November 2022
Dates For Your Diary
Group Meeting
12 December -   Discussion on this year's highway code changes and a short quiz- led by Bob Fram
January 2023  - No Meeting

That's it for this year! 
April 2023 we start again.

Monthly Ride-Outs

Bike Ride-Outs on the 3rd Saturday of every even numbered month and the 3rd Sunday of every odd numbered Month. Email will be sent out to Bikers and added to the Forum.

Next ride out Saturday 17 December Details will be forthcoming via email to all bike members. It looks like a good day out too!

Do you have a topic you would like discussed, or know of an interesting speaker?  Please contact speaker at 

Congratulations to the following members who have passed their Advanced Tests recently:  
David Surgett - Car - Silver, retest
Please welcome the following to the Group:
Don’t forget that we have a range of clothing available to purchase. We also offer a range of books, such as Roadcraft, Motorcycle Roadcraft and the Highway Code, and these are available at discounted prices.

For more information visit the Merchandise page of our web site 
We are always looking for more articles, ideas and news for the newsletter. Have you been somewhere interesting recently that would make a good story? If you attend any group events then take a camera and send us your pictures!

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Chair's Ramblings
It is the time of the year where driving and riding requires more thought and consideration due to the road conditions (not just the potholes!), the low sun, the weather and the reduced daylight.  As advanced drivers and riders we continue to apply “the system” which means we naturally adapt to these changes.  Please do make sure you maintain your standards and your safety on the roads. 
Do we always think about our mood and attitude though?  I was at the mini-roundabout at the end Western end of Marlborough High Street held up by traffic and waiting to turn right onto the A4 towards Calne.  I felt a bump and was nudged forward (a motorcyclist’s worst nightmare being hit from behind!); fortunately all very gentle, but a bump none the less.  A purposeful look over my shoulder revealed an elderly driver who looked a bit shocked.  There seemed to be no damage but I moved off to find a safe place to pull over; only to find the driver carry on their journey.  And so the chase ensued – well a gentle follow to be fair – with me using the shadow of my bike to check my number plate and mudguard were still intact.
The driver finally stopped at the Wagon and Horses pub at Beckhampton.  They admitted they noticed they had hit me but as I had moved off assumed I was ok.  More importantly the driver stated they were having a bad day and were normally a safe driver (given their following distance along the A4 I had my doubts).  The driver was quite emotional and as there was no damage to my bike (I assume they hit the tyre and not the number plate) I was happy to have a gentle chat and ask them to be more careful – for which they were very grateful.  I was conscious a large bloke in motorcycle gear and a helmet can be very intimidating.
On reflection could I have avoided the collision?  I had stopped as my exit from the roundabout was blocked by traffic halted by a red light at a Pelican crossing; I can only assume this action was not expected by the driver behind me so perhaps I could have positioned better or maintained a brake light?  I should have been monitoring the situation in my mirrors and ready to react (I will be more vigilant in future).  Bottom line is they ran into the back of me and perhaps were distracted by their “bad day”.  A useful reminder to ensure we check ourselves as well as our vehicles prior to any journey.
On a brighter note thank you to all to you who have renewed your membership.  I sense, though, a reduction in numbers and I wonder why.  It seems we are losing car drivers and not recruiting more – if you have any ideas on how to turn this around then please let me (and the committee) know.  We do need more support from all members to help promote the group.  Our recent poll of the car drivers for help had no response; without some effort we may wither on the vine so please do provide some ideas.   
For those of you who have even a passing interest in racing why not go and visit Gary Franks at a Driven Ohm race meeting (as a sponsor he can get you free entry and you can see the workings of a race team at close hand) and help promote the group by talking to the petrol heads who will also be there.  Details below (and in every newsletter!).  He mentioned a very clear link between his RoSPA driving and his racing so “the system” works (although with some adaptions for the race track!!)
I wish you all a happy and safe festive season (blimey this comes round quick).
Monday Meeting - Driven Ohm Racing
Our very own Gary Franks will continue to race in 2023 and we have sponsored him again for the year.  We are keen to see how much impact this sponsorship has but we cannot do it just with the logo splashed on his car and his clothing.  It also needs some effort from us to go along to the race circuit and help promote the Group – Gary will have the cards and leaflets but it needs someone to chat with the petrol heads.  Do go along to meet Gary, see his set up and the trials and tribulations of a race day and help to promote the Group.  Gary can get you tickets as we are a sponsor (but do not expect a hospitality suite!)  Most of his races are at Castle Combe and the dates for next year are listed at the end of this article.  I have been and it is a great day out.
Gary provided a review of Driven Ohm racing from its inception and how it has developed.  Many of you will have been following this on the updates in the newsletter but it was good to hear a bit more rom him about running the team and his aims and views for the future.

