Biker cafés cook up re-opening as lockdown rules eased
The UK’s most popular biker cafés are preparing to re-open following the Government’s relaxation of lockdown restrictions from Saturday, July 4.
Squires in Yorkshire, Loomies in Hampshire, Ryka’s at Box Hill and The Super Sausage near Towcester all told MCN they can’t wait to re-open fully on July 4, but also warned things won’t be quite what they used to be.
"We’ve been getting geared up and have used the opportunity to do the place up," Gail Murray of the Super Sausage said. "We’ve a new kitchen floor, new hand sanitisers and driers – we’re just finishing off now."
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But she added: "We’ll be doing certain things differently, though. People can turn up as normal but we’ve barriers outside so they can queue. There’ll be an ‘in and out’ system as we’ve just one door and we’ve invested in more chairs and tables for seating outside."
Paul Fullick of Loomies told a similar story. "We’re open now trying a takeaway service but we’ll definitely be fully open on the 4th," he said.
"It’ll be a more open air service rather than trying to fit people in the café. We’ll comply with the regulations, employees wearing gloves, us making the tea and coffee rather than having a communal area, so some things will change but we’re really looking forward to it."
Surrey venue Ryka’s has also reopened already as a takeaway only, but will be fully operational on July 4. "It’s been a long time coming," Grace Sheppard told MCN. "We’ve been slowly preparing, redecorating, cleaning but we’re keen to see all our customers.
"We’ll be wearing facemasks, the inside will be closed off, our aim is to have just one till and it’ll be a ‘one-in, one-out’ process. We’ve enjoyed our time off but we’ve got itchy feet now and can’t wait to get up and running."
While Dave Moore of Squires in Newthorpe said: "My reaction is total relief. We’re a seasonal business and the lockdown couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
"We’ve remodelled the café with a one-way system where you come in, get served and then go outside. There’s screens at the service points, cleaning regimes and we’re even putting the sugar in your tea or coffee for you!
"Things will gradually get back to normal but initially people are going to have to accept things have to done in a whole different way."
IAM advanced motorcycle training resumes in England and Northern Ireland
First published on June 4, 2020 by Gareth Evans
The IAM, or Institute of Advanced Motorists, have resumed advanced motorcycle training in England and Northern Ireland in light of the latest Coronavirus restrictions.
The charity has also issued advice for its members on the correct procedures to adhere to in order to keep everyone involved safe. Social rides are also re-starting in England and Northern Ireland, but those in Wales and Scotland will have to wait longer, in-line with local Covid-19 advice and measures.
Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s Head of Driver and Rider Standards, said: "We are delighted to be able to get those taking the advanced rider course back on the road.
"Our community of passionate and skilled bikers have made personal safety their number one priority by following the rules on social distancing and non-essential travel. They have been great ambassadors for motorcycling IAM RoadSmart and road safety.
You can find details of courses available here.
Police correct inaccurate coronavirus riding statement
First published 4 June 2020 by Jordan Gibbons
The Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police has issued an apology after one of her officers made an incorrect public statement about the legalities of riding under the current guidance.
On May 16 after the travel restrictions were lifted, Inspector Mark Gee issued comments on the force’s official website saying that: "Many motorcyclists genuinely seem to think they are legally covered to just go for a ride out. Under the current regulations this is simply not the case."
The statement was widely reported by other news outlets, including BBC Radio 2, despite Downing Street confirming that motorcyclists are perfectly entitled to go for a ride, so long as they maintain social distance from anyone outside their household.
After this was brought to the attention of Chief Constable Lisa Winward, she said Gee wasmistaken and apologised.
"During this unprecedented health crisis our Inspector has clearly made a mistake in his interpretation of the legislation and guidance on this occasion which will be rectified," said Winward. "I am sorry for the concern that this has caused."
Need a new ride? Bike dealers in England will open Monday
First published 27 May 2020 by Jordan Gibbons
Bike dealerships in England will be able to open their doors to the public from Monday, June 1. The news comes after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced an update to the coronavirus guidance. Speaking at a televised press conference on Monday, May 26, Johnson said that markets and car dealerships will be able to reopen from Monday, June 1, while other non-essential shops will be able to reopen from Monday, June 15.
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After speaking to the government, the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) has confirmed to MCN that this includes motorcycle dealerships are included with car dealerships.
As part of the new guidance, the government has produced a list of recommended things to consider when reopening shops to keep both staff and customers safe. This includes small things such as leaving doors open, so people do not need to touch the handles, to larger scale suggestions that include rearranging the shop for more space and implementing a one way system.
We will update this page with more information as we receive it. You can read the guidance in full here: Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses
Riding restrictions lift in England on Wednesday says No. 10 - so long as you maintain social distancing
First published on May 12, 2020 by Jordan Gibbons
The government has today removed restrictions in England that prevented all motorcycle journeys unless you were a key worker, or the journey was considered essential. In a speech on Sunday night, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that you can "drive to other destinations" – however, it was unclear exactly what that meant.
Having spoken directly with a spokesperson at No.10, MCN can confirm this means you are allowed to ride a motorcycle "to any open spaces" with no limit on the distance from today, Wednesday, May 13.
However, they reiterated that this should ideally be done only with members of your immediate household or with one other, provided you maintain social distancing. The advice also stated that once you arrive, you should maintain a minimum of two meters distance from other members of the public.
You'll also have to abide by the rules for travelling between countries within the UK, as you'll still be unable to cross from England into Scotland, Ireland or Wales, or vice versa. The "Stay at home" message remains in place in all countries other than England. You're also not allowed to travel somewhere and stay the night, with a spokesperson saying: "although you might want to take the bike out to the Lake District, for example, you wouldn’t be able to stay there overnight".
No.10 also confirmed that should the relaxation cause a spike in coronavirus transmission that threatens to overwhelm the NHS, then the rules will tighten back up once again.
It was also stated that should the rate of infections remain low, the government will look to reopen shops and cafes in June and July, meaning that bike dealerships and popular hang outs will be able to reopen so long as they can keep staff and shoppers safe.
So what does this mean for bikers?
In short, you can ride – but you should still exercise common sense. Just like every normal Spring, most of us have had a long time off the bike and our skills probably aren’t what they were six months ago.
At MCN we’ll be taking a considered approach, avoiding long or fast-paced rides for the foreseeable future and sticking to gentle jaunts into the countryside for changes of scenery and somewhere to grab a breath of fresh air. That might mean a great ride to the coast or the hills before chucking some trainers on to get your daily exercise, for example.
The temptation to simply return to normal riding is overwhelming, but do we really want biking to be vilified yet again, as it was when some were slow to comply with the start of lockdown?
Motorcycling is often perceived negatively by the public at large – but right now, stories of couriers and volunteers delivering medical supplies and community support has placed motorcycling firmly in the public’s good books. A sunny weekend of wailing redline torture, open pipes and unnecessary road accidents will quickly undo all that. But most of all, we want everyone to stay safe so that when everything really is back to normal, we’re all still here to enjoy it.
We will update this page when the advice changes again.