Wakefield MAG April 2012 Newsletter

Dear Wakefield MAG member,

Welcome to the Wakefield MAG e-newsletter. If you can't attend our Wednesday meetings regularly, it's the next best thing to keep you up to date with what we are up to.


1) 2012 MAG Annual General Conference
2) Charity Dog Food Run Report
3) Night at the Greyhound Racing Report
4) Rally Tickets For Sale
5) Call for Rally Marshals
6) Trans-Pennine Pub Crawl
7) 90,000+ angry bikers bring France to a halt
8) It's time to get your local MP involved in our Euro battle
9) Pete Walkers World Tour of Yorkshire
10) Forthcoming Events (for April and beyond)

1) 2012 MAG Annual General Conference

The 2012 MAG Annual General Conference is being held on Saturday 14th April, hosted by Thames Valley MAG in High Wycombe. This year we are encouraging as many Yorkshire MAG members to attend as possible, for the following reasons:

We are taking a number of cars down to AGC so you can have a lift there and back and it will cost you nowt (lunch is also provided at the AGC free of charge). Please try to attend if you are free (75 branch points up for grabs for all Wakefield MAG members who attend !!!). Let me know asap if you would like a lift down to the AGC. And if you want to make your own way down to AGC, it is being held at Chiltern Park Aerodrome, Ipsden, Wallingford, OX10 6AS from 10:00-16:00.

P.S. Don't forget your current MAG membership card ..... you'll need it to get in !!

2) Charity Dog Food Run Report

Check out the run report Here

3) Night at the Greyhound Racing Report

Check out the event report Here

4) Rally Tickets For Sale

We now have our allocation of Yorkshire MAG (MAP) Rally tickets for sale at the Branch meetings. Ticket prices for this years MAP events are maintained at double-dip recession busting levels (Into The Valley £15 Pre-Book; Farm Yard Party £25 Pre-Book and Yorkshire Pudding Rally £15 Pre-Book). In fact, these bargain prices have been maintained for the last 5 years !!!!

We are returning to the sites you have come to love for all three rallies, we are not cutting any corners to try and keep cost down, we will be giving you the same if not more at what are now the UK's best and biggest rallies, run by bikers for you. These events help keep Big Brother out of Biking or as we like to call it, Partying with a Purpose.

Demand is high as for the first time ever, the sale or return tickets are being offered to MAG branches nationally, not just those in Yorkshire MAG. Good news for MAG, potentially not so good news for you if you delay buying your tickets !!!. YPR tickets will sell very fast and sold out months before the event last year, so if you are planning to attend this most excellent event this year, I'd buy your tickets sooner rather than later if I were you !! Once they are all gone, they are all gone !!!

Let me know if you want some tickets (sooner rather than later).

5) Call for Rally Marshals

All the Yorkshire MAG rallies are run by volunteers, who pay for their tickets the same as everyone else. They then freely give up their time, in order to help run those events, in a most professional way. The Yorkshire MAG donations to Central (made from these rally profits and local branch fund raising activity), pay for the wage bill of all the staff at MAG Central. Without this volunteer effort, MAG wouldn't be able to employ lobbying staff, without lobbying staff, lots and lots of anti-bike legislation would be passed unopposed and literally, the end of biking as we know it would be upon us in around 5 years. It really is that simple.

Here is where your rally ticket money goes (based on the 2011 FYP rally, with 8,500 of you paying £25.00 for a ticket). The Farmyard turnover makes it eligible for VAT at 20% on each ticket sold, so we have to give £4.17 to the government (b******s) for every ticket you buy, that means the ticket price is actually only £20.83 (the costings below are all before the dreaded VAT is added, so brace yourself for a steep learning curve):

So this leaves £3.51 from a £25.00 ticket, not a lot you must admit !!!

This is why our volunteer marshals are vital, as there is no profit there to pay them (unless we raise the ticket price to around 70 quid !!!!)

If you have a burning ambition to save the biking lifestyle we all know and love, volunteer for some MAG rally marshalling at this years events (marshals are ALWAYS wanted) .... you could just be the saviour of motorcycling for the future generations (I kid you not !!!). A life on strangled small capacity bikes, with leg protectors, air bags, monitoring and speed control systems, automatic surveillance of riding habits, compulsory day-glo, inability to change anything from the manufacturers original specification etc etc ..... doesn't make for a rosy future at all !!!!

Roll on Yorkshire MAG's rallies in 2012:
Into the Valley - May 4th to the 6th
Farmyard Party - June 15th to the 17th
Yorkshire Pudding - August 3rd to the 5th

By Bikers, For Bikers, In aid of Biking, and Bikers pockets.

Ride free!

6) Trans-Pennine Pub Crawl

Wakefield MAG are doing the world famous Trans-Pennine Pub Crawl on Saturday 23rd June. We will take the train from Dewsbury to Stalybridge and our start point. Using the hourly stopping train service between Stalybridge to Huddersfield (which starts at Manchester Victoria), then carrying on from Huddersfield on a train to Dewsbury, it's possible to do what is perhaps a unique pub crawl visiting at least 7 pubs and enjoying a different pint in each from independent and small breweries all without leaving the station or at most just walking across the road.

With an hour between trains there is plenty of time for a relaxing pint at each location and a chance for food at some of the pubs. It only takes 5-10 mins between each stop with fine scenery to view along the way, no time wasted in walking and a guarantee of a different brew in each, this has got to be the best real ale railway pub crawl in the country.

Here's the plan heading west to east ...

STALYBRIDGE - Station Buffet. Unique and famous Victorian buffet bar on the platform with plenty of excellent ales on offer, often including some from local breweries such as Greenfield, Millstone or Howard Town plus various other micro brews. Cosy traditional surroundings, a real fire when chilly and cheap simple food is served. As your train pulls in sup up and in seconds you are on board and heading to the next stop ...

MOSSLEY - Britannia. Leave the station, cross the road, turn left and you're at the bar in a minute. A large comfortable stone pub with TV football, pool table and 6 real ales with regular Marstons/Jennings plus guests which vary in rarity but there's always something interesting and often include small local breweries eg Millstone. Good value home made food until 7.30 - if starting the crawl in the morning this is the best place for lunch. Or there's a chippy next to the station but opening hours are limited. Once refreshed then get the next train to ...

GREENFIELD - Railway. You cant miss it, it's literally across the road from the station. A traditional lively local with 3 different rooms, pool table, jukebox and sells several beers including Cally IPA, Copper Dragon, often something from Mossley's Millstone Brewery and one or two guests. Football sometimes on TV or if here in an evening then there's regular live music. Now it's time to venture into Yorkshire (though many Saddleworth residents would claim Greenfield is still in Yorkshire as it was up to 1974) ...

MARSDEN - First stop once through the tunnel. Sticking to the rules of only going to pubs on or next to the station you'll find the Railway right outside. It's a Marston's pub done out in a modern style and has several handpumps including Jennings/Marstons and guests, it also sells food. But I strongly suggest cheating slightly (though only 3 mins walk so plenty of time for a pint between trains) and going to the excellent Riverhead instead. Head downhill, cross the river and you'll see it. In 2007 it underwent a few changes including coming under the ownership of the Ossett brewery so it now sells several of their beers along with those from the Riverhead's own brewery. There's also an upstairs restaurant but you wont have time for that! It's a comfortable and friendly place with benches outside next to the river if sunny. If hungry, there's a good chippy in Marsden.

Deviating from the plan here, an alternative is to abandon the train and take a Huddersfield bound bus from Marsden down the A62 to LINTHWAITE. Get off at the junction with Hoyle Ing Rd then a stiff walk up hill brings you to the wonderful Sair Inn (but note weekdays it's only open evenings). It brews its own Linffit ales and is a classic little multi roomed no nonsense drinkers pub. After a pint, walk back down to the A62 for a bus on to Huddersfield and continue the crawl as below. You can also reach Linthwaite via a bus or longer walk from Slaithwaite, the next stop on the railway line.

Back on track though, return to the train at Marsden station. The next stop is:

SLAITHWAITE - where no pubs meet the strict criteria of being on or next to the station. But in the hour between trains there's time to visit one of two highly recommended pubs both under 5 mins walk from the station (though sadly they're in opposite directions!). The Swan (turn right out of the station and follow the road down and round) is a traditional locals pub with guest ales. Or heading left down into the village is the Commercial, recently refurbished and with a big choice of ales many from small Yorkshire brewers. Both pubs usually have something from Slaithwaite's own Empire brewery. So it's well worth getting off for a pint, then an hour later rejoin the train which then terminates at ...

