RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders N e w s l e t t e r o f t h e T h a m e s Va l l e y G r o u p PA ADVAN oS R CE Secretary : Phil Parkinson Autumn 2007 S Chairman : Dave Thompson S D DRIVER AN D RIDER Contents 2 The Editor writes… 3 From the Chair 4 Becoming an Advanced Tutor is no cakewalk 5 Best city for drivers 6 Fast workers these delivery girls 7 New Ford Mondeo is voted Best Family Car of 2008 8 Danger…motoring fines ahead 9 These bikers are a funny lot! 10 Observation Post 11 Calendar of Events 12 Calendar of Events 13 Who’s who on the Committee? Are you a Saint or a Sinner? 14 Slippy Slim’s rain dance goes awry 15 Do you need a guardian angel? Cut-price tyres under threat 16 Captain Sensible’s tour of the old favourites Seven new Harley-Davidsons for 2008 17 The clutch, the G-string and the cream tea 18 Pollution tax to replace congestion charge Check out that hire car The cars you should be driving…official 19 For Slippy Slim all roads lead to a place to eat Motorists book your seat on the sunny yellow GS 20 Speed alerts to be banned Parking to be ‘motorist friendly’ 21 Bringing you up to speed… 22 Congratulations! NOTE: The centre pages, numbered 10 to 13, are designed to allow removal for use as a ‘pocket diary’ of Group activities. You will also find Committee contact details there. Page 1 RoSPA Thames Valley Group The Editor writes… Climate change is becoming an obsession. My local council has sent me some tips on cutting down on CO2 emissions. On motoring it advises turning off the air conditioning and reducing my motorway speed to 50 miles an hour. Do just 50 mph on the motorway? What about the drivers of trucks with delivery schedules to meet and at times appalling roads to contend with? The last thing they need is someone tootling along at 50. Elsewhere I read that the Government would like to reduce the number of older drivers to reduce accidents and congestion. If older drivers are so bad, why have the insurance companies not cottoned on? Why are they still giving older drivers preferential rates instead of pricing them off the road? In any case, the elderly drivers, whom I suspect the Government has in mind, do few miles and use their cars simply to maintain their independence without asking anything from the State. Another day, another topic, and I read that Greenpeace activists have been slashing the tyres of 4 x 4s in Germany and leaving a note under the windscreen wipers about their CO2 emissions. In Britain the hated cars are merely ‘keyed’. I suspect the culprits are motivated more by envy rather than a sincere desire to make life better for everyone else. On a lighter note I flew to Portugal for four days to meet up with my daughter, husband and family on holiday from their temporary assignment to South Africa. The 20-mile taxi ride to Heathrow was a council-approved £60. Yet the British Airways fare to Faro was just £38, and the hire of a Hyundai Getz for four days was £62. It tells you something about the relative cost of things in Britain. I enjoy having a chance to try other cars. The 1.4 GSi Getz (141gm/k) had a Blaupunkt radio and instruction manual, but no information book on the car. So I performed my cockpit drill, experimenting and learning. The multi-function steer- ing wheel stalks were too close to the rim for comfort as my knuckles turned on the wipers, and my elbow banged hard on the projecting door pull when doing pull-push steering, but otherwise the Getz was well put together and surprisingly roomy for a four-door hatchback which sells for around £7,500. On motorway hills, even dropping from fifth to fourth I had trouble maintaining 120 kph, and when overtak- ing trucks their slipstream gave the Getz a buffeting. The deep boot was roomy, but the view out the back, with tiny windows and rear head restraints, made reversing difficult. Finally the petrol consumption: I was supposed to get around 47 mpg, but I reckon about 40 was nearer the mark, which brings me back to CO2 emissions. Perhaps, even in the sweltering heat, I should have taken that environmental advice and turned off the air conditioning? So I am a bit sceptical about the emphasis placed purely on CO2 emissions and engine size without regard to real-life conditions Enjoy your own driving. Max Davidson RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 2 From The Chair Where did the Summer go ? It would have been nice talking about the summer, but, except for the week that I went away, the weather has been lousy: road closures and floods are not what we expect. Now autumn is here sooner than anticipated; the leaves are turning, and we must start to think of winter driving, long nights and dark evenings. How depressing! The next course starts on Wednesday, September 5. I don’t know yet what the uptake will be, but, whatever, do feel free to come along and get involved: learn something and give something back, especially if you are a Tutor. Tutors really should attend at least one set of lectures each year as part of their development. I was asked recently on a Test about the rules regarding crossing white lines. RoSPA says ‘No’ to crossing the white line at all in Test conditions, but we all know that there are times when there may be advantages. I say this: cross the white line only to maintain a view and not to gain a view. This means that crossing the line on the approach to a bend is a ‘no-no’ as it would be to gain a view. Remaining out on a dogleg, instead of following the contour of the road, is OK as it is maintaining the view that you already had but would loose if you followed your carriageway ......Got it? Has anyone with RAC membership obtained their discount for RoSPA member- ship? Do check, and see the RoSPA Advanced Drivers’ website for details. I have heard that some of the discounts, such as those offered by Halfords, have not yet filtered down to the staff working for the companies. If you find that this is the case, contact Emma Middleton at HQ and she can investigate and put matters right. There is a competition on the Continental website for free tyres, and they now also have an association with RoSPA. So it is worth looking at that too. I recommend that you all check your car tyres now and also check those of your family and friends too and keep them safe. The AGM will be held at Theale Green School on Wednesday, October 24. I ask you all to consider if you can help maintain the Group’s momentum. We are always looking for new blood, without which everything just stagnates. I would like to stand down at some stage. So if there