Posts Tagged ‘motoring news’

The United States of Manchester…

Posted on May 17th, 2011 by James Luckhurst

Imagine jumping on your motorbike with the sole purpose of visiting 33 towns, all called Manchester. That’s the task Manchester-based motorcyclist Pete Johnson set himself. A total journey of 9,727 miles across America and Canada, crossing 30 states during an epic ride lasting 36 days.

The United States of Manchester…

Pete left Manchester (UK) on Friday 13 May to embark on his solo riding journey. To prepare for his departure, the Mancunian biker visited a number of iconic Manchester locations to bid farewell to his home city. He explained that he had been planning the mammoth trip for almost three years but had given up all hope of ever completing the journey when he was forced to close down his business last year.

The Competition

He threw away all his plans and maps, but in a last ditch attempt he submitted his dream to the Bennetts Biking Dream website, which was set up last year to fulfil £80,000 worth of biking dreams as part of the organisation’s 80th anniversary celebrations.

His passion for two wheels and his dedication to fulfilling his dream were recognised by judges and he was chosen as the winner from a field of almost 5,000 entries.  Therefore, his dream could suddenly come true and he could start planning in earnest.

The Journey

He started the journey in Boston before riding into Canada and back out past Niagara Falls, then towards New York and Connecticut. His route zig zags across the country, travelling south to North Carolina, north to Wisconsin and then south to Georgia and Louisiana before a final northbound journey to South Dakota.

The terrain after that is much more rugged: Montana, then into Washington State where he begins the final leg of the journey south towards his final destination in San Francisco. He will also take in the locations of some Manchesters that no longer exist, such as Manchester South Dakota, which was completely destroyed by a hurricane in 2004 and now only concrete floors remain.

“It’s going to be a phenomenal trip,” said Pete before he went.  “I got into biking relatively late in life and as soon as I was bitten by the bug I was planning to do a long haul trip. As a true Mancunian, I’m fascinated by how far the city’s name has travelled and I’m really keen to see if any of our cultures or traditions have made it as far. I’m preparing myself for a trip of stark contrasts in terms of the places and people that I expect to come across. I’ve already had lots of offers from people in the US inviting me to stay with them when I’m passing by, which will be a much better way of understanding the local culture than staying in hotels every night.”

Bennetts Communications Manager, Michael Mann, said: “Pete’s dream was definitely one of the most ambitious that we came across from our entries, but having met him, we’re confident that he will take it all in his stride.

Mazda MX5 smashes Guinness World Record

Posted on March 1st, 2011 by Rob Marshall

The world’s most popular roadster, the Mazda MX-5, sets a new record, when the 900,000 car left the factory on the 4th February.

At the turn of the Millennium, the MX-5 was certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s ‘best selling two-seater sports car’, when over half a million vehicles were made. Mazda is applying to have the figure updated to acknowledge production of the 900,000th car.

The Japanese manufacturer picked up the baton from affordable British open-top sports cars, such as the Triumph Spitfire and the MGB, and produced its first MX5 in February 1989, to remind the motorist that open-top driving could still be fun in a world filled with ever-stricter safety and quality standards.

With new prices that range from £17,975 – £23,205, the open-top Mazda is not as affordable as the old British cars once were. To celebrate its production milestone, the company has introduced two ‘Miyako’ special edition models, with either 1.8 or 2.0-litre engines, but they still retail at over £18,000. Still, the MX5’s popularity guarantees that the one millionth vehicle is not too far away.


I’m saving all my love for… my car?

Posted on February 14th, 2011 by David Williams MBE

I’m saving all my love for… my car?

I’m just reading a press release from a chain of tyre fitting shops, claiming that nearly half of UK motorists found their cars more reliable than their partners. Yes, a staggering 48 per cent of car owners questioned would put more trust in their vehicle than their other half, citing ‘fewer breakdowns’ and ‘moans and groans’ from their cars. Furthermore, 40 per cent admitted they would prefer to go to a motor show or car related event than take their partner out to dinner and 45 per cent opted to buy an accessory or modification for their car instead of a present for their partner – if they were to fall into money.

Oh dear. I’m not liking what I read. But at least the statistics place these motorists firmly in the minority – though not the sort of minority we might have come to expect.  I wonder how these embittered motorists would react to the news from Mercedes in Tokyo, just a couple of weeks ago, that they were to produce a chocolate-themed version of their Smart car. Note chocolate-themed, not real chocolate! Apparently it’s traditional in Japan for women to give men a gift of chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Japanese women are expected to buy Valentines presents for their husbands, male members of their families, their boyfriends, their bosses and their male colleagues. The men then repay the ladies’ choccy generosity with other gifts.

I’ve got the perfect Valentine’s Day present for any motorist… Especially if they’re concerned, as the group above appear to be, by breakdowns. GEM Motoring Assist’s award-winning breakdown cover is the best value around and can give you complete peace of mind when you or a loved one are out on the road. And, because you’ll save so much compared with the ‘breakdown big boys’, you can buy all the chocolate your loved one can eat, and still be nicely in profit!

Roses are red
Violets are blue,
I’m safe with GEM…
And so, dear, are you!

For tyre safety, look to the sky!

Posted on February 10th, 2011 by David Williams MBE

For tyre safety, look to the sky!I was delighted to read that those iconic Goodyear Blimps will be making a return to the skies over the UK over the course of this year. Goodyear tell us that they have a vision of road safety being a shared responsibility, and they wish to reinforce this message with the 2011 Goodyear Safety Tour – the first flights over this country for more than 10 years. From March until October, they say, two of the famous airships, named Spirit of Safety I and II, will visit 20 European countries to underline the tyre giant’s role in improving road safety.

The Goodyear Blimps first took to the skies 85 years ago, establishing a reputation for themselves as ‘guardian angels’ for the company, and symbolising the work of Goodyear’s innovation centres to reduce the number of road accidents across the globe.

Goodyear brand director Hugues Despres, says: “The Goodyear Blimp will take the lead on a number of road safety initiatives as it becomes the focal point for Goodyear’s consumer based activities and events. As it tours the skies of Europe, the Goodyear Safety Tour will allow us to communicate our drive for safety and provide us with a platform to promote our advances in tyre technology that has ensured safety for drivers and their families – and for the environment in which we live.”

Over the last decade, Goodyear Blimps have been ‘on tour’ around the globe, including the USA and China, but this tour marks the first European tour since 1999.

One word of warning, though. Whereas we applaud any initiative that seeks to bring road safety a higher profile, we urge you not to be distracted if you’re on the road when you see a Blimp. After all, there’s little use to a Safety Tour if all it does is cause accidents.