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THE Moto Ventura Tours Blog

News and updates from the Tours and plans for new Tours - come here first !

2019 - Baffled by Brexit? Then get away from it!

2019 - Baffled by Brexit? Then get away from it!
Happy new year everyone, and welcome to 2019 and if we didn't need enough to worry about already with the regular 'Carry On Members of Parliament' updates dominating the news we now have the added worries of riding in Europe during a 'Deal or No Deal' that would even make Noel Edmonds bite his perfectly kept nails.

But we don't want you to worry about all that, because that is our job! All you need to do is bring your passport (We will mention that in our next blog) and meet us at the RV point for some stunning mileage on your bikes with friends old and 'yet to be discovered'.

Our Highlander and 9-Länder tours are ready and we would like to thank you for your patience. We do make sure every detail is in place before publishing these tours and we had a few extras to arrange prior to putting them online.

9-Länder 2019 is a real treat! We have added a number of extras on top of previous years including a night in COLDITZ itself along with an extended tour of this historic castle. We have added a day off giving you two spare days in this 9-Länder, one in Salzburg where we give you the option of coming with us to visit the stunning Ice Caves followed by a trip up for coffee and cake at Hitlers Eagles Nest and a second day off in the beautiful Czech Republic capital, Prague where our hotel is centrally located for the old town delights.

Highlander 2019 is also published (see link above for our Highlander 2018 promo clip) and we have added 3 extra nights accommodation on top of last years Highlander so you are properly rested before and after your tour. We have included an extra day of riding with chance to explore the Isles of Skye and Raasay plus a wee dram of Whisky or two in some very special locations and it wouldn't be right if we didn't include a cruise on Loch Ness.

A more detailed look at these two tours is included on the links below along with a link to the booking page at Moto Ventura, but please hurry, spaces are already being taken.

https://www.motoventuratours.co.uk/2019-tours

The picture below is the Kylesku Bridge over Loch a' Chàirn Bhàin, site of WW2 midget submarine training on the North West Coast of Scotland

Our NY resolution is to get more info and news out to you lovely people so keep your eyes pealed. If you haven't already, like and share us on facebook, twitter and/or instagram.

We have some products to test and review for you and some laughs to share via our live feeds on facebook so look us up and say hi!

See you on the ice!

John
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Highway Code 'Rights (or wrongs!) of Way' image.

Highway Code 'Rights (or wrongs!) of Way' image.
This image is currently doing the rounds on social media inviting comments about which driver has right of way.

If you do sit and ponder who has priority over who then enjoy, it's a bit of fun but as a biker I want to look at it slightly differently.

What immediately strikes me when scanning the 'comments' (not the image) is the number of people who get the answer so catastrophically wrong!
While this attracts a certain amount of 'flak' from others it worries me more that, if genuine, these people potentially hold a driving licence.

So, as a biker we see this situation developing in the distance. What are your thoughts?

Simple - exercise caution!
Whichever direction you approach from, and whichever direction you intend to leave, treat EVERY VEHICLE as a potential hazard and a threat. Keep your eyes and your ears open. Don't assume someone has seen you, don't assume they will react according to the Highway Code (HC) or common sense.

Be mindful of those trying to be helpful with headlight flash. Are they flashing you or a.n.other? Are they flashing to give you an open door (against the HC but people do it a lot!) or are they flashing as per HC to say 'I AM HERE!' And remember, if you are going to sound you horn, do it like you mean it! Clear concise blast, not just a quick toot.

It doesn't matter one bit if you are right and the others are wrong when you are the one getting broadsided by someone who can't answer a basic HC quiz on Facebook.
Keep your wits about you. Treat everyone as a threat, then move on!

Enjoy the image, but enjoy the comments more!

John Wilton
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Guardian Bell - Superstition Scientifically Proven?

Guardian Bell

At Moto Ventura Tours we are supporters of having the right ‘kit’ for you, your pillion and your bike. There is no better way of keeping yourself ahead of the game and protected from the elements and from spills. Sadly, fashion for bikers isn’t always straight off the catwalk of Milan so the newest kits cant always protect you from the odd snigger from non-bikers as you walk in to a cafe for a break dressed like a Power Ranger. Oh the joys of being a ‘free thinking’ motorcyclist!

