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!!

New property comes closer

We have found and made an offer on a new property, as threatened!! This small property is fantastic and is perfect for what we need, a small working base in the Amalfi area. The property is a WONDERFUL double garage and is very recent indeed, it looks virtually new, and has all of the permissions and stuff in order too which is very unusual, so it can be used for storage, as a garage, for working or whatever. It has a small bathroom too plus water and electricity.

The location is almost ideal too as it is only 12km (about 15 minutes) from the centre of Amalfi and is in a small residential area with houses on each side. Photos and stuff to follow if our offer is accepted!!!!

Stop press: We have revisited the property today and it would appear that all is in order and we can go ahead. We aim to conclude at about the end of March. Watch this space.

We add a new bike to our fleet, a lovely 2015 Yamaha T Max 530!!

The Yamaha TMax is the original big scooter (to be honest a motorbike dressed as a scooter) and has been produced since 2001 in Japan. Yamaha have sold over 200,000 examples and today it sells as strongly as ever. I remember that when the sales reached 100,000 Yamaha announced that 80,000 bikes had been sold in Italy, so 80% of the total world sales are in Italy!! And the main sales area is Roma.

Today the TMax remains king of the Roman streets and even a 10 year old example still sells for 4,000 Euro and a new one today costs 13,500 Euro, as much as a small car. I know that these scooters are much less sought after in the UK so we recently managed to find a stunning white example, 2015 and only about 6,000km and 3 services, so we could not resist!!

This lovely bike is completely standard and looks brand new.

Pictures below.

Ok so how can I help you to discover Italy and the Italian way of life…lets see a few examples

So how about you wanna fly into Roma, and then spend a week in beautiful Amalfi and a few days exploring Roma?

Or perhaps you fly into Roma and you fancy exploring the areas of Abruzzo and Umbria. Or you really want to visit Tavullia and see the famous Valentini Rossi ranch???

Or you really fancy visiting the Ducati factory in Bologna, and or the Bimota factory in Rimini, or you would like to see one or more of the Italian race circuits Mugello, Vallelunga, Misano, Monza or others. You fancy some cooking classes, or you would love to see some Italian wine makers or olive oil producers. Maybe you and your partner want to follow two different programs??

Well it could work like this:

You tell me what you need, you give me an idea of the proposed itinerary plus some idea of the hotels you fancy (look on booking.com so I have an idea of the level of hotels you fancy). Tell me how many are in your party and I can work out the rest. Collection from the airport (Roma has two, Ciampino and Fiumicino), then I can take you to your hotel. Then collect you and take you around Italy, and of course I speak Italian so I can help.

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.

 

 

 

 

The woods around Amalfi are well worth exploring….walking, mountain bike, motorbike or quad, beautiful scenery

Of course the Amalfi coast is world famous and draws visitors from everywhere. But did you know that the mountains above Amalfi rise up to more than 1,000 metres?? Nor did I until recently. Look at the following pics to get an idea. I spent a whole day exploring and met only 3 people, 2 on horseback and 1 on a mountain bike.

Clean air, no traffic, beautiful countryside, beautiful views. Stunning.

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

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The stunning beauty of Sicily by motorbike…

The word Sicily evokes a range of thoughts and emotions in most travellers. Most of us know something of its amazing history which dates back to the Greeks and continues through Roman, Norman, Islamic and Byzantine periods up to it becoming part of the Italian state only some 150 years ago. The word Mafia is invariably associated with Sicily and this evokes uncertainty and fear. Plus Sicily is not so near to mainland Italy, we took an overnight ferry from Naples.

So for a combination of reasons Sicily tends to be under explored and relatively unknown. Yet this island offers so much to explore and so much history to discover that it really is worth a visit. Recently I went over for a 4-day trip by motorbike with a group of friends and we packed a lot into a short time. These photos show some of the beauty and I will seek to make a more detailed descrition of our route and itinerary upon request.

segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
segesta teatro greco
ficuzza - casino di caccia dei borboni
ficuzza – casino di caccia dei borboni
l'abbazia - la chiesa
l’abbazia – la chiesa
l'abbazia
l’abbazia
l'abbazia - la tenuta
l’abbazia – la tenuta
l'abbazia - la chiesa
l’abbazia – la chiesa
l'abbazia - la chiesa
l’abbazia – la chiesa
cappella di s. rosalia
cappella di s. rosalia
sala lettura
sala lettura
sala lettura
sala lettura
chiostro
chiostro
chiostro
chiostro
crociera - chiostro
crociera – chiostro
refettorio
refettorio
abbazia cena conventuale
abbazia cena conventuale
abbazia di s. maria al bosco contessa entellina
abbazia di s. maria al bosco contessa entellina
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
selinunte
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Would you buy a motorcycle from this guy? Er well YES….I have, many many times over

I first met these 2 brothers some 30 years ago. At the time I was a poor college student with an almost new and lovely Honda CB750 K6, they were my local Honda dealers so I popped in to purchase a GB sticker before setting off with a group of college friends to France for a holiday. We got chatting about France and bikes, and Dave got his 750 F1 and came with us!. The rest, as they say, is history…..

They are now Yamaha Premier dealers and one of the best in the UK with a wonderful new premises (which was previously a car dealership), and they sell a great range of clothing as well as new and used bikes and spares. I travelled over with my trusty Vito van from Roma recently to return my MT-09 and collect a lovely new blue Yamaha Super Tenere 1200, so I took a few snaps and here they are. They also have an amazing collection of historic Honda motorcycles (about 45 bikes) and Dave is always happy to show them.

The team is led by Martin (the large fellow) and his main men are Mark, Brian and Mike plus the brilliant workshop team of Chuck, Nige, Quiet Darrel and the new snotty nosed kid Ashley. Little Steve Cole is just out of nappies and starting to learn (not much) and new kid on the block IT David has just about learned to switch on the PC…..give him time. Oh and I almost forgot Richard the Spare part. Easily done.

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Some new Yamahas
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An R1M, rare beast
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The stunning R1M
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Martin in the machine shop
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Super Ten loaded…
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Plus a few bits and pieces
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Dave with poor Steve
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Mark the sales fellow
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Martin the er boss
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Van ready…
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Easy does it Dave
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The pillar is on the left
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Mike and Brian
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Extensive range of clothing
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More clothing
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Mike explains….
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Some new Suzukis
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New Yamaha range
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Used selection…
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More used bikes
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Even more used bikes
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The parts counter
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The shop is lovely
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Some used tourers
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Yamaha clothing
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New bikes