Nothing seems as tantalising as the wind against your face as you chase the endless bends and curves of an open road. Riding a motorbike is one of the most exhilarating ways to see the world. If you are a keen rider or just dream of the adventure, we have the ticket just for you: seven of the most spectacular roads for riding motorbikes in the world. Brace yourself, after this article you will have serious wanderlust.
1. Cat and Fiddle Run, England
The cat and fiddle road is situated between Buxton, Derbyshire, Macclesfield and Cheshire. The road is affectionately named after a pub of the same name that can be found at the summit. It is a beloved stretch of road showcasing some of Britain’s most spectacular views. Along the hair raising bends you can take in the vast scenery of the Greater Manchester conurbation, the peak district national park and Cheshire plain. It is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the UK, so if you are driving on the road exercise caution.
2. A2, the Antrim coast road, Northern Ireland
The route begins in County Down and extends throughout the north east of Northern Ireland. The coast road is 25 miles of stunning views. The building of the road began in the early 19th century to help improve access in rural Northern Ireland. Before the road was built, trade was often conducted through boats to and from Scotland as it was easier to sail the short distance across the North Channel. The main tourist attractions along the coast road include Dunluce castle, The Glens of Antrim, and Bushmills the original site of Bushmills Distillery.
Dunluce Castle in County Antrim
3. Mont Ventoux to L’Alpe-d’Huez, France
Located in the mountainous region of Provence in southern France, Mont Ventoux is popular with cyclists and motorists alike. The route has been made famous through its uses in the Tour de France. The surrounding areas are popular ski destinations in the winter due to the Alpine Mountains. The route is made challenging by its steep climb and hairpin bends. The views are captivating and attract thousands of tourists annually.
4. Trollstigen, Norway
Much like Mount Ventoux, Trollstigen is renowned for its steep incline and tight ends. Located in the Rauma Municipality in Norway the road stretches across a serpentine mountain range. The bends are so narrow that many had to be widened to accommodate the high volumes of traffic. At peak season 2,500 cars pass daily. One of the biggest attractions is the Stigfossen waterfall. The fall can be viewed from several balconies on a 700m plateau and cark park.
5. Route 66 – The Mother Road
Route 66 is 3,939 km of American history. The road connects America’s Midwest to the West coast. The vast landscape is punctuated with small communities, truck stops and beautiful art deco signage. It is a once in a life time journey, that has been mythologised in TV and film. So much so that the mere mention of Route 66 signifies adventure, escapism and the American dream. The iconic stretch of road is ideal for motorbikes with flat horizons that have seemingly endless stretches.
6. Ruta 40 – The end of the world
Ruta 40 is an infamous road located in western Argentina. It is popular with adventurists as it is one of the longest roads in the world. It crosses 20 national parks, 18 major rivers, and reaches up to 5000 metres above sea level. The grand title of the end of the world stems from the dangerous surface of the road that was unpaved until recently. The road is so vast that often hundreds of miles pass without a place to refuel and stop. This is one for the ambitious and capable motorcyclist.
7. The South Island: Highway to Middle Earth
Calling all Lord of The Rings fans, this is the road trip for you. Since 2001, New Zealand has seen a boom of tourists seeking out middle earth. The hugely popular film franchise was filmed throughout New Zealand using many of the brutal and rugged landscapes as the perfect backdrop. There are many highways in New Zealand that are themed. Each one will lead you through specific geographical and cultural landmarks. Many of the road conditions vary and can be narrow, so plan ahead and be ready for all eventualities.
Motocross – A Beginner’s Guide
Motocross, for those of you who don’t know, is a type of off-road motorcycling race. The races take place on gravel, mud or grass road circuits and the discipline is one of the most skilled, exciting and energetic motor sports around.
The genesis of motocross came in the UK in the early 1900s where Auto-Cycle Clubs would host time trials. These trials evolved into regular off-road events called ‘scrambles’. The first ever official scramble was held in Camberley, Surrey in 1924. From these humble beginnings the sport would develop over the coming decades.
As the sport grew in size and popularity, clubs and competitions emerged throughout Britain. Team events also became a regular feature of these events. One drawback, however, was that the bikes used in competition were almost identical to the ones used on the road.
Innovation was essential if the sport was to grow. Many technical challenges had to be faced as courses began to evolve in their complexity and difficulty. One of the major developments was the introduction of the swinging arm suspension which created bikes better adapted to the challenges of motocross racing.
Post World War 2 motorcycle manufacturing, vital to the war effort, became a vibrant industry as civilian demand exploded both in Europe and further afield. Bikes went from 50cc to 250cc engines in the 1950s and 60s, resulting in bikes that had greater agility and that were lighter and faster than their predecessors, all elements which were essential for motocross racing.
The Popularity Boom
In the 1970s the sport experienced a major boom in popularity thanks to the increased interest in the United States. This made for some exciting racing as international rivalries emerged. The first stadium motocross race took place in Los Angeles Coliseum. In 1975 the 125cc World Championship was introduced but it was the 1980s before the U.S. began winning international competitions.
The 1980s heralded a second wave of engineering innovation. This included the development of water-cooled machines and rear mono-shock suspension. This was followed in the 1990s with a shift in production standards and environmental considerations.
Motocross is thriving with exciting sponsorship deals bringing big prize money to races and new off-shoots of the original racing concepts. Freestyle, Supercross, Big Air and Supermoto are hugely popular formats where drivers show off their skills by performing jumps and stunts.
Revised guidance from the Driver Vehicle Agency (DVA) now states that a D1 licence and a driver’s qualification will now be required to drive a school minibus.
Previously, teachers just needed a standard UK driving licence which automatically allowed them to drive a minibus.
BBC reported that prosecution and penalties are to be introduced as the Education Authority (EA) tighten the rules around school minibus driving rules in the UK. Some teachers who are driving minibuses may now be doing so illegally.
Cornmarket offer teachers free class 1 business use on policies, allowing teachers to be covered when transferring their pupils in their car.**
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*Based on new car insurance quotes given by Cornmarket Insurance Services to UK teachers in April 2017, for those who met acceptance criteria. **Class 1 Use excludes commercial use or hire, applicable with all Ageas teacher policies.
Finally, June has arrived and the school holidays are almost here. Did you know that school teachers’ average working hours range from around 55.2 hours right up to 63.3 hours per week? That’s why we think it’s important for our teacher customers to make the most of their summer breaks with some well-deserved downtime.
To inspire you, we’ve come up with some of our favourite road-trip destinations around the UK and Ireland.
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
Stonehenge is one of the best-known prehistoric monuments in the world. It’s located in Wiltshire, England, 2 miles west of Amesbury. The attraction has a world-class exhibition and visitor centre. Although visitors can’t physically walk amongst the stones, they stand on the Salisbury Plain and the giant stones can be seen from miles around.
Although it is not known exactly why Stonehenge was built, there is widespread speculation as to why it was created. These ideas range from astronomy to ancient healing grounds.
Caledonian Canal, Inverness, Scotland
Source: By The original uploader was Flaxton at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by sevela.p., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3878047
The 62 mile (100 km) coast to coast canal is located from the northeast to the southwest of Scotland, and only one third is man-made (engineered by famous Scotsman Thomas Telford), the rest has been formed by Loch Dochfour, Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy.
The canal attracts over half a million visitors each year, with visitors enjoying walking, cycling and taking boat cruises.
Ring of Gullion, Northern Ireland
The Ring of Gullion is located in South Armagh in Northern Ireland. It’s an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which was the first ring dyke to be geographically mapped. Alongside this, it is surrounded by the Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Camlough Lake and the Cashel Lakes.
Norfolk Lavender Fields, England
Visit the world famous and picturesque Lavender Gardens and Lavender Oil Distillery in Norfolk. Around 100 acres of lavender fields with tea rooms, a restaurant and an on-site gift shop filled with creative lavender themed gifts.
Gaping Gill and Ingleborough Cave, England
Gaping Gill is one of the most famous caves in the Dales in Ingleborough, North Yorkshire. At 233ft deep, it retains the records for highest unbroken waterfall in England. Visitors are warned not to attempt to explore side passages without experienced guidance.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, North Coast of Northern Ireland
Put your fear of heights to the test by crossing the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The 30 metre high rope bridge is a great spot to take in the coastal views of the North Coast of Northern Ireland.
