This week, I've come up with a couple of dates for your September biking diary, the first of which might just ensure the future of motorcycling. To balance the bad and good news, I found a rare example of the introduction of positive biking legislation and got to road test a truly well designed motorcycling product.
Firstly, MAG has organised a series of rideouts, in a co-ordinated protest against a raft of essentially anti-biking legislation planned by the European Union.
Amongst the regulations being proposed is the introduction of compulsory ABS, the sealing of powertrains from the airbox, through the engine to the final drive (including the diameter and aspect ratio of the rear tyre), restrictions on the aftermarket industry, possible roadside checks by police or other government agencies to inspect emissions, detect owner 'tuning'. These restrictions could go further, limiting choice of tyres to those specified by the manufacturers and even servicing being allowed only by certified dealers, meaning job losses and restriction of trade.
Ireland is introducing compulsory wearing of day-glo (full sleeve jackets) and France is proposing the same. This could mean insurance companies refusing to pay out as we were "inappropriately clothed".
To protest against these anti-biking measures, MAG has organised peaceful rideouts, which will all commence at 1pm on 25th September. Starting from service areas across the country, all bikes will ride at 45mph, using the inside lanes and disperse 20 minutes later.
To take part in your local rideout, check http://www.ridersarevoters.org or http://www.mag-uk.org/en/campaignsdetail/a6883 for details.
Sticking with the diary, Hastings is to be the venue for the UK's inaugural lesbian and gay biker rally. The event - open to "all gay and lesbian bikers and their friends" - will take place on 18th September at the Marina Pavilion in St Leonards.
Organiser Julian Langham expects up to 400 bikers will turn up to the event, supported by Hastings Borough Council, which runs from 10am to 6pm and features a barbeque. He said: "What started as an idea for a picnic on the beach has turned into something where we are now expecting a few hundred people. So I think it will be a really good event."
For more details visit www.gaybikerrally.co.uk
In a rare show of positive legislation being applied to biking, the German government has approved smaller numberplates for use on motorcycles. The new plates are a minimum size of 18x20cm.
German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer said: "Motorcycles are for most owners a heartfelt matter. When it comes to looks there should be no compromises." "Registration plates must match the vehicle design. It was no easy task, due to the limited available place on motorcycles. This proposal makes it possible to replace the old big pie plates with smaller number plates that do not disfigure the vehicle."
Meanwhile in France the Government is causing dismay among motorcycle owners as it proposes INCREASING the size of number plates, amongst a range of other anti-biking legislation that led to around 100,000 bikers taking to the roads in protest last month... and is being supported by the MAG rideouts mentioned at the top of this article.
And finally, this week's test item; the Moto-Detail 20 litre tailpack. One of the main drawbacks of the motorcycle is the lack of cargo capacity. The Moto-Detail tailpack is the answer. For normal day-to-day use it shinks down to 15 litres, but expands out to 20 litres if needed. It is held onto the bike via clips, which are attached to straps that slide under the saddle.
This is a well-designed tailpack. It is pleasingly stable, the underseat straps and clips mean I have 100% confidence that it will stay in place and it can be used for a range of jobs.