Proficient Scootering – The Book. You Asked, and I Listened!

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Proficient Scootering - A comprehensive guide to safe, efficient and enjoyable scooter ridingYou asked, and I listened!

I’m very excited to announce that, after two years quietly writing and re-writing behind the scenes, drawing countless diagrams, and taking photographs, “Proficient Scootering” is available now for all the popular e-readers!

For those who prefer a traditional book, a print version is available as well!

I wish to thank all who prompted me to create this work. It has been a labour of love. I excitedly let it out into the world. Fly my pretties!

Take a look at the Books page for more details.

Honda Recalls 10,000 Grom 125 and Forza Scooters

Honda has issued a recall for 10,076 Grom motorcycles and Forza scooters. The recall is due to fuel system problems.

There is a resin bracket inside the fuel pump, which may swell and lead to a fuel pump failure.

The vehicles involved are: 2014 Grom 125 manufactured between 12th June, 2013 and 24th September 2014. The Forza scooters are models NSS300 and NSS300A manufactured between the 18th of June, 2013, and the 21st of May, 2014.

Honda will be notifying owners, and offering a free replacement fuel pump, or owners may contact Honda on: 1-310-783-2000

Honda’s reference number for this recall is:  JL1 NSS300 (Forza) and JL2 Grom (Grom125)

 

First Hydrogen Fuelled Scooter

Hydrogen ScooterIs this the shape of things to come?

A university in southern Taiwan has unveiled its first hydrogen-powered electric scooter.

Called the “Pegasus One”, its maiden run consisted of 80km (50 miles), but the estimated range is easily double that, according to Dr. Wei-Hsiang Lai, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the National Cheng Kung University.

The new scooter is an upgrade to their original electric scooter, and was achieved by adding a 3-kW Ballard fuel cell and two high pressure hydrogen storage cylinders to the vehicle to build a power system that runs by transmitting hydrogen energy to electricity via the fuel cell.

Dr Lai said that because of the high efficiency of a fuel cell, as well as the clean energy of hydrogen, only water moisture is exhausted to the atmosphere, and it is an almost zero emission vehicle with a high performance. “As long as the storage pressure can be raised up to 700 bar in Taiwan, the range of “Pegasus One” can be further extended to 300 km”, he added.

What do you think? I know that some motorcycle riders balk at the idea of giving up their “rolling thunder”, and gear changes. Having ridden a prototype electric motorcycle a couple of years ago (I don’t know what it was, as it was all very “hush hush”), I eagerly await the alternative to being propelled down the road by a series of explosions.

New Initiative for Increased Motorcycle/Scooter Use and Safety

Red ScooterA very encouraging initiative came from the Motorcycle Industry Association and the Association of Chief Police Officers today.

Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity; A motorcycle safety and transport policy framework was devised in response to the slow-down in crash statistics for motorcycles and scooters in the UK.

The document, which can be read in its entirety here, acknowledges the benefits of two-wheeled transportation in convenience, economy and ecological friendliness.

This initiative takes the stance that an effective way to enhance scooter and motorcycle safety is to encourage the use of these vehicles. During the 2008 Lillehammer safety conference, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stated: “The first and most important step is to recognise motorcycling’s place within society and the overall transport system.” (Let’s hear a round of applause).

Two-wheeled transport and road congestion

A study in Belgium examined the effects of drivers shifting to scooters and motorcycles on one of Europe’s busiest roads. If found that if just 10% of drivers opted for two-wheeled transport, congestion was reduced for everybody by 40%. If 25% of drivers were to move to two-wheeled transport, congestion would be eliminated altogether!

Other benefits of scooters and motorcycles

Data from European studies backs up that which we, as scooter riders, implicitly know:

  • When a greater percentage of road users are on motorcycle and scooters, riders are less likely to be involved in crashes.
  • If more people started their road careers on scooter and motorcycles, attitudes and behaviour towards the more vulnerable road users would improve.
  • People who ride scooters and motorcycles make better car drivers.
  • Relatives and friends of scooter and motorcycle riders are more aware of them on the road.

Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) said:

“For too long, the Government, local authorities and transport planners seem to have deliberately avoided talking about motorcycle use, a practice which will increasingly fail as a method of reducing rider accidents.  Motorcycles need to be treated as a legitimate form of transport, which can save time, space and money for commuters, whilst having the added benefit of reducing congestion for all road users.”

Steve Baker MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Motorcycle Group, which is hosting the Parliamentary Reception, gave this view: 

“It’s time for officialdom to stop seeing motorcycling as a problem. Increased motorcycle use offers affordable access to personal transport and an antidote to congestion.

“As a lifelong motorcyclist myself, I have first-hand experience of the benefits that commuting by motorcycle can bring. I would be delighted to see the Government adopt a more encouraging approach to motorcycle use.