are any budding chairmen, or chairwomen, out there who can inject something into the Group, please tell me and we can discuss it, even if you just want to sit on the Committee to see how it runs before committing yourself. Committee meetings are held about five times a year in Newbury. So there is no great undertaking required. I hope to see many of you throughout the rest of the year at the meetings and lectures. So until then… keep driving. Dave Thompson Page 3 RoSPA Thames Valley Group BECOMING AN ADVANCED TUTOR IS NO CAKEWALK How well do YOU know Roadcraft? They told me I would need to know Roadcraft inside out. No problem, I thought. I read it pretty regularly – especially when nothing else will get me to sleep – so a gentle run through once or twice would be enough to sharpen me up. Then they sent me some revision questions to try with the book closed. I knew I was in deep trouble when I read the following question. Which one of the following statements relating to braking on corners and bends is incorrect according to ROADCRAFT? Generally plan to avoid braking on corners because it reduces your ability to steer; if braking is necessary, apply the brakes gently and progressively. Brake in plenty of time. Adjust brake pressure according to the condition or grip of the road surface. On steep winding descents brake firmly on the straight stretches and gently on the bends; remember to use a low gear at an early stage in the descent. I couldn’t see anything wrong with any of the statements; so I left the answer blank and then checked the book itself. The statements were all correct. I raised the issue with Peter Caton, who had drawn the short straw of being my mentor. He knew immediately which one was wrong. When he told me the answer, I realised how much I was taking for granted; those people at HQ were serious and taking no prisoners. Meanwhile, on the road, I knew my driving was pretty well up to scratch and that my general commentary was adequate. There were things I needed to know about instructional commentary at a more ad- vanced level, but I was still pretty confident. Oh dear! Had I noticed the wheelie-bins outside the house back there? Then why hadn’t I mentioned them? Did my explanation of the limit point use the road in front of me (now, of course, behind me!) as a teaching tool? I might be driving an automatic, but I still needed to talk about gear ratio selection. Oh, and by the way, what was the name of the guy who painted the white lines down that last stretch of road (just joking…)? After outings on the road with Peter, Tony and Catherine, I began to improve and to produce a semi-coherent instructional commentary under the RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 4 pressure of probing questions as we bowled briskly along roads chosen for their instructional ‘interest’. We had a mock theory test, which seemed okay. Another mistake. When the real thing came, I had thought I was up to it. I had to have a second go; 21 out of 25 in 30 minutes is not a cakewalk – believe me. Finally, the practical test. Dave found another ‘interesting’ route – and, yes, I missed the two wheelie-bins. Driving along an apparently featureless piece of country road through farmland, I was asked to talk about observation links. The cross-views were obscured by high-grown hedges and I looked in vain for horse droppings, mud on the road from tractors, telegraph poles taking off across fields. So I missed two wheelie-bins and a couple of roadside mirrors. As Dave asked me more demanding questions, I answered as best I could and said. ‘Do you understand? Would you like me to explain more simply or in greater detail?’ Most of the time, he allowed my answers to stand. Then, once, he asked for some more detail. As we were now entering a stretch of road with different features, I replied that I would pick that up at a later stage. When I did so, he allowed my fuller explanation to pass. We got back to Lower Earley and I got the wry grin which tells you that, while you and he know that it wasn’t perfect, you haven’t entirely disgraced yourself. Two weeks later a certificate and a report from RoSPA HQ confirmed what Dave had told me. Somehow, I had passed. And now a whole new level of learning awaits me. I cannot properly describe the fun we had on the way along with the exhilaration of discovering (and even acquiring) new skills. What I can say is that without Peter, Tony and Catherine I would not have been ready to face either the theory or the driving test. Oh, and by the way, that question from Roadcraft – did you get the answer? It is, of course, the first statement: Roadcraft says: Generally plan to avoid braking on corners because it reduces your ability to steer; if braking is necessary, apply the brakes gently and steadily. See page 70. Braking ‘steadily’ is quite different from braking ‘progressively’; the latter implies increasing pressure, the former does not. Steady on, there! Paul Sheppy The UK’s best city for drivers A survey by finance specialist Virgin Money has rated Dundee Britain’s top city for car friendliness under criteria which included fuel prices, parking space, general motoring costs and congestion. London came in at 62 ahead of Nottingham and Cardiff. The Welsh capital was last as a result of high vehicle crime and limited parking. Page 5 RoSPA Thames Valley Group DOWN YOUR WAY: THE AIRCRAFT DELIVERY GIRLS A real tough bunch of babes… How much do you know about the area you live in? Do you ever wonder about the recent history of the Thames Valley, or more specifically Berkshire? Aldermaston, Greenham Common, Ascot Racecourse and Windsor Castle. Few other counties in England can have such a fascinating heritage. If you drive towards Maidenhead and take the A404 (M) towards Marlow you will pass White Waltham airfield, now the home to the London Aero Club. Almost 70 years ago it was RAF White Waltham, a training base. In 1940 the RAF had taken a hammering in France from the battle- hardened pilots of the Luftwaffe, and with 435 British pilots dead it was becoming apparent that the RAF was going to need every single flyer it could muster. A director of the British Overseas Airways Corporation put forward the idea that private pilots should be recruited into a force called the Air Transport Auxiliary to provide a courier service for VIPs, medical supplies and the severely wounded. When the force was set up, it was almost immediately used to ferry new aircraft to RAF squadrons. Among the volunteer pilots were 117 British women who were based throughout the war at White Waltham. They were given basic instruction on the cockpit layout and characteristics of the aircraft they were expected to fly, all contained concisely in an A6 spiral-bound loose leaf notebook which they could carry in a pocket of their flying overalls. They did not get instrument training. So they were effectively limited to flying no higher than 3,000 ft in good visibility. The idea of women pilots did not go down well in some quarters. Aeroplane magazine carried a caustic editorial saying: ‘The menace is the woman who thinks she should be flying a bomber when she really does not have the intelligence to scrub a hospital floor properly…’ And it gets worse. ‘She can’t even cook her husband’s dinner…’ Two points need explaining. First male pilots believed that women would be incapable of synchronising the engines in a multi-engine-ed aircraft, and secondly some of these women had had the temerity to buy their own aircraft before the war and were running successful air taxi businesses without any male help. The ATA women of White Waltham were to use a modern expression ‘a real tough bunch of babes’. They were tough in the sense that they showed sustained courage and determination even in dire conditions. After delivering training aircraft with open cockpits they often had to be lifted out of the cockpits frozen stiff with cold. They operated entirely over the British airspace with a typical flight taking them to or from the huge airfield at Prestwick in Ayrshire on the West of Scotland. RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 6 On July 19, 1941, they delivered their first batch of Hurricanes from Hatfield to front-line squadrons. Soon the word Spitfire was also chalked up against their names on the duty board. The Spitfire was a brute to handle on the ground with its powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin coughing exhaust and threatening to overheat if it did not get quickly airborne. It also had to be moved forward crab-like as it was impossible to see over the cowling. You also had to be careful, particularly on landing not to tip it over on its nose. But once it was off the ground in level flight and the wheels were up it was light and a delight to fly. Ironically its narrow, cramped cockpit, with just six inches of space to one side of the seat, was ideal for the women’s small build, indeed the perfect aeroplane for a female flyer. From March 1943 onwards ATA women were constantly moving Spitfires from the factory at Castle Bromwich in the Midlands to RAF bases in Southern England. The pilots made the journeys to and from White Waltham by Anson air taxi or by train. In all, the ATA, which included hundreds of male ferry pilots attached to the RAF Squadrons, delivered 308,567 aircraft, includ- ing 57,286 Spitfires, 29, 401 Hurricanes, 9,805 Lancaster heavy bombers and 7,039 Barracuda torpedo bombers. The star of the pilots at White Waltham was Lettice Curtis. What a wonderful old English name! She flew continuously from July 1940 to September 1945 with 13 days on and two off for 62 consecutive months. In that time she alone ferried nearly 1,500 aircraft, including 331 four-engine-ed heavy bombers, admirably proving the sceptics wrong. She was the prefect rebuke to anyone silly enough to imagine that a woman could not fly as well as any man. In the Second World War 170 ATA members, men and women, died in accidents while ferrying aircraft. Some flew into mountains, such as the treach- erous Scottish Southern Uplands which suddenly become enveloped by cloud as you cross the Solway from the Lake District on your approach to Prestwick. Others were victims of pilot error and mechanical failures in the new aircraft. After the war, with a surplus of male RAF pilots, most ATA women wanting to pursue a career in aviation had to be content with jobs as stewardess- es. Many years still lay ahead before women could move from simply being ‘trolley dollies’ to being accepted on the flight deck of a civil airliner, and even today a female airline captain in the left hand seat is still a rarity. Ford Mondeo is Best Family Car Auto Express has voted the new Ford Mondeo the Best Family Car of 2008. The car is full of clever ideas with a bigger cabin and a more polished driving experience. Ford used the Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series as its benchmark, and the verdict is that no rival cruises as well at high speed or deals with rough surfaces so well. Page 7 RoSPA Thames Valley Group WHERE IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE Danger… motoring fines ahead According to a poll conducted by YouGov, 49 per cent of Britain’s 33.8 million motorists have driven abroad, but a quarter admits that their knowledge of road signs is poor. Of those who take to the road abroad, 33 per cent go on holiday to France. In fact, in any one year around 14 per cent of all British motorists drive on the Continent. Yet 38 per cent admit to being nervous about driving on the right, and 10 per cent say on occasions they have driven on the wrong side of the road. Of all holiday drivers one in five admits to having almost caused an accident. The biggest surprise is that there are some drivers who think that Britons can simply escape fines for motoring misdemeanours in Europe by ignoring them in much the same way that they imagine foreign drivers can escape punishment in Britain. Many more are unaware of the specific laws that apply to drivers on the Continent. For example, drivers are unaware that it is illegal to change lanes near a motorway junction in Portugal. In Spain you must carry two warning triangles. You must not use cruise control in heavy traffic in Belgium. It is illegal to run out of fuel on the German Autobahn, and in Greece it is illegal to carry a spare can of fuel in the boot. Speed camera detectors are illegal in France and attract a heavy fine and confiscation of the equipment. Dogs must not be left in parked cars in Belgium, and children under five must not travel in the front seat in Cyprus. Finally, most countries expect you to carry at least one high visibility (security) vest to be worn if your car breaks down on the motorway. Most offences attract on-the-spot fines, and the police do not accept credit cards, but they will give you a lift to a cash point. How you get back to your car is up to you, but they do generally give a discount for prompt payment of a fine for a minor offence. Exceed the speed limit by 25 kilometres an hour in France and you will get a standard 135 Euro on-the-spot fine, have your licence taken