By the time you read your SAM Club newsletter, it will be three days to Christmas Day. Time to look forward to finding out how to fit all the new bike bits to your bike. If you receive an air vest, you might try to understand how the VAT will be spent. It’s not likely to be given to local authorities to help with the cost, £12 billion, for UK road repairs. So, it’s even more important to ensure that advanced riding skills are honed and sharp. IAM RoadSmart is continuing its campaign by aiming for 100,000 signatures on the ‘remove VAT on air vests’ petition. This has to be achieved by the time the petition closes on 27th March 2024. To help make riding safer and save the NHS a bundle of cash, let’s make it a target to get all bikers to sign up. There are 1.4 million of us who ride regularly. We only need 7% of bikers to trigger a possible debate in parliament. It will show our politicians that riders REALLY care about staying safe on the road. Ask the next biker you meet if they have signed it. If not, give them the link. Everyone benefits, so it’s a really good cause to support.
The meeting at Meadowhall Retail Park last Saturday was very well attended. Many members were riding, but there were also many who just came to socialise with SAM friends. Even though he is not too well at the moment, it was great to see Steve Eyre. To anyone suffering ill health, the SAM Club sends our very best wishes for you to enjoy the best Christmas possible.
In other news this week, the Harley Davidson CV Street Glide is subject to an urgent recall. It’s ‘difficult to control past 100mph’! You can check the recall status here. Silverstone has cancelled all track days for 2024. They may return by 2025. EEVAM Technologies are working on extending the serviceable life of batteries. This will be helpful as Zero motorcycles are offering a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty on 2024 models. Voge motorcycles have added electrically operated outrigger wheels. These are intended to help to make it easier to stay upright and park the bike. That is a problem that might be resolved, if the rider bought a lighter bike, or one with three wheels. Always remember: ‘the bike should fit the rider and the rider should fit the bike’. Instability is a common cause of bike accidents.
Nick Lyes (IAM RoadSmart, Policy & Standards Director) responded to the latest annual report on Smart Motorways. Whilst there are less accidents than ‘non-Smart’ motorways, when you’re stranded in a ‘live’ traffic lane, it’s still very scary. IAM RoadSmart is running a campaign, ‘Be a friend, not a foe’, to reduce the number of road users travelling after having used alcohol or drugs. We’ll see if the number of road users caught goes down next year. The new video, ‘For the road ahead’, on getting older drivers to check their driving ability is possibly up for a Smiley Film Award. You can support the award by clicking the link.
There are a batch of adventure stories for you to read. Well, it is our winter and we need to dream! Saffy Sprocket reflects on her ride to the Arctic Circle. Noraly Shoemaker (Itchy Boots) bravely travels through a dodgy southern Nigeria to the Cameroon border. The guns, checkpoints, being mistaken for a man, having bananas and bread for lunch and ending the day on a tea plantation with a bucket shower, make for riveting viewing. You can also read about biking down Chile’s Carretera Austral Rua 7. It’s a rutted and pot-holed experience. Like riding many roads in the UK. When riding on pot-holed roads in the UK, how do you tell if a puddle hides a deep pothole? Look at the gravel on either side of the puddle. If it looks like stone chips, it’s a pothole of uncertain depth. A great tip in these damp times.
The Whiteknights have found a new film star. Their only lady rider, Ann, is helping to showcase the work of the charity. That’s another video to watch and share.
SYSRP (South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership) have a campaign to encourage revellers to take a bus or taxi home. It’s office party season and we don’t want extra road users impaired by drink and drugs. Spread the message that if someone is out celebrating, or just having a drink, then mention that a named driver, taxi or bus is a safer option.
As usual, Kevin Williams has been prolific this week. Articles on mistakes new riders make, a webinar on how the brain works, bike aerodynamics, effective teaching, maximising your Winter riding time and why have Suzuki not got any electric bikes? Finally, the history slot tells the story of the only two- and four-wheel racing champion, John Surtees. I was very impressed by his Mum, Dorothy. Have the best Christmas possible and happy reading.
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