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July 2017

SBM ride routes around the Isles of Arran and Lewis Filtering Observation

New and Used Motorcycles Bike Accessories Helmets, Gloves, Boots Protective Clothing

CBT DAS 553 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11 3XX SERVICE MOT Tel: 0131 478 6661 @SaltireMcycles @AlbaCustoms


elcome to the June edition of Scottish Biker Magazine.

The Ride-In Event at Inveraray was a great success - even although the weather wasn’t the kindest! It was fantastic to see so many bikes over the course of the day. Thank you to all who attended. Thanks also go to all of those who have filled out our SBM Survey in person and on-line - 289 of you as we go to print - we’re trying to build up a picture of motorcyclists across Scotland and the feedback is proving to be interesting. We continue to work with all those who have an interest in motorcycling in Scotland, where recently SBM was lucky to meet with Ch. Supt Andy Edmonston, Head of Roads Policing, Police Scotland. We discussed many issues affecting motorcyclists and had an extremely positive and supportive meeting. Ch. Supt Edmonston is also very interested in the findings of our survey, we’ll give you a taster just now with more to come at the end of the year… Encouragingly 17% of our respondents are female, with the majority (93%) of both sexes being aged over 34. We would love to hear from some of you younger people!

Thanks also to all our advertisers, sponsors and contributors who make this publication possible. Whilst every care has been taken in the compilation of this publication, the statements contained herein are believed to be correct at the time of publication. The publishers and promoters of this publication shall not be held liable for any inaccuracies. The publishers and promoters do not sanction or endorse any of the products and services featured in this publication. INDmedia Limited cannot be held liable for the origination of the text and images within this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording or in any information retrieval system without the prior written permission of INDmedia.

46% of you have completed some sort of advanced training which is great news. Next we asked you all: Which skills could you improve?


Sadly, most incidents involving us, as motorcyclists on the roads in Scotland occur on bends.


There are many good training opportunities in Scotland, On-Road, Off-Road and On-Track – if you do nothing else, consider having a go at something – or at least read the text by Roddy Benzies and Ian Paul in this edition.




Low speed manoeuvres Road positioning

Ride safe. Filtering


Braking Balance



SBM 2017

RIDER SURVEY A big thank you to all the riders who have completed our survey so far! Our survey continues with the chance to win one of 2 x £100 clothing vouchers for a Dealership of your choice. If you haven’t already done so, please take a few minutes to tell us about your riding, and contribute to making motorcycling safer. Your information and views are confidential. Here’s the link to the survey, or you can use a QR Reader for quick access.






ust perfect for those who sit on the M8 or Edinburgh Ring Road thinking why do I do this every day?

What is it about the British and bigger scooters – especially 3 wheeled scooters? Why are we, as motorcyclists, reluctant to embrace them as a perfectly viable means of transport? If, we lived in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona or Milan we would all have scooters in preference to motorcycles or cars, there they are a preferred means of transport. I’ve ridden scooters but never one of the 3 wheeled variety and I will say that I was quite taken aback – really, pleasantly surprised. The ease of use, the comfort, the practicality as well as the common sense in it all. The Metropolis makes a lot of sense, it’s an urban design with the ability to tour. It’s great as a first choice for a commuter, for those wanting a less intimidating bike, those who want stability in more ways than one, or given the amount of on bike storage, the practicality. This A2 category motorcycle can be ridden on a car licence by drivers who passed their test before 19 January 2013. The Metropolis would also make an ideal second bike for nipping into town – whether that be 5 or 250 miles away...The 400cc makes 35h.p. which is ample to cruise comfortably at 70 and has pace in

reserve for overtakes. The twin wheels at the front give a huge amount of grip, I rode the bike on a dry, sunny May-day. Richard Davies from Peugeot Scooters UK suggested I find a gravel strewn lay-by to see how it performs. We all know as motorcyclists how gravel normally makes our buttocks clench? Not so with the Metropolis, coming to a halt was all calm and collected – the bike is also ABS equipped. I would imagine that the 3-wheel format will totally transform riding on wet roads over paint and ironwork. Coming to a halt or setting off: It’s simply twist and go, no gears to think about. The bike can be locked in the upright position when for example, manoeuvring the bike out of the garage, at fuel stations or approaching traffic lights – the latter can be done at about a slow walking pace, thus enabling the rider to avoid putting a foot down. When setting off, the bike unlocks at speeds above 6mph, and therefore handles like any other bike. The Bike has a relatively low seat (780mm) so it’s really easy to get your feet down if desired – no need to panic. If you can ride a push bike, after a little guidance you could ride this, it’s really that simple. The

bike features keyless go, daytime running led lights, an adjustable windscreen, 12v power socket, parking brake, a foot brake (for those converted car drivers) and more funky styling features. There’s enough storage under the seat for an open face helmet, whilst the ‘boot’ will hold a fullface helmet, there’s also a knee high wide storage area and two smaller cubbyholes just under the handlebars – amazing. You know the old saying ‘don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it”? There are currently two Metropolis dealers in Scotland, both of whom will have a demo;

Portman Motors Ltd, 24 Portman Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow, G41 1EJ Phone: 0141 429 6701 Shirlaws, 92 Crown Street, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, AB11 6HJ Phone: 01224 584855 It’s well worth a look.


hirlaw’s was founded in 1928 with a strong ambition to become leaders in Scottish motorcycling and a firm belief based on our motto “a family run business by bikers for bikers”. Today these roots still run strong with the 4th generation now steering the ship to even more success in the ever evolving market place.

 Shirlaw’s proudly stock quality brands of new and used bikes offering a selection of well over 200 between in our 2 showrooms.

 We are main Dealers for: Triumph - Kawasaki Suzuki & Peugeot also offering a range of Rieju and Kymco Motorcycles and Mopeds - we’re sure we have something that will fit you what ever your riding style.

 With Scotland’s best range in motorcycle clothing, safety wear, parts & accessories backed up by our knowledgeable professional staff we really do cover all bases.

We also offer a full range of servicing and MOT capabilities to cater for all makes, models and years of motorcycle.
a Showrooms:

 Shirlaw’s Triumph / Kawasaki
 92 Crown St
 Aberdeen, AB11 6HJ

 Shirlaw’s Suzuki 3 The Arches
 South College St
 Aberdeen, AB11 6JX


here’s been a great deal of activity in the last few months, new dealerships opening, new models have been released. This Spring we’ve ridden a few interesting bikes some have come onto the market with a crash – others have been sitting under the radar, but are still really good bikes in their own right.

Visit www. to read our thoughts on the Street Triple RS, Triumph Bobber and GSXR – 1000 k7. You’ll also see our thoughts on the Thunderbird Storm, MV Agusta Turismo Veloce and the Kawasaki z650. Our thanks to Glasgow Triumph, Cupar Motorcycles and Kirkcaldy Kawasaki. Keep coming back as more bikes appear….



hen I was asked to write an article for SBM, I wanted to write about a special group of unsung heroes and heroines who brave all weathers, challenges and dangers to pass on their unique skills and experiences to the next generation of bikers.

being assessed against this framework. The national standard sets out the skills, knowledge and understanding that you need to be a safe driver and rider. By setting out exactly what’s needed to drive and ride safely and responsibly, it makes it clearer what’s needed to train, test and assess drivers and riders, but just as importantly to assess instructors.

Previously the instructor was the focus for all training, placed at the centre of all sessions, he or she imparted their knowledge onto the pupils who were effectively “forced” to learn by rote through fault based tuition or repetition of best practice with the focus of the lesson based ideally around fault identification, analysis and remedial action. In By setting out exactly what’s most cases though I’ve seen many needed to drive and ride safely the lesson simply focused on what the changes in our and responsibly, it makes it student did wrong industry since ProScot clearer what’s needed to train, or what they needed started in 1996, to do to get it right the introduction of test and assess drivers and Direct Access, the riders, but just as importantly to to pass the test. The focus then was theory test, the on assess instructors. more about what road practical test was being taught as opposed to now where split into Module 1 and Module 2 tests and the focus is more about how well the lesson is the introduction of phased licensing. But the being taught and how effective the lesson is in biggest changes for driving and motorcycle achieving the student’s goal which is agreed in schools has involved the introduction of the advance by both the pupil and instructor based stealth like national standard for driving and around the needs of the pupil. riding and the DVSA’s changes to the way both motorcycle and driving instructors are now Without their commitment, enthusiasm and passion there’s no doubt our industry would simply fall into a steady decline, yes I want to acknowledge the efforts of motorcycle instructors, those rare breed of individuals who are tasked with the job of turning the next generation of would be bikers into safe motorcyclists.

