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Category: Organisations

  1. Spin e-scooter trials in Essex are extended to until at least March 2022

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    • More than 450,000 rides have taken on Spin e-scooters across Essex since launching in December 2020
    • Operations have been extended in Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford and Colchester. The Clacton-on-Sea trial will conclude by end of October
    • Accessibility schemes that offer free 30-minute rides for eligible NHS workers and subsidised rates for unemployed and low-income riders continue in areas we operate in

    Thursday 14th October 2021 — Spin, the micromobility unit of Ford Motor Company and Essex County Council today announce the extension of its e-scooter hire schemes in Essex to March 2022, aligned with the updated Department for Transport (DfT) legislation. In agreement with the local authority districts, Spin will continue to offer short term hire to riders in Basildon, Chelmsford and Colchester and it will conclude the trial in Clacton-on-Sea by the end of this month. Spin’s long-term e-scooter rental scheme in Brentwood and Braintree will also carry on.

    Spin first launched its public hire e-scooter scheme in Essex in December 2020 and since then riders have taken more than 450,000 e-scooter rides. Chelmsford has seen the most rides (146,000), followed by Colchester (143,000), Basildon (124,000) and Clacton-on-Sea, which was launched in March 2021 (37,500).

    The extension also includes the Spin Access and Spin Everyday Heroes schemes to support NHS workers and low-income riders with free and subsidised rides in Essex, to make essential journeys affordable. Since launch, Spin’s Everyday Heroes programme had 947 NHS workers signing up while nearly 100 riders are taking advantage of Spin Access.

    In Clacton-on-Sea, the eight-month trial will conclude and operations will cease by the end of October. During this period nearly 6,000 riders opted for Spin’s greener transport option, clocking 37,500 journeys. Out of these riders, 40 work for the NHS, who were able to take advantage of Spin Everyday Heroes’ free rides and 20 riders on low income benefited from Spin Access’ subsidised rates.

    Rider data reveals Spin e-scooters are most often used for short journeys, on average 3 km in distance and 23 minutes in length, with 82% of riders stating they have used a Spin e-scooter to replace a solo drive car journey at least once already. This is aiding Essex County Council (ECC) in its goal to lower carbon emissions across the region as part of its Safer, Greener, Healthier campaign. 

    As part of Spin’s commitment to safe riding, it helped convene the Essex E-scooter Trial Stakeholder Group, which represents various disability interest groups across the county. They work in partnership with Spin to ensure that those with eyesight, hearing impairments or other disabilities can voice their concerns through a single organisation.

    Peter Blackman, Chair, Essex E-scooter Trial Stakeholder Group said: “The extension of the trial is sensible and welcome as it will provide more time to implement and examine the efficacy of ongoing improvements arising from the constructive dialogue our Group is having with Spin and Essex County Council. Plus the Essex experiences are influencing the national framework. By the end of the extended trial we trust legislation will be forthcoming to provide a smooth transfer from trial to the permanent, but continually improving, safe use of legitimate e-scooters and eradication of the dangerous illegal private ones. In accordance with the recently revised Highway Code, users of all e-vehicles must assume all pedestrians they see may be visually impaired, deaf, frail or have a disability.”

    Commenting on the trial extension, Steve Pyer, UK&I Country Manager at Spin said, “The success of our e-scooter trials in Essex represents an exciting shift to a more sustainable transport solution aligned with Essex County Council’s Safer Green Healthier campaign. Our community-centred, consultative approach with local authorities and collaboration with the Essex E-scooter Trial Stakeholder group demonstrates that micromobility solutions can provide a safe, sustainable, and reliable service that meet the needs of all residents.”


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  2. Speedway — The UK’s Lost Motorcycle Racing

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    Go back a few decades and many towns up and down the UK had thriving speedway teams. Sadly though, over the years, those teams have slowly folded for one reason or another. The Bradford Dukes, the Crew Kings, the Ellesmere Port Gunners, the Hull Vikings, and the Newport Wasps are just some of the dozens of names that have been lost in the last few decades.  Speedway - The UK’s Lost Motorcycle Racing, Unsplash photos

    Speedway has excited fans of everything two wheels for around 100 years, with the first races taking place in Australia before spreading to the UK in early 1928. Throughout the 20th century, especially during its second half, interest in the sport grew and grew.  

    It is believed that around 30,000 people turned up to watch the first British speedway meeting at High Beech, a figure that would put it on par with a lower-table Premier League football club today.  

    Through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, people would cram into local stadiums to watch their team battle it out on track against a visiting opponent. Today, however, many fans have to travel long distances just to go and watch a match. For example, fans of the former Ellesmere Port Gunners team now have to choose between the Belle Vue Aces in Manchester or the Stoke Potters as their home team, both of which are an hour’s drive away.  

    But as the general populace lost interest in motorcycles, speedway fell into decline. 

    What Makes Speedway Different? 

    Any lover of bikes will know there are plenty of two-wheeled motorsports in the world. Here on the British Isles, we’re treated to the Isle of Man TT each year, as well as a round of MotoGP, and our own domestic circuit and dirt racing competitions.  

    Speedway is different. A speedway bike has no brakes and no gears. A meeting is made up of a couple of dozen four-lap heats that are quick sprints around an oval where riders get within millimetres of each other as they slide their machines through shale-covered corners.  

    Anyone that’s been to a speedway meeting will know the unique smell that comes from the methanol-fueled engines. For fans, that smell brings back memories of exciting races that only speedway can offer.  

    Unlike categories like MotoGP, speedway (at least at a domestic level) is a team sport. Each heat is all about getting the most points possible for your team, with different riders coming out each time to make their contribution to the tally.  What Makes Speedway Different

    Speedway in the UK vs Abroad 

    While speedway still chugs along in the UK, it is a million miles from the sport in continental Europe. Eastern and northern European countries like Poland, Czechia, and Sweden have well-funded leagues and teams, bigger audiences, and larger stadiums to accommodate them.  

    In fact, in Poland, speedway is often in the top-three national sports, whereas it is very much an “also-ran” in the UK’s list.  

    What Holds Speedway Back in Britain? 

    There is no single reason why speedway doesn’t have the same following that it does elsewhere. Interest in bikes is relatively low among the general population in the UK. In fact, money spent on motorcycles declined sharply between 2011 and 2016, with purchases by the booming motorcycle courier sector responsible for the rise in the years since.  

    The cost of partaking in any motorsport is incredibly high, and it can become prohibitively expensive if you’re funding it yourself. Stories of talented riders like Lukas Hlavac that are unable to compete due to financial issues are common. The former motocross rider ran out of cash to fund his championship campaign during his first season, forcing him to drop out while leading his division, though he has since gone on to enjoy success in the world of professional poker instead. It’s the same in car racing, the Formula 2 driver David Beckmann had to bow before the end of the 2021 season due to financial pressures.  

    Speedway is not immune to these pressures, but the sport doesn’t have the huge crowds delivering millions in revenue from ticket sales or the huge sponsorship deals that can be seen in other competitions. It’s also why talented speedway riders like Craig Cook have to find innovative ways to raise the funds they need to compete at the levels their skills allow.  

    There is a chicken and egg problem here. The funds won’t come without the crowds, but the crowds can’t be attracted without marketing and promotion, and that costs money.  

    Sadly, this means potentially millions of Brits are missing out on the unrivalled excitement that comes from watching speedway, and could, ultimately, lead to its extinction in the UK.  




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    A fabulous Moto Guzzi owned by Sammy Miller was one of three bikes that scooped top honours at this year’s Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance presented by Aviva. Recognised as the most prestigious such event in the UK, Salon Privé takes place in the magnificent grounds of Blenheim Palace and is a partner concours of The Peninsula Classic Best of the Best Award. It’s renowned for featuring some of the most beautiful and coveted cars and motorcycles from around the world.
    This year’s two motorcycle classes spanned nearly 75 years, from a 1901 Triumph 3/4 hp Minerva to a 1975 MV Agusta 750 Sport. Each was assessed by a hugely knowledgeable judging panel comprising broadcaster Henry Cole, historians Dennis Frost and Mike Jackson, former racer Steve Parrish and Chief Judge Nigel Matthews. Judging took place on Wednesday 1 September, with all trophies being awarded on Thursday 2 September.
    It was championship-winning racer Sammy Miller who scooped top honours in the Competition Motorcycle Class with a 1951 Moto Guzzi Bicilindrica 500cc V Twin. Judge Steve Parrish said: “The Moto Guzzi Bicilindrica 500cc V Twin had the longest career of any motorcycle racing bike ever. Actually, Ducati in some ways copied the engine configuration to make the successful racing Ducatis that we see nowadays. It was way ahead of its time in terms of technology. The bike was raced by the great Bob Foster and Stanley Woods and put in some incredible performances both on road and track, claiming victories at the Isle of Man TT and Grand Prix. The judges all agreed that it’s a very special motorbike and a real beauty.”
    Second place in the Competition Motorcycle Class went to a 1973 Yamaha TZ 250 A, entered by the Sawford family, owners of St Neots Motorcycles. The family are experts in restoring two-stroke motorcycles from the 1970s and 1980s. Parrish continued: “The motorcycle is better than when it came out of the factory – absolutely original and exquisitely put together. It had to be in the top two, what with its authenticity and how it’s been built – stunning. We were also delighted to be joined by 1970 250cc World Champion Rodney Gould, who was instrumental in the production and development of the bike.”
    Topping the Exceptional Motorcycles class was a 1975 MV Agusta 750 Sport, often referred to as the most beautiful bike to come out of Italy and revered as an icon of the 1970s. An original and beautiful machine, the winning example is one of the last three to come out of the factory and features a rare left-hand gearchange.

    Sammy Miller’s Moto Guzzi among class winners at Blenheim Palace


    Second place was awarded to a 1973 Rickman-Metisse Cafe Racer. Judge Henry Cole said: “It’s wonderful to see several Metisses here paying homage to its founder Derek Rickman, a consummate biking enthusiast and a legend in my eyes who passed away recently. What a great way to celebrate his life. The Café Racer in this class is a beautifully customised, really genuine yet individual bike that has been put together with a huge amount of love and passion, and to the judges that’s what we’re after.”
    The Duke of Marlborough Award was presented to the 1901 Triumph ¾hp Minerva. Steve Parrish said: “This is the very first Triumph motor bicycle ever made – the forerunner of all subsequent Triumphs. As in everything Dick Shepherd does, it’s been lovingly restored, and he’s put together a motorcycle that would be befitting of it coming out of the factory in 1901. I suspect it’s even better!”

    Henry Cole added: “It’s quite a find for Triumph to have in their 125th anniversary year and one that we had to honour.”

    Alongside the concours entrants was multiple Salon Privé award winner and renowned motorcycle builder Allen Millyard displaying his beautifully engineered Kawasaki Z1 Super Six. Elsewhere on the lawns of Blenheim Palace, there was the debut of Thornton Hundred Motorcycles, one of the world’s fastest-growing custom motorcycle brands. The British company’s line-up included the ‘World’s Fastest Bobber’ – a 202bhp technological tour de force – and a 2021 Triumph Bonneville Bobber Black, both were a Salon Privé debut.

    “All of our motorcycles exude individuality and exclusivity,” said Jody Millhouse, the man behind Thornton Hundred and part of a new wave of engineers who are at the cutting edge of the custom scene. “We want to give owners a unique modification experience, and those values align perfectly with Salon Privé. It’s great to be here showing off our latest designs against the amazing backdrop of Blenheim Palace.”

    Italian exotica brand Bimota made its UK public debut with the Tesi H2. The limited-production, supercharged Bimota Tesi H2 is built around a Kawasaki Ninja H2 powerplant and features the famous Bimota hub-centre steering system, while the chassis is covered with carbon fibre bodywork. Power output is a staggering 242hp (178kW).

    Crazy Horse made a welcome return to Salon Privé showcasing a superb collection of its customised Indian Motorcycles, including the KH Street Hooligan. The Hooligan shares the great styling of its racing relative, but is fitted with all the relevant components to make it a fully functional street machine without losing any of its iconic flat-track racing looks.

