30 November 2012

New Cover Picture

It's winter and so I thought a winter picture, or at least one with snow would be right.

This isn't actually winter. It was taken in May and this is the northern entrance to the Grossglockner in Austria.


Anyone used or know someone that has used one of these or the SanDisk version?

If it can wifi (supposing there is a wifi connection) from anywhere to your PC or phone, then okay, but the blurb I have read seems it has to be your home wifi? 

Doesn't seem much point as you can put it into the SD slot......

Classic TT Poster

If you want one, follow the link.


Rain, floods, freezing

Last weekend we had some of the heaviest rain in the UK for many years.  A phenomenon that continued across the country for a week or more.  Some parts of the country had floods. Hundreds of peple without power and their houses ruined.

Today we awoke after a chilly evening to thick frost on the cars and the gardens "whited" over.  It's one of those things, but allied with the revelation from one scientific body, or other, that the Greenland ice field is shrinking and not being replaced like for like, climate change or global warming must be having some effect.

Sunday is the Whitstable Toy Run.  I'd prefer it to be cold rather than wet.  I'd prefer dry roads and not the icy ones I had today on my drive to the station.

After weeks of rain, the ground is sodden.  Every time it rains again, there is simply nowhere for it to go and it runs off. Near me this means that due to poor maintenance the drains are blocked and the water follows the lay of the land, and that means running across the road, and then some 400 yards later, it runs back.  Not so bad in three (or more) wheels but unpleasant on two.

Then this morning, after a mostly traffic free overnight, the water flows had frozen.  Nightmare for two wheels.  The Punto had a little skip as the nearside front wheel spun up and then it was back to normal. 

I'd hate to go up there on Sunday and find it the same......

Movember 2012

Movember 2012, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

The last morning. Rule 2 states that the Mo Bro should grow and keep the mo for the "entire month".

As a mo fundamentalist that means until midnight tonight.

Movember - The Last Day

The last day is a few hours old. Some people on the radio said they would shave today.

Rule 2 says for the whole month. So another 22 hours and 8 minutes left.

If you haven't sponsored me. Shame on your. One pound? Ein Euro?

27 November 2012

French bin the hi-viz proposals!!

We've just heard that the French interior Minister Emmanuel Valls has decided to withdraw the 150 square centimetre hi-viz rule.

Apparently he has acknowledged the protests from riders and that there really isn't any basis for the move.

MAG highlighted a few months ago, that apart from setting a dangerous precedent and creating the possibility that responsibility for accidents could be automatically shifted toward those riders not wearing the hi-viz as required, the French Government had also found itself in possible breach of a Directive which stipulated minimum quantities of hi-viz IF hi-viz was being prescribed.

If you read French:

Paddy Tyson  Campaigns Coordinator  Motorcycle Action Group  www.mag-uk.org   01926 844064 

22 November 2012

Driving licence changes- the EU Commission make it all clear... A reprieve!

With new licensing categories coming in to force on 19th January 2013, the rules change on what the power/cc/ weight the bikes have to be for candidates to take their practical test to enter each new category.

They've changed a lot recently and now it seems they've changed again- to what they were

It is a complicated system and a number of revisions which have all managed to further muddy the waters.

It was a very long campaign for example, that finally got the EU Commission to acknowledge that most 600cc bikes weren't exactly 600cc, so if the minimum test vehicle requirement to get a full bike licence was 600cc, they would actually permit the use of a 595cc machine.

With 6 months to go to implementation, the Commission again changed the minimum/ maximum power and weight requirements (depending on category), which had the effect of rendering some machines the training schools had just bought, as useless.

There were many complaints, but the EU Parliamentary committee said there was no time to halt the change, due to procedure. (That'd be the holy procedure they're happy to ignore on anti-tampering...)

Then the Commission changed things again and now they've released this press statement about what they will now permit the test suitable bikes to be.

Have a quick read of the paragraph below which explains their new idea. I'm sure you'll agree that it has certainly cleared up any confusion...

