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SAM Weekly Newsletter – 8th September 2023


It’s been a great week for the SAM Club. Tim Lupton and Matt Lee both passed their National Observer test. Faiz Yaqub passed his advanced rider test with a ‘First’ (that’s a pass with full marks and no faults). All members send their congratulations and thank Tim and Matt for their continued dedication in helping local bikers to ride safer.

The ‘Peter Wilde Plate’ is awarded to the SAM Club member who has made the greatest contribution in the past year. In this case, it was 5 years!! At the SAM Club Night last Monday Fran Thompson (Chair) presented the plate to Steve Brown (outgoing Chairman and Secretary). Steve was awarded the honour for his selfless dedication to helping the SAM Club progress through a very turbulent time. He organised the Club’s Spring and Autumn Breakfasts, provided friendship and support to Les Hadfield (former Chief National Observer) in the last days of Les’s life. Steve organised the ‘Chairman’s Mid-Summer Ride Out’ and generally ensured that the activities of SAM Club volunteers were recognised and supported by IAM RoadSmart.

Other news from the SAM Club Night last Monday. Ian Coates (IAM RoadSmart Examiner) gave a talk about preparing Associates for their advanced riding test and treasure hunt trekking. The talk about test preparation was very informative. It was something that ALL members would benefit from hearing. Knowing what happens on a test today and some of the most common errors, along with the latitude the examiner has in assessing an Associate’s riding performance, will help you to reassure Associates about the process. It means that each member can support an Associate by helping to calm nerves and build riding confidence. After all, isn’t this one thing that makes our Club so brilliant? Ian also talked about the 4 motorcycle trekking treasure hunts that he organises for a group of ex-police officers. These are a great social event to which IAM RoadSmart motorcycling members are also invited. If you would like to take part you can ask Fran (Chair) for contact details.

It’s amazing what you can learn from other SAM Club members. This week I was talking to Richard Lean (SAM member) about articles I’d read in Ride magazine. I have no idea how we got onto the subject, but I’m very glad we did. Richard told me that he reads all the biking magazines online for FREE!! He uses his Sheffield City Library Card. Yes, by the time you read this missive I will have collected mine from the local library and will be happily absorbed in whatever biking mags I can find. The sign-up for the library card couldn’t have been easier. I didn’t even have to go to the library, it was all done online. In addition to the RSS news feed on the SAM website, I will still use the internet to trawl the 30 online magazines I consult each week to bring you the unusual and fascinating stories you can read in SAM Club Newsletter.

There is lots more news and views in your newsletter this week. Let’s start with a look at the myths that persist about bikers, bikes and biking; and, these are shared by bikers themselves! It was bound to happen. The day that the first motorcycle race took place was when the second motorbike was made. Customising the bikes probably took place when the third one came off the production line. Somebody didn’t like the first two! In keeping with motorcycling tradition electric bikes are now getting the bespoke customisation treatment. Take a look at Tinker Hatfield’s take on a one-of-a-kind electric motorcycle. Others will no doubt follow. Honda has decided that rear view cameras and ARAS systems really won’t replace a clear mirror and a pair of eyes. They have patented a low-mounted mirror system for bikes without a faring. The mirrors are mounted on the front suspension forks where the rider might get a really good view of their own knees!

Next up is the very sensitive subject of pillion comfort. I’m a long time admirer of blogs written by Liz Hardy ( In a series of 20 articles, she covers such subjects as how to choose the right bra and pants, to what you can learn about being comfortable on a bike from cats. Always fun and quirky, it’s a very entertaining read that covers most subjects that male bikers will not have a clue about.

Nights are closing in and it’s time to remind ourselves about what we might have forgotten about riding at night. As we’ve all been riding all year we should think about things on the bike that wear out. That slipping clutch might have a very simple solution, or be a sign that will make you wallet shiver. Got an annoying squeak? It might not be your pillion, so there is some advice on how to trace the problem – before the pillion is left on the side of the road!

On Monday afternoon I spent a very enjoyable hour watching an Ichy Boots (Noraly Shoemaker) vlog. Noraly has left West Africa to ride a very gravelly/rock-strewn trail in Andorra and the Pyrenees on a Ducati Desert X. It beats the mud and rain, but falling off occasionally is still a requirement. The Honda 650 has fallen to bits in Africa. Noraly left West Africa because the rainy season brings mosquito-borne dengue fever and having to take heavy anti-malarial medication doesn’t play well with the body.

Finally, two stories for the history slot. The first is an up-coming documentary on Philip Vincent of the famous Vincent motorcycles of the late 1920s up to the late 1950s. The second story is about 70 years of Kawasake. Happy reading!

There won’t be a SAM Club newsletter for 3 weeks.
The pillion and I are off riding. Ride safe everyone.

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