So what’s changed? Lessons are now led more by the needs of the pupils, in order that they progress and achieve a better understanding and ability to carry out the driving and riding skills laid out in the national standard. This approach is client led and geared towards encouraging pupils to think more for themselves, to self-reflect, to self-analyse and to take more responsibility for their own learning, to find solutions to their areas of weakness. In other words to take an active role in their own development.

in the risk management section automatically results in a fail. The important thing to realise here is that both motorcycle instructors and driving instructors are now assessed and graded against the same standard. So am I trying to say that motorcycle instructors need to be as good as driving instructors? No, I’m saying they need to be better!

Why is this so important? Studies have I think driving instructors have it much easier, shown that students who are encouraged they have dual controls to help manage risk, to think for themselves, to self-reflect and motorcycle instructors have a radio mic. Driving to analyse develop. The higher levels of the instructors have one pupil at a time, motorcycle framework look at the higher cognitive skills, instructors can be such as judgement out with 2 pupils of speed and “ I trying to say that at once. Driving distance, assessment motorcycle instructors need instructors sit in nice of weather, road to be as good as driving warm cars in winter traffic conditions instructors? No, I’m saying they and have the benefits and decisions made of air conditioning around route choices, need to be better!” in warmer weather. risk management etc. Driving instructors are protected within a cage designed to provide the highest levels I would like to say that the best motorcycle of impact protection with all the latest safety instructors would rightly say they’ve always devices and driver aids. Motorcycle instructors done this and they would be right, but there was such a huge gulf between the good and the have to manage risk situations which are potentially far more dangerous than faced by bad and the bad were often identified as being car drivers. Motorcycle instructors are more good by students which often did not help! The likely to find themselves in court facing a cost of training was often driven by the value personal injury claim. Having taught both in instructors placed on themselves or the schools cars and in motorcycles over the years, I have that hired them, unfortunately in most cases to say it is harder to teach someone how to ride that was not particularly high. Both schools and a motorcycle than it is to drive a car, you don’t the public probably took advantage of their have to learn how to balance a car for starters desire to do a job with little financial reward or to work out how to teach brake distribution simply because they loved what they did. on both wet and dry days or the complexities of counter steer or counterbalance or assess However it’s all changing, both motorcycle and driving instructors are now assessed against the and deal with difficult road surfaces and weather conditions a car driver would not even same standard, known as the standards check recognise. The list goes on and on, the fact is which has been driven by the requirements that the best motorcycle instructors are highly of the national standard. The standards check skilled individuals and for far too long their assesses the instructor’s lesson in three key efforts have gone unrecognised. areas, lesson planning, teaching and learning strategies and risk management. A low score

on the open roads with skill and confidence. However it’s all changing, many motorcycle Schools just have to do enough to meet the instructors have failed or are failing to achieve basic requirements of a Module 1 and Module 2 the new standard or have simply left the test, and let’s be honest both those tests in my industry. There’s a shortage of good motorcycle opinion (as a multiple Scottish champion road instructors out there, and the good ones can racer) are simply not challenging enough. The now command good earnings at long last, this Module 1 test in no way assesses these skills means the cost of training can only go up. If as it focuses more on low speed bike control the government are serious about reducing and in my opinion is no more challenging than motorcycle accident rates, it starts with good a CBT. Yes training quality training “Having taught both in cars and in has been delivered with the focus on motorcycles over the years, to a price over the developing good attitudes as much I have to say it is harder to teach years and not to a as rider skills. someone how to ride a motorcycle skill level. It is not right that for years Good motorcycle than it is to drive a car.” many motorcycle instructors are at instructors have earned far less than the the very core of this process. Without them and equivalent driving instructor, they have had to good quality courses that give new students work long hours during spring summer and enough time on bikes to develop their skills to a autumn only to face the prospect of little or high enough level. virtually no work in winter. To be honest I blame the students themselves You will not find cheap prices at ProScot but for some of the problems the motorcycle you will find highly motivated and skilled staff training industry faces. Many still expect to get and instructors who deliver quality training and a CBT for £100, in other words to learn how courses that we believe will prepare you beyond to ride a bike safely from being a novice to a the requirements of the test. safe rider out on the open roads by typically attending a full day’s training course of about So if you’re thinking about getting a CBT or a 8 hours duration, with motorcycle and clothing motorcycle licence, you should ask yourself do provided and a certificate which costs £8. I simply want the cheapest price I can find to From this a training area is to be provided, try and achieve the minimum standard to pass a motorcycle, motorcycle clothing, an office, a basic CBT course or to be able to ride well booking staff and an instructor, radios etc. A enough to scrape a pass in my bike test, or do one hour skiing lesson costs about £50. It’s not I want to be a safe competent rider who is able right that it costs far less to get a bike licence to head out onto the open roads with skill and than it costs to get a car licence with all the confidence. overhead costs and complexities of booking and delivering the training. What does all this A smart man once told me... “The sweetness mean? Bike schools try to train down to a of a cheap price is long forgotten after the price, the training time spent on bikes in my bitterness of poor training” opinion is not nearly enough to truly develop the required skills to ride high power bikes out



n todays congested traffic Situations filtering through traffic is tempting. Provided that riders think about what they are doing and take care, it is reasonable to take advantage of machine size to overcome congested situations. If you ask motorcyclists about filtering, you will get varied opinions and thoughts. The same is true of police patrol officers, so don’t be surprised to find out that your opinion on filtering is not the same as the motorcyclist or police officer you are debating it with. The actual practice of filtering will vary from rider to rider; there are no hard and fast rules on how you may go about it other than the need for you to stay safe and not ride dangerously or carelessly. It’s worth deciding on what is filtering and what is not filtering. We need to be clear here, overtaking/undertaking and filtering are not different names for the same things. Filtering as far as police is concerned will only be where traffic is stationary or moving so slow as to be considered stationary. Once the traffic flow approaches 20mph then filtering is likely to be considered overtaking by police. Motorcycle Roadcraft talks about filtering in the overtaking section, but do not take this as a green light to do it. How good are your slow speed riding skills? These are key when moving between vehicles where your space to either side is restricted. Do you wobble when going slowly or do you rely

on your feet keeping your bike upright when riding at walking place. Be honest with yourself and know how much room you need when riding slowly. Practice somewhere safe riding at walking speed, learn how to manoeuvre and stay stable whilst keeping the speed low using the rear brake and balancing your use of the throttle and clutch. Once you have started to filter, think about the hazards which are specific to stationary or slow moving traffic such as: • pedestrians crossing between vehicles • vehicles emerging from or turning into junctions often suddenly and without warning • vehicles changing lanes or making U-turns without warning • vehicle doors opening • other bikes or cycles also filtering • vehicles changing lanes or jostling for position Look for car tyres turning in your direction or head and shoulder movements to give a clue that a vehicle is about to move into your path. You will be riding on a part of the road which is not often used and so the surface will have extra debris, look out for: • reflective paint and studs which could throw the bike off line or particularly when wet cause your wheels to slip • traffic islands which should have bollards, but these may have been knocked off Finally consider the attitudes of both yourself and the other drivers. Be courteous, avoid rushing or putting your bike too close to the vehicles on either side. Other drivers may well be frustrated by being held up, consider how they might react to the way that you are passing them. Try to acknowledge any courtesy shown to you, but only if you can do it without affecting your balance.





bservation means using sight, hearing and smell to gain as much information about road conditions ahead as possible.

Observations may be categorised as follows:Far distance - The far distance is the furthest point you can see where the sky meets the land. This is so far away that it really has little effect on your riding plan. You may see low, dark clouds which could signify rain ahead. Middle distance - The middle distance is closer than the far distance and so observations there will impact more on your riding plan. Any hazards identified in the middle distance will have an affect on us when we reach that point. Nearer foreground - The nearer foreground is where you see your road coming back from and everything to the left and right of that. Observations in the nearer foreground identify hazards that must be dealt with immediately.

How far ahead you scan depends on where you are riding and what is happening immediately ahead. In built-up areas like towns your observations should be kept closer to you because of the additional hazards such as pedestrians crossing the road, parked vehicles and their occupants either pulling out into the road or opening doors and concealed junctions. Because of these immediate hazards your position in the road will be altered accordingly, speed will be low and your observations will consist of scanning ahead in short sections, working methodically back towards you, identifying hazards and planning how to deal with them.


