Wakefield MAG January 2011 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.

I hope everyone had a brilliant Christmas and New Year. In addition to getting some Christmas pressies that you really wanted, hopefully you also got some that you gladly want to give away !!!! WHY ? ....... because the Wakefield MAG Post Christmas Auction is rapidly approaching (See below for details).


1) Wakefield & District MAG Annual General Meeting
2) Post Christmas Auction
3) Christmas Pub Crawl Report
4) Wakefield MAG is going to the dogs (Again)
5) Craven Collection 'Driveout'
6) Motorcycle Test Review
7) Fines for dodgy tyres to be halved
8) GET A GRIP Campaign
9) 2011 Yorkshire MAG Rally Prices
10) Leeds MAG Christmas Toy Run
11) Forthcoming Events (for January and beyond)

1) Wakefield & District MAG Annual General Meeting

Our 9th branch Annual General Meeting will be held in the Grey Horse, on Wednesday 12th January, starting at 8:30pm. All members are invited to attend this special meeting, so please try to attend if you can. At this meeting there will be a review of the year, elections for the branch committee and the prize giving for our branch heroes. As this meeting is effectively a MAG political meeting, it carries with it a whopping 75 branch points for everyone who attends (a normal branch meeting only carries 5 points). As all the points are tallied at year end and go towards the branch heroes presentation, points really do mean prizes !!!! What better boost to your branch heroes tally for the new year !!!

The Annual Wakefield MAG mailshot was posted to all eligible Members, i.e. current or recently expired MAG members with a WF postcode, in early December to formally place notice for the meeting. 125 letters were produced, for 105 current members and 20 who had expired over the previous 12 month period and not subsequently renewed. Some meeting regulars who don't actually reside in the Wakefield District were also emailed their mailshot letter. If you want an email copy of the mailshot letter, drop me an email and I'll send a copy onto you.

The previous AGM minutes are posted on the branch website (under the AGM's menu item, spookily enough !!) and will be available at the AGM itself. Again, if you want your own copy, please let me know and I'll send one on.

Six AGM motions have already been submitted, covering areas such as our fund-raising efforts, format of the rideouts, our products and other areas of the branches 'operations'. The deadline for motions to be submitted for consideration at the AGM is Wednesday 5th January.

Hope to see you at the AGM, and don't forget your membership card to vote !!!

2) Post Christmas Auction

Our Post Christmas Auction is rapidly approaching and will be held on Wednesday 26th January 2010, at 20:00, at the Grey Horse, Kirkgate, and if previous years events are anything to go by, an event not to be missed. The idea is that you bring along all your unwanted Christmas presents, together with other stuff you no longer want, or have the room for, donate them to the branch, and we auction them off to the highest bidder.

Our last auction raised over £425, which, bearing in mind the bidding on a lot of items started at 50p, is a staggering and truly impressive result !!!! This was pretty much the same as we raised in 2009, although the raffle also raised over £42, so in total, we did beat 2009's seemingly unbeatable total.

Of course for 2011, we want to beat that !!!!

The auctions are always hugely entertaining and there are always some real quality items donated, and hence, some real bargains to be had.

Who benefits from the proceeds from the auction is to be decided at the AGM, although it is highly likely that the vast majority (if not all), will be donated to the MAG fighting fund, after all, charity begins at home !!!

I hope to see you there (and don’t forget to bring your unwanted Christmas pressies !!!).

3) Christmas Pub Crawl Report

We held our Christmas Do on Saturday 11th December, meeting in Henry Boons (Westgate) at 19:30. After a couple of pints in Henry Boons, we headed up to the Black Horse (opposite the Theatre Royal) for further beverages of the alcoholic variety. Our next port of call was The Hop, a fantastic real ale pub, that had a free band on that evening – can life get any better !?!?!. We met Mo & Pingy at The Hop, taking the total on the pub crawl to around a dozen.

The band (Hard Shoulder) came on about 21:00(ish) and played a great set of classic and modern rock numbers, something for everyone, with the best from Metallica, Stereophonics, Foo Fighters, Neil Young, Black Sabbath, Bon Jovi, Thin Lizzy, Snow Patrol & Kings of Leon, amongst others. They played very similar material to Big Day (who have played Yorkshire MAG rallies, including the YPR this year), and had the pub rocking.

At the interval, half of our contingent continued the pub crawl, with the others staying to see the second set of Hard Shoulder. After the band, we all reunited in our HQ, the Grey Horse, for a few nightcaps and games of pool, before calling it a night (when Dougie, the genial landlord of the Grey Horse finally kicked us out as he wanted to go to bed !!!!).

