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Sheila Whittingham, winner of the 2020 Ellen Pfeiffer Award

Congratulations Sheila Whittingham, winner of the 2020 Ellen Pfeiffer Award
Sheila Whittingham has been a member of WIMA GB since 1967 and has been active in her support of WIMA throughout this time. She even met her husband Eddie through WIMA! In 1973 she took over from Maureen Willis as Captain of the GB division – at this time the Captain did everything: badges, membership, organising rallies as well as the magazine, as there was no committee then. The news-sheet from the USA was becoming increasingly erratic, so Sheila found an old spirit duplicator and started sending WIMA News out as a monthly publication. Membership rose from 50 to 250 after Bike Magazine published an article on WIMA. Sheila continued as editor of the newsletter for many years.
Sheila has been riding since she was about 11 years old and got her first road bike at 16 – a BSA Bantam. She has owned and ridden a total of 42 motorcycles including her favourite, a 1951 Velocette Mac 350 touring. Sheila has attended WIMA and other rallies at home and abroad, she has passengered in a trials sidecar outfit and competed in hill climbs.
Sheila was the first WIMA national, then international historian for around 15 years. During that time she collected and stored a mass of material including WIMA newsletters and photo albums from 1965 onwards. From this she produced a terrific CD of archive photos called “WIMA – 52 years of fun from 1950 to 2002”. Sheila still rides all through the winter in snowy Wales at the age of 72, she still provides much help and information about the early years of WIMA International. Sheila is long overdue recognition for her more than 50 years of contribution to WIMA and truly deserves the Ellen Pfeiffer Award 2020.
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New WIMA GB Committee

May 2020 – 

The new committee is up and running.

Watch the Leaders page for introductions from the new team being added soon.

Many thanks to the outgoing Committee for all their hard work, and to all of those before them, for giving the new team a great grounding to work from.

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International Rally 2020

UPDATE: WIMA GERMANY 2020 RALLY Cancelled due to pandemic


Dear Members,
due to the worldwide corona pandemic we cannot guarantee at the moment that WIMA can take place as planned. Nobody knows how the situation will develop in the next weeks. We are trying to arrange new cancellation periods with the hostels and are pushing back expenses as much as possible to keep our risk as low as possible. Your members should do the same with regard to flights / ferries, i.e. push back bookings as far as possible. To reassure you and your members, the rally fees are not due until the end of April. We hope that we will be able to assess the situation better after Easter. Let’s all hope together that the situation will relax quickly and we will all see each other in summer for a wonderful rally in Wilnsdorf.

WIMA Germany is pleased to invite all WIMA members from all around the world to the WIMA International Rally 2020!

Pre-Rally July 23rd to 26th 2020 in Duisburg

Before the International WIMA Rally starts you’ll get the chance to visit the Ruhr Valley (coll. Ruhrpott). You will stay at the Youth Hostel located in the middle of the Duisburg-North Landscape Park which is part of the „Industrial Heritage Trail“. It is a very interesting area with a long industrial history in coal mining and steel production. Since 1985 the mining plants are closed and industrial facilities were remodelled as cultural institutions.

The Landscape Park is open all year round, without time restrictions and admission is free. Highlight of the park is the light installation by the British artist Jonathan Park. British daily newspaper “The Guardian” chose the park as one of the ten most beautiful urban oases in the world. It´s surprisingly green here, and there´s a lot to experience.

The Youth Hostel is located in the Old Administration Building of the ThyssenKrupp company and today you don´t have to renounce comfort in the historical house! The modern rooms are friendly furnished and equipped with private bathrooms. Bed linen and towels are included.


Location Pre-Rally:

Youth Hostel “Landschaftspark“ for Industrial Culture, Lösorter Str. 133, 47137 Duisburg

Phone: +49 203 417900, email:

Check in: Thursday, July 23rd2020 from 2 p.m.

Check out: Sunday, July 26th2020 by 10 a.m.


Prices (Pre-Rally):

  • £245.00 per person in a shared room (121 beds)
  • £275.00 per person in a double/twin room (20 beds)
  • £305.00 per person in a single room (2 beds)

+     £25,00 surcharge for non-WIMAs

The number of participants is limited to 143 – it is not possible to camp on site.


  • Thursday Dinner
  • Friday  Day trip (coach) to the „Industrial Heritage Trail“ , harbour tour, guided tour to the World Heritage Site ‘Zeche Zollverein’ etc., incl. lunch
  • Saturday Barbecue with pleasant surprises
  • 3 nights including breakfast at the Youth Hostel
  • Parking area for the bikes will be guarded from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  • Mechanic service for the bikes on site
  • Tour suggestions and ideas if you want to discover the area by yourself on bike
  • WhatsApp group for further information (if desired)


Additional programme: (booking through registration)

You will find a presentation of the Pre-Rally on Youtube by clicking here

Attention: If a significantly smaller number than calculated register for the Pre-Rally, we reserve the right to cancel it. Keep up to date by visiting our website regularly.

WIMA Rally  Jul 27thto Aug 1st2020 in Wilnsdorf

The international WIMA Rally will take place on the grounds of the YMCA Siegerland in Wilnsdorf. It is located in the south west of North Rhine Westphalia. This region is famous for its beautiful landscapes, dark forests and huge river/lake dams. The area is perfect for extended trips by motorbike. You´ll find the Westerwald in the south, Sauerland in the north, the mountains of Rothaargebirge in the east and Bergisches Land in the west. And we are right in the middle of this Central German Uplands!

The Siegerland has a great history in iron ore mining and processing. Early marks are dated back until 500 B.C. when the Celts started to work with iron ore. In 1965 mining in this region ended and all the mines were closed. Well, enough history! Let’s go on with the WIMA facts.


Location WIMA Rally:

Youth Hostel “CVJM-Jugendbildungsstätte” Siegerland, Neue Hoffnung 3, 57234 Wilnsdorf

Phone: +49 2739 895311, email:


Arrival: Monday, July 27th2020 from 3 p.m.

Departure: Saturday, August 1st2020 by 12 noon.

Prices (International WIMA Rally):

  • £275.00 per person in tent, van, motorhome or extern accommodation
  • £330.00 per person in a shared bedroom (2-4 bed rooms)
  • 50% discount for children under 15 yrs.

+   £ 5.00 surcharge for arrival on Sunday

+   £50.00 surcharge non-WIMAs


Camping and parking:

The grounds beside the house are wide and there is enough space for camping. For bikes or other vehicles, we have a huge parking area. It is not possible to park beside the tents. Barrows for luggage transfer are at disposal. For vans or motorhomes are some caravan sites with electricity connection available.


In total, there are 144 beds in 47 shared-rooms (2-4 beds) available. Each room with private shower and WC. Bed linen and towels are included.


Daily breakfast is included in the rally price.

The Cafeteria is open daily for supper. They offer different meals and snacks (not included). On Sunday, 26ththe hostel is preparing Chilli con or sin Carne. Price £7 . To be paid in advance with registration fee.

Rally round neck T-Shirt:

Ladies shirt (cm measured at armpit level): XS 40, S 43, M 46, L 49, XL 53, 2XL 57, 3XL 62
Men’s shirt (cm measured at chest level): XS 46, S 50, M 53, L 56, XL 59, 2XL 62, 3XL 66, 4XL 72, 5XL 82

On Tuesday, you can get your T-Shirt personalized with your name or a nickname. If you are interested, please tell us the name you prefer, to organize the patches.


Motorcycle Rental:


Special Information:

  • We will have a “White Night”, so please bring along a white outfit!
  • Another evening motto will be “Working underground”. So use your imagination!
  • The “Hoodis” (outdoor & adventure education) will engage us on Mondaywith ”Fun in the Woods”. Participation is free of charge but to organise the supervisors we need a registration if you are interested.
  • Astrid Althoffmotorradfrau.deis offering various driving trainings on Wednesday.

Half-day training 55 € (8:30-12:30 or 13:30-17:30) full-day training 85 € (8:30-16:30). If interested please get in contact with Astrid directly via

  • Dogs are not allowed on site


Registration will be through National Presidents. The Organising Team will allocate the rooms. We will try hard to fulfil all accommodation wishes but there is no guarantee we will succeed. By March 6that the latest we will provide your NP with information regarding room occupancy and the final rally price for Pre-Rally / Rally participants.

GB Members please note – Deadline for registration to Val Newman is Feb 7th 2020 – email –, or posted to arrive on or before 7 February.

Download the document here


Please wait for the confirmation email before making payment to Treasurer Julie.  Val will confirm rooms, additional bookings etc. so you can see the exact total amount due. Payment in full must be made by 12 March, to allow Julie to meet Germany’s payment deadline.

Condition of participation:

You will attend the WIMA-Rally / Pre-Rally at your own risk. WIMA-Germany and the Orga-team will deny any liability for any accidents or damages. Participants have their own responsibility under any civil or criminal law.

The personal data (name, etc.) you provide will be used securely by us, the organising team, and used by us only as necessary for managing the WIMA Germany International Rally 2020. All personal data will be deleted within 90 days, after all administrative processes have been completed. If you disagree, we can´t handle your application and you cannot participate.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact your NP.  Looking forward to welcome you in July.


Susi Metzner

WIMA Germany National President



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WIMA India National Rally

Our one-of-its-kind, all-woman annual meetup is planned to be held in beautiful Goa in the month of February, 2020, lasting for three days.

This the first national rally for WIMA-India and therefore a super-special one!
There is going to be a bit of everything for everyone – motorcycle riding, fun, games, and of course since it is Goa, inevitable partying!

Women riders and enthusiasts from all over India will be a part of this event and we just can’t wait 🙂

Arrival is by 14th Feb, 12:00 PM and departure is by 16th Feb, 12:00 PM.

Write to us on, for any questions you may have!

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Fastest Electric Motorcycle

The world record for the fastest electric motorcycle has been broken in Yorkshire. 

Riding Nottingham University’s Isle of Man TT zero bike in windy conditions at the Straightliners ACU/FIM World Speed Rec-ords event at Elvington, Zef Eisenberg reached a spectacular 197mph at the fastest point of his run and achieved an average kilometre speed of 185mph. 

The choice of bike was significant for Eisenberg because it was previously ridden to three consecutive podium finishes at the Isle of Man TT by his MADMAX teammate Daley Mathison. After Daley’s tragic death at this year’s TT, Eisenberg promised Daley’s widow Natalie that he would break the record on the bike as a tribute. 

Commenting in a Facebook post, a delighted Eisenberg said: “I cannot explain how happy I am with this electric bike designed by the students of Nottingham University, led by the amazing Professor Miquel Gimeno-Fabra. I wore Daley Mathison’s ‘daisy’ special knee sliders for all the runs. I felt Daley ride the bike to victory with me. I promised I would make Daley’s bike a world record bike and that has been achieved.” 

Originally published on 26 September 2019 by Mike Waters on 

Picture credit

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Funding for Leadership

Funding of up to £2,500 for motorcycle sector women available

Women & Leadership International is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across the UK’s motorcyle sector.

The campaign is providing women with grants of up to £2,500 to enable participation in one of three leadership development programs: Leading Edge (for junior and aspiring leaders and managers), Executive Ready (for mid-level leaders and managers) and the Advanced Leadership Program (for senior and executive level women).

Expressions of Interest
Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to 31st January 2020:

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Fit 2 Go discount for WIMA

‘Plug and play’ TPMS technology to give riders precise pressure readings and absolute confidence in their tyres

  • Guards against the second most common mechanical defect contributing to motorcycle accidents

British technology firm Fit2Go TPMS, a global licensee for Michelin, has launched its first tyre pressure monitoring system for motorcycles, mopeds and scooters – introducing new levels of safety for riders for whom tyre condition is critical.

The Michelin TPMS – Bike is a ‘plug & play’ retrofit kit that comes as standard with a magnetic display mount, inductive charger and two sensors, replacing the original valve caps. It brings the same direct TPMS technology already launched for the passenger car and commercial vehicle markets to two-wheels for the first time.

Designed to detect a tyre in distress through loss of pressure, fast leakage or an increase in temperature – often the sign of an impending blowout – the display provides a highly visual alert and identifies the wheel affected.

WIMA members will get a discount: use the code WIMA10 at the checkout to receive 10% off.  Fit2Go will also have a stand at the International Rally in Castleton in August. Both new systems can be fitted within minutes and come with a 12-month warranty. They are available to purchase directly from and major retailers including Amazon and Ebay.

Fit2Go TPMS says it could significantly reduce the number of motorcycle accidents for which illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres are a contributary factor. The Department for Transport (DfT) has recorded 130 such accidents* in Britain between 2015 and 2017, making it the second most common vehicle defect contributing to accidents after defective brakes.

The wireless system, which does not need any programming, features a compact LCD screen which fits into a magnetic mount placed on a prominent part of the bike. The fully sealed and buttonless device can be easily removed for security when parking unattended and is small enough to fit in a pocket.

The display offers a battery life of up to three months, with the addition of a USB-powered inductive charger making it simple to top-up when the battery is running low. Once fitted, it displays the pressure of both tyres, with the option of switching from psi to bar, while toggling between front and rear at set intervals, eliminating the need for riders to carry a separate pressure checker.

Gary Broadfield, Group Managing Director of Fit2Go TPMS, says: “Whatever kind of motorcycle, moped or scooter you ride, you want to have absolute confidence in your tyres – yet few bikes offer any kind of on-board TPMS.

“Riding on incorrectly inflated rubber or suffering any kind of tyre failure on a motorbike can be catastrophic. Our system continually monitors both tyres and provides precise pressure readings, unlike indirect systems which typically only offer estimates via the bike’s brake sensors.

“In the event a tyre issue is detected, the rider will see a prominent visual alert on the display unit – which flashes as brightly as the torch on most mobile phones.”

The Fit2Go technology provides early low-pressure warnings if a tyre becomes under-inflated by 15 per cent, an enhanced alert when the pressure either drops by 25 per cent, or should the tyre be over-inflated by 35 per cent or more. It will also alert the rider to high tyre temperatures or fast leakage (at least 2 psi per minute) – a nightmare scenario for any rider, particularly at speed.

At the same time the firm is launching Michelin Tyre Pressure Checker – an ultra-affordable option for those who simply want access to precise pressure readings within seconds, and without needing to connect a pressure gauge to the valve, which is unhygienic and removes air from the tyre.

The system works by fitting an NFC-enabled pressure sensor to replace the current valve caps on each tyre. To get a pressure reading, you simply hold a pressure checker (which fits on a keyring) against the sensor to determine the precise pressure, accurate to within 1.5 psi. There are no batteries in the sensors, and the pressure checker device can be recharged via the supplied USB cable. What’s more, as well as being compatible with scooters, mopeds and motorbikes, the Michelin Tyre Pressure Checker can be used on bicycles, cars, 4x4s, vans and towed trailers too – with four sensors included in each pack.

Under-inflated tyres can seriously affect a motorcycle’s handling as they become deformed, reducing contact with the road and risking the tyre being pulled off the rim. The tyres are also more likely to overheat or be damaged by debris, whilst over-inflation can lead to uneven wear, reduced handling and poor ride comfort.

Both new systems can be fitted within minutes and come with a 12-month warranty. They are available to purchase directly from and major retailers including Amazon and Ebay.

Fit2Go TPMS has also just launched its latest generation system for passenger cars. The Michelin TPMS enables drivers to monitor up to eight tyres on a single journey, including the tyres on towed trailers and caravans.

* DfT report: Vehicles in reported accidents by contributory factor and vehicle type, Great Britain, 2017


Fit2Go TPMS Ltd is a Midlands-based technology firm specialising in tyre pressure monitoring systems for fitment by consumer motorists. The company was founded by two lifelong friends – Gary Thomas, a Director of his own transport compliance consultancy, and Gary Broadfield, a Director of Technology and serial inventor for a large Japanese electronics manufacturer. Together they brought the marriage of skills required to help solve tyre pressure monitoring issues in the automotive sector. The company is a global licensee for Michelin.

For further press information please contact:
James Keeler at Garnett Keeler PR on 020 8647 4467 or by email to

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International Rally UK, 2019

The Rally was a huge success – click here to see some photographs from the event.

Full Report on the business and general shenanigans coming soon.


When WIMA, Women’s International Motor-cycle Association held their week long Inter-national Rally in Derbyshire in August, IAM National Observer Linda Ashmore from Dorchester & West Dorset was invited to organise a day’s Advanced Riding for some of the two hundred plus female bikers who would be coming from over twelve countries. 

National Observers Gina Herridge of Somerset, Rachel Mahy (also a police motorcyclist) & Mel Rowbottom both from Bristol, Di Woodcock of Aylesbury and Thames Vale groups, Stephanie Evans of Herts & Beds, Shirley Eden and Local Observer Coron Wybrow both from Cheddar Valley, immediately volunteered. 

Following a presentation on Advanced Riding Techniques the fifty riders who had signed up were taken out for observed rides. A really positive atmosphere encompassed the day, with many others wishing they had also signed up. All were particularly appreciative of having female observers: Monique of the Netherlands said, “We were so appreciative of their skills and how they taught us.” Julie from the UK said, “Apart from what I learned on the ride the best ‘top-tip’ was from Rachel, when she showed me, at only five foot, how to get my bike off its side stand when on a steep slope just by twisting the handle-bar, amazing, no strength needed!” 

The two days certainly raised the profile of IAMRoadSmart, particularly amongst the UK riders who could see that Advanced Ridiing could be for them. And those from abroad were quite envious of the UK having an organisation like IAMRoadSmart, it would appear that it is almost unique across the world. 

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MAG Meets Grayling

Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, met the Motorcycle Action Group to discuss transport policy, the environment and the role of motorcycles in reducing emissions. Mr Grayling and MAG met to discuss his position on transport and the environ-ment; and to establish the extent to which he has considered powered two and three wheelers as part of the transport solution, especially in urban areas. His primary environmental focus is CO2 and its impact on climate change.

Lembit Öpik, MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, explains: ‘MAG has spent much time and effort on the environmental agenda and the Minister seemed im-pressed with this. We explored the technical aspects and we agreed to send him further information. We also spoke about how motorbikes are part of the micro-mobility option, to encourage travel with the smallest feasible vehicles.’ The Minister also understands the need to innovate in the sector. He said: ‘the British motorcycle industry failed to respond to the competitive environment in the 1960s. As a consequence, it was side-lined for decades – until it reinvented itself with a good new long-term strategy. That’s what seems to be driving the success of Triumph and others now.’ Clearly, he approves of that success and of the vision it took to reinvent British motorcycle manufacturing.

MAG believes Mr Grayling will give powered two wheelers their rightful space on Britain’s roads as long as he is presented with the right evidence. This should also lead to a further dialogue with his team. There are clear benefits in terms of road space and environmental footprint and these could play a key role in the Minister’s thinking on motorbikes and scooters. ‘At a time when British politics is generally in flux, it’s a refreshing change to meet someone in power who puts doing the right thing first,’ adds Lembit. ‘MAG can do business with him and that’s definitely a very encouraging outcome of this meeting.’ 

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Dushi Rally Report

Dushi is the Papiamentu word for ‘sweet’ and this event certainly was!
Curacao is in the Caribbean, a small island north of Venezuela, in the Dutch Antilles. Though independent it is still under Dutch sovereignty and Rita Koopmanschap, who is the instigator of this event is a longstanding WIMA member, from Holland who is now re-
siding in Curacao, working as an English teacher. I last met Rita at the Spanish rally in 2001 and she has attended 32 International WIMA rallies!
Finding that there was a definite interest in holding an international rally in Curacao she and Carin Mercera, Captain of WIMA Curacao (started in 2011) enlisted the help of the other 13 members there to organize this amazing event. She said it took five years to do so.
There were 86 participants from 11 countries: UK, Australia, Finland, Germany, Hol- land, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Estonia, Japan Curacao and Aruba (a neighboring Island).
As people arrived they participated in some pre-rally activities including horse-riding, a trip to the Natural History museum and the opportunity to investigate various sites in town including the slavery museum. On Friday and Saturday night the streets were alive with bands featuring in the Blues Seas Blues festival. World class musicians and a great variety of cocktails to try.
The official check in for the WIMA rally was on Sunday 21st, April at the Bed and Bike hostel in Pietermaai in the town centre where most of the participants stayed. There we signed up for several activities including bus trips around the island and the Scavenger hunt. The bus took us out to Kokomo beach for Happy Hour where we had complimentary cocktails and danced to a live band after a sunset swim.
Monday night was the opening dinner at a local res- taurant where we were introduced to the local girls, who rode their Harleys into the foyer, and also met the female minister of transport for the island. Pic of Dockside Peetermai
On Tuesday those who hadn’t hired a bike or scooter went by bus for a tour around the island. This is 60kms long but with a narrow ‘waist’ of only 14kms.There are many beaches and a varied landscape. Many interesting small roads to go exploring on. In the evening was a selection of ‘Caribbean Experiences’; workshops for dance, head-wraps and drumming for which we had previously signed up.
Wednesday we formed groups of up to 6 (the most different nationalities the better) and used photographing or videoing bicycle, bikes or cars or on foot to go on a scavenger hunt which covered much of the island and entailed the team finding places or activities which they had to photograph or video and post to the organizers to gain points. It was hilarious but took all day and was exhausting!
Me on a rented Suzuki – note the helmet!
In the evening we had a meet and greet with other island bikers and, for those who wished, an evening ride. I preferred to stay and drink. Thursday was a WIMA parade and most had hired bikes or scooters to participate. I had a 125 Suzuki beach bike, Terri Healand (WA) a Harley and Anna Noyelle (WA) a scooter. We covered a good deal of the island roads and stopped for lunch and drinks en route.
In the evening we went to the Curacao Liqueur restaurant for a special Culinary Team dinner and there was a traditional band and dancers.
Pic of Ann Weir (GB) with a rented scooter
The Friday activity was a sail along the east coast on a catamaran. I took a seasick pill but found the trip very smooth with the dual keeled craft. There was a BBQ and open bar on board and the chance to stop and snorkel a couple of times. That night was the closing ceremony at one of the bar/restaurants in town where the banner was handed over to Ann Weir from UK to be passed on the the GB rally in August. Prize giving for the Scavenger Hunt (my team came last) and many words of farewell to everyone.
Saturday was Kings Day – a Dutch celebration marked by a ride with all the bikes around the island. We still had our rental bikes but handed them in that afternoon. Thus began the gradual evacuation of the participants to their respective countries; some staying for a few extra days. I stayed with Rita and Myra for two more days and had the chance to see a bit more of the island, including the Hato Caves.
The temperature during the time there was 25-30C, which it is all year, and of course it is humid. The rainy season is Sept/October.
The history of Curacao is fascinating as it has been controlled by Spanish, French and Dutch, with some English influence, thus the Papiamentu language is a mixture of all.
June (Fin), Melanie (D), Rita and Myra (Curacao)
In the 1800s it was a main slave trading centre where African slaves were distributed throughout the island to work on plantations. In 1915 shell set up an oil refinery
there but this was abandoned in 1985 due to pollution and breakdown of machinery. The islands main source of income now is tourism and it is a cruise ship port of call and a holiday destination for many Dutch people. It is ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling and there are many beaches, restaurants and beach bars and with year- long good weather is ideal.
All in all a very interesting WIMA rally and my congratulations to Rita, Myra, Carin and all the Curacao women who made it a very entertaining week.
Linda Bootherstone-Bick WIMA Australia
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Olga Kevelos

A few months ago, I had an email from Colin Turbett, asking if I’d like to review his biography of Olga Kevelos for the WIMA news. Now I’ll admit that prior to Colin’s email, I hadn’t heard of Olga, probably because I’m too young and know nothing about tri-als biking. But a quick Google furnished me with the basics and I happily agreed to review the book. For those like me, who don’t know, or need a refresher, Olga Kevelos was a big name in trials motorcycle events. Beginning to compete as the only female rider in the late 1940s and continuing right up until 1966, sometimes with other women, such as Molly Briggs but often alone. Long rambling short, I was sent a copy and dug in. 

The book, titled ‘Playing with the Boys’, consists of accounts of her childhood and the atti-tudes that paved the way for her entrance to the motorbiking world, her numerous compe-titions, anecdotes from old friends and relatives and a list of the bikes she had and compet-ed with over the years. These records are interspersed with copies of letters to and from Olga, photographs and a few paintings, newspaper clippings and drawings. 

The early chapters cover Olga’s childhood, her disinterest in schooling and an enduring in-terest in pirates and Errol Flynn. It follows on to document her work during the war, first with Mills (the hand grenade maker), then with the Admiralty in the nautical almanac office; lastly, she volunteered with the inland waterways, crewing on narrowboats transporting coal or metal around the country. My favourite anecdote from this section was Olga’s own account of encountering ghosts in a canal tunnel – make of that what you will. 

The rest of the book is naturally focused on Olga’s first experiences with motorcycling and the large number of events she took part in. Some were impressive suc-cesses, others less successful, due to accidents or just bad luck. I won’t go into too much detail, as that would spoil it for anyone who wants to read about it for themselves. Whatever the outcome though she was earning respect from the male competitors for her stubbornness, her perseverance and her physical strength. 

Playing with the Boys – Biography of Olga Kevelos 

As would be expected, Olga had to fight against all the prejudices of her time, but she strikes me, from what I’ve learned, to be the type not to care what anyone thought of her and she would have just carried on, unflustered by any disapproving looks she may have received. 

The rest of the book is naturally focused on Olga’s first experiences with motorcycling and the large number of events she took part in. Some were impressive successes, others less successful, due to accidents or just bad luck. I won’t go into too much detail, as that would spoil it for anyone who wants to read about it for themselves. Whatever the outcome though she was earning respect from the male competitors for her stubbornness, her perse-verance and her physical strength. As would be expected, Olga had to fight against all the prejudices of her time, but she strikes me, from what I’ve learned, to be the type not to care what anyone thought of her and she would have just carried on, unflustered by any disap-proving looks she may have received. 

These collected fragments help to build a picture of a woman who was determined to do her own thing, never mind what anyone else thought – a sentiment which I certainly admire, and I think would resonate with many members of WIMA. Olga did attend a rally in 1968, in Germany, which was when she was offered a membership, but she declined as she pre-ferred to ‘play with the boys.’ 

Olga died in 2009, just short of her 86th birthday. The family home was sold twice before its contents were fully examined and the material concerning Olga was found. Colin Turbett was fortunate in obtaining some of this and began the biography in 2015. 

I quite enjoyed the book. I’ve never read anything like it before – I tend to stick to fiction of the fantasy and sci-fi variety, and I know next to nothing about trials riding and early motor sport. But it was an enjoyable read, to anyone with an interest in motorcycle sport or just in the history of women in motorcycling then this is a good book for the shelf or as a gift for any independent-minded women. 

Molly Dibley 

The book is sold through Facebook ‘Olga Kevelos Biography’ but also from Colin at £20. Colin is reachable by email at: 

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Bikers United

An initiative has been launched to tackle the rise in motorcycle crime. is a National Stolen Motorcycle Database where victims of theft can re-port their stolen motorcycle or scooter and alert other bikers in real-time to a theft in their area. The website also allows its users to report suspicious activity and those selling stolen machinery, with the aim of disrupting criminal activity by making it harder for thieves to operate. 

Motorcycle crime is a nationwide epidemic with over 30,000 motorcycles and scooters stolen in 2017, up from around 8,000 in 2012. The number of ‘Moped Enabled Thefts’ carried out in London-alone has jumped from 827 in 2012 to over 23,000 in 2017; you are more than 30 times more likely to have your phone snatched in London now than you were 5 years ago. 

Once your bike is listed on Bikers United it’s fed into Google and automatically shared on social channels. If anyone sees your bike, they’ll locate your listing and be able to update you with any information. 


Reporting suspicious activity 

Suspicious activity almost always precedes a crime, for example gangs of mopeds circling an area or individuals checking out a bike before stealing it. Witnesses to these small incidents may not want to report this activity to the police or Crimestoppers but the system enables them to upload images and log any activity that when collated will make a big difference. 

As bikers, we’re able to spot these criminals better than most other members of the public. These small snippets of information will be collated on and supplied to the police to help them identify individuals and pin them down to a specific location and time. has been created by, Ben Cope, the same guy who started Visordown. Ben Cope comment-ed: “As an individual, it’s hard to tackle bike crime. How-ever as a group our collective input can make a differ-ence. While bike crime might not seem rife in all areas across the UK, it is at ridiculous levels in London, Liver-pool, Bristol and is spreading through the country as criminals switch over to bike crime. By working together, we can help raise awareness of bike crime on a local level, allowing owners to better protect their bikes. We can also provide more evidence to help the police fix individuals to times, vehicles and locations, increasing the chances of these criminals being successfully prose-cuted.” 

Web links: 

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Finland Rally Report

A fabulous trip; almost 2500 miles of road plus two ferry trips each way. 

Having travelled across Europe last year to attend the WIMA Estonia International, this time I missed out Russia and spent more time in Latvia and Lithuania. What a mix across the EU of poverty, wealth, industry, agriculture and forestry but amongst all of that what wonderful, generous people I met along the way. There was fishing as well but mainly as the end product – delicious meals. 

It takes me a full day to travel the 370 miles from my home in North-East Scotland to reach the ferry terminal in Hull by 5:30pm check-in. Why Hull? Well it is not as close as the Newcastle to Amsterdam crossing with DFDS but I feel that P&O treat motorcycles and their riders better on the Hull to Zeebrugge/Rotterdam routes, the meals are better and the staff more friendly (both on-board and landside.) 

Lately, I have rediscovered the A68 running down the spine of North UK from Edinburgh to the A1 at Darlington. It does not take much longer than the alternatives of the A1 all the way along the coast from Edinburgh or the recommended fast route of A9 to Glasgow, M74 to Penrith, A66 to Scotch Corner then A1 south. The A68 is a pleasant road for most of it’s distance with lovely twisty sections, fine views and little traffic. 

In April of this year I found the bike that I had been looking for several years – a single or twin cylinder, good sized fuel tank and luggage capacity. I had tried the BMW1200GS which was ok but does not have a very large tank; the larger explorer version is just too big and heavy for me. I actually did the deal for this new bike on 31st March so I got a really good part exchange package with my GS and Honda VFR 1200 for a brand new Honda Africa Twin Adventure which has a 350 mile capacity tank but a seat height of 900mm which is 50mm more than the standard Africa Twin and a bit too high for me. The Honda dealer recommended a Metisse 30mm lowering kit which was duly fitted. The problem was that the side stand then needed to be shortened as well and because it is aluminium, requires a specialist welder to cut out a piece and join the ends. 

Bare with me – there is a point to this diversion. 

Getting off the ferry in Zebrugge I stopped just beyond border control to check my bike, sat nav. etc was all in order. At this point the weld failed and I struggled to keep my fully loaded bike upright and wheeled to a wall that I could lean it against. I am assuming that the tying down of the bike on the ferry probably played a part in the side stand breaking. 

The AA said that someone would come out but that took over 2 hours and in the meantime, a helpful P&O member of staff helped me contact the local Honda dealer in Zeebrugge. The AA man turned up prepared to jump the battery, not help with a broken side stand so he provided no assistance at all. 

I managed to get to the local dealer but he took one look, shook his head and said that he could not weld it and that it would take him 48 hours to get a new Adventure stand (which was not what I needed). 

I made it to my first overnight stop 318 miles away at Bad Nenndorf in Germany and parked the bike up against a wall. Over a beer or two that evening, I got talking (mainly via Google translate for the technical parts) to two men, one of whom was a pipe installer and the other a metallurgist both of whom worked for a firm designing and installing waste incinerators with steam turbines to produce electricity. They were proud to tell me that they had installed one plant in Falkirk, Scotland. They both looked at the broken part, which I just happened to have in my bag and announced that the manufacturing process of the side stand meant that the part was very strong but could not be successfully welded. 

Next day I was off to the local equivalent of B&Q to purchase some wood, tape, screws and string and set-to in their car park, to make a peg-leg for my bike. You may laugh – I did – but it worked. I could stop, lower the peg-leg on the string and manoeuvre it under the broken side stand. I was concerned though about using my Heath Robinson handwork on the Tallinn to Helsinki Ferry, so phoned my local, Aberdeen Honda dealer. I wanted to know the part number and availability of the side stand for the standard Africa Twin, the difference in lengths and whether the fixings were the same for both. I received a full reply the following day – the difference in length is 2cm and the fitting is the same. 

That night, I stayed in the first hotel that I could once over the border into Poland, at a place called Boczów. The bedroom was clean, the food local and very wholesome, the beer was good, thankfully as the choice of drink was water, coffee or beer. This was a fascinating place frequented by long distance van drivers so it was both cheap and good value. Here I spoke for a while with a man travelling from Slovenia to Germany, he had been educated in Edinburgh and now worked for the German Naval Shipyards in Wilhelmshaven; a place I had visited on my way to the WIMA Swedish Rally in 2015. 

Armed with the new information from Ecosse Honda in Aberdeen, I visited the Honda dealer at my next overnight stop which was in Warsaw, fully expecting to have to wait up to 48 hours to get the part. They were not convinced that what I wanted was practical or would even work but after much discussion between themselves and the workshop manager they agreed to put a side stand for a standard bike onto my adventure version, as long as I was prepared to pay even if it did not work. 

Better still, they had the part in stock. Other work was stopped and they wheeled my bike in to the workshop where the whole thing was done in 30 minutes. It works perfectly. 

I was back on the road just an hour and half later than I had originally planned. I was and still am, very impressed with Honda’s European Network. 

My next move though was foolish on my part, in order to make up time I set my Sat Nav for a quick route to my next stop in a place called Druskininkai in Lithuania; one of the volunteer advisers in my place of work had recommended it to me when she heard that I was going to her home country. Unfortunately, I forgot that I had originally planned my route to go around Belarus. I was well aware that I had 2 rainbow flags in my luggage which may have been used against me if found by border guards in either Russia or Belarus. 

