We’ve teamed up with four-time Superbike World Champion Carl Fogarty for 2012.
Foggy is a legend of the track, having won seven world titles between 1988 and 1999, clocking up an unsurpassed 59 World Superbike victories.
As well as appearing in our adverts, fans can win signed gear in our free-to-enter competition and Foggy will appear in a number of videos throughout the year.
Gerry Bucke, general manager of Bikesure, said Fogarty remained a hero for a huge number of bikers, and his determination to be the best would fit well with the broker’s desire to offer the best cover at affordable premiums for virtually anything on two wheels.
“We’re dedicated to offering cover on anything from a moped to high-performance sports bikes, street bikes and imports, and with Carl’s profile he can help us to stand out from the crowd,” he added.
“We’re all excited to be working with one of the all-time greats and we’ll be updating our website with new videos throughout the year.”
Fogarty, renowned for his aggressive high-speed cornering, said he was looking forward to supporting the broker in 2012.
“I’ve been very impressed with how Bikesure put a little more thought than many brokers into the types of risk they will cover,” he added.
“They will offer cover where many would just give you a straight ‘no’, including heavily modified bikes and superbikes. The staff there also know their motorbikes, which is important for many people who have specific requirements.”
With the season of goodwill fast approaching, what better way to celebrate than by giving one lucky person the chance to win £100 in vouchers for motorcycle accessories?
All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is to head on over to our competition page and answer the question by leaving an insightful comment or opinion.
Since 1974, when ‘Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance’ was published, biking has had a bit of an intellectual thing going. Robert Pirsig’s seminal text might not be to every motorbiker’s taste, but it’s earned its place as the one philosophy book that most riders have actually heard of. (It’s probably the one philosophy text that most people have heard of, period).
But Pirsig isn’t the only thoughtful motorcyclist – and we’ve looked for some other stocking-filler books with a serious motorcycling flavour – written by philosophers, provocateurs and politicians who have taken to two wheels.
Matthew Crawford has to be a favourite. Not only a philosopher and a biker, he also runs a motorbike repair business in Virginia, USA. He’s written a book called ‘Shop Class as Soul Craft’ which, according to Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government, Harvard University, looks at the “morality and metaphysics of the repairman.”
‘Philosophical Ridings: Motorcycles and the Meaning of Life’ is written by Craig Bourne, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire. It takes in aesthetics, justice, life and death as well as motorbikes. Sounds like it should be on every biker’s Christmas wish list…
Of course, you don’t have to be a pure philosopher to be a biker and a thinker. Look at Che Guevara: apparently, riding a bike around South America helped turn him from medicine to political activism and, ultimately, into a 20th century icon. If you’re interested to find out more, but don’t fancy tackling the great man’s written diaries of the trip, then check out the 2004 biopic, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. MovieMail is one of the sites selling the DVD on special offer.
Conan the Barbarian wouldn’t get into many lists of intellectuals, but the folk at Bikesure are nothing if not freethinking. So Arnie Schwarzenegger, who played him on film, gets picked as a Harley-Davidson rider and a politician who, as Governor of California, managed to ruffle plenty of feathers. If you fancy a Schwarzenegger-style Fat Boy, there are plenty of online resources to check, such as Bowker Motor Group’s Harley-Davidson pages. Meanwhile, if you’d like to find out more about muscular Austrian and the philosophy (really!) behind his bodybuilding methods, you could start with ‘Arnold: Education of a Body Builder.’
The philosophers have it that people cannot live by bread alone – but we can’t live without it, either. Jamie Oliver gets into the Bikesure list because there’s no doubt that his ideas stir things up, and not just on the hob (though some of those recipes are really tasty). Check out the heat he generated with attacks on attitudes to school dinners, fast food, healthy eating, and so on. These days on the box he’s more often seen in a Range Rover than riding his scooter in a pukka Parker, but we love him because, like the others mentioned here, he’s definitely a fan of two wheels.
Our tips to help scooter riders stay safe in the Winter months
Winter doesn’t mean you have to store your scooter away until the brighter months. By following these simple tips, you can carry on riding your scooter throughout the season.
- Wear warm, waterproof clothing. Keeping warm and dry will help keep you more focused on riding and the conditions around you.
- Wear a scarf or some kind of neck covering to stop cold air getting in between your helmet and jacket. Wear suitable gloves to keep you warm, but also keep hands free to use the throttle and change gear.
- It’s important to wear a full-face helmet as most body heat is lost through your head. Visors should be clear and kept clean and scratch-free. Choose a helmet with ventilation to prevent steaming up.
- Be seen. It’s important to be visable, especially in the winter months when it gets darkearlier and bad weather can impair vision. Use your lights and wear reflective strips on clothing and on your scooter.
- Thoroughly check your scooter. Make sure battery is charged. Check you have enough fuel to get to destination. Check oil levels. Make sure tyres have enough tread and that the pressures are correct. Check all lights are in working order and check your brakes.
- Keep your scooter clean as grit from roads can corrode the bodywork and cause all sorts of damage.
- Check the weather and the road conditions and allow plenty of time for journey. If the roads are particularily bad then revise your route if possible.