A great evening was had by all as they say !!! For next year, we are planning a Christmas meal (instead of a pub crawl), something we haven't done as a branch since the Christmas of 2003. Looking forward to that already, and we'll let you know the details a bit nearer the event.

4) Wakefield MAG is going to the dogs (Again)

Following our hugely successful visit to the Greyhound racing last February, Wakefield MAG is going to the dogs (AGAIN !!!!) ......... at Kinsley Greyhound Stadium, on Saturday 5th March. The dog racing will cost £12, but that includes admission (including race programme), a pint, a meal, 2 x £1 Tokens for a Tote super six jackpot (with a £30,000 top prize), and a £1 token for a normal tote bet. It's a bit of a bargain and if it's anything like our last visit, a great night out.

We are now collecting £5 deposits (non-refundable) to secure places, so, if you would like to go, let us know asap.

5) Craven Collection 'Driveout'

Wakefield MAG members John, Chaz, Mike & Eddie met at Squires on Sunday 5th December, on a very frosty yet sunny morning around 10:45. Fed and watered, we all piled into Johns motor (it was far too wintry to contemplate going on the bikes) and took the scenic route through Aberford to Hook Moor, then headed towards Towton, past Lotherton Hall, then stayed on the east bound A64, to the A1237 and A1036 Malton Road, and before the Toby pub took a turn sharp left into Hopgrove lane. South for half a mile to a T junction, then left onto Stockton lane, about half a mile to Dean's Garden Centre on the LHS, with a turning on the right for Brockfield Villa and the Craven Collection of Classic Motorcycles.

This was the last chance of 2010 to see all the biker vintage eye candy with my fellow enthusiasts, Pals who had either bought, rode, fell off or rode pillion on these time-less memories from our youth .

Only three pounds fifty to get into the Craven Collection, so it certainly doesn't break the piggy bank. This was one place I had set my heart on visiting, trust us to pick one of the coldest and icy days of the year, not long after the first November early snow, but at least the main roads were passable, and we were thankful we hadn't risked it on the bikes.

Once inside the inner building, you then not only see the machines your father rode in his youth, but a whole world of past social, recreational, transport and racing history: Clothing, Road signs, Army weapons, ex-garage petrol pumps (with the old prices), period containers, Tools, Service manuals, juke boxes ,spare parts, items you and your dad had used in your formative years, old motorcycle magazines, 1970's mint Japanese machines, a BSA winged wheel (like a bolt on motor in the rear wheel with a push bike frame ), 1960's Scooters, Police & Army bikes (as seen on TV), motorcycles and sidecars, Reliant three wheels, bubble cars and the Best collection of Vincents I've ever seen.

The vast majority of the bikes are roadworthy, with many regularly being used in TV series (Heartbeat amongst others) and in Films. The racing bikes are still raced , ask Dick the proprietor about the quick times he reaches on his racing Vincent (a 1/4 mile in 11.15 seconds),

Countless more bikes are all around you, its a golden opportunity, just to reminisce. Our Host made our stay worthwhile with his encyclopedic knowledge of the past and present bikes, which are all on show once a month. Over 250 motorcycles plus a large collection of 1950s and 1960s cars and commercial vehicles.

The Craven Collection is open (Spring to late Autumn), once a month (1st Sunday) Our sincere thanks to the staff at the Craven Collection. Three Pounds and Fifty Pence very well spent.

Post Code for Sat Nav: YO32 9UE. 01904 400493.

6) Motorcycle Test Review

The review of the Motorcycle Test, announced by Mike Penning MP, Road Safety Minister, in June 2010, has now been conducted. The review was in response to public concerns about the changes to the motorcycle test introduced in April 2009.

The aim of the review has been to devise changes to the test which deliver a single event test, carried out on the road where possible, which will maintain riding standards, improve safety and increase accessibility of the test to all candidates.  Work has focussed on the specified manoeuvres required by EU legislation, in particular the hazard avoidance manoeuvre, and on improved service delivery to increase the number and geographical coverage of locations from which testing is available.

The results of the review are as follows:

A potential new hazard avoidance manoeuvre has been designed, which can be performed on the road. This includes a more flexible approach to assessing whether candidates have attained the speed requirement, which can also be applied to the emergency stop.  Alternative approaches to the slow speed manoeuvres and the manoeuvre at 30kmh (19mph) have also been considered. Further work is needed to confirm that the revised manoeuvres achieve the aims of improving safety and maintaining standards.  Further consideration also needs to be given to the criteria for performing the manoeuvres on the road safely. Trialling involving a significant number of candidates at or around test standard is therefore recommended, to verify that the proposed new manoeuvres are suitable for testing riding standards and can be done safely on the road as part of a single event test.

