chose it. The faded, clapboard houses with telegraph wires and power cables strung over the streets give it a crepuscular, remote, vulnerable atmosphere. ‘The Tides’ restaurant featured in the film only to burn down shortly afterwards. It’s subsequently been rebuilt and now serves a cardiologists worst nightmare of a brunch: lobster and crabs eggs benedict with hash browns and strong coffee. Bliss. After obligatory photographs of San Francisco from the Marin Headlands, we spend a night in the city. Clinging to the side of the Hyde Street cable car in the velvet of an early evening as it crosses the canyon of California Street, the view of the Bay Bridge stretched out way in the distance is as magical as the first time I saw it

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Likewise, drinks in North Beach, dinner at the lovely ‘Seven Hills’ and then further drinks at a gay bar we stumbled into in Russian Hill (and, as two blokes on their own in floral shirts, fitted in seamlessly) rounds off a perfect Saturday evening. Next day at lunch in Palo Alto with an ex-boss, it turns out there is trouble brewing in paradise. Despite - if it were a country - being the world’s seventh largest economy, California is chronically skint. Anywhere else in the world, this might mean multiple rounds of civic belt-tightening but not here. Chinese middle-class families have started piling into Silicon Valley residential property big-time. They fear an imminent melt-down in the Sino economy and have little faith in their government to allow free movement of capital in the aftermath. Instead, they have been squirrelling funds out of the country and driving the price of an average house in Palo Alto north of $4 million. The state loves this as 2% property tax means they can milk $80,000 annually from the ‘average’ homeowner. And you thought the Council Tax was bad… This is more than enough, according to ex-boss (a committed Republican, it has to be said) to fund the lavish benefits enjoyed by public servants and fund the various other ingenious ways they have dreamt up to waste money. Following a two hour wait to get through passport control at LAX a few days earlier, my personal regret is they can’t find enough spare cash to educate their immigration officers at the airports in queue management, common sense or indeed, basic manners. Like it or not, the area between San Francisco and San Jose has affected all of our lives, usually for the better, more than any place on earth. It thrives because the vast well of funding and experience attracts the brightest and the best from all over the world. Not all are megalomaniac billionaires. For every one of these, there are tens of thousands of hard-working engineers and marketers that make these worldshifting visions a reality and are the bedrock of Silicon Valley. Disturb this ecosystem with an influx of flight capital from authoritarian regimes and the locals will do the economically rational thing which is to sell up and cash in which is what they are doing. (Editor:: be continued in the next issue)

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Events Report Chris Johnson A run which occurred just too late to make it into the last edition of TUG was Richard's outing to Rushden on 26th March. Frail memory has failed to retain the fine detail of this ride, but I know we had 21 bikes and that the day started chilly, but soon warmed up and became sunny, and the initial part of the outbound route was ingenious and allowed us to use most of our tyres. There was limited parking at Rushden, and four of us took advantage of the kind offer to use the yard behind the cafe, and tucked ourselves into a limited space with difficulty (we subsequently got them out again with extreme difficulty as a co-operative effort - there was a killing slope). The Blue Corner Cafe was, as always, excellent; large portions, good taste, low price and fast service. The ride was without problems until half the group decided to go to the wrong McDonalds at the end. Spider knew that when Richard said the Boreham McD. what he really meant was the one on Regiment Way. Spider does have a bit of history when it comes to going to the wrong place. The error was soon rectified. The total distance was 173 miles, and Spider and I acted as sweepers. What fun there is to be had in the misfortunes of others! At the AGT on the 9th April I missed John Tipper's Roadcraft talk completely because when I arrived Chris Reed was working to repair a puncture on his bike. As you might expect with Chris, this was bigger and better than your usual puncture. It eventually took both a mushroom plug and a lot of sticky string to repair the tyre to the extent of holding pressure long enough to get home. Since nobody else had planned a ride I suggested a run to the Street Cafe in Newmarket. Audrey worried about parking for 10 bikes there, and suggested the La Hogue Farm Shop on the A11 past Newmarket instead. She seemed slightly disconcerted when I promptly deputised her to lead us from Newmarket to it, since she knew where it was. It was a lovely day, for me the first of the year without heated jacket, and we got off to a good start in Writtle when a biker very positively indicated that we should take a turning to the right. We thought 'road closure' but it turned out another bike group were congregating and he thought we belonged to them (in his dreams!). Another masterly piece of deputisation got us back onto the 1060, albeit back in Chelmsford but I guess one should not look gift horses etc. etc. The route out through Saffron Walden and Linton was so standard that even I could not get it wrong. Just short of Newmarket we re-grouped, and Audrey led us to the Farm

