31 January 2019


With Arsenal away and so no need to use our seasion tickets, Neill and I have got tickets to another Oldham Athletic game in the south, and easily accessible from Kent.

The game earlier in the season ended with an Oldham 2-1 win so we have to hope for something laong the same lines.  After some good performances and the win at Fulham in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup performance and results have dropped away.

The problem seems that Latics' defenders seem incapable of not giving away penalties.  The losses away at Doncaster in the 4th Round and midweek in League 2 at MK Dons, both due to penalties!!

30 January 2019


Made heavy weather of beating Cardiff. In fact the visitors had the best of the opening 25 mins or so.

By the time they scored their goal Arsenal should have been miles away. Still. It was a win.

20 January 2019

BT Hub 4

We have been having a few problems of late with the internet falling over and losing connections.

After months of to and fro with BT Customer Care they decided to send me a new home hub.

A two second installation and then a while to connect all the hardware.

If this appears. It must have worked.
posted from Bloggeroid

19 January 2019


Arsenal at home to Chelsea. What could go wrong?

Nothing as it happened. A lot of huff and puff from Arsenal in the first fifteen minutes resulted in a goal. Lacazette turning and lashing the ball home.

2-0 before half-time with Koscielny steering his diving header wide of their keeper.

It was fraught sometimes when failing to clear our back line but we hung on.

Still fifth.
posted from Bloggeroid

18 January 2019

MAG Press Release - MAG to work with the United Nations on transport policy

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) will be working in partnership with the United Nations on motorcycling's role in global transport policy.MAG has received communication from the United Nations Environment Department, expressing their eagerness to work with the Motorcycle Action Group on promoting modal shift towards powered two and three wheelers.

This landmark development was announced in a reply to MAG's Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik: 'As our understanding of the environmental agenda has deepened, we have inevitably found ourselves having to contact higher authorities,' explains Lembit. 'Our constant aim has been to ensure that motorcycles are being treated as part of the solution to reducing congestion and pollution – as well as cost – for private journeys.  I approached the United Nations because they are so influential in terms of environmental strategies. We have made a real breakthrough – and we're clearly speaking to the right people there. This development is of global importance for motorcycling and its role in transport planning.'

The letter, received from the UN, states: 'As you accurately stated in your letter, motorcycles could provide a short-term and immediate way to reduce emissions now.' It adds: 'We are delighted to hear of your interest in working with the United Nations on this important initiative and look forward to working with you as well.'

MAG's next step is to engage with the UN Air Quality and Mobility Unit, to establish terms of reference for the collaboration. 'I believe this is the most significant development for motorcycles in relation to environmental policies in recent history,' adds Lembit. 'What we do now will have implications for motorcycling across the planet.

'It shows that diligent activity can lead to internationally significant partnerships. It is an exciting prospect to be working with the UN. It's a win for them, the environment and all road users the world over. I'm pleased to be able to share such good news so early in 2019.'

TOMMC 70th Anniversary in 2019

As a result lots of the sections/groups are dong a 70+ mile ride out to commemorate the event.

The East Kent Section where I am a member (and poor attendee as they start before I get home from work) will be doing theirs/ours on the 2nd June as follows:

"Starts at Laguna Triumph, Kingsnorth near Ashford, and a ride to Dover's White Cliffs (and Return) approx. 74 miles.           

This is intended to be the 70 mile round trip for the TOMCC 70 Year club badge. A group photo to be taken at  The White Cliffs.

All participants who want to earn the badge has to provide their TOMCC membership number

Laguna are open 10.00 to 4.00 on a Sunday so we could have a coffee before leaving if we leave a bit later - or a comfort break!!

NB.  Some of the roads on this ride out are single lane roads with grass growing down the middle – but the scenery is worth it!!"

I am hoping to get out on this and I guess the 74 miles is the return journey to Laguna.

P.S. TOMCC = Triumph Owners Motor Cycle Club

Meldrews' Sunday

This Sunday is Meldrews' Sunday.  The current debate is where to meet this time. I expect by Sunday we'll be more concerned with the weather forecast.  

That they have had snow in the north-east, some 350 miles north of us here in the south-east of England, that seems to have paralysed the newspapers and forecasters. The public just get on with life.

"Beast from the East" they cry.  The winds are from the north though and incredibly that's where the Arctic is. So we might expect cold winds.

So it looks as though we need to wrap up warmer, it is January after all, and then see what happens on Sunday.

MAG Press Release - £1,000 reward to catch potential road killer

MAG has announced a £1,000 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of the individual responsible for a 'hit and run' incident near the Squires Café Bar in North Yorkshire, where a car driver left a seriously injured motorcyclist, Matthew Ramsden, lying on the road with his damaged motorcycle.

The incident occurred in Sherburn-in-Elmet. Police say that Matthew was travelling along the B1222, near Peckfield, on Sunday 6 January at around 4.40pm, when he in collision with a car at the junction with the A63. The driver did not stop at the scene.

Castleford-based firm, West Riding Personal Financial Solutions, has also put up £1,000 for information leading to a prosecution. Police believe the car to be a silver saloon - possibly a VW or a Skoda - and it suffered severe rear bumper damage as a result of the collision.

Yorkshire MAG Representative Richard 'Manny' Manton describes this latest incident as a 'line in the sand.' He says: 'The guilty driver showed no respect for the biker's life or property – and also decided to evade the law instead of fulfilling a basic moral and legal responsibility as a road user.'

Manny continues: 'We're offering up to one thousand pounds for information leading to a successful prosecution because MAG isn't going to stand by and tolerate blatant criminality on the highways of Yorkshire - or any other part of Britain. If you know who did this, and you don't speak up, you're protecting someone who can't be trusted by you or anyone else. Help us get justice – and potentially pick up a thousand pounds for yourself. This offender isn't fit to be on the roads. If they are not found, they can do it again - to you or someone you love.'

Please contact MAG on 01926 844 064 with any information. You can speak to us in confidence. We won't reveal your identity – we just want the identity of a law-breaker too cowardly to stay at the scene of a serious accident where someone could have died.

You can visit this site to get further police information about the incidentPolice appeal to mechanics as they try to trace suspected hit-and-run driver - North Yorkshire Police

17 January 2019

Fuelly App

I have been using this app for a while for the car and the bike just to track the expenditure and miles per gallon I am getting from the Insignia and the Rocket.

I don't obsess about it. If I did I wouldn't own a Rocket III! It works pretty well with minimal setup and as a US appl it needs telling about e vagaries of the UK.  Even though we aren't a metric country, petrol/diesel fuels are sold in litres but we still have feet/yards/miles as the measures of distance.  We also have the Imperial gallon based on 8 pints.  An Imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces as that is what a pint of water weighs.  In the US they have made the pint 16fl oz as that is a pound in weight.  

The app takes care of all that! 



I wonder how slow I have to go on the Rocket to get that average up to mid-40's!!!

MyRouteApp vs Tyre

I have been using Tyre for a number of years to plan routes and send them to my TomTom GPS units that we have successfully used on the bike and in the cars for quite a few years. 

Last year there was a bit of a problem and Tyre ceased to work with Google Maps.  This proved to be a massive problem and although they managed to recover to use Open Source maps it doesn't work anywhere near as well.

So we had a look at MyRouteApp. Another Dutch production that works on a Windows PC as it is web based and also supports an app that runs on my Android phone.  Neill used it to create in and out routes on our 2016 trip the Czech for MotoGP.

I created an account back then too to receive the shared routes but haven't touched it until recently.  He has created routes for the upcoming Devallboys trip to Le Mans for the MotoGP in May. So I have given it another go.

On my part I have started looking at routes to get from airport to hotel and to the different apartments. The interface is easy enough to use and it also uses Open Source maps. I have opted for the free 14 day upgrade to Gold that allows a range of mapping solutions such as Google and TomTom.  That also turns on options such as optimising the route.  I like that idea.  I tested that on the old route to Czech and manually moved a few waypoints and then optimised and it stuck them in the right order.

So sadly Tyre has been consigned to the back burner!!

Updated 17/01/2019 16:32

I had a trawl through my saved ITN and GPX files and found two massive ones that contain all the waypoints for UK Steam Railways including museums and stationary engine sites. I had made these from lots of smaller files.  But, importing to MyRouteApp proved to be a problem as they are too big to import as they are and need to be cut down again!

If you sign up to MyRouteApp you might see the ones I have posted as I made them "public".

15 January 2019

Book Review: Old Men Can't Wait: A Septuagenarian Odyssey

Old Men Can't Wait: A Septuagenarian Odyssey (Old Man on a Bike)Old Men Can't Wait: A Septuagenarian Odyssey by Simon Gandolfi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyed the ride

From my armchair. From my office chair. From the train seat on my daily commute. I enjoyed the ride. Enjoyed the description of the journey. The places. The people.

View all my reviews

Petr Čech retiring!

It's hardly unexpected since he was dropped from being the Arsenal #1 keeper with the arrival or Bernd Leno but still a shock to read that  Petr Čech will retire at the end of this season.

11 January 2019

Work & Life - The Next Chapter

At 63 I have decided to slow down a little and have been looking at a change to my working hours.

There aren't many options and nearer home there are even fewer job options and that means commuting into London. 

So. I have decided to apply for a change from April 1st to term-time only working. I have been at Islington for over 21 years now.

We already have to take the majority of our annual leave in school holidays as it is. Where that was flexible in that long weekends in term time was possible I will lose that.  

That means that going to Assen in September won't happen. I do have a couple of days where I have already booked and paid for holiday trips away.

We fly to Florida on a Friday, but the rest of the trip is in the Easter holidays. The problem might be the Le Mans GP weekend with the Devallboys. 

I have three days annual leave left to use up before March 31st, and I am hoping a little negotiation will mean I can use them for the three days I need after April 1st.

So what to do with the long summer holiday? The first holiday of the new contract is Florida. So that is spoken for.

I have submitted the request form and my line manager above my line manager has agreed the concept and has agreed that it wouldn't affect the service we offer. Of course more time not at work means less money. There is a hit but it is reduced by the cut in commuting dates and parking, less income tax and national insurance. 

On top of that I will have more days where I don't spend two and a half hours driving to/from the station and sitting on the train going to work and coming back home.

Claire has already started to make lists of what I can do. I was of course hoping to get out on the bike more. Pepé needs to be out more often!

So let's see what the next chapter of life brings.

MAG Press Release - MAG praises MP's hard line against dangerous drivers

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has welcomed the tough position expressed by Conservative MP Peter Heaton-Jones regarding the sentencing of dangerous drivers.

MAG's Regional Representative in the South West, Tracy Smith, has received a welcome boost to the campaign for justice against potential killer drivers, whose actions risk the safety of other road users - including motorcyclists.

Mr Peter Heaton-Jones, the Conservative Member of Parliament for North Devon, has confirmed that he backs changes which increase the possible sentences for causing death. Mr Heaton-Jones stated: 'The maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs will both be increased from fourteen years to life.' Mr Heaton-Jones added; 'these tougher sentences come after an overwhelming response to a consultation, which revealed substantial backing for the plans from a wide range of people including victims, bereaved families and road safety experts.' He confirmed that that a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will also be created.

Tracy is pleased to see this development: 'having to discuss all this is only necessary because of the actions of a small number of irresponsible killer drivers who aren't fit to share the road space with anyone. They deserve the prospect of life imprisonment for killing bikers and other road users through their criminal behaviour. MAG welcomes Mr Heaton-Jones's support for those who face the tragedy of stolen lives, as a result of these dangerous drivers. Nobody wants to suffer this horrible situation, and I hope that these stiffer sentences act as a deterrent to chancing such wilfully irresponsible behaviour in the first place.'

The response Tracy has received proves the value of contacting your MP for support for bikers who suffer harm from bad driving by others. Public opinion got the law changed in the first place, and will continue to help get justice for the victims of such reckless driving.

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

Link: letter from Mr Peter Heaton-Jones MP - https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/8/89/Peter_Heaton-Jones_MP.png

10 January 2019

Biker Down in Kent - Dates in 2019

The Biker Down course was devised by Jim Sanderson and colleagues at Kent Fire and Rescue. It is free to attend and is a decent course with a practical exercise on how to be the first responder at a bike accident scene.

It is well worth going. Unless you are a doctor or nurse you will learn something.


12th February
12th March
16th April
7th May
4th June
2nd July
27th August

9 January 2019

MAG Press Release - How NICE is advice on road planning

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) questions why a health group is venturing into the complex world of road planning - and perhaps missing the point of our roads.

MAG has expressed surprise that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance on road planning, even though it has no publicly known experience in highways design and operation. This follows advice from NICE that to keep Britain healthy the roads should be reprioritised for fitness activity.

Lembit Öpik, MAG's Director of Communications & Public Affairs, says: 'NICE says road planning should explicitly prioritise cycling and walking, in preference to private vehicles with engines. They say this will make us healthier by reducing obesity, diabetes and other conditions. Deprioritising powered vehicles in deference to economically insignificant methods of travel, namely unpowered methods, seems unwise. What proportion of us will walk many miles to work, cycle to hospital appointments or pedal to official engagements? It's just not realistic to think anything more than a small proportion of journeys will be made on foot or by bicycle. This otherwise respected body seems to be offering policy far outside its area of expertise.'

MAG's Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, highlights a further confusion: 'my analysis indicates that in London, where the policy they propose has been partly implemented with hundreds of millions of Pounds invested in cycle road space, motorcycle accidents have gone up. We predicted this would happen - a direct result of restricted road space for powered vehicles caused by the prioritisation to protect cyclists, even at the cost of other road users' welfare. How can NICE defend steps which damage the health of other road users to favour cyclists? Considerably more bikers die in London than cyclists. Why is the possible link between these deaths and infrastructure changes to favour cycling being ignored?

'There's a principle too,' continues Colin. 'Transport's key mission is to move people and freight, not to improve public health.  As a secondary benefit, that's fine, but we can't let it undermine the primary purpose of the road network. There are many ways to get healthy, but without powered road transport we can't effectively convey people and goods around the country. Anyone is free to cycle or go jogging in a park. But we utilise motorcycles, cars and HGVs – in other words, we use roads - for a main purpose that's nothing to do with health. Push bikes as a mode of transport deserve consideration; but as 'get fit' devices they deserve no particular priority on the highway because that's not what we built roads for. It's not right to redeploy highways for health at the cost of mainstream traffic.'

MAG asks NICE to show why they want to compromise the transport system, with health harms to other road users which the pro-cycling policy causes, or to rethink this policy.

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

7 January 2019

British Legion Non-Attendance Rally

The certificate and badge arrived today.

This year I am entry #30.

So feel free to sign up and donate to the Poppy Appeal.

It's very easy to do and the plus side is that you don't even have to do anything but fill in a form.

posted from Bloggeroid

MAG South East Region, AGM

All members in the South East region are cordially invited to attend this important meeting.

It will take place on Sunday 17th February 2019 at Ashurst Village Hall, Steyning, West Sussex, BN44 3AP and stars at 12 ,Noon, sharp.

Should you wish to vote, stand for office or speak from the floor you should be a current member and produce your membership card on the door.

If you have been a member for 12 months or more you can stand for office provided you have a proposer and seconder who are also bona-fide members.

