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Love your bikes? Then you’ll love the Bike Bus

Nigel Devereux
April 2, 2020
 
The Bike Bus pauses for a picturesque photo opportunity with Eilean Donan Castle in the background.


Operated by the Caledonian Motorcycle Transport Company, the Bike Bus specialises in professional long-distance motorcycle transport between Scotland and England, and always goes the extra mile to protect its precious cargoes.

The Bike Bus is a specially-converted minibus with the seats removed but the rubberised, nonslip floor covering and fully carpeted walls and roof left in place to rule out condensation.

With no bulkhead between the driver and his precious load, he can keep an eye on the bikes at all times, and for security purposes the windows are fully covered.

Once up on the 3x1m fixed, gas-assisted and nonslip folding ramp, you’ll find professional wheel chocks and a selection of soft ties and padded straps to protect paint, chrome and fairings.

Fixing options

Depending on the type of bike, and always for monoshocks, wheel straps are used to keep things secure. This takes the pressure off the suspension and avoids problems with seals or over-compressed springs.

The front end is a little trickier as the forks need to be compressed slightly to control the rebound over bumps and fully secure the bike into the wheel chock.Some firms don’t apply any straps at all to the front, but think of what could happen if the driver had to make an emergency stop or take a corner a bit sharpish!

There are several options for fixing the front down, but the Bike Bus uses a combination of soft ties with padded straps, or handlebar straps, and both protect your bike from any scratches or damage that metal hooks on the ratchet straps might otherwise cause.

When selecting a firm to move your bike, you should always ask to see their Motorcycles in Transit Insurance.

It isn’t a legal requirement, but the Bike Bus has invested in it and is happy to send customers a copy of the certificate. The Bike Bus cover is £40,000 because it carries all types of motorcycles, from high-end sports bikes to rare classics.

One half of the team is freelance motorcycle journalist ‘Gorgeous Biker Chick’ who wrote road tests for sister publication Classic Bike Guide, and quite a few others. These days she edits and publishes a magazine for Tiger Cub enthusiasts.

Modern road burners like this Norton Commando, seen about to be loaded onto the Bike Bus last December, deserve all the transport care they can get.

“My biking pedigree is short compared to most,” she says, “starting around 10 years ago when I took my CBT and rode around on a Yamaha TDR125 for a couple of years before progressing to my much-loved MZ Skorpion and a few Tiger Cubs. Yes, I’m a self-confessed (and proud of it) Tiger Cub nut.”

‘Geebee’ recently stood down from the post of secretary of the Grampian Classic Club which she’d held for eight years before becoming vice-chairman, and she’s also secretary of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club’s NE Scottish section.

She was also VMCC Scottish Area Rep for a number of years, helping to organise a selection of events in the north-east of Scotland.”

The other half of the Bike Bus team is Tony, a top driver who covers thousands of miles per month taking all kinds of bikes up and down the UK for private customers and motorcycle traders.

Rear wheel straps also play an important role in safely delivering the goods.

He’s spent all his working life in the road haulage industry, and his CV starts with contracts for the likes of Wilf Green (MZs) and Spartan kit cars, quickly learning how to secure vehicles safely and securely for transit.

Of course he loves to regale you with tales of loading bikes for Wilf onto an open Transit by riding them up a single wobbly plank and using nothing but ropes to fasten them down, but luckily times have changed, and ratchet straps have been invented!

Short-cuts

He knows the roads like the back of his hand, so while many van drivers use their sat navs and end up sitting in traffic or being delayed, he always has a short-cut or lesser-known route filed away to get the bikes to their destinations as quickly as possible.

He holds a HGV Class 1 licence and a Certificate of Professional Competence, takes pride in his work and knows how to do the best possible job.

Soft ties are used on a Yamaha 80 competition machine.

But what use would a motorcycle transport driver be without a passion for bikes? His memories of his 650 Norton aren’t rose-tinted, but he absolutely loved the Ariel Golden Arrow on which he would leave his buddies behind on the twisties (the smokescreen probably helped!), so if you have an Arrow for transportation, you might receive extra special treatment!

Both he and Geebee believe that, if you have a passion for something and can combine it with work, the outcome will always be the best for all.

Although the Bike Bus is on the road all week taking bikes up and down the country, more local transport can also be undertaken. If Tony is in the area and has the space, some great deals can be offered, but it is essential to get in touch early.

The Bike Bus team will in the Dirt Bike Hall with Tiger Cubs at the The 36th Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show at Stafford on April 23/24, so why not pop by for a chat?

To learn more about the Bike Bus, visit bookthebikebus@gmail.com or ring or text Tony on 07541 049427. If he’s driving, he’ll return the call at the earliest opportunity.

Read more News and Features at www.oldbikemart.co.uk and in the April 2020 issue of Old Bike Mart – on sale now!

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