Gary became inspired to be a professional driver after taking his advanced test, tutor training and his Diploma.  He has had numerous driving jobs from delivering cars, chauffeuring, instructing on high performance cars on circuits and now he is a racing instructor.  He has had a passion for racing for over 30 years, but it's much easier to justify it now if there is a business justification for it.

I was good to hear how he has developed the cars and the team and also how is coping without spending too much money.  It seems if you want to go faster then you have to spend more money – until it rains and then driving skill is much more important – watch the videos at the links below and you will see what he means.

He does, of course, have the racing drivers' big book of excuses and it was interesting to hear some of the stories of where it went wrong (3 drive shafts all going at the same corner at Castle Combe) and how they finally arrived at the solution (a problem with the Chassis).

Gary also brought along all of his race gear (his personal protection equipment) to show us what he has to wear and how it has to be prepared to pass scrutineering.  All good stuff as it has protected him well in his one big crash (regular readers will remember this) and is able to give him 40 seconds grace to escape a car which is on fire!!  Need to be able to move fast and not just drive fast by the sound of things.

An enjoyable evening which included Gary showing off his silverware earned on the track; he is looking for much more next year

The review of the 2021 season can be seen here with more videos here; of course you can follow Gary and his antics via the Driven Ohm Racing Facebook page. @Driven.Ohm.Racing.

Please check the series website for the latest details:

dates for next year are here:
November’s ride out was used as an opportunity to review our Skillshare location.  We need somewhere which serves most of the county and has the correct facilities for us to meet and advertise our location.  We have tried having a north and a south location but most of those who attended Skillshare near Salisbury travelled form the North of the County.  Perhaps those near Salisbury join the Hampshire Group?

During discussions we felt is best to have a single location to remove any confusion through the year.  There had been many suggestions from the Bike Tutor cohort and so a route was chosen which took in Three Trees Farm shop at Chiseldon (current location), Choppers Café near Burbage, Cholderton Farm Shop, Thyme and Tides (previously the Haven Salisbury) and The Dandy Highwayman on the A4 at Cherhill near Clans (long term members will remember this as our Skillshare location when it was the Divine Café).

All had their pros and cons and we will be announcing the lucky winner soon.

Dates to be added for April 2023 but we will plan on the first Saturday of each month Apr - Oct.
Members' Activities
Have you been up to anything to do with Riding or Driving lately? If so, then please let us know as we would love to include it here; photos would be great too!
Steven and Clare Hyde US Road Trip
In September 2021 Clare and I once again toured Spain. I failed the mandatory 2 day before travelling home LFT which with the enforced ten day isolation, meant our trip was almost a month long.  It was the proof I needed to take a month off work knowing the business was in safe hands.  It was time to tick something off my bucket list.

There had been a loose plan to ride across the US West to East through St Louis.  For research I watched the Hairy Bikers Route 66 BBC series, numerous YouTube channels and read Good Vibrations by Tom Cunliffe.

We had a few must do’s including the Antelope Slot Canyons which was on Clare’s bucket list, the BBC use images of the canyons for the bits between programmes they also featured on Planet Earth II.  Death and Monument valleys, Yellowstone National Park, St Louis, NYC.

When we plotted the route, it became obvious some attractions such as Mt Rushmore were just too far away to be included in our itinerary, whilst keeping reasonable daily mileage.

Although we think of ourselves as relatively seasoned tourers in Europe and I had been to the US many times for work we decided to use a specialist to help us find the right places to stay.

We did a significant amount of research into bike shipping/hire. In the end due to significant problems with airfreight & shipping industry at that time and our schedule, hiring was the easier but more expensive option.  After a lot more research we found Orange & Black in the UK, who are Eagle Rider agents and who have lots of franchises including one way hire.

