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SAM Club Weekly Newsletter – 5th January 2024


Happy New Year! It’s the start of a new adventure for motorcyclists. Various representative bodies look forward with hope and enthusiasm to put motorcycling further up the social and political agendas. For some members it may be a year of struggle and we will continue to support everyone. We wish you the best possible time in the year ahead.

We start this week with a year dedicated to promoting safe and sustainable motorcycling. There are end-of-year reports from FEMA (Federation of European Motorcycling Associations) and the NMC (National Motorcyclists Council). The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, in the USA, has an impressive list of goals for 2024. There is a big hill to climb. Constant advertising about the vulnerability of motorcyclists makes us wonder why anyone would want to ride powered two wheels. This is part of the problem. It’s not that motorcyclists aren’t vulnerable road users, but they actually work hard to keep themselves safe. Through both riding experience and additional training. Given the number of journeys made each day by motorcyclists, the number of adverse events is miniscule. Of course, we’d all like to see more people riding, more riders taking additional training and more public understanding about the role of motorcycles as personal transport. That’s the challenge. 

Although the NMC, IAM RoadSmart and other motorcycling organisations want the air vest petition to succeed, it may not get the number of signatures needed. At the time of writing, Only 10,942 people have signed. The government acknowledges that, at present, only motorcycle helmets are exempt from VAT. It’s a perverse and nonsensical political and legal position, but they keep all taxes under review. We have until the 27th March 2024 to get 100,000 signatures to trigger a debate in parliament. Whilst the most valued thing bikers want from motorcycling is freedom, we have to continually fight to keep it. We can’t take it for granted and ride off on our favourite trails. Spread the word.

In addition to supporting the ‘remove VAT from air vests petition’, IAM RoadSmart suggest we encourage people to buy an advanced rider course with their ‘Christmas money’.

In other news, Visin have developed a heated visor insert to overcome the limitation of a pinlock insert. Reports suggest that it works well. Gerbing has developed a heated inner glove. You will need to ensure that your gloves are big enough for them to fit inside. Fibre optic headlights promise a technological revolution in helping bikers to see better and be seen by others. Honda have launched an affordable new rider scheme to help more people get into biking. MCN and Trading Standards are linking up at motorcycle events to ensure that any motorcycle kit sold is properly described and safe to use.

Onto adventure riding now. Itchy Boots is riding another rutted, wet and very muddy road from Banyo to Fouban in Cameroon. On arrival, she is mistaken for a man – again, visits the King’s palace and the snake and spider museum. In addition, Noraly learns how bronze figures and statues are made. Motorcycling definitely helps to see and understand local culture. Saffy Sprocket made a review video of her 2023 adventures. There is some stunning scenery, wet camping, broken ribs and tears. Brave lass, she made it through. Two motorcycling adventurers have set out to go around the world. Tom Gould and Lauren Board are riding Honda CG125s. They say they will keep going until the money runs out. We wish them luck on their quest. Dobbie on Tuesday is discussing, amongst other topics, the problems in selling classic and niche bikes.

The Whiteknights were on duty over New Year. They are looking for volunteers. Not to ride this time, but to help fundraise and publicise their work. If you can help, contact them on Facebook or on their website.

Kevin Williams has taken a new approach in his writing. For the 12 days of Christmas he is using quotations from successful sports people to show how riders can ride better. He’s on number 5! 

In the history slot you can read about customising a 650 Royal Enfield. There is a sidecar to take a passenger. Also, what to do, when you make guns and ammunition, then the war ends? Well the Zhender Company built motorcycles. A really fascinating story. Happy reading.

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