Another approach is that the slow manoeuvres could be examined as part of the pre-test training that most candidates take, at existing off road training sites (as part of the CBT), rather than at DSA sites. This would take place ahead of the main part of the test, which would still be conducted by DSA, as a single event.  Examination of the slow manoeuvres could be undertaken by delegated examiners, or by DSA examiners going to customer sites at training schools. This approach needs further development with the training industry and others, including the procedures for quality assurance of delegated examiners, recording and verifying whether candidates had passed and the costs for trainers, candidates and DSA.

Once the suitability of the proposed new manoeuvres has been verified, the next stage will be to deliver a complete new practical test.  In particular, to meet the significant concerns about access to the test, it will need to be provided from additional locations.  Suitable locations for on-road delivery of the hazard avoidance and emergency stop manoeuvres will need to be found, which meet the criteria for safe delivery of the manoeuvres. They will also need to form part of test routes including a suitable variety of riding conditions, an opportunity for independent riding and possibly a location for testing of the slow manoeuvres (in the event that these are not examined separately by delegated examiners), all within a reasonable distance of a start and end point which has suitable facilities.

The priority for moving to on road testing, as far as possible, will be the areas which are currently most poorly served, while existing off road sites could at least initially continue to be used where they are still convenient for candidates. Subject to further work on safety, cost and value for money, there could then be a transitional period while on road testing was introduced in more areas. Over time, more on road sites would be identified so that by the end of the transitional period, it could be possible for all tests to be conducted on road.  To ensure consistency of the test for all candidates, any changes to the manoeuvres would be introduced in the same way for all locations at the same time.

The costs involved will also need to be taken into account. Factors affecting costs are likely to include the time taken to deliver a new single event test will determine the number of tests per day that can be delivered per examiner; increasing the provision of test locations, by increasing the number of examiners needed to provide a service across a larger number of sites; the cost implications of future options for existing Multi Purpose Test Centre sites and Motorcycle Manoeuvring Areas, most of which are leased; and any potential savings by moving from a two module test to a single event test and from improvements to the booking system to reduce the number of unused test slots.

The next step will be to undertake trialling of the proposed new manoeuvres, in the early part of 2011.  This will be followed by public consultation on the proposed changes. The secondary legislation governing the test will also need to be amended, examiners and trainers will need to prepare for the new test and the on road sites will need to be identified and prepared. The aim should be to implement the new test, including on road testing in priority areas, by the end of 2011 or early 2012, moving to on road testing for all tests as quickly as possible after that.  Changes to the test will need to be monitored and kept under review.

Wakefield MAG say's "In a nutshell, and although not finalised, it looks like the new test will be reverting to an all 'on-road' format, and able to be taken in one sitting - not unlike the old one, albeit with a few extra manoeuvres. These changes will now bring the UK into line with the rest of the EU (as we were the only EU country to have introduced the hugely expensive off-road Multi-Purpose Test Centre's). A definite step in the right direction."

7) Fines for dodgy tyres to be halved

In the House of Lords on 14th December, Earl Atlee moved a motion (if you'll excuse the pun) that will see the fine incurred for having illegally low tread on a motorcycle tyre, reduced from the current £120 to £60 to be in-line with car drivers.

The move is one part of the Road Safety (financial penalty deposit)(appropriate amount)(amendment) Order 2010 and related to the Fixed Penalty (amendment) Order 2010 and is in recognition of the fact that motorcyclists often feel they do not receive fair treatment before the law.

In this instance it is indeed the case that the fine for riders is twice that for drivers, so the perception of victimisation is not merely one of perception!

This road safety order in its entirety aims to address the problem of non-payment of fines for offences by non-nationals or others the Police suspect may avoid payment, but MAG is happy that the Government is taking this opportunity to amend previous unfairness.

Beware though, that under the same Fixed Penalty (Amendment) Order, the fine for an obscured, ill-sized or missing number plate, is to go up from £30 to £60. Oh priorities, priorities.

8) GET A GRIP Campaign

MAG recently launched the GET A GRIP campaign at the 2010 NEC Motorcycle Show. GET A GRIP is a campaign for consistent road grip levels, starting with addressing the problem of slippery iron manhole covers. MAG believes this 19th Century technology has no place on 21st century roads.

