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  • Writer's pictureACBT London

Crocuses, daffodils and motorbikes.

Updated: Jun 10

In the words of the track by the 80s rock band Cinderella, it’s been a Long, Cold, Winter but Spring is around the corner! As I write these words there are roughly two weeks to go before spring officially starts and the clocks change to summer time. This means more daylight, hopefully better weather, and more time to indulge in our passion for motorbikes! Remember though, safety first! Don’t underestimate the potential temperature drops in early spring, we’re not out of it yet. But this time of year nature awakens and so does the world of motorcycling.

A motorcyclist with a Moto Guzzi California Jackal on a sunny day in rural France
Adventures await in spring and summer!

We haven’t stopped all winter. Our first six months and our first winter have been incredibly busy with no let off in the volume of training. We started offering DAS courses in November and have already had a lot of success with a stream of trainees getting their full licence. We calculated recently that our DAS pass rate is 92%, not bad for a small family run ATB, but back to crocuses, daffodils and motorbikes!

For us Spring is also the start of the busiest time of year and bookings for our training courses are already coming in thick and fast so, if you have decided that this is the year for you to begin motorcycling call us without delay so you can book your Try-a-Bike session or CBT to avoid delays and make the most of the spring/summer seasons. Call us as soon as possible to discuss your plans so we can give you the best possible options. Tel: 0208 331 11033.

Some riders choose to mothball the bike over the winter months and this is the time of year where the dust cover comes off and the bike is readied for another season. If you’re not happy with a set of spanners in your hand or if you are new to motorcycling get your motorcycle booked in with a technician so that it can be checked over. Time and inactivity can adversely affect the motorcycle and it is good for a qualified service engineer to cast an expert eye over your machine to ensure it is in the best condition possible for safety and reliability. Remember it is also the busy period for bike garages so booking in good time is essential. Failing to plan is planning to fail as we used to say in the job. Don’t forget the basic maintenance checks we talk about on CBT, they are just as important in summer as in winter.

Mechanic working on a motorcycle in a garage
Have your bike prepared for the spring/summer season

If you live in the London area and are looking for a good technician we are happy to recommend a number of trusted garages and mechanics with whom we have had a good relationship. Some are mobile and will even come to you, simply give us a call.

It’s not just the motorcycle that needs fettling with. How are your skills? Rusty because of a winter lay-off? Then why not get in touch and book one of our confidence building courses to get back into the swing of things, refresh some forgotten techniques, and polish off some rough edges. We offer these in either a half day or full day format. We can even come to you and follow you on your commute to work to help you manage the route safely if you have chosen Spring as the time to ride the bike to work for the first time.

Ducati Panigale in Police Trim at the Bikesafe stand at the London Motorcycle Show
Ducati Panigale in Police trim

If you are looking for something more advanced then consider a Bikesafe course. Here is an interesting fact. Most serious motorcycle collisions occur in the countryside, on higher powered motorcycles, with older riders at the helm; usually at a junction or on a bend.

The countryside, though incredibly appealing to a motorcyclist, carries a wide range of risks and hazards which can catch out the unwary or inexperienced. If the bulk of your riding is in a city environment do not underestimate the potential dangers of riding in the countryside. A Bikesafe course is a terrific and enjoyable way to learn with a super skilled Police motorcyclist giving you feedback. We have a blog post all about it which discusses how it works and what other options you have for further training.

Manufacturers and dealers are also awakening with the new models for the new season always proving to be a popular thing to look forward to. The motorcycling press are alive with the new offerings with manufacturers and dealers trying to entice you into a new purchase. One of the features in the motorcycling calendar that always presages the start of the new season is the London Motorcycle Show held at the London Excel Exhibition Centre each February.

A panoramic view of the main hall at the London Motorcycle Show at the London Excel Exhibition Centre
The hall at the London Motorcycle Show and the London Excel Exhibition Centre

This year we decided to attend to see what is being offered by the manufacturers as we are now thinking of upgrading our fleet of training bikes. If you have never been to a motorcycle show it is a great day out and allows you to get up close and personal with new motorcycles so you can sit on them, see if they fit you and dream of that deserted twisty road through the Elysian Fields of the biking world.

In the UK the principal show is each November at the NEC. The London one is sponsored by some insurance company or other and a well known motorcycling “magazine”. We chose the London show as it is much easier to travel to being just the other side of the river but one thing is certain. Don’t expect anything on the scale of the NEC show. The London show is quite small by comparison with only a few manufacturers attending which I found quite disappointing. It was great though to catch up with some old friends and customers and the guys on the Bikesafe stand.

Suzuki SV650cc motorcycle at the London Motorcycle Show
Joe trying out the new Suzuki SV650

Most of the main Japanese factories were there. Suzuki had some interesting offerings from the point of view of a training school with the new Address scooter and the SV650.

