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Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group

October 2020

Welcome to T.U.G. Dear Members, It seemed that things were easing, and now we are going backwards. ‘New Normal’ training is in full swing, but no social activities. Since training is the backbone of the Group I guess we should be grateful for small mercies. We have two new articles for you this issue, and two recycled ones (but in pristine condition with a three millisecond warranty). No Rider Profile. Will you please send me some Rider Profiles? When the quarantine for Sweden was lifted a fortnight ago I promptly booked a flight to visit my son there. A week later the flight was cancelled, and it now seems inevitable that quarantine will be reintroduced. I hope it lifts before December, when he has his 40th birthday. 14 days of isolating myself would be tough for me, but a total nightmare for my poor wife Mary. Chris Editor (TUG@eamg.org.uk)

Chairman’s Piece


Test Passes


Membership Info


New Members


Training Team News


Old This & That …


Air Ambulance—i2i


Membership Form


Dates for the Diary?


Old Picture Gallery


From Zero to Hero


Old Born Yet Again


Further Training


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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Well summer seems to be slipping away with a prospect of a very restricted autumn and winter, and with the season’s change there are changes to the committee. Steve Mariner stepped forward to take over as Group Secretary from Graham Seeley. I thank Graham for his time in the post and wish him well as he resigns from the committee. I am very grateful to Steve who is up and running and will be sending out the newsletter in future, and keeping the committee in check! Paula has also indicated she wishes to stand down as membership secretary, having held this position myself I know how rewarding and enjoyable it is to have contact with members, new and old. My thanks go to Paula for her dedication and ask any member interested to contact me for more details on the role. I congratulate Joe Johal on completing his observer training and joining the team. We still have many new members joining and we are close to offering a normal training program to all our associates and full members who


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are undergoing FTFM. Since June the observers have been conducting 1:1 rides and Mick and Alan ran an associate only ride for 3 associates. As T.U.G. goes to print we are also working on holding AGT at Longmeads house. The new building situated behind and to the left of the old one boasts a beautiful block paved car park. As numbers are restricted to follow guidelines we will only be able to accommodate associate members and full members on FMFT. The format will generally be the same with a Roadcraft talk then 1:1 observed rides. We can meet in a group larger than 6 for training purposes while in the hall. There will be extra supervision in the car park and strict hygiene measures to keep everyone safe. I know there doesn’t seem much for full members at the moment. Lots of you are out in smaller groups, friendships you have made through EAMG and that is fantastic. Anyone wanting some company on a ride please post on facebook or the forum, or message me and I will arrange something. Hoping you and your loved ones stay safe.

Jill info@eamg.org.uk


Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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Pandemic Place Filler





Kevin Byford 6th July 2020 RoSPA Gold (FTFM) Observer: Michel Couque Examiner: Neal ?

Mark Scott

Robert Chapman

Observer: Eddy Brazier Examiner: Mick Jones

Observer: Mick Hewitt Examiner: Mick Jones

Joe Johal

Graham Cooper

27th September 2020 RoSPA Silver

14th August 2020 EAMG Observer Observer: Mick Hewitt Assessor: John Tullett

22nd August 2020 RoSPA Silver

12th September 2020 EAMG Observer (re-test) Assessor: John Tullett

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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 are not

currently being updated

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: Robert Bowles Steve Davis

Nick Ward Poorav Chheda

Full Members: Graham Fergusson Scott Charles-Carberry Vicky Wright Keith Smith

Mathew Breeds Dawn Gale Steven Godfrey Peter Stefanovits

We wish you heartily welcome to the Group. Obviously the social activities are savagely curtailed at the moment but training, in a socially responsible manner, is in full swing. Roll on happier times when you can experience all that we have traditionally had to offer.


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Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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TRAINING TEAM NEWS John Tullett . Coronavirus For a while things looked fairly positive, infection rates appeared relatively low and various restrictions were eased. Children went back to school. Students started to return to universities and colleges. Commuters were even encouraged to use public transport to go back to 'the office', rather than work from home. Unfortunately, within a very short timescale we have seen the introduction of the rule of six, a sharp rise in daily Coronavirus cases, the reproduction rate ('r' number) increasing to more than one, demand for Covid-19 testing outstripping supply and quite a few local lockdowns. Boris has also just confirmed the arrival of the anticipated second wave. Without wishing to appear to be a harbinger of doom quite where that will leave us by the time you are reading this column is difficult to predict. Much though I am sure most people have more serious issues to consider than their motorcycle training this is really unwelcome news as, when out for a training ride, you are forced to concentrate on what you are doing and it is almost possible to convince yourself, even if only for a few hours, that things are 'normal'. 1-to-1 Training - One to one training rides with Observers have been continuing since 15th June with social distancing in mind. We have followed the agreed Group guidelines including: · · · · ·

Observers will contact their trainees to establish whether they are happy to resume training and check memberships have been renewed; Radios will not be used; Ride report forms will be sent via email or other means; Observers will check toilet facilities are available en-route prior to ride if considered necessary; and Observee to be advised to take own drink and food if required.