HUDDERSFIELD - where the station offers the choice of two pubs on the platform, the Head of Steam and the Kings Head (formerly the Station Tavern). The Kings sells a vast range of great beer always including a good selection from Yorkshire, though it is a rather sparse and careworn place with its one large bare room. It is more lively when live music events are held and is certainly worth visiting to try some new beer. The Head of Steam is a more comfortable pub with several rooms including a dining area - does good food until mid evening - lots of railway memorabilia and several ales including changing guests from interesting breweries.

Now you could end the day in Huddersfield. Just a short walk from the station (turn left) is the Sportsman, newly refurbished and with plenty of local and unusual ales, while a little further away are the Rat & Ratchet and The Grove - both excellent places with a huge choice of beer. But to complete the station pub crawl then head back over the platforms and board a Leeds bound train (but check where it stops!) and get off at ...

DEWSBURY - for the West Riding Refreshment Rooms. Another pub right on the station platform with a long bar room selling plenty of different beers including various from Taylors and the Anglo Dutch brewery based in the town, there's also a couple of rooms at each end including a real fire and jukebox. Food is served too

Wow !!!!! See you there, through an alcohol induced fog ;-)

7) 90,000+ angry bikers bring France to a halt

With just one month to go before the first round of the French presidential elections, at least 90,000 bikers gathered on the weekend of 24th & 25th March, in every town and city across the whole of France to remind candidates that they had better come up with a robust road safety policy if they don't want to see the whole nation brought to a complete standstill on a regular basis and during their presidential time.

The thousands of bikers, represented by the extremely powerful French Federation of Angry Bikers (FFMC), demonstrated across the whole country all weekend and blocked all cities and towns for hours to demand from the government a motorcycling road policy focused on safety rather than the constant implementation of stupid and meaningless measures designed to treat motorcyclists like cash cows. According to the impressive 90,000+ angry bikers who demonstrated, the French government has so far failed to recognise that motorbikes and scooters are the SOLUTION to transportation, pollution and congestion issues, certainly not the problem. The angry bikers want their government to recognise that motorcyclists, like any other motorists, are responsible road users and it is therefore totally inappropriate to constantly and blatantly punish them with repressive measures. French bikers demand the introduction of a new module in the driving test to make motorists aware of the presence of motorcyclists on the roads and teach them how to share the roads with them in a safe manner. Why does the motorcycle training programme teach riders how to take care of cars on the roads whereas the car driving training programme does not teach how to take care of motorcycles?

French bikers also demand the introduction of road safety courses in school education, the improvement of road conditions and maintenance nationwide as they claim there are too many hazards on the roads making riding unsafe and dangerous. They also demand from the government the full and permanent scrapping of a proposed legislation to force all riders to wear 150m3 of reflective clothing around the arm in an attempt to make them more visible on the roads, when statistics clearly show that the vast majority of accidents involving motorcyclists are caused by car drivers not paying attention or not looking into their mirrors due to poor or no training.

France was the scene of angry bikers blocking the roads nationwide and everywhere, including motorways, city/town centres, ring roads, flyovers and express roads. Even the smallest towns saw at least 100 bikers protesting and expressing their disgust at the existing government's attitude towards motorcyclists.

Because of the time difference with mainland France, the first demonstrations took place in the French overseas territories including the beautiful volcanic island of Reunion (located off Madagascar and Mauritius) where 500 bikers took over the roads between Saint-Denis and Saint-Paul and gathered outside the local council offices. The demonstrations continued with hundreds of bikers gathering in other French overseas territories, including the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Carribean and also New Caledonia located off Australia and New Zealand.

