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New Horizons Motorcycle Training and Tours

Combining Touring with Training

Ride around the Cotswolds, Cheltenham, Broadway, Burford and Bibury

November the 30th 2018, typical riding session along some great lanes, through picturesque towns and villages along the way.

New Horizons Motorcycling in the Cotswolds

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Fish Hill –

Spent a recent afternoon riding around the Cotwsolds with a friend, Stuart, on his new Ducati MultiStrada. Ended up over on Fish Hill near Broadway in the Cotswolds. Filmed the whole ride, but this was the Fish Hill section which was great fun!

To Bled and back

What a great trip that was! Two weeks with the family all the way to Slovenia via Germany, Austria, Italy and of course France.

Stopping off en-route in Mannheim so Jono could take part in the Park run, where he came 3rd overall which ain’t bad to be honest on two fronts. Firstly, he is 16 still; secondly we had to be up and out very early from our overnight stop in France, so well done Richard for getting up and being on the road by 7.00am!

Then onto Solden in Austria for a couple of nights. This was one of the locations for the last James Bond film; remember the plane flying through the trees and the clinic at the top of the mountain? That was filmed here!

We enjoyed a cable car ride halfway up the mountain followed by a couple of hours walk down along some mountain bike tracks.

Looking down to Solden

Leaving Solden heading south along a fantastic windy road, into Italy, back to Austria and to Lesce, near Lake Bled in Slovenia. Wow! What a wonderful place Slovenia is!! Very green, very hilly and very friendly. We did a lot of cycling in Slovenia and would recommend it to anyone. The roads are superb with cycle tracks either side.

Our pitch on the river

Jono once again did us proud by running the Lake Bled nighttime 10k, coming in a respectable 92nd out of a lineup of 3,012!

Jono at the start!

Most of the fields have wild flowers and grasses allowed to grow freely.

Very green countryside of Slovenia

Down to Piran on the coast; very nice town with red roof tiles. From here we could see both Italy and Croatia – to the right of the Piran photo.

Shame about the camp site though, very poor. Though some of the street signs of Piran were amusing.

Amusing street sign
Red roof tiles of Piran

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Slovenia, we left to goto Italy, stopping in Lido De Jesolo for a couple of nights allowing us to goto Venice for the day.

Very hot day walking around Venice. Best parts are away from St Mark’s square along the back streets.

St Mark’s square

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onwards and upwards to the Alps. Last night in Italy in a town called Ivrea where it thundered, lightening and rained. Great! Headed to a local trattoria for a really nice meal.

Final night spent in France in a small town on the Seine, Saint Seine l’Abbaye. The drive between Dijon and Troyes followed the valley. Coming back here as soon as we can.

Then home again via that dreadful M25! What a bad first impression that gives visitors to the UK if they come via Dover!

Great holiday again. Looking forward to the next adventure.

 

Those ain’t my chicken lines!

That was a comment made to me by a chap embarrassed by the narrowness of the wear lines of his rear tyre. Further explanation soon discovered that the reason was it was a loan bike while his own bike was being repaired after he had rear ended a car; then he explained his bad back from riding the loan bike was from a side swipe he received from a car at a junction which wasn’t his fault. Basically, his own bike had been written off and the case was in the hands of the insurers.

Eventhough the latter was not necessarily his fault, he complained the bad back will be with him for the rest of his life. The rear-ender was his fault of that there is no doubt.  I did have to wonder at this chaps attitude. But, how could he have minimised these incidents? As it happens, the answer is surprising simple. Yes, there is still risk and as a rider you have to remain alert to possible incidents and what other road users may do.

Ironically, or not, he was talking to a RoSPA Advanced tutor, Diploma Holder and DVSA Registered Enhanced Rider Instructor! I could have provided some advice if he hadn’t ridden off with the rest of his mates; one pulling a wheelie with only his tracksuit for protective clothing, and one over-revving his not quite so street legal exhaust!

The sad thing is they are the few that give a poor perception of bikers. With the recent good weather, there are loads more bikes out there on the roads. We are not all like that. Yes, we do whizz around a bit; filtering between cars which is legal in most countries because bikes are smaller and nimbler than cars; overtaking on country lanes hopefully when its safe and generally making better progress than our car colleagues. What we can do though, as bikers, is ensure we do our thing without upsetting other road users. That’s where an Advanced Riding course comes into its own. Either through joining a local group such as RoADAR (RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders) or through a DVSA Approved Riding school.