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Associate Member Training / Full Member Training - The 26th July ride took place successfully with six Full members in attendance. The ride was split into three groups of three with two Full members allocated to each Observer. The final AMT/ FMT ride for 2020 is due to take place on 18th October. If you wish to attend please contact John Tipper to book your place. Additional details on how to contact John can be found elsewhere in TUG. Associate Group Training (AGT) - The September AGT was held on Sunday the 6th, with bookings being made via Mick Hewitt, who handled all Observer allocations. Three Associates and one Full member signed up for further training took part. To ensure compliance with Government guidelines each individual set off from a separate location with their allocated Observer, who followed the 1-to-1 training guidelines outlined above. Obviously the standard AGT format had to be altered as it was not possible to include a roadcraft presentation or a social ride for Full members. We hope that all remaining 2020 AGTs will also be able to take place following the same format, on 11th October, 8th November and 6th December, respectively. If you are interested in attending on any or all of these dates then please contact Mick Hewitt (Mick's details are on the Group's Forum - accessible via http: / / www.eamg.org.uk/ ). Slow Riding Day - Unfortunately it was not possible to hold the planned Slow Riding day on 20th September. Nevertheless slow riding remains a key skill to develop and maintain, both for dayto-day riding and potentially on test (where an examiner could ask you to perform a manoeuvre such as figures of eight), so please remember to allocate some time for personal training or have a word with your 1-to-1 Observer who will be happy and able to assist you.

Training Team Update Long term EAMG member Joe Johal has recently joined the Training Team after passing his Observer test with John Tipper, having been trained by Senior Observer Mick Hewitt.

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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Unfortunately after more than 10 years observing Simon Enticknap has taken the difficult decision to step down as an member of the Training Team. Simon has been a highly valued Observer and Senior Observer and his skills and enthusiasm will be greatly missed by his peers. Simon also took over the Group Secretary role several years ago, at a very difficult time for EAMG.

Online Training Feedback Form Since the August issue of TUG we have received three more sets of feedback via the Online Training Feedback facility (which can be accessed via the home page of EAMG's website http: / / www.eamg.org.uk/ ). Thank you to Nick Franklin, Phil Wilkinson and Andy Smith for taking the time and trouble to let us know what you think. I am pleased to confirm that your positive comments have been passed on to your respective observers. Expect the Unexpected

Longer term members will recall a series of valuable articles that John Tipper included on this subject in TUG. I was recently reminded of the importance of this advice when I was heading home on a courtesy Urban G/ S while Reiten (who I would highly recommend) were servicing my GSA. As I was approaching Finchingfield from Cornish Hall End on the B1057 I spotted some brownish 'shapes' in a field on the left. Because they were positioned in a random pattern the word " deer?" went through my head and I knocked off some speed. Sure enough after I rounded the next left hand bend one deer crashed out through the hedge just in front of me. I hit the brakes and two more followed. Looking in my mirrors a fourth passed just behind me and fortunately also safely made it to the other side of the road as the car heading in the opposite direction managed to stop just in time. ---ooo0ooo--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. Editor: Please see the forum announcement about the resumption of AGTs at

Longmeads House https://www.eamg.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=144


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Old This and That Dave Iszard This article first appeared in TUG in April 2011. Once again it is a pleasure to have the excuse to reprint some of Dave’s pieces.

At Morrison they wouldn’t activate the pump until we had taken off our helmets. I‘m on a motor bike so I must be a baddy .What if I take my helmet off as requested fill the bike with petrol, put my helmet back on and then go in to pay. What happens then. Must try that. Talking petrol - getting very expensive. Might it affect our hobby. A social ride with the group is going to be more than a cheap day out. Fill up the bike before the run starts, £28 ? Go some where and eat £10? Top up with fuel to get home £14 ? 56 quid spent. Some might find that too much but I’m going to justify it because it is a whole day out doing something I really enjoy, a real therapy. It would probably equate to a family outing to the cinema followed by an arse and lips burger at the local fast food outlet. I motorcycle for my well being, it keeps me stable, it should be available on the NHS. Visit a popular road side food outlet - -Me; “Can I have toast made with mouldy bread, rubbery scrambled eggs, and I’ll have grilled tomatoes but forget to put them on the plate. Oh! yes and a cup of coffee but forget to bring it until I’m ready to leave. Thank you.” Serving Yoof: “Sorry sir we can’t do that.” Me; “Why not, you did it last week.” Gather around to look at the new baby ? When a new baby is born the males in the family get together and crack open a beer or two. In the mean time all the females gather around the baby and go, arrr, goo goo, oos a loverly baby then. Well I’ve noticed that something like that happens when someone in our ranks is contemplating buying a new bike or has bought a new bike. Nephew, Phil and Elke announced their intentions to buy new bikes and everyone starts guessing, what you gonna have? What colour? When’s it arrive? When it does arrive we all gather around and go, ooo, and arrr, like uncles and aunties. The uncles comment on it being a ’strapping lad, look at those tyres’ while the aunties admire the pretty colour and muscular form. Then we tend to look upon it as it grows

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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up. It’s first service is like it’s first day at school and as it grows up and gradually ventures further a field we all want to know how it got on. Should it misbehave when the mileage gets to the teens the uncles and aunts become concerned and offer advise to the parents. When we finally get fed up with it we sell it. My point is, why can’t we do that with the Kids.

