Friday, July 1, 2011


Friends attempt 9,000 mile Africa motorbike ride for charity

Friends attempt 9,000 mile Africa motorbike ride for charity (From Droitwich Advertiser)

AN adventurous Cutnall Green student is attempting a 9,000 mile motorcycle ride through Africa that will take three months to complete.

Daring Jim Adams, 20, from Kidderminster Road, has been joined by friend Humphrey Wrey as the pair attempt to raise cash in aid of Brian Tumour Research.

The friends, who both attend Newcastle University, will ride through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa before finishing in Cape Town.

The journey, which they started on June 26, follows in the tracks of Humphrey’s grandfather who completed the same adventure 40 years ago. The story has inspired the friends to undertake the charity challenge for themselves.

The money is being raised for Brain Tumour Research after Jim’s grandmother, Bobby Adams, died earlier this year and because his aunt, Anne Adams, is continuing to battle the disease.

He said: “This trip will be a great adventure, taking a love of travelling and motorbiking and combining them together to create something that will challenge us both mentally and physically.”

He has said his main worry for the trip will be the 650km of dirt roads in northern Kenya which is notorious for its bandits and where there is only one stop.

To donate to their charity cause visit

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Son of anarchy reveals all

Son of anarchy reveals all
I’ve just read one of the most extraordinary true crime autobiographies. When Anthony Menginie was born in 1977 his father was a leader of the Pagans outlaw motorcycle gang in Philadelphia. Life was rough for the kid – he attended 13 funerals of people he knew by age 13 - but got a lot worse when dad went to jail for a long time and mum became a drug addict. Anthony, known as “LT” (Little Tony) because there were so many other Anthonys in the gang, hit the streets, hanging out with gang members whose treatment of him ranged from kindly to brutal.

You might have read books about motorcycle gangs before – you might have seen Sons of Anarchy on TV, a series LT describes as “a pretty cool show”. But so far as I know, this is the first non-fiction book to give a picture of a gang from the inside. It is packed with stories of rampant criminality, shocking abuse of women – including many straight women who are attracted to bikers for a night of rough sex – and casual violence and massive betrayal.

“My father was also called Anthony and he was a piece of shit,” LT told me this week. “He ran down the Pagans because – although we didn’t know that at the time – he’d been paid US$300,000 by the Hells Angels who wanted to open a chapter in Philadelphia.”
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This occurred, and LT’s father and some of the Pagans crossed over, but eventually the remaining Pagans regrouped and drove the Angels out of the city in a violent gang war. These days LT’s father lives in fear, hated by the Pagans and pursued by the Hells Angels who want to recover a debt they now put at US$400,000. (Compound interest is an awful thing.) Recently a Pagan “prospect” - a sort of apprentice - found Anthony senior in a supermarket and cut off his ponytail, a terrible insult to a biker. As his reward, the prospect was “given a set of colours” (ie. made a full member by being given the club’s full symbols to wear ).

But membership is not what it used to be. The Pagans have always been, in LT’s words, “the smallest, the poorest, and the hard-core-est gang on the east coast” but a member of their ruling council, known as “the mother club”, has rolled over. This man was responsible for maintaining the trademark on the club colours, and the government has taken over that trademark legally. This means police can now stop any member of the Pagans and force them to remove their colours, which has thrown the club into turmoil.

To add to this indignity, 44 members of the Pagans have been arrested based on information provided by the turncoat. The gang used to have 400 members, but thanks to its vicissitudes is now down to about half that.

LT, presently in Australia to promote his book, which he co-authored with true-crime writer Kerrie Droban, is not impressed by the behaviour of local gangsters. In America, serious criminals like bikers settle their differences in private and do not indulge in public shootings and fights, such as the one that occurred at Sydney Airport between the Hells Angels and the Commanchero.

“That would never happen back home,” LT says, “it creates too much trouble. In America the gangs would meet in a field or a warehouse and settle their differences there. I was brought up to have respect for my enemies.”

This is LT’s first time out of America, and he’s enjoying the experience, although some of it he finds strange. “The other day I was out with my publicist and she put her bag and phone down on a table,” he says. “I told her not to, in Philadelphia you wouldn’t do that, everyone is always watching their back. There’s no tension here.”

Here is an extended quote from Prodigal Father, Pagan Son by Anthony 'LT' Menginie and Kerrie Droban (Allen & Unwin)

"Ironically, most of the women who partied with the Pagans worked respectable positions by day in banks, insurance companies, and law firms. They transformed at night into their alter egos, like some kind of monsters, shedding their conservative clothes for tight jeans and trashy blouses to experience the thrill of unbridled and desperate sex. The Pagns to them were just a curiosity, a carnival freak show, and after a while it was hard to tell who was using whom. But not all of the women led double lives. Some endured a different kind of prison. They escaped from fathers or uncles who raped them and mothers who became whores and addicts. The runaways stripped for money and drugs and laced their dope with chemicals, hoping to fog their childhood nightmares for a while until the real world intruded again. And when the girsls started to shake, their freaky friends wordlessly took their scarred arms and injected them with heroin. The cycle repeated, each high bringing them lower and darker."

‘Iron Butt’ bikers off on next adventure

‘Iron Butt’ bikers off on next adventure - Devils Lake, ND - Devils Lake Journal

Devils Lake, ND —

One day while visiting Iron Stallion Cycles in Valley City, Ross Hunter was intrigued by a plaque he saw hanging on the wall.
“World’s toughest biker” the plaque proclaimed, so he asked about it and learned about one unique way to raise funds for charity - long distance, endurance motorcycle riding.
The martial arts instructor/EMT from Devils Lake decided this was right up his alley so he got more information about the world-wide organization known as Iron Butts. He teamed up with a dozen other motorcycle enthusiasts to do their first ride, that would initiate them into the organization, but as the date got closer and closer that number dwindled to only two - Hunter and Devils Lake Police Seargent Jim Frank.
It was 1,000 miles in 24 hours, but it was enough to initiate them into a unique form of fundraising.
The riders take pledges and donations for their chosen charity - Hunter’s and Frank’s is the Devils Lake Lions Club.
Their second ride was last summer. They’d lined up about six others to accompany them, but again as the date got closer it ended up being just Hunter and Frank. This time the trip was 1,600 miles in 33 hours.
Now they are planning another trip leaving July 26 - weather permitting - and they are hoping to find benefactors to donate or pledge for this next trip.
This trip will be a whopping 2,084 miles in under 48 hours.
They will leave Devils Lake and travel to Sioux Falls, S.D., then head to Casper, Wyo., Billings, Mont., back to Fargo, and home again.
“We wanted to avoid the roads and heavy traffic in the west from the oil fields, so we planned this route,” Hunter said.
The route taken is up to the rider, they have to save all receipts along the way to prove they’ve done what they said they’d do.
All the donations these two raise go to the Devils Lake Lions Club which provides a scholarship to LRSC, eye exams and glasses to those in need, donates old glasses for re-use in third world countries, works with the North Dakota Eye Bank and helps supply leader dogs for the blind.
If you would like to donate to Frank’s and Hunter’s latest adventure call 739-7203. If you’d like more information on Iron Butt Association go to or

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Court gives council 3 days to fix potholes

Court gives council 3 days to fix potholes - Times LIVE

A Delmas businessman has triumphed in court by forcing the Victor Khanye municipality to fill the gaping potholes on the R555 in Mpumalanga within 72 hours.

After two years of writing letters of complaint about the poor state of its roads, businessman Abu Bakr Omar finally had enough, and approached the Johannesburg High Court.

Yesterday, Judge Naren Pandya ordered the Victor Khanye local municipality to "effect temporary repairs to the potholes on the R555 (the back road between Argent and Delmas) as well as the road gaining entry into Argent off the R555 from the N12 freeway".

Pandya added that "such repairs are to be completed within three days".

The Society for the Protection of our Constitution took up Omar's case, taking the government, the Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, the municipality and the Mpumalanga MEC for public works and roads to court.

In a founding affidavit, Omar said he was "pursuing this matter in the interest of the public who have an interest in the providing of safe roads to travel on".

On April 20, Omar photographed two trucks that had collided on the narrow road after trying to avoid the potholes.

"When I got to the accident, I was told someone had died," he said.

"The least the municipality needs to do is maintain the road," said Omar.

There has been an increase in traffic on the roads as mining in the area expanded.

Court papers explained how one truck, owned by Parsons Transport, was travelling in the lane of oncoming traffic and collided into another truck.

"It is evident that the driver of the Parsons truck was trying to avoid driving on to the potholes on the road."

Johan van der Walt, a mechanic who fixes trucks for Parsons Transport, said: "We replace the tyres every three to four months.

"It's bad, [the municipality] must fix it but they take their time."

Omar said previous efforts to fix the road cut corners. A contractor who "poured tar on to the road" had tried superficially to "create the perception that the roads had been repaired" but court papers said that, after recent rains, "these superficial repairs quickly washed away".

"The respondents have failed in their duties towards the people of Delmas ... It is apparent that there is a need for the urgent and immediate intervention ... to prevent loss of further life," the court papers said.

Monday, June 27, 2011

chicks can wheelie


Biker megatrials begin in Montreal

Biker megatrials begin in Montreal

MONTREAL - Two trials involving fifty-one men alleged to be members of the Hells Angels, or associates of the biker gang, officially begin Friday.

The words “not guilty” were repeated often at the Gouin courthouse as 50 of the accused entered their pleas to many charges, including one count of conspiracy to commit murder as well as 22 first-degree murder charges. One of the accused could not attend the hearing because he is currently being treated for stomach cancer at a hospital in Sherbrooke.

Not all of the accused are charged with the murders, which occurred within the context of a conflict over drug-trafficking turf between the Hells Angels and other organized crime groups. The prosecution’s theory is that the gang voted in favour of the war and contributed to it being carried out, roughly between 1994 and 2002. The 51 accused are expected to be tried in two separate trials and are split based on which chapters – Sherbrooke and Quebec City – they are allegedly affiliated with.

Superior Court Justice James Brunton presided over one hearing, involving 29 men alleged to be part of the Sherbrooke chapter, while Justice Martin Vauclair handled a case involving 22 accused in another room at the courthouse, which was specially built for such large trials.

The hearing was the first related to Operation SharQc since Brunton’s bombshell decision, rendered on May 31, to place a stay of proceedings on the cases of 31 people who were only charged with drug trafficking in a major police investigation that produced indictments against 156 people in all. One has since died and 19 are still being sought by police.

In the same decision, Brunton set the timetable that officially began on Friday. Under that plan, five separate murder trials will be held. People alleged to be members or associates of the South and Trois Rivieres chapters will be tried in 2013 and the Montreal chapter in 2015.

However, Brunton made it clear on Friday that things could change once a jury or a judge begins hearing evidence. Lawyers will return to the courthouse in September for a two-week hearing to analyze the Crown’s evidence. Following that, Brunton said, some of the accused might request a trial before a judge alone while another group might prefer a trial before a jury. Brunton said if that happens, there should be no problem with transferring accused from one case to the other.

“Your work starts now,” Brunton told the many lawyers gathered in his courtroom Friday morning. He also noted that many of the accused in the Sherbrooke chapter case have yet to hire lawyers. He urged the men to hire an attorney soon and advised them having an attorney will become crucial in the coming months.

Will Outlaws’ revival make London biker battlefield?

Will Outlaws’ revival make London biker battlefield? | London | News | London Free Press

The rebirth of the Outlaws motorcycle gang in London is raising the spectre of clashes with their traditional rivals, the Hells Angels.

But the head of the province’s biker unit says there seems to be enough crime in Southwestern Ontario to go around.

“There appears to be enough business to allow them to co-exist,” said Det.-Sgt. Len Isnor of the Ontario Biker Enforcement Unit.

“Having said that, if the market gets to a saturation point, that could lead to problems.”

A person with a past on the other side of the law suggested the area crime business has room for both, but the rivals will wrestle for control.

“I think you will find there is going to be some violence, but it won’t be direct,” he said.

The clubs will use street gangs and prospects to intimidate each other, rather than go head-to-head, he said.

The Hells Angels also are quietly trying to beef up their numbers, said the source, who has knowledge of the local biker scene.

Both the source and Isnor agreed the Outlaws are back and are going to make it known.

Police believe the gang has an east-end clubhouse, painted in traditional black and white Outlaws colours, Isnor said.

The Free Press source said the Outlaws will wear their colours whenever possible to prove they’re a full chapter: “They’ll have a visible presence this summer.”

That’s a contrast to the Hells Angels, who have kept a low profile in London for the last few years while consolidating control on the drug market and other criminal activities, the source said.

“They have more money and support than the Outlaws. They are more corporate. The Outlaws still think they are playing cowboys and Indians.”

A London chapter of the Outlaws began in 1977 but by 2002 was faltering. The Hells Angels had moved into Ontario and convinced dozens of area Outlaws to join them.

A provincewide raid called Project Retire in 2002 put dozens of Ontario Outlaws, including some local leaders, behind bars.

Some remaining Outlaws and their supporters tried to start a Bandidos chapter, but that experiment ended in disaster with the massacre of eight Bandidos in 2006 and prison terms for six others guilty of the killings.

Two years ago, the city had the Outlaws clubhouse on Egerton St. demolished.

But the main targets in Project Retire have either served their time or had their charges dropped.

In London, “the Outlaws never really left,” Isnor said. Their membership fell below the three necessary for a chapter, he said. “They were there. They went into dormancy.”

The Outlaws’ roots in the city could help keep peace with the Hells Angels.

“The Hells Angels are the new kids on the block,” Isnor said.

The revived Outlaws are a mix of older bikers with a history of gang membership and newcomers, Isnor said. They are not patching over existing Hells Angels, he said.

No bridge too far for biker Ian

No bridge too far for biker Ian - News - Shields Gazette

BIKER Ian Armstrong has raised £500 for Diabetes UK in a challenge that saw him cross eight bridges.

The 47-year-old, from Cleadon, set off on a 1,000-mile journey on Friday, June 10, to cross eight bridges, in three countries – in three days.

Ian, who was diagnosed with Type One diabetes when he was three, said: “It was fantastic. It was just an amazing experience, and I met some lovely people.

