How the IoT Can Change the Rules of Motorcycle Riding

 

When people talk about the IoT, most tech companies discuss inter-connectivity between gadgets and cars. However, motorcycles are also getting some traction thanks to manufacturers teaming up with tech companies to get a slice of the IoT technology.

 

California-based Zero Motorcycles is a business that deals with high-performance electric motorcycles. It first introduced its proprietary electric bike to the public in 2006 in Santa Cruz California, and now the company is tapping into the IoT in order to connect motorcycles and riders better.

 

Beyond connectivity at home, vehicles have become an important area of development for the IoT. According to a blog post from Telogis, the integration of Wi-Fi into fleet vehicles has allowed companies to help monitor real-time data, GPS-based tracking, routing information, and much more to benefit efficiency throughout organizations. But it’s not just the companies that profit from these IoT developments – drivers are also much more aware of their surroundings and performance at the wheel. The IoT makes the integration of this technology to motorcycles much more viable.

 

Aswell as Zero Motorcycles, other major motorcycle brands such as Harley Davidson have explored introducing IoT into their manufacturing process. With the help of the IoT, Harley Davidson’s manufacturing plants can now assemble a bike in less than 90 seconds. This was made possible by IoT sensors and other equipment that keep track of the production line.

 

Riding safer with IoT

The IoT arguably makes motorcycle riding safe when paired with DSRC or Dedicated Short-Range Communications. The integration of DSCR to motorcycles could improve interaction between the rider, vehicle, and the objects ahead that may be hazardous. Zero Motorcycles close to achieving lesser injuries on the road by adding this technology to their lightweight electric bikes.

 

Before tapping into DSCR, Zero Motorcycles integrated Bluetooth into its vehicles. The idea was to utilize Bluetooth to communicate with the motorcycle, and if a problem arose, the owner would only need to press a button on the bike’s dashboard to get help from Zero Motorcycles immediately. With the technology, the company can now remotely diagnose a problem, access key information, and then schedule the bike for maintenance checks.

 

“Our bikes’ owners can communicate with us from anywhere in the world using our mobile application and its connection to our Salesforce-based Partner Community,” said Aaron Cheatham, the Director for Zero Motorcycles’ Customer Experience Department. “They have the ability to pull the log files from many of the major components. When they send them to us, a technical case is automatically created, and we ask for additional details. Meanwhile, a service technician can decode those files, review them, and send a response. All this information is immediately shared with the dealer from whom the customer purchased the motorcycle.”

 

Smart Helmets

Additionally, motorcycle companies are now developing smart helmets that communicate with DSCR-injected motorcycles. One of the pioneers of the smart helmet is Skully Helmets Inc. but unfortunately, they shut down in 2016. Despite having raised over $2 million via crowdfunding sites, and an additional $11 million in venture capital from Intel, the company was unable to reach its production stages.

 

By combining GPS navigation, a blind-spot camera view and a transparent HUD, Smart helmets are assisting riders without interfering with the riders eyesight on the road.

 

DSRC and Smart Helmets seem to be the future of motorcycles. They could potentially change the way motorcycles are driven, and make the roads safer for everyone.

 
Written by Alyzon Azia
Exclusive for realrider.com

 

Interested in having your blog post featured on the realrider.com website? Contact biking@realrider.com

 

 

The new and improved REALRIDER® App is ready to download now!

It’s here.. and its quicker, faster, smarter!

So, whats improved?

  • Record routes with greater accuracy.
  • Experience improved battery performance.
  • Connect with friends and view riding activity in one feed.
  • Find routes to ride quickly, nearby or further afield, on a drag and view screen.

Plus, trial our award-winning 999-certified crash detection service FREE for 30-days. 

 

 

 

*If you already heave the iOS version of REALRIDER® installed on your phone – simply update the app.

**If you are an Android user, REALRIDER® is a brand-new app on Google Play and available for you to download now. We will be retiring old versions of the Android app which will not be supported after 30 April 2017.

 

Rocky Creek Designs MotoPressor Pocket Pump

Watch REALRIDER Shaun Davies give a cracking instructional review on the Rocky Creek Designs MotoPressor Tyre Pocket Pump.

 

 

Trial the latest app release on iPhone this weekend and save £££’s on show offers.

To coincide with the MCN London Bike Show, we’ve teamed up with some of the leading motorcycle manufacturers, race circuits and retailers to bring you show discounts and promotions you won’t find anywhere else.

To view these money saving offers, download or update the new release for iPhone now to access exclusive savings and free merchandise this weekend only.

In-app offers will expire 11:59pm on Sunday 19 February.

 

Whats new and improved in-app?

Quick and simple access to routes to ride plus places to rest and refuel along the way. See what your friends are doing in the new Timeline with improved sharing options. Record your rides with greater accuracy – see every twist and turn.

 

Get protected with a 30-Day FREE Trial of the UK’s only 999-certified motorcycle crash detection.

PICK OF THE WEEK: TRIUMPH UNVEIL STUNNING NEW STREET TRIPLE RANGE FOR 2017

Triumph Motorcycles has eventually revealed the eagerly-awaited new Street Triple range. A decade on from the original Street Triple, it’s clear to see Triumph have upped their game and delivered on a motorcycle that literally changes everything!

So… what’s on offer?

Well, the all-new Street Triple has three options to choose from. The Street Triple S, R and RS. Each version has their own unique characteristics which are all backed up by Triumph’s renowned capability, confidence and agile control.

Developed from the ‘Daytona’ engine, the new 765cc Street Triple delivers a significant step up in both power and torque. Comprising of 80 new parts, including increased bore and stroke, Triumph claim the result “is a spectacular advance in performance”.

The Street Triple S

Featuring a 765cc engine with up to 6.6% more peak power than the previous model, the new Street Triple S has the highest level of finish, ride-by-wire throttle, two riding modes, and is lighter than its predecessor with higher spec tyres.

 

The Street Triple R

With up to 11.3% more peak power than the previous model, the Street Triple R includes four riding modes, a full-colour TFT instruments with 5” screen and fully adjustable Showa suspension, this bike delivers the right blend of power and performance.

 

 

The Street Triple RS

With the highest specification and most powerful engine in the family with up to 16% more peak power than before; the Street Triple S has everything you would need and more…

 

 

Aswell as the three main models, Triumph will offer a low ride height version of the R, and an A2 licence compliant version of the S, which features a unique 660cc version of the triple. The starting price is £8000, however there are 60+ accessories to choose from.

The new Street Triple family will make its UK debut at the MCN London Motorcycle Show in February, so keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of these beautiful machines.

What do you think of the new Street Triple? Let us know of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

PICK OF THE WEEK: THE DVSA LAUNCHES A CONSULTATION ON THE PROPOSED CHANGES TO RIDER TRAINING

New year, new rules? The world of motorcycling could see some big changes with regards to rider training.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has launched a consultation to gather views on its recent proposals to improve rider training. The thoughts surrounding these changes are to ensure that newly-qualified riders are well equipped for the modern roads; with the hope of reducing the number of motorcyclists killed and seriously injured on our roads.

The proposed changes for riders are to:

  • take away (revoke) compulsory basic training (CBT) certificates of riders who get 6 penalty points
  • introduce a training course for riders to upgrade their motorcycle licence, instead of passing extra tests
  • restrict riders to riding an automatic motorcycle if they take their CBT course on one
  • consider introducing a theory test that must be taken before (or as part of) the CBT course
  • change the CBT course syllabus from 5 parts to 4

There are also proposed changes to:

  • improve the motorcycle instructor qualification process
  • improve the way training courses are quality assured
  • introduce an ‘earned recognition’ scheme for motorcycle training schools
  • move the recording of CBT courses from a paper-based system to a digital service

These proposals all sound reasonable in our opinion, and we welcome any changes that may help reduce the number of motorcycle accidents in the UK.

The DVSA is asking for your views on these proposals. Give your view here.

Do you think these changes would have a positive impact on riders? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

PICK OF THE WEEK: TOP TEN MOTORCYCLES OF 2016

As the team at RRHQ bring 2016 to a close, we decided to pull together our top ten motorcycles of the year.

 

Best Superbike: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

Starting price: £13,649

Revamped for 2016, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R features modifications to the engine, suspension, brakes and exhaust.

Best Adventure Bike: Honda Africa Twin

Starting price: £10,499

Whether you’re tackling mountain, desert, rock or sand, the Africa Twin is our pick for the Adventure Bike Rider.

Best Standard Bike: Triumph Bonneville Street Twin

Starting price: £7,300

A contemporary take on the original Bonneville, the Street Twin has a sharp, refined stripped back styling allowing for minimal bodywork and clean lines; giving the bike a youthful overall look.

Best Enduro Bike: KTM 690 Enduro R

Starting price: £7,899

The KTM 690 Enduro R – unbeatable all-round ability and outstanding offroad qualities.