It modifies the requirements for the motorcycles used for the practical driving test, taking into account the existing models of motorcycles on the market. This will enable for instance the use of electric motorcycles for the test. The Commission has initiated the necessary to adopt a legal provision by the first quarter of 2013 that gives Member States the possibility to continue to authorise the use of current category 'A' motorcycles until 31 December 2018, thus avoiding economic burden to the training industry.

It would appear that after all the filibustering, the chopping and changing, the Commission have acknowledge their huge screw up (without saying so) and will now permit current category A bikes to be used to take the new test.

If they don't change their mind again next week, that means all the Direct Access bikes that training schools already own, will be suitable machines! Unbelievable!!

Movember Day 22

Day 22.

21 November 2012

Results of the Type Approval vote yesterday

So, in the EU Parliamentary vote yesterday, the Type Approval Regulation was roundly supported by MEPs; our elected representatives. 

643 of them voted yes in fact, which illustrates that many of them didn't have time to read it in their own language and as such blindly did as they were told. Hurrah for democracy and Parliamentary scrutiny.

The text was finally produced in all languages just before the vote, but without time to read and consider the text in their own language and compare it to the concerns constituents may have had, the Parliament was led by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) of MEPs. Yes indeed, those tasked with protecting consumers didn't really want to hear from us, the consumers. Even the public hearing they had in Brussels all that time ago to gather opinions from stakeholders, didn't include a single dedicated riders representative group. None of us were invited to speak.

In the end 16 MEPs voted against and 18 abstained. Perhaps the abstainers were at least mildly embarrassed.

As MAG has said all along, much of this Regulation was consolidating 15 pieces of earlier Type Approval legislation and we could never take issue with that.

We have also always praised the idea that part of this Regulation would force manufacturers to list the emissions produced by every new model of motorcycle. The knock-on effect of that will be that we will be able to campaign for road tax in line with the Government's sliding scale charges which reflect lower emissions. It is after all, bonkers that a mode of transport which doesn't congest or wear out the road surface, should pay more road tax than one that does!

Similarly, we have always been pleased that the 100bhp limit that the Commission introduced back in the 90s and which only France chose to implement, has been over turned by this regulation, now that everyone finally acknowledges that there is no correlation between power and accidents.

Of course there is still no evidence pointing to any correlation between modifications and accidents either, but rather than let any evidence or proof get in the way of the urge to legislate, the Commission and Parliament pressed on regardless.

It was article 18 that we had the most issue with and I have included below, the final text that was approved. 

Still harping on about emissions and safety being the reasons why no power train modifications would be permitted, the text exempts all those bikes over 48hp, or those which fall into line with the new category A licence, which comes into force in January.

Instead, a bike falling into the new A2 licence category, bought by someone like me who has ridden over a million miles, will not be able to have a remap, an exhaust or a washable hi-flo air filter fitted and it will be up to the manufacturers to ensure these parts can't be substituted, unless they are happy to prove an aftermarket part won't compromise safety or the environment. And why would they?
If I chose to buy a bigger, nay thirstier bike, I'd be allowed to change these parts and the bike will remain safe and will not pollute any more. Magical isn't it?

If the text is meant to align anti modification rules, with licence category, why doesn't it say so?

If manufacturers have to make some parts of an A2 bike tamper proof and those same parts fit an A category bike, then consequently they'll be making them tamper proof too.

If manufacturers want to remap a machine so that they can sell it in either category, making different power figures, they'll have the expense of Type Approving both as different machines and have to gain approval for the modification to move the bike between categories, should someone decide to buy the bike in A2 form and then after a few years in the saddle, release some more of that power rather than buy a whole new bike - which is hardly the green alternative.

With absolutely no basis to force these restrictions on modifications, what will be the justification to stop them doing it later to all bikes? That's not scaremongering. The Commission acknowledge they have no proof to justify the anti-modification laws. In direct questioning they have failed to provide any. No national government has found any, and the research companies who've looked at this, say that some should really be done, even if it's just to find out if there is a problem or not.