My own chicken lines are quite narrow. Not because I am scared of leaning over too far, I know how far my bike can go, its more because I know how to approach corners smoothly to get around without the need for over leaning whilst maintaining a reasonable speed.  Safety is at the heart of all Advanced Riding Training and we use a simple and flexible system which can be taught to anyone wanting to make more of their riding. What we don’t want to do is stop anyone from having fun.

Get in contact with me and let’s have a chat about how your riding enjoyment can be made to be more fun.

We rode to Porlock!

Started out a bit dull and grey and got wetter the further West we went. Four of us heading to Lynemouth, via Weston-Super-Mare and the notorious Porlock Hill.

Meeting at Sally Pussey’s for a 9.30am departure (yes, still laughing at that, no, not the departure time), we ambled down to Chippenham, back up to the M4 directly to Weston-Super-Mare just off the M5. Following the coast road all the way to Lynemouth, we stopped for lunch.

On the way, we went via the steep 1 in 4 (25%) Porlock Hill and its infamous tight right hand bend followed by a spine tingling left hand hairpin – the sort you might find in the Alps. I had forgotten about this left hand bend though, probably like most of us. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porlock_Hill for more info on this hill!

Sweeping across Exmoor with the wind blowing, mist coming in and rain hitting us hard, we dropped, finally, into Lynemouth, parking along the front for lunch.

After an hour or so, we headed back home via Glastonbury and Bath.

Turned out to be a long day, arriving home at 7pm ish after 255 miles in the saddle. Bloody good fun though.

 

The wonders of Sat Nav

I’ve read articles and reader’s comments in Ride Magazine extolling the virtues of Sat Nav and often toyed with having one myself. Got one for the car already which we use often on long journeys.

After much pontification, I plunged for a TomTom as a treat of a birthday present; I’m used to TomTom (and Ride gave it an extra point in their review over Garmin).

A journey to Lyme Regis was needed over the recent hot bank holiday weekend; two of us on bikes going to see a mate for a chat and brew. However, having a Sat Nav enabled me to plug in the end point, set a route that avoided motorways and picked a windy route to make it interesting. And was it interesting? Yes it bloody well was!

Our ride started in Cricklade, heading out to Royal Wootton Basset, down to Lynham turning right across the wonderful Lyneham Banks en route to Chippenham. Around the bypass to Corsham taking a left down to Bradford upon Avon and down to the A303. 13 miles later taking a turn heading to Crewkerne passing through places on the way with names such as Upton Noble. To be honest, I hadn’t a clue as to the exact route. I am still learning to use the device.
But, setting the route to the max on windy and hilly, what a great way of exploring the countryside. And with so much ease.

So, the ride down to Lyme was sublime. The route back followed the same path to the A303 but then took us further along the A303 to Marlborough, from which its a straightforward ride north-ish home to sunny Cricklade.

What a fantastic route! Looking forward to the next ride; simply set an end point, remove motorways and set the windy and hilly to maximum and see where it takes me. Musn’t forget to record it this time!

Going for Gold!

Three year retest was due and finally it came! Friday 12th January! 3.15pm at Marlborough golf club car park – probably the nearest I ever get to being a golfer – met Ray the RoSPA examiner.

What followed was a tense 45 minute ride around the heart of Wiltshire; from Marlborough out to Ramsbury, Aldbourne, Chiseldon, Wroughton, and finally back up Hackpen hill to Marlborough.

Answered the final question and got awarded Gold in the RoSPA Advanced Riding Exam!!

Now my family have to put up with a Gold Rider and all the boring stories I can tell them!!

Proud as punch!

Blowing away some cobwebs!

After a wet’n’windy Christmas and New Year, it was nice to get back to being on the bike again. Tuesday and Friday were pleasant rides into work in Cheltenham, cold but nice! Avoided Wednesday and Thursday as they were too windy for me – call me a wimp, but I don’t care!

And Saturday 6th Jan was an even better day for riding. Met up with a friend of mine for a morning ride for a few pleasant hours burbling around the countryside.

Went from Cricklade to Purton and Royal Wootton Bassett; down to Lyneham and Calne; along to Marlborough on the A4 where we let our hair down a bit; then out towards Hungerford via Great Bedwyn; then home again via Aldbourne and the A419.

Nice ride; cold did start to eat in a bit towards the end, but very pleasant all the same. The maximum temperature was around 3.5 degs C!! Chilly!!

 

 

 

 

Ride to Cheltenham in the dark!

Something I wanted to try for a while now, recording a ride in the dark with the Stealth 2 camera. The ride itself is not new so I thought I would speed it up a little!

Unless you know the roads, it is rather difficult to know where you are!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdVerjiuc-s

Think I need to look at the night-time settings for the camera!

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