Big-mile riders reveal what they’ve missed most about bikes during lockdown breaks

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Covid-19 has curtailed everyone’s big-mile aspirations, but #Ride5000miles members are now getting ready to more than make up for lost time.

Members of the group revealed what they’d missed the most about riding as the marginally more relaxed rules came into effect in England on Monday, March 29.

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"It’s the riding and the stopping and putting the world to rights over a bacon butty and a cup of tea," says David Raymonde, from Bury. "I miss that freedom a bike gives you, something you don’t get in a car."

Normally covering around 6000 miles a year, many as an IAM National Observer aboard his Ducati Multistrada 950, David is looking forward to restarting his weekly rides with friends – having established a Thursday night group before Covid.

He continued: "We look at the weather, decide which direction we should set off in and one of us will have a route, or we’ll put something into the satnav."

And 28-year-old Freddie Sheddington, from Leicester is also itching to get going. He usually covers between 8000 and 10,000 miles on his two bikes. That dropped to just 2500 miles in 2020 due to the pandemic, and now Freddie is determined to pile on the miles once riding restrictions ease.

He said: "Riding to me is everything; it gives me motivation to keep moving forward and gives me something to aim for. Riding motivates me and helps me make positive changes in my life.

"I love riding in new places. I love the fact something incredible could be beyond the next bend. Every mile brings you closer to seeing somewhere new or meeting a new person with their own story."

Another R5K member Andy Radley, from Mersea Island, is simply missing the people you meet along the way. He explained: "I miss stopping and chatting to people – whether they’re mates or strangers that you bump into. Bikes are a great conversation-starter."


#Ride5000miles members are busy planning post-lockdown trips

First published on 05 April, 2020 by Dan Sutherland

Preparing for a ride on the BMW R nine T Racer

Thousands of eager #ride5000miles members are gearing up for their first leisure rides of the year, as restrictions lift for two-wheeled travel in England on March 29.

With the chance to enjoy the early springtime tarmac with up to five of your mates, plans range from cross country epics to easing back into it with a gentle jaunt closer to home.

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"I’m going to have a run out and stretch the bikes' legs and get the oil circulating," says 65-year-old Steve Lane, who’s set aside time for a 30-mile shakedown on each of his three machines.

"I’m just looking forward to being able to go back out somewhere," he continued. "Once I’ve done that a few times I might want to go a bit further, but it’s just about getting out and getting some miles on the bikes."

Great riding awaits after lockdown

Having bought a new BMW R1250RS and Honda CB500X midway through last year, to sit alongside his BMW R nine T Racer, Steve is also planning an eight-night tour of Scotland to take place in September.

Born-again biker Jon Powell, from Worcester, got back into motorcycling during the first lockdown after his other hobby of scuba diving hit the rocks. At around the same time, his daughter Adara, 16, caught the biking bug on her own 50cc scooter and the pair are now looking forward to post-lockdown rides, as she progresses to a 125 in April.

"I run my own business and the bike enables me to switch off and de-stress," Jon told MCN. "Last year, we would go out on rides to local pubs together. It was a 30mph ride, but it just meant we had father/daughter time, which was lovely. I’m looking forward to that."

And he often takes his son Owen on the back, making his rekindled love of motorcycling a real family affair. As restrictions continue to ease, Jon and family are also planning a biking camping trip to Walton Court – a favourite site in Powys, Wales.

Sunderland-based Riaan Van Deventer is set for a 260-mile route on his Triumph Speed Triple, having stitched together a number of his shorter favourites. He said: "I can’t wait. It will be great to get out on the bike and have a bit of freedom."


#Ride5000miles members are plotting ways to make the most of motorcycling post lockdown

First published on 05 April, 2020 by Dan Sutherland

Graeme Bell with his KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

With riding a motorcycle for pleasure currently placed on hold for the foreseeable future, #ride5000miles members have come together online to support each other through this unprecedented time.

One of the ways they’ve been overcoming their bike-less blues is by planning the amazing two-wheeled activities they will be getting up to once the ban on free movement has been lifted.

This includes Graham Bell, 59, who intends to use his KTM 1290 Super Duke GT and Super Duke R for longer weekend rides and a potential European jaunt, should the virus be cleared in time for decent weather.

"When we see a glimmer at the end of the tunnel, we’ll leap onto re-planning everything that we would’ve done, but in a shorter time frame," Graham explained.

"Maybe we’ll start with a weekend break to Wales or Scotland? As things then progress, perhaps we can do a September or October ride down to France or Spain, where the weather should be good still."

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Mike Taylor organises the Sunart Wildcat Rally

Elsewhere, Scottish-based Mike Taylor, 38, plans to help people get back on two wheels through his small bike touring firm, Passing Places Tours.

"I might try to do a 'for cost' run, or even just a camping weekend somewhere," the East Lothian rider told MCN. "I’ll just sort it out and book it with a campsite and riders can just pay whatever it costs - just to try and give people something to look forward to and an excuse to get together."

On top of this, Mike also plans to run his third-annual Sunart Wildcat Rally, which he organises for between 50 and 60 bikers in aid of Scotland’s Air Ambulance charity.

Originally due to take place on April 24-25, it’s been provisionally pushed back to September this year.

Roland Johns bags a selfie in the Lincolnshire countryside

Elsewhere, IAM Observer Roland Johns, 69, has his heart set on simply getting back out into the countryside and spinning some laps around his beloved Cadwell Park.

"I just want to get out for a decent ride in the countryside and start training bikers again," he explained. "I try and do at least one track session a year just to keep my skills sharp, and have fun at the same time."

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in News…

Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade