Bike training continued…..

I met the training team Run x Fun owned and run by Luca Viola, himself a former racer as well as a passionate off roader and visitor to Africa. The team includes Paolo Castrichini, Max Zeraftis, Alex Vaghi, Michele Marchetti and others (see www.runxfun.it) as well as some amazing racers such as Fabio Massei (shown above), Alex and Alessia Polita and GianLuca Nanelli.

These guys are an amazing team and I have become 100 times better as a rider through them. They taught me theory as well as riding and I have never enjoyed myself so much in my life with my clothes on!! We have held courses at Vallelunga and Misano but 90% of our time is spent at the wonderful Magione circuit near to Perugia in Umbria which has become a home from home for the team.

Luca purchased an amazing TIR several years ago and that became our home for the night or 2 at the track. Mingling with some of the brilliant bike racers that we work with was a great experience for me and to ride with them was truly amazing (when they went slowly so I could keep up of course)!!!.

We taught everything from how to start riding a bike round bollards in the car park right up to good racers who wanted to improve their lap times. But as Luca repeated we sought to explain HOW to ride and not just follow a fast guy so you go faster, as otherwise when the instructor was not there then the student would not know how he went faster. So our course were always structured into theory and then riding (no more than 6 students with an instructor) to try to ensure that the theory could be shown to the student and then reinforced.

To be continued….

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The basics, the ABC of surviving on a motorbike

We all (well, many of us) enjoy a motorbike and we almost all teach ourselves how to ride. We may get some tips from a mate or two or from the guy in the shop that sells us the bike but in general we all think that we know how to ride a bike. We have all watched Valentino and we convince ourselves that we can do the same.

Many do not survive long enough to learn that riding a motorcycle on the road is a very dangerous activity. I lost a school friend at 17 so I began to understand that there is more to this than meets the eye, so to speak.

So from my ripe old age I have a few top tips for you all, as follows: (and the bike shown above is my Yamaha MT10 which has a detuned R1 engine and FLIES!!)

  1. ALWAYS ride defensively. Cars hurt, so a basic starting point is to assume that all cars are badly driven (many are) and so always stay well away and allow them to get it wrong. Many drivers will take all of the road on a corner so never use all of your lane, stay near to your side of the road. Many car drivers hold their smartphone in one hand so they do not pay much attention to driving and the use of indicators seems to be a thing of the past.
  2. ALWAYS ride within your limits. Sports bikes today are not far removed from race bikes in terms of power, performance and brakes. A modern 1000cc bike has almost 200 horse power!! It is almost impossible for a normal rider to find the limits of a modern bike even on a race track. Instead, it is very easy to find our own limits and we must learn to know them and to stay well within them.
  3. NEVER ride a bike when you are not feeling up to it. Take a bus or tram or car but not the bike because a bike requires 100% of our concentration. 80% is simply not enough.
  4. TAKE A RIDING COURSE. There are several excellent riding schools such as the California Superbike School in the UK, Ron Haslam’s school at Donnington Park and Run x Fun in Italy and all of these are excellent places to learn about riding a motorbike. All are circuit-based for safety reasons and not to teach you to ride at high speeds!!
  5. LOOK AFTER YOUR BIKE. We have only 2 tyres and the tyre condition and pressure are vital, so always check over the bike before and after every ride.
  6. NEVER insult another driver (with hand signals, for instance). It is not worth it. Sadly “Road Rage” exists and you can see many many examples on YouTube so always try to simply stay away from bad drivers, cos bikes are always the easy victims.

I have worked with RunxFun for several years and lessons are really the best way to survive and to enjoy yourself too.

All questions answered!!

Simon

The real importance of rider training

Unfortunately we have daily reminders of the danger of riding a two wheeler be it motorcycle or scooter or moped. When we make a mistake driving our car, we may bend some metal but we usually get away with it especially now that a modern car has loads of driving aids, whereas the same mistake on two wheels can bring injuries or worse.

Given that the dynamics of a two wheeler is complex and totally different to a car it would surely be a good idea if all riders took some basic rider-training to make them better equipped to survive? I have worked part-time for about 12 years with a wonderful motor bike school called Run x Fun and these guys really know their stuff. The owner is an ex-racer Luca Viola and the staff are all racers or ex racers and some famous racers such as Gianluca Nanelli and Fabio Massei, both work with us as well as the amazing brother and sister team Alex and Alessia Polita. Less famous but equally brilliant riders such as Paolo Castrichini also work with Luca and we work mainly at the wonderful Magione track, near Perugia about 2 hours north from Roma.

