The View from the Top

Practically, my view from the top has changed, despite efforts to exercise within the previous restrictive guidelines. My midriff has expanded somewhat and now obscures my feet. Being at home so much with a kitchen so close and a fridge full of tasty ingredients for snacks isn’t a great help, neither is the fact that my other half makes such fantastic Victoria, Coffee & Walnut and Chocolate Sponge cakes. There is a continuous smell of baking if not for us, it is for number one son currently enforceable distanced from his partner or the grandson living alone in his first home. These are Red Cross parcels that she regularly distributes, which I suppose is better than forcing me to eat all of them, the smell, however, is pure torture.

Members all over the country have found lots of ways to keep in touch and amuse each other not always so politically correct, but fun. How many of you are enjoying the efforts of the MUC team and virtual pub nights? Whatever the case I applaud all your efforts to stay cheerful and stay within the current guidelines.

Club life, along with life in general, has changed for all of us and the return to the new normality after recent easing of the restrictions and the steady return of businesses to work, along with hotels, restaurants and cafes opening is very complex. As a result, it is at best guess work on significant change for the club social and events front in the immediate future. The club and sections have to take a very pragmatic view on what proposed events are more than likely to be held and which ones to take the decision to drop. Right now section AGM’s scheduled for October are the priority as far as whether a venue be found and booked that will accommodate the average number of attendees within the social distancing recommendations. However, the good news that we can ride our bikes in max 6 person groups within the social distancing etc., that at least gives us some respite from the 4 walls of lockdown. I guess most of us took advantage of the earliest opportunity to exercise the bike. I could ride all day on a few cups of coffee and a small snack which should help with the waistline. Of course, the general administration of the club continues and when you think the workload might reduce, that isn’t actually the case with some complex, challenging and time consuming issues to be dealt with. One of these was the 3 club track days advertised in the Journal. We were unable to communicate directly with the company running the tracks as they closed their offices on day one of lockdown. Trying to contact the right people was immensely time consuming and frustrating, but eventually we obtained agreement to postpone all currently booked track days until 2021.

One opportunity that has arisen within the national committee (NC) whilst dealing with business was to start a conversation on the future of the club allowing NC members to express a view and alternative ideas. In May we trialled a small Zoom NC meeting which went very well. Saturday June 13th saw our first full scale NC zoom meeting replacing the face to face hotel based meeting at a saving of around £3,000 to the club in travel and overnight accommodation charges. My aim is to hold more regular such meetings because event’s now move so quickly the current practice is far too slow and cumbersome. Traditionally we hold 3 face to face NC meetings a year, but today shorter regular meetings by zoom would, in my view, be a much better option. I’ll keep you up to date on that. A key factor we have discussed is the potential loss of members as a direct or indirect result of the Coronavirus pandemic, that coupled with the lost opportunities for recruitment nationally and via sections at local shows for this year could potentially be quite dramatic. Fewer members less income and we are already running close to the wind.

MAG and the BMF supported John Broad in his efforts to get Oxford County Council to rethink their motorcycle (powered two wheelers – PTW) section of their Local Transport Connectivity Consultation with robust challenges to the accident and benefits data presented. They are also on the case in London. After the Transport Secretary suggested that encouraging people to commute by cycle should be a key part of proposals for commuters as restrictions are eased. Sadiq Khan pounced on this with his Street Space Plan for London to fast-track the transformation of streets in favour of cyclists and pedestrians, vigorously supported by the zealous cycling lobby. I’m not against cycling having been a cyclist since the age of about 11 and raced competitively all over the UK and Europe for many years. It is simply this concentration on some aspects and forms of travel without a properly balanced examination of all the alternative possibilities which rattles my cage.

Recently, I read of a number of road closures or rather vehicle bans scheduled to happen from the 20th June this year in the Austrian Tyrol. Motorcycles with a noise level exceeding 95dB will be banned from sections of the B198 Lechtalstrasse, the B199, the L21 from Bichlbach to Stanzach, L72 from Pfaffla to Imst, L246 from Imst and the L266 from Elmen to Pfafflar. These bans will be signposted at the beginning of the section with the mandatory Red Circle road sign with a black motorcyclist image in the centre and the text “>95Db (A)” underneath. According to BMW figures the only model affected would be the S1000 RR in standard production fit, however, if you have changed the silencer on any machine for a non-standard more “throaty” versions then beware. These are of course precisely the sort of roads we would travel to Austria just to ride! The data used was heavily biased and the very limited consultation to implement these bans was not what the majority of residence wanted, what they desired was enforcement of existing noise limit legislation.

Now that I can venture out on my bike with a flask and some sandwiches I intend to make the most of it to enjoy the air and roads. If you’re thinking of doing the same, take a bit of extra care as the volume of other traffic is gradually returning to pre lockdown levels. I’ll be wearing my own quite effective PPE including visor and head protection and I’ll be social distancing throughout the journey. Just to relive the exhilaration of the open road for a few hours will be heaven. So give us a wave if you’re doing the same.

Ian

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Author: Carl Flint

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