All the kit on the world however doesn’t stop some riders from taking part in their own little rituals and superstitions to keep them safe on the road.

This bring me on to the Guardian Bell. One of the most important pieces of kit on my own machine.

I’m not a routine subscriber to superstitions, often saying, “It’s unlucky to be superstitious” but my Guardian Bell is, as far as I’m concerned, scientifically proven to reduce risk and I’ll tell you why.

My Bell was a present from my two children via their Mum, and says on it ‘Worlds Greatest Biker Dad’. It is fixed to the handlebars hanging from one of the control cables much to amusement of the BMW techs at my local motorrad Garage, Ocean in Plymouth who write on their report. ‘Tinkling noise coming from bike’ each time it comes back from a service.

When I ride I focus on my riding, the road, the hazards, prioritising and dealing with then accordingly and as a red blooded biker I still like to open it up and have some fun and this is where risk increases. Risk increases and speeds increases, opportunities to ‘fly’ and make progress need to be calculated and thought through often in a very short space of time, often instantaneous and this is where the line between risk and reward start to merge, sometimes becoming blurry. How often are you out on the far side of the road for view and thinking, “can I just have the next one?” as you look at a car in the distance or even, “I’m late for work, I just need to get past this tractor and trailer/LGV/Caravan/Car”. The rewards for completing both are often small but the risk is often large.

My Bell gives a little chime as I rumble along the road and that tinkle is enough to remind me that sometimes the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.

Be late for work, it’s really not worth injury for.

So you don’t get to scrape past the slower moving car, so what. Make it a ‘Rolls Royce’ overtake next time, an over-take to be proud of.

My little Guardian Bell actually does work - It keep reminding me of the little ones at home for whom I am their Guardian Angel.
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The Curse of Fair Weather Biking

Winter is around the corner, so is it a case of, “biker hibernation” or “let’s get out there”?

Hopefully the later, and for good reason. The winter environment gives the perfect opportunity to dial in those skills. For me, after riding for a prolonged period in the rain, as soon as the sun comes out I feel like a new rider! Grip immediately feels better, my view is increased, my level of comfort rises and fatigue lessens. I genuinely feel an improvement in my riding.

It’s the same for winter riding. For all the nasties and perils that it brings I welcome it for a number of reasons. Primarily the chance to train and improve your skills. You have to be more alert, more vigilant and more disciplined in your system and your riding plan.

A good ride out on dry winter roads after a few days of poor weather is refreshing, uplifting and like a huge breath of fresh air.

But the main advantage has to be when the spring returns. It is painfully obvious which riders have had their bikes stabled for the winter - and by that I mean not just the bikes but themselves too. Early March and look at all the riders out gingerly blowing the cobwebs out of there baffles and picking the fluff from the fairings of the blankets which have covered there machines for the last 5 months.

While they look like Bambi learning to walk, a rider who has been on it all through the winter is equally as obvious. They are unfazed, in fact positively relaxed and laid back but smooth and tidy in their riding. A joy to watch.

Some riders opt for a ‘winter hack’. A bike which you are willing to abuse a little more than your main bike, but not everyone has this luxury. If you do lay up your main machine - please have it checked properly before jumping back on and charging down the road.

Over the coming weeks we will touch on a few subjects that will hopefully give you ‘food for thought’ over the winter but for now some things to mention early before the money gets allocated to the Christmas shopping list.

Kit - A good friend of mine reported on his RTTW experience recently, he was soaked to the skin (after spending some decent money on a jacket) during the 7 hours of downpour while his wife was completely toastie dry in her jacket etc. On the bright side his gloves kept the water out and his hands stayed dry.

Get good kit! I can’t highlight it enough and because you are spending a fortune on kit, shop around! There are plenty of good deals out there. My last helmet included free kevlar jeans! The internet is a great place to buy but has the disadvantage of being more laborious to return if it doesn’t fit. So be cheeky, pop into your nearest shop which sells the same gear you are looking at on the web and try a few sizes on. Alternatively you could try this, it has worked for me on a number of occasions. Ask if the store will price match the internet. Most will albeit rather reluctantly, as long as the website you are showing them is a UK based site (and they will expect to see it on your smart-phone).