I honestly think that such a training course should be compulsory. A bike is NOT easy and is not a bicycle. Over the years we have seen many many folks improve and understand the right techniques to control a motorbike and leave the one day Base Course a different rider if not person. We use the race circuit NOT for speed but for safety and we always apply very strict safety rules and of course if all goes wrong then the grass awaits you!! Magione is a short circuit so is not built for speed but is ideal for teaching as it has almost every kind of corner available.

We also run off-road training courses starting from our base near Orte, and the fee includes the use of our bike and the safety equipment. Just turn up!! We also run road courses and personal training as required.

European trips for you….I have the superb Vito 3.0L van plus an excellent 2-axle car trailer

You need a car or a motorbike delivered from the UK to France or Italy?? You wanna bike holiday in the south of France but do not fancy the 1000km down from London?? No problem. I can come to you, collect the car or motorbike or bicycles plus your panniers or luggage or whatever and take it for you, you pay the fuel plus motorway plus a charge but I aim to keep the costs as low as possible cos I can sleep in the van!!! Perhaps you wanna buy a bike from France or Italy but dont wanna ride it home???

Ask me for a price and dates!!!! I can be fairly flexible and I have winter tyres on the van for the cold and wet months so I can run most of the year round.

Service no limits

I am Simon, I am English and I live between Roma and Amalfi in Italy. I have lived in Italy since 1990 and I speak reasonable Italian and French, plus some English!!

I love travelling and exploring, I have worked in Export Sales for more than 30 years which has taken me all over the world, and I like nothing better than travelling around Italy and Europe by car, van or motorbike alone or with friends.

I know Italy fairly well and I love to help others to discover the beauty of Italy and to avoid the many pitfalls. Many visitors love Italy but do not really know how to avoid the difficult bits, as the language and the mentality is very different from the American and North European “norms”.

I also have a small fleet of vehicles that I can rent out to the right people or can use to transport you around. You fly into Roma and wanna get to the Amalfi Coast?? I can take you. You need to transport you and/or your luggage around between hotels? Call me. You wanna try a motorcycle experience?? I can supply a touring bike with a satnav in English all ready to go. You wanna visit the Ducati or Ferrari factory?? No problem. You need a route for a 3 day visit to Sicily or Sardinia? I can supply it.

Here follow some blogs to give you a taste of the Italian experience. Thanks!!

Some classic cars for sale, offers welcome and visits available for viewing, chats and coffee….

My mate Riccardo is a nutcase and a very passionate car collector and restorer. He was in the past a car racer and he competed in classic car races around Europe with various Alfa Romeos, his first love. He has accumulated a load of cars (plus some motorbikes) in his amazing workshop near Orte in Italy, less than an hour north of Roma.

His hobby is restoring his fleet of cars and he spends loads of time in his workshop. To visit him is to see some living history. I know very little about cars and even less about classic Italian cars so to spend some time with him is to share his passion and long experience. As well as the cars and bikes, he has endless shelves full of spares as well as partly built cars and he seems to know every spare part and engine, he has a story to tell for each!

Here follows some pictures and prices but note that the prices are only a guide, he is open to reasonable offers. The prices are fairly high cos he loves his cars and he seems to want to keep them all, but of course he is ready to consider serious offers. And if you wanna see the cars then if you fly into Roma (Ciampino if possible) I can always take you there for just petrol and motorway costs. So here we go with the current stock:

Number 1. Simca Rally Group 2, 1973. 18,000 Euro.

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Number 2. Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. 1963. Totally original and very low miles, rust free. 55,000 Euro.

Giulia

Number 3. Alfa Romeo 1900 Saloon. 1957. Totally original and no rust. 50,000 Euro.

1900 saloon

Number 4. Alfa Romeo 1750 GTAM Autodelta 1970. 150,000 Euro as is or 300,000 Euro fully restored.

GTAM 1750

Number 5. Mini Innocenti Cooper Export 1300. 1974. 14,000 Euro.

Innocenti

Number 6. Porsche 924 Turbo 1979 with new engine. 12,000 Euro

Porsche 924 Turbo

Number 7. Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 Group 1 track car. 1971. 30,000 Euro.

GTV2000

I can promise you that all of these cars are well worth seeing and Riccardo is always pleased to show folks his car over a coffee or a beer. These prices are ALL open to offers.

 

Valentino Rossi and Tavullia

As most residents of planet earth will know, Valentino Rossi is Mr Moto GP. Valentino  has been racing for 20 years and has won the Moto GP title 9 times now, he fought for his  10th win with Yamaha this year but Marc Marques and Honda denied him. Rats.