We are always looking for volunteers , if you wish to get more involved with MAG please speak to your local Branch Rep or one of the South East committee members.

We are only as strong as our members, please come along and get involved.

We have various campaigns on-going within the region including:
  • Motorcycle access to the Lower Thames Crossing
  • Potholes
  • Access to bus lanes


We are putting on our annual rally again at Plumpton on 26-28th July.

If just half our SE members attended , the event would sell-out of tickets and make a huge profit…..

If you don't like camping, why not come along on the Saturday, buy a day ticket and enjoy the bands, bike show and bar.

Support MAG!! Make a difference.

Finally….not all MAG members have email...so please spread the word when you are speaking to fellow bikers and MAG members.

See you all soon, best wishes.

Steve Mallett, SE Rep. smallett@mag-uk.org.

Le grand retour au travail aujourd'hui!

For some I might add.  As workers get more annual leave each year and more people get to work from home, it seems that the big return to work has shifted from the day after the Christmas bank holidays (25th/26th December) to a day much later!

Many companies close down over the holiday and depending on when it is, they close for the whole week. As an education department we have a close-down as there are no schools working. This year I took the 24th off as it was a Monday and I had no train ticket. That meant that I was booked off right up until the 2nd January.

Last week it was fantastic. The car-park empty, the peak commuter trains almost empty and a chance to have a seat all the way with no one next to you. A bit of a squeeze in the evening as the parents taking advantage of the kids travelling for £1 filled the trains and the seats. Luxury.

Today, the big return. So after yesterday when there were n trains at all on our line the reward was chaos.  

A note on the board said that the 0759 would go to Ashford and we would  have to change.  Usually "our" six" mate with six carriages already there.  The "front six" are pretty full.  The info on the train made no mention of it.  

At Ashford we rushed off. The 0816 (front six) was pretty full before our passengers hit the platform.. Then they announced the 0806 was late on the adjoining platform.  So us displaced souls went there. 

It arrived and was going to go out first.  Some people that wanted to get to London a few minutes early swapped trains. I got on couldn't see a seat and got off.  I spied an empty seat on the "front six" and claimed it.  

So all ended okay and only a few minutes late. 

What a great start to the new year with a 3.5% fare increase and the car-park charge going up!

6 January 2019

#FULOLD FA Cup 3rd Round

Super Oldham...

I have been looking forward to this game since the draw. Another away game in the south. Not as nearby as the last round in Maidstone, but in London.

Usually when you are drawn against a team 59 places above in the pyramid you think the worst.

But on NYD our other team, Arsenal, hammered them 4-1. So we thought there could be an upset.

Fulham are 19th out of 20 in the Premier League and as a result they must see that as more important than a cup run. So they played a weakened team.

With 8 minutes to go before kick off the Oldham fans, numbering about 3800, were in full voice. The home fans seemed somewhat sluggish arriving in their seats.

Although Fulham where the better team they didn't bother Iversen in the Latics goal at all in the first half. Latics had a few half chances and with more composure may have taken one.

The second half started pretty much the same but the home side were more clinical and dangerous. A little mix up and Odoi scored. 😨

The Fulham fans woke up!

"You only sing when you are winning"

Oldham began to struggle a little but despite the pressure Fulham didn't really look like scoring again.

A change was made and Sturridge came on. Instantly more impact. Chasing down and winning the ball in the areas where they had been second best.

From a corner there was a spot of wrestling and referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the penalty spot. Sturridge stepped up. 💥💥💥


Fully energised after the goal and it looked like an upset was on the cards and then disaster. Another penalty. It looked soft but apparently VAR said foul.

Fulham brought on Mitrovic. He usually scores penalties. Boom. Iverson dives left and pushes the ball away. Big hand to get the ball well away to the corner flag. Tbe Latics fans went wild.

Oldham reborn. A cross from the left on 88 mins and Callum Lang rose the head 2-1.

