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Has Spring Finally Sprung?

Has Spring Finally Sprung?

Hopefully spring may have finally arrived. Certainly from where I’m standing, the sun is shining and the roads are starting to dry nicely which means many of us will be looking at getting their bikes out of the stables with the mind occupied with thoughts of a good riding season ahead.

Without teaching granny different methods of egg consumption I thought it worth reminding you nice folks of a few basics before you throw your leg over and ‘head out on the highway, looking for adventure…'

So, stop, breathe and count (or rather read) to 10.

1 - RUBBER. Check tyre pressures, check wear level, check for damage, snagging and contaminants (perished, damaged and foreign object damage i.e. nails, screws, glass)

2 - WHEELS. When you check your rubber you will need to turn the wheels so that is an opportunity to check your wheels do actually turn freely. Grab then with both hands and give them a sturdy wobble to check for play in the wheel bearings. This will also help identify if your brakes and discs have any issues.

3 - BRAKES. Hoses, look for Damage, deformity, splits, cracks and brittleness - look for leakage and seepage. Check the levels in your reservoir and the levers and pedals for positive ‘non-spongey’ action and return. Remember, your lever should NOT come back and touch the bars with pulled! Brake Pads, look for damage, wear and debris in the pads and check the discs for cracks, splits and chunks missing. Also, RUST! How much has grown on the disc since you laid the bike up? And even if you are happy everything is fine, always perform a rolling brake check when you first ride. Remember you have two brakes, check and use both accordingly!

4 - FUEL. Do you have some and depending on how long your bike has been sat, is the fuel you have dirty and likely to cause the bike to stall.

5 - OIL. (and other fluids). Yes, have a look! Is there some? Does it leak, has it leaked?

6 - DAMAGE. Have your bike suffered any damage while stored and also, have you forgotten that ‘job’ you said you’d sort over the winter only to realise now? Get it sorted now before it goes another season as a ‘must do’.

7 - ELECTRICS. Well obviously if your battery ist kaput then you aren’t going anywhere fast but if you do have enough lightning juice how about other electrics mainly - lights! indicators, headlights (check your flash function works! switches can seize and play up) and check that both of you brake functions activate the brake light.

8 - DRIVE. Chain, sprockets, shaft, belt, whatever method of transferring the power to the rear wheel check for wear and tear and lube where necessary. If applicable, check the chain for slack and tighten. If neglecte, a slack chain can make your day go bad very quickly!

9 - KIT - It’s still a bit chilly out there so may be worth having your thermals handy (any excuse to put on the wife’s tights!) and remember that waterproofs could still be needed at a moments notice but mostly this is about your safety kit. Helmet, check straps, check damage and check visor. Hopefully you’ve stored it well and there won’t be any issues but mould may creep in and add an unwanted and distracting whiff to your lid! Gloves get stiff if stored when damp. Give them a flex and free them up before riding.

10 - YOU! - Finally, make sure you are fit to ride. If you’ve had some time off then break yourself in slowly. Go somewhere quiet like a car park and practise some slow speed manoeuvres and turns. You may feel like a plonker for a bit so pretend you’re looking for that Rolex you dropped. You are not invincible and getting back on a bike after a break can leave you as sore as going for a run for the first time in months… Be sensible. None of us are Benjamin Button and are getting younger.

Remember this is a guide for the obvious so it’s worth asking a local garage for a check over if you’ve had your bike off the roads for considerable length of time. Most will give you a health check for free or a small amount.

Oh, if you are still lucky enough to get out then think about a nice fresh water wash of your bike afterwards. There is still salt and grit about and a little loving bath would be worth while.

Enjoy the sunshine!

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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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Advanced/Enhanced Rider Training Packages with Moto Ventura Tours

You cannot afford to neglect the most important part of your motorcycle - YOU!

With more traffic on our roads than ever before and less money spent on repair and maintenance, motorcycle training has never been more important.

The figures are frightening - Motorcyclists make up about 1% of road traffic but suffer 20% of deaths and serious injuries.

Once you have passed your test you will be told countlessly how the real learning is just beginning - each ride brings more opportunity to learn and develop and often that learning is as a result of a near miss - this is called 'critical learning',

With our Driving Standards Agency approved RPMT instructor you can help you to develop your skills and mental attitude to help you ride as safely as possible. Our instructor has honed their skills at the frontline of professional motorcycling and is ideally suited to pass on the benefit of his experiences.

We offer courses ranging from a 2 hour RPMT assessment to longer course running a number of days. Courses can be structured or bespoke depending on your individual needs.

On completion of the RPMT assessment successful riders receive a 'DSA Certificate Of Competence' which is accepted by most insurance companies to help lower your premium but better than that, you will learn some skills and techniques will may be priceless.

Our structure courses are suitable for those wishing to explore varying levels of advanced riding while our bespoke courses can cover topics such as;

NEW RIDER
RETURNING TO MOTORCYCLING (AFTER AN 'OFF' OR AFTER A BREAK FROM MOTORCYCLES AKA THE 'BORN AGAIN BIKER')
UPSIZING
PILLION RIDING
GROUP RIDING
TOURING
CONFIDENCE BUILDING

Plus more...

If you feel you are already up to scratch then think of your loved ones, our training deals make superb gifts for someone you care about.

IT'S TIME TO TAKE CONTROL!

http://www.motoventuratours.co.uk/training
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