I had a more immediate problem though, travelling north on the main road through Poland, each petrol station in a very long section was closed. I started looking for a stop when my instruments said I had 50 miles of fuel to go but by the time I got to 20, I was becoming quite concerned so I turned off the main road to set my satnav to the closest filling station. At the point where I was being told that I had 14 miles worth of fuel left, the engine stuttered then died. I cruised to a halt beside a team of workmen laying drains. We looked at each other then, using sign language and pointing, the foreman instructed me to go with a worker in their van to get petrol. This was from an agricultural supplier in a tiny village about 6 kilometres away. As with most places, they sold beer but the driver would not accept any from me for his effort. Having purchased a petrol can and 5 litres of fuel it was back to my bike where I had left it. I offered money as thanks but he politely and firmly said no. What lovely people, in the middle of nowhere, taking time to help a foolish old woman who ran out of petrol. 

Fully fuelled up again, I followed the satnav, noting that the roads were getting quieter and more rural, it finally dawned on me that I could be heading for Belarus. It is worth noting that the gap between Kaliningrad and Belarus is less than 50 miles, with only one main road and several smaller roads going from Poland to Lithuania. 

TomTom was sending me down gravel roads or eastwards towards the border; I was assum-ing that each crossing point would be guarded but did not want to take that risk as I worked out that I was very close to it. I stopped at the side of a road in a tiny village to check my posi-tion when a voice called out from the nearest house and a big man with oily hands came out to see if I needed help. He told me to stay put and went next door to get his sister who spoke very good English. He produced a map and assured me that if I followed their instructions I would get to my destination without attempting to cross the border. He even gave me his large scale map of the area. 

Amusingly, their instructions sent me down the same gravel roads that my sat nav wanted me to use, which was clearly normal for them though they did say that there was one bad section – they were not wrong. 

Eventually I turned up at the hotel I had pre-booked in Druskininkai. The Hotel Dainava looked as though it dated from communist times, very square and formal. Dinner was be-tween 6:00 and 7:00pm so I was 2 hours late. The town is a spa town and full of tourists and visitors to the spa, the hotel itself though was part hotel, part sanatorium with the whole ground floor dedicated to an assortment of treatment rooms, mainly involving water. It was quiet in the evening but next morning the corridor was full of people, mainly infirm and in various states of undress or people wearing doctors coats or nurses uniforms. There were zimmers, walking frames and wheelchairs all over the place, almost like an obstacle course. I felt very sorry for these people, many of whom were distressed and hoping (and presumably paying) for some magical cure for their ailments. It put our own free NHS service into perspective. It reminded me of hundreds of poor, desperate people I had witnessed paying (and praying) for miracle cures by crawling around the church at São Bento da Porta Aberta, in Portugal where I stayed overnight several years ago on a trip to Los Picos in Spain and to the Algarve. 

Next morning was just a short run up to Vilnius where a man in a 4×4 actually pushed me out of the way with his car bumper as he tried to squeeze into a small parking space between where I was parked and a parked car. He eventually moved down three spaces to one of the several empty parking slots but only when he realised that he couldn’t get his car door open. This and other aggressive driving manoeu-vres have made me change my mind about Latvian’s being the worst drivers – Lithuanians are even worse. 

I stayed that night in a lovely small hotel just this side of the Latvia/Estonia border, in fact the border dissects the village across the main street. The room was very clean and comfort-able, the food delicious and with good beer and wine, made for a most enjoyable rest. I find that people in most Baltic countries do not smile a lot – they probably have very good cause but they are friendly and talkative. The barman just wanted to chat to me about when he came to Birmingham despite the fact that he was struggling to speak and understand English. 

In the morning, the owner’s son asked if I would take a picture on his camera of him and my bike together. He was just a young chap still at school but he has three bikes including a sin-gle cylinder Husqvarna that he uses for off-roading and is a member of a local motorcycle club. We chatted about bikes for 15 minutes before I set off. 

I am always so impressed how good other people are at languages compared to me. I won-der how long people will continue to want to learn to speak English after we leave the EU in March next year. 

The daytime temperatures had risen to 39 degrees as I rode through Germany, at last they were dropping to a more respectable 32 as I moved northwards. 

I had visited Estonia just last year so did not feel the need to linger, even though I have happy memories of the country and the rally so it was a three hour run across the country to Tallinn and the ferry ride to Hel-sinki. The road between Parnu and Tallinn is, thankfully, much improved since the roadworks that were go-ing on at this time last year. 

The ferry is not cheap considering that it is only 2 hours but everything is more expensive in Finland – and Estonia is not much better, in my opinion. 

So eventually I arrived at the rally site in Parainen at 6:00pm, tired, hungry and very hot. My accommodation in a chalet fell through so I spent the next six nights in a borrowed tent and sleeping bag, sleeping on a mat that would not stay inflated. Fortunately, the carpet of warm pine needles was reasonably comfortable and the trees provided shade from the heat. 

Next month, more about the excellent rally and my journey home. 



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Fighting back against motorcycle theft

Lock 2 Lock is a national motorcycle security scheme with a difference.  The MAG Foundation re-launched the scheme on 13th August 2018 offering a tag to display to other riders.

It takes less than 20 seconds for a bike to be loaded into the back of a van. However, Lock 2 Lock is not about preaching statistics that most riders know, it is about promoting a biker-friendly and safer community. It proposes to do this by uniting motorcyclists in a bid to radically reduce bike theft.

Because of a lack of secure motorcycle parking areas, it is almost taken for granted that riders will park their bikes and then worry about whether they will still be there when they return. The Lock 2 Lock scheme has been created to make that sort of anxiety a thing of the past by enabling riders to properly secure their bikes when parked in public places.

The scheme is simplicity itself. By attaching a Lock 2 Lock tag to their bike lock, motorcyclists can help to drastically reduce motorcycle theft. The Lock 2 Lock tag displayed on a motorcycle authorises another Lock 2 Lock member to lock his or her bike security chain to that particular bike’s security chain. It is that simple.

The scheme enables two or more motorcycles to be locked together, making all the machines considerably more difficult to steal and protecting any number of motorcycles against theft. Only the locks are locked together, therefore any of the bikes can be removed from the “chain” of bikes when the owner desires.

The implementation of the Lock 2 Lock programme on a national scale is guaranteed to reduce motorcycle theft in the UK.

MAG members will receive a free Lock 2 Lock tag with Issue 78 September/October edition of The ROAD.  Additional tags are available to all at a cost of £2 all proceeds go to MAG Foundation.  Please contact Central office on 01926 844 064.

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WIMA GB Rally 2018

June 22nd – 24th 2018

Chellington is like nowhere else you will ever stay. It’s a deconsecrated church in the lovely Bedfordshire countryside,
overlooking the river Ouse. Sleeping accommodation is in the aisles of the nave! Activities (including the AGM) take place in the Nave of the church. There are also two separate meeting rooms, one in the Apse and the other in a new built extension, with panoramic views. The area is brilliant for riding, or you could visit a number of places including Bletchley Park (highly recommended)

Rally INFO: Chellington is a unique venue but it does come with some rules
which we have to live by.

ARRIVAL will be FROM 5pm 22nd – NOT EARLIER (sorry, not my rules). The
AGM should finish at 12pm on Sunday 24th and after that we all have 2 hours max to pack up and leave, so the centre can be cleaned for the next party. No dogs are allowed. For early arrivals I suggest meeting nearby: there is a café (not cheap but quite nice) in the Harrold/Odell country park just down the road: Carlton Road, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7DS or there is the Oakley Arms in Harrold or the Emmaus bistro in Carlton School Ln, Carlton MK43 7LQ open till 4.30 During the weekend, if wanted, there will be games, quizzes, a suggested route for a ride out, etc etc.

Rooms are essentially spoken for but if we have individual members who are willing to share a room, there is one room set aside for this purpose. The cost will be divided between however many share. Please enquire!

There is ample camping in the field next to the centre. You may bring a camper van or caravan but it must be sited in the car park and there is no electric hook up, or gas bottles allowed.

A bed linen hire package is available for those sleeping in the centre: it costs £5 and includes duvet, duvet cover, bed sheet, pillow and pillow slip. ALL those staying in the centre get a pillow and pillow slip included but unless you pay the additional £5, you will have to bring either a sleeping bag or bed linen. FOOD – Friday night food – will be takeaways or people might choose to walk to the pub. If possible we will do a ‘Takeaway run’ and get fish and chips in for those who can be there by a certain time, I’ll ask in my map mailing close to the time. You may bring in a microwaveable meal or Google local takeaways & bring one in. Saturday night there is a catered group meal available at the centre, this is a two course meal with a choice of two mains and two deserts, at £15 per person. It MUST be pre ordered and money paid up front when you book, but can be refunded up to May 31st if need be. After May 31st, no refunds.