Without a shred of evidence why won't the Commission just use the fact that it did it before and the Parliament were happy, so it makes sense to simply roll out the idea across motorcycling in its entirety.

The justification we've seen from IMCO, is that because tuning parts are available on the after market, people must be buying them, so that's the proof that we must stop the practise. No link to safety or emissions is necessary. Amazingly, they then say that there will be no effect on the after market industry as people can still make standard modifications even though no impact assessment has been done. 

Standard modifications? A little oxymoronic don't you think. On questioning, no one has been able to tell me what a standard modification is.

It is true that compared to the original proposal and first amendments as tabled, we have made great gains. All bikes won't now be fitted with compulsory ABS. All bikes won't be subject to bans on power-train modification and all the ideas about possible roadside enforcement didn't make it through either. But then the Super MoT proposals have been launched instead. (news is coming on the developments with that)

For such a tiny lobby we have done well, but perhaps just not well enough. No doubt we'll be slagged off by all those riders who never bothered to write a letter and who aren't a member of MAG, but if I was you I'd ignore them and be proud of the fact that you got involved and didn't just grumble down the pub. We've heard for years that MAG should do better, but only from those who don't want to contribute.

During the debate in the Parliament the night before the vote, even the Rapporteur from IMCO said he hopes that the Commisssion will get the delegated acts finished in good time so that everyone can get to see the technical and administrative details of the law that he commended to the chamber...

The manufacturers were obviously pleased just to get a move on because it's they who are needing to work out how to build these new machines meeting the new emissions standards and now also how to ensure that the components they build can't be tampered with.

An ACEM press release can be read here, but it still calls for early clarification of the delegated acts so that the industry can see exactly what it has to do.

The FEMA report on the vote can be read here, and it includes a good break down of the new emission limits and bike categories.

Text of article 18, approved yesterday. You'll notice it doesn't have a paragraph 1. 

Article 18 - Measures for manufacturers regarding modifications to the powertrain of vehicles 

2.  Vehicle manufacturers shall equip L-category vehicles with the exception of
subcategories L3e-A3 and L4e-A3,with designated features to prevent tampering of a vehicle's powertrain, by means of a series of technical requirements and specifications with the aim: 

(a) to prevent modifications that may prejudice safety, in particular by increasing vehicle performance through tampering with the powertrain in order to increase the maximum torque and/ or power and/or maximum design vehicle speed which have been duly established during the type-approval procedure as followed by the manufacturer of the vehicle, and/or
(b) to prevent damage to the environment.

3. The Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 76 concerning the specific requirements regarding the measures referred to in paragraph
2 and in order to facilitate compliance with paragraph 4a. The first such delegated acts shall be adopted by 31 December 2014.

4. After a modification of the powertrain, a vehicle shall comply with the technical requirements of the initial vehicle category and subcategory, or, if applicable, the new vehicle category and subcategory, which were in force when the original vehicle was placed on the market, registered or entered into service, including the latest amendments to the requirements.

Finally, the definition of a power train:
'powertrain' means the components and systems of a vehicle that generate power and deliver it to the road surface, including the engine(s), the engine management systems or any other control module, the pollution environmental protection control devices including pollutant emissions and noise abatement systems, the
transmission and its control, either a drive shaft or belt drive or chain drive, the differentials, the final drive, and the driven wheel tyre (radius);

17 November 2012


Although for the best part of 18 years our north London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, have rarely beaten us in any competition.

In 2010 they beat us 3-2 after we had raced to 2-0. The first at our place for 19 years.

In 2011 the tables were turned when it looked for 38 minutes like it they may double the win count. We came back to 5-2.

And that's where déjà-vu comes in. In today's north London derby the score was once again 5-2 to the Arsenal. This time our hated rivals only led 1-0.

Sometimes it's hard to enjoy the games as the tension is so palpable. Tense or what?