I got a pair of Oakley glasses reduced from £144 to £90 just by asking the staff to price-match an internet price. Be prepared to walk away if that say no.

Read reviews - Bear in mind though that someone may love the product you end up hating so read a few and get an overall picture. Make sure your review site is independent i.e. don’t read a review for the phone from the shop that is selling you that same phone… There are lots of sites out there doing independent product reviews (hopefully we will soon be one of them).

What decent kit is needed? - Well the top three items have to be winter gloves, helmet and jacket.

Helmet - The most expensive isn’t always the best. Having had Arai, Shuberth, Shark, Shoei, BMW and many others I can confirm two things - 1) price doesn’t ensure quality and functionality and 2) everyone’s bonce is different. What fits and looks good on your mate/partner may not fit you.

Age, is it old/new? Strap, is it fraying, buckles and fixing working and rust free? Ventilation, does it have enough and are they working freely?

So you are happy with your helmet, then check the visor. Is it scratched, chipping and cracked? If it fogs get an insert, breath mask or visor wax/spray but do something to keep your visor mist free.

Jacket - If you are happy with you jacket, fit the liners in on a spare evening when you’re sat at home so you don’t have to do it last minute before you jump on the bike in a hurry and decide to give up half way through. Give your jacket and liner it’s annual wash. Is the waterproofing still up to the job? A can of waterproofing spray is always worth a squirt if not and if you can, get something reflective to help with the low light that winter brings. Reflective is good! Maybe, not cool but lying on a gurney is even less cool.

Gloves - If you are happy with your gloves - great, but are they proper winter gloves and will they keep your digits warm when the ice starts to form. As a naive youngster I rode from Somerset to Cornwall in a February on my sports bike and when I got home stupidly put my ice-cold hands in warm water thinking it would warm them up! The pain was incredible! The problem with winter gloves is the loss of finite feeling but hey, the problem with frost bite is the loss of fingers!

Sunglasses - shorter days mean more chance of hitting the dreaded low-sun at either end of the day.

So following on from those;

Trousers - Either textile or leather and brand-matching your jacket preferably. Zip together stuff is brilliant but some brands deliberately fit specific zip sizes so you are forced to buy the same brand trousers and jacket. This doesn’t cause a big problem if both products are what you want - otherwise you can add your own zip later.

Thermal Layers - I have tried Arktis thermal top and bottoms, Pro-Skins ‘wind shield’ (parachute like material) and I have recently acquired Pro-Skins inner layers which I have heard very good things about. I’m told they will keep me cool in the heat and warm in the winter - we will see! Any decent outdoor shop can sell you thermals at a good price - and thermals can make even the coldest ride more bearable. Oddly, you probably won’t notice their benefit - until you do the same ride without them on at a later date!

Neck warmer - I used to hate these. Couldn’t see the point and felt a little trapped having them around my neck. Oh boy I changed my outlook when I gave in to one on an especially cold day. I still prefer to ride without but it goes on much sooner when the temperature dips.

So your clothing is a massive factor into making your winter riding go well. It stands to reason your bike should be working and problem free all year but it is even more vital now. Tyres for example. The legal limit is 1mm but honestly, are you happy with that in the wet and dirt on the roads? Correct tyre pressures, yes please! Fluids and brake pads? Oil and coolant? Enough petrol? All the basics that should be scrutinised daily need extra attention - do not neglect any areas that need attention.

Battery - the cold weather will kill your battery but also a poor battery will kill your winter ride so invest and get something that will see you through.

Riding - slow up. Take your time, plan your journey and give yourself more time. With the elements already ganging up on you, the winter car drivers failing to clear their windscreens or concentrating too much on their heated seats, it isn’t worth giving yourself even more pressure by leaving late for work so in short - more time, less pressure. More pleasure, less risk.

Finally if all my advice above is a bit too much to take in or maybe you're already happy with your winter riding just remember what Billy Connolly said, “There is no such thing as bad weather, there are just the wrong clothes!”

John Wilton
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That time of year again - Dead Leaves Dead Men! (& women!)

AUTUMN 2016 NEWSLETTER.