Best Cruiser: Harley Davidson Low Rider® S

Starting at: £15,795

With minimalist style, yet maximum impact the Low Rider® had to make it into our top ten!

Best 125cc Bike: Honda CBF125

Starting price: £2,699

Popular with new riders, the CBF125 has everything a new biker needs and more.

Best Dual-Sport Bike: Suzuki DR650S

Starting Price: £5,300

Designed to conquer less than ideal weather and terrain conditions, the performance of this bike won’t let you down.

Best Middleweight Streetbike: Yamaha XSR900

Starting Price: £7,849

A superlight weight aluminium frame wrapped in a retro design, this bike allows for riding experience like no other.

Best Lightweight Streetbike: Honda CB500

Starting Price: £5,099

Naked styling, tight handling and unrestricted power, this bike really gets the blood pumping.

 

Best Touring Bike: Triumph Tiger Explorer

Starting Price: £11,800

Designed for the transcontinental adventurer, the Triumph Tiger Explorer can accommodate both everyday commuting and that once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Which bikes of 2016 are your top ten? Are you looking to treat yourself to a new toy in the new year? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

PICK OF THE WEEK: TOP TIPS FOR RIDING IN THE SNOW

We never really know when the white stuff may make an appearance. Whether you get caught out, or are feeling brave, the team at RRHQ have put together some handy tips for safe riding this winter…

#Tip 1 – Stay Warm

Thermal base layers, waterproofs, and a decent pair of gloves are vital. Concentration levels will drop if you’re cold, and could result in poor riding. Consider investing in heated gear and grips.

#Tip 2 – Avoid the compacted stuff

The fresh, powdery stuff looks rather pretty until other road users turn it into the compacted stuff, leaving you on the dangerous stuff – ice. Always best to stick to the fresh stuff, it’s way easier to ride on and is a lot less risky.

#Tip 3 – Be light on the controls

Brake long before you normally would, throttle slowly and be light on the steering making sure any inputs are gentle and controlled.

#Tip 4 – Plan your route

Think about roads that are more likely to have been cleared of snow or less likely to have ice forming on them. Be prepared for a change in weather conditions as you travel, your start point could be completely different to your end point.

#Tip 5 – Prevent yourself from fogging up

The cold weather will make your visor fog up a lot quicker (from the inside). To prevent this from happening; invest in a ‘foggy mask’ – this will stop your breath from reaching your visor, which in theory should stop you from fogging up. Alternatively, there are plenty of anti-fog sprays on the market.

Got any other tips you think we should know? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

REALRIDERSELFIES Joanne Hudson

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Our very own REALRIDER Joanne Hudson records her ‘Saturday afternoon jolly’ through the North East of England scenery with the REALRIDER ® App.

Planning a trip this summer? Share your routes, videos photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

REALRIDERSELFIES Phil Davis: Middlesbrough to London

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Our very own REALRIDER Phil Davis stormed his way from Middlesbrough to London recording his route with the REALRIDER ® App.

Planning a trip this summer? Share your routes, videos photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

REALRIDERSELFIES – Doug Bell Stuten-Furka-Grimsel

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Our very own REALRIDER Doug Bell explores the mountains of the Grimsel pass in Switzerland whilst recording and sharing his routes and adventures with the REALRIDER ® App.

Planning a trip this summer? Share your routes, videos photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

PICK OF THE WEEK: KILLER DRIVERS TO FACE TOUGHER PENALTIES

Given we’re all starting to feel a bit festive here at RRHQ, this weeks’ Pick of the Week has stirred-up a bit of a debate. The Editor has been accused of picking an inappropriate topic, effectively putting a dampener on the festive frivolities.

But as we get ready to spend Christmas with loved ones, this weeks’ pick becomes very poignant and that’s why we decided to run with it.

It’s been announced that dangerous drivers who kill will face tougher sentences under plans put forward by government ministers. The Ministry of Justice has recognised that there is public concern over the sentencing for motorists who kill or seriously injure others on the road.

Those motorists that kill whilst behind the wheel could potentially face life sentences, with the Government announcing a consultation to look at plans to deter dangerous and criminal behaviour on UK roads.

The proposals include:

  • increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life;
  • increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink and drugs from 14 years to life;
  • to create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a maximum sentence of 3 years;
  • to increase the minimum driving bans for those convicted of causing death.

These proposals could see motorists facing the same sentences as those who are charged with manslaughter.

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said, “Killer drivers ruin lives, their actions cause immeasurable pain to families, who must endure tragic and unnecessary losses. While impossible to compensate for the death of a loved one, we are determined to make sure the punishment fits the crime. My message is clear – if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads, you could face a life sentence.”

While the UK has one of the best road safety records in the world, in 2015 122 motorists were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, with a further 21 convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence.

The Ministry of Justice is asking for your view on these matters, and whether the current maximum penalties should be increased. Give your view here.

Do you agree with these proposals? What do you think is the distinction between ‘careless’ and ‘dangerous’ driving? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Cochem to Zeebrugge

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Our very own REALRIDER Karen Shepherd explores the hidden beauty of the Belgium coastal village Zeebrugge whilst recording and sharing her routes and adventure with the REALRIDER ® App.

Planning a trip this summer? Share your routes, videos photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of

REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

Pick of the Week: Riding The Pacific Coast Highway

While on a business trip to Los Angeles recently, the chance to ride a Harley Davidson Fat Boy up the sun-soaked Pacific Highway was too good an opportunity to turn down. After all, i’d left my usual 90 mile commute to and from Newcastle in Autumn for the 34 degrees heat of Southern California – how could I resist?

Riding for the first time in America was one thing but making the transition from a progressive body position on my BMW R1200RS to the relaxed position of the Harley took some time to get my head around. Still, I was there to have as much fun as I could find during my limited window of downtime. 

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Chris from EagleRider’s Santa Monica branch was a legend. Situated a few miles from the Pacific Coast Highway, they were ideally located to give the best opportunity to ride as much of it as I could. The paperwork was straight forward and he sorted me out with a jacket and open face helmet. After a quick tour of the controls I was ready to go. 

The first few miles down Santa Monica Boulevard were a little daunting. Adapting quickly to the bike’s controls was one thing, but getting to grips with an alien road layout was the biggest challenge. Once down onto the Highway I began to relax into it. My destination wasn’t specifically planned, I had a few hours to play with so that gave me some flexibility to just head up the coast and see what took my fancy.

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The biggest disappointment for me was the fact that I didn’t have my GoPro with me. The views were just stunning. On one side were million dollar houses stretching up the mountains and the other equally as luxurious beach houses flanked by golden sands. Surfers appeared to be in their element as the swell provided some decent rip curls. 

I literally didn’t stop smiling for all 55 miles of my brief ride. I stopped at the Paradise Cove Beach Bar to grab a coke and admire the sea views as I needed to cool down. The 34 degree heat was one thing but the twin exhaust from the Fat Boy was baking my right leg. But that exhaust…the sound of the twin was incredible as it popped when I rolled back off the throttle.

Heading back to Santa Monica was just as incredible. Only this time I had uninterrupted views of the ocean and the smell of the beach was much more prominent. By the time I got back to EagleRider I was by no way finished. I could have ridden for hours. Next time I’ll be better prepared, and yes there will be a next time…

Andrew travelled to California last week as one of the Innovate UK delegates for Space Mission 3. Privileged to be one of the few asked to attend, Realsafe Technologies® the company behind REALRIDER® the motorcycle App that keeps riders safe and connected, took part in a series of visits to leading-edge companies and technology hubs.  

The mission builds on the companies growing US credentials, winning a US Edison award in the health and wellbeing category in April and only last month attending and presenting at the 9-1-1 (NENA) national conference in Ohio.

REALRIDER® Reviews: GoGo Gear Kevlar Leggings

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In the video above Zoe reviews the GoGo Gear Leggings which have been designed by female bikers, for female bikers. These trousers look like leggings, feel like leggings but are fully Kevlar lined and are fitted with CE-approved armour. The leggings were provided courtesy of www.ladybiker.co.uk

REALRIDER Reviews: Scala Rider® PACKTALK™ DUO

Our very own REALRIDER Tom takes on group motorcycle communication system Scala Rider® PACKTALK™ DUO.

Bike&Rider.co.uk Launches New Service

 

This week, we welcome our next ‘Guest Poster’ – Bike&Rider.co.uk as they launch their new motorcycle clothing price comparison site, comparing product prices from across a range of motorcycle clothing retailers.

“Purchasing riding gear can be a tedious and an exhausting process. The fact that you’re buying new gear is exciting, but the process itself can be anything but. The sheer number of retailers selling similar or the same thing is enough to give anyone a headache.

You scroll through each site looking at their prices, then move on to the next one and do the same. By the time you get to the third one, you have forgotten what the first site had to offer. We know this is extremely time consuming and frustrating. With this in mind and to make navigating the endless options easier, we have decided to create our motorcycle clothing price comparison on our own website. Our goal is simple: create the best and most comprehensive motorcycle clothing comparison for anyone to use.

 

How does it work?

Simple. Start by clicking on your desired product, whether that’s leather suits, jackets, helmets, gloves, boots, etc. And that’s your part done. Our site then shows you a full list of relevant products across multiple stores complete with price and reviews. No complicated navigation back and forth required.

 

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At the moment, we are working with four keys biking shops including Sportsbikeshop, GetGeared, Ghost Bikes and Demon Tweaks with new retailers being added regularly. In doing so we can increase the product offer each day meaning that you get more information and insight into the best deals in real time, with prices tracked and updated live.

So … no more switching between tabs or writing down prices on a piece of paper. Buying motorcycle gear and finding the best deal or most affordable product is simply a click away. Our customised ‘filter’ system, helps you track down the right product for you with all of the features that you might want. If for example you need a carbon fiber helmet with a D-ring chin strap and an internal sun visor, you can simply use the filter section to select the relevant preferences. In this case, all you have to do is select helmets, then tick the carbon fiber option, the D-ring chin strap and the internal sun visor one. The search will automatically generate a list of all the available products matching your search criteria. Shop away!

 

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We aren’t stopping there though. Check out our ‘Exclusive Discounts’, where we have agreed further discounts on specific products with certain retailers.  These exclusive prices are unique and available to Bike&Rider customers only.  They are signified by the green pulsating circles over the product images.

We are the only website to offer this comparison service specifically for motorcycle clothing and accessories. Don’t miss out – save money, receive exclusive discounts and more importantly save your precious time.”

To visit Bike&Rider’s new motorcycle clothing comparison site click here.

Want to hear from real bikers offering their personal perspective on riding or view commentary from a number of influential people and companies within the world of motorcycling? Keep an eye out for new guest posts, coming over next few weeks and months. Want to get involved? Interested in becoming a guest blogger for REALRIDER®, get in touch at biking@realrider.com

#realperspectives

Bike&Rider.co.uk Launches New Service

Winner announcement: #realrideradventures

Congratulations to James Stott who has won our #realrideradventures competition with Adventure Bike Rider magazine with his photo taken in the Alps. As our winner, James will receive an one year subscription to the magazine and 12 months access to REALRIDER’s  REALsafe® motorcycle crash detection. 

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Over the last four weeks we have been stunned by some of photos you have submitted featuring beautiful landscapes, high-peaked mountain escapes, barren deserts and full body action shots. Catch the best of these in the next print edition of Adventure Bike Rider out in November 2016.

To keep you going while you wait, here is a snapshot of our personal favourites at REALRIDER®. Thanks to everybody that entered; well done!

 

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REALRIDERSELFIES Doug Bell Kavala to Roda

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Our very own world traveller Doug Bell uses the REALRIDER® App to upload photos of his route from Kavala, the beautiful northern Greek city to the scenic villages of Roda.

Planning a trip this summer? Share your routes, videos, photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

Pick of the week: Just another rider…

This week, REALRIDER® Helen Cullen tells us her journey on becoming a rider and what the world of motorcycling is really like for a female biker.

“I’ve been riding since 1979 and in that time there has been more acceptance towards all bikers, not just women.

Biking was the cheapest form of transport which is why I learned to ride. My first bike was a Honda C50 step-thru, but I quickly moved to a Suzuki TS185 which is what I passed my test on. In those days there were no CBT’s, just a man with a clipboard walking around the block assessing your ride.

My friend Sara and I were an exception to the rule in Huddersfield in the 80’s. We didn’t know any other female riders and the guys we rode with just accepted us as part of the group.

People who weren’t in our ‘riding group’ were always surprised to find we were women on bikes back then; but now people in general aren’t as surprised when they find out you ride. Although, I’ve had some comments along the lines of “Is that really your bike?” and “You don’t look like a biker; you look like a normal person”. I’ve often been tempted to ask what ‘normal’ is…

I had a little break from riding to have my children and got back in the saddle around six years ago.

 

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I have found there are more women riding now and I think society in general is more accepting of female riders. There is more training available (at a cost) meaning you might find more mature riders brushing up on skills.. But the cost of learning can also be prohibitive now, especially  for learners with limited means. It’s not easy to pass your test now. Gone are the men with the clipboards, replaced by vigilant observers of a two-tier process,  which results in more careful riders anyway… in my opinion!

Talking about the actual machine itself, for me it’s whether I can get my feet on the floor. I’ve never bought a brand new bike, mine have always been pre-owned.

 

However, motorcycle clothing for women is a complete nightmare! It’s about time manufacturers realised us women have curves. The sheer amount of jackets and pants that simply don’t cater for curves and shapely women is beyond belief.  Yes, we have curves and no, we don’t want flattening out to such an extent we can’t fasten anything up. If manufacturers can put in things like air vents and removable lines, then why can’t they put elasticated concealed panels down the front so that they fit better?

Shoulders are another bone of contention. We are not all shaped like supermodels that sit pillion and don’t need to be able to move; give us more panels in there that enable us to be able to ride safely and not make them so restricted that it makes life difficult when we try to manoeuvre our bikes. Not all of us need made to measure gear, just something that fits comfortably.

So, in a nutshell… I think we are absolutely accepted more – we’re essentially riders now and not just ‘women on bikes’; but manufacturers need to get their act together and cater for all riders equally.”

Do any women riders out there share Helen’s frustrations? Or has it never been an issue for you? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

REALRIDERSELFIES Walter Millar Kirk Michael

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Our very own REALRIDER Walter Millar hurtles his way through Kirk Michael recording his route with the REALRIDER ® App.

Planning a trip this summer? Share your routes, videos photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of

REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

REALRIDERSELFIES Walter Millar Kirk Michael

Limited offer with Fast Bikes magazine: Get yours now.

Don’t miss out on this week’s exclusive promotion from Fast Bikes magazine.

Get 13 issues for just £30 a 46% saving RRP £56.55.

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Fast Bikes is home to the best sports bike tests on the planet and is packed with new bike launches, technical insight, hardcore action, masterclasses, racing, reviews and loads more.

Subscriber Benefits

  • A discount of £26.55 off the magazine RRP of £56.55 (46% saving)
  • Your magazine delivered to your door each month
  • You’ll never miss an issue
  • You’re protected from price rises that may happen later in the year

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REALRIDER® Reviews: Ventz – Air conditioning for bikers

In the video above Tim reviews Ventz the ingenious venting system designed to reduce the build-up of heat under motorcycle jackets. When riding in warm weather the air locked inside your jacket can raise your body temperature to uncomfortable levels. Ventz is a clever product that attaches easily to your jacket and creates a regular flow of soothing air that strips away the heated air, making your journey more comfortable and your arrival a lot cooler! Safe and comfortable to wear, Ventz is effective for both rider and pillion.

REALRIDER teams up with Adventure Bike Rider magazine

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We’ve teamed up with Adventure Bike Rider magazine to offer you the chance to win a FREE 12-month subscription to both Adventure Bike Rider & REALRIDER’s in-App crash detection technology, REALsafe®.

All you have to do is post a photo of your favourite motorcycle trip to date and tell us why it means something to you. Post your photos to REALRIDER’s or ABR’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page alongside #realrideradventures.

Featuring life-saving crash detection technology, worldwide route recording, the ability to plan, store and share routes and a facility to store critical bike information in one place, REALRIDER® is free and has everything a biker needs and more.

Used by over 26,000 bikers, its award-winning crash detection technology REALsafe® is the only 999-integrated App on the market. Should you or your loved ones be in an accident, paramedics will be sent your last known location and pre-programmed medical details and an ambulance will be dispatched within 30 minutes of the alert.

Easy to connect with your mates, the App allows you to see and comment on each other’s routes. You can even use it to share photos, videos and start conversations about your adventures, offering top tips and sharing knowledge with friends on routes, biking locations, and events. You’ll also be glad to hear that the app offers the capability to set reminders. Simply input MOT, service and other bike information (including tyre pressures, insurance and breakdown policies) into the app and it will sync to your phone and send reminders when renewals are due. The App will even post a social media alert into Facebook if your bike is stolen.

Users can also access 4,000 biking points of interest, stay up to date with the latest gear and gadgets and polish up on riding techniques with access to hours of expert video tuition.

 

Terms and conditions:

Prize is non-refundable and non-transferable. The competition will come to a close at 11:59pm on 30 October and the winner will be chosen and announced on 31st October 2016. Photo entries may be used for promotional purposes by REALRIDER® and Adventure Bike Rider. *REALsafe® crash detection can also be purchased or £2.99 per month or £30.00 online. In-App purchasing is also available but store fees apply. 999-integrated crash detection is currently only available in the UK.

REALRIDER®: Behind the scenes

Take a look at what goes on behind the scenes at REALRIDER® HQ with this week’s video blog from the team themselves.