  4. Motorcycle duo "Let it Go" in fancy dress fundraiser for SSAFA

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    Motorcycle enthusiasts Mark 'Spoons' Witherspoon and Dave 'Woolie' Newsome took to the stage dressed as princesses Elsa and Anna from Frozen last weekend in front of a crowd of over 100 bikers after making a bet to raise £350 for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.   

    Frozen motorcycle duo let it go for SSAFA - Elsa (Woolie) with Anna (Spoo
    Frozen motorcycle duo Let it gom for SSAFA - Spoons and Woolie


    Spoons and Woolie “Let it Go” on 21st August 2021 – Woolie’s birthday – at GEMCC Sapphire & Steel motorcycle rally at the Sloop Inn, Temple Hirst, Selby.

    Spoons was a Lance Corporal in the Fusiliers for nine years, taking in two tours including Northern Ireland and Bosnia. Woolie is a long-term supporter of the Armed Forces community and runs Team Sober MCC, which has raised funds for SSAFA over the last few years.

    The duo said: “We agreed that if we raised £350 for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, we would dress as female princesses. The community has now raised £460 meaning we have to go ahead with our challenge!” 

    As well as raising a few eyebrows, the intrepid pair has now raised more than £755 for SSAFA with their Frozen inspired onstage exploits.

    Their friend, Paul Auduchowitsch, said: “We have purchased the dresses, wands and tiaras for the two of them. SSAFA has kindly provided a pretty sash for the pair of them too!” 

    Donations are still being accepted, and If you would like to contribute, click here: 

    Frozen motorcycle duo let it go for SSAFA - Spoons and Woolie at the GEMc


    SSAFA - the Armed Forces charit


    SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. In 2020, our teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 79,000 people in need, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts, and their families. SSAFA understands that behind every uniform is a person. And we are here for that person – any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need us. 


  5. Who are Blood Bikers?

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    Blood Bikers might sound like a less than friendly motorcycle gang, but in reality, this is actually an organization that saves lives and makes a huge difference to healthcare. Essentially, blood bikers provide a professional rapid response medi-cal transport service to the NHS transporting things like blood, surgical instru-ments, human donor milk, medication and more recently COVID-19 serial testing.  The Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes

    A Noble Charity

    Run by unpaid volunteers, blood bikers have roots going back over 50 years with the rapid response motorcycle charity providing a highly valuable service to the NHS and public as a whole through delivering key medical products in the quick-est possible way. The group is constantly growing too, which means that they can provide a nationwide service and make a big difference to public health

    Life as a Blood Biker

    Motorbike insurance specialist Carole Nash supports Manchester Blood Bikes and looked into what a day in the life of this important role is like with Malcolm - a Blood Biker from Sunderland. Malcolm decided to join the cause after his sister was involved in a serious accident with her life being saved by the air ambulance. This led Malcolm to seek out ways to support them, which took him to the North-umbria Blood Bikes website. Malcolm described his best experience as a blood biker:

    “One time I got an urgent job for some blood to be taken to a hospital about 15 miles away. Because I was on a blood bike, I could cut through the traffic and ar-rived there very quickly before delivering the blood on time. The next day some-one posted a story about the lady we’d saved on Facebook. Apparently, this lady had cancer, and wouldn’t have survived without the blood transfusion she was able to have as a result of our work as Blood Bikers. That is one of the things that stands out for me. You never know who you are helping from one night to the next.”

    Blood Bikes Leinster

    Carole Nash also has a partnership with Blood Bikes Leinster, which was established in 2013 and supports hospitals throughout Ireland. Fergus Lennon, Director of Blood Bikes Leinster, commented on the support offering by the Dublin-based motorbike insurance specialist:

    Blood Bikers do fantastic and noble work helping to transport vital medical supplies in times of need to save lives and make the work of NHS staff much easier. This is also a growing organization and one that deserves as much support and praise as possible.

    “We are truly grateful to Carole Nash who have sponsored us and provided our bike insurance for the fourth year running. Every penny adds up for our small charity and we are so appreciative of their support.”

    “We also take the Carole Nash Blood Bike teddy bear with us on our Blood Bike travels which has brought a smile on the face of many a poorly child.”


    Carole Nash, motorcycle insurance brokers, UK, Ireland



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