While scanning the middle distance it is a good idea to look specifically for ‘Man-made’ objects. These are easily recognised and they have the most impact on your riding plan. Link what you see to your road. Ask yourself, “How is that going to affect me?” Common observation links are:Planted forests - Logging lorries using the road, debris and mud at an entrance, wild animals in the road. Farms - Tractors in the road ahead, mud at the farm road end. Crossflow of traffic - A road junction ahead. Person standing at the side of the road - a bus is approaching. Always look as far as you can across corners to see where your road is going and to identify any hazards that you will encounter.

While riding in National Speed Limit areas between hazards such as corners and junctions your observations should scan from the far distance, through the middle distance and into the nearer foreground so that you can plan your ride. To do this ask yourself, “Where do I need to position to see furthest?” and position your motorcycle accordingly. Always be ready to sacrifice that position for safety.

When turning onto a new road at a junction, it is a good idea to compare the new road with the last one. This will help your riding plan. A narrower road will have tighter bends so adjust your progress accordingly.



ies, dammed lies and statistics, right? If you ride a motorbike statistics impact on you every time you ride. They influence your insurance, they are an indication of how safe you are on the road and they indicate the current demographic of motorcycling. Statistics show that motorcycling in the 21st century is undoubtedly a leisure pursuit. No longer do those who ride do it out of necessity. It’s a hobby and it’s a hobby that significant numbers of participants enjoy without any formal advanced training. If your reason for taking up a hobby is for enjoyment then surely you want to be as good as you can be. To do that you’ll want to practice and take advice. If you play Golf, Tennis or follow any one of hundreds of other pursuits you are likely to actively seek out some tuition and work to improve your skills. Motorcycling seems to be different. Some riders never seem to want to take that step and in doing so undoubtedly stifle their enjoyment of riding. So where do you get that opportunity? You can seek out feedback from your riding mates but how do you know what your being told to do is right? What experience do they have?

RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoADAR) offer the opportunity to undergo recognised advanced training based on Roadcraft - The Police Advanced Rider System. The aim of the training is to improve your riding making you safer and more confident, not forgetting increasing your enjoyment of riding. RoADAR is affordable training with associates joining their local group and training under the instruction of someone like me who has undergone a recognised training course and is accredited by RoSPA as an Advanced Tutor. When assessed as ready an application for their advanced test is made which includes full RoADAR membership. Current fees are £ 25 for local group associate membership and £ 60 for the advanced test and full RoADAR membership. On passing your test , you will be awarded a pass at GOLD SILVER or BRONZE with the opportunity to be retested at 3 yearly intervals ensuring you continue to develop and maintain a high standard of skill.

So does it work? Recently at a group open Sunday session I had the opportunity to meet a sports bike rider who had passed his test a number of years ago. He had come along for a ‘taster session’. After introductions I took him out for a short ride. It was clear that he was an experienced rider and after a few miles we stopped to discuss his riding. I was able to highlight where I thought he could begin to improve his riding and we talked about riding in a lower gear and thinking about positioning his bike on the road. On the short journey back it was obvious he was trying to put that advice into practice. At the debrief he was really pleased that he had seen an improvement in his confidence and riding and, importantly, he had enjoyed his run back more. We talked about a number of other aspects that he could work on to improve his riding and he decided that the training was for him. He’s currently working towards his advanced test.

If you want to improve your skills, make yourself safer AND increase your enjoyment of motorcycling you should consider undertaking advanced training with RoADAR. In addition to your training you will have the opportunity to meet and socialise with like minded individuals and join in regular group outings. Don’t continue be a statistic - Get Advanced Training You can contact East Kilbride RoADAR on Facebook, or come along to one of our regular meetings which take place at: Douglas Park, Motorrad Club Room, 13 Braeview Place, East Kilbride, Glasgow, G74 3XH Details of meetings can be found at www.

BMW Motorrad

BMW Select Representative example: BMW R nineT Racer S with LED Indicators, Heated grips and Chrome Exhaust. Term of agreement

47 monthly payments

On the road cash price*

Customer deposit

Deposit contribution

Total deposit

Amount of credit

48 months







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Optional final payment^

Total payable

Rate of interest

APR Annual Representative mileage

Excess mileage charge




5.9% fixed




To find out more on the BMW R nineT range or to book a test ride†, please contact us or visit our showroom. Douglas Park Motorrad 13 Braeview Place, East Kilbride G74 3XH Tel: 01355 818211


Park’s of Hamilton (Holdings) Ltd is a credit broker and not a lender. Finance example is for a BMW Select agreement for a BMW R nineT Racer S including LED Indicators, Heated Grips and Chrome Exhaust, with a contract mileage of 16,000 miles and excess mileage charge of 6.34p per mile. Applies for new vehicles ordered between 1 April 2017 and 30 June 2017 and registered by 30 September 2017 (subject to availability). Retail customers only. *On the road cash price is based on manufacturer’s recommended retail price and includes 3 year BMW Retailer Warranty, BMW Emergency Service, 12 months’ road fund licence, vehicle first registration fee, delivery, number plates and VAT. If you select a Personal Contract Purchase agreement you have the option at the end of the agreement to: (1) return the vehicle and not pay the Final Payment. (2) pay the Final Payment to own the vehicle or (3) part exchange the vehicle. You will not own the vehicle until all payments have been made. ^Optional final payment and option to purchase fee not payable if you opt to return the vehicle at the end of the agreement (vehicle condition, excess mileage and other charges may be payable). Finance available subject to credit acceptance to UK residents aged 18 or over. Guarantees and indemnities may be required. Terms and conditions apply. Offer may be varied, withdrawn or extended at any time. ‘BMW Select’ is a form of hire-purchase agreement provided by BMW Financial Services (GB) Limited, Summit ONE, Summit Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 0FB. You will have a 14 day statutory right to withdraw from the agreement. Douglas Park Limited is an Appointed Representative of Park’s of Hamilton (Holdings) Limited FRN 308476, of 14 Bothwell Road, Hamilton ML3 0AY, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, as a Credit Broker. We can introduce you to a limited number of lenders including BMW Financial Services (GB) Limited to assist with your purchase, who may remunerate us for introducing you to them. †Test ride subject to applicant status and availability.




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ick Kinghorn is an Area Manager with IAM RoadSmart after retiring from Northumbria Police where he rode Police bikes for 22 years, but here he’s happy to admit that a visit to MotoScotland was a timely reminder of how off road riding gives a massive gain to road riding confidence. Most motorcyclists never ride off road. They don’t have the desire to. Many riders look upon it as such a departure from road riding it bears no relevance to them on their road bikes. The bikes themselves and the kit are so different to what they normally use, it is cost prohibitive to have both, so the thought is dismissed. Which is

a great shame and means they are missing out on developing confidence and skills in situations where making the wrong split second decision could be life changing. The simple fact is that even one day riding off road with an experienced instructor can convey knowledge, understanding and competence which may one day save your life. Irrespective of road rider training and experience. It really is that simple. I was lucky enough to ride covert Police motorcycles over 22 years and underwent a range of training courses and refreshers. I was also passing that experience on as an instructor for many years, but riding serious off road machinery was outside of my comfort zone so when I was offered the chance to visit MotoScotland at Inveraray earlier this year, I was always going to gratefully accept but couldn’t help feeling a tad nervous about what to expect. My only previous off road riding was in the Police in the early Nineties. I will explain. I’m aged 56 now so it’s 40 years since I was first let loose around the streets of North Tyneside on my Puch Maxi. The bikes then got bigger and faster and more by good luck than anything else I survived a few skirmishes without serious injury, although my mother was often sewing patches of denim onto the backside of my jeans.