away, and be banned from driving immediately for possibly a month. Do 50 kph over the limit and you will be fined up to 1,500 Euros in court, get six points on your licence and be banned for up to three years. Your car may also be confiscated. Random breath tests and document checks are common in France without any rhyme or reason. The alcohol limit is 0.05 per cent compared to 0.08 per cent in the UK, which equates to just one glass of wine, although you would never guess as much when you observe the alcoholic lunches of many French people. Hence it is little surprise that a survey by motor insurer Direct Line found that a third of British drivers think that drink-driving is legal in France! They surely must have replied tongue-in-cheek? RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 8 With regard to speed, the tolerance of the digital cameras and lasers is set by law in France at plus 5 kph on speeds up to 100 kph and at plus 5 per cent above that. So if the limit is 50 kph (31 mph) and you do 56 kph (35 mph) on a town road, you will be fined. On dual carriageways, or motorways when it is raining, with a 110 kph (68 mph) limit, if you do 116 kph (a shade over 72 mph) you will be fined. All roads, except those with a 50 kph limit, have a lower limit when it is raining, and wet weather does not deter those carrying out mobile speed checks! On the autoroute, where the gendarmes are under government pressure to reduce speeding, they accept no excuses. If you are permitted to travel at 130 kph (81 mph) and you do 136 (85 mph), you will get a ticket. As the gendarmes will no doubt explain, the limit is the absolute maximum and you are expected to drive within it. These bikers are a funny lot! In his report on the fun and frolics the Motorcycle Group had on its Oast House Run in May in the Summer issue of the Newsletter, we discovered some of the attractions of the monthly runs. We learned that in the pub car park of Ye Olde Anchor near the river Medway the riders discussed who had the nicest rear end! It turns out that it belonged to Mark with the GSXR. Actually it was the bike’s rear end. Some among the motoring lot have prejudices about the bikers. So it must have confirmed their suspicions to read that the Institute of Advanced Motorists is advising its motorcycle members to wear stockings. Not tights, self-supporting hosiery, or stockings with suspender belts, but compression stockings such as those sold for travellers on long-haul flights. Apparently motorcycling causes circulation problems and at worst, deep vein thrombosis. Around 600,000 UK riders, the IAM calculates, are at risk and it advises that motorcyclists should stop every two hours and wear compression stockings. Not that any of this should be a problem for our Motorcycle Group. Even after the Big Wicked Breakfast they cannot travel for two hours without stopping to grab a cuppa and a plateful of chocolate muffins to see them through to the pub lunch of seven starters, seven main courses and a whole host of puddings to keep mind and body together before the afternoon stop for tea and scones. If only the Car Group could have such fun… There could well be an e-mail being sent shortly: Morning Dave, Any news on the hi-vis vests, and, while you are at it, what about getting some of these new compression stockings with the ROADAR logo? X pairs should suffice for now. Kindest regards, Captain Sensible. Bikers’ invitation to car drivers: Take a ride with Slippy Slim. See pages 18 and 19 for details . Page 9 RoSPA Thames Valley Group Observation Post A chance for Tutors to take further training Firstly I must begin by offering my congratulations to Paul Sheppy and Phil Parkinson for achieving the very high standards necessary to pass the Advanced Tutor qualification. I know that there were numerous occasions during their training when they didn’t think they were going to get through it. This was the first advanced course that the Group had run since its introduction at the beginning of the year and so it was a real learning experience for us all. I would also like to extend my thanks to Catherine Lloyd, Peter Caton and Dave Thompson for their commitment in helping with the training course. Since the completion of the course we have made a few changes to the syllabus delivery which I am sure will help future candidates. We are looking to run another course but be warned if you are thinking about applying, it is very demanding and the level of both theoretical knowledge and practical driving skills are very high. If you are still interested in applying for the course, then speak to me and I will let you have details together with a few sample questions to show you the level that is required. The Tutors have been busy since our lecture series, and I am hoping that we will have a good intake of Associates for the next lecture course in Septem- ber. It is helpful for Tutors to attend the lectures as we can always learn something new or maybe a different way of putting it across. The attendance at the last couple of Tutor workshops has been a little disappointing, and I would ask that all Tutors make the effort to attend future ones, particularly if you want to be selected to take out Associates. Finally, part of the new training regime is that all Tutors are reassessed on an annual basis. This will be done either by a Senior Tutor, sitting in the back of an Associate’s car while they are being coached, or by organising a demo drive. NEXT WORKSHOP: Dealing with problems The next tutor workshop Dealing with Problems will be held on October 10, 2007, at Sulhamstead. It will start at 7.30 pm and is also open to Members of the Group who have achieved at least a Silver standard pass and would like to train as an Approved Tutor. Tony Parish RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 10 Calendar of Events Page 11 MONTH 2nd Wednesday 4th Wednesday SEPTEMBER 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th: ROADCRAFT LECTURE COURSE Venue: Thames Valley Police Training Centre, Sulhamstead OCTOBER 3rd: COMMITTEE MEETING 24th: OPEN MEETING Venue: ECA, Newbury Topic: Annual General Meeting, 10th: TUTORS WORKSHOP followed by Test Talk. Topic: Dealing with Problems Venue: Theale Green School (Tutors & trainee Tutors only) NOVEMBER 14th: COMMITTEE MEETING 28th: OPEN MEETING Venue: ECA, Newbury Guest: Chris Gilbert - ‘Roadcraft - the video’ Venue: Theale Green School DECEMBER 5th: TUTORS WORKSHOP NO OPEN MEETING ! Topic: Christmas Social and ‘A look back over 2007’ (Tutors & trainee Tutors only) Venue: To be announced