His home town is Tavullia which is on the East Coast of Italy near to to Rimini and to the Misano World Circuit. Rossi has very strong links with his home town and he is now involved in the the Sky Racing Team VR46 which is intended to help young riders who are invited to his famous ranch for fun and games and training.

Well if you fancy visiting his home town to see the ranch, I can take ya!! We could also visit the wonderful Ducati museum in Bologna. Tell me how many are in your group and I will collect you with a minibus or a car. No worries!!!

Call or text or whatsapp me on +39 333 8153190 or email me on simon.f@spirometry.com.

 

Cars and bikes for sale….cheap (ish). LOOK at the beautiful new MT10

Our fleet of cars and bikes are always up for sale, at the right price. Here follows a brief description and a photo of each with an approximate value, but any prices will be calculated at the time you make an enquiry ‘cos of course the value depends on many factors including the age and mileage, so I list the current mileage (updated March 2018).

Mercedes Vito 120 CDI (diesel). 2009, red, worth about 18k euro. Purchased new in Roma in November 2009, this lovely van has loads of factory extras as well as some stuff I have fitted over the years. Here we go:

  • Vito Van “medium” wheelbase with 3000cc V6 turbodiesel engine, auto gearbox (5 speed) plus cruise control, 205bhp. 3 seats “leather look” with arm rest for driver, extra side sliding door, protective load tray with hooks both on floor and side walls. Fitted with Pioneer satnav/stereo with decent speakers plus subwoofer fitted under the middle seat. Motorbike front wheel holder in rear of van. Chrome mirror covers plus rear light surrounds. Lovely black alloy Merc wheels with summer tyres (new July 2016) plus a set of standard metal wheels with winter tyres. I have just this month fitted a SuperChip to increase the power to about 235 horses but above all this has greatly increased the driveability and torque so its now even more fun to drive. Currently about 105k kms.

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Audi A5 3200V6 (petrol) S line silver 2008, purchased very third hand in Roma in 2014. Quick description:

  • Audi A5 Sline, front wheel drive and 3200cc V6 normally aspirated petrol engine with 265 bhp and 8 speed auto gearbox, worth about 16k euro. Full black leather interior with electric front seats. Standard stereo with subwoofer added in the boot. 19″ Audi alloy wheels recently refurbished and finished in gunmetal grey with Pirelli PZero tyres. Currently about 170k kms and running great. Just fitted a throttle controller and so now much more responsive.

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Yamaha FJR 1300 AE 2017 dark grey, UK registered.

  • The FJR is the latest model (2017, worth about 18k euro) with electronic suspension, ABS, cruise control, heated grips plus a host of other electronic stuff. Beautiful in grey. Support for TomTom satnav.  Currently about 700 kms. Amazing for cruising 2 up and fully loaded this bike just floats, fairly quick too. Photos to follow.

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Yamaha MT10 2016, blue, UK registered.

  • The MT10 is the latest Yamaha to be launched, worth 15k euro. It has the 2016 R1 crossplane engine, detuned from 200 to about 160 bhp. Mine is standard just fitted with the Yamaha comfort seat plus a small windscreen and TomTom satnav holder. Now about 4500km after I rode her down to Roma from the UK. FLIES!!! Here she is on the train, ready to cross the channel tunnel. Aftermarket Leo Vince exhaust system just fitted, lighter and faster too, as if she needed!

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Yamaha Giggle 2010. UK registered and yellow.

  • The most amazing 50cc moped ever, the 4 stroke Giggle was made in Japan for the Japanese market and Yamaha only brought a few to Europe, they sold very very few cos they cost almost 3000 Pounds new!!. Mine is worth about 1.0k euro. It is 50cc with electronic fuel injection and limited to 50kmh so returns about 60km per litre. Mine has a Yamaha windscreen plus metal front carrier fitted and has suffered some Roman road rage but still runs great, some 6000 miles now. I must find a picture, in the city I am asked for a pizza or an ice cream at almost every traffic light….

Yamaha Raptor 700R Quad 2006, white.

  • The Raptor is powered by a fuel injected 700cc version of the 4 stroke single cylinder XT660 engine, now worth perhaps 6k euro. She is rear wheel chain driven and has 5 speeds plus reverse. Mine is standard just with a topbox and goes really well, amazing fun off-road. Will climb almost anywhere and is at her best off road of course, sand mud and snow are her specialities. Fun on the road too but needs a firm hand to convince her to turn a corner.

Call or text or whatsapp me on +39 333 8153190 or email me on simon.f@spirometry.com.

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Here is the Raptor, having a quick spin round the office car park.