 

 

Used by over 25,000 bikers, REALRIDER® is the motorcycle App that keeps riders safe and connected. Its unique 999-integrated crash detection connects you directly to the nearest ambulance service in your time of need, automatically sending your last known location and pre-programmed medical details to paramedics within minutes of a crash, commanding ambulance dispatch within 30 minutes.

The App also features worldwide route recording, the ability to plan, store and share routes and locations and a facility to store critical bike information in one place. Plus get MOT and service reminders straight from your phone or create social media alerts if your bike is stolen.

Get protected with this essential bit of biking kit. Download the App for free on iOS and Android and begin sharing your motorcycling adventures now.

PICK OF THE WEEK: Dapper Motorcyclists take to the streets for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

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On the 25th September, tens of thousands of motorcyclists grabbed their bow ties, threw on their tweed jackets and pulled on their open face lids to take part in the fourth Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

Cities across the globe were flocked too by these rather dapper looking bikers in a fun event with a serious purpose. The DGR brings people together to raise awareness and funding for research into prostate cancer and the Movember Foundation, both committed to helping men live healthier, longer and happier lives.

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In total, 56,514 riders took part across 90 countries and managed to raise a phenomenal US $3,297,989; though funding is up massively on the $2.2million it raised last year, donations are still open. Check out the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride website for more information.

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Starting with 2500 riders in 2012 and growing to 56,000 riders four years later is an astonishing growth in the participation of this event.

In the UK, 4647 riders took part up and down the country raising a total of £408,581 for the associated charities. With the London ride featuring the largest number of riders of any around the globe, a total of 1061 perfectly dressed gentleman took to the capital attracting passers-by to admire the weird and wonderful riders in full swing.

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Did you take part in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride? Or would you consider participating in the future? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

5 ESSENTIALS A MOTORCYCLIST SHOULDN’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT

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As we launch our ‘Guest Blog’ series at REALRIDER®, we are pleased to introduce our first ‘Guest Poster’ – GetGeared who kicks things off with a focus on the key biking essentials. Specialising in providing motorcycle clothing, parts and accessories, as well as camping and camera equipment, GetGeared is the UK’s largest independent stockist of favourite biking brands including Alpinestars, Held and REV’T!. Check out what biking gear they’ve got online or in either of their two stores in Leeds, Yorkshire and Leatherhead, Surrey.

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There are so many things as a motorcyclist you could carry just in case, but when space is tight, it’s hard to decide what is essential. Here is our list of 5 essentials we wouldn’t leave home without.

1. Rainwear

Riding in the UK means there is always the chance of rain. Be prepared for whatever the elements throw at you with light, packable waterproofs. A great option from Alpinestars is the Quick Seal out 2-piece suit. They’re compact, lightweight garments, which fold away into their own small carry bag when not in use, easily fitting into your tank bag or rucksack. They’re 100% waterproof meaning you stay dry when the weather turns for the worse.

 

2. The REALRIDER® App

The REALRIDER app is something every motorcyclist should have! It’s designed specifically for bikers, by bikers. The REALRIDER app is a great way to keep you connected to the biking community. It features route recording technology, the ability to plan, store, and share routes and locations, with the ability to store critical bike information all in one place. But, what you really want this app for is REALsafe. REALsafe is their award-winning, lifesaving crash detection technology. REALsafe Monitors key sensors in your Smartphone, looking for changes that occur during a crash; such as rapid deceleration and a tumbling motion followed by a period of no movement. If a crash is detected, an alert is triggered and sent to the emergency services. The REALRIDER app is free to download and use. However, if you wish to access REALsafe there is a small subscription fee, payable annually or monthly.

 

3. Under seat tool kit

It’s a great idea to have a basic set of tools with you, just in case your motorcycle breaks down, or if you simply need to adjust your chain. Make sure the tool kit contains the types of wrenches and sockets that are compatible with your motorcycle. The Oxford under seat tool kit is a great option, containing wire cutters, long nosed pliers, an Allen Key set 2-6mm, 2 x electrical screwdrivers, extension bar, screwdriver bit set, socket set 5-11mm and a bit of room left for you to add any other tools you need.

 

4. Tyre repair/puncture repair kit

We’ve all been there. Stuck at the side of the road with a flat tyre, miles from anywhere or anyone that can help. Tyre inflation foam is great quick fix that can help you get to the nearest garage or tyre fitter in a pinch. Tyre inflation foam such as Tyreweld puncture repair, is a compact solution in a can that can be stored under your motorbike seat or in a pannier. Tyreweld inflates your tyre and seals the puncture so that you can ride to safety. You won’t need tools, and you won’t need to remove the wheel. Simply follow the instructions on the can and you’re good to go!

 

5. Ear plugs

Wind noise can damage your hearing in as little as 15 minutes. It’s important to protect your hearing with ear plus, especially if you do long distances at speed. Auritech ear plugs protect motorcyclists from wind & road noise, yet do not muffle your hearing, so you maintain total awareness of the situation around you. It’s like turning down the volume of the wind and the road, while keeping conversation, intercoms, and sirens clearly audible. Basically, the ear plugs filter out harmful frequencies. A small channel allows voice, music and essential cues from the world around you to be heard, while protecting the ear from the harmful rumblings.

 

Want to hear from real bikers offering their personal perspective on riding or view commentary from a number of influential people and companies within the world of motorcycling? Keep an eye out for new guest posts, coming over next few weeks and months. Want to get involved? Interested in becoming a guest blogger for REALRIDER®, get in touch at biking@realrider.com

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If you haven’t seen it already check out exclusive offers with GetGeared this month

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REALRIDERselfies Martin Proudlove-gains

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Our very own REALRIDER Martin Proudlove-gains posted his Sunday spin  recording his route with the REALRIDER ® App.

Planning a trip this summer? Share your routes, videos photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

REALRIDER® Launches Offer of the Week: TomTom RIDER 400

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REALRIDER® proudly presents Offer of the Week. To kick off we are introducing the TomTom RIDER 400. This special offer is 15% off a TomTom RIDER 400 with free case. This limited promotion is available only to REALRIDER® members.

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Offer ends 20th October. RRP £319.99

 

 

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The TomTom Rider 400 EU can help you get the very most out of your motorbike.

You can create your own exciting adventures, with a route that gives you a tailored adventure and the quickest way!

The TomTom Rider 400 EU can help you get the very most out of your motorbike.

You can create your own exciting adventures, with a route that gives you a tailored adventure and the quickest way!

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Oxford Products Summer Gloves review

 

Pick of the week: Introducing the world’s first motorcycle foot heater

Suffer from cold feet whilst out riding? Well fear no more. Three biking buddies have come up with a clever solution to cold feet. The Gecktec HotFoot system has been designed to keep your feet warm on those colder, more challenging days. A similar concept to heated grips they operate without the need for batteries, wires or of course wearing numerous pairs of thick socks.

“Wouldn’t it be great to have heated grips for your feet?” was the question that sparked the idea, and from there on in the group of friends have brought the HotFoot system from prototype to final product.

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The HotFoot system is pretty simple; consisting of a flat, oval-shaped induction coil which uses electro-magnetic energy to heat a metal insole that’s inserted into a rider’s boot. The reason behind choosing an induction coil is because it only uses power when there’s metal close to it. The system will only start to generate heat when your boot (with the metal insole inserted) is placed onto the foot peg.

Powered on full, the unit will draw just 1.5 Amps, and from there it will drop to 1A on the medium setting and then 0.7A on low. The system also has a ‘boost’ mode, and this allows the rider to bring their boots up to temperature at a quicker rate, however this will only draw the heat for two minutes. Whilst the heat is being generated, all the time the HotFoot plate which is mounted onto your foot pegs stays completely cold.

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Now for some mechanics. The aluminium box which is placed out of the way on your bike needs to be wired to the battery (normally via a start-up relay) and this has a bar-mounted switch. The technology inside of the box controls everything; from the output level to converting the bikes direct current into alternating current. The unit is available with a cooling fan, and this is for when the box needs to fitted behind a fairing for example.

As like anything, the performance of the system does depend on a few things. In this case, it’s on the thickness of the rider’s boot’s sole. The suggested thickness is around 10-16mm and this is where the rider will experience optimum performance. However, Gecktec also sell boots with the insoles already fitted.

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A British-built, patent-pending, and unique product. Retailing at £295 for the HotFoot AW1 which includes the level control and boost settings, or £245 for the HotFoot AW2 which stays at a certain level without the option to chop and change; it gets a thumbs up from the REALRIDER® Team.

To find out more visit www.gecktec.com

Tell us what you think of this idea, would you consider purchasing one for the winter months? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

#REALRIDERSELFIES Who’s using the App?

After the recent launch of the new REALRIDER® App, the editor of Motorcycle Sports and Leisure has been out and about recording some pretty awesome routes.