way into the shop in an unsophisticated but effective manner, they’d stuff these dustbins with stolen cigarettes before riding off into the night before the local plod had stirred themselves. This was happening a lot. The Detective Sup’t asked for support from the motorcycle section who were quick to decline, citing their R80RT’s as unsuitable for such work. “We’ll buy you a bike but you’ll have to man it yourself” was the message from the Head of Traffic. And so they did. Joining the cops aged 21, I was a Detective by 25, despite having a lifelong passion for cars and bikes. Early ambitions to fast track myself into a Traffic car soon dissipated when I found it was a hoot nicking thieves and burglars’ red handed, so down the crime investigation route I went. South East Northumberland is an area of mining communities, the landscape criss crossed with railway lines joining them up. The local criminals didn’t take long to work out they were unlikely to encounter a Panda car on these railway lines so they used them as thoroughfares to plunder In those days, the Northern Division of local towns and villages and make good their Northumbria Police area was huge, stretching escape. The bad lads always had a seemingly from the Scottish Border down to the River endless stock of stolen trail bikes, all with the Blyth. Apart from our local nocturnal bikers, the engine and frame numbers ground off, reg division also hosted a stage of the RAC Rally plates, lights and most other items stripped through Kielder Forest to the west and The off, and hand painted black. They would travel, Alnwick Hunt was usually in pairs, in the dead of night, both “We’ll buy you a bike but you’ll being troubled by anti-hunt saboteurs. bikes two-up. Arriving have to man it yourself” was So, the case was near to their intended the message from the Head of made and a brandtarget premises, new Yamaha XT350 usually a newsagent Traffic. And so they did. arrived. Two riders or general dealers were selected from each of the three sub who sold cigarettes, they would search the rear divisions and after pushing his way to the front yards of the colliery houses until they found of the queue, yours truly enjoyed a week’s plastic dustbins, tip the householders rubbish out then set off with the pillion holding a plastic green laning around Northumberland on an On/Off road course put together by one of the dustbin in each hand. After smashing their

With its new non-reflective livery, backing it into bushes on the edges of the fields meant that they would pass in front only metres away, and not see me or the bike. I had heard them coming long before I could see them and was on the radio rallying the troops with their direction of travel even before I caught sight of them. When they passed by I gave them a gap then fired up the XT and followed from a distance without lights which would have obviously given the game away. Not sure we would have got away with it nowadays but back then the end result justified the means.

Advanced Police riding course instructors. A pair of Honda MTX125’s were rented from a “A few daytime outings taught local dealer to allow me the fine detail of the the instructor and routes the bad boys used once two students to ride together. they’d left the railways lines

Success after success. No real injuries to speak of despite one time five of us having to lift up the front of an unmarked Mark 3 so when it came to a nigh time Escort to drag a bike At that time, the XT350 outing I knew where to hide.” from under it. The car came in two colour had come to rest with schemes – white and both front wheels off the ground as the sump red or black and red. The Police being the was sat on the bike lying on the road. Police went for a white one. Easier to spot in the wilds of Northumberland I suppose, but On quieter nights when nothing was happening, absolutely useless for what I wanted. When I tried to pass the nights by seeing what I could the rally had passed, and the hunt season was over, the bike was accommodated at the station do on the bike, in the dark, away from any help if I ended up underneath it, which I often did. where I worked from. Permanently. No mobile phones then of course so probably unwise. Up steep banks, over and through Black bin bags and black duct tape covered rivers. Messing around really but all good all the white and shiny parts. The white experience on the bike I suppose. helmet I was supplied with got the same. Old combat clothing was worn on top of Police Two years after meeting the XT I moved issue leathers. We were ready to go. Thinking on from that station and left it behind but back, I’m lucky to be still here. I lost count of I managed to borrow it a for a couple of the times I emerged from a pathway onto a operations after that. Before I left, the locals road without lights on as I crept around the burglars were so sick of this XT turning up backstreets, to find a patrol car or a Panda on a unexpectedly at night as they were in the collision course to T-boning me, only to realise middle of something, that rumours abounded whom it was at the last second and aborting they were going to steal it from the Nick, or their intended action. better still they thought, lure me up a back A few daytime outings taught me the fine detail lane where an outstretched cable would permanently wipe the smile from my face. But of the routes the bad boys used once they’d left it never happened. the railways lines so when it came to a night time outing I knew where to hide.

Twenty five years passed after this until my visit to MotoScotland. Even such horseplay on the old XT was nothing like I experienced in two days riding at Inveraray. This was proper off road riding not playing at it.

The boys teach you to confidently ride with a locked-up wheel, front or back, so you know what it feels and sounds like, so that you can work out for yourself how much you need to I was involved in Police training on cars, bikes release the brake pressure to allow the locked and other secret squirrel stuff for nearly 20 wheel to rotate once more. So many road years so I understand a bit about training accidents occur when a rider locks one or both methods and techniques. Let me tell you, Clive wheels with heavy and Andy are top “My other half was braking, resulting in a drawer instructors. gobsmacked when I rang her low side or a trip to the nearest barrier. My other half was after Day 1 and said I was gobsmacked when I teetering on the edge of my So, my advice rang her after Day 1 and comfort zone. ” is unequivocal. said I was teetering on Irrespective of your the edge of my comfort experience, age, training, pre-conceived notions zone. But new challenges are so worthwhile. or mere timidity, attending one of these courses What Clive and Andy teach are riding is pure WIN-WIN for you and your riding. The techniques which help hugely on the trails and bikes and all the top-quality kit is provided – off road terrain. But that is not where it ends. you don’t even have to get your own gear dirty, wet or scratched. Just give it a go, please. It In IAMRoadSmart we offer members (and really could one day save your life. The journey non-members) the chance to take part in circuit up there will put a smile on your face too. based Skills Days as we call them, where riders are given theory presentations before each Just leave those dustbins behind! of six sessions on track, focussing on certain aspects of their riding each session, all of which are transferable skills to make them better, safer, more confident riders on the road. This is exactly what MotoScotland are doing. You can never have too much slow speed control and balance. You will experience the bike sliding and weaving around underneath you on loose surfaces which is proving to your brain that it’s okay for this to happen, it’s not bound to end in tears, you can think about what’s happening without panicking, grabbing a brake and taking a dive.


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he biking season is well underway and I hope you are managing to get out and enjoy the fantastic roads and scenery that Scotland has to offer.

what we can do to avoid it. Target fixation happens when we observe something in our field of vision, usually a hazard of some description and focus on it so much that we head straight for it. This can be a pothole, a patch of mud or the verge on the outside of a corner when we’ve misread our speed for a bend! In all these cases our eyes lock onto However, it’s vitally important that you keep the hazard and panic takes hold resulting in us yourself safe as motorcycle casualty figures heading straight for the danger, usually with a remain disappointingly high. Despite making up bad outcome. Of course, our primary objective only 1% of road traffic motorcyclists in Scotland would be to avoid being in a dangerous position account for 16% of road deaths and in 3 out of in the first place but being human means that 4 crashes it’s the actions of the biker that has sometimes even the caused the collision. “However, it’s vitally important most accomplished riders can get things In previous editions that you keep yourself safe as wrong. of Scottish Biker we motorcycle casualty figures have looked at issues around cornering remain disappointingly high.” So how do we avoid this? Well in very and overtaking and simple terms look unfortunately these where you want to go. A bike tends to go where manoeuvres still feature highly as causation the rider is looking, so when you become aware factors in crash statistics. If you haven’t seen of a specific hazard, it’s vital to keep your head these articles I would highly recommend and eyes up and continue scanning the whole tracking down a back issue and giving them a scene, not fixate on the hazard. Keep your eyes read. on the furthest point to which you want to go. By scanning your vision will take in the hazard For this article I’d like to focus on the as well as everything else, and this will allow phenomenon known as ‘target fixation’ and you to negotiate the situation safely without explain why this can get us into trouble and

“Whenever we ride, our safety depends on our actions and our ability to anticipate and avoid the dangers that occur on the roads.” being drawn towards the danger zone. Focus on looking for a path around or away from the hazard not on the hazard itself. Look through a gap rather than at the edges of it. Look at where you want to be at the end of a tight turn, not at the pothole half way through.

positioning flexibility and the acceleration that our bikes provide. Make the most of these advantages.