NO SPARE MEALS will be available on the night! Order and pay in advance or make your own arrangements. (Centre Kitchen will be in use by the caterer) All campers and those staying in the centre will have a continental breakfast provided (please note that this will include boiled eggs, but no omelettes or pancakes, unlike previous visits – we’re not cooking!) Deposits for accommodation are NON REFUNDABLE. Bookings are transferrable to someone else, but ONLY IF you find the someone else, get the deposit money from them and inform the organiser! Booking deadline and cut off for balance payments is May 31st. No new bookings will be processed after this date. Maps and final info will go out to all those booked after June 10th. Pay on the day camping will be available, at a cost of £20 (the cost is still £20 if you only stay Saturday night). Pay on the day accommodation in the centre would depend on whether anyone staying is willing to share their room with you (!) although there is space to fling a sleeping mat in the Apse of the church (separated from the Nave by screens). The charge for additional indoor sleeping in the Apse would be £20, same as camping and the charge for being an additional person in a pre booked room would be TBC but more than £20. All day visitors must pay £10 pp for the weekend if they are staying in B&Bs, as the venue will be charging us.

Visitors who want to attend the AGM only on Sunday morning ONLY, please let us know. We have to have a full list of all those present on site due to strict H&S requirements. For those arriving by bike who would struggle to bring alcohol, a limited supply will be available, payable by donation. Please advise the organiser if you want to take advantage of this so we can get enough in, and let us know if you’d prefer beer, lager, cider or wine (no specific brands!) There is a pub within walking distance, but it’s not next door.. If you bring your own booze – please NO GLASS bottles! (There is no glass recycling available at the centre and I am not taking your rubbish home!) Why not share a box of wine with friends?!!

Please ask Sherbs via the address or PM on Facebook if you want more details or a booking form.

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MAG News

News from the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG)

MAG calls for greater partnership-working and tougher action against bike crime in the West Midlands


Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement for the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), Colin Brown, met Assistant Police & Crime Commissioner, Lynnette Kelly, this week to call for increased priority in tackling motorcycle crime in the West Midlands.
Despite recent dramatic increases in car theft, motorcyclists in the West Midlands are still eight times more likely to fall victim to theft than car owners.  Recent reports also demonstrate rising levels of threatened violence and actual assaults by thugs targeting vulnerable riders whilst on their machines.

“Perception of vulnerability is very important to any individual, and bikers are no different” says Colin; “we all have a right to feel protected by the police.  West Midlands bikers do not feel that the response to defend and protect them from this criminal behaviour is sufficient.  They see reports of arrests, but it is often months before there is a prosecution, and there seems to be a complete lack of reported convictions in the West Midlands. This is doing nothing to give confidence to the biking community.”
MAG is calling for greater partnership-working to tackle the issue.  In these days of austerity and stretched budgets we recognise the need for police forces to look to partnership initiatives to combat crime.  MAG is up for the challenge and is already working on many initiatives of this sort around the country, but we can only achieve significant results where this kind of initiative is fully embraced and endorsed at a senior level.  In the West Midlands, much great work is being done, but we feel there is potential for even more.
Colin added, “I am hopeful that today’s meeting will pave the way for a renewed and increased effort to bring the bike theft epidemic to an end.”

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BMF Bulletin

The BMF has recently been engaged in the following Lobbying & related activity:

Transport for London [TfL] consultation: Anna Zee [Political & Technical Services Director] responded to the 150-page consultation. The motorcycle provisions are generally welcome (funding for training, street design guidelines) but outside road safety motorcycles are not really fully integrated into the strategy.

The Mayor of London has, as part of the TfL road safety strategy, asked the DVSA to improve the standard of motorcycle training. Jim Freeman [Chairman] has signed the letter, on behalf of the BMF.

AZ has also represented riders at the Greater London Assembly [GLA] Transport Committee inquiring into the work done by TfL to improve motorcycle safety. A video of the committee meeting will be available on the GLA website for a few weeks.

AZ has attended various meetings & working groups of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety [PACTS] which advises the All Party Parliamentary Group for Transport Safety[APPG]. AZ is part of a working group formed to provide a briefing to the PACTS board on policies which could improve motorcycle safety.

AZ has also been representing the BMF in meetings with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents [RoSPA] Road Safety forum.

AZ has also been representing the BMF at various Highways England meetings, particularly the Motorcycle Working Group, primarily focussed on road safety. The BMF’s former Government Relations Executive [GRE], Graeme Hay, has also been representing rider’s interests in a dedicated Highways Engineering working group on infrastructure & road design guidelines.

AZ has also been working with the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Working Group [MCRWG] as BMF representative.


AZ has been a member of the EU’s Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems [C-ITS] Phase II Platform, as a registered lobbyist with relevant technical expertise, representing the Federation of European Motorcycle Associations [FEMA], of which the BMF is a member, the only rider’s right’s representative to do so. The Plenary session delivered its report, in September 2017, the culmination of 3 years work & dozens of meetings, almost all of which have been attended by AZ: es/transport/files/2017-09-c-its-platform-final-report.pdf

AZ felt that she had particularly managed to get 2 road safety recommendations included:

Regarding the assessment of risks of connected & unconnected vehicles sharing road space.

That while full Type Approval [TA] of C-ITS functionality might not be immediately applicable – too slow and likely to impede development, such functionality will nonetheless be subject to a proper, rigorous compliance process.

The bulletin can be downloaded in Portable Document Format here.

Thank you for your continued support of the BMF in our work, pursuing, protecting and promoting the rights of motorcyclists.


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Black Forest Biking

Last year, we were asked by some friends whether we fancied biking in the Black Forest this June and without a great deal of thought we said yes! It was nice to be asked. The plan was to make our own ways there and all stay in a hotel in Mulheim – there are several Mulheims, this one is at the South Eastern edge of the Black Forest. What we didn’t know: The Black Forest is VAST! We managed to see remarkably little of it in a week. And it is quite far away, it took us 2 long days to get there and 2 long days to get back. We did 1500 + miles. What we had heard: The roads are amazing – yes, they are. What we already knew: Germany is biker heaven. It is a very bike friendly place with huge areas of fantastic roads for biking. The Harz Mountains (where we have also been) The Bavarian Forest, the Black Forest, etc etc. What we didn’t expect: It was extremely hot! In Germany in June! OK, it is pretty far South (next door to Switzerland) but we never expected 30 degrees and we weren’t really equipped for it. I had to go and buy another strappy tee shirt! Being 2 up, we have little luggage space and could not take our Kevlar jeans. We could really have done with Kevlar jeans and a fully vented jacket, but no room to carry them.

What we experienced: we got to know one particular road very well. It was our main way into the forest and boy was it steep and twisty! I mean, you do a bit of this stuff now and then, but this was a solid hour of up and down the mountains on hair pin bends and fast sweeping curves. Mike’s bike is a VFR 800, sports tourer, I am a bit perched on the back and suffice to say our friends nicknamed us Missile Micky and Rucksack Sue. I had to hang on tight – it was pretty tiring.

Then we always came out onto the famous B500, THE Black Forest route that everyone rides. This is a larger, better surfaced road, busy in places, quiet in others, lots of fast swooping bends, lots and lots of other bikers! You spend a lot of time waving! What we saw: We had a day of cuckoo clocks and waterfalls (Triberg area) and a day of chair lifts/cable cars and tracked toboggoning, which was great fun. We visited two lakes. We went to a steam railway which was closed. We had a ‘day off’ for shopping on the feast of Corpus Christi, when everything was closed! We ate a lot of cake. We spent a lot of time sitting in a bar in the town square, all of us on big outdoor sofas, which was very enjoyable, especially as they also did nice food. We ate a lot. We talked a lot. We laughed a lot. We like to travel just the two of us, but being with friends was great.

How we travelled there and back. We went out on the Euro tunnel train, meeting some of our friends at the terminal, because we could not get the evening sailing we wanted on the Harwich Ferry (Harwich is very convenient for us) Then we rode across to Germany in a day on motorways (not payage) and did 5 countries in one day – UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg (terrible traffic past Luxembourg, we and about 20 German bikers filtered for miles) and finally Germany. Stayed in a hotel, then travelled on more motorways to Mulheim. 2 long days. We came back a different route with a different party of friends, the party having split to come home. This time we were heading to Harwich via Holland. We did a day on A roads which was very, very long. No services on A roads! At one point we stopped at a ferry crossing point (no ferry) in the middle of nowhere, right by the Rhine. I shared what little food we had in our top box (a couple of cheese rolls, water, crisps and some biscuits) with one of the other couples, we all went wee in the bushes, I skimmed stones on the Rhine and afterwards we all said that was our favourite stop of the day! Finally, after miles of riding through vineyards and village after village, we got onto an amazing road that runs along the Rhine, castle after castle wowed us, we found a nice café to stop in, and even though we were all dehydrated from the heat and tired, that bit was great and had us all vowing to come back and explore the Rhine castles. Stayed in another hotel (very nice spot by a river) and next day decided to do things differently. One of our number does not like motorways (hence the A roads on day 1) but Mike does not like trying to cover 250+ miles at a snails pace. The compromise was to do the motorways, but stick to 70 mph. 4 bikes, one leading, nervous person 3rd with us behind. The fact there are hardly any lorries on Sundays on the continent helped us to stick together. We stopped every 50 miles. Every time the nervous motorway rider wanted to pull out, we pulled out first behind him and then he came out into the space we’d created. Result – a relaxed days riding we all enjoyed! Even though it was 30 degrees. Finally we stopped at a favourite Pancake house half an hour from Hook of Holland and had a leisurely pancake stop before carrying on to catch the ferry. And then home. What we think about going again: To ‘See’ the Black Forest you ideally need to tour it, not stay in one place. But we have updated our ‘bike packing’ list to include more items and different items ‘if weather forecast good’….. so I guess we think we’d do it again!


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National Rally Report 2017

If you weren’t there, you missed a good rally! The weather was kind – lots of sunshine – no torrential rain which has marred our last three Nationals. It was warm enough to sit outside in the evening, sampling the real ales. The Halfway House Inn was very accommodating, with lovely, quaint rooms. The camping area was flat, there was plenty of parking. The food was tasty, and the staff pleasant.

Liz Robinson led a ride through the beautiful Shropshire countryside, while others “did their own thing”, visiting places like Ludlow, Church Stretton, Ironbridge or driving over the Long Mynd, a seven mile steep escarpment, which rises to just under 1700 feet at its highest point. David and I had a great weekend, enjoying, as always, the company of friends old and new.

The AGM was well supported, with three members who hadn’t been at the rally, travelling in for the meeting. The minutes will be in a future newsletter, but the notable points for those that were not there are:

● membership fees will not increase this year

● Elections – President = Val Newman, Treasurer = Julie Walpole, General Secretary = Rina Lawrence

● The roles of SLO and NLO are still vacant, because the areas are too large.

● More Regional/Area reps are needed – so if you would like to look after “your patch”, please let me, or any of the Committee know.

● Zara Strange kindly volunteered to take on the Editor role – not necessarily permanently – but certainly for a few months. Thank you, Zara.

● Sheonagh Ravensdale has been made an Honorary Member, for her services to WIMA, in a variety of roles, including 6 years as GB President’s, 6 years as International President, and 6 years as newsletter editor.

Pikilily is to be the official WIMA GB charity: our raffle raised £86 for them.

● A venue has been found for our International in 2019 – Losehill Hall, Castleton, Derbyshire – see to take a virtual tour. The planned (but not yet confirmed) dates are 11-17 August 2019.

Tracy Wheldon has been co-opted to the role of Northern Liaison Officer. Tracy lives in Yorkshire, and can be contacted on Thank you for volunteering, Tracy!

We also have Sandra Morrison taking on the role of North East Regional Rep, and Angela Baird as local rep for County Durham.

The next major WIMA event is the International Rally in Estonia, where 20 of us will be exploring the delights of a country most of us have not visited before. So, enjoy your riding, stay safe, be good!

President- Val Newman

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Bikes of the Future

Take a look at the new BMW Motorrad Zero Emission Engine concept bike – Glasses instead of a helmet, light clothing, full balance without a stand: just three of a great many aspects which could become standard in motorcycling and give that feeling of freedom a new dimension in an increasingly digital world. And the best thing about it: this vision vehicle is already here. Introducing the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100.The futuristic two-wheeler glides silently through the hall. In the curve in front of the stage, the frame bulges out and the BMW logo affixed on the size illuminates in blue and white. The rider, equipped with a black suit and stylish glasses, brings her vehicle to a stop and remains poised in that position without taking a foot off the frame. It’s like a scene from a sci-fi film. And although it does all happen in the motion picture capital Los Angeles, it is nevertheless absolutely real. The vision vehicle, which is celebrating its world premiere at the “Iconic Impulses. The BMW Group Future Experience” exhibition, catapults you into the 40s of the 21st century.

A time when mobility is yet more diverse and interconnected; a time when digitalization takes on a shape which we today perceive to be surreal; a time when motorcycling becomes an analogue and at the same time extraordinarily emotional experience. “The motorcycle provides my escape from everyday life. From the moment I climb on board, I experience nothing but absolute freedom – The Great Escape,” says Edgar Heinrich, head of design at BMW Motorrad.

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Together with his design team, Edgar Heinrich drafted this future scenario and designed the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT vision vehicle based on that. “When we develop a motorcycle, we are usually thinking around five to ten years in the future. So taking a look further into the future was especially exciting for us and highly appealing,” Edgar Heinrich paints the picture. Designers are assuming that in 20 years, most vehicles will be driving around autonomously. Life will more often take place in urban environments and be organized by digital services. More and more digital, more and more interconnected, more and more automated. This thought made it clear what importance will be attached to analogue islands which give humans back that feeling of freedom.

Freedom means experiencing the environment with all your senses, and feeling centrifugal forces, acceleration and the wind. Ideally without a helmet or protective clothing. And with the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100, you don’t need this any more either. Because the “digital companion” – a functional unit consisting of motorcycle and our own version of rider’s equipment – ensures a high degree of safety. The digital companion acts imperceptibly in the background and always intervenes when required or desired. “It was important to us that the analogue riding experience would remain undisturbed. The display and operating concept acts so discreetly that it creates a natural and familiar movement,” explains Holger Hampf, head of design, customer experience, at the BMW Group.

All new – and yet the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 still captures elements from the BMW Motorrad timeline: black triangular frame, white lines, classical opposed-twin engine type. In the side-on view, the vision vehicle looks naked. Accordingly, ergonomics and seat position are set up like on a roadster. The design of the front is minimalistic and refined with high-quality detailing. Above the front wheel, a large metallic reflector is integrated in the frame. It serves as a wind guide and together with the integrated windscreen, ensures aerodynamically optimized airflow.

Body elements like the seat, the upper frame cover and the front-wheel cover are made of carbon. Two intricate red light fixtures beneath the seat serve as the tail light and turn indicators. The tyres have a damping function and actively adapt to the terrain. The red rocker arm on the right handlebar stands out. Designed as a consciously mechanical element, it blocks the throttle grip or releases it.

The frame follows the wheel.

The black triangular frame is visually reminiscent of the R 32 from 1923 – the first BMW motorcycle. However, the frame has functionally little to do with the original. The Flexframe is flexible and allows steering manoeuvres without the joints we are familiar with today. If the handlebars are moved, the entire frame changes shape and facilitates the change in direction. Depending on the traffic situation, the forces required for this vary: steering manoeuvres are especially easy at a standstill, while the frame firms up at high speeds. The surfaces are attached so that they offer the wind and weather protection of a fully enclosed motorcycle. The surface of the frame is made of matt black textile. The BMW Logo affixed to the frame lights up blue and white during the ride.

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John’s Motorcycle News

John Abram and Michael W George have been active members of the VMCC (Vintage Motor Cycle Club) for many years now, both own several motorcycles and have a common interest in all things “motorcycle related” for bikes of all ages (not just solely those over 25 years of age).

They regularly attend, often organise, and help support motorcycle events, displaying race bikes and supporting charities and good causes. In doing so they meet some very hard working and interesting people and many well-known celebrities on the way to boot!

Over the last few years they found that there was a great need for regular information and news with the ever expanding interest in motorcycles, both Classic and Modern, and the related products and services required to keep them well maintained and safe. There is also a need for a novice (and even a hardened veteran) to know where they can obtain certain parts or services from a trusted recommended source.

To go someway towards satisfying these needs John developed a system of communication by text and emails sending them to those people who expressed an interest in becoming involved and Michael wrote and submitted many articles and photographs onto their local VMCC website and published several within the VMCC’s International monthly journals. They also actively support trusted traders and suppliers of whom they had dealt with, or had first hand knowledge of, and all of this has become extremely successful and popular, supported by many well-known celebrities and businesses.

John has a regular slot on BBC Radio Lancashire, on John Gilmore’s (Gilly) show to chat about all things motorcycle related and motorcycle events and Michael has also joined him as a guest speaker. This soon developed into many organised and extremely well attended “live” outside broadcasts at a variety of interesting venues.

With an ever increasing number of interested parties and demand, not only from fellow VMCC members, but also from non members, traders, friends and colleagues it seemed only natural to consider creating an informative website of their own.

Their aim was to produce a website of interest, of events and news and of reference, the “Ultimate Motorcyclists Directory”  but they could never have envisaged just how successful it would become. Within months of launch the site became International with thousands of visits per week!

John and Michael sincerely hope that you find this website creative, interesting and informative and they wish you all safe and happy motorcycling.