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To celebrate the release, MSL are offering 50% off a 12-month subscription to REALsafe® crash detection, costing just £15. Visit here for more information; or alternatively download the REALRIDER® App, visit www.realrider.com/realsafe and input the code MSL8417382470

Planning any trips? Share your routes, videos, photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

Pick of the week: Free motorcycle App keeping riders safe and connected is LIVE

The new REALRIDER® App is live and ready to download on iOS and Android. Featuring life-saving crash detection technology, worldwide route recording, the ability to plan, store and share routes and a facility to store critical bike information in one place, REALRIDER® is free and has everything a biker needs and more.

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Used by over 25,000 bikers, its award-winning crash detection technology REALsafe®, is the only 999-integrated App on the market. Should you or your loved ones be in an accident, paramedics will be sent your last known location an pre-programmed medical details with an ambulance  dispatched within 30 minutes of the alert.

Easy to connect with your mates, the App allows you to see and comment on each other’s routes. You can even use it to share photos, videos and start conversations about your adventures, offering top tips and sharing knowledge with friends on routes, biking locations, and events.

And if you’re like us, one of the things you will need are reminders. Input MOT’s, service and other bike information including tyre pressures, insurance and breakdown policies and receipts into the App which will sync to your phone and send reminders when renewals are due. The App will even post a social media alert into Facebook if your bike is stolen.

 

 

Teaming up with key motorcycle brands including BMW Motorrad, IAM, TranAm, TomTom®, Kymco and Michelin, REALRIDER’s will also get exclusive access to unique offers and deals from manufacturers and retailers.

 

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Featured on Sky News, BBC Click, MCN, Ride, MSL and The Daily Telegraph the App is free to download and use. All features are available on installation except its built-in crash detection system, REALsafe® which is an in-App subscription service and costs £2.99 a month or £30 per year purchasable at www.realrider.com/realsafe.*

Discover over 4000 biking points of interest, including dealerships, petrol stations, and biker meet up points, stay up to date with the latest gear and gadgets and polish up your technique with access to hours of expert video tuition NOW.

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*REALsafe® crash detection can also be purchased in App for £3.99 per month of £35.99 annual (Google Play and App Store fees apply). 999-integrated crash detection is currently only available in the UK.

 

#REALRIDERSELFIES: Approaching Albania – Into the Unknown

After spending a few days with his good pal Ratty touring Corfu, it’s time for Doug to move on. But which route to take? Let’s find out…

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“I’ve got a decision to make. How best to get from Corfu to Croatia?

Everyone I have sought advice from, including seasoned moto-travellers, my father and his wife (who know the area), and people I’ve met on my travels have all said that as a solo motorcyclist I should avoid Albania. Apparently the roads are bad, the drivers are worse, your insurance is void and the border insurance is expensive and only covers the locals. Packs of wild dogs will chase you, and you run the real risk of armed hijacking, especially after dark. All-in-all not that inviting – Albania by all accounts is still a wild land.

I do have a few alternative routes:

1 – a ferry crossing to Italy and then another back to Dubrovnik, southern Croatia.

2 – I can run around Albania though Macedonia and Serbia, but this throws up some political issues at the Bosnian and Croatian borders.

3 – Or I can run back to Bulgaria and through Serbia to Montenegro. Which to go for?

Hmm they all feel a bit convoluted. My decision is made. I’m doing Albania.

I need to get from Roda, north Corfu to near the Greek – Albanian border. I’m not keen on the idea of approaching and going through Albania later in the day, so I need to position myself for the border run as early as possible.

The next morning, I break camp fairly early and head for the ferry. Unfortunately for me I just miss the ferry and there is not another one for two and a half hours. Perfect. I park up and head over to a local café to grab a bite to eat and wait. Finally, I see the ferry approach the port, I’m quickly on board and head up to the top deck to relax.

The crossing takes about 1hr and 25 minutes. Once off the boat, I know exactly where I’m going, a campsite 10 miles north of Igoumenitsa. By 5pm I’m at the campsite.

This is a good site, the ground is just as hard as in Kavala, but a friendly camper sees my struggles and comes over with a mallet.  It’s right on the beach, and taking a leaf out of Ratty’s book I go for a float in the sea. I should have been doing this long before now. It is so relaxing and does wonders for the aches and pains of riding. Although I’ve not exactly ridden far today.

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Next morning I’m up and ready for an 8am start. Its Sunday so I am hoping the border will be open.

I stop on the northern outskirts of Igoumenitsa to top up fuel and recheck my maps. The border I’m aiming for: Sagiada – Qafe Bote, is a little further away than I thought so it takes me an hour to reach the approach.

As I draw closer to the border the terrain reminds me of a scene in the Redford / Newman version of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where they pass through a twisting ravine before finding the lair of the Hole in the Wall Gang. This approach to the Greek – Albanian border is a bit like that.

As I twist and turn through ever increasing ravines I am then presented with a flat open space and I can see the Greek exit post. It is at the bottom of a short hill. A Greek police official steps out of his office and signals for me to stop. He looks at my passport and sends me to a window about ten meters away, speak to him first he says. I hand my documents over, some stamping is done and I’m sent back to speak to my new friend.”

“Why are you going to Albania? I need to get to Croatia I say. No you don’t, stay in Greece, its much nicer, much friendlier” he says with a massive grin on his face. He’s playing with me.  It turns out he’s an ex biker, an accident putting and end to his riding. He takes me aside and offers me some coffee, a smoke and some good advice.

“When you get to the Albanian border you will have to buy insurance”, he says. “They will try and charge you between 40 and 80 euros for a ten day pass, but that is based on a car passing through. I’ll call them and ask for a cheap rate, perhaps 15 or 20 euros.”

“Fantastic – I was expecting a minimum of 40 euros. He wishes me well and I set off up the restricted road to the Albanian border control post.

I approach the Albanian border and handover my paperwork to the border official. After a short wait a guy in a pink t-shirt walks over and asks for my Green Card. This is where I think I am going to get screwed out of some money.

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I need to purchase insurance I say. He nods and says something to the border official who then directly hands him my passport and V5 and says welcome to Albania, follow him, in better than expected English. I pull forward 20 meters and park around the side of a building. I follow the pink t-shirt into his office where he sits and taps the details from my docs into his computer. “How long” he asks? 3 days I say. “Where stay” he asks, “Durres or Tirana” I say. He grunts a little. “I give you 14 days” he says. Ok I think, I’m getting ready to get fleeced out of some money.

DB Albania 2I don’t have local currency Lek with me, only Euros. He taps away at his computer some more and eventually a printer kicks in. Out pops a pink coloured document with all my details, and a gold seal. Really, a gold seal. This is a document I am going to frame. He gives it to me and says, €15

I’ve got a 14 day motorcycle pass into Albania for €15 euros. Result!

I leave my office and go back to the bike, put my docs away and do a quick check over of everything, as it is as good a time as any. Out comes the same insurance guy. Oh no I think what does he want now –  but this time he’s in a completely different mood. He wanders up to me with a cigarette in hand and sees my paper map-book I’ve got in the tank bag window. He gestures to look at it, so I take it out and give it to him. He flicks through and finds the Albania pages. Helpfully he gives me some sound advice. He tells me to avoid the mountains, as they are wild and dangerous alone, however the coastal route is apparently slow and the middle route is full of roadworks. Hmmm great options. Nonetheless together we work out my route to Durres or Tirana.”

What happens in Albania? To find out, watch out for updates on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, aswell as our blog at www.realrider.com/motorcycle-blog

REALRIDERSELFIES KAREN SHEPHERD TACKLES THE Silvretta Alps mountain range

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Our very own REALRIDER Karen Shepherd posted her route across the beautiful landscapes of the Silvretta Alps mountain range using the REALRIDER ® App.

Planning a trip this summer? Share your routes, videos photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

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Pick of the week: Harley Davidson reveals new engine for 2017 models

In the news this week, Harley Davidson has announced the release of the new Milwaukee-Eight engine, the ninth two-cylinder engine in the company’s 113-year history. Aswell as the arrival of a new engine, next year’s touring models will include a revised front and rear suspension system.

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Harley claims the new Milwaukee-Eight engine has been designed to deliver greater engine performance, greater torque, better fuel economy and comprises of four-valve cylinder heads to produce 50% more intake and exhaust flow capacity. Keeping with the same look, feel and sound of a Harley Big Twin engine, the Milwaukee-Eight has been produced with three options to choose from; the Milwaukee-Eight 107 (1745cc) and the Twin-Cooled 107 are available for the standard motorcycle models, or a larger Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 (1870cc) for CVO models.

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Harley Davidson’s Vice-President of Styling and Product Development Strategy, Scott Miller said: “These are the most powerful, most responsive and most comfortable touring motorcycles ever offered by Harley Davidson”.

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The 2017 line-up consists of 36 models, including 13 Touring motorcycles and Trikes. From entry-level Street 500 and Street 750; six Dyna models; V-Rod Muscle and Night Rod; seven Softails and three CVO models, there is a plethora of new bikes to choose from.

