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					>>>> SNIPPETS PAGE 7


 Travels with a bus pass
                .... the next chapter
                                                        Spring 2011
                                                        Issue no. 38
 Brave new world
 Part 2 of the story...

               Surrey’s Best Biking Club - WVAM Ripley, near Guildford
                     Come and join us
                                                                                                                                               INTERCOM spring 2011
                                                                                                                                              this issue...
                                                            Business cards
             We are part of the UK's leading
design + print
             business design and print network.             Folders
                                                            Digital colour/mono

                                                                                                                                              TRAINING TIPS
             Our skilled designers and print                Traditional print
             experts have a track record of                                                                                                   SNIPPETS

             creating, producing and delivering
                                                            large format                                                                      P10
                                                            Exhibitions                                                                       AN ADVENTURE IN TURKEY
             internal and external communication            Banners                     WVAM’s Members, Observers                             Final stretch
                                                            Signage                     and Training Team welcome                             P23
             materials for a wide range of business         Advertising                 seventeen new members as                              BRAVE NEW WORLD
                                                            Display stands              green badge holders in passing                        Part 2
             clients.                                       Posters
                                                                                        date order.                                           P27
                                                                                                                                              ACCELERATION SENSE

             For you, this means we can design, print
                                                            design                      Well done on passing your test                        P30
                                                            Creative ideas
                                                                                        over the past few months.                             GET A MENTOR

             and deliver everything you need, such          Corporate identity                                                                P31
                                                            Marketing and advertising   Alex Carlton              Richard West                THE CRASH
             as business stationery through to sales        Web site design             Ian Rees                  Alan Richings
                                                            Multimedia                  Colin Brown               Ken Brown                   P35
             and marketing material, direct mail and        Copywriting                 Cliff Michie              Ed Fletcher                 ALASKA
                                                            Image sourcing              Steve Owen                Stuart Roberts
             exhibition material. We call it design to                                  Neal Tracey               Lucy Claxton
                                                                                                                                              >>>>>>>>>>>> REGULARS

                                                                                        Stuart Gunn               Robert Syred                P04 A WORD...FROM THE CHAIRMAN
             delivery. Our current services are
                                                            direct mail                 Richard Turnbull
                                                                                        Jason Hufton
                                                                                                                                              P03 PASSED
                                                                                                                                              P39 CHIEF OBSERVER’S REPORT
             structured into four main divisions.           Campaign management         Paul Skinner
                                                            Inventive mailers
                                                            Variable data print                                                               Readers should note that, except for articles
                                                                                                                                              labelled as being written by the Chief Observer or
                                                            Fulfilment                                                                        the Training Team, all riding advice and opinions
 Kall Kwik Woking                                           Teaser campaigns                                                                  expressed in this magazine about riding motorcycles
                          t   01483 723517                                                                                                    are those of the author alone and do not necessarily
 11 High Street           f   01483 740912                  E solutions                 Sorry if you’ve passed but are not on the list:       represent Club, IAM or WVAM Training Team policy
                                                                                                                                              or recommendation
 Woking                   e   List sourcing               these are all of the names notified the club secre-
                                                                                        tary by the IAM at 31 January 2011. Ed
 Surrey GU21 6BG          w                                                                                                                                    03
                                                                                                                                                                                                    INTERCOM spring 2011
                                                                                                                                    So, what’s been happening,
                                                                                                                                        We’ve had a Intercom hiatus. In October I had a bit

                                         a word
                                                                                                                                        of a slip resulting in a broken typing hand among
                                                                                                                                        other things. Hence I didn’t write much or ride for three
                                                                                                                                                                                                     So, this is your
                                                                                                                                                                                                         chance guys
                                                                                                                                        months apart from gingerly test riding a few new bikes
                                                                                                                                        including the stupendously good Multistrada (see the
                                         from the Chairman - John Webster                                                               conclusion of Richard Harris’s review in this issue), and    and girls to get
                                                                                                                                        my absence from the club meant that the usual flow of
                                                                                                                                        articles that people were press ganged into writing,          into the heady
                                                                                                                                        rather dried up. It’s understandable. Bikes are not at         world of jour-
Welcome to another edition of Intercom. Judging by some of       The IAM are also organising track days again this year, and a
                                                                                                                                        the forefront of many of our minds during the winter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      nalism as well
the new kit around the club room some of you headed out to       member has arranged a discount with Cali Superbike School              Anyway, having edited Intercom for a almost couple of            as satisfying
                                                                                                                                                                                                    your passion for
the sales to pick up the bargains ready for another action       (Well done Colin).                                                     years I’ve decided to hand over the baton to someone
packed year.
                                                                                                                                        else to take it forward, so no doubt the Committee
The social team led by Jenniann are busy populating the
                                                                 We also have some great guest speakers lined up for this
                                                                 year’s club nights. As you can see, it’s a bit of a bumper year!       will appoint a new editor soon – perhaps at the AGM                bikes. The
calendar with all the weekend runs you’ve volunteered to         What a bargain our membership fees are, eh.                            which will shortly be upon us.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        editorial role
lead, and both Adrian and Rex will be leading regular
evening runs through out the summer, so there should be          On the training front, it seems like Geoff and the guys are            This departure is not due to lack of enthusiasm on my         is not onerous
something for all of you to go on. If there isn’t, well you
could always volunteer to lead your own ride. My thanks
                                                                 doing something right as we continue to maintain a very                part. I will still be observing, still be riding with the     as long as you
                                                                                                                                                                                                        are willing to
                                                                 high pass rate, and a growing number of observers too. I’m             ROGS (as an imposter at the moment as I am neither
to all that are volunteering, it is great to see some new        writing this after February’s Observed Sunday which saw 70
                                                                                                                                        retired nor randy…) and still be leading summer runs
names on the list.                                               associates being paired. I think you will agree that is a very
                                                                 good turn out for this early in the year. Well done to all the         every week.                                                   be a bit pushy
It seems a growing number of you are heading out on Dave
Fearey’s ‘Back by 1’ runs on Observed Sundays. If you are a
                                                                 observers, and especially the training team.
                                                                                                                                        So, this is your chance guys and girls to get into the             and solicit
full member don’t think that there is nothing for you to do on   It would be wrong of me to not mention Enhanced Advanced               heady world of journalism as well as satisfying your           some articles
the 1st Sunday, come along and have a blast with Dave.           too as this is ticking over quite well, helping the full members
                                                                 looking for a little extra help on some of the finer points of
                                                                                                                                        passion for bikes. The editorial role is not onerous as
                                                                                                                                        long as you are willing to be a bit pushy and solicit           from friends,
The Haslemere Fire Stations ‘Ready to Ride’ day is               their riding. Remember that if you want to make use of this,
                                                                                                                                        some articles from friends, colleagues and complete                colleagues
                                                                                                                                                                                                       and complete
approaching, so please make an effort to attend and if           please contact Chris Gummer before observed Sunday so that
possible help. It’s a great day out.                             he can try to accommodate you.                                         strangers. It’ll make a man of you. Even if you’re a

                                                                                                                                                                                                      strangers. It’ll
The Annual French Weekend is pretty much full up so if           As always, any problems please contact me or any of the
you’ve not contacted Gary George already you better do so        committee at any of the events or via email, and we will do            May I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has            make a man
                                                                                                                                                                                                               of you.
ASAP, but don’t be surprised if its too late though. You have    our best to respond ASAP.                                              contributed articles over the past couple of years and
all had plenty of time. For those that are going and haven’t                                                                            also wish my successor, whoever it may be, the
been to Vianden before, you are in for a real treat              I look forward to seeing you all throughout the rest of
                                                                 the year.
                                                                                                                                        superb support from members and associates                     Even if you’re
There are other things in the early stages of planning such
as another exodus to a track day. If you are thinking of         John Webster
                                                                                                                                        that I have had.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            a woman.
doing one be sure to check the forum, and ask if anyone                                                                                 And I wish everyone a brilliant riding year in
else is going.                                                                                                                          2011. For my part I’m immensely looking
                                                                                                                                        forward to the various club jaunts I’m booked on,
                                                                                                                                        including the “French” trip.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Over and out...
                                                                                                                                        And if you fancy doing a bit of editing, please
                                                                                                                                        email Rosario on the Committee via the forum.
                                                                                                                                        She will be ever so pleased.

                                                                                                                                        Adrian Barnwell. Ex-editor

                                                                                                                                                                                       INTERCOM spring 2011

     We all want to get out there and ride         One word we need to take out of our
     our bikes but as part of becoming an          vocabulary is “suddenly”. It suddenly
     “Advanced” rider we do need to consider       happened” …… “The car suddenly
     the theory side of the training and that’s    pulled out”. These are the most common
     where a fair amount of members feel it is     phases used on insurance claim forms.
     not as important as the observed runs as      The SYSTEM if used correctly gives you                                                                                                                        ur shirt; but can
     they go through the training process.         that crucial thing which is time to react.                                                                                              splashing oil on yo
                                                                                                                                                              erally used after                          d, as the name im
                                                                                                                                            VICE-GRIPS :Gen                                also be use
                                                                                                 Contents of a
                                                   A riding plan is a continual process. As                                                                                    lt
                                                                                                                                            pliers to comp letely round off bo              to strip out Phillips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  screw heads.
     As part of being an “Advanced rider”          motorcyclists we should be using a plan                                                                     else is available,
                                                                                                                                            heads. If nothing
     I often hear you say my Observer has          or making plans all the time we are out                                                                     used to transfer                                 DRIVER : A tool
     already told me we become thinking rid-       there riding. Something we need to do                                                    they can also be                                STRAIGHT SCREW
                                                                                                                                                                 at to the palm                                 cans. Sometimes
     ers but it is surprising how many Associate   also is anticipate. As the main elements                                                  intense welding he                             for opening paint              d
                                                                                                                      l upright              of your  hand.                                 used to co nvert common slotte
     members only give the books a quick           of the plan are:- inform of - What you        DRILL PRESS : A tal                                                                                           emovable screws
     glance over now and again before taking       can see……What you can’t see…….                machine useful for
                                                                                                                      suddenly                                                               screws into non-r
                                                                                                                                                                    RCH : Used                                   ur palms.
     the IAM test.                                 What you can reasonably expect to                    ing flat metal bar
                                                                                                                              stock out       OXYACETYLENE TO                    us          and butchering yo
                                                                                                 snatch                                                     ly for setting vario
                                                   happen……Anticipating what is likely           of your hand   s so that it smacks           almost entire
                                                                                                                                                                   ts in your shop                             used to crumple

                                                                                                                       d flings your          inflammable objec                              PRY BAR : A tool
     It’s well known that most people do not       to happen.                                     you in the chest an                                              y for igniting the                   surrounding that clip
     pick up a copy of the Highway Code                                                                       s the room, denting
                                                                                                                                     the      on fire. Also hand                   of        the metal
                                                                                                  beer acros                                                  the wheel hub out                              eded to remove in

     again after passing the DSA test.                                                            freshly-painted   project which you          grease inside                                 bracket you ne
                                                                                                                                               which you want to
                                                                                                                                                                    rem  ove                                    a 10p part.
                                                                                                   had carefully set
                                                                                                                      in the corner                                                           order to replace

                                                                                                                ng could get to it.            a bearing.
                                                                                                   where nothi                                                                                                   tool used to
                                                                                                                                                                                               HOSE CUTTER : A