Hundreds of bikers' demonstrations took place all over France on Saturday 24 March 2012 and in Paris on Sunday 25 March 2012. There was not a single town or city that was left out - 10,000 in the second largest French city of Lyon, 7,500 in Bordeaux, 6,500 in Lille, 3,000 in Strasbourg, 1,500 in Nantes, 4,500 in Brittany including Brest, Rennes, Quimper and Saint-Brieuc, 650 in Cherbourg, 2,000 in Clermont-Ferrand and Saint-Etienne, 2,000 in Tours, 1,200 in Dijon, 1,000 in Grenoble, 690 in Nevers and 680 Auxerre. Paris alone saw more than 15,000 bikers on Sunday, blocking the whole traffic and making the heart of the French capital truly theirs!

The bikers demonstrations made the national news on television, radio and newspapers throughout the weekend. The ball is now in the court of the government and all presidential candidates for them to come up with a revised road safety policy that satisfies the angry bikers, otherwise France will continue to see enormous demonstrations that have the power to humiliate the government and bring the whole country to a complete standstill. No retreat, no surrender!


You have to hand it to the French, what they don't know about protests and demo's ... isn't worth knowing !!!!!

8) It's time to get your local MP involved in our Euro battle

So it has happened as expected; the EU Parliamentary vote, or Plenary Session, has been moved to 3rd July 2012, leaving time for more lobbying and for a summer motorcycle street party ...

Negotiations on the Type Approval Regulation are on-going between the Council of Ministers (the National Governments), the EU Commission and the EU Parliament, but it would appear (from various sources including our own DfT) that there is some distance between the various views, so a common position may still be some time coming.

The Danes (who currently hold the EU Presidency) had initially hoped that this could be completed within their term in office, but that ends in June and they are instead concentrating on a renewable energy regulation.

So where to now?

Well it has been remarkable how MEPs have been waking up to MAGs campaign, so thanks for all your efforts. A clear line of development is visible within the responses of some MEPs, like Fiona Hall the Lib Dem in the North East, who hosted a meeting of Paddy Tyson (MAG's Campaigns Manager) and 3 local activists (Rachel, Phil and Andy) at her constituency office last Friday. In contrast of course, there's Bill Newton Dunn (Lib Dem) in East Midlands who remains as belligerent as ever, regardless of what info he is supplied. He does not have an office and will only meet constituents who are prepared to travel to Brussels. We know that many of you have now officially complained to Lib Dem HQ about his behaviour, but thankfully he really is a special case among MEPs.

This sympathetic ear of MEPs and their staff is cross-party and MEP dependant, which demonstrates that a rational argument, clearly put, does bring results and opens the door to face to face meetings which further build our case.

Friday 30th March saw Giles Chichester MEP answering questions in Exeter at Bridge Motorcycles and Paddy has further meetings booked with MEPs of all political persuasions. We have more time now that the vote has been moved to July, so please take advantage of it. If you want help organising a Riders Are Voters public meeting with one of your MEPs, please get in touch with Paddy at MAG HQ (but please make sure the subject header in your email is relevant).

National MP action.

But you can contact your MP now because of more developments inside the UK.

You may remember MAG member Jon Strong's case that the European Ombudsman has upheld against the EU Commission (please ask to see it if you haven't already http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/shortcuts/contacts.faces and ask for details of Case reference 0875/2011/JF). Well now Steven Baker MP has formally written to the Roads Minister, Mike Penning, asking that the British Government consider taking the EU Commission to Court for its contravention of the Treaty of the EU.

In essence, there is no evidence for what has been proposed about Anti-Tampering, or many other parts of this Regulation. The EU Commission acknowledge this and have not done any necessary research to establish if there is a problem with riders modifying bikes, or even how many do it.

Rather like IMCO voting before they have all the info, the Commission really shouldn't have even proposed this legislation without it!

Paddy has heard from the Department for Transport that they were overwhelmed with the letters sent by MAG members to Secretary of State Justine Greening recently - over 300 in two days! - so huge thanks for that. They are aware of the situation, have acknowledged the campaign and have decided to deal directly with MAG Central office on the issue, as they investigate the legal aspects and so that they don't have to reply to you all individually!

But now we need your MP to write as well, on your behalf, so please contact them (details on the Local MAG page if you aren't sure who they are) and ask them to write to the Minister in support of Steven Baker's letter.

It is very important that you include your address with post code this time because it is now a local issue. Adding a personal twist to your letter is important, and actually doing one on paper is even better, but the basis of what you might like to write is included below. Of course if you already know your MP you may want to pop round to the constituency office and talk to them or their staff. Your MP may ask you to sign a form which will enable them to act directly on your behalf on this issue.