- Be aware of the road conditions when riding. Edges of roads tend to be slipperier and ice takes longer to thaw in shady areas. Beware of potholes and areas that have not been gritted. Ride according to the road conditions. In snowand ice be slow and gentle with your brakes, clutch, steering and throttle. Remember braking distances are increased on slippery roads
- Be aware of other road users. Keep an eye on cars close behind you and signal in good time.Leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front.
- Always carry a mobile phone and some money in case of emergency. With these simple tips and some common sense there is no reason not to ride your scooter in winter. Be safe and enjoy the ride. If you get too cold or the conditions are too bad then stop, when it is safe to do so.
Rural Rides: hazards that lurk in the lanes in autumn and winter.
On bright autumn and winter days there are few things better than blowing out the cobwebs by blasting out of town and onto the UK’s high roads and by roads. However, rural routes require handling with care by motorbikers – especially if you’re more used to smooth city surfaces and fast A roads.
Bumps, pot holes & puddles: the size, variety and sheer number of lumps, bumps and potholes on back roads are a huge danger to the motorbiker. Be especially careful of routes that take you down lanes that are little more than tracks, which are probably seldom used (and then only by country folk in 4x4s or tractors). But it’s not just the tracks: there are plenty of relatively busy rural roads with real pothole issues. Fill That Hole is a cycle-based site but it’s aimed at everyone and worth checking out: it features maps and a simple way to report potholes.
Mud: city bikers are unlikely to be used to mud. At least, not in the quantities you may find on rural roads near fields. Despite campaigns and laws to clear up the stuff, (the Farmer’s Guardian points out that leaving mud on the road is an offence under the Highways Act) farm vehicles tend to drop the brown muck all over the place, making roads highly slippy and dangerous – never more so than during the sugar beet harvest (September to Christmas). So take extra care and go slower, especially on the back lanes.
Sun…: that low winter sun is a blinder so even if it’s cloudy when you set out, be prepared with decent shades for just-in-case. RX Sport offers a selection of good quality eyewear, including prescription sunglasses. Remember the sun can blind drivers, too, so ride with your lights on to be more easily seen.
… and Rain: Be especially careful in the rain on a rural ride, when relatively innocent looking puddles could hide nasty holes. Mud on the road is going to contribute to its slipperiness, too. Winter weather is unpredictable, so always have rainwear to hand. GetGeared offers a good selection of biker rainwear for men and women.
High hedges: the high hedges and banks on narrow lanes are a common and significant hazard. Not just for bikers, but also for the pedestrians and animals that share the road with vehicles. So take care and try to anticipate potential dangers – for example, slow down and toot the horn at blind corners.
Map it: even if you plan your route, even if you have satnav, it’s worth taking a good old fashioned map of the area so that when you get lost, you can have a better idea of where you are. Dash4it sell a wide range, including the OS Explorer Active maps, which are large scale (4cm to 1km) and weatherproof.
Bikesure has a long history of working with some of the fantastically hardworking and seemingly tireless groups of volunteer bikers who give up their spare time to carry blood, organs and crucial medical supplies between our hospitals.
This crucial work frequently goes unnoticed, and even the patients who receive the benefit of the super-speedy, traffic-dodging deliveries would in all probability never know the part that this network has played in their recovery.
Aside from working with groups across the UK, such as the Severn Freewheelers, we were particularly pleased to hear that a local scheme was starting in Norfolk, and were more than happy to offer help with funding for their West Norfolk bike.
SERV (Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers) Norfolk are here to help the medics at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn get their vital supplies of blood and plasma without having to rely on expensive private couriers or taxis. They have a team of 81 volunteer riders, who sign up for shifts. The service currently operates two powerful motorcycles, a BMW 1200 RT and a Honda ST1300 Pan-European, and provides cover from 7pm to 6am.
We know the value that this provides, and bikers appreciate more than most the medical professionals that they know they may one day rely on, so I was pleased to see that Honda had made a little film celebrating the Blood Bikers across the UK.
An excellent cause, so well worth finding your local organisation and offering of your time or money if you can.
It’s not always easy for a 22-year-old to get insurance for a modified motorcycle.
But James Pheby was on a to a winner when he scooped a year’s free insurance from Bikesure in a competition with Visordown, which has saved him a cool £1000.
His Aprilia RSV1000R has a bored out engine to 1060cc, plus a non standard air filter, dynojet kit and custom lights, but that’s no problem for a broker which specialises in finding cover for modified bikes.
These pictures were taken at Cadwell Park earlier this year, and James says he usually uses his road standard Honda CBF Hornet on today’s busy and not-always-perfect roads.
Both bikes are covered on the same Bikesure policy, with all modifications covered on a like-for-like basis. The policy is also discounted because James, a hydraulics engineer from Thame, Oxfordshire, is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
James carried out all the modifications himself, with the exception of the bored out engine and Dyno tuning, over a two-month period, but this does not add to the premium – if it’s got an MOT then all the modifiations are covered.
The other modifications were undertaken by Gavin and Shaun at MSG Racing, based in Aylesbury.
