May 16, 2013

Chairmans Chunk - Spring 2013

Well here we are celebrating the spring of 2013 with the average temperature at minus two degrees, roads closed due to snow in Scotland and the north of England and floods in the southwest of England while Wales and Ireland bask in torrential rain and high winds.   I suppose we should be thankful that the UK falls within a ‘temperate zone’ or we could be experiencing bad weather?

Still, the outlook ahead is looking bright because by the time you receive this magazine the “You’ve Been Nabbed 22” rally will be just under a month away. (At least I fervently hope so!)  And as everybody knows “The sun shines on the righteous” so the weekend of May 10th – 12th should be a stunner!


Open House:

So what happened?  It seems like every time I say “The Open House magazine is back on track” something always goes wrong with the next issue.  I don’t think I’ll be risking saying it again, even when I believe the production problems to be finally sorted out.

Last year we did manage to get all four issues published, albeit with the summer issue (71) being five weeks late and the autumn issue (72) being even later than that. 

Unfortunately issue 71 was delayed due to our publishers ‘Red Hen Promotions Ltd’ had some technical difficulties with advertising and this was further compounded when our printers were hit by a flood.

Things got worse with issue 72 when Red Hen were unable to sell any advertising and the NABD had to pay the full cost of printing.  Additional problems at the printers added a further delay to this already fraught issue.  Red Hen Productions donated their time free of charge to the NABD to help us get issue 72 produced but it was obvious that I would need to find a way of getting the magazine back on track and fully funded by advertising revenue.

I’m sorry to report that, as of yet, I have not been able to solve these problems.  Issue 73 was due out in January but, as you know, this did not happen.  This current issue has been produced with the help of Red Hen Productions, their bill being covered by selling four pages of advertising.  This still leaves the printing costs as a significant burden on the funds of the NABD.  Our efforts to solve this problem will continue and I ask that all members and supporters bear with us if there are any delays in the production of the next couple of issues.  I can assure you we are working our ‘cojones’ off trying to get back to a fully funded magazine that hits every printing date.  Personally I had to cancel my planned weekend away with my girlfriend Francesca (where I could commiserate with myself at the passing of my 53rd birthday) to get this effort finished and I don’t often get the chance of a weekend break, so the sooner this gets sorted out, the better.


New Motorcycle Licensing Laws:

I’m sure many of you will already be aware that a new ‘Staged Motorcycle Licensing’ system came into force on January 19th 2013.  The introduction of these laws seems to have caught many people unaware of its details and implications. 

Luckily the NABD have been on-the-ball with this piece of Eurocratic nonsense since the consultation period started for years ago and thanks to a lot of hard work on our part, we have been able to protect disabled riders from those aspects of the new system that would have affected them badly.

A few years ago I put together a detailed report for the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and the Department for Transport (DfT) identifying aspects of the proposals that would aversely affect disabled people.  This report was well received by the UK authorities and went on to form part of the case for exemptions to be agreed throughout Europe.  We are rightly proud to have, once again, influenced a European directive in such a positive way.

Under the new legislation, people under 24 years of age must pass through three stages of tests over a minimum of four years before gaining a full and unrestricted motorcycle licence.  These ‘staged’ licenses’ are governed by restrictions based on the power to weight ratios of various sizes of motorcycles.

Further complications came from the fact that, under the new legislation, trikes have become part of the motorcycle (category A) licence. (Previously they had been covered by the car (category B and B1) licence).  In a typical piece of Eurocratic madness the people tasked with formulating this directive seemed unaware (or perhaps unconcerned) that this would stop anybody under the age of 24 from riding a trike on a provisional licence, because trikes by their very nature do not fit into the same power to weight ratios as motorcycles.