 

 

 

 

You want your car serviced or parked in Roma but dont know where? Here

Roma and Italy are nightmares for the unaware and the uninitiated. The car is a particular worry, as there is no space to park a car in Roma and the costs of safe off-street parking can be horrendous. And if you park on the street (if you find a space) you are always worried about damage and break ins and worse.


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Well I have the solution(s). I know an excellent guy near where I live in San Lorenzo (which is very near to the central train station Termini) who has a garage for parking a car and or motorbikes at very reasonable rates, and he also has a small maintenance garage inside the car park where he sorts out everything from a new light bulb to a new engine, and most things inbetween.

I also know an official VW/Audi/Seat/Skoda garage, they service and repair the VW group range (and therefore stamp the service book and enter all into the VW computer). The owner is an excellent and reliable fellow but the costs are VW official, so of course higher than the other non-official fixers.

And an excellent mate of mine is a motor bike expert in Roma, he specialises in race bike suspension but they will also service and repair anything on 2 wheels, from moped to superbike. ALL at very very good rates and using only the best oils and components, and they give a waranty on the work carried out.

AND if your car or bike is Italian registered you will need a “revisione” or MOT test when it is 4 years old and then every 2 years. I know an excellent place who test cars and bikes and vans and charge to official published rate and I can take it for you. NO WORRIES just service!!

What an awful show site, but a wonderful couple of top SBK riders…….

Last week from Thursday through Sunday, Moto Days was held here in Roma. The biggest motorcycle shows are in the north of Italy, EICMA in Milano is the biggest and then Verona and so on. But we have Moto Days, so I went along to help a friend Luca Viola who had a stand for his off-road riding school (see http://www.runxfun.it/) and also a great group of guys called Di Di (see http://www.diversamentedisabili.it/). On the thurday morning it was raining like hell so I decided not to go by bike/scooter, instead I thought that a train or metro would be a better idea so I walked over to Termini, Roma’s central train and Metro station. Well of course there is no train nor metro from Termini to the new Roma show ground!!!!!! The Express Train to the Airport (the show is very near to the main airport) does not of course stop at the show ground and the Metro does not reach the show. So the only way is to go to the Tiburtina station and then catch the train from there, which I did. BUT the train takes an hour, as it stops everywhere!!!!!. When we finally arrived at the Fair station there were no signs to the show ground so we walked about 500 metres hoping it was in the correct direction and there, 50 metres in front of the North entrance, I finally saw the first sign mentioning Moto Days!!!! Well done.

On Sunday luckily no rain so I went by bike. Inside Hall 3 I went over to the nearby Aprilia stand and there I met both of their World Superbike riders the Brit Leon Haslam and the young Spaniard Jordi Torres. I have always been a big fan of Haslam ever since I watched his father Ron race against Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts and Mick Grant, and I knew that he (Leon) now lives here in Italy. They were both busy signing autographs and posing for countless pictures but when I said hello to Leon and chatted with him in English, he was very keen to enlist my help for some translation with his fans so he kept me with him for about half an hour, until the Aprilia staff asked me to leave! I went back a couple of times during the day and chatted lots both with him and also with Jordi and they are both really pleasant and “normal” modest guys, both looking a bit fish out of water surrounded by fans!! Great fun, and Leon even gave me his phone number to stay in touch, so I can help him with his Italian!!! Great fun…….

Do you fancy learning how to ride a bike on a race track?

Most countries in Europe, as well as the USA, offer track courses. Many ex-racers offer themselves as instructors from Ron Haslam to Freddie Spencer and several of them are excellent. So what can we offer here in Italy?? Well all of the above PLUS some great tracks AND some wonderful warm sunny weather from Easter through to early October. Run x Fun (see http://www.runxfun.it)  is the most complete school in Italy (they can even provide the bike and leathers) and it is run by ex-racer Luca Viola. He uses a team of racers second to none including Fabio Massei, currently in the World Superstock championship. Below are some pics from a course I attended last year and these guys are exceptional and can run courses in English with my help!!. These pics are from Magione and they also work at Vallelunga and upon request at any other track in Italy.

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We do more, we try harder, we go further, we help you in Italy….

DSCN1728Dear Visitor to Italy,

Servicenolimits can help you to find all the best of Italy and avoid the many potential traps. How can we help?? Well, why not contact me and ask me what you need. For instance you would like to know more about Lazio (or Campania or Abruzzo or Umbria) or you would like to visit the Ducati Factory or the Bimota factory or the Cuma ruins. I can get you more information and I can take you there. Or you want to see a stunning collection of historic cars for sale?? Look at the Alfa Romeo above or the Lancia below, this guy has maybe 30 cars….plus motorbikes.

I can book a hotel or other accomodation. I can help you to buy some of Italy’s lesser known products and services. Try me.

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