The View From The Top

The View from the Top is going to be a bit different this time around. Firstly, Spring is just around the corner March the 21st to be precise. Good news then and if everything continues to go well on the pandemic front we should finally be able to start a cautious revival of the regular club activities. The travel industry is still in love with itself, in spite of what has prevailed over the last few months. Hotels, airlines and travel operators are all talking positively, bargain deals are being offered and in many cases with a willingness to be more flexible and realistic than in the past. Perhaps, past loyalty with an operator or hotel will be recognised in a much more truly customer focused experience. You don’t think so, well leave me with my high hopes and dreams!

I’m sure you, like me, have had to deal with many routine things in your personal life and your families. We will all have had our good, not so good, bad and absolutely b****y awful days. But you’ve coped, as I have along with the majority of the country. We’ve kept busy, gritted our teeth and plodded on because we don’t give in that easily and we’re not going to let a pandemic grind us down. There is, however, one thing that has continuously grated on my nerves more than anything else and that is some of the programmes on the popular radio channels. You know the ones where the programme lead personality has an on air chat with a celebrity guest. The “lovey” world of actors and pop artists has really tried my patience on far too many occasions. If the out pouring of soporific platitudes on how great / wonderful they are in / on this TV series, programme or record are not enough to make me vomit then the next five minutes of how this financially secure individual has coped with the mental stress of lockdown and actually having to look after their own prodigy certainly does finish me off. If I couldn’t have shut my office door and delved into the many motorcycling issues that interest me on occasions for my next President’s Platform I would chucked the kitchen radio out of a window!

In this day and age running a club such as ours can be quite taxing at times and that has been so much more difficult as a result of what we have all faced in the past 10 months. I mentioned the group riding issue in my February President’s Platform and the most contentious topic in that respect has been that of Liability. What legal protection does the Ride Leader have in that role and does our BMF liability insurance cover such an “Event”. Well, the test would be how an “event” is viewed by our insurers and the law. Clearly a club organised week or weekend at a hotel is an event just as a camping weekend is, but a club led ride out that might be a different question. So I’ve taken that subject up with the BMF HQ and specifically their policy documentation on Events and Road Runs. Is it important, well possibly not until something goes wrong and with no win no fee lawyers and targeted TV adverts on daily basis in this increasingly litigious world, we can’t be too careful. It might be that the traditional big club and section ride outs will become a thing of the past if not because of the legal implications then on a purely practical front on today’s heavily traffic congested roads. What is the alternative you may ask, smaller led groups or just solely independent riding?  How small? A DVLA document on the subject recommends no more than 5 machines in a group. That would mean a ride leader for each group i.e. 4 for a group of 20 etc., if we would aim to keep the unique aspect of the scenic route and social experience intact. An alternative might be the wider use of an App called “Meetup” which offers some really interesting prospects for the future and potentially the club as a whole, through the Oxford Meetup Rides. If I’ve just wetted your appetite, good! Now start looking into it as an App on your smart phone or through your browser on a laptop etc. I think you might be very pleasantly surprised.

Take it easy on those first few rides.

Ian Dobie


Author: Biggles