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Lobby Harlow

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), the UK’s leading voice for riders’ rights, is lobbying Harlow Council for a change in the terms of an injunction directed at preventing anti-social behaviour in the local area.  MAG has already been in close communication with the Council, but the issue has yet to be fully resolved.

MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, has had two meeting arranged – both of which were postponed at short notice by the authority.  A new date has been arranged – on16th August – but MAG is concerned this is some time away.

MAG’s Chair, Selina Lavender, has expressed worries that this delay could fuel unrest among the law abiding motorcycling community.   Selina says, ‘so far, MAG has been able to secure the patience of riders, on the basis of discussions taking place between MAG and the authority.  This is a key reason why Lembit is very keen to have the meeting as soon as humanly possible is to secure meaningful progress in regard to the injunction and its wording so that the matter can be put to rest.’

Selina has written to the authority, asking for the meeting to occur well before the 16th August – more specifically, in the week beginning the 25th July.  Selina adds, ‘I am acutely aware of the level of unease the current situation is causing.  I’d be very grateful for the local authority’s assistance with resolving the matter as soon as possible.’

MAG will keep the riding community updated on developments as they happen.  Lembit says ‘this is a key priority for me, and I’m acutely aware that we simply have to separate the content of the injunction and what the authority is trying to do in terms of dealing with antisocial behavior.  The problem isn’t bikers, it’s hooligans who just happen to be using bikes.  It’s unfortunate that the injunction appears to discriminate against powered two wheelers, which I know wasn’t the intention.  We’ll get this fixed amicably.  But it does need to be fixed.’


Update November 2016: MAG has increased the pressure on Harlow Council for a resolution to the on-going dispute about an injunction which bans groups of riders from travelling through the borough at certain times of day.

‘The problem is that while the Council have a real anti-social behaviour problem to deal with in the area, they’ve taken the wrong path to address it,’ says MAG’s Essex representative, John Metcalf.  ‘What the injunction actually does is prevent law-abiding riders from going through the town in the daytime, even if there are only two of them. The Council says it won’t enforce the injunction against those who are riding sensibly, but no law which technically illegalises reasonable behaviour is a good law.’

MAG is making another effort to make progress with the officer of Harlow Council, and specifically the legal team there.  However, if these talks fail to materialise, then the campaign may move towards more direct action.  ‘MAG always prefers to achieve a negotiated solution,’ adds John.  ‘But if we continue to find resistance from the local authority in terms of even talking about the options, then the next step is to create a series of events to test the stupidity of these rules.  That’s a lot of hassle and potentially embarrassing for the Council, but since this injunction is being repeatedly introduced around the UK, we have to make a stand and put a stop to regulations which outlaw honest biking.’


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MAG and Stingers in Kent

MAG has been in contact with Kent police following the appearance of a worrying film clip on YouTube suggesting that police might be using a stinger device to stop motorcyclists indulging in anti-social behaviour outside the Oakdene Café in Kent.

MAG Chair Selina Lavender explained “The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is very clear that our mission is to defend riders’ rights, not anti-social behaviour. It is regrettable that some who choose to ride motorcycles and scooters choose to behave in manner that MAG and the general biking community find unacceptable as do the general public. We do not condone this behaviour and support the police in protecting the safety of the public whilst bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Kent police have responded immediately to MAG’s enquiry explaining that the stinger that appeared in the film clip would not be used in anything but the most extreme circumstances.

The police have agreed to meet MAG representatives and a meeting is expected within days.

MAG will publicise the results of this meeting.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or

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Queens Cavalcade Oct 2016

Dear Women’s International Motorcycle Association GB, It is our pleasure to cordially request the honor of your presence at the first Queen’s Cavalcade 2016. It is the very first time in the history of Canary Islands to hold the international motorcycle campaign and it would be an honour to have you and your club to join us.

On our website ( or in the file attached, you will find the characteristic, regulation, route, program and all the requirements for registration.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further query about this event.

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.




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IJMS Conference

14th – 16th July 2016


Chelsea College of Arts (University of the Arts London) will be hosting the 6th International Journal of Motorcycle Studies (IJMS) conference in London. IJMS is the only online, peer reviewed journal dedicated to motorcycle culture. IJMS is dedicated to the study and discussion of motorcycling culture in all its forms—from the experience of riding and racing to the history of the machine, the riders and design to the images of motorcycling and motorcyclists in film, advertising and literature. 12654292_730751480394550_8044697437064993425_n

We welcome submissions on all areas related to the cultural phenomenon of motorcycling worldwide and in particular art, design and visual culture. Suggested topics include:

• The motorcycle or riding in film, photography, literature, art and music

• The motorcycle as a design object or explored through art

• Motorcycle clothing/fashion/textiles and materials

• Advertising/marketing of motorcycles, gear and motorcycle culture

• Media representations of motorcycling

• Motorcycle technology/design/engineering

• Motorcycling and sustainability

• Motorcycling, craftsmanship, collection and customisation

• Motorcycle racing

• Motorcycle history in relation to design and visual culture

• The role of place/environment in motorcycling

• Motorcycling and issues of safety and risk

• Motorcycling and race, class, ethnicity, sexuality or gender

• The psychology of the motorcycle, the motorcyclist and the ride

• Motorcycle travel/tourism

• Motorcycle rights and politics

• The commodification of motorcycles, motorcycling and/or motorcyclists

• Other philosophical, literary, anthropological, geographical, historical, sociological, political,

economic/business or psychological perspectives of motorcycling culture.

In addition to traditional academic paper presentations, we encourage submissions using alternate forms, such as photographic works, art and design objects or multimedia presentations. Please respond to Lisa Garber (  Information about IJMS and the conferences can be found If you are interested in finding out more about the conference, please contact the organiser (and WIMA member) Caryn Simonson email:

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Skills Day 2016

Dorchester and West Dorset Advanced Motorcyclists (DWDAM) has another Women Bikers’ Skills Day planned for next year following the success of the one it staged in 2015. It will again be for women and run by women to encourage those who might otherwise have thought advanced riding skills were not for them, and it makes for a fantastic atmosphere. It will take place on Saturday 21 May at Weymouth College and be supported by the Road Traffic Team at Dorset County Council.

This day is aimed at all female bikers, at any level, from pre CBT through to those who might even be wanting to become an advanced rider or observer. The event will be packed with talks, workshops and assessed rides. If you are interested in participating or helping please contact Linda Ashmore at (Eds: Email Linda or the newsletter if you would like a pdf copy of the article about the 2015 event.)

2016 skills day leaflet front 2016 skills day leaflet back

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The Short Report

Jessie Normaschild and Sue Barnes, amongst others, went to the MCN Bike Show at ExCel recently and sat on a lot of bikes. Jessie says: I currently ride a 2007 Kawasaki ER-6 which is 790 mm. The balls of my feet reach the ground, but now I want something lower. Not fussy about engine size, anything from 250-800cc would be fine. However, engine size is unrelated to frame size, as far as manufacturers are concerned, so smaller doesn’t necessarily mean lower. However, this year at the Show, there was actually not just one low bike to look at, but a choice!! All the bikes are in the £7000+ range.

[ezcol_1third]Vertically Challenged. VulcanKawasaki Vulcan Cruiser. 701mm. The delights of being able to get your feet flat on the floor! However, it is a cruiser…..[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_1third]Vertically Challenged.Moto GuzziMoto Guzzi V9 Roamer. Not as low as it looks, but not bad, 775 mm. More my style than a cruiser, though[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_1third_end]Vertically Challenged.BMWAmazingly this BMW GS700 is low! First time in 35 years of riding I can genuinely consider a BMW! 790 mm but it must be a slim waisted saddle as it felt fine. Liz Robinson added that the GS is definitely a continent crosser, and that I should get the hard luggage thrown in as part of the deal! Might need her for the nose to nose negotiation to get that!![/ezcol_1third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Vertically Challenged.DucatiDucati Scrambler- Very light so a contender in that respect. However, needs lower sculpted seat etc. so … This one was 790 m[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_1third]Vertically Challenged.TriumphTriumph Street Twin felt lower than this photo looks. Seat height is 750 mm. Definite contender. Sculpting between the tank, saddle and knee not as good as Jap bikes but bearable. (Pillion assistance provided by Sue Barnes!)[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_1third_end]

Vertically Challenged.PuchIn my quest to help a less long legged lass, (From Sue Barnes) I’ve been carrying out a bit of research at the bike shops.

The following are the measured heights of bikes from the floor, up and over the seat and back down to the floor the other side. All 2016 models.

Kawasaki ER6n 178 cms, Suzuki Inazuma 250 cc 179 cms, Suzuki Gladius 178 cms, Yamaha MT07 182 cms, Kawasaki WR800 178 cms, Ducati scrambler 800 178 cms, Kawasaki Vulcan 165 cms[/ezcol_1third_end]