JOKE. A new mum wheels her new baby out into the park, she is so proud. A passer-by asks to see the new baby and comments, “that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen”. Mum is upset by the remark and hurries away. She meets some more people and they too make comments about the baby’s looks. By now mum is very upset and sits on the park bench in floods of tears. A stranger approaches her with concern as he can see she is very upset. He put his arm around her and says,” there - there, don’t cry I’ll cheer you up. I’ll get you a nice cup of tea and a banana for your monkey. When BMW introduced the GS 1100 it was considered ‘as ugly as sin’ but we bought it and if you looked at it long enough it started to look good. After a year of ownership the owner quite got used to it and it didn’t look too bad. It was accepted and other manufacturers saw it as a licence to make ‘ugly bikes’. Versy, the first Mulitstrada, VFR 1200, other models of Beemer with their quirky head lights all caused comment. None of them were as attractive as say a GSXR Suzuki but they all seemed to be ‘all day usable’ and sold in droves. - - So, Simon E, don’t be upset I’ll buy you a nice cup of coffee and a plough for your tractor. HONDA CB500 Following Chris Reed’s run down of owning a CB500 for 121,000 miles. I thought lets keep this running. I can’t compete with the mileage that Chris covers but I’m on my 3 rd CB5. The 1st, bought from an ad in Autotrader had been used to commute and done about 20,000 miles but not especially looked after. Pitted fork legs and a blocked radiator were the first things to sort out. Genuine Honda fork legs cost around £250 plus seals and oil, then general service stuff, oil filters brake pads, chain and sprockets made it into a useable little bike. A lot of cleaning and prodding eventually got the radiator unblocked. After a seasons use I wasn’t that wrapped up with it. It would move around when cornered hard and indicate 110mph flat out. (My Velocette Venom of the same capacity, made in 1958 could do that) It did have a certain charm and would serge ahead when 6000rpm was reached and it had a good deal of ‘tug’ before hand. One thing for sure it was too good for the training schools that had them. Mick H, an observer at the time, bought it and I believe still owns it.


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Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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I replaced it with a CBF600S. Like all Hondas it had a blandness about it but did everything well. While at a customers house I spied a laid up CB5 but he wanted too much for it. It had all the service history and was bright and clean with 18,000 miles showing. Almost a year passed and it was still there gathering dust so I ground away at him and had CB500 number two but I still paid too much for it. Despite it’s service history, some non Honda replacement parts were fitted, the chain and sprockets jump to mind. They didn’t do any decent mileage at all before they were badly and unevenly worn out. It had after market shocks on it that were far too stiff and every bump in the road was a potential spine injury. It did have a nice stainless steel exhaust system though. This one like the one before it had a warped rear disc. I did a couple of thousand miles on it before Nicki decided she was going to step up from her CB250 on to my CB500 so I said goodbye to that. Over the snowy new year I stripped the clutch down to find out why neutral was hard to find and changed the oil and filters. Honda parts from David Silver Spares and everything is fine. The Suzuki GS500 that was lurking in the garage didn’t appeal so I sold it and the next day on our group website, Darren offered his 1995 CB500 with lots of service history, a one time category C write off. 27,000 miles recorded this little engine is so sweet. The clutch rattles when cold but it soon quietens down when hot. It has Nissin front brake and a drum rear and it is no better or worse than the Brembo set up on the previous 2000 bike which also has a braided hose. I’ve rather warmed to this one. It still moves around on fast bends, only does 110 mph (allegedly) but like all of them is so willing to ‘give its all’. The BT 45’s seem to wear out quickly but give excellent grip and I see no reason to try another tyre. Nicki’s younger bike seems to pull away from mine on acceleration, is it the free flowing pipe or probably that she weighs far less. Why hasn’t everyone got a CB500 as a second string bike or even a first string bike. Last year on a ride out myself Guy and Gary Crane all on CB500 got into a spirited ride across the Cambridgeshire Fens, I don’t think I would have had any more fun on any other bike. Shame they never made it as a 650.

Editor: I remember the days when CB 500s were a fashion item in the Group.. They were a complete nuisance since they were ridden furiously and were always trying to overtake you. I am reminded of a comment by Linda Lovelace, of ‘Deep Throat’ fame, in an interview she once gave. “Men who are less well-equipped make up for it by trying harder”.