The basic route was San Francisco, Death Valley, Boulder City, Page AZ, Moab UT, West Yellowstone MT, Lincoln NE, St Louis MO, Pittsburgh PY, New York City.  There were several cities that were not much more than stopovers, only Ogallala Nebraska was so bad we left early to get away. 

We flew from London Heathrow to San Francisco on August bank holiday.  On arrival US Immigration was as busy as I’ve ever seen and when we eventually completed the formalities some of our luggage had been removed from the carousel, some was on it and some was missing. Our Apple airtag confirmed the BMW softbag was in the terminal.  I filled in the necessary forms then took a 20 minute taxi ride to our first B & B, which on arrival was unlit and looked closed.  Luckily another guest phoned the innkeeper and let us in.  The missing luggage turned up two days later.

We really enjoyed our four nights in San Francisco although the B & B was too close to the Police and Fire stations, so the traffic was noisy.  The highlights were riding the cable cars, seeing Lombard Street and visiting Alcatraz, where we learnt a lot about native Americans.  2nd September I took a taxi to Eagle Rider and collected the BMW R1250RT.  It was important to have an RT as we had a tank bag and pannier liners, I wasn’t having a Harley !

The weather up to that point had been a comfortable 24 C, on our first day we rode to Bakersfield CA, where they had a record breaking, for that date 44 C.  We were really pleased our first hotel was air conditioned and had guest laundry.

The next day we rode through Death Valley, until a couple of weeks before this had been closed due to floods and debris on the roads the main I90 road had dried sand/mud in places and extra care was needed at times.  The temperature was scorchio in the extreme at 50 C (122 F) our right hand sides were burning even in our summer riding gear, aptly named places such as Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek.  291 miles to Pahrump was almost certainly the toughest ride of the entire trip.  The extreme heat was to last for many more days.

One of my highlights was to see the Hoover Dam, originally called the Boulder Dam, we stayed at the disappointing Boulder City Hotel, although the museum in the same building was good.  We liked Boulder City, even though the heat was unbearable we left the visit as late as possible.


Clare had insisted that the Antelope Slot Canyons was non-negotiable. We stayed two nights at Bears Den in Page AZ, this turned out to be the best B & B of the trip.  We had a Navajo tour guide booked for the following day and it was unbelievably good.  We visited the Upper & Lower Antelope Canyons and have 100s of photos. Clare took her dslr camera with only one lens, a small wide angle. It did a great job.


On the ride to Moab we rode through Monument Valley, which really does look like the Roadrunner Cartoon and where we stopped at Forest Gump Hill for this photo.

Both Moab and Salt Lake City were great even if the hotels were poor.  At Idaho Falls we eventually bought a US phone as ours often didn’t have data and there were times with long gaps between filling stations.  We also started to leave the Interstates and use the highways, which were much more enjoyable with restaurants/shops that were not chains.  In Kearney NE, we eventually found the best Barista Coffee shop, in the US.

Yellowstone National Park was another highlight, Clare saw a bear (I didn’t) but we both saw eagles and Bison/Buffalo, apparently, they are the same.  We also saw numerous hot springs including Old Faithful who managed an impressive 165 ft spurt and the prismatic springs.  The hotel was at best average, two days in the National Park was not enough, we also rode through the Grand Teton National Park, which was on our route to Riverton but didn’t know it.


Next up was four days with friends near St Louis, they took us to a major league baseball game, visited the gateway arch but the highlight was seeing them all.


We saw lots of Police Cruisers when riding, but in Pittsburgh we saw a “hard” stop with guns and shouting.  We also visited the Andy Warhol and Heinz museums, the latter being very disappointing.

The myth that speed limits are all 55 mph, is just that, we rode motorways with 80, 75, 70, 65 mph limits.  Undertaking works well, but filtering is only permitted in two states.

The penultimate riding day took us from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg passing close to the site of the United Airlines Flight 93 memorial and the site of the infamous 911 plane crash in Somerset County, PA.  It was also the only day it rained.  We arrived at Harrisburg, tired and wet and was the only time we had a delivered meal, Clare washed and dried all our clothes for the final time.