An exemption negotiated by the NABD has come into force, which allows disabled trike riders under the age of 24 to still ride trikes on a provisional licence under the new staged licensing laws. Without the intervention of the NABD, disabled riders would no longer be able to ride trikes on a provisional licence or take a test on a trike.  We have also ensured that disabled riders under the age of 24 who chose a motorcycle and sidecar outfit as the best adaptation to suit their disability will also be exempt from the staged motorcycle licensing process.

There are too many aspects of the new licensing law to deal with it here so I have put together a more detailed synopsis elsewhere in this issue.


More on Motorcycle & Trike Tests:

We have been asked by the DSA training establishment in Bedfordshire to bring a small group of disabled riders along to their facility in April to consult with them on various physical aspects of the motorcycle test procedure.  This is something we have done previously when the last set of changes were made to UK motorcycle tests and that time we were able to identify several aspects of the test procedure that could unfairly affect disabled riders.  The DSA went on to adjust the process to solve these issues.  It is testament to the good relationship we have with the DSA and the respect they have for the NABD, that they have asked us to consult with them again on the latest changes.


New Learner Loaners:

Two of our Learner/Loaner (Adapted 125cc motorcycles) are currently being used by disabled people for training and test purposes. (They tend to be in greater demand during the summer, for obvious reasons).  A number of our older learner/loaner machines are well beyond their useful lifespan and it has been quite a trial keeping them going.  We have, for some time now, been hoping to replace the worst of them and now that process has begun in earnest.
Two new Learner/Loaners have been acquired thanks to a long-term fundraising project by NABD members and supporters in the Sheffield area under the guidance of NABD Rep Stuart Gregory.  We will have a detailed report on the fundraising project and its results in the next issue of Open House, but I thought it well-worth mentioning here because it is such an excellent achievement.

We are also launching another project to raise the funds for a third new learner/loaner as a memorial to the late and much loved NABD stalwart Ken Chaplin who tragically died at the Dragon Rally in February this year.  There is a full-page item about Ken and this fundraising project elsewhere in this issue.  Details are also featured on the NABD website and on the Facebook page


You’ve Been Nabbed 22 (May 10th – 12th 2013):

The You've Been Nabbed 22 rally tickets are selling well. The event is set for May 10th - 12th at Astle Park near Chelford in Cheshire. 

Due to pressure from the local authorities we have removed our restrictions on people attending by car in a bid to stop people parking illegally in the local area and walking into the event.

If you have not yet been to a You’ve Been Nabbed rally, take a look at the three-page article in this issue featuring some of the highlights of last year’s event.  With its packed itinerary of diverse and high quality entertainment, together with good facilities and excellent company, this rally remains by far the best value-for-money event on the motorcycle scene and lets face it, in these austere times value-for-money counts for a hell of a lot.

Even if you can only manage one motorcycle event this year, make it this one.  You will not be disappointed!

Advance tickets will only remain on sale until May 4th so phone the office now on 0844 415 4849 and get yours before it’s too late.

You can also buy tickets via or by sending a cheque made out to ‘NABD’ to: Unit 20, The Bridgewater Centre, Robson Avenue, Manchester, M41 7TE.

(See the full page advert in this issue for further details)


Sponsor a Barrel of Ale at You’ve Been Nabbed 22:

Following the great success of this project at YBN21 and Autumn Nabd’ness 2012 we are offering people the chance to sponsor a barrel of real ale in our hugely popular Real Ale Marquee at YBN22.  For a mere £75.00 sponsors can have their name on a barrel of ale, they will also be included in the sponsors list and receive a laminated Certificate of Sponsorship from the NABD.

If you are in a club, why not propose that they sponsor a barrel? 

If you are self-employed and you pay tax, why not sponsor a barrel yourself?  Promotional expenses and charitable donations can all be written off against tax. 

If you work for a company, why not talk to your boss about it?  It’s very good publicity and it has to feel better than handing your money over to the Tax Man!

There are full details in this issue, but if I’ve already convinced you; e-mail or telephone 0844 415 4849 and we will let you have a simple form to fill in.  (See the full page advert in this issue for further details)


Committee Changes:

NABD stalwart Gary Seddon has resigned from the post of Projects Coordinator due to personal problems and Wendy Seddon has given notice that she will not be re-standing for the post of Assistant Secretary at the Annual General Meeting on June 29th 2013.

Both Gary and Wendy remain committed supporters and active members of the NABD and both will be in evidence at the You’ve Been Nabbed rally organising and supervising various aspects of the event marshalling as usual.  Gary and Wendy have given their all to the NABD over many years and I cannot overstate the debt of gratitude that this association owes them. 

People who are interested in volunteering for either of these national posts should contact Wendy via to get an insight into what they may be letting themselves in for.  Both posts require a firm commitment to the aims of the NABD and a decent level of literacy (as well as a fairly thick skin).  Applicants will be very warmly welcomed.


New Thumb Brake Kits:

John Wheaver, producer of the Wheaver Thumb-operated brake kits for the NABD has now retired.  John was semi-retired when we first approached him with the problem of thumb brakes and the kits he went on to develop and produce were far superior to any alternatives on the market.  Wheaver Thumb Brakes have been the standard solution to a number of issues for many years so you can imagine our reaction to the news that he was finally laying down his tools and would no longer be able to supply them to us.

Thanks initially to Gary Seddon (ex Adaptions Coordinator) and latterly to Tracey Browne (current Adaptions Coordinator) we now have a new supplier of high quality thumb operated brake kits.  Hudson Performance Engineering of Bristol are now producing thumb brake kits for the NABD.  Hopefully by the next issue of Open House I will have included details and photos in the regular “Rough Guide to Adaptions” article.  For this issue I have removed the article rather than publish out of date information.

Our thanks go to John Wheaver for the sterling work he has done for disabled riders over the years and we wish him the very best for his retirement.

We also warmly welcome Steve Hudson as a new member of the NABD family and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.


The Nabdonia Rally (July 5th – 7th 2013):

Following the success of last few years Nabdonia Rallies at the Swallow Falls Hotel we will be using the same venue again.  Many people enjoyed the event having a somewhat different pace than our other rallies and I know a lot of people enjoyed having the option of YHA rooms and hotel rooms as well as camping.  These options will all feature in the event again this year and with the lessons we learned last year we should be able to improve the event even further.  This event has a strict 250-ticket limit and I would certainly advise you to book your accommodation early if you want to go in the hotel or the YHA.  People are also welcome to attend in campervans but they must arrange to pay for weekend parking with the hotel.

This year the event will be all the more poignant, as it has for several years been where our beloved Ken Chaplin celebrated his birthday.  It will be very odd him not being there in person this year but I’m sure he will be there in spirit and in our hearts.

Nabdonia was a lovely laid-back event last year in a beautiful part of Britain if you were there, we would love to have you back.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should!

(See the full page advert in this issue for further details)


NABD Grants:

The temporary suspension of the grants scheme between December 2011 and May 2012 is well and truly behind us now.  By October 2012 we had cleared the backlog of outstanding grant applications and our new system of administering grant applications has proven as effective as we had hoped in avoiding periods of overspending.

Demand for help with the cost of adapting bikes and/or trikes is still steadily growing as ever more people are finding their finances stretched to breaking point by the current recession and the pathetic management of it by our current bunch of inept self-serving politicians.  Over the past two months we have awarded 7 grants totalling £7,542.00 to help disabled riders to adapt bikes or trikes to suit their needs and more are coming in all the time.  The work of the NABD has never been more important than it is now and it is only with your support that we can continue to ensure that when it comes to motorcycling, a disability is not a handicap.


Well I recon that’s the lot for this issue.  It only remains for me to thank Richard and Keith at Red Hen Productions Ltd for pulling a blinder and getting this issue together in record time.  Here’s to a good long summer, starting at You’ve Been Nabbed 22.