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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Supporting the Air Ambulance and i2i training Jill Winn August 2020 and I’m off on an adventure, the only adventure of 2020 it seems. Having cancelled biking trips to Scotland, Austria and Wales I was determined to make the most of this trip. Coincidently I had just signed up to support the Air Ambulance run 2020 in the absence of the usual events. The challenge is to ride 50 miles and post pictures on their facebook wall. I chose the stretch Wisbech to Thimbleby. There’s £10 entry fee and optional Tshirt. I don’t normally buy the Tshirt but thought this year was important as all charities have had their fund raising events curtailed. Leaving mid morning my plan was to get to York without using dual carriageways. My Tomtom taking me directly North and over the Humber bridge I journeyed through through Ely, Wisbech and the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Quick Stop in Ely

Thimbleby on Lincolnshire Wolds

Arriving early evening at my lodgings The Red Lion at Upper Poppleton I was made


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to feel welcome by the hosts Mark & Jean. Being part of the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme I enjoyed a superb evening meal. Mark is a biker himself and offers discounts to bikers booking through their website. https:// www.redlioncountryinn.co.uk/bikers Rooms are comfortable and if you are thinking of attending the i2i courses in York you are 5 minutes away. While I was researching where to stay I noticed Mark & Jean had appeared on ‘4 in a bed’ I found the episode and watched on my first evening. They are both characters and it gave me an insight into their personalities which I found very entertaining. Next morning onto the main event ‘Machine Skills 1’ at the i2i training venue at Rufforth Airfield. The day started with Tom Killeen in the café with views over the airfield and a brief get to know the other 10 attendees. Then onto the airfield… I’ve done a few courses now and been an Observer for nearly 10 years but every so often someone comes along and shakes up everything you thought you knew and understood. Tom has spent 14 years questioning everything relating to machine control. Everything he teaches/explains he shows you, taking some exercises to extremes. I’ve always known I should ride with the balls of my feet on the pegs, I’ve never questioned why but seem to remember the suggestion being ‘it looks tidier’ or ‘stops your feet hitting the ground when you corner’. Now I understand the subtle difference foot and leg position can make in machine control and core stability. Various exercises later Tom had made us all laugh, gasp in amazement and rethink just what a bike can do.

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Machine skills 2 followed the next day and Tom expanded on the capabilities of the wonderful 2 wheeled machine we all love. I have been shown how and why counter steering works, I never did get the pushing down on the bar thing!! Steering using only 1 finger on each hand taught me how subtle rider input should be.

By the end of my second day I was undergoing hard braking from 50 mph using only the front brake and just 2 fingers with my left hand off the bars, feeling totally relaxed and in control. Tom’s demonstration included lifting the back wheel off the ground (one handed). In conclusion, do you go where you look? Do you push the bar down to steer? Is braking using only 2 fingers right or wrong? I’m not getting into arguments, I loved the 2 days and encourage everyone to go try it, you will learn something. https:// www.i2imca.com/


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Please note that all events in the Diary are now suspended until further notice, except for AGTs and AMT/FMT February 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

Maldon Motor Show Richard's Full Member Ride





Diary 20 20





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 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)

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

Tuesday, 7th Sunday, 12th Sunday, 19th Tuesday, 21st Sunday, 26th Sunday, 26th

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Picture Gallery ■ Picture Gallery ■ Ol


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ld Pictures ■ 20 0 8 ■ Picture Gallery

Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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From Zero to Hero Patricia Stiemke Despite the grumblings of many in the motorcycle community, I have been interested in electric bikes ever since they made an appearance on various media platforms. I have been chasing test rides for more than a year, first on a Harley Davidson Livewire as they look pretty awesome, and then the Zero as they are becoming more widely available. The rollout of the Livewire has been an absolute joke and I had to give up in the end as the closest dealership that finally had one of these in the showroom is in central London and I am not willing, under any circumstances, to test ride anything in those traffic conditions. It would be about as much fun as getting slapped by a fish. I have to say though, the salesman on the phone was very nice and gave me a lot of information. I think he was just glad to talk to someone more in-depth about this model. I was initially drawn to the Zero at one of the EAMG’s monthly meets when two models were standing there looking suitably heavy and camouflaged. I think this was almost two years ago. Unfortunately, I always had to temper my enthusiasm as the prices for these bikes has not come down significantly under £10,000 and that is more than I’ll ever be able to afford for a bike. Yes, there is a government subsidy of £950 but that is a drop in the ocean really. The model I am really keen on is the Zero SR/S with the 14.4 kW/h battery. It is a fairinged bike, which is essential for my riding style. The suggested retail price is £19,590 for the standard version and another £2000 on top if you want the premium version. The premium model has a faster charger essentially. That being said, I also test rode the S1000RR last year and an H2 the year before that and I made no excuses about being able to afford either of them. So, never to be deterred, I was planning a road trip to Diss, just northeast from Bury St. Edmunds for a test ride at the English Electric Motor Company. They have the unique distinction of having an electric off road track near the premises and also have a micro brewery attached to the premises. It sounded like a good day out in any case. Enter the pandemic.