If you use 2 wheels instead of 4, you’ll know how important it is to have consistent grip under your tyres.

Slipping on gravel or a manhole cover, especially in the wet, can be frightening at best, catastrophic at worst. If visibility is good you will probably try to take avoiding action, but that can make you alter your line - a potentially hazardous activity too!

Potholes can have exactly the same effect, but with the added danger of suspension and wheel damage, or extreme deflection into oncoming traffic.

Across the UK there are in excess of 10,000,000 inspection covers. Worn, cracked and displaced manhole or inspection covers create a hazard by creating areas of low skid resistance – often at key points along the carriageway. Covers are placed at points where the utility companies need to change the direction of pipes and drainage – usually on corners and often in the crown of the road. The appearance of a worn or damaged inspection cover in the path of a motorcyclist will often  lead to an instinctive swerve which could be potentially hazardous – but more dangerous could be the sudden variation of traction and the resulting loss of control.

We all ride in full awareness of the varying potential risks presented by ever changing types of road surfaces – and it is usually possible to adapt your riding accordingly, but inspection covers are in essence, motorcycling's equivalent of playing a game of Russian Roulette.  There is no choice when it comes to your riding safety being compromised by worn or damaged inspection covers.

But if you want to GET A GRIP of the situation what do you do?

Do you know what to do if you see a road defect? Where and how do you report it?

Is there a way of letting the authorities know just how the defect impacts motorcyclists?

Manhole covers are a fact of life- there needs to be access to underground sewers, gas pipes and telecommunications but do they have to be in the middle of the road?

Is there a safer way of providing access to the utilities?

Who is responsible? Come to think of it, who owns the covers?

GET A GRIP raises awareness of road surface safety issues.
GET A GRIP reports the problem.
GET A GRIP works with relevant organisations to create a safer environment for riders.
GET A GRIP campaigns for higher grip, cost effective, road surfaces.
GET A GRIP reduces injuries and costs.
GET A GRIP provides the solution.
If we all GET A GRIP we can make the change.

The GET A GRIP campaign doesn't just provide the mechanism to report the problems, it also provides the solutions. In these cash strapped times we also want to help councils GET A GRIP of their road maintenance budgets. It costs about two grand to do all the legal niceties before a set of temporary traffic lights can be put in place and a road gang can fix a dodgy manhole cover, or more often just the broken tarmac around it. That money could be saved if a manhole cover was fitted that didn’t break, rust, move in its frame, or regularly get nicked for its scrap value. There’d be even more money saved if they were lightweight and workers didn’t damage their backs moving them.

GET A GRIP is supported by the Institute of Highway Engineers, Asphalt Industry Alliance, Structural Sciences, Dunlop Tyres, and numerous other motorcycling organisations.

Visit the campaign web site (www.getagripuk.org) for more info, to report dangerous road surfaces or manholes, sign the on-line petition, and learn how we are ensuring we can all GET A GRIP !!!

9) 2011 Yorkshire MAG Rally Prices

You may well be aware that VAT goes up to 20% early in the new year. An unfortunate side effect of the Government squeezing even more out of us in tax, is that virtually all prices for goods and services will increase. Unfortunately, that also means rally prices. Yorkshire MAG events are, as you will know, run by a Limited Company – Magic Action Promotions Ltd (wholly owned by Yorkshire MAG members). Unfortunately, being a Limited company means we have to pay VAT on the ticket price, to HM Customs & Excise. The impact of the increase in VAT means that an extra £3.5K - £7.5K will have to be paid in tax across all 3 of the Yorkshire MAG rallies.

We have therefore been put in the difficult position of having to find the extra revenue from somewhere, if we are to maintain the donations to the MAG Fighting Fund, which are so vital in helping to preserve riders rights and freedoms.

After very careful consideration and much deliberation, we are forced to increase the price for 2 of the 3 Yorkshire MAG rallies, as follows:

This is the first price increase for 3 years and these events still remain fantastic value for money (just compare the prices to similarly sized events and you will see for yourself !!!). All the same MAG member concessions apply, and even bigger and better attractions are planned at each of these rallies (more about these in future newsletters). Remember also, all the proceeds from these rallies go directly to the MAG fighting fund, and hence directly towards protecting YOUR freedom.

10) Leeds MAG Christmas Toy Run

Leeds MAG traditionally host a Christmas Toy Run, every year, in aid of their favourite charity, Lineham Farm Children's Centre. This years Toy run was on Wednesday 15th December, meeting up at 6:00pm at the Dragon Hotel on Whitehall Road.