16 November 2012

Islington PDC Walking 5-Aside Football Competition

Today was the day. In the inaugural year we had four tens entering.

The ICT Crowd were winners. I was the keeper and played all fours games and was beaten only twice.

Each team had five players on the field and it had to be mixed gender!

The nature of our business means we are male heavy.. One side was all women. The tackling was pretty tough.

In the end we managed to end up unbeaten, drew 2, won 2, and also had the only three yellow cards in the tournament, two that became red.....

The £37 raised in the charity bucket was given to my Movember charity.

Thanks to everyone that took part.

15 November 2012

Movember Day 15

The half way point in this year's Movember fund raising and only 15 more days before it can be consigned to the annals of history.

13 November 2012

Movember Day 13

Day 13
Another few days and I had to trim it a bit near the ends.

It was growing lobsided in any case and to even it out meant losing the Zapata look and having more of the Selleck stylee. Needs to bush a bit!!

Might end up with the dippity-doo Flanders.

10 November 2012

Piebury Corner

Corner of Gillespie Road and Avenell Road.

The pie of choice today was the "Tony Adams", a steak and ale pie.

All the pies are homemade on the premises, and are named after Arsenal legends.

Tony Adams was the Arsenal and England Captain over three decades.

The Charlie Nicholas, after the wee Scottish wizard that joined us in the early 80's, is a scotch pie made with 100% beef. (http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/gunners-greatest-players-28.-charlie-nicholas).

So steak and ale? When I say steak I mean steak. Not some minced brown stuff and gristle in a brown sludge, but steak. Proper pieces of meat in an excellent and tasty gravy.

If God made a pie, this would be it.

9 November 2012

Movember Day 9

Day Nine and it's looking more like a moustache...

The rules are specific about starting position. Some of the mo's I've seen are a little on the hirsute side for 9 days.

8 November 2012

One last job to do before the vote on Type Approval

As we edge ever closer to the (currently timetabled 20th Nov) full EU Parliamentary vote on Type Approval, within which are the sections on anti-tampering, MAG Central has written to all MEPs explaining why they should attend, but vote against, the Regulation.

Just to recap, most of the Type Approval Regulation is consolidating existing legislation, which we are not and never have been, in a position to address. There are also sections of the Regulation we welcome, such as the removal of the 100bhp ban that France favoured, now that the Commission acknowledges there is absolutely no link between power and accidents.

The reason our letter asks them to vote against the proposal, is because at this late stage our options were limited, but one we could use, was to point out that the Regulation has been drafted illegally and the MEPs should not be willing to be complicit in law breaking.

As evidence for anti-tampering has not been produced, article 18 of the regulation is in contravention of the Treaty of the European Union article 5 para 4 which covers proportionality. Laws can only be passed if they are proportional to the 'problem' they are trying to fix. If there is no problem, there should be no law.

Due legislative process has not been followed.

On issues of procedure, this regulation has problems too.  The text is due to be voted on on the 20th November and yet the final text is not in the public domain. Even MEPs haven't seen it yet, which means they haven't had time to read it. Nor have their office staff. Are they really in a position to vote on something that they haven't seen? They text should be public for at least 4 weeks. There's only a fortnight to go.

Many of you have raised petitions to the Euro parliament and this is adding weight everyday, to the MEP realisation that the Ombudsman has acknowledged this shouldn't be going ahead without some evidence and that the EU Commission does have a case to answer.

Even the questions asked in the EU Parliament by concerned MEPs, haven't been answered.

The UK government can't find any evidence to justify anti-tampering either.

No-one has been able to say exactly how the Delegated Acts (those detail parts of the regulation that have not yet been fully written by the bureaucrats) will be scrutinised by Parliament after the vote and the thing has become law.

If you do want to keep up the fight, please just write to your MEPs (and remember you have more than one - see www.ridersarevoters.org) and refer to the letter they have received from MAG central office dated 6th November, asking that they address the questions it raises.


And finally, it is with huge regret that I must inform you of the passing of Fergus O'Connell a huge figure within MAG, in more ways than one.
Most recently Ferg held the position of Local rep in NE Lincs, but he may be more well known for his many years as National Clubs Officer (though he volunteered for many positions) and of course for his regular column in the ROAD magazine. Ferg will be greatly missed by thousands.

Movember Day 8

Received a new donation today that has lifted me up the table by about 3000 places.

You can still donate to the cause by visiting me on http://mobro.co/2865109

7 November 2012

Schalke 04 Part Final

On the way home we planned a shopping trip in Auchun and to fill the car with diesel, so we were up and at breakfast by 8.30am and off on the road. A stop in Lidl revealed no different makes of beer so we bought eistee and then were off again back tracking along the autobahns towards Holland.
As we approached the border we couldn't help notice this sign for a town with a humorous name....
Once in Belgium we had a stop for a coffee and a leg stretch at the E17 stop and decided that we would go straight to Auchun and shop, then lunch then fuel and back to the Shuttle.
Shopping included some beers we had never tried before, plus cheese, casoulet and chocolate. For those times when people drop round a 5 litre cask of wine, rose, was also dropped in the cart.

5l ought to be enough

Last night's purchase!!
When we put fuel in at Auchun it worked out that for 518 miles we had used 10.5 galls (imp)...... around 49mpg....  Had we gone on the bikes it would have been about the same each!

Schalke 04 Part 2

After a feast at BK, we went back into the hotel and changed into our football gear.
A pint of Veltins Pils

Veltins and bretzel
Once at the stadium getting in was very easy and we found ourselves in Block 65 along with the home supporters. The fact that we weren't segregated actually went off very well and there was none of the expected and customary trouble.
The game was a disappointment ending 2-2 after we had been 2-0 up.

Teams warming up.
I was there....

and so was he....
I took this video on my phone of the "community signing" before the kick off.  Most of the songs to rouse their crowd were like this - http://youtu.be/9ZuWfryxUVo

6 November 2012

Movember Day 6

Starting to look like a moustache ought to. Now 20% through November and going for any shape I can as it grows.

Schalke 04 Part 1

We were up about the same time I get up for work and out of the house about 0820 and by 0840 I had secured my first coffee of the day.

Before the off!

As usual the shuttle was late leaving by about 10 minutes. First stop Auchun to fill the tank. Diesel is much cheaper in France at €1.348 a litre rather that £1.45. At the current exchange rate that makes it about £1.15!!! A considerable saving. An £80 tank was about £60 instead.

The first problem was TomTom failed. No map of Germany. With no paper map we had to follow our noses.

Having been this way before I knew the route and occasionally used the Skrobbler app on my phone to check when we were nearby.

We had a coffee break about 1.30pm and arrived at about 4.15pm at the hotel. 
Arena Hotel

The room is small but clean and cheap!

Once checked in we set off for the Stadium to see where to go in daylight.


The bratwurst and beer stands had barely opened and so we ended up in Burger King by the hotel.

Bratwurst free grill
Curry for the currywurst

Now back in the hotel with two hours to kick off. Need a beer and after the game I need a sausage!


3 November 2012

Imperial War Museum

Today, we had a trip up to London to see the War Museum.
The main intention was to see the Blitz Experience and the museum as a whole.
We took the HS train into London and then a couple of tubes to North Lambeth and the short walk to the museum, set in a local park.
The museum was once the Bethlem Royal Hospital. The original "bedlam" hospital. The name associated with mental institutions.
As well as the exhibits of aircraft and other equipment, the museum focuses on exhibitions that show aspects of war and the effects on people.
The Blitz Experience closes tomorrow (4th November) and is in the basement.  A kind of sound and light show taking you through the lives of people in an air raid shelter when the enemy were bombing. 
The other exhibition we saw was the Holocaust Exhibition. I have been to Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam, and the one of the Dora Concentration camps in Germany, but this was far more enlightening. It was also restricted to over 14yo's as some of the images are too strong an upsetting.
The whole thing was well done with filmed interviews with survivors, those that escaped before WW2 and those that lived through the inhumanity. This is well worth going to when in London.
Afterwards, we ended up on a 59 bus northwards to Aldwych and lunch as Belgo in Kingsway. Not bad moules and beef carbonade.
We had a walk around Covent Garden and then back to St Pancras for the train home.