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Shop. There we were joined by Chris Reed, on a different bike, and Wotsisname. I am not quite sure how, but we ended up with Chris R. leading us back to a ride end at Dunmow via Lidgate and Haverhill. I was back marker, and at Dunmow Spider, true to form, seemed to be convincing people that we needed to go to Leaden Roding. There some went off towards Sawbridgeworth for 'parts' (I have no information about what these were, nor do I want any) and others back to Chelmsford. I was the last there when Chris turned up wanting to know what had happened to everyone, so I guess he had expected the ride to end at Dunmow. The weather was delightful and we covered 102 miles. On Easter Saturday, 15th April, it was delightful to have the Super Sausage Run back on the calendar although, with a little over 30 bikes rather than the traditional 50 plus, it might be renamed the Super Chipolata Run. The weather cool but pleasant. There were 3 groups; John Tipper's progressive, Peter Richbell's median, and Chris Reed's relaxed but cunning one. I chose Peter's group. He doesn't like Harlow so we were almost immediately led off onto unclassifieds which took us, via Takely and Newport, to Buntingford where the A507 was the first road which one might reasonably have expected to be on. I am geographically challenged, but I had a vague uneasy feeling that Potterspury was to the north-east, and we had started out westwards in entirely the wrong direction. When I checked a map afterwards this tirned out to be the case. He also avoided Milton Keynes. 92 miles later we were last to the Cafe. The Super Sausage was packed, and by the time my breakfast arrived I was more than ready for it, The two lads sitting at my table had ordered the top-of-range Mega Breakfast. I watched them covertly to see how they handled it. One gave up halfway, but the other made a very creditable attempt and left only enough to feed a family for a week. There were the usual scuttle-back-home, Cotswold and SIlverstone loop groups afterwards. I chose Chris R's Silverstone option for old times sake, but the 50 limits have killed it. There was the usual stop at Grafton Honda, and the ride ended at Buntingford at 16:00 after a total of 181 miles. The Cotswald loopers claimed 130 miles for their return journey, with a stop at Chipping Norton. Richard led a ride to Grafham Water on 23rd April. It was a fine, sunny, temperate day, and we had 20 bikes. We took a relatively conventional route to Grafham Water (no sneaking up and surprising it from the rear this time), with a coffee stop at the McD's near Duxford. The cafe at Grafham is now apparently under new management, and seemed better than on previous visits. Many of us still remember Chris Reed's outrage when his microdot portion of

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chicken curry was completely concealed by a chip. I am afraid that the route back is a hazy memory, but we went through St Neots, and had a fuel stop and gossip near the A10. 11 bikes returned to Chelmsford at 16:00 but that was through planned early departures. Total distance 169 miles. Michel was sweeper on the outward leg and Tony on the way back. On 30th April Mick held his 'Associate Ride', which normally has a high proportion of Full Members who find being out on their bikes is pleasure enough without having a brisk pace, to the Comfort Cafe. He must have read the account of my recent outing there but, merely because he had been there a few days before, displayed an unwarranted confidence in the destination. Eleven of us assembled in Sainsbury's car park on a day warm and sunny enough to tempt me out without my heated jacket. There was a nice mix of familiar roads out through Linton to the Comfort Cafe which was, as you will have guessed, closed. As on that painful previous occasion Alan was deputised to get us to the Duxford McDonalds which was, of course, closed (till system malfunction). Alan continued as leader, with Mick tailing, to find another McDonalds up towards Cambridge. Richard then had a puncture and Mick ended up taking care of him. With Yours Truly as sweeper we then rode 10 miles on the world's dullest road, with the dozens of traffic lights all specially sequenced to go to red as we approached, into central Cambridge, where the SatNav led us into a pedestrian precinct. This abounded with Japanese tourists eager to take selfies with the bikes, and caused some initial consternation as big tough bikers found themselves mobbed by little old ladies whose initial intentions were not clear.. We found a totally unsuitable parking place amongst hallowed spires outside a cafe, but were moved on by Someone In Authority pretty damned quickly, Finally we ended up at a chippie in Trumpington which had just opened for the day. The pies and saveloys were OK but the chips were truly terrible; pale, lukewarm and greasy. Alan let his SatNav take us to Linton, and then we were on familiar territory again. The run formally ended in a lay-by close to Channels on the A130. The total distance almost exactly 100 miles. The pace was unforced and, in Cambridge, funereal. Many thanks to Mick for leading (and tailing) and to Alan for tailing

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(and leading). I wouldn't have missed this one for the world. I cannot remember a ride when I doffed and donned my helmet so many times. I was 'poorly' during May and missed the AGT and the mid-week ride to Baldock on the 16th. I also missed the Full Member ride on the 21st, in this case compounded by the fact that I had a morning flight to France. In Richard's absence it was led by Pete R., with Alan as sweeper and Phil Reader attending. Destination, route, other attendees - all were unreported. The final run of this period, and a welcome opportunity for me to get back onto the bike after nearly a month. was the Associate/Member ride to 'destination TBA' on the 28th May. In Mick's absence this was led by Alan, with Clive as sweeper because "his Harley is so noisy that it is a kindness to all to keep him firmly at the rear". There were, I think, ten of us, and the weather was brilliant (the promised rain did not arrive until I was dismounting from the bike back home in South London, but it then came with a vengeance). The destination turned out to be the Street Cafe in Newmarket, and the distance was going to be 60 miles, which meant that the route had to be an ingenious one. Much of it was indeed on narrow unclassifieds, but of a better class than the mossy goat tracks some of us have inadvertently become used to. Personally I think Alan planned it by requesting the routes for the Sunday Ride from every local bicycle club, and then just stitched them together. There can be no other explanation for the inordinate number of cyclists we encountered. It was actually a very good route on many roads I have never ridden before. The food at the cafe was good, at humane prices and with prompt service. Half a dozen of us parked, with permission, in the cafe back yard. The staff seemed strangely hostile but we blagged our way through it. This may be connected with the fact that we had actually parked in the wrong back yard. The route back was not quite as devious, but still very good. The pace was relaxed (but at no time funereal). Total distance 114 miles. We finished at the Boreham McDonalds shortly before three, That’s All, Folks!

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Observer profile Name: Simon Enticknap When and why did you develop an interest in riding a motorcycle? At about 10 – my elder brother went to University and came home with a Morgan three wheeler as well as an old Matchless single with a platform instead of a sidecar. How old were you when you first rode a bike? 10 – I used to listen out for my brother coming home from work on his combination. What was the bike and what were the circumstances? My brother had an old Matchless 500 with a wheel and platform attached rather than a sidecar. When I heard him I would run to the end of the driveway and he would let me ride from the road to the house – that was until one day I forgot which way to close the throttle and careered at full speed into the lean to with him on the back. After that riding was limited to jaunts around the local fields on the Matchless until for my 17th Birthday my brother bought me an old CZ125 – I remember I could only afford third party insurance in those days but I went all over the place on it. Of the bikes you’ve owned to date, which was the favourite, if there was one? I used to own a 500 cc Ariel Red Hunter single that was tuned by Lawrence Hartley. It was my first “Big Bike” and I completely stripped it down and re-built it. Like most British bikes it was very loud and used to pop bang and drop oil and bits everywhere we went but I loved it. If you were given the opportunity to own any bike on the market which would it be? I love each of my current bikes for different reasons – if I could add anything it would probably be something like a big Vincent or a Brough Superior. If it had to be a more modern bike then I have always loved the looks and sounds of the MV F4’s – I test rode one with open Arrow exhausts when we lived in Switzerland through the 1km Tunnel from the airport back into town – it sounded gorgeous! What is your favourite motorcycle related gadget? As an ageing rider I have come to really appreciate the benefits of heated clothing – I know it means I am not a roughy toughy rider – but at least I am warm!

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Where is your preferred place to ride in the UK? I don’t really like motorways or dual carriageways but as long as I am on my bike I am happy pretty much anywhere. And, overseas? I have ridden around Europe with John Tipper when he ran Reveiller rides and there are some really great roads. I did particularly like the mountain passes near where we used to live in Switzerland. Tight twisty mountain passes and the sights were breath taking. If you were offered the opportunity to go on an extended bike tour who, family members aside, who would you choose as a riding companion? If I could keep up I think it would be really fun to ride with Guy Martin – he is an absolute nutter but I think it would be hilarious. How would you describe to a non-rider the attraction of riding a bike as opposed to driving a car? Firstly you have to keep your wits about you at all times – you are right in the middle of everything, the sights, the sounds and the smells. The exhilaration that you get from the acceleration of riding a powerful bike and the genuine satisfaction of getting a set of bends just right or picking off a good safe overtake keeps me feeling young. When do you intend to give up riding? You are a long time dead; as long as I can still ride safely and continue to enjoy it, I will carry on as long as possible Describe your scariest moment on your bike! I had just come back to biking and bought a bright red 900cc Ducati – I had the obligatory matching red and white Dainese leathers and thought I was the dogs…. I was enjoying a “brisk” ride and took an overtake at speed that wasn’t really on – not least as there was a white escort van coming the other way. Fortunately he braked and swerved and I made it through the gap with inches to spare. I was absolutely astonished that I had got away with it, and had to pull over and gather my thoughts. Soon after I joined EAMG!

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Further Training Opportunities for Full Members Have you ever wondered if your riding skill is still as good as it was when you passed your IAM or RoSPA Test? Is your RoSPA Retest fast approaching and you feel you’d like a refresher to check that bad habits have not crept into your riding? We are all only as good as the day we are actually riding our bikes. How good our riding was last year or even last month may not be as good as we think it is; complacency can be fatal. EAMG provide two Further Training Schemes for Full Members:

Full Member Training (FMT) – One-day training courses available four times a year Further Training for Full Members (FTFM) – Assignment to an Observer for 1 to 1 training These courses are provided to check riding skills haven’t deteriorated, for those wishing to take a higher grade of test such as RoSPA or for those preparing for qualification as an EAMG Observer. Full Member Training Four FMT Courses take place during ‘summer time’ between March and October. Participation is entirely voluntary and those taking part do not have to join each ride. Training is for your benefit and enjoyment; it is not a mandatory requirement that you go on to take a RoSPA test. To ensure the highest possible standard, Observers undertaking this training will hold a current RoSPA Gold certificate. You will not be riding in one large group. Where possible you will be riding with an Observer and one other Full Member giving you the opportunity to have a 'rest' while your partner is being observed. Every effort will be made to match your riding experience, ability and aspirations with your partner, any miss matching being addressed at the first refreshment stop. The routes, approx. 200 miles, will cover a variety of roads and include several debriefing stops and two refreshment stops. Joining details will be sent by email or post a few days before the event. Events this year:

Joining Fee £45.00

30th July, 2017

22nd October, 2017

Contact John Tipper, 8 Carlton Ave, London N14 4UA. Email: Tel : 0208 360 8590

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Further Training for Full Members You will be assigned to an Observer and rides will be arranged on a one to one basis when mutually convenient. Although not mandatory, unlike FMT, the training will be structured as preparation for a further test such as RoSPA. To apply to join this scheme: Apply to the Membership Secretary either at membership renewal or during the season. You will be asked to pay an additional Membership Fee (details below). Your Application will be passed to the Observer Co-ordinator who will assign you to the first available Observer. Where feasible, geographical location will be considered. You will be expected to pay the Observer a contribution (details below) towards fuel costs. Participation must be renewed annually.

Name: Address:

Post Code:



Riding Experience:


Typical annual mileage:


FTFM - 2017 Membership Secretary

Observer Co-ordinator

Paula Hockey

John Tullett

Additional Membership Fee

Contribution to Observer

ÂŁ20 pa

ÂŁ10 per ride

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

Chris Johnson, Editor University of Essex Printing Services, contact Hannah 01206 872822 for more information. Please mention EAMG when replying to advertisers - it identifies you! 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 2017 Illustrations Š EAMG 2017, except where indicated otherwise. Group material may be reproduced provided acknowledgement is given to EAMG and the original author.

@EssexAdvMCgroup @EAMG.ORG.UK Pictures: 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

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