                                                                                                                                                                    ge stationary                      ses too short.
                                                                                                                        ans paint               TABLE SAW : A lar                              make ho
                                                                                                   WIRE WHEEL : Cle                                              mmonly used to
                                                                                                                      n throws them             power tool co
                                                   Geoff Berry Chief
                                                                                                   off bolts and the                                                ctiles for testing                                lly employed
                                                                                                                        the workbench           launc h wood proje                             HAMMER : Origina
                                                                                                   somewhere under                                          rity.                                              of war, the hamm
                                                                                                   with the sp eed of light. Also                wall integ                                    as a weapon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      as a kind of
                                                                                                    removes fingerprin
                                                                                                                         ts and hard-                                                          nowadays is used
                                                                                                                                                 HYDRAULIC FLOOR
                                                                                                                                                                         JACK : Used                                  ate the most ex-
     So I cannot stress how important it is to                                                               calluses from finge
                                                                                                                                 rs in
                                                                                                                                                                                      the      divining rod to loc                        t
                                                                                                                     it takes you to             for lowering    an automobile to               pensive parts    adjacent the objec
     be more aware of the must do’s and must                                                         about the time                                                    ha ve installed                                  .
                                                                                                                                                 ground after you                               we are trying to hit
     not’s of the Highway Code …… because          As motorists we all gain a tremendous             say, ‘Oh sh--!’                                                     es, trapping
                                                                                                                                                  your new brake sho
     while we are developing to become more        amount of experience from situations we
                                                                                                                                                  the jack handle fir
                                                                                                                                                                        mly under the                                  ed to open and
     “Thinking” riders we need to be able          have encountered in the past i.e. the car         SKIL SAW : A porta
                                                                                                                             ble cutting                                                        UTILITY KNIFE : Us                of card-
                                                                                                                           studs    too short.    bump    er.                                    slice through the contents
     to accurately have something to think         driver in front who slows down gradu-             tool used to make                                                                                             delivered to your
                                                                                                                             nd off bolt                                                         board cartons
     about!! So knowing what you can do and        ally and is driving haphazardly then              PLIERS : Used to rou                                                ge stationary                                  particularly well
     what you can’t do in any situation is the     gains speed only to slow again without                    s. Sometimes used
                                                                                                                                    in the         BAND SAW : A lar                by most        front door; works                       s
                                                                                                                          -blisters.               power sa    w primarily used                   on contents   suc h as seats, liquid
     difference between the Advanced-Safer-        any signal. You know they are about                creation of blood                                               od aluminum sheet                                 wrapped bike
                                                                                                                                                   shops to cut go                                       stic bottles,
     Thinking rider and the normal average         to turn, something tells you before they                                                                                         re easily in pla                    d checks, and
                                                                                                                                        sanding into smaller pieces that mo                        magazines, refun
     rider out there on the roads today.           even attempt to turn or even signal their                     NDER : An electric                                                   u cut                                                 ly
                                                                                                       BELT SA
                                                                                                                             d to convert           fit into the trash can after yo                rubber or pla   stic parts. Especial
                                                   intentions….you are thinking they are               tool commonly use                                                    line instead of                                  rk clothes, but
                                                                                                                              s into major          on the inside of the                           useful for slicing wo
     The feedback the Training Team often get      going to turn right or left. It’s simply            minor touch-up job
                                                                                                                    jobs.                            the outside edge.                              only while in use.
     from the Observer Team is that their As-      pattern recognition we have seen this                refinishing
     sociate is not planning far enough ahead.     certain behaviour before and anticipated                                                                              NE HOIST : A too                                   TOOL : Any
                                                                                                                             of a family of           TWO-TON ENGI                                  SON-OF-A-BITCH
     The signs are out there!! Not just road       that something will happen and sometime               HACKSAW :One                                              the maximum tensile                                t you grab and
                                                                                                         cutting tools built
                                                                                                                             on the Ouija             for testing                                    handy tool tha
     signs informing you of hazards coming up      it does. As motorcyclists we need to use                                                                               thing you forgot                                    rage while
     but other signs and information warning       these experiences in our everyday riding                  ard principle... It
                                                                                                                                  transforms          strength of every                              throw across the ga                the top
                                                                                                                              o a crook   ed,          to disco nnect.                               yelling ‘So n of a BITCH! ‘at
     you of potential hazards. Also something      plans, developing these skills will make us           human energy int                        re                                                                       is also, most often
                                                                                                                               tion, and the mo                                                          your lungs. It
     could be developing which may cause you       safer riders. So lift your vision up, scan             unpredictable mo                                                 DRIVE  R : Normally of                            you  will need.
                                                                                                          you attempt to infl
                                                                                                                                 uence its course, PHILLIPS SCREW                                     the next tool that
     to alter speed, position or direction.        as far ahead as possible use planning                                                                                      cuum seals un-
                                                                                                                        mal your                        used to stab the va                    d
                                                   and you will develop that quiet efficiency             the more dis                                                      ening oil cans an
                                                                                                                                                        der lids or for op
                                                   - the hallmark of the “Advanced rider”.                 future becomes.

06                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    07
                                                                                                                                                                                  INTERCOM spring 2011

                                                                    e                                                                     Bewar
                                       sories. A chance to rid                                                                                   e of th
                                                                                                                                                        e bike
 2011                                  with a sideca     r, bring your
                                       classic bike or trike. The
                                                                                                                                                                         by Luc
                                                                                                                                                                               y Clax
 Social                                 wil l be refreshments and
                                                                                                                                                                                     ton. Ta
                                                                                                                                                                                            ken in
                                                                                                                                                                                                          t Gard
                                        plenty of good compa                                                                                                                                                    en.
                                        This is a    day to bring
                                                                                     Annual general
                                         friends and prospectiv
 The summer social                       members and tel       l others
 calendar is packed wit
 choice this year.
                                         what an excellent clu
                                                                     b               meeting
                               ing this is         with not only excel-
  We have summer even                                                                                     the May Club
                      ys (Rex             lent riding skills coach-                  This will be held on
  runs on Tuesda                                                     ial                                11 at Ripley
                                          ing but a packed soc                       Night 19 May 20
  Hawkes) and Fridays                                                                                   ual and starts
                              rting calenda
                                                      r.                             Village Hall as us
  (Adrian Barnwell) sta                                                               at 8pm. Proxy   voting forms are
   in May and contin      uing                                                                             downloads
                                           In August, immediately                     available from the
   throughout the summe
                               r,                                     ay,                                 web site, but it
                                           after obser ved Sund                       section of the club
    and there will also be                       have the annual bar-                 would be really   great to see as
    some Saturday evening                                                 to                               possible coming
                                            becue to look forward                      many members as
                     in June.                                                                               chance to meet                                                                          had a few
                                                                                                                                                                                        en you’ve
    runs starting                           which is alw    ays hugely                 along. This is your                                                                        t wh
                                                                                       the whole Committ
                                                                                                           ee and have                                                  shows tha
                                will         well attended.
                                                                                                                                                         r an d I guess
     On top of that there                                                                                                                        s Gumme              bike.
     be the usual Saturda
                                y or                                                   your say.                                    from Chri ops are ideal on a
                                                                                                                                           ’s flip fl
                                             Club nights will contin                                                                 tinny
     (more usu    ally) Sunday all                  ghout the year with                                      ry, Jeffery
                                             throu                                     The Club Secreta
     day ride outs starting
                                              outside speakers and
                                                                                       Bowers, will be     standing down at
      March 13 with      a trip to                            t together                                       Committee is
                                              chance to ge                             the AGM and the
      Eastbourne. These rid
                                  es                                                                           a volunteer for
                                              with other members.                       therefore seeking
      will continue through
                                                                                        the post. If you     would like to con-
      October. There is an                                                  d                                  to the running
                                   ride        If you would like to lea                  tribute something
       additional Saturday                                                                                     se have a word
                                               a social  ride, there is                  of your club, plea
       some weekends for tho
                                      se                                    t                                  ee member and
                                                always room so contac                     with any Committ
       of you wanting to      bring                                                                               at is involved.
                                                me either through     the                 they will tell you wh
       pillions, get out that                                                                                    on the club web-
                                                website or on 07970                       Also keep an eye
        classic bike or the litt
                                    le                                        u                                 for nominations
                                                238004. Likewise if yo                     site as invitations
        12   5. There will also                  have ideas for int   eresting             will probably pop
                                                                                                                  up there.
        be the off road days,                    club nights please let
         weekends away and                       know.
         track days.
                                                  To find out exactly wh
          This years Open day                     on and   when, go to www.
          featuring Wheel Wom            and che
          is July 10 and wil    l be                                lendar.
                                          rs       out the club ca
           featuring various deale
           for test rides, stalls wit              Jenniann Davies
           bik ing in mind, suc h as               Social Secretary
            tyres, clothing and ac

08                                                                                                                                                                                                                    09
                                                     INTERCOM spring 2011

                    Tony Keegan back
                    in Turkey...

           ven ture
     a n ad y
     in Tu rke                  Bus Pas
               ou t there is
       Or look      ! (Part 2)
       on the w

I like Turkey and it’s people. I first went to
Istanbul in 1972, arriving in a German
registered VW Beatle from my home at
the time in the town of Bamberg, Bavaria.
(A lovely UNESCO-Heritage town and one
that Ewan and Charlie by-passed on their
second night in The Long Way Around, more
fool them)

10                                                                     11
                                                                                                                    the south. During the planning of the trip I was
                                                                                                                    looking for a route and I saw the UNESCO-Heri-
                                                                                                                    tage town of Ohrid in Macedonia that looked
                                                                                                                                                                                              with pass
                                                                                                                    interesting. ( It was
                                                                                                                    by a lake, a national park and the southern

                                                                                                                    border crossing into Albania. It also had 365
                                                                                                                    churches, one for each day of the year should I
                                                                                                                    have felt the need to have a quick prayer. (No
                                                                                                                    not very likely!)
                                                                                                                                                                         A quiet night in a nondescript hotel with a very early
                                                                                                                    I left our hotel late in the afternoon and           start the following day. I was in Çanakkale Province
                                                                                                                    navigated my way over the mountain road from         heading for the ferry back to the European side of
                                                                                                                    Turunc Bay. It’s quite a spectacular road with       Turkey and by mid-morning looking for breakfast. In
                                                                                                                    many hairpin bends and on one occasion we            came in the shape of a B&Q tool shed with a smok-
                                                                                                                    had a few fellow holidaymakers refuse to take        ing chimney sticking out of the roof by the side of the
                                                                                                                    the coach back to Dalaman airport that way.          road along with tables, shade and parking for the
                                                                                                                    Yeah! it’s a brilliant road to ride a big off-road   local Dolmush (minibuses). Food and hospitality are
                                                                                                                    motorbike up and over! It even gave me my first      important to the Turks and wherever we have been in
                                                                                                                    taste of BMW’s traction control and although the     Turkey, even in the remotest bays accessible only by
                                                                                                                    ASC system was impressive, I’m not sure that a       sea, there’s always somewhere to eat. On a previous
                                                                                                                    little wheel spin and the rear sliding out doesn’t   holiday we had sailed into a one of these bays by
                                                                                                                    make you feel a bit more alive! At least I had       the name of Loroma. To the south in the distance
I was expecting a cool reception in Turkey as          been that way before, apart from Albania and                 plenty of clean underpants. I headed north up
nobody spoke English in those days and the Turks                                                                                                                         we could see the Greek Island of Rhodes and there
                                                       I’m not sure if I felt excited at the prospect or just       the coast towards Izmir and then onto Bergama
used to have a hard time working in Germany. I                                                                                                                           on the hill was the standard B&Q tool shed, a few
                                                       a little nervous. There is a fantastic mostly dirt           to find a place to stay for the night. There are
need not have worried; they were open, friendly                                                                                                                          tables and chairs in the shade, cool beer and fresh
                                                       road (well it was in 1972) through the mountains             plenty of reasonable tourist hotels in the area
and honest making you feel welcome, especially                                                                                                                           meat in the shape of a nervous goat with a ‘I hope
                                                       between Pristina (Kosovo) and Podgorica (Monte-              because it’s very close to the ancient town of
if you showed any interest in buying a carpet                                                                                                                            they’re vegetarians’ look on its face. We spent a
                                                       negro) that I’d remembered travelling along when             Assos, a place where Aristotle lived. (Remember
in the Grand Bazaar! And the food was always                                                                                                                             long afternoon feeding our faces on lashings of the
                                                       it was just plain old Yugoslavia. In those days Tito         him from Bruce’s Philosophers Song? ”Aristotle,
good. I suppose at the time I had that British                                                                                                                           very best Ottoman cuisine, mezes, BBQ lamb, freshly
                                                       sat on all the different ethnic groups to stop them          Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle” No? Oh
inbuilt prejudice about the Turks, they are a sort                                                                                                                       grown salads that appeared magically from within
                                                       killing one another but we all know what has hap-            well never mind).
of bridge between Christian Europe and places                                                                                                                            the tool shed all washed down with cool Efes Beer.
                                                       pen after he died. I had to avoid Kosova as it had
further east both geographically and metaphori-                                                                                                                          The goat looked relieved too that we’d only eaten
                                                       been placed on the ‘don’t go there’ list of countries
cally. I’ve always been pleasantly surprised about                                                                                                                       one of his distant cousins!
                                                       by our Foreign Office, so my route would take me
the efficiency of their institutions, the hospitals,   further south and west, up through Triane, capital of
pharmacists, Coast Guard and local police when-        Albania and then onto Podgorica, Motenegro from
ever we’ve needed to use their services on the
many holidays we’ve spent there. Just don’t get on
the wrong side of the Generals or watch Midnight