The crowd went wild again. Well. Our end. Home fans started to leave.

And finally the whistle.

A famous away win.

A couple of videos I took.




posted from Bloggeroid

4 January 2019

MAG Press Release - ULEZ and exemption of older motorcycles

Update on: Honda, BMW, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, Harley Davidson, KTM, Lexmoto, Aprilia, Husqvarna, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, Royal Enfield, Triumph, Norton, Gilera, Vespa.

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has been working to exempt as many motorcycles as possible from the high Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) charges being introduced in London in April 2019. In a series of releases, MAG is outlining the progressmade with manufacturers in helping you to avoid charges, by proving your motorcycle is compliant with the emissions levels that have been set.

Following a productive meeting with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, regarding motorcycles in the Capital, MAG is engaged in seeking information from manufacturers which will help you secure an exemption for your motorcycle.  MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, explains: ‘we have agreed with the Mayor that those motorcycles which achieve the emissions standards set for the ULEZ charge should be exempt. It’s common sense and eminently fair to do this.

‘There are two ways to achieve that exemption: a Certificate of Conformity, showing that your machine produces less NOx than the upper permissible limit; or a specific test of your machine providing evidence that this is the case. We’re working with manufacturers to see what needs to be done to get a Certificate of Conformity (COC) and we’ll share that information as we get it.

MAG is also working to seek a simple, long-term solution that avoids any punitive toxic tax for motorbikes and scooters. The current proposal, which MAG is opposing, would add £12.50 to a daily commute for many, increasing the cost of the journey by over 1,000%.

We’ll keep you posted on manufacturers as we get more information from them.

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

How to get Certificate of ULEZ exemption 

2 January 2019

MAG starts the New Year determined to build on successes

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), the UK's leading voice for riders' rights, is looking forward to continuing to build on the good work achieved during 2018.

MAG is ready to continue defending riders' rights and to contribute to the decision-making processes at national and local government levels.

Selina Lavender, the Chair of MAG, noted that the organisation is ready to build on the achievements of 2018: "Everyone – from our Political Unit to our grassroots members – has played their part during the past year and I am confident that they will continue to do so during the year ahead.

"We will – as always - be meeting with various high-level authorities to push the motorcycling agenda forward and to get the best deals possible for motorcyclists in respect to legislation and best practice.

MAG has achieved some success with issues like CAZs and moped-enabled crime but there is still a great deal of work to do and we will rise to the challenge."

MAG will continue to engage with Government and Local Authorities wherever a need to protect riders' rights is identified and will continue to build the relationships already forged as well as generate new ones.

MAG invites riders, dealers, mechanics and manufacturers to join MAG and help create a united voice for the common good of the riding community.

1 January 2019

British Legion Non-Attendance Rally

It is that time of year again when the Legion organises the Non-Attendance Rally.

Over the years they have made it easy by having the destinations too far or too imaginary to get to.

It costs £5 to sign-up and a further £1 for your badge and certificate to be posted to you. Proceeds go to the Poppy Appeal. 

So. Sign-up. 
Non-Attendance Website

posted from Bloggeroid

Motorcycle Action Group

 "Old 'pipes' logo"

I first joined MAG back in 1981 when I first became active in the SOC and worked on the club stand in London at a bike show. MAG also had a stand and the clubs co-sponsored some in-show events together.

So I joined.

I stayed a member for another ten years or so. As a national committee member for the SOC I successfully lobbied for the club to  become MAG affiliated club members, as we already were with the BMF.

Then somehow I let it lapse but stayed a member of the BMF. It was only in 2003 that I rejoined and have been a member since.

I have even done a little committee work locally but when the local regional chairman was deposed I too gave up.

I support now with membership money and by posting news on my blog. Some of the posts have received a good few views.

You too can join. MAG needs members and the fees they pay. As motorcyclists we face legislation and an anti-motorcycle lobby. We need an organisation to defend our rights. 

I believe MAG is that organisation.

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