later !) RoSPA Thames Valley Group Calendar for 2008 MONTH 2nd Wednesday 4th Wednesday JANUARY FEBRUARY RoSPA Thames Valley Group The programme is not yet finalised. Please refer to the website (www.roadartvg.org.uk) for lat- est information. Up-to-date information and any late changes are also announced at the monthly meetings so please make every effort to attend and to avoid disappointment ! All meetings start at 7:30 pm. Venues as follows :- - Open Meetings at Gateway Dance Studio, Theale Green School, (unless otherwise advised) - Tutors Workshops, Thames Valley Police Training Centre, Sulhamstead, (unless otherwise advised) - Roadcraft Lecture Courses at Thames Valley Police Training Centre, Sulhamstead Page 12 - Committee Meetings at ECA, Cyril Vokins Road, Hambridge Lane, Newbury Who is who on the Committee? POSITION NAME E-MAIL TELEPHONE President / Publicity Peter CATON email@example.com 0118 942 4683 Chairman / Lecturer Dave firstname.lastname@example.org 07900 911 230 THOMPSON email@example.com Secretary Phil PARKINSON firstname.lastname@example.org 07710 385 673 Treasurer Gerry GRIFFIN email@example.com 01929 556 009 Membership Rob LOWE firstname.lastname@example.org 0118 971 0036 07903 359 008 Events & Social Jim MATHER email@example.com 01256 320 246 07900 212 474 Newsletter Max DAVIDSON firstname.lastname@example.org 01494 726 516 Training Officer Tony PARISH email@example.com 01635 869 761 07971 141 918 Associate Coordinator Paul SHEPPY firstname.lastname@example.org 0118 921 2588 Motorcycle Section Panos SIMOU email@example.com 01329 835 546 Webmasters Rob LOWE & firstname.lastname@example.org Sheila BRYANT Venues / Publicity Paul STEWARD Paulsteward14@hotmail.com 07811 218307 Members Neil KNIGHT Bob SPEIRS RoSPA HQ Mirlinda RAE email@example.com 0870 777 2099 THE CARDINAL RULES OF THE ROAD : Are you a Saint or a Sinner? The Vatican has issued a set of Ten Commandments for Motorists to promote safer driving. Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the Vatican’s Council, said that it was important to address the issue because driving had become a big part of contemporary life. ‘We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence 1.2 million people die each year on the roads. That’s a sad reality, and at the same time a great challenge for society and the Church.’ Guidelines for Pastoral Care on the Road… You shall respect speed limits. You shall not drink alcohol before driving. You shall not curse other drivers. You shall not make rude gestures. You shall not become involved in road rage. You shall make the sign of the Cross before moving off. You shall help accident victims. You shall not use your vehicle for sex. You shall not overtake dangerously. You shall not lose your sense of responsibility to other road users. Page 13 RoSPA Thames Valley Group MOTORCYCLING: THE JULY RUN TO THE COTSWOLDS Slim’s rain dance goes awry… Having recce-ed this run in torrential rain on May 13 and with the forecast set for severe weather over the weekend, the scene was set for a perfect day out. Baldrick our leader even promised to supply a set of flippers, mask and snorkel for the customary photo opportunity in the Tesco trolley shelter. Much to the disappointment of the nine troops who turned up for muster, it was not raining. Furthermore, Baldrick could not find his flippers to bring along so more disappointment. We set off at 9 am sharp to make Chievely in good time to pick up a further three of the usual suspects, including Paul on his new white Tiger. Nice one Paul, any longer and we would have forgotten what you look like, ha, ha... Another blat up the A34 and then turn right on the A420, right on to the B4044 over a spectacular too bridge - free to bikes of course - and off for the jolly twisties around the Cotswolds. Among some short bursts of A roads, we have taken in the joys of the B4449, B4020, B4100, B4022 and B4031 to Ayhno for our first fuel stop, an occupational hazard with the HP2 12-litre tank. More fun followed on the B4031, the A4260, the B4035 and the A3400 to finish our morning leg at Ma Larkin's restaurant. After a brief discussion about the merits of the smoking ban and the disappointing weather, the heavens opened and it started raining stair rods. We quickly scared off the occupants of the biggest table and proceeded into occupying one third of the restaurant. During lunch, which was duly followed by dessert, the rain stopped and we had some glorious sunshine. Is Slim loosing his touch with effectiveness of his rain dance? So in the dry again we set off for the afternoon leg with the exception of Paul who was on a short expiry pink ticket. Some more lovely twisties, the B4026, B4437 and the B4027 to cross the A34 where Clive and Neil departed in pursuit of brownie points. Unmarked roads to Ambrosden and then the B4011 to Thame and across the A329, B480 and B4015 to Fox’s Diner for a quick cuppa and discussion among the troops of an alleged visual point that disappears and then magically appears again causing people to brake for no apparent reason. Clearly this one must be further investigated then... After a quick break Andy, Simon, Colin and Chris disappeared towards the Reading direction aided by Zumo, Chris’s newly found best friend. RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 14 This left four who followed Baldrick north on the B4009 round the B481 to then join the A4074 and again the B4009 through Goring to Newbury. At this point Steve peeled off home on the A34 and the three remaining troops made it to Baldrick's for the final round of refreshments via the A339 to Basingstoke and then Alton. A big thank you to Baldrick, who indeed produced a cracking route, which will be adopted for future ride-outs, and to all the participants who provided the entertainment for the day. It is what makes these ride-outs such a brilliant way to spend a Sunday. Finally Steve should have the electrics of his new 1200GS checked out. The brake lights kept coming on at most of the corners. So clearly there is some electrical fault. Maybe these BMWs are not so reliable after all, ha, ha.... So until the next time then... Captain Sensible on the HP2 Do you need a guardian angel? In a bid to reduce accident rates the European Union commissioners, those nice people in Brussels who have our welfare close to their hearts, are co-funding a project called PReVENT in conjunction with leading car maker BMW. BMW has developed a dynamic driving simulator, which to all intents and purposes is exactly like those used to train airline pilots. It enables