“It’s a lot of hassle getting quotes for modified bikes, but I’ve had no problems with Bikesure,” said James.
Robert Balls, of Bikesure, said “We love modified bikes. We can’t get enough of them. We’re particularly keen if it’s a bike that the rider has owned for a while and done the
work over a period of time.
“It shows they are an enthusiast, passionate about their machine and someone who’s put their own blood, sweat, tears and creativity into it.”
The thinking goes that this type of owner is extremely likely to take good care of their machine.
“The sort of person who does that has an emotional attachment to that bike and, as such, in our eyes, it can make them a better risk than someone who’s just gone and bought the latest sports bike off the shelf,” says Rob. “It’s quite possible that we can get
them a better deal than they would get on a standard bike.”
With a long history of insuring vehicles for disabled drivers, Bikesure (part of Adrian Flux Insurance) was the natural place to turn when a Norfolk-based mobility charity needed cover to drive a 1932 trike through the Swiss Alps.
The journey was a recreation of Denny Denly’s 1947 adventure on the Argson trike – the forerunner of modern mobility scooters – and was ridden by writer Dan McIntyre along with Lewis Hamilton’s brother Nicolas and Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson.
Denly contracted polio while in the navy, and was invalided out of the service after he was paralysed from the waist down.
Having not yet realised his dream of seeing the Alps he set out alone on his 1930s Argoson 147cc tricycle, reaching heights of almost 8,000ft (2,900m).
Mr Denly also founded the charity that has now become Disabled Motoring UK. He was made an MBE in 1959 for services to disabled people and died in 2010.
Five people recreated Denly’s trip, including Sergeant Andy ‘Dinger’ Bell of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at Swanton Morley, who helped to restore the vehicle for the journey. He was needed as the trike, which has a top speed of 35mph, regularly broke down.
Graham Footer, the chief executive of Disabled Motoring UK, said that Mr Denly had been a “trail-blazer’ who had “inspired many people to become independent”.
Bikesure can insure all types of motorcycles and tricycles, including those modified or adapted for disabled people.
It is always nice to see quad bikes getting some positive treatment on the TV for a change. That's why it is so great to see that Honda have been highlighting the usefulness and versatility of their quadbikes alongside their sponsorship of Channel 4 documentary programmes, such as Cutting Edge.
In fact the campaign, which the W+K agency has created, extends far beyond the bumper slots around the programmes, to the extent that the short films, which have been shot very nicely, are small, self-contained documentaries in their own right. The quad bike film, which you can view below, is the first of four that will appear in coming weeks, each highlighting Honda customers using their products in an unconventional or unusual way.
The quad film features a farmer using the quad bike in various ways around the farm.
So far, so conventional.
But the farmer in question is Philippa, and she does not conform to the popular stereotypes of a farmer.
And she certainly doesn't conform to your preconceived ideas of a quad biker.
But the most remarkable thing of all is that she farms alpaca, which I like to think of as posh llama.
Watching her shepherd the herd of alpaca around the fields is fascinating, as is her whole story.
If that has whetted your appetite, the good news is that Honda has created an online hub, where you can find out about other people using Honda machines in quirky and unusual ways. It's also the place where you can share your own stories of unconventional uses for your quads, bikes or other Honda kit.
Bikesure stepped in to save the day when a charity motorcycle rally to the famous Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp needed a Great Escape of its own.
The team of riders making a pilgrimage to the camp made famous in the film starring Steve McQueen were left high and dry when their insurer pulled out with just one week before their departure date.
But Bikesure agreed to provide cover free of charge for the seven Triumph Bonneville bikes, which set off from the former RAF Biggin Hill airport on Saturday, June 4.
The rally, which aims to raise more than £10,000 for Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion, was organised by serving Metropolitan Police officer Peter Spowage, who admitted to bursting into tears when underwriter Robert Balls agreed, in a telephone call, to cover the bikes.
“I hardly slept a wink over the bank holiday weekend,” said Peter. “I’d put the past two years of my life into this project and now it was in real danger of not going ahead.
“Then I took that wonderful call from Rob, and it was just unbelievable – I’m 54 years of age but I’ve no problem saying that I burst into tears. Bikesure literally saved the day.”
Mr Balls said the broker was delighted to help out, adding: “Our friends at insurers Groupama gave us a very competitive rate and we’re happy to cover the cost to help ensure that as much of the funds raised as possible goes to Help for Heroes and the Royal.”
But, as Peter said, the journey is about much more than seven bikers on a jaunt across Europe. In February this year Private Conrad Lewis, the son of one of the team’s sponsors, was killed in action in Afghanistan.
“This is not about me or about the guys riding the bikes, this is about remembering those officers who were killed in the escape, and about Conrad and all the other young men and women who are killed or injured in the current wars,” he added.
The journey will be especially poignant for Colin Kirby-Green, whose father was shot after successfully breaking out of the camp in March 1944. Mr Kirby-Green has never visited his father’s grave, and will also visit the town of Hrabuvka in the Czech Republic where his father and fellow escapee, Canadian airman Gordon Kidder, were recaptured and executed.
And finally, this takes me back to watching this great film as a child: