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Amalfi Coast France Motorcycle and Bicycle Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

The (fast) ride home…

Well I collected my beautiful new Yamaha MT10SP last week in the Midlands from Alf England and I then rode her home to Amalfi. You need a day to ride thro France and another to cover Italy, on a bike you MUST take yer time and allow for weather, tiredness, traffic and all of the other factors that can influence your ride.

I was very lucky with the weather, in the UK it was mainly warm and dry and I only hit a couple of wet patches going from the Midlands across to Cambridge. Then on the Friday I headed up to Nottingham to see family so I then set off from Nottingham at midday Saturday down to Dover and hopped onto the P and O ferry for Dover. I love the ferry as much as I don’t like the tunnel, I always buy an open ticket with P and O and I find their service excellent.

So in the afternoon I arrived in France and I headed into Calais to fill up the bike at the local Supermarket and I then headed south on the wonderful French motorway system. Luckily I have the new European Telepass so I do not even need to stop at the Pay Stations, great for the motorcyclist as it saves removing gloves and then searching for tickets and or cash or credit cards.

I stopped at Reims where I had booked a night at the excellent Ibis Budget at Thillois, I have stayed many times and the area has eveything you need for a good meal, beer and rest and the hotel car park is secure! I find that a gentle start to a long trip is always a good idea as you need to get to know the bike, so a long slog is never a good idea for the first day.

From Reims the next morning I rode south in increasingly warm weather and the French motorways are sooooo good you can generally cruise at whatever speed you choose. This bike has cruise control so I selected 140k/h to (hopefully) stay out of trouble and headed towards Chamonix. When I got nearer the information signs showed a waiting time of one hour for the Mont Blanc tunnel so I decided not to stop for lunch as I had planned, instead I overtook the hundreds of cars and got through the tunnel quickly, they charge an extortionate 32 Euro for the bike compared to about 45 for my van!!

So I was in Italy and so I could increase my cruising speed as the Italian police are more lenient and in general anything up to 160 seems to be ok, so I headed to a lovely hotel I know in Biella for the night as I was starting to feel quite tired. The Hotel Europa is in the city centre but very quiet and comfortable with an excellent eating house very near.

The next day was a gentle ride south down the motorway, I stopped for lunch in Orte with an old mate and then from Orte down to Amalfi where I arrived at about 4pm, tired but very very happy!! The bike returned an overall 16.5 km/litre (46mpg) which is great, the only problem is the range as she only has 16 litres of petrol so this means a stop every 180/200 kms when she runs onto reserve. WHAT an experience, total ride was about 2400km. A few pics follow:

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Motorcycle and Bicycle Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

A bike trip, down to the south of Spain this time.

My lovely Yamaha FJR1300 cannot wait to stretch her long legs. We have booked a week in a lovely place near Malaga and I was thinking of taking a flight, fast and easy of course. BUT I really prefer a trip by bike and I love Spain, so I have booked a ferry from Civitavecchia (near Roma) over to Barcelona and then I will ride down to Malaga, about 1100 kms so either a long day or perhaps 2 days with a B and B on the way, I will decide nearer the time.

Taking the motorway all the way (instead of the ferry) would be a 2300km ride each way from Roma so I decided on the ferry which takes a painful 20 hours but hey, too much motorway also becomes very boring. So I have opted for the sea route. I did the same trip a few years ago down to Alicante and really enjoyed myself, I know a wonderful place to eat in Valencia which is about half way down through Spain. Perfect.

Below are a few pics from previous trips, with various Yamahas.

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Amalfi Coast France Motorcycle and Bicycle Race Scooter Training Transport travel

Motorcycle road safety courses for all….in English or Italian.

I have been buying, repairing and riding motorcycles since I was 14, and I still learn something every time I go for a ride. Whilst a car is relatively easy to drive, at least from A to B, a bike is really complex and totally not easy to ride also because it will fall over easily, a car cannot fall over (almost).

My best mate runs one of the best Yamaha dealerships in the UK and other mates run the biggest Yamaha and KTM dealer in Europe, and I visit and chat often with these guys as well as others and I also visit Trade shows most years, EICMA etc. I also work with a bike race school for many years so I have loads of experience of bikes and riding, but I am always learning.

The concentration required to ride a bike is at least 10 times that required to drive a car. If you don’t feel like riding the bike today DONT, cos 80% is fine for a car but not for a bike, you need 100%.

So now I have started my own riding school, based on simple stuff theory and then practice, using my bike for me and you use yours, individual tuition OR at most 2 or 3 riders with similar levels of riding experience and ability. Contact me if you wanna try, and lets improve your riding together. And ps I am not a bike snob, I have a moped, a scooter, a Quad and some bikes so we can use anything on 2 wheels, the technique is more or less the same, SAFETY FIRST.

As Freddy Mercury sang, “Keep yourself alive” and this is our motto. And Stop Press, I have just purchased a lovely Honda CB500 for teaching purposes, pics to follow.