Developed by the National Trust, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is located close to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Experience nature in its wildest form at the Cliff of Moher. The cliffs are located at the South-western edge of County Clare in Ireland and are one of Irelands most visited tourist destinations. Not to mention, making appearances in several blockbuster films, such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and featured in music videos by Maroon 5 and Westlife.
Loch Awe, Scotland
One of the largest freshwater lochs in Scotland, with a surface area of 39 sq miles, Loch Awe contains several ruined castles on the islands, including Kilchurn Castle. It’s also the home of two hydroelectric projects.
Cornmarket have helped to keep teachers’ covered on their car insurance for over 20 years. Register for a quote today and we’ll call you when you are due.
* Based on new car insurance quotes given by Cornmarket Insurance Services to UK teachers in April 2017, for those who met acceptance criteria.
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Football is Northern Ireland’s most played sport and a large part of Northern Irish culture. Through the ‘Let them Play’ initiative, the Irish Football Association (the IFA) hope to empower boys and girls whatever their background or ability level, to develop a lifelong love for the game.
Tor Bank School launched the ‘Cornmarket Insurance Let Them Play FA Cup’ 2017 at the National Stadium at Windsor Park on Wednesday the 17th of May. The five-a-side tournament for schools cater for pupils with a Learning Disability.
The event will kick off this Friday the 19th of May from 11am-1.30pm at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex, Lisburn. Over 150 pupils will be in attendance from over Northern Ireland and the tournament is divided into two sections (11-14-year-olds and 15-19-year-olds). Cornmarket is delighted to be able to contribute to such an initiative which helps to provide an excellent opportunity for the community.
“The building blocks of this new Youth Football Strategy are every bit as important as the building blocks of the new National Football Stadium, if we are to create Northern Ireland teams who can compete on the world stage in the future and make our fans proud. It is an exciting time for the sport of football and there is untapped potential. By delivering the objectives set out the IFA will be doing all in its power to ensure it is creating compelling pathways to grow the game, and for all young people to get involved and stay involved in the game.”
Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road incidents in the UK at present. With 1,732 road deaths in 2015, UK government has aimed to increase safety on the roads by introducing new rules and regulations which will encourage motorists to think twice before abusing the speed limit.
In accordance with these statistics, UK government enforced stricter speeding penalties on the 24th of April this year.
Say goodbye to fixed fines, fines will now range from 50-150% of the offender’s weekly income (using bands A, B and C). Band A offenders can expect to be fined 50% of their weekly income, 100% to be fined from those within Band B and 150% fined in Band C.
Table is taken from gov.uk website
There has been word of implications to the fine that will aggravate the amount such as a reduction if caught speeding due to an emergency or increased in the case of a repeat offender. Other aggravating factors include:
- Driving LGV, HGV, PSV etc
- Carrying passengers or heavy load
- Location (I.E near a school)
- Poor weather conditions
Factors reducing include:
- No previous convictions
- Good character and/or exemplary conduct
- Case of genuine emergency
- Zero tolerance for repeat offenders, who will receive 3 or more points on their licence.
The new limit to these new sentencing fines: £2500 for those caught on the motorway and £1000 everywhere else.
Congratulations to our TWO new Brand Ambassadors Natalie Johnston and Rachel Morrow.
Natalie and Rachel have won the first ever joint CIS Brand Ambassador award for their role model behaviours and consistently strong performance.
Natalie and Rachel manage new business car insurance for our teacher customers in the UK, demonstrating high levels of ownership, excellent customer service and all whilst maintaining an exceptionally positive attitude.
Well done to you both.
Statement – 21 April 2017
Following a strategic review, the underwriter of Cornmarket Insurance Services’ motorcycle insurance scheme has decided to withdraw from the motorcycle insurance market in the Republic of Ireland. As a consequence, from 1st July 2017, Cornmarket Insurance Services will no longer be in a position to offer new motorcycle insurance policies in the Republic of Ireland.
However, customers who currently have a motorcycle insurance policy through Cornmarket Insurance Services will be covered until their next renewal date.
To ensure that the insurance needs of our valued customers continue to be met after this date, Cornmarket Insurance Services has searched the market for a partner who can provide specialist bike insurance expertise at a competitive price. On this basis, Cornmarket Insurance Services has selected Carole Nash, one of the country’s most experienced motorcycle insurance brokers to provide customers with a new quote at next renewal date. Carole Nash has operated from its Dublin office since 1999 and is a proud supporter of the biking community.
Cornmarket Insurance Services has written to a number of customers who are due for renewal shortly, advising them of this change. All of Cornmarket’s motorcycle insurance customers in the Republic of Ireland will receive a communication either by post or email in the coming weeks.
This change does not affect any other aspect of Cornmarket’s business in either the UK or the Republic of Ireland.
We would like to assure our customers that there is no change to existing policies, up until next renewal date.
If you have any queries, please contact Cornmarket Insurance Services on 048 90442200 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
We have put together a list below to answer some of the questions our customers may have.
Q: I currently have a motorcycle insurance policy with Cornmarket Insurance Services. What does this mean for me?
A: The most important thing to know is that there is no change to your existing policy. You will continue to be insured through Cornmarket Insurance Services until your next renewal date. Before your next renewal date, Carole Nash will contact you with a new quote.
Q: As an existing customer of Cornmarket Insurance Services, what do I need to do next?
A: If you are happy for Carole Nash to offer you a quotation at renewal, you don’t need to do anything. Cornmarket Insurance Services has made arrangements to ensure that you will receive a quotation from Carole Nash in advance of your next renewal date. Until that date, you will still be insured through Cornmarket Insurance Services.
Q: How will I continue to pay for my policy?
A: In terms of payment for your existing policy, nothing changes until your next renewal date. Carole Nash will contact you before your next renewal date with a quotation. If you are happy with the premium, you will need to contact them to accept the quote and make arrangements for payment.
Q: I have an outstanding claim, who do I need to contact?
A: Cornmarket Insurance Services remains your insurance broker until your next renewal date so any ongoing claims will continue to be dealt with by Cornmarket Insurance Services.
Q: What if I want to make a change to my existing policy?
A: If you want to make a change to your existing policy prior to your renewal date you should contact Cornmarket Insurance Services as usual on 048 9044 2200. However, if you wish to make a change effective on, or after your renewal date, you will need to contact Carole Nash. Contact details will be included in the information pack you receive from them.
Q: If I need to report a new claim, who do I contact?
A: If the accident occurs prior to the renewal date of your policy, you should report your claim to Cornmarket Insurance Services on 048 9044 2200. Lines are open from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, from 10.00am to 5.00pm on Friday and from 9am to 12.30pm on Saturday. If the accident/claim occurs after your policy renewal date, you should report it to Carole Nash or your chosen new insurer or broker.
Q: Will you share my data with Carole Nash?
A: Yes. Details of your current motorcycle insurance policy will be sent to Carole Nash, purely for the purpose of providing you with a quote. Carole Nash may contact you about this quotation by phone or in writing. If you do not wish to have your details shared with Carole Nash, please contact Cornmarket Insurance Services. However, it is important to note that if you request that your policy details are not shared, responsibility lies with you to ensure that you have adequate insurance cover in place with effect from your renewal date.
Q: How will my new policy be affected by this change?
A: Before your next renewal date, a policy summary will be provided by Carole Nash as part of your quotation pack. Cornmarket Insurance Services has selected Carole Nash as they are an experienced motorcycle insurance broker and can offer you a great package at a competitive price.
What has happened?
The Ministry of Justice has announced that it will cut the Ogden discount rate, a calculation used to determine lump sum compensation to claimants who have suffered life-changing injuries, from 2.5 per cent to minus 0.75 per cent. The news came as a shock to the Insurance industry, which had widely expected the rate to fall between 1.5pc and 1pc and the entire industry is highlighting that this will have a huge impact on premiums. This change took effect from 20th March 2017, marking the first time the rate has been changed since 2001. The move will cost the insurance industry millions of pounds and the car insurance premiums of 36 million drivers are set to rise in order to fund higher pay-outs to victims of serious accidents.
What is the Ogden rate?
When deciding on the level of compensation pay-outs, Insurers have been allowed to apply a discount rate to overall settlement awards to allow for the amount of interest that could be accrued on pay-outs. This discount is set by the Courts and is known as the Ogden rate. It has been set at a level of 2.5% since 2001.
Why has it changed?
The Government now says that this discount level is inappropriate, as interest rates have decreased considerably since 2001 and they do not believe that pay-outs are adequate. They are adjusting the discount rate to allow for higher compensation awards.
What will it mean for drivers?
Car insurance premiums will rise substantially in order to fund higher pay-outs to victims of serious accidents, as insurers have to set aside substantially more funding to pay for these larger compensation awards. This change will apply to outstanding claims, as well as claims going forward. Early indications suggest that an average car insurance policy is likely to cost £50 to £75 more each year, whilst young drivers could face up to £1,000 in extra costs.
This table1 shows just how big an impact the change could make on claims payments:
||@ 2.5% Ogden rate
||@ -0.75% Ogden rate
1 Ageas broker notification.
This blog was produced with IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is the official insurance provider for the IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is a trading brand of Cornmarket Insurance.
Ice on the windscreen
Be proactive and leave your house ten minutes earlier than you usually would, and never attempt to drive until your vision is clear as the chance of accidents will significantly increase and you will more than likely be held accountable for any damage. Make sure that your windscreen wipers are switched off before stopping the engine to park to avoid damage. Try popping your wipers up when you park so they aren’t left touching the windscreen if a freeze is in the forecast. This makes it easier to clear ice from the windscreen. Keep a good stock of de-icer in your car and practise good utilisation of air conditioning to speed up the condensation removal inside your car.
Dirt or salt residue will magnify the effect of the sun. According to IAM RoadSmart, in 2015 low lying sun was a factor in over 2,500 crashes (including 17 fatalities). So, remember to top up your windscreen wash and it’s a good idea to keep a scraper in your car. Avoid using your windscreen wipers to remove ice from your windscreen as this could damage the blades.
Starting your engine
GEM motor assist advises that on starting the engine; depress the clutch pedal when starting. This will make sure the starter motor will not need to rotate the gearbox shafts with cold and thick transmission oil. After the engine has started you can release the pedal slowly.
Check your antifreeze
Make sure your antifreeze is effective and in good supply as it stops the water in the engine cooling system from freezing. Antifreeze tester costs around £5. This is a tube/pipette type object that you lower into the coolant (when the engine is cold) to measure the freezing point. Make sure antifreeze strength is between 30% & 50%. The engine will freeze if the concentration is too low, and if too high the effectiveness of the solution to disperse heat is reduced.
Remove the snow from the roof of your car before you begin driving. Snow falling from vehicles fall in the way and obstruct the visibility of yourself and other drivers. There is also an increased chance of being pulled over by police due to obstruction of registration plates, which can potentially lead to a penalty.
IAM RoadSmart also recommends dressing warmly for the winter. Many drivers dress based on their car heater, and do not consider the potential to be stranded in the cold.
‘See and be seen’
Daytime is shorter and weather is worse. Ensure exterior car lights are clear and don’t forget to turn your lights on in the dark mornings and early evenings. Remember to carry extra lights in case you need a replacement.
The AA recommends that motorists have 3mm of tyre tread depth in winter for driving (the legal requirement is 1.6mm). The tread disperses loose water and snow and helps the car from aquaplaning (the deeper the tread depth the better in terms of snow/rainy conditions). Check tyre pressure once a week also. Tyre pressure in winter can also be an important factor to consider. Tyres lose a pound of pressure for every drop of 12 degrees Celsius – and an under-inflated tyre will not grip through the snow as one with pressure.
Don’t risk running late because of a flat battery. Winter can increase stress on battery life particularly if you park outdoors. Check your battery (some car-parts stores do this for free).
GEM motoring assist recommend that if you cover many short journeys then there is a higher risk that your engine will not get the chance to warm up fully during the winter months. Try driving your car for a longer period of time at least once a fortnight (in speeds of 45mph+). Make sure your turn off any accessories that are likely to drain your battery as soon as you are finished with them, such as heated rear windows and seats.
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