driving scenarios to be reproduced precisely without any risk to the test driver and expensive damage to the vehicle. One piece of technology which is being developed is ‘right turn assistant’. When a driver makes a right turn, the car’s forward radar in ‘right turn assistant’ checks for oncoming vehicles and, if it assesses that the approaching speed of the vehicle is too high for a safe right turn, it puts up a red alert on the driver’s head up display indicating the need to brake. ‘Right turn assistant’ is set to join ‘high beam assistant’, ‘active cruise control’ and ‘head up display’ as high-tech aids to safer driving. Soon you will indeed have a guardian angel in the cockpit. Cut-price tyres under threat Budget tyres imported from China are set to soar in price due to a combination of the rising cost of the raw materials and taxation changes. Chinese export subsidies on tyres are being cut from 13 to five per cent. China’s tyre industry is currently worth £5 billion a year, and its tyres currently sell for just half the price of those produced in Europe. Page 15 RoSPA Thames Valley Group MOTORCYCLING: A ‘RECCE’ FOR THE DORSET RUN We are taking a tour of old favourites Memo to the Usual Suspects et al: Baldrick & Slim productions proudly present The Dry Map Run. Yes folks, this is another zumo-free run to continue the precedent already set this year. Slim on the HP2 with dry map in the tank bag will be your pilot for the day, and Baldrick with another dry map in his block of flats, sorry, I mean BMW tank bag, will take up the rear. We recce-ed this collection of old favourites together with a good 80 miles worth of twisties we have never done before and, yes, it was raining! However we could not replicate the cataclysmic downpour of our last recce. That record will probably stand for a while. You will just have to trust us on this one and turn up at Tesco Winnall for 8.30 am scheduled for a 9 am start. After a quick burst on the A34 and A272, we will take the B3420 through Wherwell and turn left on the A3057 to Stockbridge. Then on the A30 through Salisbury to Ludwell and turn right on the B3081 for a downhill portion of Zig Zag Hill and on to Shaftesbury. Then south on the A350 to Durweston and right on the A357 to Lydlinch and join the A3030 to Sherborne for a fuel stop. We will continue on the A30 through Yeovil to turn left on the technical A3066 to Bridport and then on the B3157 to Abbotsbury with some spectacular views over Chesil Beach. We will then take some single track roads with more spectacular views, passing the Hardy Monument, and drop down to Dorchester for lunch. The wicked breakfast remains as wicked as always and as a bonus we would not have to trundle all the way to the park down the road for the toilets either. The block in the car park has now been renovated, stainless steel finish and all. After lunch we will make our way back to Stockbridge through some of the old favourites, the B3143, the B3091 and one of the best stretches of the A30 to Salisbury. Afternoon tea and chat at Stockbridge and final dispersal point. Make sure that you have at least 85 to 90 miles worth of fuel and bring your wets, as you never know your luck. See you all then... Captain Sensible on the HP2 Seven new Harley-Davidsons for 2008 The Milwaukee factory of Harley-Davidson has announced seven new ma- chines for 2008. There are three high-spec CVO models and a Sportster variant called the Nightster. There is also the Fat Bob, a reference to the front tyre and not an overweight biker, and the Rocker along with the higher spec Rocker C, ideal for studded-leather poseurs. Demand for Harley’s machines is slowing in the U.S. So the company is hoping to expand its sales here. The machines may be perfect for Americans, but to European eyes they all look ghastly! RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 16 MOTORCYCLING: DARK GOINGS ON IN HARDY COUNTRY The clutch, the G-string and the cream tea The advertised Dry Map Run certainly lived up to its name. Not a raindrop in sight, not even a cloud in the perfect blue August sky. And our route was equally perfect, through some of the best of Hampshire and Dorset’s countryside, old and new, a definite case of lifting the gpm (grin per mile) rather than the mpg. We even had some culture with a sight of Hardy’s monument. But strange events lurked among such perfection, and would I really expect such a discerning reader as you to believe it would be so cutesy and nice? Firstly there were dark rumours. Allegations were circulating. The BMW brand, traditionally so reliable, once again dominated the group, but it seemed that someone was letting the side down by bringing along a dodgy specimen, one with a slipping clutch and other shortcomings. But would anyone admit to this? The only resolution was to prove it out with a testing run. Shucks, what a chore! But professionals to the core, we embarked on our task with relish. As mechanical performance came under scrutiny, another challenge developed, this time to the English language. Initially it seemed that the group was having some strange interference on the radio, the likes of which had been not been heard before. But it seemed to repeat, usually at fast sharp corners. Was there a pattern? Was it a form of Old English? Ah, yes, now we recognise it, Anglo Saxon. Perhaps one of our number was finding it hard going. That levity aside, a serious point, riding should be smooth and progressive, as well as brisk and safe. So what was that red light appearing before each corner (and occasionally in the straits)? Dodgy electrics? Even after being highlighted in the last run? Or did we have an IAM rider lurking unannounced in our midst? But back to the main challenge: the morning’s run had not produced any evidence of a deficient clutch, and, even with the additional load of The Big Wicked Breakfast, neither did the afternoon’s route. After 250 gruelling miles of man and machine bonding, the prime suspect had not been caught out ... or caught up with. The assembled jury had no option but to return a not guilty verdict. Then as we relaxed and the day was reviewed over a genteel cream tea in the classic genteelness of Stockbridge, the group was shaken to its core. It is true to say that biking often presents a contradiction for the rider: great thrills, but to get them you have to endure uncomfortable moments, particularly on the hottest day of the year when clad almost head to toe in leather. Well, it seems we have all been far too conventional. One of our new prospective members had the obvious answer