The Sunday Social with BMW Chief Instructor Ian Biederman
What better way to spend a Sunday than for MCN to sit down with a fellow biker for a chinwag about life and bikes, of course.
This week we caught up with Chief Instructor at the BMW UK Motorcycle Road Skills Centre, Ian Biederman, who recently trained paralympian Jody Cundy ahead of his test.
First thing's first...
What's on the menu for brekkie at the bike cafe today?
"Porridge, I like porridge."
What are you looking for on a Sunday ride? (Nice scenery, new cafe, knee-down adrenaline?)
"To find some nice roads and have some enjoyment."
And what's in your pannier/backpack when you're out on a ride today?
"Visor cleaner and a credit card. I travel light."
How's the training been going lately, is it busy?
"Very, very busy. We're in another record year. We've been growing consistently since I took on the school in 2012. I've been in the industry 17 years through several licence several licence changes. 2009 was the biggest change when they brought in Module 1. THe run up to that was busy because they kept moving the goal posts and putting it off. But then there was the credit crunch, so we had the law changes and people turning round saying 'actually, this isn't going to work. I can't afford it or justify it.' The industry fell apart in a big way for a couple of years but it started to come back together in 2012."
Are you confident for the future of motorcycling in the UK?
"Biking is growing again so yes. There's more happening around it and we're seeing steady growth. I'd like to see more young people on bikes, but it is slowly happening. The age is starting to get lower. The fact there are now more lower end machines below 300cc, means there are more more attractive machines for people wanting to get on bikes again."
Have you ridden some of the newer, smaller bikes?
"I have, and I really enjoy them. They remind me of my early days of motorcycling. They're fun and a little bit no-brainer to ride. You can ride around, not having to think too much and just enjoy the ride."
Do you prefer that to modern day bikes with all their tech?
"I'm very lucky in that I get to ride brand new bikes all time. My personal bike is an R nineT and I bought that purely because it has no rider aids. It takes me back to when I started out and reasons I started biking, which was to just enjoy it. Modern motorcycles are very competent and so to ride something like that is nice because it makes me thnk again."
What sort of riding do you do?
"I teach everyday which could be a total beginner to somebody who's not ridden in 20-30 years. I ride off-road and do a bit of track work. I just play off-road to get away from things. I'm an average off-road rider and I really enjoy the technical side of it."
What are you riding at the minute?
"A BMW R1200GS Adventure, which is my favourite modern bike on the road today. I like the size and bulk and I've ridden BMW adventure bikes since the mid 2000s when they first came out so I feel very comfortable on that type of bike.
"I believe the 1200GS is the best all round motorcycle full stop. I've ridden that in all guises of off-road riding, on track, through Europe, taught on it, done everything possible on a motorcycle and it just does it. If you want a bike to do absolutely anything it's the go to. It's frustrating for some that they see so many but the reason is they are that good."
So what's your favourite sort of classic bike?
"I'm quite odd and one of the reasons I started riding and fell in love with BMW is because my poster bike was the original R80GS. I ordered the new Urban G/S as soon as I could. I've always been a fan of sit up-style bikes and off-road bikes. I've never been a sportsbike fan. I'm not a big guy but they've never felt comfortable. For me motorcycling is very emotive. I like to feel the environment and feel part of it so with the Urban G/S and nineT I feel part of everything around me."