What are your thoughts on the big change? Do you think it was time for Harley Davidson to do something? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

#REALRIDERSELFIES: FAFFING AROUND CORFU

Time to catch up with Doug. Now he’s reached Corfu let’s see what he is getting up too…              P1010233

“I consider Corfu to be the mid-point of my trip. I’m not sure the mileage will confirm that, but mentally Corfu has always been my halfway point. It is as far south as I will go.

I am woken in camp by the thump of disco tunes in the distance. It’s 9am so a little early for the bars and clubs to have opened, but then I start to recognise some the tunes. ABBA features rather heavily. Don’t tell anyone, but I love ABBA!

Today is a rest day. I’ve had a few rest days so far but the last one was spent sightseeing with the family. It was lovely, but not exactly relaxing so I’m ready for some downtime and to get a few jobs done.

I’ve also noticed over the last couple of days that I can smell myself, which is always a bad sign, so today I’m going to do a complete wash of all my clothing. With my task in hand I wander into Roda, the nearest local town to find a supermarket. Here I pick up a small pack of laundry gels, a few bread rolls, some local cured meat and a packet of mixed olives and head back to the camp to start the large pile of washing ahead of me.

By the middle of the afternoon I have washed four loads of laundry. I leave everything drying over the tent, or across the guide ropes strung between trees and head off to meet my friend (whose nickname is Ratty).

Ratty is staying at a hotel about 6kms east of my camp. It is a bit hard to find, but I bow to the superior knowledge of George the SatNav, which takes me off road down a suspicious looking gravel track. Sceptical at first it appears I am on the right route and I locate his hotel.

It is nice to see a friendly face and Ratty and I have a good catch up over dinner. More importantly we discuss best route plans to tour the island over the next few days. It seems our barman is keen the help too – as he brings us food and drink he offers useful advice on which roads to take, and most importantly, which roads to avoid.

At 9am the following morning I am back at the hotel to meet Ratty and set off on our tour. I park up next to a beaten-up old Aprilia Pegaso. I hope that isn’t Ratty’s hire bike? Sure enough it is. Good luck Ratty!

It’s time to go. It’s very hot today and being on the main road is making this a slow ride. We are on a single lane all the way, a twisty route, but we can’t get up enough speed to either enjoy it, or get enough air through our jackets to keep us cool. Unfortunately we take a wrong turn but it is a happy coincidence as we find ourselves in a beautiful little village with picturesque harbour and cove. This is really a hidden gem, a stunning little place so we decide to stop and have a wander around.

After a short break we hit the road again and aim for Kerkyra (Corfu Town) for lunch. It takes another hour or so to get there and we both begin to notice that the road surfaces begin to get a little more polished. Ratty is leading and starts to look for a luncheon spot. He brakes and my attention is elsewhere forcing me to pull hard on the anchors and the tyres squeal to a stop.

“Was that you that locked up?” I hear in the Sena headset.

“Yup”.

I’m fine though and we quickly pull in a few hundred meters down the street in front of a row of cafes.

After a long, large lunch of grilled meat, we saddle up once again. Both Ratty and I are ATGATT advocates (all the gear, all the time). Even in the centre of Prague and Budapest in the highest heat of the day I did not remove any of my protective gear. But now, in this heat, the jacket is coming off.

As we head through Corfu Town and hit the coastal road it feels great to get some breeze flowing. We are heading for our hotel that night at a town called Moraitika.

Ratty and I have a quick intercom discussion and decide to head for our hotel for the evening in a town called Moraitika. We find the place relatively easily  and park up at the entrance, just in front of the sign that says “no motorcycle parking”.

As I unhook myself and the electronics from the bike, Ratty strolls into our hotel and immediately finds the manager and engages him in conversation. By the time I get there he has already lined up some drinks on the bar. He is a good guy to have with you when you’re on tour.

It’s still quite early and we decide to go and check out Kavos, a tourist hotspot about 45 minutes south. We dump our bags in our room and set off to reach the town. The road surfaces here are much better that in the north of the island but the smoothness means I am even less confident in my grip. Nevertheless we make it to Kavos safe and sound. It doesn’t take long for us to work out that Kavos is a bit of a dump, the usual 18-30 haven for tourists want to party late until the night. We head back to the hotel pretty quickly after a bit of a wasted trip.

After dinner and drinks that evening we turn in for a much needed rest. The following morning, we are up early and set off again. We have to cross the mountains towards the west coast. Riding through the twisting hills and across the mountains is fantastic; it takes longer than we expect. Corfu is not a large island, but the roads really do twist and turn up and down hillsides. We run through some beautiful little villages with locals sitting at street-side cafes, or picking out fruit and vegetables at a local market. Now and again we turn a corner and come upon a beautiful little cover or pristine beach. The sight of these are too inviting and draw us off the main road time and again.

One of these spots is a beach on the west coast of Corfu. Before I know it Ratty has stripped down to his under crackers and is in the water. Sod it, time to go afloat. I walk into the water in the shorts I’m riding in, ripe with anticipation of cooling down. Damn.  Yes you guessed it, I forgot to remove the wallet and phone first.

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For the next six hours as we head back to our starting point, we follow this routine – ride and stop at beaches for a break and cool down. Its a hard life! Everywhere we stop, we swim (Ratty) or float (me) in the water. I can think of worse place to be.

 

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To find out where Doug’s travels are going to take him next, keep an eye out on our updates on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, aswell as our blog at www.realrider.com/motorcycle-blog

PICK OF THE WEEK: The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

On Sunday September 25th 2016, thousands of distinguished gentlefolk from cities across the world will don their cravats, tweak their moustaches and press their tweed as they get ready to sit astride their classic and vintage motorcycles to raise awareness and funds for men’s health.

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The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in Sydney, Australia by Mark Hawwa. It was inspired by a photo of Mad Men’s Don Draper astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit. Mark decided a themed ride would be a great way to combat the often-negative stereotype people on motorcycles, whilst connecting niche motorcycle communities together.

That first ride in 2012 brought together over 2,500 riders across 64 cities. The success of the event encouraged the founder to consider how it could be used to support a worthy cause.

With that in mind the annual event has been developed to raise funds for prostate cancer research working in partnership with The Movember Foundation. In 2013, over 11,000 participants in 145 cities around the world raised over $277k (US). This increased in 2014 to include over 20,000 participants across 257 cities in 58 countries raising over $1.5M (US). Last year saw the biggest turn out with over 37,000 riders taking part across 410 cities in 79 countries and raised over $2.3M (US) for prostate cancer research.

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With over 18000 riders already registered to take part, this year’s funding goal has been set at $5m (US). In addition to supporting prostate cancer research money raised in 2016 will also be diverted into the funding of suicide prevention programs.

Sponsored by Triumph and Zenith Watches this year’s rider is also supported by a number of well-known Ambassadors including Charlie Boorman, ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer and Maria Costello MBE.

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Want to take part this year and celebrate the art of being dapper?

Wear: Monocles, jaunty trimmed moustaches, silk vests, crisp shirts and tailored suits.

Ride: Cafe’ Racer, Bobber, Classic, Tracker, Scrambler, Old School Chopper, Modern Classic, Sidecar, Classic Scooter, Brat Styled motorcycles. Check out this style guide to see the bikes that make The Distinguished Gentleman’s the unique event that it is.

Do: Bring your finest manners, neatest facial foliage, a sense of fun and a smile.

Pay: The ride is free however those riding are encouraged to make a donation to the cause as well as consider helping reach fundraising goals by getting friends, family and colleagues to donate via your personal fundraising page.

Register: To set up your personal fundraising page and register for your nearest ride, visit www.gentlemansride.com/register

#REALRIDERSELFIES Greece and Beyond…

As Doug crosses the border into Greece, he tells us where he plans to go next?

“I move past border control and head towards the Greek city of Komotini. Thankfully the tarmac from the border to Komotini is fresh and has exceptional grip, it’s just asking for an open throttle. As I approach one corner, I see a Greek Police car with an officer holding a speed gun.  He flashes up my speed and I’m well above the margin of error. I think I may be in trouble so I slow. Two corners later, another police officer is holding up a placard reading “Slow Down”.

I’ve decided I’m going to stop somewhere around Kavala a town about 50 miles west of Komotini. The camp is nothing special, and the tent area is hidden away in a corner under a stoney, hard and not very comfortable ground. There are young kids running around which I’ve learnt is a good thing. Kids and/or retired couples in campervans generally means there will be no trouble. The beach is less than 100 meters away so I take a wander down to one of the beach bars for a drink and some food.

Greece beach DB

It’s time to decide whether or not I take one or two days to cross northern Greece to get to Corfu. I’ve arranged to meet a friend from home and had always aimed to be in Corfu on the 5th/6th of July. I would also like to have a look around the “Three fingers” of the Halkidiki Peninsula.

Unfortunately, a little later on the atmosphere in the camp takes a turn for the worse as the sun sets. While I did not feel threatened at anytime, I didn’t exactly feel comfortable. There is a lot of aggressive shouting and it sounded like a fight may have broken out at one stage. I have a disturbed night and by 6am my mind is made up. I’m going to run for Corfu today.

By 7.30am I am packed and ready to leave.

Today is going to be a long ride, I think around 350 miles so it’s time to hit the toll roads.

The road is good quality but boring. At Thessaloniki I am detoured off the toll road for roadworks and take the opportunity to top up fuel, take a break and get a little late breakfast. This is my last chance to change my plans for the day. I talk to myself for a good 30 minutes before eventually making a final decision; Corfu, today.

I find the tolls quite interesting. They are a flat fee, it doesn’t matter where you join, or where you exit, if you pass through a booth it is €1.80. I think across the entire day I don’t spend much more than €12. And then the tunnels begin.

At first the tunnels are fun, REV BOMB, they break up the monotony of the toll road. I learn to read the signs pretty quickly. Every tunnel has a name, and each is marked at its entrance with a distance. Some are short, no more than 150m, 200m, 400m and some are longer between 1.6km and 3km. The longest was 7.3km. This afternoon I must have passed through between 40 to 50. The hypnotic nature of the green and red lights in the tunnels combined with the drone from my exhaust reverberating and penetrating my skull (honestly I could feel it) started to wear. It was hard work to maintain concentration over this hypnotic effect. I had to stop at parking spots often to relax.

I pass through one of the longer tunnels, somewhere a little over 5km and as I exit I see a sign for “Igoumenitsa 15km”. I am almost there. Two more tunnels and I’m on the outskirts of the town and following the signs to the ferry port. It’s a little after 3pm and the next ferry is at 4pm. I purchase my ticket (€40 return, seems fair), retrieve a bottle of Peach Tea from my tank bag and go sit in the shade waiting for my ferry to dock.

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Boarding is a little bit of a free for all, but I get on, strap my bike to a pillar, and go sit on an upper deck to enjoy the sea breeze. It takes somewhere around 1 hour 15 minutes to cross to Kerkyra and wow it really is beautifully relaxing after a long riding day.

However, I’ve still got a little way to go before reaching the north of Corfu.

Greece Ferry selfie DB

Approaching Corfu DB

After leaving the ferry and mounting the bike again, riding through numerous beautiful rural villages for another 45 minutes I arrive at my destination. I pitch camp in the shade of an olive grove and send a quick text to my mate. Time to relax, unwind and be merry.

Greece Tent DB

Follow Doug’s adventure in Corfu by watching for updates on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, aswell as our blog at www.realrider.com/motorcycle-blog

#REALRIDERSELFIES: Kazanlak to Greece

After spending some quality time with his family, it’s time for Doug to get back on the road and reach his next destination… Greece.

Let’s see what he got up too.

“On the morning of 4th July, I begin to load Kiki Bo (Doug’s bike) in the courtyard of my ‘step’ mother’s parents’ home. There is a little drizzle that comes and goes, but I am protected by the vines that are growing on a trellis over my head.

As I finish loading the bike, Zhenya’s parents come out of the house with armfuls of food and drink. This is going to be tough. The hospitality that these people have shown me over the last couple of days has been overwhelming.

I signal to say that my bags are full, and they pretty much are, but I also don’t want to cause offence by refusing their gifts. Fresh bread, still hot from the oven… that is absolutely coming with me. Half a dozen tomatoes pulled off the vine 30 minutes ago. Enough homemade wine and Rakia to stun a battalion of horses. Jars of preserves and jars of pickles… it literally is never ending. However, we work out a compromise and I stuff my panniers and top-bag with as much as I can. We all agree I am now loaded with as much as I can possible carry. And then a special gift. A kilo of shelled walnuts from the very tree in the garden of my father’s house.

We wave our goodbyes and I set off for the Greek border. I’ve decided that the Greek border is where I will assess how far I think I can travel for the day. I’m aiming for the border at Kirkovo and as I cross the valley floor and rise into the hillside, the landscape becomes rather beautiful. I enjoy my surrounds but before long, I’m in a queue. This is the border queue. I manage to filter for perhaps a mile or two before the road narrows and I have no option but to pull in and wait my turn.

The mood in the queue is actually very good. I get off the bike several times to stretch my legs, take photos, and even have lunch. When the traffic in front moves forward I don’t get harassed to get back on the bike and move 50 meters forward. I think we all know we are in this for the long haul. Two hours later and I eventually get sight of the border post.

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As I approach the border post I see the officials are checking all vehicles. There is a Czech plated motorcycle perhaps 15 vehicles ahead of me so I watch to see how he fairs at the crossing to get an idea of how I will be processed? The Czech gets to the post, hands his documents over into a window in one porta cabin. An official step’s out, checks his plate, signals all ok, and another window opens. The Czech documents are physically handed from the Bulgarian porta cabin to the Greek porta cabin. Seems easy enough.

Now it’s my turn.

I pull up to the Bulgarian side and hand my documents over. I see in my right-side mirror a bloke checking my rear plate and it’s given the thumbs up. As I move forward I watch and see my own documents being passed between the windows of two porta cabins.

I pull up to the Greek window.

“Where is Bathgate?” the Greek official asks.

That was not even in the top 500 questions I was expecting.

“Sorry” – I say.

“Where is Bathgate, is says on your passport Bathgate, where is it? ”

“It’s 20 miles west of Edinburgh” – I say.

He’s been to Edinburgh and loves it. Soon enough I’m now in Greece.

To see what Doug got up to in Greece watch out for updates on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, aswell as our blog at www.realrider.com/motorcycle-blog

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Pick of the Week: Armed Police to use motorcycles in event of a london terror attack

In the wake of the recent terror attacks across Europe, Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Bernard Hogan-How has announced the deployment of more armed officers across London including at major landmarks.

A key tactic of this activity focuses on the use of motorbikes to get police officers to the scene of an attack as quickly as possible.

It is believed the introduction of officers riding pillion on grey BMW F800GSs will reduce response times, beating gridlocked traffic in the capital. Officers will be allowed to mount kerbs and go off road in the event of an attack.

Armed officers on patrol in central London

An elite counter-terrorism officer told Sky News: “Traffic can be gridlocked at the best of times – certainly in the times of an attack.

“We’ve looked at tactics and pillion riding with motorcycles gives us a very fast and effective response. The guys practice riding off road so they can bump up and down across pavements and make really good progress from A to B.”

The armed bike patrols will be set aside for use in the event of an attack only. They form part of a new wave of security measures and 600 extra specialist firearms trained marksmen aimed at “confronting terrorists”.

Clad in grey Kevlar body armour and carrying a cache of weapons including sniper rifles, automatic assault rifles, handguns, submachine guns and tasers, the armed response teams will also be trained to operate on water, and to abseil down onto buildings.

Elite counter-terrorism officers patrol on the River Thames

They will also carry state-of-the art support gear including battering rams and heavy cutting equipment.

WALTER MILLAR -ISLE OF MAN

Walter Millar REALRIDERSELFIES

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Our very own REALRIDER Walter Millar blasts his way through the Isle of Man, recording his route with the REALRIDER ® App.

Planning a trip this summer? Share your routes, videos photos and recommendations with the REALRIDER ® community. Email the team at biking@realrider.com and we will get you set up to showcase your highlights, and provide you with a host of

REALRIDER ® goodies to help you on your way.

JOIN OUR TEAM OF REAL REVIEWERS

Want to put forward your opinion of the latest biking gear and gadgets and test new kit as and when it is released? Then join our team of REALRIDER’s and contribute to our REALRIDER® Reviews online series.

Check out what we’ve got ready and waiting in the office.

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All you need is access to a camera phone or video camera and to get in touch with us at biking@realrider.com. It’s as easy as that.

 

 

Transfagarasan Route 7c

After tackling the Transalpina, Doug’s next move was the challenging Transfagarasan – one of the most spectacular roads in the world.

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Let’s see how he found it.

“This is the one I’ve been excited about, this is the one you read about, and we’ve all seen that episode of Top Gear.

I need to head back towards Sibiu, and then another 25km or so to find the turn off for the Transfagarasan. It’s not well sign posted despite its recent infamy. All that marks the northern start of the road is a signpost pointing to Curtea de Arges and Pitesti (not to be confused with Petresti).

I turn off to be presented with an almost arrow straight road that fades into the base of the mountains. Is this the correct road? I double check. Yup.

For what feels like hours, but in reality is closer to 15 minutes there is barely a turn or twist in the road, the mountains don’t seem to get any closer.

And suddenly it begins…

You don’t quite notice it but as you turn into a bend you’re in forest, the incline steepens and you are slowing for a sharp bend. You get a little throttle blast before having to slow again for another sharp bend, and another, then a throttle blast. The incline is steep and unfortunately the traffic is heavier than yesterday.