and a challenge for the next ride. Go commando! How obvious. No more knicker seams welded by heat and clenched cheeks. And, of course, so much more aerodynamic. But a step too far, even for the macho Page 17 RoSPA Thames Valley Group adventurous bike section. A compromise was reached. G-strings would be acceptable, providing the lady’s boots were licked clean. Oh well, someone had to do it for the sake of the group’s modesty. One last conundrum remained, and no one had the answer: Does the Car Section really have as much fun as this? Come on guys, here’s an open invitation. We have pillion spaces available and even some loan biking gear, but you will have to provide your own G-string. Thanks to Panos and Baldrick for their careful route planning and group shepherding, an excellent day. Tim Considine on the R1200GS Do drivers in the Car Group really have as much fun as the bikers? Why not take up Tim’s offer of a pillion ride with Slippy Slim (aka Captain Sensi- ble) and the rest of the guys and gals... and don’t forget that extra set of un- derwear! ...See page 19 for details... Pollution tax to replace congestion charge London Mayor Ken Livingstone is canvassing opinion, through a series of Transport for London newspaper advertisements, on his intention to replace the London Congestion Charge with a Pollution Tax. The proposal calls for all cars currently in VED band G (above 226gm/km) to pay £25 each time that they enter the pollution control zone. Cars in bands A (under 100gm/km) and B (101 to 120 gm/km) would pay nothing. All other cars would be charged £8. The concession for petrol-electric hybrids would be scrapped. All cars registered before March 2001 would pay £8, except those over three litres which would pay £25. Foreign cars not the DVLA database will pay nothing. Check out that hire car The AA is warning motorists to check out their hire cars before setting off from the depot. In a survey of 57 firms in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal three quarters did not have the emergency equipment to meet local legal requirements such a first aid kits, reflective jackets and warning triangles. Police on-the-spot fines can be severe. The cars you should be driving… The Government has issued a list of cars Best in CO2 Class to suit all drivers: VW Polo BlueMotion 1.4TDI; Toyota Prius VVT-i; Citroen C5 1.6 HDI; Skoda Fabia 1.4 TDI; Ford Focus C-Max 1.6 Duratorq TDCi; BMW 520d; Smart ForTwo Cabrio; Seat Ibiza 1.9 TDi; Suzuki SX4 1.6GL; Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2i CRTD; BMW 730d. RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 18 MOTORCYCLING: A ‘RECCE’ FOR THE SEPTEMBER RUN All roads lead to a place to eat… It has been a while since we’ve ventured into the pleasures of the South Downs. So here it goes folks. We will gather at the Tesco car park, Winnall, outside Winchester for a civilised 9 am and plan for a 9.30 start (September outing). Straight into what the Doctor’s recommended and we’ll ride Morestead Road and then turn sharp left at the end for some more unmarked roads through Kilmeston to Cheriton and join the A272 to West Meon. Short burst down the A32 to East Meon and through unmarked roads to Langrish, more A272 to Petersfield to ride the familiar, but exciting, B2146 and B2141 to South Harting. Unmarked roads through Elsted will take us to Mid- hurst on the A272 and then south on the A286 towards Levin Down. We’ll turn left through unmarked roads to East Dean and Upwaltham to join the A285 to Petworth and then north on the A283, and then left on the B2131 to Haslemere. South on the A286 again will take us to Midhurst, then west on the A272 to Stedham, and turn right on to unmarked roads through Redford to Liphook for lunch at the Hungry Horse Pub, where the portions remain monu- mental and the ice-creams gargantuan. After lunch on familiar roads to Liss and then B3006 through Selborne to Alton, A339 to Basingstoke, B3046 through the Candovers to Alresford, B3047 through Kingsworthy and Winchester on the B3049 to Stockbridge. North on the A3057 to Andover, then B3420 to Wherwell, B3048 through to Forton, Hurstbourne Priors to join the B3400 to Overton and then the B3051 to Kingsclere to finish on the by now familiar American Diner for those who missed dessert at the Hungry Horse in Liphook, or those who worked up an appetite in the meantime. Motorists look here !:- As Tim suggested in the August report, our colleagues from the Car Group are more than welcome to join us, but as the pillion seats are limited, we shall operate a first come first served policy. So buy now while stocks last! See you all then, and if we are lucky it might even rain on the day and keep those happy Sunday motorists off the roads. Your pilot for the day will be Slippy Slim (aka Captain Sensible) on the Sunny Yellow GS, and John Barnes will ensure that the unruly rear is kept under control. A leisurely ride awaits us all then, ha, ha, ha.... Slippy Slim on the 1150GS ***** Don’t be shy. Book your pillion seats at firstname.lastname@example.org And don’t for- get to write a report on your experiences for the Newsletter. ***** Page 19 RoSPA Thames Valley Group BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! YOU COULD BE FINED… Speed trap alerts to be banned Devices which detect mobile speed traps are to be banned from early 2008. The Department of Transport has warned that drivers in possession of the devices could face penalty points and fines. The banned equipment, made by Road Angel and Snooper, which use radar or laser technology, is already illegal in several European countries such as France and Belgium, where possession of a device can lead to a hefty fine, confiscation of the equipment and possible seizure of the vehicle. Satellite navigation systems, which warn about fixed speed cameras and the location of mobile speed traps, however, will still remain legal to use on UK roads. According to the Department of Transport, if drivers know the position of fixed safety cameras, then they will drive more safely along that stretch of road. The problem with detection devices is that they inform drivers of the position of mobile speed cameras which by their random nature are intended to provide a deterrent. The devices are to be outlawed under the provisions of the Road Safety Act 2006, which earlier this year introduced new penalties for motorists using mobile phones. The penalties for using the Road Angel and Snooper devices will vary, but the starting point will be the standard three penalty points and £60 fine. Drivers could also