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Amalfi Coast KTM Motorcycle and Bicycle Race Repairs Scooter Yamaha and Suzuki

New plan! New motorcycle sales operation. Watch this space

Ok so now I am established in my new property in the Tramonti region of Italy, and Tramonti is very close to the motorway. So what now? I am in touch with the guys who own and run the excellent dealership Celestini in Civitavecchia and they are not only an excellent Yamaha and KTM dealer, they are also distributors and they operate a fleet of vans which deliver bikes to smaller dealers in the bottom half of Italy.

So my idea is to become a Celestini sub dealer for Yamaha and KTM new bikes and perhaps even second hand bikes too.

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Amalfi Coast Car rental Car service Motorcycle and Bicycle Repairs Scooter travel Yamaha and Suzuki

Our new property!!!! Finally we have the keys

We have been searching for a suitable property for about two years, on and off, and we have finally found the property of our dreams!!! Last month we exchanged contracts and took possession of a stunning garage in lovely Polvica, which is one of the 13 small towns which make up the area called Tramonti. The location is perfect for the Amalfi coast, Tramonti is 6 kilometers inland from Maiori, which is them 6 kilometers up the coast from Amalfi.

The properties are actually 2, one very small “house” which is actually a single room with an outside toilet, plus nearby the amazingly modern and large garage. The house was purchased only to enable the purchase of the garage as only a resident is allowed to purchase the garage. The garage is amazing!! It is large and almost new, about 6 metres wide and 8 metres long PLUS it has a bathroom with a shower too. And upstairs on the garage roof there is a garden with a lemon tree plus a kiwi plant, and plenty of space for a BBQ and sunbathing!!!

We have already started to have work carried out by some local builders to ensure that both of the properties are in perfect condition, then I will take some pictures to add to this blog. Great news indeed!!

 

 

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Amalfi Coast Motorcycle and Bicycle Scooter Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

New idea: import some used bikes from Alf England in the UK

From my many years of motorbike ownership and experience in the UK and in Italy, I know that the two countries use and treat their bikes very differently.

In the UK the weather is not good for motorbikes so the season is very short and the annual mileages are often very low indeed. Bikes are really bought for passion and are generally treated really well and cleaned almost more than they are ridden. The average annual mileage can be as little as 2 to 3,000 kms and also the British owners will always follow the suggested service intervals so even an almost unused bike will have all of its service stamps in the book!! And virtually all UK bikes are kept in standard trim.

In Italy we have the opposite situation where the bike or scooter can be used almost all year round and servicing is not so strictly followed. Bikes cover many more kiloteres and see the service dealers as little as possible, so often the second-hand bikes are very well used and abused. Servicing is often not a priority and it is also unusual to see a bike of any kind in standard trim, scooters in particular are almost always modified by their owners. Here there is a huge aftermarket for the TMax parts for making the bike your own.

Result?? If I purchase a bike in the UK and bring it to Roma, folks here cannot believe the lovely condition and very low kilometers as well as the service history, so used bikes can sell very well here. For instance, I recently purchased 2 Yamaha TMax 530s from Alf England in the UK and took them to Roma, I sold the first one without trying, which gave me the idea (as I can fit 2 bikes into my trusty Vito!)

Look at these photos:

 

 

 

DSC_9149

The Honda VFR800 is a 10 year old bike and just look at the condition! The grey Yamaha TMax 530 is a 2014 model with some miles on the clock but again, she looks almost new. And the white TMax is 2015 with only 10k kms and almost better than new, she was sold as soon as my mate saw me take her out of the van.

Stop Press: Another white TMax 530 soon on the way, identical to the white one above. I must go to collect her soon!!

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Motorcycle and Bicycle Race Training Transport Yamaha and Suzuki

Bike training continued…..

I met up with the 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 bunch 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! We have held courses at Vallelunga and Misano but 90% of our training time is spent at the wonderful Magione circuit near to Perugia in Umbria, which became a home from home for the team.

Luca purchased an amazing TIR several years ago and that becomes our home for the night or 2 at the track. Mingling with some of the brilliant bike racers that we work with has been 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 courses are always structured into theory and then riding (no more than 5 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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Motorcycle and Bicycle Race Training Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

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 on TV 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 tips for you all, as follows: (and the bike shown above is my Yamaha MT10 which has a detuned R1 engine with 160 horses 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 stay away from bad drivers, 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

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Motorcycle and Bicycle Race Training Transport travel Yamaha and Suzuki

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.

Look at this one from last week:https://www.ilvescovado.it/it/sezioni-25/cronaca-1/incidente-tra-moto-e-scooter-a-castiglione-coinvo-71958

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 from ABS to ESP, whereas the same mistake on two wheels can bring injuries or worse.

Given that the dynamics of a two wheeler is very 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 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 lovely 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, off road riding and personal training as required.

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Car rental Car service France Motorcycle and Bicycle Race Repairs Transport travel Vintage cars Yamaha and Suzuki

European deliveries for you….I have the superb Vito 3.0L van plus a twin-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 or the UK 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 travel most of the year round.