During the last days ride to Newark, I started to feel a bit emotional, 4,200 miles across the US and a bucket list item ticked off.  There was a bit of a panic when we arrived on schedule at Eagle Riders dealership, and they were closed.  Numerous phone calls to the UK, Los Angeles and San Francisco whilst we ate only, I eventually told eagle Riders there was no chance whatsoever of me riding the bike to Staten Island.  They agreed I could hide the bike and stash the keys for someone to collect later.

We phoned a local cab, and they whisked us off to our NYC hotel just off Broadway.  After four days of sight-seeing, walking, a show and lots of restaurants our adventure was over and our return flight from Newark to LHR beckoned.

Although we had asked for boutique hotels, the chains were by far the best, everything worked, rooms were spotless, many had swimming pools and guest laundry.  Almost all had no restaurant, and the breakfast was poor.

If anyone wants to know anything or see a few of the photos do let me know and I will be happy to share.

Steven will be giving us a presentation at one of our monthly meetings early next year.
Call for Bikers from Severn Freewheelers

Many of you will be aware of Severn Freewheelers, the blood bike charity that provides its free service to the NHS and specifically the Great Western Trust (GWH)  at Swindon. Partly as a result of the Trust’s response to COVID and the service being better understood by the Trust, the workload now means we have two bikes serving the area. Last year we undertook over 2000 jobs for the Swindon Trust. Overall Severn Freewheelers did over 7000 tasks.

This is a request primarily seeking riders to help support our operation going forward. Naturally over time people fall away as their circumstances change, they move away or indeed decide this is no longer for them.

The service runs 1900hrs to 0700hrs weekdays and 24 hrs at weekends and public holidays. A typical duty is Wednesday evening till Saturday evening or Saturday until the Wednesday. You would keep the bike at home until you handover to the next rider. The bikes are the latest BMW RTs.

A new rider needs to have undertaken his or her advanced test in the last three years and is required to be retested every three years. In addition, there would be a check ride undertaken on joining and further periodic check rides with a nominated assessor. Managing the risks within the operation is a core value of the charity. There are of course other roles as coordinators and fund raisers and riders are expected to contribute beyond simply riding which is vital to maintain the service. From a response basis, riders need to live within 25 miles of the Great Western Hospital. Training is provided for all new members.

If this is of interest, please feel free to get in touch.


Geoff Brown

Severn Freewheelers

Mob 07399 457703

Promotional activities

SkillShare - 2023 - dates to be advertised!
If you have any ideas for events, then please get in touch with the committee using the committee email address :
Look forward to hearing and discussing your ideas.
Presentation material

A generic set of slides has been created for use if you are asked about Wiltshire RoADAR and have the opportunity to present. This could be at a local club, workplace etc. Please send a mail to   and the slides will be sent over to you.

We also have flyers and business cards so ask for these via the same means.

Covid protocol
The protocols are for reference only and will be maintained by the Committee. Tutors and Associates must agree on the levels of protection they are prepared to accept. 

There is no compulsion to go against personal risk assessments and if there is a need to change tutors due to a disagreement then please discuss with the relevant tutor coordinator.

Any questions please refer to the Committee who will issue more guidance should it be necessary.

Good idea to get your flu and COVID jabs done though and also be careful of spreading seasonal flu!

Media coordinator - Help us to broaden our reach

To help promote the group we have a variety of online media platforms, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. To help make the most out of the opportunities that these outlets provide, we could use some help from someone who has experience of using such tools. Drop me a line at  if you would be interested in helping promote our group.
Committee minutes   

These are available from the Group Secretary if any member wishes to see them. If you are interested in reading the minutes, then please send a mail to the Group Secretary whom will promptly forward them onto you.

Please could all Members use the Forum on the Website which can be used for any purpose but particularly coordinating events, hints, tips and general conversation.  It is easy to register on the website so please do log on and chat away.
Test results 

Reminder to let the Membership Secretary and your tutor know when you have taken your Advanced Driving/Riding Test and result. This is so our database is kept up to date; there is no need or pressure at all to have the result published on the website or in this newsletter if you wish to keep your result confidential.  

Gloucester RoADAR Newsletter

If you are interested in the Gloucester Group newsletter here it is.
Membership Secretary: Mr Paul Prictor
Hon Secretary: Mr Mark Sealey
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