I had ridden the bike down to Turunc on the south-
west coast of Turkey with only one minor mishap.
(You remember? Swiss car park, train full of Swiss
commuters, no side stand from episode 1) My wife
Jane and I had enjoyed a week on the beach
relaxing, swimming, enjoying the local restaurants
and now it was time for her to fly home and me
to climb onto the beast again. The route home
was going to be very different as I was to ride
up through the Western Balkans and Albania. I’d
                                                                                                         ..     .
                                                                                              home again                                                       in club
                                                                            Jane was off
                                                                                                                                l Moto-Gezg
                                                                                                                    The Istanbu
               The border...
                                                                                                                                                         ‘Ello mate, bloody n
                                                       close to that border and I was beginning to       ticularly hungry so I just sat and enjoyed
                                                                                                                                                                          wawful weather ain’t it?’ was the
                                                       feel very weary. I had to stop for the night      the scenery. Albania was a distant view          Ohrid ld to
                                                                                                                                                         greeting Ioheard in my left ear.
                                                       and found a rather up-market looking hotel        across the lake and it was the only time
                                                       where I crashed for the night, not literally of   during the trip that I’d felt a little appre-   This was no Austrian petrol pump attendant! It was a
                                                       course! As breakfast was included and the         hensive, as that would be my next border        young lad from London working the summer before
                                                       following day was Sunday, (a late break-          to cross. Perhaps as I get older I seem         he returned to his main job as a snowboard instructor
                                                       fast?) my usual early start was delayed and       to be more cautious (well I have joined         in the winter. I stayed for about an hour chatting to
                                                       I eventually got back on the road just after      WVAM) and it was one of the only places         him whilst he filled up the local customer’s cars and
                                                       10am.                                             that I’d not travelled through before having    I tried to get a little dryer and warmer. Eventually, I
                                                                                                         been turned back at the border in 1973.         gave up waiting for a break in the rain and headed
                                                       Within 20 minutes of starting I‘d crossed the     It wasn’t long before I remembered that I       into Innsbruck looking for a place to stay. A long hot
                                                       border and was riding through a wooded            needed a place to stay so leaving the bike      shower, my bike gear dripping into the shower tray
                                                       valley in cool shade. A further 50 miles up       I walked up into the Old Town of Ohrid. It’s    and the hair dryer jammed on in the bathroom to dry
                                                       the road and I was sitting overlooking Lake       built on the side of a very steep hill and I    things out and I was starting to feel normal again.
                                                       Ohrid watching the locals fishing, tearing        decided that a lakeside B & B would be
                                                       about on the lake in their speedboats or just     ideal. I found it in the shape of Apartments    The plan had been to ride up through Bavaria, to-
                                                       promenading around a small harbour in the         Rosana having accosted poor Rosana as           wards Nurnberg and Bamberg to visit my old hunting
                                                       warm sunshine. It was about lunchtime and         she walked back home with her shopping. I       grounds and then on through Belgium to the channel
                                                       having eaten a late breakfast, I wasn’t par-      think she was rather taken aback at first at    ports and home. However, the following morning it
                                                                                                         the site of me in all my biking gear but did    was still pissing down and Bavaria was suffering from
                                                                                                         agree to allow me to stay at her excellent      its worst summer floods in years. ‘Sod it’, I thought,
                                                                                                         house. Look at the website, it has splen-       I’ll just head for Calais by the shortest route and see
                                                                    Ohrid old to
                                                                                                         did views and is right on the waterfront.       how far I get. As you ride west from Innsbruck you
                                                                                                         (          have to cross the Alberg Mountain range. There is
                                                                                                         home) I spent the next 3 days relaxing,         a toll free road across the berg or a warm dry 10
                                                                                                         swimming in the lake and walking around         mile tunnel that goes on and on and on! You can
                                                                                                         the Old Town visiting many of the               guess which route I decided to ride. At the toll booth
                                                                                                         churches and monuments. Rosana and              I asked the rather stern looking Frau if the end of the
                                                                                                         her husband Gerorgi made me feel                tunnel came out in Dover and actually managed to
                                                                                                         very much at home but it was soon time          get her to laugh. Not usually easy in Austria as British
                                                                                                         to depart as I still had along way to           humour doesn’t translate that well. Anyway, within
                                                                                                         go before I’d be in striking distance           about a mile the air temperature gauge on the bike
                                                                                                         of Calais.                                      had climbed several degrees and I was beginning to
                                                                                                                                                         get warmer and dryer. I slowed down to enable the
                                                                                                         The Albanian border is only 21km                sensation of warm dry air to last as long as possible.
I’d stopped at the roadside equivalent of that                                                           around the northern side of the lake and        As I approached the end of the tunnel the rain had
restaurant and the view was of another Greek                                                             it wasn’t very long before I was presenting     eased off a bit and I decide to stop for fuel and hot
Island, Lesbos. I took a seat amongst the many                                                           my travel documents to a very disinterested     coffee.
families eating there and a young lad asked if I’d                                                       immigration official. A cursory glance at my
like the full Turkish breakfast. When I answered                                                         passport and Green Card and I was head-
‘Yes please’ the food started arriving from within                                                       ing west through the hills towards Tirane, a
that tool shed. Warm fresh bread, olives, feta                                                           distance of only 133km (80 miles). Here I
cheese, at least 4 eggs sizzling in a griddle pan                                                        was in the land of King Zog! (Why haven’t
and rashers of bacon, despite this being a Mos-                                                          we got a King Zog? Sounds much better
lem country. And all for about four and sixpence!                                                        than the present lot who had to change
Feeling replete I headed for the bike, the ferry                                                         their name to Windsor to make them sound
and the Turkish-Greek border all in that order. I                                                        less Germanic) The country has only been
rode the whole day trying to put as many miles                                                           open since the middle of the 1980’s when
                                                                                                                                                                       ive view fom
on the clock as possible hoping to ride right across                                                     the dictator Ebvor Hoxiha died after four
Greece to the Macedonian border. By early
                                                                                           st                                                              The impress
                                                                               and breakfa
                                                                                                         decades of iron fist rule. The roads close
                                                                   The bed                                                                                        the B&B...
evening I’d reached a town called Florine, very                                                          to the boarder are pockmarked with loads
                                                                        on the lake
                                                                                                         of concrete mushrooms, bizarrely all over
                                                            Ohrid old to

                                                                                                                    Signalling that I wanted to
                                                                                                                    remove my helmet, it would
the hills and on the roadside but fortunately not in the     always was a ‘he’, armed with a whistle for blow-      have been rude not too
middle of it! These are one-man bunkers built to de-         ing, a table tennis bat for waving about to direct     especially if I was going to
                                                                                                                    get shot! He continued to
fend against any invading army but reputed to be the         traffic and pedestrians and a Smith and Western
place of conception of many a local baby. They were          45 for shooting offenders. Yes you’ve guessed,
obviously influenced by the hippy mantra of the 60’s
‘Make Love not War’. After a short stop for breakfast
                                                             here coming towards him was a twat on a BMW,
                                                             standing up waving his bum around in an attempt
                                                                                                                    shout, direct traffic and
I was approaching the outskirts of Triane when I had         to speed up the effects of gravity. I was directed     wave the bat around. We
my first and only experience of the local fuzz apart
from the cardboard variety in chapter one.
                                                             rather violently towards the roadside and was
                                                             rather glad the only violence so far was towards
                                                                                                                    both soon realised that
                                                             his table tennis bat. He started to yell at me while   our conversation, mine in
I did once hear a fellow biker ask his mate why he
thought that GS riders often stood up on the pegs
                                                             still trying to direct traffic and a crowd of the
                                                             local youths gathered on the pavement. (In every
                                                                                                                    English and German, his
when riding along. Well it’s simple really. It seems that    town in Albania there was a crowd every time you       in Albanian was getting
the GS seating is positioned in such a way that the
longer you stay in the saddle the further your wedding
                                                             stopped) Signalling that I wanted to remove my
                                                             helmet, it would have been rude not too especially
                                                                                                                    nowhere. I offered to show
tackle travels towards the handlebars. If your trousers      if I was going to get shot! He continued to shout,     him my licence, he may
stay in the same position, the results are an increase
in the pitch of your voice. Also in warm weather things
                                                             direct traffic and wave the bat around. We both
                                                             soon realised that our conversation, mine in English   have offered to show me
get a little sweaty with all that heat rising from those     and German, his in Albanian was getting nowhere.       how his gun worked, who
                                                                                                                    knows but eventually I was
horizontally opposed cylinder heads. We stand up             I offered to show him my licence, he may have of-
to ventilate and allow gravity to take effect. Not a         fered to show me how his gun worked, who knows
problem apart from all the other bikers remarking on         but eventually I was waved on my way. The local        waved on my way.
what a twat you look. Gravity has its effect, ventila-       lads seemed most amused and supportive of my
tion cools you down and you can return to the saddle         plight but only when his back was turned. I always
cooler and more comfortable than before. Obviously,          keep a small amount of cash in my trouser pocket
this has to be carried out at slower speeds. Well at         with the rest of the cash hidden inside my jacket.
every road junction, in every town in Albania is a traf-     This means that if the local police stop you, you
fic officer of the Albanian Constabulary. He is, and it      can produce a ‘small fine’ from your pocket whilst
 hopefully hanging onto the larger amount in          chain that leased it in 2006 for 30 years          a couple of days wandering around the town,
 your jacket. Fortunately, I wasn’t fined.            hadn’t finished the renovation when I passed.
                                                      Montenegro only has a very small coastline
                                                                                                         swimming in the Adriatic and eating in the excel-
                                                                                                         lent local hostelries.                                                   travea
 Triane is a medium sized hellhole of run-down        and you’ll always see photos of Sveti Stefan
                                                      in any tourist brochure. Legend has it, that a     My next stop was to be Mostar to visit the famous                         with pass
 60’s architecture, a mass of humankind in the
 streets and on every corner, asthmatic trucks        fort was built on the island in 1442 when it       ‘Old Bridge’ rebuilt after the Balkans War and
 and buses belching clouds of diesel fumes and        was first settled. The island was fortified by     now once again connecting the east and west
 suicidal pedestrians. The strange thing about        walls so families from the surrounding villages    bank of the Neretva River. I don’t know how much
 Albania is the filling stations. Amongst all this    could find shelter from Turkish and pirate         of that vicious conflict you remember but having
                                                                                                                                                                  It wasn’t a disappointment but I was now defi-
 post-communist decay are these beacons to            attacks. They’ve all buggered off now and          spent time in Yugoslavia in my youth, I felt a con-
                                                                                                                                                                  nitely homeward bound. It’s funny really but as
 oil wealth. Brand spanking new forecourts lit        it’s an empty hotel waiting for the first guests   nection and sympathy with its people. The Serbs
                                                                                                                                                                  I’d travelled that route a few time before, I felt
 up like Blackpool illuminations with sparklingly     to arrive.                                         or course were portrayed as the bogymen in the
                                                                                                                                                                  a familiarity with my surroundings and I only
 clean shops and loos. The only problem with                                                             British Press but in my opinion, all sides in that
                                                                                                                                                                  had the Alps to cross into Austria and I’d almost
 the Adventure is that I only needed one visit to     I was now in familiar territory and following      conflict were as guilty of atrocities as were the
                                                                                                                                                                  be home. I had about 4 days left before my
 fill up for a day’s travel as the size of my tanks   the winding, coast hugging road towards the        Serbs. The UN and Dutch Army didn’t fare too
                                                                                                                                                                  ferry booking in Calais and the rain started.
 gave me a range of over 300 miles. (I actually       Croatian border and the fortress town of           well either. Monotheism rears its ugly head once
                                                                                                                                                                  You can always put up with a shower or two if
 did 389 miles once with a spare can of petrol        Dubrovnik. Croatia has a small narrow finger       more! (The Atheist Bible, chapter 2, verse 3!)
                                                                                                                                                                  you’re riding and the sun comes out again to
 in the pannier trying to get the bike to run out.    of land that extends along the coast to the
                                                                                                                                                                  warm and dry you. This was continuous wet cold
 The electronic fuel gauge had disappeared            border of Montenegro. It’s really an enclave       Anyhow, the road from Dubrovnik follows a very
                                                                                                                                                                  rain that runs down the back of your neck every
 from the display and fuel range indicator            as Bosnia and Herzegovina have claimed a           picturesque coast through the border into Bosnia
                                                                                                                                                                  time you do a shoulder check. It gets into your
 was at about minus 10 miles and I still didn’t       small section of coastline on the Adriatic coast   for about 12 miles, back into Croatia and then
                                                                                                                                                                  boots and gloves until they’re sodden. It gets
 run out!) As you can gather I didn’t much like       thus isolating the land around Dubrovnik. Not      turns north-east back into Bosnia towards Sarajevo
                                                                                                                                                                  into your underpants because you’re riding in
 Triane and I headed north to the border with         a problem when it was all called Yugosla-          and Mostar. Are you still with me? Three boarder
                                                                                                                                                                  summer gear and the crotch of your trousers is
 Montenegro looking forward to the fantastic          via but now every 10 miles or so you get a         crossings in less than 50 miles! Let’s hope Surrey
                                                                                                                                                                  manufactured for ventilation and not to keep the
 ride down from the town of Podgoorcia to the         border post and fierce uniformed guards            never declares it’s independence from Hampshire
                                                                                                                                                                  rain out. I stopped at supermarket and bought
 coast. The road I was on was fairly mountain-        with Kalashnikovs where you have to smile,         and Sussex otherwise the ROG runs will require a
                                                                                                                                                                  two packs of cheap black men’s socks. At least
 ous and followed the edge of several lakes so        take your helmet off and wave a green card         passport in your back pocket too. Once I’d crossed
                                                                                                                                                                  now I’d have dry socks every 3 hours or so and
 I decided to stop after a while to rest and eat      around hoping they’re not going to shoot or        over into Bosnia and Herzegovina proper and
                                                                                                                                                                  the wet articles could be discarded as my feet
 a picnic of that I’d bought at one of the filling    relieve you of any beer money you might still      was heading north-east, I felt a definite change in
                                                                                                                                                                  turned black with the dye running. No point in
 stations. Little did I know that 200 meters up       have tucked in your sock.                          atmosphere. Croatia felt like a modern European
                                                                                                                                                                  looking for nice twisty roads in this weather so
 the road and around the next bend was the                                                               country, its people prosperous and living in a
                                                                                                                                                                  I headed for the autoroute past Trieste, Udine
 boarder post!                                        Anyway I soon reached the outskirts of             modern state. Bosnia on the other hand was decay
                                                                                                                                                                  and up towards the Austrian border. I was hop-
                                                      Dubrovnik and found a small hotel by the sea       and post-war gloom. The closer I rode toward
                                                                                                                                                                  ing that the sun would come out again because I
 Montenegro was the only country in which             to stay for a few days. When I first visited       Mostar more evidence of the war was still visible
                                                                                                                                                                  wanted to ride part of the Karnische Dolomiten
 you’re not able to get a Green Card for              the town back in the early 70’s I felt that I      a decade or more after the end of the conflict. It
                                                                                                                                                                  Strasse between Laas and Tessenburg. I might
 travelling through. You have to buy boarder          was on the set of a Hollywood Roman Epic           was the first time on the trip that I felt uneasy with
                                                                                                                                                                  have ridden along it, I have no idea because
 insurance and after explaining to a very help-       and Spartacus might just pop out from one of       my surroundings and I must admit that I rode into
                                                                                                                                                                  the clouds were so low and I was so high up in
 ful boarder guard that I was on my way to            the many small alleyways that lead off the         the town past lots of bombed out buildings and
                                                                                                                                                                  the mountains that I was actually riding in the
 Dubrovnik, he sold me a week’s insurance for         main street. It’s a really magical place and       straight out the other side! Silly really but some-
                                                                                                                                                                  rain clouds! It was bloody miserable. I eventually
 about €30, stamped my passport and sent me           although usually crowded with tourist from         times you have to just trust your intuitions and it’s
                                                                                                                                                                  found myself, after several sock stops, crossing
 on my way. Once you get to Podgorcia you can         the many visiting liners, you can still get away   always a good excuse for another trip. I was now
                                                                                                                                                                  the Brenner Pass and descending into Innsbruck.
 follow the main road down to the coast but a         from the crowds and climb to the top of the        riding along a nice twisty mountain road towards
                                                                                                                                                                  On the roadside I suddenly noticed a fuel stop
 much more interesting ride is on a minor road        city walls and walk around the whole perim-        the coast again and the town of Split. My sprits
                                                                                                                                                                  with a covered forecourt. Excellent! Somewhere
 across the Lovcen mountain ridge to Catinje          eter. During the war the town was shelled by       rose with every bend and twist in the road as I
                                                                                                                                                                  to shelter from this effing rain!
 and then down the edge of the Lovcen National        the JNA (Serbs) in an attempt to annex the         descended towards yet another boarder crossing
 Park to the coast and the magnificent 15th           area for Montenegro causing considerable           back into Croatia. I was heading to Istria, that
                                                                                                                                                                  I came off the road into the garage entrance a
 century island town of Sveti Stefan (Yeah, I’ve      damage to the buildings. They didn’t succeed       heart shaped peninsula just south of Trieste and
                                                                                                                                                                  little bit too fast and found myself braking hard
 always called it Sweaty Stefen) The town is an       and were eventually driven off by Croatian         the Italian border. I’d remember spending a few
                                                                                                                                                                  to stop under the canopy just outside the shop.
 island fortress connected by a sand isthmus to       forces. The only evidence today apart from         nights in a costal town called Pore (pronounced
 the mainland and was once a very up-market           the excellent war museum in the town is the        porridge) on the Istrian coast on an earlier trip
 hotel. Unfortunately, the Singapore hotel            sight of hundreds of newly tiled roofs. I spent    and thought it was worth a second visit.

18                                                                                                                                                                                                               19
‘Ello mate, bloody awful weather ain’t it?’ was the greeting I
heard in my left ear.

This was no Austrian petrol pump attendant! It was a young
lad from London working the summer before he returned to
his main job as a snowboard instructor in the winter. I stayed
for about an hour chatting to him whilst he filled up the local
customer’s cars and I tried to get a little dryer and warmer.
Eventually, I gave up waiting for a break in the rain and
headed into Innsbruck looking for a place to stay. A long hot
shower, my bike gear dripping into the shower tray and the
hair dryer jammed on in the bathroom to dry things out
and I was starting to feel normal again.

The plan had been to ride up through Bavaria, towards
Nurnberg and Bamberg to visit my old hunting grounds and
then on through Belgium to the channel ports and home.
However, the following morning it was still pissing down and
Bavaria was suffering from its worst summer floods in years.
‘Sod it’, I thought, I’ll just head for Calais by the shortest
route and see how far I get. As you ride west from Innsbruck
you have to cross the Alberg Mountain range. There is a toll
free road across the berg or a warm dry 10 mile tunnel that
goes on and on and on! You can guess which route I decided
to ride. At the toll booth I asked the rather stern looking
Frau if the end of the tunnel came out in Dover and actually
managed to get her to laugh. Not usually easy in Austria
as British humour doesn’t translate that well. Anyway, within
about a mile the air temperature gauge on the bike had
climbed several degrees and I was beginning to get warmer
and dryer. I slowed down to enable the sensation of warm
dry air to last as long as possible. As I approached the end
of the tunnel the rain had eased off a bit and I decide to
stop for fuel and hot coffee.

By mid afternoon I had crossed the Rhine into France and
Calais was just at the end of a rather long Autoroute ride.       BIKERS’ BUILDING SURVEYS by BMW K75 RT or Honda 400cc Superdream
I pressed on northwards. I did actually manage to ride all
the way home arriving about 2am in Weybridge. I’d ridden          Complete with telescopic ladders, compact surveying kit and attached Chartered Surveyor
765 miles in one day since leaving Innsbruck at 7am in the
morning and I was still able to step off the beast unaided!                  Graham Newton              Comprehensive surveys & HIPs of all building
Try that on a Fireblade and you’ll need one of those invalid                 Senior Surveyor             elements and services
                                                                             MRICS MCIM                 Concise intelligible reports promptly emailed
I’d ridden 4980 miles through 13 countries in 29 days and                    BMW K75 RT
                                                                                                         and posted
my bus pass still hadn’t arrived in the post! Would I do it                  (and 24 others)            On site debriefing with design advice
again? You bet I would.

Tony Keegan
                                                                             Jo (No Bikes)
                                                                             Rousham                 Call for a Quote   01483 776677
                                                                             Asst. Surveyor
                                                                                                     See our website
 20                                                                          B.Sc(Hons),   
                                                                                                                INTERCOM spring 2011

                                         Richard Harris explores the
                                         world of the Multistrada 1200
       I heard the first rumours of a

                                         brave new world
          new sports touring Ducati.
       And, as I’d long since written
          a pathetic begging letter to
     Signor Minoli (CEO of Ducati)
                                                                                                      THE MULTISTRADA 1200
          to say that my perfect bike    Buying a bike used to be so easy: thirty years ago, if you
             would be a Multistrada      wanted to tour, you bought a BMW; if you wanted to go
                                         fast in a straight line then eat hedge, you bought a Honda;
                                         and, if you wanted to forget about the straight line bit and
                                         go directly to hedge, you bought a Kawasaki. If however
                                         you wanted to actually go round corners and, in the process,
                                         develop the mystical thousand-yard-stare of someone who
                                         doesn’t know whence the money for the next service is
                                         coming, you bought a Ducati. Simples. The story continues...

                                         Comparisons may well be            There’s also been a lot of
                                         odious but I’m not about to let    speculation online about the
                                         that stop me: as I’ve ridden       cost of even a trivial off-road
                                         recent examples of some of         drop on the Ducati – whereas
                                         the bikes with whose market        a GS will simply land on its
                                         footprints the Multistrada         cylinder heads (most of the
                                         overlaps. Here goes with a         time), the Ducati will go right
                                         few highly personal obser-         down on its side unless the       discover that, being in Enduro
                                         vations, starting with the         panniers are attached.            mode, the ground was further
                                         much-loved R1200GS. And            So, In my unending quest          away than I thought. A lot
                                         here there’s one thing to get      to bring enlightenment and        further away – the bike went
                                         absolutely clear: if you want      knowledge to the world, I         past its balance point, at which
                                         real off-road ability, buy a GS    have taken one more tiny step     point whether or not it’s 20kg
                                         (1200 or 800) or a KTM with        towards Zen mastery,              lighter than a GS became
                                         their larger front wheels. The     Grasshopper, and can confirm      entirely moot – it’s a big, tall
                                         Multistrada with its 17” front     that it is in fact possible to    bike, and it was gone. Having
                                         wheel and more road-biased         drop the Multistrada off-         convinced a couple of passing
                                         tyres is not a serious off-road    road and suffer precisely         deer that very bad-tempered
                                         machine. That said, it does fine   no damage.                        bears had been reintroduced to
                                         in Enduro mode on forestry                                           the Highlands, I hauled it back
                                         tracks, but then most things do,   Turning around on a local         upright. Not a single, solitary
                                         as those of us who followed        forest track, I ran out of        scratch, scrape or ding.
                                         a certain club member’s GPS        steering lock (which is in fact
                                         down a French mountain             very good) and decided to
                                         bike track a few years ago         hop off to back ‘er up, only to
22                                                                                                                                           23
                                                                                                                                                                            INTERCOM spring 2011
Relieved, impressed and relieved, in that order.          The Multistrada is no exception here, so
When I ride a GS and have gotten past the                 herewith my nags and niggles for Ducati:
mental recalibration to Telelever forks, I find it to
                                                                                                                   Nothing to do with     bliss…
                                                                                                                                          And that’s about it: the encouraging thing being that all real
be a very good machine and one which, as we’ve            • The Pannier Lids: While the panniers are well        the comfort but with     problems have been acknowledged by Ducati, so we’ll wait and
all seen, an experienced pilot can whack along at         designed for the most part (particularly the
an improbable rate of knots (for a 1923                   handles and locks), it’s mildly annoying that the      the fact that the step   see what they actually do about it.

tractor that is…). But the Ducati is just in a            cutout for the exhaust in the right pannier prevents    up to the passenger     There are a couple of other warranty tweaks to be done, but
different league as a road bike and, whilst after         it from taking a full-face lid (something fixed by
a 500 mile stint in the saddle I was fresh as a           the optional wider lids). What’s a lot more            perch means that my      nothing that’s affecting the use or ability of the machine.

daisy, I wouldn’t tip the decision on comfort, it’s       annoying is that the lids themselves are, frankly,        beloved can easily
just that the Duke is so much more rewarding and          pants: there’s a 3-4mm gap twixt lid and body at
                                                                                                                       see the speedo.    The Value Thing
fun to ride – it makes me laugh out loud, albeit          the front, into which the rain does pour. Not good,
in a Dr Evil-sort-of-way. And when a GS is pretty         but Ducati have acknowledged the problem and                 Ignorance used     The Multistrada ‘S’, in either Touring (panniers, centre stand &
much at that slightly breathless limit of what it can     claim to be working on a fix.                                                   heated grips as standard) or Sport (lots of carbon fibre) guises,
deliver, the Multistrada is just getting going when,                                                                      to be bliss…    comes in at a wince-inducing £14,295 – admittedly only a little
with an Italian shrug, it’ll simply lengthen its stride   • The Centre Stand. Presumably in an attempt to                                 more than a fully-loaded GS but still a goodly chunk of dosh.
and disappear into the distance.                          provide the maximum leverage for getting a                                      There is however a base model that’s a very good value at £10995
                                                          fully-laden ‘Strada onto the stand, Ducati have                                 (£11700 with ABS) – it lacks the panniers, stand & heated grips
VFRs don’t really get a look-in, I’m afraid:              made the stand’s arm far too long: it fouls the                                 (which total the best part of £1000 as options) and substitutes
personally and, despite all its manifest virtues,         rider’s left foot and pushes the stand down,                                    Showa and Sachs suspension for the S model’s Ohlins. But it still has
I’ve had no time for the VFR800 since they                causing it to ground out far too early. And, if                                 the traction control and engine modes, so what you’re missing there
mangled the once magnificent engine with V-TEC            you’re like me and ride with the balls of your                                  is the electronic suspension adjustment and the basic quality of the
in 2002. The VFR1200 – motorcycling’s Jabba the           feet on the pegs, as the pace rises and you put                                 Ohlins suspension. Both worth paying for in my book, but a K-Tech
Hutt – is so compromised by its weight, poor tank         more weight on your feet, the stand gets pushed                                 revalve of the Showa forks and a rebuild of the shock to suit your
range and small panniers that it really can’t count.      down further and grounds out more readily the                                   weight and riding style will also yield major benefits for a lot less
Which is a great shame as, pre-reality, it was the        faster you go. Not a good combination.                                          than the difference in price between the two.
only other machine I’d seriously considered as an         Again, an acknowledged problem and
alternative to the Ducati.                                we’re waiting for a fix.
                                                                                                                                          Myth and Mystique
The closest in both concept and ability to the            • The Termignoni Carbon Slip-On Exhaust
Multistrada is probably the current Triumph               (official Ducati accessory): The heat shield for                                There are a few myths that really should have been be put to rest
Tiger 1050 – another excellent and improbably             this bulges out so much that it’s impossible to                                 years ago: Lancias don’t rust (any more), buying a GS does NOT fill
quick road bike. I haven’t ridden one for a while,        place your right foot properly on the footrest.                                 you with an irresistible urge to head for Poland, and Ducatis are not
but memory suggests that the Ducati is more               It also fouls the centrestand spring, pushing the                               prone to breaking down if you insult their mother’s cooking. This is
comfortable, especially for a pillion, is a deal          stand down and causing it to bounce against the                                 about the last of these.
quicker (the Tiger is about on a par with the ST4s,       bike when riding. Ducati have already issued a
which is made to feel like a moped when coming            redesigned replacement heat shield and I’m just                                 I’ve done about 120,000 miles on my various Ducatis and have
back from the Multistrada) and has higher quality         waiting for mine to arrive.                                                     broken down exactly twice on the road, both times within a month,
suspension. The Tiger however is a very useful                                                                                            and both due to undiagnosed corrosion in the electrical harness of
couple of grand cheaper than even the entry-spec          • Low-rpm surging: I’ve mentioned this above                                    my ‘02 ST4s, which now has 50,000 miles on the clock. That’s it.
Multistrada.                                              and some bikes seem to suffer more than others.
                                                          I’ve not been particularly plagued by this, but                                 In the meantime I’ve lost track of the amount of time I’ve spent on
                                                          there is a new software map to install, so at least                             tour waiting for tow trucks for GS’ with broken gearboxes or final
Faults and Foibles                                        some attempt has been made to address this.                                     drives, hunting for new rectifiers for VFRs (a problem they did share
Nothing’s perfect and any new product is going to                                                                                         with late 90’s Ducatis) or scouring Northern France on a Sunday for
have its share of things that either need fixing for      • Pillion Position: this gives me an occasional                                 oil for BMW boxers. So nothing’s perfect, but my longish experience
existing customers or improving for future versions       speed-related pain in the kidneys. Nothing to do                                of Ducatis tells me that, used properly (i.e. ridden hard and serviced
– the test for the manufacturer being how openly          with the comfort but with the fact that the step up                             on the nail) they’ve certainly not been more of a long distance risk
and clearly they respond to problems.                     to the passenger perch means that my beloved
                                                          can easily see the speedo. Ignorance used to be

23                                                                                                                                                                                                        24
than anything else out there. Servicing is another         Being used to leaping, cat-like (ahem) on to the       the whole Ducati thing with a two-year-old Pantah       out their own money for it, rides in all weathers
matter: not only have servicing costs been cut             back of an ST4s, my first comparison was that          500, bought in 1982. That finally went in an act        and does it both solo and two-up. That’s the toys
(Ducati claim by 50%), but service intervals for           getting on to the back of the Multistrada is like      of self-immolating stupidity when I decided to buy      accounted for, but now for the big basic question:
the Multistrada are now up to 7,500 miles for an           getting aboard a horse that’s seventeen hands          a car and a house at the same time – I then spent       Stuff the gizmos and the numbers, how does this
oil change and 15,000 miles for a full “Desmo”             high after riding a 14.2 for years. There’s            the next fourteen years wondering what was              bike feel on the road? OK, here goes: it inspires.
service. With the Multistrada, it’s clear that Ducati      considerably more effort involved.                     missing in my life (I’m a slow learner). When           It exhilarates. It terrifies (but in a good way). It
are making a bigger effort than ever before –                                                                     realisation finally dawned, I did the entirely          relaxes. It gets me 500 miles in a sitting without
recognising that they’re pulling in people used            But it’s solidly comfortable up there. It’s quite      sensible thing for a returning biker and bought         a twinge. And it may yet land me in front of The
to BMW levels of service (actual or mythical),             upright, but that’s fine, just something to get used   a Ducati 748. I’d been an instructor with the old       Beak, on charges where all I could plead would
they’ve got a new head of QA who used to do                to. Being able to see over my chauffeur’s shoulder     RAC/ACU training scheme, then with Cambridge’s          be insanity with a mitigating cry of, “The bike
the same job for Audi and the factory has even             to the display is a new and fascinating addition. I    CamRider scheme and a car-driving member of             made me do it!”.
called me on a couple of occasions to check how            can guess the speed we’re doing, only to find I’m      the IAM since 1987, so it was a natural step to
things are going and to respond to my complaints           usually short of the mark; the Multistrada’s very      wobble along to WVAM for some refresher                 But don’t get the idea that this is an unrecon-
about the panniers and centre stand.                       deceptive.                                             training. I passed my IAM test in 1999 and be-          structed hooligan of a machine: it certainly can
                                                                                                                  came an Observer a little later. Having bailed out      be, but it’s biggest talent is being able to adapt
And I don’t usually name my machines, but the              I’m still adapting to the almost luxurious             of the Home Counties a couple of years ago, my          to suit your mood and intent: want to bimble along
Multistrada was crying out for one, so it’s now            cushioning of the seat, for although it will           partner and I now live in the heart of the Scottish     a beautiful coastline? Do so. Want to mix it in the
officially The Raven – ‘cos it’s black, beaky and          doubtless be a joy on long haul rides, I’m find-       Highlands with our cats and Ducatis, where              fast group at a track day? Fine, no problem
has an evil glint in its eye. ‘Nuff said.                  ing that my contact is somewhat lessened as we         we’re ever-so-slowly renovating our Georgian            (assuming you can actually ride a bit…). Com-
                                                           negotiate the more technical aspects of the ‘climb     farmhouse, intending (at some point) to offer           mute, Tour, Play – all are within the machine’s
                                                           and drop’ roads around here. Again, something to       guided tours and training for visiting motorcyclists.   ambit and always just a
Philosophical Point                                        get used to, and at the time of writing, tweaks are    I’ve also just become a founding Observer of a          button push away. The toys work.
                                                           being made to the suspension, so we’ll see. Quite      new IAM bike group, Forth Valley Advanced
Finally, here’s one for the IAM debating society:          a novelty - that feeling of not so much perching,      Motorcyclists (FVAM) so look forward to                 Climb aboard the 1200 and it’s a tall but narrow
should road riders ever use traction control as a          as sitting comfortably.                                corrupting a new generation of motorcyclists.           bike – seat height, at 850mm, is on a par with a
performance aid rather than a safety net?                                                                                                                                 GS in low-seat mode (there’s a 25mm lower seat
While I haven’t (yet) been able or inclined to             I can’t see me ever being tempted to nod off                                                                   available as an option). I’m 1.83m (Ed- 6ft in old
reprogramme myself to do just that, I do find that         though. It’s a yell - a thrill and a privilege to be   Richard Harris                                          money), longish in the leg and wouldn’t want to be
I’m getting earlier and harder on the throttle, in         on the back of - and at least 9.8 on the Grin                                                                  much shorter and have a ‘Strada. It does carry
the knowledge that the system is there, waiting            Scale. I can’t wait to climb back on again!            Thereafter, it was an interminable, kid-at-Christ-      its weight well though and, once on board, feels
to step in at need. I’ve so far only had the                                                                      mas, wait for it to turn up – I finally got the call    much lighter and more compact than a GS. Pulling
TC activate once however, and that was over a                                                                     from the good folks at Snell’s at the end of April,     away, the clutch is no more than moderate by
crest, but I can foresee a time when I’ve learnt           The Author and his                                     at which point I was off to the airport just as fast    Japanese standards and rather lighter than
enough about the machine to start actively using                                                                  as my partner could be bribed to drive me.              Ducatis of yore. And the traditional Ducati
the system.                                                Bikes                                                  At the other end of my trains, plane and                overture of a dry clutch that sounds like a bag of
                                                                                                                  automobile saga was my Multistrada 1200S                spanners on a spin cycle is relegated to history by
                                                           I’ve been on motorcycles since about 1958 – my         Touring, in damply-glistening black, with a few         the adoption of a wet slipper clutch. I rather miss
A Word From ‘Er on                                         father only sold his bike when I got too big to        added extras either fitted or en-route: Termi-          that. And, having moved off, the whole plot is light
                                                           strap to the petrol tank. On my own account, it        gnoni exhaust (unnecessary but pretty), electronic
the Back...                                                started with me regularly commandeering my             filler cap (which makes the keyless ignition make
                                                                                                                                                                          and pliant – the overall feel being that of a well-
                                                                                                                                                                          balanced and responsive machine with the pilot
                                                           mum’s Puch Maxi in the early 70s, occasionally         complete sense and should therefore be standard)        nicely poised at the heart of things.
I was a teeny bit concerned when my partner,               with her knowledge. After learning to ride on a        and extended pannier lids, for those “Imelda
whilst counting the days (and hours, and minutes)          BSA Bantam, my father (a former TT mechanic            Marcos” moments. And if anyone’s idly wondering
until he could collect his new Multistrada,                and club racer) and I then bought a box of bits        why I ordered a bike from a dealer 500 miles
announced that he was about to invest in some              that we painstakingly turned into a working Royal      from where I now live, I’ve always had great
new and more effective body armour for the both            Enfield Crusader Sport, which took me through          service from Snell’s so had promised myself long
of us. I guessed that the new beast might just be a        University, before I sold it to fund a expedition to   ago that they’d get my next new bike order, come
little faster than the current one.                        Africa. After graduation I bought the now-classic      hell, high water or the Scottish climate (which is
                                                           Honda CB400F and, after a few years of that            actually the first two happening simultaneously).
It is, of course, and not just a little. But it doesn’t    and a brief flirtation with Moto Guzzi, I started
feel like it! It’s smooth, gliding, effortless. And big.                                                          So what follows is a real-world view of the bike
                                                                                                                  from the perspective of someone who’s shelled
25                                                                                                                                                                                                                         26
                                                                                                                                                                                           INTERCOM spring 2011

