27 April 2018

MAG News - Highways England

Highways England, MAG and others turn concerns into action

Highways England continues to be a role model for action following its Motorcycle Infrastructure Sub-Working Group meeting on 17th April 2018. Lembit Öpik, MAG's Director of Communications & Public Affairs, regards this as 'amongst the most productive project groups in our Political Unit's calendar. Rarely have I seen a team which delivers so much and so well – in this case with a task list 28 pages long.' 

These include:

•       Recommending a review of roadside advertising, which can easily draw the attention of drivers – after all, that's the purpose of advertising. 

Highways England already refuses advertising within their highway boundary.

•       Assessing the danger of signposts and trees present near the roadside
- with a request for inclusion of clear standards in safety planning. 

Data shows 91% of impacts with trees by motorcyclists led to death or
serious injury.

•       Highways England is assessing the extent to which 'armadillos' and
'orcas,' present a danger. They've been raised with the Safer Roads Team

•       'Turbo roundabouts,' which introduce raised separation of lanes, will
not be included in the plans of Highways England.

•       On potholes and manhole covers the committee recommends clear
standards of repair and a review of the frictional qualities of manhole
covers. Law already exists but possibly isn't being enforced (Street Works Act, Section 81). Other legislation says 'Ironwork must (have) similar friction qualities to that of the road surface (TD 54/07 Paragraph 4.9).' Safety inspection protocols were also covered.

•       They're issuing advice on differential heights on road surfaces where rutting and raised edges present a danger to riders. Slippery joints
between road sections – known as 'overbanding' - were also discussed.

•       48% of rider accidents at roundabouts and 47% of rider accidents at T or staggered junctions result in death or serious injury. The group
recommends guidance in the 'Guide to Road Safety Route Treatments.'

•       A notable statistic is that, on the Strategic Road Network, 14% of
rider accidents are caused by vehicles pulling out on bikers.

'We got through a lot,' adds Jimmy Torrance, another MAG supporter and
fellow member of this sub-group. 'You know, they actually listen to riders. Road surface issues are a direct test – if Highways England does repair more dangerous potholes and resurfaces slippery manhole covers,that would prove the group's usefulness.'

If you have specific concerns about major roads, please let Lembit or
Jimmy know, and they can raise these issues at the sub-working group.

25 April 2018

Book Review: Donors by C.M. Sutter

Donors (Agent Jade Monroe FBI Thriller, #3)Donors by C.M. Sutter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another enjoyable read. Less gruesome than the first two books in the FBI series.

I did find myself willing them to suss who the perp was a bit earlier and have some pursuit. I didn't expect that ending. I guessed once 97% came up and they hadn't got him that it was going to wrap up quick.

Now to download the next one from Amazon Kindle.

Might have a rest from crime and death and finally read the Book of Dust I have had for six months in hardback.

View all my reviews

24 April 2018

MAG News - Riders call for common sense

London demo calls on Mayor Khan and Government to come to their senses about motorcycle-enabled crime and unfair pollution taxes.

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) held their biggest demonstration in years last Saturday to highlight the unfairness of a new pollution tax that London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is threatening to introduce and which will hit some of the poorest workers in the capital. The demonstration, organised by MAG's London Regional Representative, Tim Fawthrop, drew support from all elements of the riding community including dispatch riders, delivery riders, commuters and leisure bikers.

Selina Lavender, MAG's Chair, said 'A big thank you to the MAG members who put in the hours to bring the demo together. It was great to see riders turn out in support of the event and I really enjoyed riding with you all. Hopefully Mr Khan will get the message!'

Keith Prince, Chair of the Greater London Authority Transport Committee and a motorcyclist himself, added his voice to the call for common sense: 'I am disappointed that the Mayor of London has chosen to punish the most vulnerable with his ULEZ tax by again not keeping his promise to work with the motorcycling community. Ironically as a socialist, he is taxing the least well off; the low-paid essential workers and night workers who need their small-capacity bikes to get to work and cannot afford to replace them. Transport for London's "Easy Rider" report of 2015 states "powered two wheelers are part of the solution."  Why, two years later, are we now part of the problem?'

Other speakers included Peter Ramsbottom, London Deputy Regional Representative, who is equally disappointed by the actions of the Mayor: 'We need to view motorcycles as a solution to the problem, and that's what MAG has been campaigning for since these recent threats emerged.'

MAG's President, Ian Mutch, summed up the campaigning commitment of MAG: 'The Mayor really does need to think about motorcycling because he made many promises to us before being elected. Now we invite him to talk directly with MAG. Currently, his policies on motorcycling are counterproductive: they ignore the benefits that motorcycles of all kinds bring to the commuting mix.'

Colin Brown, MAG's recently appointed Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, said of the event 'this was a peaceful, good natured demonstration but there is real anger amongst bikers who don't understand how the Mayor can think it's fair to charge riders of old mopeds £12.50 a day to enter the city, while someone with a six-litre sports car gets in for free, as far as the pollution tax is concerned, if it's a new vehicle. We believe we have a strong legal case based on discrimination. We hope it doesn't come to that but if the Mayor is willing to damage his own reputation to defend a tax on the poor, then MAG will take him on, all the way to court if necessary.'

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

21 April 2018

Latics @ AFC Wimbledon

This was a game that Oldham needed to win.  

I wheeled Pepé out of the garage and fitted up the TomTom with the amended route to AFC Wimbledon ready to rock.

Luckily after the hottest and driest day of the year (so far)  on Thursday  (temp up to 27°C) it was still dry and warm today.

With the forecast showing dry all day I pulled the Joe Rocket jacket from the wardrobe and back to Kevlar lined  cargo pants.

The road into Hythe was a mile long of traffic and so I went out through the country lanes to the motorway. It took a little longer as there were cyclists riding three a breast on a road barely wide enough for two cars to pass.

A bip on the horn had them scattered but hurling abuse. Had they met a car coming head on they might have been calling 999/911.

Once on the M20 I dialled up to an indicated 75mph that TomTom said was more like 70. TomTom was suggesting 90 minutes for the journey and it seemed to pass pretty easily. Even the M25 was relatively clear.

Arriving at the ground I followed a guy on a scooter and found the bike parking that eluded me last year. Hard standing. Nice.

The game itself was the old cliché. A game of two halves.  Wimbledon probably edged the first half and led 1-0 at half time. Their goal was a cross between pinball and statues as the Oldham defence seemed incapable of defending a corner.

In the second half a revitalised Oldham came out and equalised with a superb shot from outside the box. Chances came and a few saves kept it 1-1 until against the run of play Wimbledon scored again.
But even though they dice with relegation again Oldham kept pressuring and Nazon scored again from outside the box. 2-2.

Once the game was over we had to leave by one entrance and walk around the entire ground to get to the coaches for the fans going back to Oldham and for me to get to the bike.

Getting out wasn't too hard. TomTom was given free rein to get me home. We found our way to the A3 and eventually the M25. I called Claire through the Bluetooth link between TomTom and my phone. Just to say I was on my way.

I needed a comfort and hydration break at the service area on the M25.  Fuel here is a complete rip-off at around 17p a litre more than off-motorway stations.

A few miles later traffic was almost stopped for a horse box broken down.  Even though it was in the left lane of four; the other three lanes of rubberneckers were almost stationery. Then there was a  notice of a other holdup on the M26.

I decided rather than split lanes I'd go the longer way and take in Brands Hatch on the A20.   It seemed to take ages and in places the road surface is terrible. It was still a really nice evening when I got home to the more mundane task of taking the dog for a walk!!

Update May 15th 2018

With this game being a highlight of the last few, Oldham Athletic were relegated to the 4th tier of the English game and will play in League 2 next year.

There will be fewer chances for me to go to games as there are few southern clubs in mire and in that division.  The nearest being Crawley Town about 75 miles from home.

19 April 2018

Beer52 - April Selection

The April selection will be cans.  A little unusual but ultimately recyclable, both the can itself and the contents........ ;)

Busy Weekend - 21/22 April

With so many weekends to choose from in the course of a year, it seems some have too many things to do and others have none.

This Saturday is Rocket III annual run to the (famous) original  Ace Cafe in North West London and if that wasn't enough for the motorcyclists, it also TriFest at all Triumph dealers.

So as a Triumph Rocket III owner what should I do?

It's also the last away game in the south for Oldham Athletic at AFC Wimbledon and I have my ticket to the game already. So that is a definite. I wil be riding there and that will score me another 50-50 Challenge 5E!

MAG News - Motorcycles Matter! London Demo Ride

London's motorcycling community is protesting against City Hall's lack of action in respect to rising motorcyclist deaths and against the unfair Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) tax which looks set to make pollution worse.

Led by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), London's riders will hold a city-wide day of action this Saturday 21 April to protest against the Mayor's policies, which are contributing to the mounting deaths of Londoners who ride motorcycles and scooters.

Thousands of motorcyclists will descend on Westminster and then rally near the Mayor's Office, where they will be addressed by supporters, including Peter Ramsbottom (Labour) and Keith Prince AM (Conservative). Liberal Democrats declined the invitation to send a speaker. Mayor Sadiq Khan also turned down the invitation.

Tim Fawthrop, MAG's London Regional Representative, said: "For the last two years we have been trying to get the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to uphold his pre-election promises and meet with us but he will not engage in meaningful dialogue".

Mother and London motorcyclist, Megan Anderson, said: "As a trainee teacher and mother, money and time are tight. I use a motorbike to commute because it's cheap and quick. Using public transport is cost-prohibitive and takes too long. I wouldn't be able to get home in time to pick my daughter up from nursery or be able to afford to send her in the first place! A motorcycle is the perfect solution that means I get to spend more time with my family, whilst also dedicating the time and attention needed in order to learn to teach."

A recent study has shown that the congestion charge has worsened the pollution problem by forcing Londoners from cleaner personal transport onto heavily-polluting diesel black cabs. Sadiq Khan's ULEZ plans look set to do the same thing, since he is planning to charge virtually zero pollution motorcycles whilst exempting diesel-guzzling black cabs.

London Assembly Member, Keith Prince, a keen motorcyclist who plans to attend the protest, said: "I just don't understand what Mayor Khan has against motorcyclists. His Deputy, before taking office, said in her report that Powered Two Wheelers were part of the solution to congestion! Now City Hall seems to have declared war on motorbikes and scooters. We know that many key workers are reliant on their bikes yet Mayor Khan wants to tax them off the road! I just don't get it - it's madness!"

Mr Prince added: "It could also expose the Mayor and TfL to the possibility of legal action on the basis of discrimination, as he's disadvantaging the least wealthy in London's workforce on the basis of an illogical and punitive charge on small motorcycles".

MAG works closely with politicians cross-parliament, organisations such as Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL), and with authorities at all levels to provide information and support to ensure that motorcycling gets a fair deal.

The organisation is volunteer-led with many members actively involved at local and regional levels, supported by the Director of Communications & Public Affairs and the Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement on nationally-led campaigns.

MAG has been successfully campaigning for over 40 years under a strapline of "freedom of choice".  It believes in a libertarian approach, with individuals being responsible for their own actions and making their own, informed choices.

For more, in-depth, information about the organisation, please contact:
MAG Central Office, Unit C13, Holly Farm Business Park, Honiley, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 1NP 
Telephone: 01926 844064

17 April 2018

Book Review: Justified by C.M. Sutter

Justified (Agent Jade Monroe FBI Thriller, #2)Justified by C.M. Sutter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the book. Some reviews mention stilted language and sometimes the dialogue sounds more Dolly Parton than northern cop/woman/person.

Very gruesome murders.

View all my reviews

16 April 2018

True Heroes Racing

The link will explain more about this fantastic racing team - https://trueheroesracing.co.uk/

At the BSB round on Sunday, the teams supporters came around with buckets collecting to help the team by raising money.


ARMR Hara Trousers

A while ago, I can't remember when, I bought a pair of cordura biking trousers.  These are the sort that replace ordinary jeans. They are waterproof and come with knee armour.

I "found" them in the wardrobe and they still had the labels on. I have no idea where they disappeared to and how long they have been in there.

As rain was expected I decided to give them a go.  Amazingly they fitted and were pretty comfortable.

After last week on the trip to France when it rained for over half the trip, and I wore my Kevlar lined cargo pants and Held waterproof over trousers, and was uncomfortable I was actually looking online before I found these.

I wore them for a total of 93 miles on the bike plus over seven hours standing watching the BSB racing.  The only problem is that they have a gusset affair at the front instead of the normal zip or button fly. Going to the loo for a Number One is none too easy.

In the end the were comfortable and waterproof.  The knee armour is a little strange as it is a little lower than where my knees are and I hitched them up a little but on the bike they seem like they are in the right place. According to the website the armour is adjustable. I need to investigate how that works.

Not the finest picture!!

P.S. I just added the "labels" and ARMR-Moto came up. The mystery of when I bought them is solved - November 2016!!  See http://invictamoto.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/new-trews.html

3 April 2018


So what is coming up?

Joe Bonamassa is on tour over there again and I would like to see him again. He's not very local and then the £80 a ticket price put me off.   I appreciate that it costs to put on a show, the transport, musicians and some dollars left, but this is a lot of money. With add-on costs like booking fees, travel and maybe an overnight stay (as I said not too local) we are looking at about £300 ($400+) for the concert.

Next on the calendar are are The Shires at the Leas Cliff Hall.  This in in May the week before we go to Spain for a week's touring.  

The Shires are categorised as "New Country" apparently. I have never been a great fan of country music as such. I can't help thinking of the Billy Connolly comedy song!

Once in a while though, you hear something and like it. You follow that up with maybe getting an album. You like it and then you get all the albums.  And that's what has happened with The Shires. 

Not wanting to which my like away, but roll on May.

The other events is that we have already bought tickets for the Illegal Eagles in January 2019!

Book Review: The Late Show (Renée Ballard, #1; Harry Bosch Universe, #29)

With Harry Bosch heading towards retirement, even from his part-time volunteer detective role in San Fernando, we need a new cop to take over the baton.  And Michael Connolly brings us Renée Ballard.

The Late Show (Renée Ballard, #1; Harry Bosch Universe, #29)The Late Show by Michael Connelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had read the first few chapters as they are appended to the end of the last few Bosch and Haller books and so when I was finished with them I downloaded this one to my Kindle.

I guess with Bosch getting close to his pension that we needed a new character to fill the void. Ballard looks to be an inspired choice.

At first I have to admit that she isn't all that likeable. In fact she comes over as the PITA very common in many US TV crime'/cop programmes. Gradually you warm to her but even by the end of the book, and she has solved the murders she is still pretty unlikable. I guess as her character develops in future books then we might see a change.

As usual the book is up to Connolly's fine writing and I look forward to the next installment.....

View all my reviews

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