Yamaha have nothing at all in their line up of interest and Kawasaki just always seem to miss the mark in my opinion. Honda didn’t even bother to turn up. As far as the rest, BMW and Harley Davidson are always present at every show with their premium priced product for their premium clientele. As a training school there’s clearly never going to be anything of interest there so we didn’t really hang around very long.

Of the rest, the only stand that drew my attention was the Royal Enfield display. They are very clearly a company well on the way to dominating a sector of the market that most large capacity manufacturers are ignoring.

Royal Enfield 650cc motorcycle
Royal Enfield 650cc

The retro/classic bike sector has always been popular and does not in any way seem to be diminishing in draw or appeal. The main manufacturer’s stands had people constantly milling around but to the trained eye it was obvious that the Royal Enfield stand was by far the busiest.

They had a great range of bikes on display and it was always difficult to get a few seconds time to sit on one. It is very obvious that the nostalgic appeal of traditional styled bikes still attracts people. It is no coincidence that there are so many retro styled learner motorcycles in the market. Bullit, Mash, Mutt. Brixton, etc etc. People are training on these bikes and then looking for something similar in their choice of big bike. Apart from Royal Enfield none of the mainstream manufacturers have a great deal in this sector. More fool them. Even Triumph who basically built one motorcycle and clothed it in a variety of different formats are beginning to slew away from tradition.

The rest of the show was a hodge podge of the usual stands selling equipment clothing and tools and general motorcycling ephemera. Gone are the days though where you could get a good deal on price at a motorcycle show. Those days are over it would seem. Prices were not really that

The Sprint Challenge at the London Motorcycle Show.
The "Sprint Challenge"

different to retail. We have a set of suppliers that we use and none pf those present at the show were able or even willing to offer us a better deal. Their loss. A motorcycle training school is a constant source of equipment purchase.

In the centre of the show area they had built a sprint strip. This was billed as an exciting sprint challenge with motorcycling heroes riding a range of bikes in a timed sprint.

In reality it was a gimmick designed, I think, to fill a section of the floor that would otherwise had been empty. Yes it did draw a crowd but only because those present had nothing else to do for alternative entertainment. I would much have preferred a wider range of stands from more manufacturers. I watched one of the displays but was just bored really. A motorcycle or other would run down a strip for about three seconds and then use the remaining length of the track to gradually decelerate. It really wasn’t that exciting to be honest. Even the paddock was closed off so it wasn’t possible to get close to any of the special bikes.

Suzuki GT 750cc motorcycle
Classic Suzuki Motorcycle

On one side of the venue was a classic bike auction with some gorgeous classic bikes on display. Unfortunately it was not possible to go in to have a good look as you had to buy an auction catalogue for £5 just to walk around. After buying three £25 tickets to get in and paying for overpriced food and drink I felt this was one fleece too many.

On the opposite side they seemed to have an adventure riding area where there always seemed to be a totally uninteresting character mumbling into a microphone about some epic adventure or other to a couple of bored looking souls sitting there half asleep like a slow day at the House of Lords whilst scrolling trough a slide show. A bit like the motorcycling world’s version of sitting with your in-laws being forced to look at their holiday snaps. To me, exploring the world by motorcycle is one of the most exciting activities anyone could engage in. I totally love it but I have to say I was bored stiff.

You know, every bike ride is an adventure. You don’t need to listen to this nonsense. You don’t need a fancy pants motorcycle, you can ride anything. Just do it. Get on your bike. Put a pin in a map and go…the long way round.

You don’t have to go to Marrakech, you could have an adventure on the way to Market Harborough. Make each ride your own adventure in your own way. Make mistakes, find solutions, work around problems and issues. Talk to people, make friends. Then come back, enjoy being back for a bit and do it again. The second time you will have learned from the first. Then do it again and again and again! Your ride is your adventure, do it your way. Build your own unique history so that when you are too old to do it anymore you can look back and think, bugger me, I did that! If your dream is to have motorbike adventures call us and dream no more!

If you are at the start of your motorcycling journey and wondering what you need to do first, you need a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) course. More information here. To book your CBT, click below:

Classic Moto Guzzi motorcycle.
Buy an e-Gift card!

Gift vouchers Send gorgeous personalised e-Gift cards!

Whatever the season and whatever the reason you cannot give a better gift than the gift of safe motorcycling. We have a range of e-Gift cards that may be ordered direct from our website and redeemed against our training courses.

Simply choose the value of the voucher and personalise it with your own message!

Next issue: We look at Module 1 of the Direct Access (DAS) training courses. Read it here.

©️ 2023 ACBT London Rider Training. No part of this article may be reproduced without permission.

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