Sheila and Andy Mac of Leeds MAG spread the word of the forthcoming Toy Run, with the help of other branch officials and local MCC members.

Bob and his dad (also a Bob), both of Yorkshire Trikers met up with Wakefield MAG's very own Eddie Johnson, on their trike's in Alverthorpe for the run to the Dragon Hotel and the Toy Run start. Stacked up on the trike's were sacks of toys for the kids. Bob Junior on his red trike went one further by towing a trailer also filled with toys. Bob's trailer also has a scrolling message bar fitted, which he had programmed to read 'Leeds MAG Toy Run', which amused passing motorists, especially as we had matching Santa outfits on.

The event, relies heavily on decent weather to get a good turnout and we were very lucky on that score, considering the early snow we have had in the weeks leading up to the event. The roads were busy with rush hour traffic, and the road works just outside the Dragon pub didn't help, although it didn't stop us arriving in good time. At six thirty the Toy Run set off and a long line of bikes and trike's headed towards the Armley gyratory, past the Harley dealers and down onto Kirkstall Road, heading due West  towards Spen Lane and the Ring Road.

We did well to keep together, up onto Otley Road, past Lawnswood and Golden Acre Park, then taking a right at the next roundabout towards Eccup. A left, then a right onto Swan Lane and then the farm track leading to both the donkey sanctuary and Lineham Farm Children's Centre.

We unloaded all the pressies and took them into the Centre, pre-marked with boy or girl to make the job easier for Santa's helpers. We were rewarded with hot drinks and mince pies and a warm welcome from both staff and our fellow biker friends, with lots of exchanging of Christmas wishes.

The Centre staff organised the children into a choir and we also had carols sung for our welcoming. Bob Jnr, in his Santa outfit got the honourable job of handing out the Christmas goodies. Before too long, the children's attention drifted towards our trike's and bikes in the yard outside. Staff and kids had pillion rides on two of the trike's at slow speeds around the grounds, which was a Christmas present itself to those that had a ride.

Leeds MAG had great support on their Toy Run, not only from other MAG branches, but also local MCC's, including East Leeds Lions, Team Sober, GEMS and the Yorkshire Trikers.  The Lineham Farm Children's Centre made us all very welcome (as they do at Easter and Christmas every year).  A great event for a good cause and we are just glad the weather relented enough to let it happen this year.

11) Forthcoming Events (for January and beyond)

Wednesday 12th January - Wakefield MAG AGM

As detailed above.

Wednesday 26th January - Wakefield MAG 7th Post Christmas Auction

As detailed above.

Saturday 29th January - East Yorkshire MAG'S 35th Birthday Bash

A celebration for East Yorkshire MAG's 35th Birthday, at the Lady Le Gros, Beverley, HU17 9HT. Cheap beer (only 2 quid a pint), a Great Band (all female line-up from Australia) & good company! What more could you possible ask for ? Well, it could be free ...... and it is !!!!!

Did I mention it was FREE !!!!

February - Fred Hill Run

At this stage, it is not known whether there will be a Fred Hill run in February. Although traditionally, Fred Hill memorial runs are held in February, to commenmorate Fred's untimely death in Pentonville Prison (on 10th February 1984), the runs are very subject to the weather, and in 2010 the run had to be cancelled twice at the last minute due to ice and snow. There is an option to potentially hold the Fred Hill memorial run in early June, to co-incide with the anniversary of the Helmet law being passed (on 1st June 1973), when at least the risk of ice and snow will have passed.

Watch this space for further updates on the Yorkshire MAG 2011 Fred Hill run. However, one thing is certain – there WILL be a Yorkshire Fred Hill Memorial Run in 2011 (we just do know when yet)

Saturday 5th March - Wakefield MAG is going to the Dogs (AGAIN)

As detailed above.

Sunday 27th March - Wakefield MAG Pet Food Run

Following our hugely successful pet food run in 2010, we are hosting another one !!!! We will be visiting Whitehall Dog Rescue in East Ardsley again, together with one (or more) Wakefield District dog and/or cat rescues. Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield. Whitehall Dog Rescue is always in need of the following: Chews / Treats; Towels / Blankets; Collars / Leads; Old Quilts; Donations (towards vets bills). We'll let you know what other items can be taken to support the other dog and/or cat rescues in the Wakefield area we also plan to visit.

Watch this space for more details !!!!

That's all for this month, hope 2011 turns out to be a great biking year, and I hope to see you all soon.

Ride Safe
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.