2 November 2012

A petition to the EU Parliament if you have a few mins to spare!!

With the EU Parliament vote on Type Approval approaching (20th Nov), here's an action that MAG would be grateful you got involved in.

It's the signing of a petition for the EU Parliament, however it will take a few minutes because perhaps unsurprisingly, it isn't as straight forward as writing your name...  Please do spend the time.

You will be actually creating your own petition, but so that it links with the one that MAG member Jon Strong has already submitted, it is vital that you use the same title.
 Follow the link. F
irst put in your personal details and ignore the box that asks if you are representing an organisation, (unless you are perhaps representing your bike club)

Then enter stage 2, which asks if you are happy for your petition to be public etc, below which you can enter the title of your petition.
Please enter the title as:

Petition requesting postponement of IMCO and EU Parliament Plenary votes on Regulation for Powered Two Wheeler Type Approval and Market Surveillance until EU Ombudsman as published decision on complaint covering the proposed regulation - For urgent consideration

Then, in the big body text box, please enter the following, or some version of it:
Dear Signora
Mazzoni and members of the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament.
I am requesting my name be added to the petition submitted by Mr Jonathan Strong

Title of Petition:
Petition requesting postponement of IMCO and EU Parliament Plenary votes on Regulation for Powered Two Wheeler Type Approval and Market Surveillance until EU Ombudsman has published decision on complaint covering the proposed regulation - For urgent consideration.
Dated: 09/10/2012

I believe Mr Strong has raised a fundamental question concerning how we are governed under treaty law and how the European Commission as lawmakers should honour and follow the laws that grant them the  powers to propose laws that affect us all. As the European Parliament appointed Ombudsman Diamandouros to decide on maladministration by EU institutions, it would be right for the European Parliament to respect his position, he having been requested to decide whether there has been maladministration in the drafting of the Proposed Type Approval regulation.

I agree with Mr Strong that if lawmakers are not clearly seen to be following law and acting within their powers, they present a poor model for citizens who are expected to follow the laws they make and bring the institutions of the European Union into disrepute.

Along with Mr Strong I request that the European Parliament postpones its key votes in IMCO and in Plenary session until the European Ombudsman has published his decision as to whether there was maladministration in the process by which the draft legislative act covering Type Approval and proposed by the European Commission was drafted and consequently as to the lawfulness of that act.

Yours sincerely.

Thanks very much. We are referencing this petition in a letter that MAG Central is sending to every MEP ahead of the vote, so it would be nice if you do find the time to complete it.

Lest We Forget

Summer is over and we are into the miserable autumn (or fall) when the clocks have gone back and the mornings are darker and the early nightfall arrives.

November is the month where we remember the men (and latterly women) that have given their lives for the freedoms that exist in the Western world. Freedoms that we take for granted that had to be bought by the blood and the lives of young men sent to defend our future.

The photo was saved from the Imperial War Museum website.  The copyright lies with them and I have credited them here.

If you are in London, or Leeds or Manchester you can visit one of the museums.  The IWM is a charitable organisation and needs funds as it is not sourced by Government.

Recently the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced that school children across the country would be taken to France to see the battlefields and the cemeteries that are crammed with those young men killed on the Western Front.  This is in anticipation of the Centenary of the start of the First World War in 2014.

A good start, before taking them to France, would be to visit the IWM.

More information @ http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-london

1 November 2012

Wear your poppy with pride

Wear your poppy with pride, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

Paul Devall

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