“Before I left, I e-mailed people who work at all the bridges, and somebody came to meet me at Berwick Bridge. He was a real upstanding guy.

“Nothing went wrong the whole time either. It was just great. I’m so pleased I’ve done it. I can’t wait to get back out there and do something else.”

Father-of-two Ian’s journey saw him ride his motorbike to each of the eight bridges, in England, Scotland and Wales, before parking and walking across them, and back to his bike.

He crossed the Tyne, Berwick, Edinburgh’s Forth Road, Liverpool’s Mersey, Bristol’s Severn, London’s tower, Middlesbrough’s Tees Newport and Humber bridges.

He said: “I’m just starting to feel like myself again now. I’ve been worn-out ever since I got back, but my feet still haven’t touched the ground. It was just such an amazing experience.

“I wanted to do it to show people that being diagnosed with diabetes isn’t the end of the world, and to give something back to everyone who has helped me over the years.”

Ian is already set on his next challenge, and this time he’s taking the family.

They will take part in Diabetes UK’s Walk The Extra Mile Challenge, crossing Humber Bridge, on July 10.

Ian said: “It was a long and hard challenge, and I got caught in the rain a lot. I’ve been in the water in a wet suit and kept drier than I was riding around on my bike, but it was all worth it.

Caught & Social: It’s all Whiteley on the night

Caught & Social: It’s all Whiteley on the night | Luke Blackall | Independent Notebook Blogs
Henry Winkler has blown the cool cover of his former biker character The Fonz, by revealing that motorcycle scenes in his cult show Happy Days were faked. “I don’t know how to ride a motorbike,”the 65-year-old actor told Radio 4’s Midweek programme. “They put the bike on a piece of wood with four rubber wheels and pulled me behind a truck. The first time I ever used a motorbike I smashed into the sound truck. They came running up in order to make sure the bike was fine because it was rented.”

In the driver's saddle: More women are buying their own bikes and taking to the road.

In the driver's saddle: More women are buying their own bikes and taking to the road. | Sun Journal

The reasons to ride are many for the growing number of female bikers in Maine.

"Every trip is the best just because I’m rolling through life on two wheels taking in the awesome sights and smells," says Lewiston resident Rebecca Westleigh, 36, who has had her motorcycle license for more than 10 years.

"I really love taking off and riding to camp by myself. Something about it makes me feel strong and independent," she adds. "I do like to ride with other people, but I also have no problem throwing my headphones in my helmet and putting on a few hundred solo miles."

Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicle statistics at show that nearly 7,500 more Maine women hold motorcycle endorsements than in 2000. (The number of licensed men has dropped by just about 8,000 in the same 10 years.) For the 18,476 Maine women now holding motorcycle licenses — and this doesn't count the many of both genders who choose to ride indefinitely with permits — what draws them to two wheels and the open road?

What's the allure?

For some, it started when they were young.

Tanya Oliver, 43, of Topsham, said it was always a dream of hers to one day get her license and a bike. "I've always been a biker chick," she said. "I believe it started when my older cousin gave me a ride on his Honda when I was 7 years old. I always thought Neil Young's 'Unknown Legend' would be a nice way to live life. Besides, watching a woman on her own motorcycle is a beautiful thing. I only wish I could have done it a lot sooner."

Westleigh said riding has always been in her family; her mother, father and brother all have their licenses. "I remember riding with my dad as a kid and enjoying it," she said. "My motivation was my brother," she continued. "In my early 20s he hooked me up with a '87 Honda Hurricane 600, in pieces. We got it together and going and I learned how to ride on it. It was a great first bike. I didn’t feel bad the few times I dropped it."

For others, their husbands played important roles in getting their own bikes, but not necessarily as you'd expect.

Lewiston great-great-grandmother Pauline Parshall, 73, got her 450 Suzuki when she was in her early 50s. She rode it until she broke her ankle — not motorcycling — and had to stop. Her reason for getting her own bike? "I don't like to ride double. Even on our snowmobiles. He (her husband, Jack) is kinda crazy," she said. "I prefer my own speed."

Melanie Jandreau, 57, of Lewiston, has been riding almost 20 years and currently operates a Harley 2004 Heritage Softail Classic with a faring addition. She started on the back of her husband Donald's bike, but "when he decided to go without me one day," she said, "I went to the dealership and bought my first bike. I asked him later to go pick it up for me and teach me to ride." She got the basics from him and then took the United Bikers of Maine rider safety course.

Most women bikers love the independence and open-air freedom that having their own bikes offers.

It's about "being on the open road, wind in the hair, not really caring where you end up, and the people you meet along the way," said Jandreau.

"It's the sound of the bike and the wind in your hair," said Audrey Coffin, 42, of Rumford, who said she has always loved motorcycles. She was finally able to get her own, a pink Harley 883 Sportster. "I can't imagine not having one. Love it!" she said. And an added perk to a pink bike, says Coffin, who has two grown sons: "The pink bike is great . . . they never want to ride it!"

Like Coffin, the love that Dixfield's Shelley Bronish, 45, has for solo biking is in part due to her bike itself. She had lots of girlfriends who rode, but she was always on the back of her husband Ed's bike — until her husband found the "sweetest, breast-cancer-awareness pink" Yamaha V-Star 650. Things took off for her after that.

The challenges

The inherent risks of motorcycle riding are well known: the vulnerability of an open vehicle, having to support and balance the weight of your own machine, the dangers presented by road hazards and other motorists, to name a few.

Oliver, who got her license at the REGROUP Basic Rider Course in Topsham last July, said that the particular challenge she feels female riders face is "being sure you ride a motorcycle that you can handle safely and responsibly."

For Bronish, the challenge to going solo was mental. She was nervous about getting on a bike. Her husband convinced her to try, but when she got to the bottom of the hill they live on, "I cried," she said. Determined not to be conquered, she took the hands-on course and got her permit. "It's all about self-confidence," she said. "I didn't have it when I started. I'm just proud of myself!"

Confidence building also has been an issue for Parshall. Her husband wanted to ride to the top of Mt. Washington. "I said I'd wait at the bottom," she said. Her concern was that she wouldn't be able to reach the ground if she had to stop, because it was so steep. She was also worried about the sand and rocks. Jack convinced her to try. At the top, they caught the attention of a large group of Canadian tourists riding double. The women on the back of their husbands' bikes "were all surprised that a woman did it," she said.

Westleigh's comments about the challenges women operators face are perhaps a bit more unique to her gender. "I really thought about this and, honestly, the only thing I can come up with is the fact that no matter what I do, my hair will always look bad when I take my helmet off," she said. "Also, being a single mom and finding the time to ride can be a little difficult when your son won’t get on the back."

The adventures

For Parshall, many of the challenges she faced went hand in hand with her best adventures. "It was fun, but there were dangerous times and close calls," she said. "I was very careful, quick on the reflexes."

She and her husband rode to Pennsylvania four or five times. "I loved it," she said. "I was pretty game." Jack used to tow a trailer to carry their clothes and food. Their lunches would be picnics eaten in cemeteries, drinking water from the spouts there. One time the couple rode the 725-mile trip in one day. "He couldn't believe I did it!"she said.

They rode from about 4 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. with a few breaks. "I really, really liked it, it was fun!" Her only complaint about the marathon trip was that it bothered her arm muscles from shifting and holding the handlebars, as, Parshall said, "I wasn't 20 years old anymore!"

Bronish, the newest rider in this story, also has a taste for adventure. She has been riding for two months and was going for her license this past week — but not telling anybody which day. Despite her relative inexperience, Bronish rode to Laconia for Bike Week earlier this month. "I held my own," she said proudly. She feels that she gets more attention as a woman rider, especially with a pink bike. In Laconia, an officer stopped traffic "just so I could get through on my pink bike," she laughed.

Jandreau has ridden many miles over the years — "I have had fairly close encounters with deer, skunk, ground hogs, bear, buffalo, crows and still love it!" — but she said she took her best trip last summer. She and a friend from New Brunswick, Canada, rode to Cody, Wyo., for a convention. "It was a 6,500-mile trip that took us through some of the prettiest, winding mountains and plains that this country and Canada have to offer," she said. "It was fantastic!"

In 2003, Jandreau joined the Motor Maids, the oldest women's riding club in the United States and Canada. "I found it to be so different from other riding clubs," she said. "The rules are simple. You have to own and ride your own bike, go to three conventions in 10 years, and have fun. I have met and ridden with some of the most amazing women. Some ladies will celebrate riding for 65 years at this next convention."

Australia rescinds biker-gang ban

BBC News - Australia rescinds biker-gang ban

Australia's High Court has overturned a law designed to criminalise certain motorcycle gangs in the state of New South Wales.

The law would have allowed police to seek court orders stopping gang members from associating with each other.

But a member of the Hell's Angels challenged the law on the grounds that it curtailed individual liberties.

The law was introduced following a brawl at Sydney airport in 2009 in which a man was beaten to death.

The BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney says similar anti-biker laws in other Australian states may now face legal challenges.

The legal challenge to the law was based on two arguments - that the anti-biker law curtailed individual liberties, and that it also undermined the integrity of the courts.

The gang member's lawyer Wayne Baffsky said the law had the potential to destroy democratic society.

"It targets organisations who are defined as any two or more people, which means any two or more people in NSW could be a target of the act," he was quoted as saying by ABC news.

"The legislation was rushed through. The parliamentary oversight committee didn't even have an opportunity to look at it."

The court ruled that the law was outside the legislative powers of the New South Wales parliament.

Branch impales biker in throat

Branch impales biker in throat - national |
A motorbike rider who had his throat impaled by a branch managed to pull himself free unaided.

"He came off his motorbike and he's sort of hit a tree – the branch of the tree has impaled him," Youthtown Trust rescue helicopter pilot Todd Dunham said. The accident happened at 1.30pm yesterday near Kuratau, on the western shore of Lake Taupo.

Mr Dunham said the rider was lodged on the freshly cut branch, which was still attached to a tree in the forestry area.

"It's gone in far enough to cause serious injuries."

The rider had freed himself from the branch by the time another rider arrived on the scene and alerted emergency services.

"It's a freak accident really," Mr Dunham said.

The rider, a 31-year-old south Auckland man, was conscious during the ordeal. He was flown to Waikato Hospital by the rescue helicopter.

A hospital spokeswoman said the man was in a serious condition and was having throat surgery last night.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Black Bike Week Is Violent

Black Bike Week Is Violent :: :: FITSNewsFITSNews

The Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Police Department was awash in incident reports during this weekend’s Atlantic Beach Bikefest (a.k.a. “Black Biker Weekend”). According to The Sun News, Myrtle Beach cops received reports of “five armed robberies, a stabbing, a shooting and an incident involving a shotgun being pointed at a security guard” – all within an eight-hour window on Sunday and early Monday.

Myrtle Beach has done its best to shut down both Black Bike Week and White Black Week – the latter of which used to draw half a million visitors to the Grand Strand each year.

Specifically, local leaders have passed helmet and noise ordinances in an effort to deter bikers from participating in these rallies – although the S.C. Supreme Court recently struck down the helmet law. The city is also requiring vendors to pay a $900 fee for a seven-day permit – on top of rental space fees. Not only that, they’ve capped the number of available permits.

Frankly, we think South Carolina should welcome both black and white bikers with open arms.

A little crime is to be expected at events like this, but the potential dangers to the community are far outweighed by the economic benefits.

We ride: Yamaha XT1200 Super Tenere

We ride: Yamaha XT1200 Super Tenere - IOL Motoring Bikes, Quads & Karts |

Yamaha has a solid pedigree in adventure bikes; it built one of the first big Japanese four-stroke beetle-crushers (a Dutch couple, Rolf and Astrid Dols, rode from Scheveningen, near the Hague, to Cape Town on a pair of XT500's as long ago as 1983) and for a number of years the Triple Tuning Fork dominated the Dakar Rally, first with the 600 Tenere single and later with the fire-breathing 750cc V-Twin Super Tenere.

Now the name is back - but on a big-inch adventure tourer, rather than an off-road racer. Today's XT1200Z Super Tenere is an astonishingly sophisticated (read complicated), supremely competent and addictively comfortable reason to Get Out of Town anytime the opportunity presents itself.

Comparisons with BMW's R1200 GS are inevitable and, truth to tell, the Yamaha has even more electrotech than the GelandeScooter that has dominated this category for three decades but, for the week that I had it, I tried to ride the Yamaha for what it is, both good and bad.

And what it is, is complicated; it's built around a 1199cc DOHC parallel twin with four valves and two spark plugs per cylinder. The crankpins are set at 270 degrees, rather than 360 degrees as per classic British twins or 180 as on Japanese and European examples.

Yamaha says this evens out the torque pulses and makes traction easier to find on loose gravel (debatable) but it also induces some very nasty secondary vibration which is taken care of by two balancer shafts, one of which doubles as a jackshaft for the waterpump.

Two 98mm pistons are fed by 46mm Mikuni throttle bodies, modulated by chip-controlled, fly-by-wire butterflies. In other words, you roll on how much throttle you want but the computer decides how much you get, after consulting the wheel-rotation and yaw sensors of the (standard) traction control and anti-lock braking systems.
IOL mot pic jun20 Yamaha XT1200Z 2

The Yamaha Super Tenere is intended primarily as a tourer.

Dave Abrahams

In practice it all works very smoothly; there's very little snatch at small throttle openings and the bike can be ridden almost down to walking pace without any jerkiness, but throttle response is crisp and practically instantaneous anywhere above 2500rpm.

The engine pulls strongly, without any disconcerting steps in the power delivery, all the way to the power peak at 7250rpm, although some vibration does intrude as the urge becomes more urgent above 5000rpm, as if to remind you that 80kW is not to be played with.

But we're not finished yet; a handlebar-mounted button lets the rider choose between Sport and Touring mappings. But don't let the name fool you, all that happens in Touring mode is that the engine becomes sluggish and reluctant to respond. I kept the Super Tenere in Sport mode all the time except in the rain.

For the record, it was in Sport mode that the bike topped out at a true 208km/h with 218 showing on the digital speedometer and a needle's width more than 7000 on the analogue rev counter. Fuel consumption averaged out at 6.1 litres/100km, including performance testing.