                        John Braddick's

                                                                                                                                                                                In this issue John Braddick
Acceleration sense sits in the ‘middle’ between two     • frequent dabs of a brake lever when following          braking in a lower gear.
‘extremes’:                                             vehicles                                                 • Controlling speed for bends on unlit rural roads at

   Roll on acceleration by opening the throttle
                                                        • exaggerated roll on/off throttle openings, par-
                                                        ticularly at lower speeds, producing a jerky ride.
                                                                                                                 night – dependant on the extent of braking, the front
                                                                                                                 forks can compress and lower the extent of forward             explores if it’s just a roll of
              (Engine Acceleration)
    - Acceleration Sense (Engine Response) -
                                                        • frequent braking when entering lower speed
                                                                                                                 illumination of the bend by the headlight.
                                                                                                                 • Using gears to slow in slippery/wet conditions. This         the wrist?
Deceleration by closing the throttle (Engine Braking)   • poor cornering throttle control technique              would involve changing down to an appropriate gear
                                                                                                                 for the speed and circumstances using smooth engine
Roll on acceleration comprises smooth and progres-      Closing the throttle by any amount, slows the            braking to slow in preference to using brakes.
sive throttle openings: for example - after negoti-     engine, which slows the rear wheel by the engine
ating and clearing a hazard – an increase in speed      braking affect. A rapid closure of the throttle will     These situations could be considered as using the
limit – an overtake - moving from a standstill.         maximise engine braking in any selected gear.            gearbox, or gears to slow i.e. not brakes to slow.
Deceleration is slowing by maximising engine            More engine braking is available in the lowest
braking in a particular gear. There is no separate      gear that could sensibly be selected for any given       As speed reduces, the selection of the next lower
commonly used term of ‘deceleration sense’.             speed. Slowing within the term acceleration sense,       gear with its associated engine braking potential
                                                        is intrinsically linked to engine braking.               may be appropriate. The engine braking should be
Examples of the use of acceleration sense (i.e.                                                                  comparable with smooth and progressive braking –
without using brakes):                                  Acceleration sense combines refined use of both          i.e. as when using the brakes, if no engine braking
• to maintain distance and appropriate speed            acceleration and deceleration by way of ‘engine          was available. All of these situations use acceleration
when following vehicles and when filtering              response’ to vary the speed to suit the circum-          sense to some extent to control speed. Not only is
• adjusting speed by gradual rolling off the            stances and conditions and is mostly associated with     acceleration sense intrinsically linked to engine
throttle so it is appropriate for the circumstances     subtle smooth changes in throttle adjustment to vary     braking, it is also linked to selection of an
e.g. change in road surface condition - approach-       the speed. For deceleration, it is not associated with   appropriate gear relative to speed, to provide

                                                                                                                                                                                Roadcraft states: ‘Acceleration
ing a speed limit reduction, or traffic lights -        sudden reduction in speed by maximising engine           smooth and flexible response to any throttle
approaching a potential hazard such as a round-         braking by just abruptly dumping the throttle.           adjustment. It is not only just rolling off the throttle in
about/junction                                          The term ‘engine braking’ is applicable to both the      whatever gear a rider happens to be in.                        sense is the ability to vary machine
• managing an appropriate speed between bends           subtle and abrupt situations, but the extent is dif-
on ‘twisty’ sections of road                            ferent. The term ‘braking’ indicates that the same       If the method is suitable for extreme situations such          speed in response to changing road
• maintaining an appropriate bend speed based           affect could be provided by using the brakes.            as downhill descents and slippery conditions, it should        and traffic conditions by accurate
on the Limit Point of Vision technique.                                                                          be suitable for any roads in dry conditions i.e. using
Typical examples of poor acceleration sense are:        Engine braking is unfortunately associated with          acceleration sense to slow using smooth effective              use of the throttle’. ‘Good
• moving up to an overtake position and having to
brake for an appropriate speed
                                                        inappropriate riding as well as good.                    engine response in a flexible gear and that gear can
                                                                                                                 change as speed reduces. Whether the gear changes
                                                                                                                                                                                acceleration sense helps avoid
• braking after an overtake - approaching the           How is acceleration sense associated with the often      are sequential, or block change depends on planning            unnecessary braking, improves
next vehicle too fast, or lower speed limit ahead.
• accelerating from a standstill up to a vehicle
                                                        quoted maxim ‘Brakes to slow - Gears to go’? The
                                                        maxim is not true for all situations. Engine braking
                                                                                                                 and the circumstances. Roadcraft states: 'The purpose
                                                                                                                 of Planning is to put you in the right gear at the right
                                                                                                                                                                                stability and reduces wear and
and braking, because of inappropriate speed             in the selected gear is generally recommended to:        time to negotiate hazards safely and efficiently'.             tear on the machine’.
                                                        • Control speed on hill descents by using engine         In a hazard situation with changing circumstances the

   27                                                                                                                                                                                                             28
                                                        slowing using gears, as described above should not        Worried about your advanced test? Get a Mentor!
                                                        be corrupted by riders, who may use engine brak-          I did and have just passed.
                                                        ing inappropriately towards its extremes, resulting
                                                        in the ‘Brakes to slow – Gears to Go’ maxim being         I commute by bike everyday into central London and        Lucy was too shy to send us a
                                                        stated unnecessarily as if it applied to every situ-      early on noticed the mixed ability of fellow riders.      photo of herself, or maybe she
                                                        ation . It is important that Associates understand        They range from the death defying L-plated scooters            is wanted by Interpol.
                                                        that the abrupt gear change situation, particularly       to the gap defying couriers. I realised there was          However, here is a picture of
                                                        without any consideration of throttle blips, is not       riding a bike, and there was riding a bike really well.    a field of flowers and a very
                                                                                                                  This convinced me to join the IAM and work towards                clean bike that is
                                                        applicable to advanced riding on the road.
                                                                                                                  becoming an Advanced Rider.                                       allegedly Lucy’s.
                                                                                                                                                                               (The bike, not the field).
                                                        A criticism of using acceleration sense to slow is that
                                                        you need a longer stretch of road compared to             From my first Ripley Observed Sunday I started
                                                        braking. Changing down to an appropriate lower            learning new techniques. Noticeably my country
                                                        gear may help reduce that distance. In any situa-         riding was not a patch on my city riding. I soon
                                                        tion where it is not appropriate to slow sufficiently     learnt being comfortable in traffic was very different
                                                        via acceleration sense, a rider must use their            from being at ease on country roads with all their
                                                        brakes. Acceleration sense is used in conjunction         bends and no traffic!
right gear could be the next lower gear as speed        with good observation, awareness, perception and
reduces.                                                anticipation of hazard situations giving a rider time     After a few observed runs, I unfortunately had
                                                        to react, meaning braking may not be necessary.           months off due to bike problems. When I returned
Why the need for the ‘Brakes to slow’ phrase, when      Braking should be as a result of good planning            to Ripley I found once a month was not regular
acceleration sense is used to slow just as much as      obviating any need for their ‘sudden’ application.        enough and the excellent Observers were noticing
brakes? For deceleration, acceleration sense is         At ‘high’ speeds the use of brakes is a main              the same faults. At the Summer BBQ Geoff men-
basically terminated when the throttle is shut fully,   consideration. A rider should not forget to always        tioned the mentor scheme and I decided to give it a
particularly when closed abruptly to maximise           be aware from rear observation, if it is prudent to       go. I was soon contacted by Barry Salmon and on
slowing by engine braking. To maximise slowing/         show a brake light to any close following vehicles        the road to success.
stopping using the brakes is always the main con-       when slowing using acceleration sense.
sideration based on the safety rule of being at a                                                                 Summer light allowed plenty of evening rides and
speed so that you can stop on your own side of the      Acceleration sense is associated with good machine        I quickly became more focused on improving my
road within the distance you can see to be clear.       maintenance. Incorrect adjustment of throttle cable,      riding in between the Ripley 1st Sundays. Having
                                                        drive and fuel systems can affect how smooth the          the same Observer for each ride meant weaker
What is not appropriate is using the above              bike responds to throttle adjustments.                    areas of my riding were pinpointed and consistently
method, but using abrupt and possibly violent                                                                     practiced. The familiarity of the same Observer
deceleration in each gear, particularly where there     Associates should develop their application of            following also put me at ease.
is limited distance to achieve smooth slowing in a      acceleration sense and be aware of the engine
gear and also where a rider leaves slowing to the       braking potential available from their machine            After lots of helpful advice and encouragement
later stage of hazard approach and then bangs           in different gears and at different speeds. They          through some great Kent, Surrey and Berkshire
down gears quickly, possibly in sequence and            should refrain from the use of excessive abrupt           countryside I applied for my test. Barry’s wealth of
possibly shutting the throttle abruptly each time, or   engine braking in inappropriate lower gears to            knowledge extended to known test routes which
block changes to slow the bike quickly and all this     slow, but should be able to select an appropriate         were great practice and reassuring for the big day.
with possibly no throttle blips to match engine and     gear relative to the speed and circumstances to use
road speeds for smooth down changes. This could                                                                   Thanks to all my Observers and special thanks

