About the Author

author photo

Andy Smith is a former Police Motorcyclist with years of experience in motorcycle training at all levels. He offers training through 1stClassRider.co.uk, and ride outs through his newsletter blog right here. To contact Andy click here.

See All Posts by This Author

Next Ride Out NEC Bike Show.

Bike Show at the NEC.

Don’t forget the next Ride out is this weekend. Sunday the 30th of November. to the NEC Bike Show.

Meet at MacDonald’s Golden Arches Restaurant at Coryton Interchange Junction 32 of the M4. Meet for a 9am departure.

Please not that it is an earlier departure time. 9am.

Some other Stuff.

People often ask me what BMW actually stands for and for those of you who have ever owned one or paid for parts or servicing then I think the best I can come up with is Bring Money With you.

That is until you try Mike Pearce in Fairwater. For those of you who don’t know, Mike used to work at Rydale BMW and is a fully BM Trained technician. When Rydale closed he set up on his own (alongside his Father’s garage, who specialises in the servicing and repair of German Cars.) Mike trades under the name Cardiff Mottorad.

Mike does the work to the BMW standard but doesn’t charge the BMW prices. He does the work on my bike and is very reasonable. Mike can be contacted on 07843528377.

A bit more stuff.

For those of you who may be members of RoSPA you will regularly be getting the RoSPA Newspaper ‘Care on the Road’. In this publication their resident Motorcycle ‘expert’ Stu Bullock writes features on various aspects of motorcycling. His latest offering was an article on Braking. Now I don’t always agree with what he says but on this ocasion I must speak out to warn anyone who takes his advice included in this article.

He states that it is a ‘good habit to get into to ride with two fingers always over the front brake lever’.

I must strongly advise anyone who rides, against doing this. Anyone who has trained with me, either as a Learner or on the advanced courses and emergency braking days that we run will know that we teach the correct method of stopping, either under normal conditions or in an emergency.

The brake lever is designed to be used with four fingers and used progressively. It is not an ‘on off’ switch. The first action in any braking application should be the closing of the throttle. The problem with riding with two fingers permannetly over the front brake is that in an emergency, insticively a rider will generally grab the front brake before being able to roll off the throttle.

This obviously means that you are holding an open throttle, which is applying power to the rear wheel, and trying to brake with the front wheel.

Your front brake is the most efficient stopping brake and when used correclty is fab! It’s Bloody Lovely in fact! But used fiercely or without thought, in panic it will bite your backside every time.

Most riders end up on their arse because of incorrect use of the front brake than any other cause. Whether it be at slow speed doing a U turn or cornering a bit quick and grabbing a handful of brake in panic in a bend.

Braking is as easy as ABC.

A -Accelerator. Roll off the power
B- Brakes. Front Brake applied before the rear. Smoothly and progressivley.
C- Clutch. Leave the clutch out as long as possible to get the maximum engine braking whilst coming to a stop.

Riders who train with us on the emergency stop exercise, when they know we are going to raise our hands to stop them , ride with fingers poised over the clutch and front brake. This invariably ends up with them skidding as they are too harsh with the front brake and the clutch comes in too soon, allowing the back wheel to ‘free wheel’ and this exagerates any pressure applied to the rear brake pedal.

With wet roads coming and ice in the not too distant future please ride and use the controls correctly. You wouldn’t apply the brakes and accelarator the at the same time in a car so why, when our balance and stability relies on the correct use of the controls would you want to do it on a bike.

This is once piece of Stu’s advice that belongs without doubt, in the ‘Stuart Bullock Book of Bollocks’.

Even More Stuff….Bikes in Bus Lanes

Cardiff is one of the few cities that don’t allow bikes in bus lanes. Newport do, Bath and Bristol also are biker friendly in that respect. Cardiff transport authority were waiting on a ruling in London before they made a decision.

Riders used to be allowed in London Bus Lanes but that permission was withdrawn by London Mayor Ken. But now Boris has said we can use them again.

So from January motorcyclists will once again be allowed to use London Bus Lanes. Now I know that in the past someone was petitioning Cardiff Council to allow the same. So now you know. If the excuse given by Cardiff was that they were waiting to see what London did, then London did! If they want to know what London do, then London do!

It makes sense to allow bikes to use the bus lanes……….especially as the buses don’t seem to use them.

Any way it is the only way you will get to see the Christmas Lights in St. Mary Street.

So come on Cardiff let us in!

See you on Sunday. Bright and Early.

There Are 5 Responses So Far. »

  1. Andy,

    I always enjoy the blog – keep it up.

    Sorry I’ve missed all the rideouts – this one too – just usually busy on a Sunday. I’m looking forward to the spring though to join at somepoint.

    Thanks for the refresher on braking.
    Send my regards to Tyrone.

    Andrew (still shaking every time I remember the barking you gave me in Llandrindod last year)

  2. Hi Andy

    I wrote to Cardiff City Council a couple of years ago using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain details of why they hadn’t made a decision on bikes in bus lanes and on what basis any decision was made. They completely ignored the legal requirements of the FoI request and just said a decision hadn’t been taken. Maybe it’s time to nudge them again…

    Cheers, Dave

  3. I looked at the council website about a month ago and there was positive comment on Bus Lanes and understand that they are likely to allow use early in the New Year! Also more dedicated Parking.

  4. I only want to use the bus lanes so I can see the Christmas Lights.

    Cheers Andrew, I bet you’ve never missed a lifesaver since!

  5. Dave

    If you are having problems getting freedom of information from councils or indeed anyone else, look at http://www.ico.gov.uk (information commisioners office, similar to ombudsman) and they can apply pressure on your behalf. as you rightly say they have a legal obligation to provide it within 20 days of you requesting it.

Leave a Comment