Wakefield MAG May 2009 Newsletter

Dear Wakefield MAG member,

Welcome to the Wakefield MAG e-newsletter. If you canít attend our Wednesday meetings regularly, itís the next best thing to keep you up to date with what we are up to.

CONTENTS

1) Dales Falconry Centre Rideout Report
2) Wakefield Hospice 10K Marshalling Report
3) MAG AGC Report
4) Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala Bike Show
5) MAG National Demo Run
6) Motorcycling Community Joint Press Release
7) Criminal Compensation
8) NABD Rally Sold Out
9) Rally Tickets
10) Operation Achilles
11) Forthcoming Events (May and Beyond)

1) Dales Falconry Centre Rideout Report

Fourteen of us, on eleven bikes met up at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms on Easter Monday, for our rideout to the Yorkshire Dales Falconry & Wildlife Conservation Centre. Our rideout officials were Steve, leading the rideout, Justine acting as back marker and Toby & Mark being our floating marshals. We set off at 10:10, once everyone had enjoyed their coffee's and fried breakfast products. We took the A650 route out of Wakefield, picking up the A653 at Tingley Roundabout. We joined Leeds Outer Ringroad and picked up the A65 at Horsforth roundabout. We followed the A65 bypassing Otley and hitting heavy traffic on the outskirts of Ilkley. Roadsigns proclaimed that the traffic light sequence had been changed to better manage the traffic flow through Ilkley town centre ..... Mmmmm, not at all convinced the traffic light sequence is correct, as had we not been on bikes and able to filter, we would have still been there now.

Toby's first stop to take action photo's of all the bikes en-route ended up right next to all the queueing traffic heading into Ilkley by the time we had arrived. Ooops.

Next a quick fag and toilet stop in Ilkely. A parking attendant come rushing over but it was only to tell us that all Bradford Metropolitan District Council car parks are completely free to motorcycles ..... way to go Bradford MDC !!!!

We continued on the A65, passing the wind farm at Chelker reservoir, where Toby had positioned himself to take more action shots of the bikes. With Toby at the side of the road, in a hi-viz vest with a camera, it was most amusing watching all the cars hit their brakes thinking it was a mobile speed trap.

Staying on the A65, we bypassed Skipton and headed out towards Settle. The traffic was pretty busy and constant, anyone would have thought it was a bank holiday !!!

Once past the Settle roundabout, it was only a couple of miles to the Falconry Centre. We arrived at 13:00, in good time for the first bird display at 13:30. A quick look at the pens, then the live falconry display. The Falcons swoop at well over 100 MPH, and have a top speed of over 200 MPH, so as you can imagine, they are pretty impressive to watch. Has the Government not told them that they are to be restricted to 50 MPH when flying in the country !!!!

Time then for a cup of tea and a spot of lunch, then the next display at 15:00. Out came the huge vulture, seeing that in flight with it's gigantic 15 foot wingspan is truly awesome. The Eagle Owl skirting the very top of your head en-route to it's trainer (and a tasty chicken morsel) was also most impressive. A great rideout destination, not cheap at £5.90, but it's not that often you get so close to such magnificent birds of prey. Funnily enough, all the wild birds kept a pretty low profile when the owls, hawks and falcons were around !!!!

Time to head home and we came back on the A650 route heading towards Bradford, again heavy traffic, but it didn't bother us on the bikes. We took the old road through Crossflatts and Bingley to miss the traffic on the bypass (well, most of us did !!!). Skirting past Shipley, then trough Bradford, Tong, Morley and back home in Wakefield for 18:00.

A thoroughly cracking day out, the sun shone, and amazingly, for a Wakefield MAG ride-out, we didn't get lost.

2) Wakefield Hospice 10K Marshalling Report

Seven Wakefield MAG members helped to marshal this years Wakefield Hospice 10K race, which was held on Sunday 5th April. Wakefield MAG have provided mobile marshals for a good number of years now, and our assistance undoubtedly helps the event to run smoothly, and generate much needed funds for this very worthy local charity. The Wakefield Hospice 10K race is a very well attended amateur athletics event and attracts well over a 1,000 competitors.

The route had been changed for 2009, and couldn't have been much simpler, coming out of Clarence Park, along Lawefield Lane, to Horbury Road, then several kilometres out to Highfield Road, a U turn, and back along Horbury Road to Clarence Park. A whole side of the carriageway on Horbury Road was closed for the duration of the race.

There was only one wheelchair competitor this year so Steve & Daz were allocated to marshal him, setting off at 09:45. The main pack set off at 10:00 and Steve J, Mark & Chas acted as the race front markers, with Steve giving a pillion ride to a Wakefield Hospice official. Back markers were provided by Toby (sensibly on a push bike), and Lisa.

The wheelchair competitor was understandably slow going up hill, but more than made up for it going downhill, reaching speeds of 40 MPH (my Enfield was struggling to keep up !!!). The wheelchair competitor met the main pack of runners on his return but they were soon passed and he made the finish line in around 20 minutes, pretty impressive. The front runner was not too far behind and made the finish line in around 30 minutes. Steve J, Chas and Mark said that they were averaging about 8-10 MPH, so the guy was really motoring. It was actually a good few minutes before the second runner appeared.

The back markers came home a good while later !!!!!

Our marshals did a superb job of helping to mark the runners, and got several thank you's over the tannoy from the organisers.

Time for a group photo, then we all made our separate ways home. A great result, the weather couldn't have been better, dry and sunny, but not too warm (most of us were on air cooled bikes and not travelling very fast, we didn't want any over heating problems). A huge thanks to both Steve's, Toby, Lisa, Mark, Chas & Daz, for making the effort to get up so early on a Sunday morning, but well worth it, for a good deed for a worthy cause.

We'll be helping the Hospice with this event again next year, so if you would like to help, give me a shout (back markers on push bikes highly recommended !!!).

3) MAG AGC Report

This years MAG AGC was held on Saturday 4th April in Darlington. Four Wakefield MAG members (Steve, Lisa, Mick & Ian) set off from the Stork Lodge Tea Rooms at 09:00, for the ride up to Hurworth Community Centre near Darlington. Justine, our Finance Officer, was already up there, having been there the night before for the MAG UK Board meeting.

An uneventful if somewhat boring ride up the A1, until we got to within a mile of the venue when Ian's clutch dramatically failed on his BMW, leaving him stranded in a lay-by. Fortunately, he had breakdown recovery, so within the hour was being whisked back down the A1 in the direction we had just come, en-route to Rainbow BMW in Rotherham. Of course technically, Ian should have his 75 branch points for attending the AGC revoked, but we are all heart in Wakefield MAG ...... and he was there in spirit if not actually in person !!!

Yorkshire MAG was well represented at this years AGM, with six of our groups in attendance. MAG has not had a brilliant year financially, with the fighting fund donations from events and rallies being significantly lower than the previous financial year, pretty much attributable to the terrible summer we had. Membership has stayed pretty much the same, as have central office costs. MAG does need more members so it is not as reliant on it's events to fund the political lobbying activity (so, if you are reading this newsletter and you are not a MAG member, now is a good time to join !!!!).

It is not all doom and gloom however and there are some great initiatives and activities afoot. As a political lobbying organisation, which is after all our primary remit, we are unbeatable !!!

The East Yorkshire MAG proposal that 'MAG (UK) prepare and implement a national campaign, to protect the liberty and freedom of motorcyclists, travelling on the public highways from overzealous and discriminatory policing', was passed, and progress is already being made with that campaign (see elsewhere in this newsletter).

Election wise, all the National Officers were re-elected, with the exception of the National Chair of MAG, and Paul Turner is the new Chairman of the Motorcycle Action Group. The post became vacant after former Chairman Jane Chisholm stood down after three years in the position. Paul is a recently retired former police officer and Pan European rider from Cumbria, and has the enthusiasm, energy and very importantly, the time, that †running the nationís leading rider group demands. Speaking of his appointment Paul said, ďIím excited by the challenges of this new role in my life. MAG is a dynamic organization that is more relevant than ever to the future of motorcycling. I intend to build on the work of my predecessors and help steer MAG to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. †There is some scary stuff ahead but MAG has the connections, the experience and the determination to face those threats and protect the interests of all riders. †MAG has been through a lot of internal changes lately and I find myself at the helm of a ship that has been thoroughly refitted and is ready for its most ambitious voyage. We are looking to all who ride to come aboard.Ē

An entertaining President's Address by El Presidente Ian Mutch, as always, then the donation presentations, with a whopping £12,500 from Yorkshire MAG.

The Conference finished early, always welcome when you have a longish journey to get home.

A full report will appear in the next issue of the Road, but don't forget that you read it here first !!!

A huge thanks to all the Wakefield MAG members who attended this years AGC, 75 branch points duly awarded. And we all hope Ian's bike is better soon !!!!

4) Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala Bike Show

Wakefield MAG's annual bike show, will again be held at the Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala, on the Bank Holiday Monday on 4th May 2009. The bike show, which is FREE entry, will be held at Wakefield's Clarence Park (same location as last year), between Denby Dale Road & Horbury Road.

Following the huge success of last year's show, we have substantially increased the show categories (Modern, Classic Brit, Classic Jap, Vintage, Custom Paint, Custom Engineering, Rat, Trike & Overall Best in Show) to cater for all types of Bike & Trike.

The Show will be judged at 15:00, and entry into the show will be from 09:30 onwards (Gala officially opens at 10:00).

We have the certificates and show prizes, we have the Yorkshire MAG stand, we have products, we have MAG literature and freebies, our show marshals are poised and ready, we are listed as a key attraction on the Hospice Gala publicity, all we need now are lots and lots of bikes in the show !!

All are most welcome to come along and show off their pride & Joy. Last year we had over 50 bikes and trikes in the show, let's try to beat that this year and really put Wakefield on the map !!!!

5) MAG National Demo Run

The MAG National Demo Run "TOO FAR TO GO" has had to be retimed to depart from Squire's†at 11:00 on Saturday 9th May, instead of the previously advertised 11:30. †

The reason for this is that the West Yorkshire Police motorcycle division are holding a Bikesafe on the same afternoon, so they have agreed to put their start time back half an hour to enable them to assist us on our run.

Wakefield MAG will meet at our usual point (Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, Thornes Road, Wakefield) where we will have a mass rideĖin to Squires. Meet at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms at 09:00, leaving at 09:30 for a scenic & leisurely ride to Squires where we will meet up with other Yorkshire MAG branches, MCCís, other groups and individual riders for the National Demo Run.

The MAG National Demo Run is a protest to highlight the plight for learner riders with the pitiful number of new Multi-Purpose Test Centres (MPTC) currently up and running. The Demo is one of a number of other campaigning activities regarding the Multi-Purpose Test Centre debacle (see also newsletter Item 6 below).

Demos are the ACTION in the Motorcycle Action Group. They are also great fun. The demo run is also a rare opportunity to ride in a huge group of fellow bikers, right through Leeds City Centre, packed with Saturday shoppers, all with closed roads and a police escort. What a great incentive to get out on your bike and make your presence felt !!!

Mark the date in your diary as this is not one to miss.

6) Motorcycling Community Joint Press Release

The main motorcycle organisations in the UK have got together and published a joint press release regarding the MPTC fiasco. The joint press release, will carry far more weight with the government, by representing the whole spectrum of motorcycling within the UK, both the industry, and 'users'. A meeting with the roads minister Jim Fitzpatrick is booked for 18th May in London, and MAG will be represented by Nich Brown. More news in next months newsletter.

MOTORCYCLE COMMUNITY URGES MINISTER TO TAKE ACTION ON TESTING CHAOS

Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick needs to intervene to prevent the collapse of the motorcycle testing system, according to motorcycle and training organisations, who are warning that the implementation of the new motorcycle testing package on April 29 could put lives and businesses at risk.

The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI), together with its training arm the Motor Cycle Industry Trainersí Association (MCITA), the Local Authorities Road Safety Officers Association (LARSOA), the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) and the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) have written to Mr Fitzpatrick to warn that, despite a six-month delay to find more test sites, there are still not enough sites to meet demand, and trainers have found themselves unable to book the tests that their trainees need.

Mr Fitzpatrick was told: "Although the delay period is nearly at an end, there has been no significant improvement in the situation with regard to the promised 66 full time multi-purpose test centres (MPTC). Only 44 will be in operation when the new test goes 'live' at the end of April - just five more than in September, 2008.†† Although a further delay is not legislatively possible at this stage, it is essential that some form of transitional measures are retained, or some way found for existing infrastructure to be used to deliver the new test, or there is a real risk of systemic collapse, business closures, job losses and compromised road safety."

Unless action is taken, there is a real danger that the whole motorcycle test system will fall into chaos.† Even with 66 MPTCs, there will still be an 80 per cent reduction in the number of available test sites, leaving candidates in many parts of the country virtually unable to secure a motorcycle test. More importantly, the motorcycle industry fears that longer journeys to fewer test centres will bring significant road safety risks.

All good advice to novice riders tells them not to undertake long journeys in heavy traffic soon after taking their test, but to build up slowly as they gain experience. Some test candidates could face a journey of 100 miles or more in each direction, coupled with the stress of taking a test. There is a real risk that riders will opt out of testing and become 'permanent learners', a huge set-back to motorcycle safety.

MCIís Sheila Rainger commented: "While the industry was pleased to take part in the consultations on the new test system and to participate in the DSAís Stakeholder Group, we remain deeply concerned that progress on identifying new sites has simply stalled, while the test booking system is not fit for purpose.† We continue to talk to the DSA, but feel that the infrastructure to support the new test is not in place. Action must be taken now, or we will lose good trainers and condemn novice motorcyclists to a test regime that is not fit for purpose."

The BMFís government relations executive Chris Hodder said: "This is no way to introduce a new test regime. There are insufficient centres and major problems over the booking process, but more importantly, inexperienced learner motorcyclists are being forced to travel excessive distances to take a test, and bizarrely, even if they fail, will be forced to ride a long distance home. Itís time for the government to bite the bullet and delay the testís introduction."

Newly-elected chairman of the Motorcycle Action Group, Paul Turner, said: "If the DSA genuinely values its customers, especially the most vulnerable among them, it should act responsibly by not forcing the new test through until all the test facilities have been built. Large parts of Great Britain will have no test facilities; we fear that riders may soon find it difficult to get local training as the lack of test centres mean training schools cannot run their businesses."

CALL TO ACTION:

If you are concerned about the plight of learner riders, who are after all, the very future of motorcycling, there are several things as an individual you can do:
a) Write to your local MP (contact details are on the Local MAG Page), highlighting the issue, and ask them to support the industry efforts to avert a crisis in motorcycle testing and training.
b) Attend the Demo run on Saturday 9th May
c) Join MAG (if you are not already a member)

7) Criminal Compensation

The Motorcycle Action Group has launched an e-petition on the 10 Downing St site to challenge over zealous police reaction to alleged risks at motorcycle events. †

The petition follows a parliamentary question on the subject that MAG member Lembit Opik MP tabled in Parliament earlier this year. †

MAG is concerned by the apparent enthusiasm displayed for closing events on the basis of information about criminal intent which police are not obliged to share with event organisers. †

MAG President Ian Mutch said, "I suspect that the police are themselves victims of a health and safety culture which is leading them to pick the safe option of closing events to avoid becoming targets of criticism if something goes wrong." †

"It is intolerable that event organisers should face financial ruin because of factors that are not of their making. We feel that if organisers are eligible for compensation under such circumstances then pressure may be exerted on the police which could restore balance to a situation which appears to be getting out of control." †

The petition reads as follows: †

Criminal compensation †

Compensate fully the innocent organisers of public events where police have achieved cancellation based on undisclosed 'intelligence received' regarding the potential criminal actions of parties unrelated to the event organiser.

The petition can be signed at this link: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Eventsatrisk

8) NABD Rally Sold Out

Corporate MAG members, The National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD) are pleased as punch to announce that their key fund raising event, You've Been Nabbed 18 rally, is now fully SOLD OUT. If you haven't already got your ticket, then unfortunately you are out of luck as no tickets will be available on the gate.

You've Been Nabbed 18 is on Friday 8th - Sunday 12th May, at Astle Park, Chelford, Cheshire.