“If we want to reduce congestion and improve the quality of people’s lives, we need to embrace all forms of two-wheeled transport. This document gives a clear framework as to how that can be achieved while improving safety for all road users.”

This is a very encouraging initiative which I applaud. A similar initiative here in the US, where motorcycling and scootering is still viewed very much as a bohemian practice, would help immensely.

Micro-Climates

Here in Georgia, it’s that time of year when weather conditions are changing rapidly. In the last week alone, we have swung between icy conditions and snow, to beautiful sunshine and spring-like temperatures. And I’m sure we’re going to head back the other way in short order.

It occurs to me that these conditions are perfectly suited to generating the subject of today’s post: Micro-Climates.

“What exactly is a micro-climate” I hear you all ask. OK, I hear somebody ask. OK. I’m going to tell you anyway: A micro climate is a section of road that exhibits different characteristics to the main section of the road — due to the surrounding physical elements.

When weather conditions are changeable, it is quite possible to be riding a perfectly sound stretch of road, and suddenly come round a bend to find that things have changed dramatically. As you can imagine, this has the potential to ruin your day! A picture may demonstrate better:

MicroClimateIn this picture, there is an area beneath the wall which has snow and rubble because the wall is shading the area while the rest of the snow has melted.

It stands to reason that by identifying the conditions that can create micro-climates, we stand a much better chance of pre-empting them.

Some of the conditions that can create micro-climates are:

  • Areas — particularly bends — that have shaded sections. These sections can be created by man-made structures, such as a walls and buildings, or by natural elements such as trees and shrubs.
  • Bodies of water, which may cool the surrounding area, or keep them warmer than surrounding areas — so promoting fog.
  • Large, natural, physical characteristics such as mountains and valleys. A valley can create a wind-tunnel effect which has the ability to make certain stretches of road much colder than surrounding areas. A mountain can, of course shade large areas of road beneath it. These natural elements can also create areas of patchy fog.
  • Bridges, which can stay much colder in winter than the rest of the road which is kept warm by the earth underneath. “Bridge may ice in winter”.

So, what can we do to deal with micro-climates? Be aware of the conditions that can create them (the temperature, changeable weather, a recent rain, the direction of the sun, a recent period of snow), and take extra care when these conditions exist. In particular, it is worth keeping an eye on the sun’s position. Doing so, and keeping the possibility of micro-climates in mind, we can most often predict where a micro-climate exists, and adjust our riding accordingly.

Of course, as we now all take extra care with our positioning, we are naturally in a much better position in the road to see these conditions as they occur.

Until next time, Scoot Safely!

Honda Opens Second Scooter Safety Park in Delhi

Honda-Traffic-Park-43417_lKudos to Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. They have opened their second traffic training park in Delhi to promote safe riding on Delhi’s busy roads.

The traffic training park, which is spread across some 1,172 square metres, is staffed by Honda’s expert safety instructors, and teaches riders from the age of thirteen to experience and handle over one hundred possible road dangers.

The park also caters to teaching younger riders from age nine to twelve on imported Honda CRF-50 bikes.

Mr. Yadvinder S. Guleria, Vice President-Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd, said, “For us, most overwhelming was the enthusiastic response of Delhi women who came forward and enrolled themselves to learn 2 wheeler safe riding program. From 18 year old college students to 45 plus home-makers and working women, over 2100 females enrolled in our Delhi traffic park. To facilitate the same Honda has launched Dream Riding – a safe riding initiative exclusively for females.”

Good for you, Honda. This is something that would help immensely in other countries as well.

The Traffic Light Gotcha

TrafficLight

OK, it’s admission time. Who goes to YouTube, and watches those “Crash Compilation” videos? Nobody admitting it? Well, OK. I’ll go first. I do!

Now, in my defence, I don’t merely watch them for voyeuristic reasons. I watch them to see if there is anything that can be learned from the mistakes that have been made.

You see, I adamantly refuse to call crashes “accidents”. Very rarely indeed is a crash the result of an accident. OK, maybe the unfortunate soul who is riding along when a rock dislodges from the cliff above, and knocks the hapless individual on his noggin… that could be called an accident. Well, possibly the guy who is riding along, minding his own business when a freak wind blows a carelessly discarded newspaper on to his visor — causing him to lose control as he is desperately trying to see through the sports section… that could be called an accident. But no more! For everything else, there is culpability. Continue reading

The Print Version of “Proficient Scootering” is Here!

CoverSmallerAfter much frustration with the publishers, and much work to try to get the print cost down, I’m happy to announce that the print version of “Proficient Scootering” is finally here!

So, if you have haven’t quite got into the e-readers yet, or simply prefer the feel of good old-fashioned paper in your hand, I have you covered. Mosey on over to the books page for details.