Please do a cut and paste, select an option or add whatever polite comments you want, but please don't send it like it is now!:


As a constituent and someone who works in the motorcycle industry/ is a motorcycle instructor/ owns a bike shop/ commutes everyday to beat congestion and minimise their carbon footprint, I would like to draw your attention to a proposed European Regulation COM(2010)542 which, if enacted could severely curtail my business/ personal mobility/ freedom of choice/ wealth. The EU Commission, although consolidating existing legislation, has added new, restrictive clauses, such as article 18 (which aims to stop personal motorcycle modifications) without any evidential base.

The European Ombudsman has found that the Commission has a case to answer (0875/2011/JF) and now Steven Baker MP (High Wycombe) has written to Mike Penning MP the Minister for Roads, calling on him to consider taking the EU Commission to the European Court of Justice.

I urge you, as my representative, to write to the Minister in support of Steven Baker's letter of 12th March. As the proposed regulation stands, it is in contravention of the Treaty of the European Union Article 5 para 5 and fails to comply with the principle of proportionality. There is no proof that there is a link between motorcycle modification and safety, nor has there been any research undertaken to assess the size of the so-called problem.

Yours Sincerely

9) Pete Walkers World Tour of Yorkshire

Pete Walker (A.K.A. The Crown Prince of Yorkshire) is visiting Wakefield MAG on Wednesday 4th April, as part of his world tour (of Yorkshire MAG branches). Pete is the Events Manager of MAP Ltd, the wholly owned events company of the Yorkshire MAG Region, and will be telling us all about the running and management of the Yorkshire MAG Rallies (ITV, FYP & YPR).

The Yorkshire MAG rallies, via the Yorkshire Region, provide significant funding to the MAG fighting fund (more than any other Region in the UK) and we are justly proud of what we do. Pete's talks are always interesting and the floor is open to ask any questions you like. It's also a quite fascinating insight into how these major events are put on, which is no mean feat.

Hope to see you at the meeting on the 4th April, which starts at 20:30 in the Grey Horse. We will be making an important announcement about the MAG AGC first, then Pete will have the floor from 20:45(ish).

10) Forthcoming Events (for March and beyond)

Saturday 14th April - MAG Annual Group Conference 2012

See Above. 10:00-16:00 at Chiltern Park Aerodrome. Ipsden. Wallingford. OX10 6AS. Free, but bring your MAG membership card to gain entry & vote

Sunday 15th April - Wakefield Hospice 10K Race (Wakefield MAG providing Mobile Race Marshals)

Starting from Thornes Park. Time: 09:00 (race starts at 09:30) TBC

Sunday 15th April - Walking Treasure Hunt [CANCELLED]

Please note this event has been postponed, but don't fret, it will be rescheduled for later in the year !!!

Sunday 22nd April - Wakefield MAG Monthly Rideout to the Straightliners 2012 Motorcycle Drag Racing Series, at Elvington, York

Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield, WF1 4EJ. Event entry is £10.

Friday 4th May - Sunday 6th May - Into the Valley Rally

Dalton Estate, South Dalton, East Yorkshire. £15 Pre Book; £20 OTG. Tickets now available at Branch meetings (See Above). Wakefield MAG are judging the Saturday afternoon bike show at ITV, so bribes gratefully taken in exchange for a show win ;-)

Saturday 12th May - The Thundersprint Bike Show

Northwich Memorial Hall, Chester Way, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5QJ

Sunday 13th May - The Thundersprint

Leicester Street Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5LG

Saturday 26th May - Leeds MAG Annual Demo Run

It is intended that the run will start and finish at Squires Cafe, LS25 5LX. A Saturday night party and camping are also planned.

Sunday 27th May - Wakefield MAG Rideout (Destination: Bubble Car Museum in Lincolnshire)

Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield, WF1 4EJ

That's all for this month and I hope to see you all soon.

Ride Safe .. Ride Free
Steve Travis
Wakefield MAG
0772 078 4734

Wakefield MAG meet at the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, Wakefield at 8:30pm every Wednesday. New (and Old) faces are always welcome.