9) Rally Tickets

Our Into the Valley tickets have been returned but we still have Farmyard Party, Ganton Gathering and Yorkshire Pudding Rally tickets for sale.

Farmyard Party. FYP is on Friday 19th - Sunday 21st June at Duncombe Park Estate, Helmsley. Tickets are £25.00 if you buy them in advance or £35.00 on the gate.

Ganton Gathering (MAG Foundation fundraiser). GG is on Friday 17th - Sunday 19th July at Wold Farm, Ganton, North Yorkshire. Tickets are £15.00 pre-book only.

Yorkshire Pudding Rally. YPR is on Friday 7th - Sunday 9th August at Hesley Wood Scout Camp, Chapeltown, Nr Sheffield. Ticket are £15 pre-book only.

All of the above rallies offer concessions for MAG members. Get your tickets at the branch meetings before we sell out !!! If you can't make the meetings but still want tickets in advance, drop us an email or give me a ring (0772 078 4734) with your requirements and we will get back to you.

10) Operation Achilles

Be very careful when biking in the East Yorkshire area at the moment as Humberside Police have launched Operation Achilles, a 'Hi Visibility / Hi Profile' motorcycle only speeding clamp down on popular biking roads, including the roads around the Biker Barn cafe and the Seaways cafe in Fridaythorpe, East Yorkshire.

Despite the operation being 'Hi Visibility / Hi Profile', the force are using an unmarked battered 7.5 tonne truck, a subtly marked Suzuki Hayabusa, an unmarked Skoda Octavia rally car, an unmarked Subaru Impressa and a very expensive police helicopter for the motorcycle only operation.

East Yorkshire MAG have highlighted the seemingly discriminatory operation to Humberside Police and have been invited to a meeting with the Force's C Division Operation Achilles team. Local Radio have also got wind of the story (can't think how ?!!?) and East Yorkshire MAG's very own silk lips Jol Lawson was due to take to Yorkshire's airwaves on Wednesday 29th April.

More news on this as we get it but in the meantime, be careful and watch your speed (as ever !!), when in East Yorkshire at the moment.

11) Forthcoming Events (May and Beyond)

Friday 1st - Sunday 3rd May - Into the Valley

The first of the Yorkshire MAG rallies.

Monday 4th May (May Day Bank Holiday) - Wakefield MAG Bike Show

See above. The Wakefield Hospice May Day Gala is being held in Clarence Park, Wakefield on the Bank Holiday Monday (4th May) and Wakefield MAG will again be hosting a bike show at this event. Last year we had a most impressive turnout (over 50 bikes and 8 trike's in the show). Let's try to beat that this year !!!!

Saturday 9th May - MAG National Demo Run (protesting about the lack of MPTC's in Yorkshire and beyond)

See above. The run assembles at Squires at 10:30, and leaves at 11:00 for a police marshalled ride through the centre of Leeds. Wakefield MAG will meet at our usual point (Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, Thornes Road, Wakefield) where we will have a mass rideĖin to Squires. Meet at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms at 09:00, leaving at 09:30 for a scenic & leisurely ride to Squires.

Sunday 17th May - Wakefield MAG Branch Run to Lord Stones Cafe, Carlton in Cleveland

Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Tuesday 26th May - Wakefield MAG Evening Run to York Bike Night

Meet 06:30pm (leaving at 07:00pm) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Friday 5th - Sunday 7th June - Edinburgh MAG Rally

Our mass attendance to one of MAG's best kept secrets, the Ag Ol Anns An Achadh Rally at West Torphin Farm, Harburn, West Calder, West Lothian, Edinburgh

Sunday 14th June - Wakefield MAG Branch Run to Tan Hill Inn, Swaledale, North Yorkshire

Meet 9:30am (leaving at 10:00am) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

Friday 19th - Sunday 21st June - Farmyard Party

The one and only FYP, the biggest biker only rally in the UK.

Monday 29th June - Evening Run to Barnsley MAG

Meet 07:30pm (leaving at 08:00pm) at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, Thornes Park, off Thornes Road, Wakefield

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

Ride Safe
Steve Travis
Chairman
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.