                                                        acceleration sense so that viewed from behind their
cause the rear wheel to lift from the ground and        ride is smooth, but not forgetting to use brakes on       to Barry for his time and commitment in helping

the bike to shake and the bike to become unstable       the approach to a hazard as necessary.                    me pass.
and the rider to possibly lose control dependant
on the speed and number of down changes. This                                                                     Lucy Claxton

would fit in with a maxim ‘Gears are for Go - not

for Slow’. Using the maxim ‘Brakes to slow’ is the
preferred method compared to the abrupt gear
change situation. The concept of a safe method of                Ed: This article is verbatim
                                                                from John Braddick, Senior
                                                                Observer, and represents his
29                                                             views not necessarily Training                                                                                                                31
                                                                        Team policy.
                                                                                                                                                                                              INT E RCOM sprin g 2011

One of them said,                                          brakes)
                                                           Grass verge ahead is a bright, clean green
“you’re the only man                                       I can see, too clearly, gentle undulations and
I know who’s put his
                                                           bumps in it
                                                           Need to avoid that
pride and joy in a                                         Look up, down the road, don’t fixate

dyke”                                                      Bike ahead is clear of me now and has gone back
Few people remember enough to analyse a big                Bend approaching fast                                   Mind is racing, time has speeded up again              Stoop a bit and feel a bit stupid
accident in detail. OK it’s a bit controversial: we like   I’m too far over                                        Get up, use the adrenalin to get clear of danger       Off it comes, plugs out
to pretend accidents happen to someone else and            Just inches, but too far is too far                     Nothing in the road                                    The world rushes in.
that our “advanced” skills keep us safe. Or maybe          Mind instantly reels off the sums for distance          Get to the verge
they just get us to the scene of the accident quicker      covered at this speed (it’s a long way)                 Stars flash briefly in my eyes                         ‘Are you all right?’
- especially if we do stupid stuff. Here’s a first hand    Tip it left quite hard (5th mistake – did it too        Clears quickly. Good                                   “What does it look like?” is one answer among
account of a big crash, written because people             late)                                                   Can I breathe? Yes. Result!                            many but I say ‘yes’
might wonder what really happens when a bike               Bike leans, oh so slowly (it’s not a snappy steerer)                                                           ‘Do you want an ambulance?’
goes down at speed. Maybe there are lessons to be          Front end is skipping on a smear of gravelly mud        Where the f*ck is the bike?                            My instinct is “no” - I know what I’ve done to
learned for you as well as me? In                          I’d seen a second before                                Walk along verge                                       myself
reality, we don’t usually just make one mistake - we       Front slides on something slippery, I can feel it       Notice that I can walk!                                Mentally assess the bodily damage. Do a quick
make a rapid sequence of linked cock-ups. Here’s           Will it grip?                                           40 yards?                                              inventory
what happened to me.                                       Grass flashing by quickly                               There it is – 20 feet below in a deep dyke             I think it over for a moment
                                                           Kick left foot down – try to shove the bike up (it      Looking very smashed and dead                          Can I ride the bike home (still thought that one
Following a rider I know well                              worked once before!)                                    Knee is hurting                                        over, despite it being in a ditch!)
We’ve ridden thousands of miles together                                                                           Hand is hurting worse                                  Could I get a pillion ride?
Familiar pace and pattern of riding                                                                                Bike is hurting too                                    Common sense prevails and I say “yes please”.

I’m going maybe 10 mph quicker at the moment                                                                       My fault, poor thing.                                  (Finally, a good call)
(1st mistake – I am going a bit too fast)
Not competitive (OK, maybe a bit) but pushing                                                                      People talking to me                                   Sit down. Shock begins to seep in
on (2nd mistake – feeling a bit invincible as in           I’m down                                                Can hear them perfectly well                           But not enough to stop me getting the bike
60,000 bike miles I’ve never had an accident)              Very hard                                               Concern in their voices                                stripped of valuable stuff
Dry. Plenty of vision                                      Chest hits the road first - wooosh                      They think I can’t hear them, but I can                Paramedic “just passing, mate” arrives
Off-side now, positioned for overtake                      Breath’s all gone                                       Please be quiet for a moment so I can process          Closely followed by a more officious one
Closing smoothly and ready to pass (3rd mistake -          Can’t see the bike                                      what’s happened                                        He follows the wrong procedure to fit a neck
overtake was potentially fun, but unnecessary)             Glimpsed: it’s shot off ahead of me, on its side,       So I ignore them and let my mind and eyes syn-         brace
Bike ahead unexpectedly moves right                        flipping over                                           chronise                                               I don’t care much as I know it won’t do any harm
Why? What’s he doing? There’s no hazard and                No cars thankfully                                      The camera in my head continues to click, click,       Make mental note to tell him later not to tilt the
he’s facing a chicane                                      I’m rolling                                             click                                                  head back
Maybe avoiding a pot hole I haven’t seen, or               Relax. Try to relax. It’s all in very slow motion now   “Do you want your helmet off?”                         He brandishes his big scissors, eager to slice the
maybe to checking view?                                    Keep my head clear of road, try not to let it loll      I’ve been looking around, no back or neck pain         jacket off
Closing speed too high now we are getting close            about                                                   “OK”. I know I shouldn’t have said that (6th mis-      Companions encourage me to let him
to the bend – no problem                                   Can’t stop rolling. Again tell myself to relax          take I suppose)                                        I refuse to have the Rukka dissected
Drop back – protect the rider in front, don’t do an        Scenery and sky flashes around                          But I do want it off. Need help though                 “It’s a jacket, it unzips, just take it off”
unsafe pass, overtake abandoned                            Over and over, count three times, four, lose count,     Biker deftly undoes DD ring but struggles to lift it   Mucho moaning – but not from me
Gas off, brakes on and moving wider, controlled            maybe it was five or six                                off my head                                            But they do and it comes off easily
to give him more room (4th mistake – should’ve             Knee hurts, can’t breathe                               I’m too tall                                           Don’t do this if it happens to you!
have just dropped back harder, upright, on the             I’ve stopped

 31                                                                                                                                                                                                                            32
                                                                                                                   decent and concerned. And maybe some of them
Paras insist on me sitting still                        Jabbed up, they try to have a listen to my lungs           a bit surprised, as they know I’m not a complete
One holds my perfectly OK neck to stop me look-         Much muttering later they conclude they can’t              nutter.
ing round                                               hear much
It’s procedure                                          I explain I’m exhaling veeeery slooooowly                  See – it can happen to anyone. Thanks guys. You
I know that                                             ‘Cos that’s what you do when you have an                   bikers know who you are. Thanks also to Darren,
Chest is bloody tight                                   asthma attack                                              Tim and Fiona the paramedics and ambulance
I feel around under my top and decide which ribs        They look worried                                          driver, and especially to Doctor Ellie at the
are broken                                              I’m fully hip and down with the kids now as the            hospital who still managed to look smilingly pretty
Suck some Ventolin in                                   morphine’s kicking in                                      despite being quite obviously dog tired. You can
Bizarrely the sea of green grass all around makes       Must try and buy some of that stuff                        poke my ribs anytime.
me feel wheezy
Brilliant, survive crash then have asthma attack!       200 bumps later, every one memorable, we hit
Can’t get much of the drug in                           Hastings A&E                                               Lesson time!
Concentrate on breathing out - clear the lungs          They take me to resus (itation)
Getting cold and shivery now                            I think, “this is OTT, I’m still breathing”                I learnt a lot from this. Main things: It’s a bit in
Wondered how long it would take the adrenalin           They keep checking I can remember my phone                 my nature to push the envelope and see where
rush to switch to shock                                 number (head trauma test)                                  it leads. I’m not reckless but nor am I very risk
Medic finally gets a BP reading                         As I can’t remember it even when I haven’t fallen          averse.
186/127. He thinks its OK in the circumstances          off a bike, we agree a different test might be
I think it’s much too high. Focus on staying calm       cool                                                       Did I need to overtake then? Nope.
                                                        Bloke in the next bed sounds really crap so that           Plan better for worst-case outcome on the road -
Once it’s clear I‘m salvageable                         cheers me up no end                                        too much time elapsed before I chucked the bike
Good mate rings my wife                                 We have another “please let me cut some clothes            at the near side In extremis brake much harder (I
As soon as she hears his voice on my phone…she          off” chat                                                  had ABS and traction control but I pussy footed
knows                                                   Predictable answer from me “No”                            around) Always use top quality protective
I speak to her briefly and hear the fear 100 miles      So we have some more zip practice                          gear – mine saved my limbs and possibly my life
off                                                     Doc is very cute and pretty                                Make sure the Will and insurance policies are up
Tell her I’m fine and just need a lift home             And very tired, so I pay careful attention when            to date. Wife and kids are more important.
Actually I’m not fine. Sometimes white lies are OK      she prescribes drugs

Ambulance takes ages – has to come from Tim-
                                                        More morphine, “yes please – bring it on honey”            Question Time
buktu                                                   Wifey of 3 months turns up having hi-tailed it out         Q Whose fault was it?
Suddenly its there                                      of work. She is (to quote her later) “triple               A Mine
They get to use the crash board - yippee                pissed off”. She softens a bit when she sees I             Q How fast were you going?
I’m strapped down like a lunatic in an asylum           am fully alive                                             A I plead the 5th. It was quite fast
Crosses my mind maybe bikers are lunatics                                                                          Q Has it shaken your confidence?
Gear collected                                          {Reality check: Dead = heartbreak softened by              A No                                                   “the single biggest thing, apart
Goodbyes said                                           insurance dosh. Paralysed = lifelong nuisance.             Q Why?
Off we go.                                              Battered = I’ll let you off, but this is the last time!}                                                          from luck, that prevented this being
                                                                                                                   A I know what I did wrong & won’t repeat it
                                                                                                                   Q Were you scared?
                                                                                                                                                                          a much more serious accident, was
Ambulance is just a van in drag                         I know it sounds callous, but I make a mental              A No                                                   that the rider was wearing very
Cargo - me - is bumped around                           note to check the insurance policies though as the
Para Tim and I have a chat                              difference between standing up and lying down
                                                                                                                                                                          high quality, highly protective kit.
It’s about pain                                         forever, happens in a heartbeat and is more                Anonymous                                              Don’t compromise in this area guys,
Tim tries to jab a needle in my arm to “get a line      unpredictable than I had remembered (I have the                                                                   as when sh*t happens and your
in”                                                     T shirt for this kind of thing – just not on bikes).                                                              skills have done what they can, the
This is like trying to play darts whilst trampolining
Tim and Fiona confer                                    Biker mates pitch up again at hospital. Made me                                                                   gear is what saves you.”
She stops the van. I mean ambulance                     quite emotional. For a bloke. They were all very

