Mick Wheeler : A vastly experienced motorcyclist, ex-police examiner / instructor, Royal escort and all-round top bloke! Tells you what you need to hear and is a fount of all too uncommon, common sense re. riding a bike. Now enjoying his retirement, and taking groups to Germany and further afield.
Sam Manicom : A gentle, intelligent and insightful man who has done more than most in his time of exploring the world on his bike. Sam gets inside the reality and communicates his knowledge with an articulate charm not usually found in this genre. Any of Sam's books are worth a read, and dispel the myth that you need "back-up", or an organised tour company.
Track Based Training
BMW Club Mulheim Rhur : Run an annual, three day training course on the Nordschleife, (Nurburgring), usually in August. A closed circuit, divided up into thirteen individual sections, loads of excellent instructors and coaches, you get the chance to learn the "green hell" inch by inch - even walking some parts so that you learn the nature of the 'Ring . Learn the classic line and improve your riding skills in a safe environment. Warning, this course is addictive - you will want to return year, after year, after....
Martin Hopp's Better Riding Days at Cadwell : Martin runs his better riding track events at Cadwell Park several times a year. Basing his training upon the BMW course, Martin and his experienced group of instructors, allow you to explore your machine's capabilities in a safe and protected environment. Not a track day, rather one of the safest introductions to riding on a track.
Dealers / Services
Allan Jefferies : An excellent dealer! I've been using AJ's for over 34 years and I've found them to be honest, straight forward, highly skilled, knowledgeable, and prepared to go the extra mile - opening up @ 07:15 in order to repair the damage I'd done the previous night to an exhaust stud. All so that I would be on time for the 1st session that morning at Cadwell! Thank you AJ's!
Traveldri Plus : Les and Jane know their stuff, and take the time to find out what you really need, and how you'll use it. A 1st class store of knowledge about camping and motorcycle gear is at your disposal, all backed up by the very best after-sales service. See them at a number of motorcycle shows and rallies throughout the year.
GLF Accessories : Graham carries a lot of often hard-to-source motorcycle gear, accessories that often you'll find at the top of product tests. I've used GLF to acquire my Halvarssons' level 2 Safety Suit, and Graham provided good after sales support when he ensured that Halvarssons sent me an entire new outfit to replace my original, which had developed a fault.
Triple S powder coatings : Riding all year and over all sorts of terrain in all sorts of weather, I know the joys of attempting to keep a bike clean! Andy at Triple S has powder coated lots of the harder to keep clean parts of my bikes, making cleaning much easier and quicker - anything for an easier life.
FWR Motorcycles : suppliers of quality parts and accessories at great prices
Altberg Boots : The Rolls Royce of motorcycle boots, not the prettiest; in fact downright ugly, but the most comfortable, driest, and best value boot that I've come across.They can craft a bespoke pair of boots to your specification, repair and refurbish those boots when necessary - I'm averaging a "refurb" every 5 years - and all for a cost much less than you'd pay for other top of the range boots. N.B. - for those, like me, "short of leg", their standard "Skywalker" sole gives you an additional inch which can make all the difference.
Autocom : What Altberg are to boots, Autocom are to bike coms, simply the best! I'm still using a unit that I installed on a bike in 1994, and it is still giving 1st rate service.
The Buccleuch Arms Hotel : Situated in Moffat in the Scottish Borders, this family run hotel genuinely welcomes motorcyclists and all our demands; Secure bike parking, drying space, superb food and the very best of welcomes - even when we arrive dripping wet! The Buccleuch is one of the bases I use for my residential courses, and I always look forward to getting back there.
The Priory : When I'm riding at Cadwell I always stay with Paul and Shelley at the Priory Hotel in Louth.This hotel looks like a wedding cake from the outside, but this Victorian folly houses one of the very best chefs I've come across and you are likely to return again, after tasting Paul's cooking.
Davaar - B&B : Sue and Andy's B&B in Dufftown; The town that exists to distil whisky, is a real treat. The breakfasts are top notch, and Andy's knowledge of the "water of life" is considerable. Worth the trip north all on its own.
The Hotel Forsthaus : Set in the heart of the Eiffel mountains, 11 miles from The 'Ring. Family owned and run, set up specifically for bikers, superb facilities, excellent rooms, top notch food, Maisel Weise Bier, and relatively cheap! (can you tell that I like this place?). Christian and his staff speak better English than I do and always go that additional mile to make your stay both comfortable and memorable for all the right reasons. Give them a try, you'll be returning again.
Hotel Burgstube : Martin, originally from Coventry via Queensbury, and Heidi run this excellent Hotel / Restaurant / Bar, at the top of Nurburg next to the castle. Only a ten minute walk downhill to the Nordschliefe entrance, the Burgstube is ideally placed for those wanting to concentrate on their time on track. This concentration is aided by the presence of Andy - current lap record holder BtG - and their comprehensive collection of 'Ring videos, experience, knowledge and information - Martin instructs on the 'Ring in addition to his other jobs. During my last stay I needed some welding done to repair a tie down point on my trailer, this work was arranged by Martin via one of his contacts, all without my having to take time away from riding the 'Ring. Thank you Martin, Heidi & Andy.
RoSPA : The organisation that exists to reduce accidents and runs the premier advanced test for motorcyclists - if you want to remain at "gold" standard, you'll have to take a re-test every three years.
I.A.M. : Runs local groups where you can learn about advanced riding, receive free coaching, and prepare for your I.A.M. advanced test.
Sheffield & District Advanced Motorcyclists : They are affiliated to the IAM and provide guidance towards passing the Advanced Test of the IAM. If you are in the Sheffield area, they are the obvious first port of call if you are interested in finding out more about the "Skills for Life" programme and advanced riding with the IAM.
TTMA : The TT Marshals' Association. Give something back to biking by volunteering to act as a Marshal at either the TT, or the Manx Grand Prix. Without you the races cannot take place. Also, an excellent way of meeting people from across the world who come to Marshal on the Isle of Man.
Bikesafe : Run by serving police class 1 riders, various groups spread across the country. After some classroom presentations, they'll assess your riding and give you some pointers on how to take your riding further. Cost varies, usually £60 for the assessment.
Roadcraft : This is the classic text for UK police riders and is much more accessible following the most recent revision.
UKGSer : The largest, and most comprehensive forum for riders of BMW's GS machines. Full of knowledge, wisdom, irreverence, and sometimes vital info. You do not need to own a GS to register as a member, but you will need a phlegmatic approach on occasion!
GSClub UK : A much smaller, but perfectly formed, club for riders of BMW GSes. Again owning a GS is not a prerequisite, but enjoying your biking is.