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Skip to September. Zero is doing a Bums on Seats Tour (it may still be ongoing) around the UK and Cannon BMW in Witham was one of the stops. I registered and went on the day which was dry, always a bonus, with a lot of enthusiasm to begin with considering how long I’ve been waiting to get my leg over one of these bikes. I was not disappointed. It was a two bike demo ride with our leader test riding with his wife as pillion. This was not going to be a fast ride. We were limited to 15-20 minutes out on the road which was a bit disappointing but never mind. The first thing I was pleasantly surprised about was that I could both my feet flat on the ground. This was not the case when I first sat on one of these at the EAMG meeting where they only had the adventure models on show. The second surprise was that despite the weight (230 kg curb weight), it didn’t feel as cumbersome as I thought it would. After a short debrief the next surprise was the fact the fact that as soon as you press the ON button, you are essentially in gear. It is logical of course as there are no gears on an electric bike but it was the practical realisation not to turn the throttle unless I was ready to move off that was a bit unnerving. So, getting comfortable I gingerly started twisting the throttle and the bike rolled on smoothly and blissfully silent. I mentally prepared myself to keep my left hand and foot firmly in their place and not try to reach for any kind of lever or pedal. It worked surprisingly well. We ventured onto the A12, not my choice on weekend afternoon. I would have preferred a jaunt onto the A120 and a bit of a rollout but that would have pushed us over the allowed time. We were asked to ride out using the Eco mode and switch to Sports mode at the turn around point. There is also a Rain and a Custom mode but neither of those were on the menu for the day. Switching between modes is quite easy but we were advised to pull up in order to do so. Neither of us did.

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The throttle is smooth and not snatchy at all. I can say that the Eco mode gives a good, constant (of course) acceleration up to 75 mph at which point the bike is throttled. Eco mode will not allow a higher speed but this is a good mode for a heavily trafficked road and slow commutes. It gives the longest range on one charge (109 to 160 miles with city riding giving the longer range). The reason it has a longer range in stop and go traffic is that engine breaking also charges the battery. The A12 is a good road to test suspension, especially on the stretch between Witham and Colchester. I can safely say that it was a sporty suspension but not uncomfortably bouncy. The suspension settings are fully adjustable both in the front and rear and I found the seat itself quite comfortable. I was riding without ear plugs, as suggested by the Zero rep, and was mostly bothered by the wind noise. It was the loudest thing I could hear apart from the engine noises of the surrounding cars. The only evidence of the bike running was the small whine of the electric motor which I found quite relaxing / comforting. We turned around at Mark’s Tey and I switched to Sports Mode. Back on the A12 my leader was taking it very gingerly indeed. Well, actually, he was staying within the speed limits so I can’t really complain but..yeah. On a somewhat clear stretch I decided to drop back by quite distance into the passing lane. So, bimbling along at 50 mph I noticed a BMW M3 approaching fast and decided to test out Sports Mode and I was, once again, not disappointed. I was at 100 in a few nanoseconds and still accelerating at the same rate and the M3 was still at a very comfortable distance behind me. All too soon I caught up to my leader but the difference in acceleration to Eco Mode was very palpable and just made me grin maniacally. I expect I would just about make it to work (Hatfield Heath to Ipswich Hospital) in Sports Mode. Thankfully, the hospital has several charging points. Both Premium and Standard models can do a fast, full charge (6kW option) in a little more than an hour and a standard full charge takes 2.5 hours. If you are using your wall socket at home, it’s 8.5 hours. Sadly, I didn’t get to test the full cornering capability but the corners I did take felt quite easy. The position of the motor and battery in a central, low position makes it unobtrusive when negotiating bends. However, a more rigorous test is needed for me to reach a proper judgement. We arrived back at Cannon way too soon. I was still full of enthusiasm and it felt wholly justified. What’s not to like with 190 Nm of torque with no dips in the delivery. In horsepower it’s 110 (82kW) at 5000 rpm. Top speed is 124 mph but that’s OK.


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The only niggle, apart from the price, I have is one of style. I really like the look of the SR/S, especially the phat rear tyre, but the square headlights would not have been a design I would have chosen. It wouldn’t deter me from owning one though. Finally, a thought or two on the future. Electric bikes will probably become more long range and still have shedloads of torque but I see it as a temporary fix because even electric has its environmental costs. However, until they figure out how to squeeze a hydrogen powered engine into a two wheeled chassis, this is the most environmentally friendly option out there. I have mostly stopped reading comments on social media posts about electric bikes because there is such a depressing amount of hate and vitriole. I don’t get it. Statistically, we know loud pipes do not save lives. Being seen is much more important than being heard. As pedestrians and cyclists, we all have to get used to the ever increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads and go back to the old “look right and left before crossing the road” instead of staring down at our phones. Those that love the smell of exhaust and petrol, well, we won’t be seeing much of you in traffic after 2040, will we? While the word may not be changing for the better in many ways, this is one area where I embrace change with open arms.

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Old Born Yet Again (+ Some Events) Chris Johnson

(from TUG April 2014)

Having become a Born Again Biker at the end of 2000, and joined EAMG in 2001, life on a motorbike plodded on quite happily, despite a relocation to Sydenham early in 2007, until the start of 2011. At that point the old Johnson health started to take a nosedive, and the last EAMG outing I was able to go on was in April. I finally admitted to myself that I was not going to be riding again for a while and SORNed the bikes. Fast forward to 2013, after three operations, chemotherapy, and a whole bunch of other personal violations which were summarised by a two inch pile of documents from the NHS, and things were looking better. I had a backlog of trips abroad with my wife Mary to get through, as well as trying to resurrect my business, but as August approached it was clearly time to get back on the road again. The FJR was straightforward, but the Fireblade was by then ten years old, and its Meta alarm had died. It turned out that it had an encapsulated battery which had perished of old age and alarm replacement was the only option. An expensive home visit by an alarm technician cured that, and I also learned that the Meta 375 was providing him with good business, since they were all falling like flies in winter. If you have such an elderly alarm, and take your bike off the road over the winter, then even if you keep the battery on trickle charge you should turn on the ignition for a while periodically, since it is only when the ignition is on that the alarm battery is charged. It will delay the inevitable for a while. I then had two bikes at my disposal again, but the rider had to be brought back into roadworthy condition. Cue a series of rides down into Kent and Surrey. I have spoken scathingly about the dull roads south of the Thames before; they have not


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improved. On one occasion in Crawley I set out in the wrong direction on, from memory, the B2110. I realised this very quickly but it seemed a good little road and so I continued going the wrong way for a dozen miles; an enjoyable stretch being such a rarity. I had expected my machine skills to be a bit rusty, but was horrified at how the tricks of forward planning and reading the road, slowly and painfully acquired over the years, seemed to have atrophied. Some additional training was going to be needed. Before that could be arranged, Geoff Preston held his annual Beachy Head run. This was a general social run and should not be too demanding. On Sunday the 1st of September I duly rode a little nervously to the Thurrock Services for my first EAMG run in well over two years. Do you remember how the Beachy Head runs used to be? The massed ranks of bikers, the police visits to see if this was a riot or demonstration in the making, the families and camp followers tearfully assembled to wave farewell to their loved ones, Geoff dashing around like a blue-tailed fly between the three parks at Thurrock because everybody inevitably assembled in the wrong one? It is not like that anymore. I think there were fewer than ten bikes participating. It may have been a small group, but the weather was fine and Geoff did a great job with a route which eliminated almost all of the initial boring roads. I enjoyed myself thoroughly, despite the shame of having forgotten to bring my camera! The only slight downer was arriving back at my sister's birthday party so late that there was nothing left to eat except for two small cold sausages and a tiny lump of Mexican cheese. On 23rd September I went on a day of one-to-one tuition with Chris Reed and RiderArt. Training. This was an excellent investment. We covered a couple of hundred miles of varied roads with Chris shouting advice and encouragement over the radio. His forward vision is extraordinary. How could he see that someone was pulling out into Bellamy Drive in Aber-

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deen? I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Towards the end of the run Chris led and gave a running commentary about the decisions he was making which was most illuminating. The bottom line appeared to be that I was still a safe rider because, although my skills needed considerable improvement, I adjusted my pace to ride within my limitations. One happy discovery on this outing, albeit about ten years late, was that if I handled T-junctions with restricted view as slow riding exercises whilst I checked the road then I only had to put a foot down if there was something coming. Since I have sciatica which significantly affects the mobility of my left leg this was something of a lifechanging revelation. On 6th October I ventured out to my first AGT. Dave Cardy, who I believe has organised quite a few post-AGT runs since I withdrew from active service, had arranged a very nice little run along an excellent mix of roads. What was the destination? Memory is so frail nowadays. On the way out we went through Leaden Roding, where we were waved into a car park by police for a compulsory Bikesafe introduction. Dave had a serious word with those there, and got permission for us to proceed, which was a complete waste of time because the moment they saw the free burger van his group had dismounted with great alacrity and clustered round it to place their orders. They were very good burgers indeed and everyone agreed, as they brushed off the crumbs, that Bikesafe were doing a really great job. The weather was good but the day did end under a bit of a cloud, because on the return journey a bend on an unclassified near Debden decided to bite back. Nothing really serious, and since I was up near the head of the group when it happened and did not see the incident I shall draw a discrete veil over it. It was defiEssex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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nitely a victory for the home team, with a final score of Bushes 2 - Bikes 0, and effectively ended the run. Since it looked as if my days of biking out on main roads to visit clients were pretty much over, I was starting to take a long, cold look at the FJR1300. It was not really a bike that I had ever loved. It did its main job as a comfortable mile-muncher well enough, but it was a heavy old lump which needed hard work in the twisties, even after I had Power Commandered its quirky low throttle behaviour into submission. The illness had taught me that, since tomorrow is uncertain, living for today had a lot to recommend it. Perhaps a V-twin would be fun after half a lifetime of inline fours? I liberated a slice of cash which had been meant to keep me in extreme old age and went off to try a Ducati Multistrada. It fell at the first hurdle because with my Irish build (very long back and stubby little legs) I couldn't get the balls of both feet securely planted on the ground. Off for a test ride on an Aprilia Caponord. Superbly comfortable active suspension, but it felt a bit gutless and had a taint of the scooter about it. Finally I crossed the street to try a KTM 1190 Adventure, which was not a bike I had initially considered. The test ride on that revealed that it felt like a real motorbike, and in mid-November I took delivery of one. With all the trick accessories like electronic suspension, heated grips and a full set of luggage it was far from cheap. I admired how rugged it looked with its aluminium panniers and then promptly consigned them to the cupboard under the stairs for the day when I might possibly need them. When filtering in London you want to keep the bike as narrow as possible and the topbox alone is adequate. Choice of motorbike is not always logical. Why on earth would I choose a bike noted for its off-road pedigree when the only off-roading I am likely to do would be inadvertent, and involve travelling through a hedge? TUG also has a record of the scorn I poured on the BMW 1200GS when it started to be popular, with references to 'comedy bikes' and 'motorised penny farthings' (I think Keith has forgiven me for this, I am not sure that in his heart Simon has, despite his protestations to the contrary). If you have an Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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answer to this conundrum then please let me know, because I am damned if I do. Nevertheless, as I get to know the KTM I get the increasing feeling that it is, like the Blade, one of the rare bikes that can be trusted to do what it is told to do and give no surprises, so perhaps there is a greater truth to stumble onto beyond that which mere logic dictates. I felt a bit sorry for the poor little Fireblade. After two years in mothballs it thought that life had started again, and then along came this new upstart which seemed to be favoured, using excuses like 'running in' and 'getting used to the new bike', and it was returned to a gloomy loneliness back on the trickle charger. Be brave, old friend, your time in the sun will come again! The KTM got its first outing with the Group at Richard's Full Member run to St Ives on the 1st December. Since I was running it in Geoff kindly allowed me to act as back marker, but in the event it seemed to keep up well enough. There were about ten of us and with a stop on the outward leg at Red Lodge, and the ever reliable Local Cafe at our destination, we were well fed and watered. Although it did not rain it was a grey, greasy sort of day, and many complained about the slipperiness of the roads. I was gratified that I did not notice this but whether that was due to cautious riding, the inherent good qualities of the bike, or subtle intervention by its traction control I do not know. We were now edging into winter. Just in case you hadn't noticed, December was very wet, January was even wetter, and February to time of writing has not been much better. The only plus was that we had less frost and ice than usual. The bike got so dirty after an outing that even I, a stout proponent of the protective qualities of a thick layer of grime, took to hosing Essex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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it down on return. On the 28th of December Chris Reed organised a cobweb-buster run to the Comfort Cafe. It was a sunny day but Chris stuck to fairly major roads because the general conditions were not good. There were about fifteen of us, and the run ended at the Birchanger Services. It was during this run that the bike reached its 1000km point. Good news, because the ECU then decided not to flash a large red warning light at me as soon as the revs reached 6500. Bad news, because it also decided that it needed a service and kept reminding me about it incessantly. It had been serviced a little earlier, but they had forgotten to plug in a computer and record the fact. It appears that I have acquired not just a new bike, but a new mother-in-law. Mixed feelings about this. In the good old days bikes may have broken down every hundred miles or so, but at least they didn't nag you. I guess it also means that I have to get it serviced by the dealer and not my little man down the road, whose realistic 'that is good for a few more miles yet' attitude has been such a financial comfort to me. Richard announced a ride at short notice for the 5th January. Possibly too short a notice, because I think he ended up being both leader and back marker. A week later he planned another attempt on what would have been the date of the January AGT if we had AGT's in January. The forecast was for frost so the start was delayed until 10:30. In the event he cancelled on the Forum at 09:00 because of icy roads, but by that time I had left Sydenham to allow for a cautious journey up to Chelmsford. Four others had also missed the cancellation, so we had a pleasant natter in the sun at Sainsbury's until Jill phoned in to say the ride would not take place. Nobody could really decide on a destination for an imprompEssex Advanced Motorcyclist Group Promoting Excellence in Motorcycling Since 1982

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tu ride so I ended up going back home by a circuitous route. My total journey door to door was over 100 miles so I was not too disappointed with the outing. We had an AGT on the 9th February. I was disconcerted by being the second to arrive, and initially thought that it must have been cancelled. Bikes gradually started to dribble in, but it wasn't until Jill arrived on her CB500, parked in the middle of the group of bikes, and then apologised for lowering the tone that we realised that all the other machines were expensive Adventure variants. We may have been a bit slow on the uptake but we rallied with suggestions that she should have parked at the far end of the road. The AGT was a Q&A session. It included Geoff rather naughtily asking about speed in the Nationals. In the Good Old Days the mantra was that you should obey posted limits and adjust your speed in the Nationals to be appropriate to the road conditions and hazard levels. Nowadays the cold hand of bureaucracy grips the heart of the biking fraternity ever tighter, and it is politically impossible for a club dignitary even to imply that you can ever exceed the NSL, so the plainly unhappy panel had to stick to the official line in their response. After the run the full members looked meaningfully at me. Now my knowledge of the geography of East Anglia was always shaky at the best of times, and after a long period off the road had developed some appalling lacunae (that is a posh word for large gaps), but fortunately I had taken advantage of a fine day the previous week to take a trip out to Sudbury. I accordingly suggested a trip to Sudbury, with the polite hope that we could find a cafe there. This was acceptable, and so five of us set out to Finchingfield, where two left to go home. Whilst there I asked Stephen Green what the impressive panel of buttons on the fairing of his BMW did. "I haven't the faintest idea" was his reply. We proceeded through Wethersfield to the Hedinghams and joined the A131 just short of Sudbury. At that point Stephen, who had a SatNav, was appointed leader to find us a cafe. I cannot complain about his route, which took us along a bunch of unclassifieds I have never ridden before, but it did bring