You really don’t notice it at first, but you are climbing rapidly, the road is steep and the turns are severe. And before you know it you look back and see this. Damn.

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Then you are facing this.

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This part of the road is where it really takes on its reputation. It’s one alpine switchback after another, some of which are really tough to get around. Wide in, hard turn, power out.

This is a cracking 40 minutes, but before long I have reached the peak. I’ve just ridden this ….

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I stop at the summit to take a rest. I climb a little hill to get a couple of photos. I was not expecting to be at this point on the Transfagarasan so early into the ride. The famous photo op is very near the northern start of the 7c.

I move on and have a cracking descent, but as soon as I hit the treeline the road takes a turn for the worse. There is lots of gravel and sand on the corners, the resurfacing has been poor and I am forced to reduce speed.

I’ve got near 80km of this to do and it doesn’t let up at all.

In all honesty the southern stretches of the Transfagarasan are very much like the forest stretches of the Transalpina. I reach the dam at the bottom of the Lake Vidraru.

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I’m a little relieved that this portion of the ride is over, it is now time to get myself to Bucharest. I stop in Pitesti, pulling into Lidl carpark to take on water and check the satnav. A few minutes later a Polish biker and his wife pull in on a large sparkling white Harley Roadking. As his wife disappears into the store he comes over for a chat. He has also had a bit of a tough day. The bike is hired as his wife wanted to accompany him on this trip, he normally rides a sports bike, and he tells me this is entirely the wrong bike for Transfagarasan. Far too heavy and lumbering. As he tells me this I wonder how the large group of Harley riders I passed running south to north are getting on.

He and his wife leave and I set of for Bucharest, perhaps an hour away. My camp for the evening has a bad reputation so I have half an eye open on a hotel for the evening. Nearing camp, I notice a large police presence and road diversions. At first I think ‘accident’ as the Romanians have got to be the absolute worst drivers I’ve encountered so far. Aggressive, risk-taking, inattentive and always have a phone pressed to their ear.

I was wrong… I spot a group of what appears to be US Navy officers in their dress whites, and a little further on, a queue of people all dressed in their best tuxes and frocks patiently waiting to pass through a security check. Someone important must be in town.

I reach camp and I’m immediately treated badly. The staff member is rude, he refuses to let me see the facilities and tries to charge me a late booking surcharge of 50% despite the place appearing empty, I move on. I find an Ibis a few Km’s away and this is much better. Although a little concerned that the carpark is on the main road and my bike will be in full view, every lock I am carrying gets deployed and it’s the first time I’ve actually used any lock since leaving the UK. I also slip the security guard a little cash later in the evening on the advice of the barman.

As I’m sitting on the terrace later in the evening I can’t figure out why people around me are singing. I ask a passing waiter. These are apparently all finalists of Romania’s version of The Voice or Romanian Talent or some such. If these are the finalists I’d hate to hear those that didn’t make it.

So would I do the Transfagarasan again? Certainly the top third, I would do that then turn around and do it in reverse, but the rest no. There is better scenery, riding and road conditions on the Transalpina.”

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All in all, it appears Doug enjoyed the Transalpina more; but as we always say ‘each to their own’. Have you ridden both of these roads? Which one did you prefer? Tell us of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

TransAlpina (Route 67c)

This is the one we’ve all been waiting for… The TransAlpina route! Catching up with Doug, his travels have taken him through some breath-taking places; but this one… this one is extra special.

Let Doug take you through his journey:

“I’m in Saliste around 30km’s east of the start of the Transalpina at Sebes. I’m at a family run camp, which is more accurately described as a large back garden, for 2 nights. The panniers are coming off today. I am running north to south.

I give ‘Kiki Bo’ a thorough inspection, feeling the brakes, shining a light down to inspect the pads, check tyre pressures and overall condition, feel for anything that might be working loose. I check the chain tension and top up the Scotoiler, wiping away the inevitable spill.

Taking a gentle back-road run to Petresti a little south of Sebes, I stop by the roadside and prepare. Helmet cam on: check, REALRIDER® on: check, water bottle: check.

LET’S DO THIS!

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The road south begins with some basic sweeping bends as it follows the river Sebes. I pass through tiny hamlets, with no more than a handful of houses, small farm holdings and a light sprinkling of pine trees either side. As the hills either side narrow and I channel the road, I meet oncoming riders, all of whom wave enthusiastically. I’m also passed by a rider on what I think is a Honda CBR600 – in full power ranger attire. He kicks his leg out and starts engine braking into a bend, he then gives me a throttle hand thumbs up. He MUST be local.

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The road starts to get steeper and the bends a little tighter as the hills either side begin to close in. It’s not a gorge, but the incline on the hills either side of the road are quite severe. The road surface is great, good grip, next to no debris and I have confidence in my tyres – I begin to open up a little. In a matter of seconds, I am up behind a tour bus and a campervan. GREAT! I do hope this will not be a regular occurrence as passing places are becoming fewer. I don’t really want to take any risks so I sit back and wait for my opportunity. I love that the Kawasaki z1000sx has an abundance of torque in all gears, and when I spot my opportunity I float past the offending vehicles without the bike breaking a sweat.

I’m now well into the forest and the road is a mixture of switchbacks and short sweeps as we gain altitude and hit the northern edges of our first lake. I am passed by a couple of German bikers on a BMW GS, we’ll meet again I think.

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I stop for a break, and who should pull up behind me, the Germans … how the hell I overtook them I have no idea, they must have stopped and I didn’t see.

I wave my acknowledgement to the Germans and set off once again. We’re now at an altitude where the trees are thinning, and once past the second lake (which is rather stunning) the trees begin to disappear. We are still climbing, into a treeless landscape of exposed rock. The road is more exposed up here and with a little wind to contend with, as well as severe switchbacks, it takes me a couple of goes to get a hang of it. Wide in, hard turn, power out till the next. These are fun.

The road starts to level a little and I can see in the distance the plateau. I’m told it’s the highest point on the Transalpina. However, it’s not. A little further on there is another 500 meters or so to climb, but this is where I stop at a local market. I double take and look… the Germans are sitting at a table; bikes cooling whilst eating some fascinating curly bread.

I get the chance to talk to them this time. The bread, which they share with me, is fantastic. It has a thin strip coated in brown sugar on one side, wrapped around a log and toasted next to an open fire. Wow! We sit and chat for a while.

I leave another calling card and move on.

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As I ascend to the top it gets very cold, I’m either in the clouds, or there is a mist on the mountain. Visibility is next to nothing… slowly does it.

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Now its time to head down. The switchbacks on the descent appear to be more severe for the first few km’s, real 1st and 2nd gear crawls, they don’t let up and are becoming relentless. I am not carrying panniers or a bag this time, but I can feel the momentum of the bike. This is a steep descent. Perhaps I should have run south to north?

I had originally planned to attempt to do both the Transalpina and the Transfagarasan in one day but I now realise this is not going to be possible. I had underestimated the real distances between the two and I had not left base early enough.

I stop in Novaci and reassess my plans. It’s around 3pm and technically I could pull it off, but the ride has been tiring so I choose to call it quits and settle down for the night. I turn east and head for the main road north back to Sibiu. This portion of the ride is 3 hours of slow frustrating travel. It’s a shame, it’s actually quite a scenic route but with the slow moving lorries and frequent roadworks, it’s making the journey back an absolute chore.

I arrive back at camp around 7pm – time for some rest!”

Keep track of Doug’s adventure by visiting our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages where we will be posting his in-App routes and photos he’s taken along the way.

Check out Doug’s trip so far on the map below. Click on the markers to view his photos.

Don’t miss the next part of Doug’s great adventure where he tackles Transfagarasan, so keep an eye on our blog page and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Pick of the week: Hey good looking…

The results of a new survey have finally validated what we all know to be true: bikers are more attractive than car drivers.

The study, by Carole Nash, asked over 1000 adults to rate the looks of the opposite sex when dressed in normal clothes and riding kit.

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In five out of six cases, members of the public dressed as motorcyclists were voted as more desirable than when dressed as drivers and when it comes to attractiveness, 25 to 34-year-olds are most likely to find a rider easier on the eye (23%) compared to 10% of 55 to 64-year-olds.

The aim of the experiment was to try and chance perceptions of motorcyclists and overturn any negative stereotypes.
It’s not just levels of attractiveness which were measured but also positive personality traits. Interestingly people who own a motorbike are viewed as adventurous by a third of the opposite sex (34%), closely followed by daring (28%) and fun (26%).

The research also revealed that one in four men would pretend they owned a motorbike to impress a woman and almost a third (31%) said they’d go the whole way and learn to ride one if they knew it would impress a potential partner.

We put it to the test in our office. What do you think? Post your views on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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* Source: The survey was conducted by Mortar – sample size 3,000, the research was conducted across September and October 2014.