                                                                                                                                                                                        INT E RCOM sprin g 2011

John Bennett’s epic trip to
The Rockies and Alaska

 Dalton Highway – return leg                                                                                 When we arrived back at Coldfoot I checked the
                                                                                                             GPS trip data for the first time. Whilst we felt that
                                                                                                                                                                     South from Coldfoot
                                                                                                                                                                     The following day began in a rush as the previous
                                                                                                             w e had been riding all day with only short stops
 The next day was a particularly early                                                                                                                               evening I had set the alarm for p.m. not a.m. So,
                                                                                                             for food, water and photos, the GPS indicated
                                                                                                                                                                     we awoke to the sound of bike engines as many
 start, 0730, in view of the slow tiring                                                                     the actual trip of 384km had been ridden in only
                                                                                                                                                                     of the others were about to leave at 0645! Duh.
 conditions experienced on the infamous                                                                      4hrs 30mins. An astonishing difference between
                                                                                                                                                                     Added to which Greg has borrowed a tent and
 Dalton Highway previously. We took a                                                                        perception and reality. The extra fuel bottle came
                                                                                                                                                                     had slept outside so he had to get all that packed
 group photo outside the Caribou Inn then                                                                    in handy to top up Greg’s bike although as we
                                                                                                                                                                     away and our progress was further delayed by
                                                                                                             anticipated riding together throughout the journey,
 set off as a group, passing some  sev-                                                                      I carried both a 2L spare fuel bottle and a hose
                                                                                                                                                                     a big queue for breakfast by a big coach party
 eral real Caribou grazing on the tundra                                                                                                                             that had arrived the evening before. I pondered
                                                                                                             for decanting from the big 32L tank on my bike
                                                                                                                                                                     why it was that when things go wrong there al-
 between huge pipelines. Most incongruous.                                                                   which gave me a proven range of at least 350mls
                                                                                                                                                                     ways seem to be a sequence of threes.
 Although we had fitted a spare visor to                                                                     of top gear riding. It perhaps goes without saying
                                                                                                                                                                     Consequently we were the last to leave.
 Greg’s Arai helmet, including a Fog City                                                                    that between Deadhorse and Coldfoot camp,
                                                                                                             and between there and the Yukon river, there is
 insert, it was barely above freezing point                                                                                                                          Our first stop for the day was not a good omen.
                                                        these encounters. On this occasion however, there    absolutely no habitation other than the occasional
 and the North Slope was covered in fog so                                                                                                                           One of the earlier riders had managed to crash
                                                        was only one section of the road under repair so     pipeline pumping station so we were certainly
 we had to stop several times to clear the                                                                                                                           into Evan’s stationary bike parked at the side of
                                                        we made much better progress than before and         pleased about the detailed preparations we had
                                                                                                                                                                     the road and ripped of his left hand pannier and
 visor. In the end, ironically, we had no op-           once out of the coastal fog the view up towards      made. By this point I think everything we brought
                                                                                                                                                                     left a long line of broken plastic in the road.. It
 tion in the fog to rip out the Fog City insert         the Atigun Pass was stunning and quite unlike the    we had used except for the puncture repair kit,
                                                                                                                                                                     was one of those ‘how the hell did that happen’
 as more trouble than it was worth. The fog             treacherously wet conditions on our way north.       thankfully. But the better progress made this day
                                                                                                                                                                     moments with considerable embarrassment all
                                                        We stopped for photos at the col but a combina-      gave us the chance to look round the excellent
 continued for over 60 miles so progress                tion of low temperature and strong wind gave a       exhibition centre in the evening, including a pre-
                                                                                                                                                                     round but fortunately no one had been injured.
 was slow.                                              severe wind chill, not helped by the fact that the   sentation on Alaska’s wildlife, all of which made a
                                                        ridiculously delicate connector on my heated vest    pleasant change from the monotony of the day’s
 We also faced several empty gravel trucks travel-      had sheared off, so it was a chilly ride even with   travel.
 ling at high speed back to the depot to refill their   every item of warm clothing I possessed. Once
 loads and found that the best option was to at         over the pass the warmer weather encouraged
 least stop on the side or, if there was opportunity,   us to stop for photos as the spot where the two
 pull right off the road due to the number of stones    construction teams had met in 1974 and also at
 their 32 tyres threw up. To this day I have a num-     an aptly named bridge over the Roche Moutonee
 ber of stone chips on the front of the bike from       Creek.

                                                                                                                                                                                           INT E RCOM sprin g 2011

                                                                                                                There was no rush to leave the next day as we
                                                                                                                only had 172 mls to ride along the Richardson
                                                                                                                Highway to Delta Junction and the Alaska 7
                                                                                                                motel, so we detoured into a Fairbanks filling
                                                                                                                station and spent about an hour feeding coins into
                                                                                                                the pressure washer machine to clean the bikes,
                                                                                                                particularly Greg’s radiator. Almost all the lower
                                                                                                                engine area had a 10mm thick layer of baked
                                                                                                                on Dalton ‘concrete’. As the motel was pretty
                                                                                                                basic and on an isolated stretch of road, we left
                                                                                                                early the next day as a group in order to stop for
                                                                                                                breakfast at Rita’s Historic Park by the Yukon (?)
                                                                                                                river. The menu had some interesting items which
                                                                                                                you don’t generally encounter in hotels at home;
There was nothing we could do so we headed off          that on dirt roads. The road to Chena was along         I had the equivalent to a ‘continental’ breakfast
and the dry weather meant that we could make            a lush valley with dense forest and also grassy         called a ‘Bear’s Claw’, which was a large pastry
good progress. In the gently undulating landscape       water meadows where we spotted a shy moose              with juice and coffee and as usual in America,
much of the road was hard well graded and com-          and her calf. We also saw one that crossed the          fruit never made an appearance. The service,
pacted gravel with perhaps mile long straights          road not far in front of us. When I looked in detail    unfortunately, was dreadfully slow even though
crossing valleys when the bike sailed along hap-        at a map of Alaska it was clear that there were         we were the only customers there at that time of
pily at over 90mph. Exhilarating stuff and given        several hot springs dotted around which seems           the morning, but at least it gave us an opportunity
that the £ was then worth close to $2 and that          totally incongruous in what for most of the year        to look round the riverside site with well restored,
fuel was relatively cheap anyway, we were not           is frozen arctic tundra. Until that is, I remembered    clapperboard buildings.
exactly concerned about fuel economy.                   that Alaska is a very active geological area

We stopped near Gobblers Knob once again
                                                        subject to occasional powerful earthquakes and
                                                        the Kamchatka peninsula is literally a string of        Chicken and the gold rush
but this time Jeff showed us the skid marks where       volcanic islands. But still, the steaming hot springs
Dick had slid off. Whilst the top end of his bike       must have been a wonderful benefit to the early         For those of us intending to do an 160 mile round
was fairly well damaged, he had been incred-            indigenous people during the winter especially.         trip detour to the old gold mining community of
                                                                                                                                                                         As the day drew to a close near Beaver Creek,
ibly lucky because the road at that point was on        The springs themselves were actually incredibly         Chicken, it was going to be a long day so we left
                                                                                                                                                                         we met up with ‘wallet’ Dave and as we stopped
a raised embankment with a 2-3m drop down to            hot; they emerged from the ground at a scalding         at 1030. Chicken was notable in having a 1938
                                                                                                                                                                         at the American-Canadian border I asked him
the tundra beyond. Hauling the bike up from that        75C, so the water is mixed with surface river wa-       floating dredge which had initially been disman-
                                                                                                                                                                         what he had done with one of his panniers. He
level would have been impossible without a tow          ter before being fed into the bathing pool where        tled and trucked into Chicken where it operated
                                                                                                                                                                         looked round and once again I saw a look of
rope from the van.                                      it was still baking hot at over 40C. Welcome as         until 1967. In one 10 year period it generated
                                                                                                                                                                         pure terror on his face as it became clear that he
                                                        the experience was, after 30 mins we emerged            60,000 ounces of gold but it had been moved re-
                                                                                                                                                                         had not put it in the van as I had supposed, it had
On the final section of dirt road there were road-      like well done lobsters.                                cently from the river into its present position a mile
                                                                                                                                                                         simply dropped off! With that realisation he did
works for 12 miles but at the end we stopped                                                                    away, in a heavy lifting operation lasting a month
                                                                                                                                                                         a U turn and headed back up the road to see if
together as a group for a ‘veterans of the Dalton’                                                              and which cost $1million.On the ride back I set
                                                                                                                                                                         he could spot it. As it turned out he found it only
group photo and to pump the tyres back up to                                                                    off to take some photos after which our support
                                                                                                                                                                         about 5km away, a bit battered and bruised but
normal pressures. Several of us had brought small                                                               rider, kiwi Jeff Condon, came alongside and so I
                                                                                                                                                                         intact. It could only happen to Dave S.
compressors for this purpose which plug straight                                                                followed him back where the detour started.

                                                                                                                                                                         To be continued....
into the standard GS accessory sockets so it was a
quick and easy process.                                                                                         The road was tarmac frequently interspersed
                                                                                                                with sections under repair. Jeff was on the lighter,
                                                                                                                faster 1200 and was a superb rider and so we
Chena Hot Springs                                                                                               had an exhilarating high speed ride on the single
Our night’s accommodation had been booked at                                                                    track road back to Tetlin junction. This experience
Chena Hot Springs about 60 miles away, while                                                                    more than any other convinced me that there was
the day’s log read 325 mls with the majority of                                                                 simply no problem with mixing the knobbly Conti
                                                                                                                TKC80 on the front with a Tourance on the rear.

   37                                                                                                                                                                                                                    38
In this quarters report Geoff Berry,
our Chief Observer reviews last year and
looks forward

                                                                                            ining of
                                                                      with both the tra            mber of IAM
                                                   for the Group
                             r successful year                              A very good nu                 ry pleased
 Last ye   ar was anothe                 bser ver tra   ining program.                tests and I’m ve
                       ers and the O                               nior Obser ver                              e being
 Associate memb                              we had eight Se              nt result. Th    e standards ar
                           hieved. Also               ich is an excelle
  test passes were ac                       rate wh                                 of dedicatio     n on both the
                       ved 100% pass                            erable amount
  to say we ac hie                         due to a consid
                       year and this is
   raised year on                          training team.
                        idates and the                                                                        d last
   part of the cand                                                                      out the year an
                                                                   activities through                          ich
                              ays a big pa    rt in the Club’s            Assessments       carried out wh
    Obs  er ver training pl                were thr    ee Goodwood                      program.       There were a
                        ception. There                            bser ver training                             eased
    year was no ex                            mbers to the O                              we were very pl
                        few potential me                             and as a result                              all
    added quite a               training days     held last year              n Beckett an     d Colin Storer
     numb   er of Obser ver                  er, Matt    Wiacek , Stephe
                          ldt, Chris Hopp                          nt results.
     that George Ho                            sts with excelle
         ssed their Gro     up Obser ver te                                                                en and
     pa                                                                              mber of very ke
                                                                re are also a nu                             ll have some
                         am are very      pleased that the             ranks and ve     ry shortly we wi              year
      The Training Te              servers comi    ng through the            rs have been        improving each
      enthu   siastic trainee ob               ndards     of our Obser ve                      quireme   nts.
                          bser vers. The sta                            IAM standard re
       more Group O                               d go beyond the
                             keep up with an                                                            rs of all levels
       in an attempt to                                                             owing Obser ve
                                                 members       have been shad               er ved Sundays.
                                                                                                                 This is just
                               Training Team                          our normal Obs                                   g skills
        For sometime the                           ed runs during                                  tion and coac hin
                                 t their observ                                  ir communica                               nt
        whils  t they carry ou             ing and as     sisting them in the which is always ongoing. I wa
                        method of help                              d of training                               additional
        an ongoing                                e our standar                  tting them throu
                                                                                                       gh any
                               ain and improv              s. We are not pu
         in order to maint            be aware of thi                                                   of our training.
                                                                                    pment process
         our O    bser ver team to                  just a co   ntinuous develo
                               ys it is basically                                                                          pro-
          tests on these da                                                                           bser ver training
                                                                                changing our O
                                                    Group    we have been                 llent results   and in turn
                             years as an IAM                          have had exce
           In the last few                      l elements which
           cesses with ad    ding additiona                             mb  ers.
                                                     e Associate me
                               current and futur                                                                   t amongst
            will benefit our                                                                    s delighted tha
                                                                           Team and I wa                                like to
                                                     s in our Training              d Chris Arms     trong. I would
                                 w some change                Barry Salmon an                                 for all their tim
            La st year also sa            we now have                                      Training Team
             our new   team members                    all our O    bser vers and the                  Valley a   great Club.
                                  nity of thanking                             tion makes Wey
             take this opportu                             ar. Your dedica
                                  ort  over the last ye
             efforts and supp