The B500 run to the Black Forest at the start of the month was blessed with superb weather, newly surfaced roads on the 500 and a German wedding complete with 15 minute firework display. Some great miles and treats in various restaurants and cafes were had by all with our 'Fine Rider' trophy being undecided right up to the last minute. One team successfully found and photographed the 'second largest Cuckoo clock' in the Black Forest but the largest remained unclaimed!

Folks, as always the summer passes by too quickly and here we are again enjoying the glorious British Autumn. As always we have a little tour news for you but also a gentle reminder about your safety.

1 - DEAD LEAVES = DEAD MEN (as the saying goes!) The leaves are falling and there is nothing worse than finding a whole bunch of dead leaves around the corner so plan your riding accordingly. Riding on dead leaves is dangerous! Is your journey along that stretch necessary? Remember what tree canopy overlooks your favourite roads. On the positive - we only have to put up with the 'leaf' hazard for a while, once they've fallen and the council have done their best to scoop them all up we are good again - but in the meantime - open your eyes!

2 - POWDER - The old mnemonic for Petrol, Oil, Water, Damage, Electrics & Rubber is a common one for the advanced motorist but now more than ever, take a good look at the E and the R!

So, ELECTRICS! Check your lights. Brakes, indicators, headlights, all of it needs to work as the evenings drawn in on us. Also, while on the subject of lights, have a quick glance at our section on 'Accidental Flashing' on the MVT blog. goo.gl/C0eVUN A quick read may save your life. It doesn't hurt to have a spare bulb or two under the seat for emergencies (and a torch!)

And RUBBER! Check your tyres. Are they fit for purpose? Despite what the law says, i.e. 1mm legal limit - even that isn't really good enough to save your skin in the bad weather. Get some good tread on your tyres and be strict with yourself. Do not turn a blind eye and think, 'They'll do!' If your tyres are illegal or even just poor, CHANGE THEM!

Rubber also means, tyre pressures. Keep an eye on these too, invest in a decent tyre pressure gauge (digital ones are least stressful and accurate) and learn your pressures, front & rear. Have them written on the bike somewhere easy to find for example, written inside the top box on a piece of dyno-tape.

For additional peace of mind - explore our training packages.
www.motoventuratours.co.uk/training

3 - Tour updates.
Five-a-Day U.K. Tour - running from 12th to 16th of June 2017. Take care of your health and well being with our ‘5-a-Day’ Tour! Ensure you get one of your five-a-day essentials by visiting 5 of Great Britain’s finest National Parks in 5 Glorious days of motorcycling.

After meeting near Bristol we head up through the spine of Wales to Snowdonia area for our first night then on to the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and Lake Districts for nights two and three then returning to Wales for night four near Aberystwyth. We finish with a ride down the Wye Valley and a visit to the stunning Tintern Abbey.

Single Rider - £610.65 per person
Rider & Pillion - £370.33 per person
Rider Sharing - £423.65 per person

www.motoventuratours.co.uk/future-tours/2017-tours/five-a-day-tour

Double-oh-Heaven European Tour - running from 25th July to 8th August 2017. This two week experience takes the team from Spain, over the Pyrenees, Lourdes, Millau, Monte Carlo, Milan, Lake Annecy, Lake Geneva and much much more... We ride the road made famous in 007 'Goldfinger' during the Aston Martin, Rolls Royce sequence and also the formula one road circuit in Monaco among many more delights. Double-oh-Heaven is very nearly fully booked so quick booking is now crucial.

Single Rider - £2296 per person
Rider & Pillion - £1380 per person
Rider Sharing - £1827 per person

Please note: We have no more commodore cabins available - standard two person 'inboard' cabins only.

www.motoventuratours.co.uk/future-tours/2017-tours/double-oh-heaven

Booking and more details are via our website.
All our tours include Quality Bed & Breakfast Accommodation - T-Shirts, Patches, DVD and more.

And finally, Battlefields Tour France & Belgium running from 18th to 24th September 2017. We visit some key locations from World Wars 1 & 2 over 6 days of riding. D-Day Beaches, Bayeux, Pegasus Bridge and Cafe, Bastogne, Somme, Verdun, Flanders, Menin Gate... Details are still being finalised for a final price. We will publish more details shortly.

For an informal chat or help with any questions about our tours or training please phone: 07590 599662 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ride Safe.

John Wilton
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