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us back to the A131 very close to our starting point. The second attempt was more successful, and we parked outside a Cafe Nero. I hopefully pointed out that there was a Starburger fifty yards up the road but it seemed we were taking the up-market option. After expensive coffee we returned to Finchingfield, where the run ended. Chris Reed had been less than complimentary about the appearance of my trusty Caberg helmet, and regaled me with stories about people who had been unable to find their helmets because cruel friends had cleaned them in their absence. Removing the grime from the Caberg would have taxed Hercules, even when flushed with his success at the Augean stables, and it was showing its age in other respects, so I decided that a new bike merited a new helmet. I accordingly went to the MCN bike show at Excel (it was packed) and got a 'show price' on a blindingly white Nolan N104 Evo. I rather glumly checked online afterwards to see how much less I would have paid, but it turned out that the 'show price' was a good one. I also bought yet another HiVis waistcoat (my wife will eventually work out that such jackets are for me what handbags are for her), a pair of bargain basket gloves which turned out to fit well and be very comfortable, and got a free neck tube which also turned out to be excellent quality, so I was well pleased with the visit. I will confess that the release mechanisms for the helmet flip front and chin strap were so subtle that the first time I tried it on at home I was trapped in it until I could get to a mirror and see what I should be pressing and pulling. I had hoped to get some new earplugs of the 'half lollipop on a stick' variety, but none were on sale. Some years ago Richard Parker and I were given a bunch of these by Stuart, who had bought a large pack and then realised that he would need more than a century to get through them. I am now down to my last three. I will admit that they look a little grubby. Richard used to be scathing about this, and I was suitably humiliated, until I saw that he licked his before inserting them. If that was how he kept them clean I preferred grubby. I console myself with the thought that by now they must resemble fitted earplugs, and the extra wax probably knocks a further 3dB off the noise level.

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Family commitments meant that I had to miss Richard's Full Member run on 23rd February; a shame since the reports on the Forum indicate that it was well-attended and enjoyable, although they fell short of supplying any hard detail about it. Instead I had to be satisfied with a couple of days visiting clients in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire The KTM proved perfectly adequate for that sort of business mileage. However a reluctance to turn over on starting came to a head on the evening of the March EAMG Group Night, when it would not start at all. All the symptoms of a flat battery, even though it had been used regularly and had no alarm to drain the battery when garaged. Scrolling through its menus finally brought up a display showing battery voltage at 11.9 volts. Discharged battery. It seems that the additional load of heated grips and jacket was more than the alternator could supply. I finally persuaded the bike to start, and rode out to Chelmsford without any heated comfort aids. It was chilly, but the battery voltage was back up to 13.8 volts by the time I got to Channels. On the way back it was cold enough for the bike to be flashing an ice warning at me, and despite having put on the emergency clothing layers I keep in the top box it was very chilly. I have a spare conditioning charger so once I have organised a suitable plug for it the problem should go away, particularly if the warmer weather of Spring appears. That will not stop me complaining to KTM about a gutless alternator. (Editor: In hindsight this was optimistic. Chargers, and even a new battery, did little to help the reluctance to start in cold weather. Currently I have a heater on a timer in the bike shed, which I activate when I am due out on a run the next day. It is not a complete solution but it helps a bit) I learned at the Group Night that we have finally got a new editor for TUG, and that he is planning to issue an April edition, so it is time to put this rambling article to bed. I wish him luck, and sincerely hope that he can shake out a few more contributions from the members. (Editor: In his dreams!)


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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) who, in turn, are re-tested externally every two years by Police Class: 1 riders. Full Members and Associates can therefore be assured that EAMG’s training is of the highest standard. EAMG; ‘Promoting Motorcycling Excellence’.

Full Member Training (FMT) 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 200 mls for Full Members and 100-120 mls for Associates. Regular stops, most including refreshments, will include debriefs so that issues identified 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


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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 Please note that this program is suspended for the duration of the pandemic! FMT—(£45)

AMT— (£35)

Sunday, October 18th Register by completing and returning this form to: John Tipper Email: john@reveillerrides.co.uk Tel: 0208 360 8590 or Mbl: 07860 773711 Pay direct to Sort Code: 30-96-94 a/c no: 00791646 Ref: FMT or AMT + your name Cash or Cheques payable to Essex Advanced Motorcyclists Group Ltd on the day Name:

Address: Postcode:


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 2020 Illustrations Š EAMG 2020, 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