Whenever we ride, our safety depends on our actions and our ability to anticipate and avoid the dangers that occur on the roads. It’s essential that we A simple technique, we have the advantage of maintain a high level which you will height, positioning flexibility of attention, good probably remember from your U-turn and the acceleration that our hazard perception and excellent awareness lessons as a learner, bikes provide. Make the most of what’s going on emphasises how of these advantages. around us. looking where you want to go works. When a bike needs to be Our ability to sense danger in a situation manoeuvred in a very tight (full-lock) turn, increases with experience so please ride within look as far over your shoulder as you can in your capabilities and take care on the roads. the direction you want to turn. This will help Stay safe during the rest of the biking season. you make the turn and is essentially the same technique, looking where you want to go, you want to utilise on the open road. As riders we are extremely vulnerable. We have no protective shell around us and the stability of our bike can be adversely affected by the condition of the road surface (potholes, manhole covers, debris, surface spills). Set against this, we have the advantage of height,



ell it was a bank holiday and the best weather in the country was in the west coast of Scotland so it would be inappropriate not to make the most of it. Usually it would be up over The Rest and be Thankful or the ferry from Hunters Quay to Gourock. Having prized the Argyll 190 route map off the ladies on the SBM stand at the Ride In, a plan formed. An island hop. Taking the A83 from Inveraray through Lochgilphead and heading South to pick up the B8084 the start of the northern loop of the Argyll 190. Single track, but I was not in a hurry. 11 miles down the road and you are along the coast with stunning views over to Jura and to the far side of Loch Caolisport. The B8084 didn’t emerge where I thought it did, so I gave Tarbert a miss! Picking up the A83 again to head South is the start of the Argyll 190 southern loop, (the loop following the coastline down & up the Kintyre peninsula, if you haven’t done it yet, put it on the list.) Just past the Kennacraig ferry terminal for Islay & Jura is a left on to the B8001, which is the start of the clockwise loop, though my destination was the ferry at Claonaig to Lochranza on Arran. Arriving at the ferry, I watched as the ferry departed, so 75 minutes to kill. Skipness Castle is only a couple of miles up the road and well worth a wander around and a climb up to the top of the tower to take in the views over to Arran. Still time for a coffee and a snack at the village shop. Sandwiches are available, sometimes. That is what the sign says!

Skipness village shop & Post Office

From my vantage point I could see the ferry nearing, so back down the road to join the ‘queue’, one car, one Lambretta and me. £7.50 lighter you arrive in Lochranza, where I had been informed, that the deer are semi tame and will wander through the village, though not today. A quick whizz round the Castle, as you do, then head off down the West coast to Blackwaterfoot.

Lochranza Castle

Loch Caolisport Looking East to the mainland from The String

The coast road is not in good condition, but again, not in a hurry, and the views across to the Kintyre peninsula were spectacular, so another ice cream stop in Pirnmill and sit on the bench on the shore and watch the world go by. At Blackwaterfoot, you can continue on the coast road or as I did, take the B880, also known as The String, to Brodick. Much better road surface for the 10 miles across to Brodick with cracking views before you drop down into the town.

A one way ticket from Brodick to Ardrossan will set you back £11.30 and it is a pre book ferry. I had not been to Arran before and I will certainly be back, even if it is just doing the 60 mile loop of the island starting and ending at Lochranza. A great addition to the Argyll 190. How about the Argyll 190 + the Arran 60, it could be called the AA250 triple loop. Time for another beer‌. The end of a perfect trip!

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ulling up at a ferry port always gives you a lift, doesn’t it? I’d ridden in to Ullapool after a very pleasant overnight stay at the Ord House Hotel which is on the A832 just north of Inverness, this road then joins up with the A835 about 7 miles west of Muir Of Ord. I was off to catch the ferry from Ullapool to the Isle of Lewis for a meeting – as you do. There are many iconic roads in Scotland, but, the A835 must be up there with some of the very best. Not because of its technicalities, simply because of the vast variety of scenery that you see on the road west. From the wooded twisty section on the way towards Garve, after which the landscape changes and opens as the road gradually climbs past Ben Wyvis heading towards the Inchbae Lodge and Loch Glascarnoch. The flowing sweeping open bends are an absolute joy at 8.00am in the morning, especially when the sun makes an appearance! After Loch Droma the road drops down towards

Corrieshalloch Gorge and the scenery begins to change again as I ride alongside Loch Broom towards Ullapool. It’s a fantastic ride, although it should be added that it is one that has its fair share of issues – be aware of tourists! On arriving at Ullapool I was directed to the front of the queue, shortly followed by three other bikes. A father and daughter on two Bonneville’s and a French couple who were going Island hopping, again on a Bonneville! The ferry to Lewis had room for 12 bikes – nice to be first on first off – but it doesn’t work both ways! The crossing was 2hrs 45mins and the crossing was very pleasant. On landing at Stornoway I was met by Calum Maclean from Hebrides Rider Training, but that’s a separate story.

“...There are many iconic roads in Scotland, but, the A835 must be up there with some of the very best. �

Meeting over it was a chance to go exploring a little, I hadn’t got long as I had an early ferry to catch the following morning – note check in closes at 6.15am! Heading out of Stornoway the main town on Lewis things soon change, I was there on a very windy day – but at least it wasn’t raining! I headed south on the A859 towards Tarbet – apparently, you can ride all the way to the tip of Harris, but time wasn’t on my side. Turning right onto the A858, the tourist in me wanted to see the Callanish Stones - one of the finest examples of Neolithic standing stones to be found anywhere in Scotland. There are also some smaller though no less impressive sites on the left as you ride toward the visitor centre - an amazing

sight and well worth the time spent. My journey then continued along the A858 along the coast towards Bragar passing through Carloway, the traffic is very light, but the roads have enough interesting sections to keep you awake! I had a very, very close encounter in Bragar when a driver decided to set off in front of me, I hadn’t passed a car for miles, so they probably weren’t looking for a solo bike – then, suddenly, Oi! My overnight hotel was in Borve, a very pleasant, comfortable stay apart from the fact that I had to leave at 5.45 to get the ferry! Another wake-up call on the way to Stornoway at dawn, crossing the middle of the

island on the A857 at possibly the highest point a herd of red deer grazing just off the nearside curb, an amazing sight, but please don’t move! Arriving at the ferry port, it was the reverse of the outbound journey – just me and a GS, last on this time, but, at least the crew let us filter into the back of the first queue when disembarking. I can’t wait to go back to Lewis, there’s so much I didn’t get to see! It ‘feels’ remote, it’s tranquil, isolated, there’s little traffic, it’s relaxing. Just a pointer, book early to get your accommodation – be that hotels, B&B or cottages on the island, they book up quickly.

A FITTING MEMORIAL ROBBIE ALLAN, TINTO OFF-ROAD CENTRE A customer at Tinto with whom my dad (also Robbie) spent a lot of time, has had his new truck painted as a tribute to my Dad. There are images of his motocross days and a real focus on his Paris-Dakar run in 2007 at the age of 65. The pictures include Andrew Etherson, my sister Jennifer and myself when he brought the truck up to Tinto to show the family. It’s a wonderful tribute to someone who gave so much to motorcycling as an organiser of competitions up to world championship level in Scotland, competitor in all disciplines of sport, as organiser of Scottish Motorcycle Show for over 25 years and of course as inspiration behind the Robbie Allan Off-road Experience, a unique offroad centre which offers opportunity to develop off-road skills.

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full days ride starting in the rolling hills of the motorcycling and classic car hub town of


This route gets going right from the starting blocks. Heading North up the service road you turn into the Dalveen Pass, right up there with some of the best biking roads for both riding and scenery in Scotland. Be warned – this road is addictive and engineered for biking! A short stretch on the A76 which is crammed with some great bends gets you to Mennock Pass where you have the pleasure of going through two of the highest inhabited villages in Scotland ( Yup – this is the Lowlands) and then back South West on the more rambling Crawick Pass. Going right past the Crawick Multiverse! Moving on in a Westerly direction across the edge of the South Kyle forest area on the now cracking B741 into Dalmellington and to New Galloway on a great road through the forest for a well-earned cup of tea and a cake. Watered and fed you continue the journey down the length of Loch Ken to the coast going through the popular Colvend and Sandyhills to New Abbey. The route is designed for a comfortable easy but no less lovely ride back to Moffat avoiding Dumfries Town Centre by using the bypass. PRO TIP – All three passes make for some brilliant riding. You will be sorely tempted to go like the clappers as you can see far ahead, particularly the Dalveen Pass. Be alert for sheep and bends that can arrive on your front wheel with speed.

PRO TIP – The entire route is full of photographic opportunities. Just be aware and take them as you see them. PRO TIP – New Galloway is a good time for a break and a great place for tea and cake. The Smithy will hit every spot and serve you well. PRO TIP – The area around New Galloway and along Loch Ken forms part of the Galloway Kite trail so you will see them in abundance all year long. PRO TIP - Crawick Multiverse is a land art project by the landscape architect and designer Charles Jencks. It is situated near Sanquhar. This is a truly spectacular artland, visitor attraction and events venue. Transforming a former open cast coal mine into an outdoor space that can be enjoyed by future generations’ .This is Big, Bold and simply awesome! A must visit and it is right on the route.

HIGHLIGHTS Moffat – The biking heart of the region. Routes go shooting out of Moffat to the North, South, East or West. This is a quaint picturesque motorcycle friendly market town, with the renowned Moffat toffee shop and the motorcycle iconic Buccleuch Arms Hotel to name just a couple.

All three passes running through the Lowther Hills are simply stunning - Wanlockhead and Leadhills being the highest inhabited villages in Scotland. The fact that there are two villages nearly 500 metres up in a desolate hillside in the Southern Uplands of Scotland requires some explanation: because of the rich variety of minerals to be found here, this area became known as “God’s Treasure House in Scotland”. Notably, it has produced some of the world’s purest gold (22.8 carats) which was used in the manufacture of the Scottish Crown Jewels - dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The name “Leadhills” testifies to the fact that this area was chiefly known for its lead mining; and there is a Lead Mining Museum in Wanlockhead.

You will find photo opportunities right from the start and everywhere along the way. You will find Glens, Cleuchs and Valleys. You will see people panning for real gold on warm days. You will find many miles of rolling hills and meandering rivers. You will not find much traffic but you will find open spaces and be able to taste the feeling of being one with your motorcycle. This is a cracking route which is a comfortable full day’s ride with still time to take photos, lunch and tea without being pressured.

SBM 2017

RIDER SURVEY A big thank you to all the riders who have completed our survey so far! Our survey continues with the chance to win one of 2 x £100 clothing vouchers for a Dealership of your choice. If you haven’t already done so, please take a few minutes to tell us about your riding, and contribute to making motorcycling safer. Your information and views are confidential. Here’s the link to the survey, or you can use a QR Reader for quick access.



hilst on my recent visit to the Isle of Lewis, I took the opportunity to meet Calum Maclean the owner of Hebrides Rider Training (HRT) at his base at Stornoway Airport. Calum had not long returned from a track experience at Almeria. The Isle of Lewis has a population of around 20,000 spread across 683 sq. miles. Since starting his business Calum has put over 350 islanders through their bike tests. This business is providing an invaluable service to riders both young and old on this remote island who are finding that 2 wheels can offer the mobility and independence that we on the mainland all often take for granted. HRT have training bikes available from step through 50cc Yamaha Aerox to MT-07’s for full licence tests.

Calum is obviously good at what he does, people often say that enthusiasm is infectious – it must be because in 2015, HRT had the equal 3rd highest test pass rates in the UK, a considerable achievement in any circumstances, let alone one which is a part time business. Calum’s son is a very successful racer in the Scottish Championships and he gave Calum the racing bug - although (I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this) he’s a bit of a late comer, only getting his SACU licence in 2015 with his first race in 2016. But being honest isn’t a bad way for an instructor to emphasise at an early stage that racing is for the track – not the road. That said, some of the roads on the island aren’t made for speed! A great guy with a real passion for what he does, it was a pleasure to meet Mr Maclean. Calum can be contacted on: Tel: 07717 101716


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Brenda Mitchell, founder and Senior Partner at Motorcycle Law Scotland, discusses Filtering Filtering is a means to make safe progress in slow moving or stationary traffic. Filtering is perfectly legal. In fact, one of the many attractions of riding a motorcycle is the ability to get through traffic quickly and safely by filtering, which is a fundamental skill learned by most motorcyclists. The Highway Code advises motorcyclists that when filtering they should take care and keep their speed low. Despite the advice in the Highway Code, filtering cases have presented the Courts both North and South of the Border with vexed legal issues for decades and, to be fair, each case is decided on its own facts taking into account the unique circumstances of each collision. This article will explore why so many filtering cases find their way to court and the attitude Judges take to filtering cases. First - a cautionary tale. Adam was an apprentice mechanical engineer working for BAE systems in Glasgow. He used his Yamaha FZ6 to commute to and from work. On Friday 13th June 2011, he left work for home together with the rest of the workforce. There was a long queue of stationary traffic on South Street where cars were parked on either side. Adam pulled onto the opposing carriageway, which was clear of traffic and filtered up the offside just inside the opposing lane. As he passed the traffic, a car that had been parked to his offside suddenly pulled out and into his path. As a result of the collision, Adam fractured his right leg and was off work for two months. He was referred to a “panel solicitor” who told him liability had been denied and the prospects of succeeding were poor. Adam would not accept the advice and subsequently became one of my first clients. Of course, there was a

T o

happy ending to this story as I settled Adam’s case in his favour and, in so doing, became even more convinced that I had taken the right path fighting for injured motorcyclists. Why did a panel Solicitor tell Adam there was no prospect of success and why did the driver’s motor insurer even think they could deny liability and get away with it? The panel Solicitor had no experience of riding a motorcycle and, like many, thought filtering was “illegal.” Large insurance companies cash in on that misconception and will often refuse to compensate filtering motorcyclists forcing them to battle it out in Court. So, what attitude are Judges taking to filtering motorcyclists and why do many panel Solicitors cave in when the “F” word is mentioned? The case of Powell v Moody is an insurer’s favourite.

Powell v Moody (1966) A motorcyclist approached the tail end of stationary traffic two abreast. He proceeded to overtake on the offside. A car driver came out of a side road on the nearside to go through a gap and turn right onto the main road in the opposite direction. The driver was given a signal to emerge by a milk tanker driver. As the car driver inched out, he collided with the motorcyclist. Car Driver 20% to blame Motorcyclist 80% to blame.

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The case below is remarkably similar yet the outcome is quite different.

Woodham v Turner (2012) A coach driver pulled out at a T-junction and collided with a filtering motorcycle that was travelling at 20 mph. The Judge determined that the large tractor and trailer had been obscuring the driver’s view and she should have waited. He also observed that a speed of 15 mph would have given the motorcyclist more chance of avoiding a collision.

Jones was filtering up the offside of two lanes of slow moving/stationary traffic when Lawton pulled out of a side road to his left and a collision occurred. There was evidence that Jones was travelling at around 30 mph and that a gap in the traffic had been left for Lawton to exit. Car Driver 2/3 to blame Motorcyclist 1/3 to blame

Civil Courts will compensate injured motorcyclists caught out by negligent drivers when the motorcyclist has been filtering BUT the Courts will readily find a filtering motorcyclist partly to blame in the following situations:


f d e o

Jones v Lawton (2013)

Coach Driver 50% to blame Motorcyclist 50% to blame.

The filter isn’t a filter but a dangerous over-take. The filter is past a junction from which traffic could reasonably be anticipated to emerge. The filter is executed at speed.

In the following case, the Judge makes clear reference to the fact that motorcyclists are classified in the Highway Code as ‘vulnerable road users liable to suffer significant injury at the hands of drivers.’ That fact swayed the Judge in his determination that the driver was more to blame.

Brenda Mitchell, Lawyer & Motorcyclist


At Dianese Glasgow, we have on display the latest technical motorcycle clothing including: one and two piece leather suits crafted from the finest Italian leather, textile and Goretex clothing, a full range of armoured pieces, gloves and boots with plenty of male and female sizes in stock.

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CLASSIC AND VINTAGE STYLE MOTORCYCLES UNITE Triumph Glasgow will be supporting this years Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride for the West of Scotland. This year, with the passion from Triumph Owners Motorcycle Club Glasgow, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Glasgow is one not to be missed. Leaving from the Fort Shopping Centre, riding to George Square for photo opportunities and fundraising then culminating at Triumph Glasgow to have some fun raising money for a noble cause, the chance to win some great prizes and entertainment for all the family. More details to follow. Route subject to change.

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Ducati Glasgow Track Nights June 8th / June 30th / July 21st / Aug 18th / September 8th As part of our ongoing commitment to our customers we organise track evenings. We do this because they are great fun and the natural intended environment for most modern sportsbikes, not just Ducati models. Call 0141 333 4998 to book or visit our website and social media channels for more information:

British Superbike Championship Sunday 18th June 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship brings some of the best bike racers in the World back to Knockhill. Our event package will provide plenty of entertainment for bike racing fans: we host fantastic hospitality at the circuit utilising our very own Ducati truck with huge marquis & catering, a great weekend we are already looking forward to! To book a hospitality package that includes entry to the circuit for the Sunday call us now on 0141 333 4998.

Grampian Motorcycle Convention Sunday 3rd Sept 2017 Come and see us at the infamous Grampian Motorcycle Convention for a great day out, entertainment and fun for all the family We will have all the latest models on display, new range clothing and merchandise on offer.

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In the past 30 years of riding a motorcycle one thing has become apparent, I love motorcycling; I don’t mind if it’s on the road, the track, green lanes or any other myriad of places where I can be on two wheels with an engine happily thrumming away beneath me; Sports Bikes, Tourers, Crossers, Adventure Bikes and even the occasional Cruiser; the more time I spend on any of these bikes the happier I am.

this makes them attract dirt, yes even chain wax. When the Lube attracts dirt it becomes a grinding paste, that with every turn of the wheel is grinding away at your chain and sprockets, it all has to come off.

There’s an issue though, motorcycles need to be looked after and if you’re not smart, this can lead to either wasted time you could be out on your pride and joy or worse a badly maintained and potentially dangerous machine.

Once you have cleaned the chain thoroughly, choose your lube and carefully apply it to the chain, be careful not to use too much as it’s really sticky stuff and is hard to get off your bodywork when it flings.

In this issue I’m going to cover the sticky (and often messy) subject of chain maintenance, so all you belt and shaftie riders can turn the page. The drive chain on a motorcycle is what puts power to the back wheel and if not properly maintained will cost you power, smoothness and economy; if left long enough it becomes dangerous and we all know stories of snapped chains flying off or worse locking up the back wheel. Manually maintaining your chain should be done as follows: put the bike on the centre stand or use a paddock stand and make sure the bike is secure. First you need to clean the chain, you will require a good quality chain cleaner and preferably a chain cleaning brush; this is possibly the most important part of the job; you need to clean off all the old lube which will have picked up road dirt as you’ve ridden, all can based spray lubes contain tack additives to stop them flinging off, unfortunately

WARNING; be careful when cleaning a chain, many fingers have been nipped in a chain and sprocket and never ever attempt this with the engine running!

Never just spray more Lube on top of old, all that happens is you attract even more dirt, get more sticky black grinding paste and just destroy your chain and sprockets even faster!

cleaning (if needed), no re-lubing, no tacky mess, and fewer adjustments… this all means one important thing, more time on the road! Scottoiler has been making automatic chain lubrication systems for over 30 years, all made right here in Scotland check us out at

Pic 1: 2015 5000mile Honda with loads of chain wax just sprayed over more chain wax (and the wheel!)

Check the adjustment of your chain by using the handbook for your bike to make sure it has the correct amount slack. Now leave your bike for a few hours to allow the new lube to set (or whatever your chosen lube does!).

Pic 2: 2017 Versys 650, 1000 miles and about three months old, no maintenance done at all.

Depending on the bike you ride or manufacturer of chain you use, this time consuming and messy job will need to be carried out approximately every 300-500 miles. There is another way; automatic chain oilers massively reduce the amount of maintenance needed and hugely increase the life of your chain (up to 7x!). By using low tack oil and just one 0.023ml drop of oil every 60-70 seconds you’ll spend less time

Pic 3: 2015 VFR800X, 4000 miles, fitted with a Scottoiler, no maintenance other than topping up the oil reservoir once every 1000 miles, no chain adjustments have been required.



n its 11th year of trading Saltire Motorcycles (MCN Dealer of the year 2016) is expanding its business into the world of Motorcycle Tours. Located to the West of Edinburgh (20 minutes from Edinburgh Airport) Saltire Motorcycles is the largest dealership in Scotland. Retailing premium brands, such as Suzuki, Yamaha, Victory, Indian and Norton. The showroom is split over two levels and boasts an indoor riding school, cafe, tattoo studio and hair studio. Available for hire is a range of bikes from learner legal 125cc through to big Indian cruisers. Hires can be arranged from a single day to longer term and have proven very successful, with all types of riders, local and overseas clients, including repeat business.

For 2017 Saltire Motorcycles is bringing the magic of Scotland closer than ever before. This year you will see the beginning of our bespoke guided and self-guided tours. Our new bike hire and tour coordinator will take you on a pre-planned sightseeing and historical adventure. that will encapsulate the heart and soul of Scotland. Giving you a motorcycle ride to remember forever. With tight twisty roads, single tracks, smooth bends and long straights, Scotland has it all. Ride with us on the world famous NC500 which incorporates the challenging old drovers’ road, The Bealach Na Ba (The Applecross Pass). Enjoy

to some of Scotland’s most iconic landscape locations. With the knowledge and know how to get the best from your camera, helping you create magnificent images to take home. “Scotland is a magical place steeped in myth, legend and history. Home to spectacular landscapes that are ever changing, yet constant in their beauty” smooth twisting ride through the amazing Glencoe and Glenshee pass.

Discover more via or follow us on social media.

Our tours will also include great riding roads on the Western Isles and southern Scotland. On our tours you will see and explore some of Scotland’s most magnificent sights. From Glenfinnan Viaduct (as seen in Harry Potter) to Iron Age broch’s and the famous battlefields of Bannockburn and Culloden. Our itineraries will include some of our famous whisky distilleries and the resting place of our most famous King, Robert the Bruce. You will delve into Scotland’s fascinating history. Our tour guide will lead you on an historic adventure, unravelling the stories of old. From Rob Roy Macgregor and his grave, to the Jacobite uprising and its final battle at Culloden. From the Vikings to William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, exploring more in Scotland’s medieval past. As well as historical knowledge, our tour guide comes from a professional photographic background. Not only will you create lasting memories of your visit to Scotland. Our tour guide can be on hand to lead you on a ride

“As well as historical knowledge, our tour guide comes from a professional photographic background.”

Now in stock at: • Border Bikes Duns • Cupar Motorcycles Cupar

Made in Scotland

• Green Welly Stop Tyndrum


as W

• Jim Allan Motorcycles Falkirk • Kirkcaldy Kawasaki Kirkcaldy • Saltire Motorcycles Edinburgh More stockists coming soon – check our website for details

Wash wipe as you ride! Tel 01368 862301 VISORCAT, Unit 4, Dalmatian House, Spott Road, Dunbar EH42 1LE







ISORCAT, the innovative visor wash/wipe safety system that maximises a rider’s vision in all conditions, has started to appear in Scots motorcycle stores. Made in Dunbar from mainly British parts, Visorcat has been welcomed by retailers, says managing director Jill Boulton. “Retailers like the fact that Visorcat is unique, innovative and yet simple, carries a two-year unlimited mileage warranty and is made in Scotland,” said Jill. “It’s great for commuters, tourers and for riders who rack up a lot of miles. We’re now available in quite a few stores in Scotland and we’re looking for more stockists.” Visorcat, which received a road safety accolade from IAM RoadSmart, is a flexible glovemounted device that comprises a wet sponge,

fed by a fluid reservoir and covered by a flap. When the rider wipes one way across the visor, the sponge washes away dirt, flies, road spray or other debris. When the rider wipes the other way, twin wipers remove any residue. “Visorcat takes a zero tolerance approach to visor dirt,” said Jill. “It enables you to remove dirt before it has a chance to build up, keeping your vision clear at all times and increasing confidence and safety. It’s amazing on the Scottish midges at this time of year!” Visorcat is now available at the following retailers: Saltire Motorcycles, Edinburgh; Jim Allan, Falkirk; Kirkaldy Kawasaki, Kirckaldy; The Green Welly, Tyndrum; Cupar Motorcycles, Cupar; Border Bikes, Duns. If you’re a retailer who would like to stock Visorcat, please contact Jill on 07920 145706 or email



re you one of those people who only like Iron Maiden and no other band?

Me neither, sometimes I’m in a Coldplay mood and sometimes its AC/DC but there is never one style of music that suits how I feel at any given time and so it is with bikes too. Sometimes I want one that I can thrash and sometimes I would prefer something to bimble about on thinking happy thoughts and counting sheep. So, when I got a chance to spend a few days with Scottish Biker Magazine and the team at Triumph and Ducati Glasgow at their swanky new store conveniently located off junction 26 of the M8, I jumped at the chance to try a “festival” of bikes for every occasion. Belladrum for bikers if you like.