risk having their equipment confiscated. Cameras to help the new ‘CEOs’ From next March councils across England and Wales will be able to fine drivers who park illegally by photographing them with remote enforcement cameras without the need for a traffic warden to affix a ticket to the windscreen. The drivers will then receive their fine through the post. The new regulations now form part of the Traffic Management Act 2004. They permit fines to be sent by post if a parking attendant spots a motorist driving away after parking illegally. As a concession, drivers will now get a discount up to 21 days following the offence instead of 14 days at present, and parking attendants will now be renamed ‘civil enforcement officers’ as a reflection of their improved status. The Department of Transport claims that the new powers were aimed at making the issuing of parking tickets ‘more motorist-friendly’ and were designed to deter persistent offenders, not simply to raise money. It added that local councils will be required to use parking enforcement to improve road safety and to cut congestion. The enforcement cameras are already in use in London where static camer- as take pictures of vehicles parked illegally. The owners are fined if they are double parked, left on double yellow lines, or not correctly parked in a bay. The car’s driver is then traced via its number plate and the DVLA computer. London also has mobile camera vans which scour the streets for evidence of illegal parking and take a photograph of the car and its number plate. Around 3.4 million motorists were fined for parking offences in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available. RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 20 Bringing you up to speed… Bentley has recalled 500 Arnage (costing from £166,000) and Azure (from £222,500) models amid fears that the wheels might fall off due to faulty bolts. According to the National Audit Office one in 15 drivers do not pay road tax and half of those caught driving an untaxed vehicle are never punished. Traffic meters in France are being equipped with le Statio Minute, the latest urban weapon in the battle against motorists. Instantly you overstay your time, the meter automatically summons a warden on his or her mobile phone to fine you. The name for the replacement Ford Fiesta has been narrowed down to Genesis, Isis, and Phoenix. BMW has announced that it will not be going down the route pioneered by Toyota and Lexus by developing a hybrid saloon which combines petrol and electric power. Instead it plans to develop hydrogen-fuelled engines which it claims are more ecological. Police authorities in Europe are planning to start using a saliva test to detect if drivers are under the influence of cannabis. The Focus-based 4 x 4, called the Kuga, will go on sale next spring priced from around £16,000. It will use the four-wheel drive system from Volvo’s V50 estate. The top of the range will feature the 222 BHP 2.5-litre engine from the Focus ST. There will also be the full range of Ford petrol and diesel engines available. A Government report has recommended that drivers under 19 should not be able to carry passengers after 11 pm. Further suggestions include raising the driving age to 18. Porsche is planning to open a driving centre at the Silverstone circuit in Northampton- shire next year, so that potential buyers can try out the cars’ handling on a two-mile track offering wet and dry conditions as well as a surface that can simulate ice and snow. More than one in 10 drivers convicted of drink-driving in the UK comes from Eastern Europe, mainly Poland, Latvia and Estonia, and over a fifth of these drivers are two-and-a-half times over the limit when stopped. London is establishing a Low Emission Zone, and 60 automatic number plate recogni- tion cameras are being erected within the M25 to target trucks which emit more than a permitted amount of pollutants detected by roadside devices. VW’s Polo Bluemotion on sale next month emits only 99gm/k CO2 and is VED exempt. It has a 78 BHP 1.4-litre three-cylinder diesel with gas recirculation and particulate filter. If you choose the model with air-conditioning, VED is £35 annually as it emits 104gm/k CO2. Prices are from £11,995. Audi has dropped the 1.6-litre FSI engine in the A3 in favour of the VW Golf’s 1.4TFSI unit. The Audi A4 and the Q7 also now offer the new 240 BHP three-litre TDI diesel. Page 21 RoSPA Thames Valley Group Congratulations… ...…to the following people who have passed their Advanced Driving Test. We would all like to say ‘Well done’ to them and their Tutors. Associate / Member Grade Tutor Mike Cowling Gold Re-test Andrew Keer Gold Rob Lowe Neil Knight Silver Re-test Catherine Lloyd Diploma Re-test Martin Moore Gold David Salisbury Martin Rowlinson Gold Max Davidson Matthew Shaw Gold Phil Parkinson Motorcycle section… John Barnes Gold Re-test Tim Considine Gold Re-test Andy Finding Gold Chris Walliker Adrian J Wakefield Gold Re-test Advanced tutor training… Paul Sheppy and Phil Parkinson have passed the RoSPA HQ Test to become Advanced Tutors. Please remember to notify:- Max Davidson ...email@example.com ....(01494-726516) or Rob Lowe ..........firstname.lastname@example.org of your Test success. Publishing results encourages those Associates who are about to take the Test and gives an indication of how the Group is performing. ***** Would you prefer the Electronic Newsletter ? Would like to save the Group some money by reducing postage costs ? Members who would like to receive their copy of the Newsletter via e-mail rather than through the post can take up this option by mailing email@example.com RoSPA Thames Valley Group Page 22 PLEASE NOTE The website and e-mail addresses now include an additional ‘r’ before ‘tvg’ to reflect the change of name to include ‘Riders’ ! Web site : www.roadartvg.org.uk Committee e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org Where ‘xxxxxxxx’ = committee post. Published by RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders Thames Valley Group P.O. Box 532, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 7YY e-mail: email@example.com Website: www.roadartvg.org.uk Helping to promote safer driving The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily subscribed to by RoSPA or the Thames Valley Group of RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders. No responsibility is accepted for any such opinions or comments. The appearance of any advertisements in this Newsletter does not directly, nor indirectly, imply any recommendations.