The big all-rounder is rock steady flat out in a straight line, but has a slight headshake on long, fast sweepers. It's also nicely balanced at very low speeds, making it possible to commute on what is admittedly a very large motorcycle.

The clutch is light and predictable, if a little remote, but the test bike's gearbox was very notchy, especially in Touring mode. There also seemed to be some clutch drag, as the 'box went into first with a thump that was felt as well as heard, every time, hot or cold.
IOL mot pic jun20 Yamaha XT1200Z 4

The Super Tenere's seat height is adjustable from 845-870mm.

Dave Abrahams

The shaft final drive, by contrast, is very smooth and civilised, with no lash whatsoever, and no clonk on taking up power.

The fully-adjustable suspension (43mm upside-downies in front and a rear monoshock that's adjustable “on the fly”) is superb. The front in particular is supple without sogginess, providing remarkably agile and accurate steering for a quarter-ton motorcycle, while the unified braking system resists nose-dive under heavy braking.

It works like this: if you grab a handful of front brakes it will gently apply the rear brake a split second before the front, to steady the bike and bring the tail down, then apply both brakes as hard as possible without locking either wheel.

If, however, you stomp on the rear brake, supermoto style, it will apply only the rear brake, even allowing a bit of rear-wheel steering before intervening. On the tar, you never feel it working; the bike is simply reassuringly stable under braking. And in the dirt, you can use the front brake quite hard (usually a recipe for disaster) anywhere except in thick sand without losing the front end.

Then you turn the power on, perhaps a little too much too soon and, where any other big beetle-crusher would simply spin out from under you, this one merely bogs down a little and then pulls you gently out of trouble. The engine doesn't suddenly lose power, rather it feels as if the clutch is slipping a little, making the bike just that much more controllable.

The traction control is adjustable through three settings. TC1 keeps everything rigorously in line, TC2 allows a little wheelspin for off-road work and OFF is just that, allowing huge rooster-tails and glorious misbehaviour - for experts only. The Super Tenere weighs 261kg with a full tank and the laws of physics are immutable.
IOL mot pic jun20 Yamaha XT1200Z 3

The screen and instrument pod are a long way from the saddle.

Dave Abrahams

But all this electrotech means that even an amateur-level dirt rider (such as yours truly) can take this industrial-strength adventurebike off the tar and expect to come back in one piece. Gravel roads and jeep tracks hold no terrors; if you can go there on a mountain bike, you can go there on an XT1200Z.

Nevertheless, the Super Tenere is intended primarily as a tourer, which is why it has a super-plush saddle (adjustable from 845-870mm off the deck), a 23-litre fuel tank, built-in pannier mounts and a neat little screen.

Generally speaking, it all works; the ergonomics are great, the relationship between seat, 'pegs and grips near-perfect (and adjustable when it’s not) and the ride is plush without being soggy, handling taut without being twitchy.

Unfortunately, however, the screen is mounted a long, long way from the rider, as is the instrument pod. I have difficulty reaching the mode buttons on the instrument panel while riding and I can't reach the screen from the saddle at all - and I'm 1.78m tall.

The screen is adjustable to either of two positions but it's a finicky job requiring a Phillips screwdriver; while there's no buffeting in either position, wind roar is excessive, enough to give me a nasty headache after a day in the saddle. Yamaha offers a taller screen as an aftermarket accessory; if you're planning a trip to the next time zone, check it out first, especially if you're more than about 1.75m tall.


As an off-roader the Super Tenere is awe-inspiring; as a tourer it is superb, compromised only by poor aerodynamics for high-speed cruising. Its electronic systems work perfectly together to make riding this huge bike effortless - but for that reason I would hesitate to tackle a round-the-world ride on one.

If anything goes wrong with any of those systems in the wilds of Outer Baluchistan, you are going to be stuck with a bike that either won't run or, if it does, is unrideable. But if your idea of a weekend getaway involves gravel roads and a GPS, it's difficult to imagine a more comfortable mount for the road less travelled.


Engine: 1199cc liquid-cooled parallel twin.

Bore x stroke: 98 x 79.5mm.

Compression ratio: 11.0:1.

Valvegear: DOHC with four overhead valves per cylinder.

Power: 80.9kW at 7250rpm.

Torque: 114.1Nm at 6000rpm.

Induction: Chip-controlled fly-by-wire throttle with multipoint electronic fuel-injection via two 46mm Mikuni throttle bodies.

Ignition: TCI GT9B-4 digital electronic with two spark plugs per cylinder.

Starting: Electric.

Clutch: Hydraulically actuated multiplate wet clutch.

Transmission: Six-speed constant-mesh gearbox with final drive by shaft.

Front Suspension: 43mm inverted cartridge forks adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping.

Rear Suspension: Monoshock, adjustable for preload and rebound damping.

Front brakes: Dual 310mm petal discs with Sumitomo four-pot opposed-piston callipers and ABS/unified braking.

Rear brake: 282mm petal disc with single-piston floating calliper and ABS.

Front tyre: 110/80 - 19 tubeless.

Rear tyre: 150/70 - 17 tubeless.

Wheelbase: 1540mm.

Seat height: 845-870mm.

Kerb weight: 261kg.

Fuel tank: 23 litres.

Top speed (measured): 208km/h.

Fuel consumption (measured): 6.1 litres/100km

Price: R129 999.

Bike from: Droomers Yamaha, Cape Town.

Biker Dougie sets wheels in motion for charity adventure

Biker Dougie sets wheels in motion for charity adventure - Local Headlines - The Southern Reporter

COME October, Kelso’s Dougie Smith will swap his customary place behind the bar of the town’s Black Swan Hotel for the saddle of a motorcycle to ride across some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery in South Africa – and hopefully raise a substantial amount of money for children’s charities into the bargain.

The Enduro Africa 2011 event will see 60 intrepid bikers cover 1,000 miles over eight days in aid of four charities working in South Africa – UNICEF’s Born Free from HIV campaign; Sentebale, which was co-found by Prince Harry to help transform the lives of Lesotho’s orphans and vulnerable children; Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund and Touch Africa, which was set up to aid children in South Africa’s eastern cape – long regarded as the country’s most impoverished region.

Dougie has already started fundraising towards his personal target of £10,000 and earlier this month, together with friends and family, generated £1,100 from a sponsored cycle ride from Kelso to Berwick.

Dougie, who has been the licensee at the Black Swan for the past six years, told TheSouthern that, as well as the chance to raise money for deserving causes, the ride offers him the opportunity to push himself to his limits.

“The conditions I will tackle throughout this challenge ensure that I will be tested to the limit, whether its negotiating one of the amazing river crossings, riding flat out up the beach past the spectacular Jacaranda shipwreck, or tackling a steep ascent with the waves roaring 200 feet below,” he explained.

Dougie says, as the father of four healthy children himself, he has long been interested in getting involved with the work of UNICEF – the United Nations’ childrens agency.

“I have four wonderful children of my own who are all healthy, grown up and full of life, unlike the children I’m looking to help out in Africa.

“I’m hoping that, as this year goes on, my personal challenge will encourage others to get involved.

“I have been looking for a way to get involved with UNICEF, primarily, for the past few years and help children a lot less fortunate than my own.

“So after passing my bike test a few years ago and enjoying the pleasure of riding to the north and south of Britian, I decided to marry them both together and was fortunate to discover Enduro Africa – a fantastic organisation that will allow me, in October 2011, to do just that.

“I was inspired watching people like Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor when they rode bikes across Africa and Asia and this is a great opportunity to marry my love of bikes and biking, and also helping some of the world’s less fortunate children.”

Dougie’s fundraising efforts, along with those of family and friends, have garnered just short of £5,000 – the minimum the 60 Enduro Africa bikers, who will come from all corners of the globe, have to collect to take part.

“But I have set myself the target of doubling that,” explained Dougie. “Of the first £5k, 80 per cent goes directly to the four charities. Of the second £5k, the whole 100 per cent will go to the charities. All those taking part pay for their own fuel, food and water to maximise the amount of money going to the charities.”

The riders will all be issued with 230cc Honda bikes on arrival in South Africa. These will eventually be donated to local community organisations and individuals such as doctors and nurses.

“During the eight days, there will also be a rest day and on previous Enduro Africa events, the riders got the chance to use those days to help at local schools, building desks and stuff like that and I really want to be involved in that kind of thing while I am over there,” added Dougie.

Between now and October, Dougie intends organising a number of fundraising events centred round the Black Swan, so there will be plenty of opportunities for people to enjoy themselves and at the same time contribute towards the campaign.

One of the most popular could well be the raffle Dougie is organising, in which the winner will have the pleasure of mine host at the Black Swan cooking a barbeuce in their own garden as the first prize!

After his return from southern Africa in October, Dougie plans to continue fund-raising events in aid of UNICEF.

“I intend keeping on doing events and possibly other adventures to help fund the work of UNICEF. It’s a massively important organisation.”

Over the next few months Dougie will be looking to improve his off-road biking skills as some of the terrain he will encounter in South Africa will be far removed from what he is used to on the UK’s roads.

“I was down in London in February, meeting up with the 20 or so British riders who will be on this year’s Enduro Africa ride and one of the guys is from Moffat.

“He’s a very experienced enduro rider, so I am going to link up with him for some training days over the summer. The riders that I have spoken to and who have taken part in this event in previous years all talk about it being a truly life-changing experience.

“I’m now 46, so not only is this experience getting me a bit fitter and healthier, I think it will be a real life-changer for me and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Anyone wishing to donate to Dougie’s campign can do so in person at The Black Swan or through his website at