For me a bike must have two special features, it should do what its designed to do really well and it should make me smile when I look at it. With this in mind, I landed my hefty frame aboard a stylish Triumph Street Triple RS. I shouldn’t like this, what would I use it for? It’s a small bike and I’m a big bloke. Its young and slinky and I’m old and wobbly, but I was going to hang in there and try not to burst a blood vessel if it really lived up to its rapidly growing and enviable reputation. Off we trot, fat me on slinky Kylie a man out of his era wishing I was a bit younger a bit thinner and a bit cooler, but like a granny at a wedding disco I soon forgot about my age and enjoyed

together brilliantly. The clutch and gearbox combo is smooth and the quick-shift addition just adds to a whole world of plush beauty. It’s well made and the finishing touches are gorgeous. The whole package is the real deal. This a very capable street motorcycle indeed and that’s one of the reasons I love it, it does what it’s supposed to do very, very well indeed, in fact it goes above and beyond and I can see myself riding this for longer days in perfect comfort. So, what about my second “must have” does it make me smile, again yes, the build quality makes me happy, it’s very good but more than that there are no annoying gizmos that get in the way of the purpose of the bike, it looks great, purposeful and ready for action.

this little beauty for what she really was and boy was I blown away.

If I rode in town a lot and wanted a bike to scratch on of an evening, or wanted a fine weather 150 miler for the weekend, I would definitely have this in my armoury. no annoying

“...there are gizmos that get in the way of the purpose of the bike, it looks great, purposeful and ready for action.”

Sparky and lively like a limbo dancer on Irn Bru, she just took off (yes this bikes a she), crisp throttle response thanks to the new ride by wire and on this model 5 riding modes including track which I used and loved. Uncomplicated controls, user friendly LCD instrument panel, Brembo brakes, Ohlins rear shock - what’s not to like.

So, did I love it, could I live with it? Yes, and here is why. It did what it was supposed to do very well indeed, remarkably so in fact. The new engine builds on its predecessor’s strengths but is more powerful and better mannered, it’s a masterstroke. The steering is sharp and precise, built with top notch suspension parts working

I’m a sports tourer kind of chap doing lots of long trips but this rascal would encourage me to get out of an evening when hefting Meatloaf out of the garage is just not worth the hassle. It is a Kylie and I consider myself lucky lucky lucky to have been able to have a play with a machine that made an old man wear a cheesy grin. Try it, buy it, you won’t be disappointed. Aha, I hear you say you got a freebie ride from a dealer who wants to sell their bikes. This is true and a very good dealer they are, but it’s not all Ed Sheeran in this motor cycle range I must tell you. Wait till next time when I tell you about the Honey G and Ed Balls love child that everyone votes for but was not for me at all.

SALES: 0141 883 6773

SERVICE: 0141 882 1528

TRAINING: 0141 883 6061




irst there was the standard Airvest – a superb advance in rider safety. Then there was the TT – Turtle Technology – all the protection of standard and fifty times more effective than a normal back protector. Now there’s GP AIR: The airbag racing jacket that has been specially developed for the race track. Attention has been focused on aerodynamics with a perfect fit and space for the suit’s hump. For more security, the jacket is made with abrasion resistant materials with TURTLE protection at the front and back for a double effect! An airbag vest designed and tested by riders, for riders! If budget is critical, then Standard is for you. For the added security of what is probably the best spinal protection around, go for Turtle Technology. If you are a racer, a track day rider or if your leathers come with a hump, then GP AIR is what you need.

I’ve been a biker for more than forty years and have been involved in and around the racing scene for most of those years. Throughout that time my greatest concern has been for the wellbeing of riders (including me!) Nowadays, I would no more get on a bike without my Airvest than a fighter pilot would take off without a parachute! For more info go to or better yet visit a Helite stockist (you’ll find them on the website, they’re in Aberdeen, Cupar, Edinburgh and Kilmarnock, with more to come!) You’ll see me regularly at Knockhill at Track and Race events as well as at bike-related activities all over Scotland. Helite air protection is CE certified technology with a lifetime guarantee at an affordable price. We will service and help you care for your Airvest but remember: we want you to wear it, not use it!



his year was my fourth at the Scottish Six Days Trial in Fort William representing Mickey Oates Motorcycles working alongside Honda UK and the Spanish Montesa Team.

Preparation for my week starts when I return from the previous year. There is always something new that I learn or more parts and tools that I will need next time. The SSDT as it is most commonly known starts at 7.30am on Monday morning when the first rider leaves the Parc Ferme to start their trial. I arrive on the Friday evening so that I can park my van next to the Factory Montesa Race Truck.

My job is to offer a full comprehensive spares back up for all riders who have entered the SSDT and ride a Montesa. The Spanish Montesa Factory send across their Race truck that is Saturday was a quiet affair and I spent my day used for all the World rounds as well as two chatting to the Factory of their Team technicians My job is to offer a full teams and staff that I have (Toni Bou or Jaime Busto’s been lucky to have met mechanics) who provide a comprehensive spares service helping the riders back up for all riders who over the years. My brother Grahame came up on the with their vast knowledge have entered the SSDT Saturday night straight should any problems arise. and ride a Montesa. from work, something he does every year so we have dinner together, sit in the hotel and have a chat with the riders and mechanics, I look forward to this. Sunday is similar to the Saturday but now the West End Car Park (where it all happens) starts to fill up with riders doing some final preparation on their bikes and spectators wandering round checking out the Race Trucks and teams. On Sunday afternoon there is a parade on the main street for all the riders on their trials bikes, this is definitely worth seeing. When the parade is finished the bikes then have to go back to the Parc Ferme where they remain securely overnight till the

Joan and Pep our Montesa mechanics were flat out, it was going to be a long day. The last Montesa rider came back about 7.30pm so it was time to tidy up and prepare for the Thursday before heading across to our Hotel at start of the Trial. Time for some dinner and a 9pm for a cold beer. Thursday and Friday were beer at the West End Hotel where I stay for my busy but manageable then it was Saturday, week. the Final day. Saturday was as usual nice and easy, no work to do on the bikes once the last On Monday morning after an early 6.30am one left at 12pm, now I help the Montesa guys breakfast, I walked across the road to the dismantle their awning and set up in readiness paddock/service area for the start at 7.30am to leave on the Saturday when the first rider left, The last Montesa rider came evening. followed by the other 269 riders, one minute back about 7.30pm so it was came up again after another till the last time to tidy up and prepare Grahame on the Saturday night at 12.00 noon. At that for the Thursday before after work for the riders time of day, the car park was empty and the only heading across to our Hotel presentation as we were to present a new trophy people left were the at 9pm for a cold beer. to the ‘’Top UK Privateer mechanics and myself, Montesa Rider’’ this went to Stephen Larkin time for lunch. from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The riders will normally start to return We would also like to say a big thank you to between 3 and 3.30pm when they come into the Montesa Team, Miquel Cirera, Carlos La our Paddock/Service area to carry out the Casas, Joan Marin, Pep Costa, Aitor Lafoz, basic repairs to their bikes to include: Chain Ignasi Nogue, Carlos Casas and the guys (and adjustment and lubrication, Air Filter clean or girls) from Honda UK, Graham Foster-Vigors, replacement, check all bolts, blow off any mud/ Rob Chisholm and Amanda Marchant who dirt, etc, etc. The same happened on Tuesday make it all run smoothly. but on Wednesday it was manic as many of the riders were wanting to replace their rear tyres.

ROSE LODGE Inverness

An ideal location after a long day riding and taking in the fantastic scenery and some of the best roads in Scotland, maybe riding the North Coast 500, Rose Lodge Guest House is a motorcycle friendly B&B situated 5 mins from Inverness City Centre with its wide range of Bars, Restaurants and shops. Also, close by are theatres, cinema and cathedral.

AccommodAtion is mAde up of; • 1 x family room - en suite (1 x double plus single). • 1 x twin - en suite • 1 x small double (separate bathroom) • 1 x single - en suite • Rose Lodge has off road parking, a drying room as well as access to a garage. • Full Scottish breakfast between 7.15 & 8.30am

contAct: Blair Stevenson 01463 233434 6 Kenneth Street Inverness IV3 5NR

Bookings: 01463 233434

IT’S NOT A BIKE It’s grinning ear to ear as you approach a bend. It’s date night in the garage with the love of your life. It’s riding 20 miles to the shops just to pick up a paper. It’s spitting out flies on the A303. It’s a chat about your new end can with a rider you just met. It’s the experience that comes with spending 85 years in the saddle. And it’s going the extra mile to ensure that whatever your passion we have you covered.


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Scottish biker magazine july 2017