Good evening, or possibly not, because this latest rant is really a companion piece to my last, Aug 3rd blog (with its many endearing typos, since corrected).   And following that I’ve received the news that our wonderful caring, sharing government is proposing to ban petrol-powered mopeds, 125cc motorbicycles  and scooters by 2030. And then follow that up by banning all oil-burning ‘bikes come 2035. This edict is a consequence of a long-awaited consultation process which has apparently ignored submissions from the (IMHO toothless) trade body the MotorCycle Industry Assoc. and the (IMHO codger-like) British Motorcycle Federation who point out that the charging infrastructure the electric ‘bikes that we’re all supposed to buy instead is nowhere near adequate nor growing fast enough. And yet…

“We have already committed to phasing out fossil fuel use across road transport,” said Trudy Harrison MP, Minister of State for Transport, “with sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans ending as early as 2030… It is therefore important that L-category vehicles (basically, ‘bikes) do not remain fossil-fuelled as the rest of the transport fleet cleans up.”

Now excluding pedalecs which are basically slower, less range-capable equivalents of mopeds, electric ‘bikes made up just 2.8% of powered 2-wheeler sales in 2021 – a figure which I even find excessive – and although we’re told that Triumph, Norton and the revived BSA are working on electric prototypes, as are numerous foreign manufacturers who of course supply the vast majority of the ‘bikes we buy, but like their four-wheeled brethren, the few existing battery ‘bikes are even more expensive to buy than the other sort, e.g. Energica’s Ribelle costing £26,690 and Zero’s SR/F at £20,990, and don’t have anything like the range of a modern, petrol-driven machine.

Although the MCIA claims that “eight years to fully transition doesn’t sound like a problem,” it is true that the cost and availability of entry-level models will likely deter newcomers to our little game, newcomers that as mentioned in my last dispatch are already thin on the ground, never mind the tarmac.

With my famously pessimistic hat on, I might argue that by 2035 and possibly even 2030 I won’t be around and certainly not in a mood to buy a new motorbike, certainly not after my recent interface ‘twixt BMW and tarmac – see pic – I remain passionately committed to the cause. And hope that you are too. In which case you can comment, forcefully I hope, on the Govt’s consultation document using this link. Tell ‘em Williams sent you.

email your response here

Woe was me


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About markswill

For those unaware of my glittering career, I started scribbling for the underground press in 1968 and by complete chance was appointed Music Editor of International Times when I happened to visit their office for the first time in '69 on a day trip down from Birmingham. Naturally I took all of a stoned nanosecond to accept the offer... and it's all been uphill ever since. If you really give a stuff, a full resume of my, er, resume is available on the Career page of my website, www.markwilliamsmedia.co.uk, but for now just be content to know that I'm an opinionated media junkie of a certain age who won't sit still.

17 thoughts on “ELECTRIC LA-LA LAND

  1. Nice boot! Is that the lastest form BMW in their GS adventure boutique range? Perfect for when the ATW brigade have to stand up to tackle the speed humps in Tesco car park 😉 . Speedie recovery to you.
    I doubt there will be a need to “ban” motorcycles from the road, they are doing their best to make it unaffordable for the average person, ( as with all personal transport). Just another tactic to keep the great unwashed in their place.
    VIVA LE REVOLUTION! Sadly not in my life time 😠


  2. Thanks for this Sam and yes, as I moaned in my last blog, biking is likely dying out anyway. And no, my BM is an ancient but thoroughly competent and fun K75S – the flying brickette. My second in fact, the first I bought new and kept for ten years, this one’s an ABS version, nearly 30 years old but no real signs of weariness… yet!


    • My late father bought a new one back in the 80’s. Certainly we’ll engineered the K series, just a shame it didn’t have an Italian designer. 😉


      • Actually, I rather like the looks – but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?! – though the ABS units are an eyesore. Some people remove them, but I never got round to that… yet.


  3. Hi. Couldn’t agree more. No news on phasing out cruise liners consuming up to350 tonnes, that’s 350,000 litres a day a full speed then? Meanwhile motorcycles have got to electric? Utterly nonsensical I would say……
    Hope the leg gets better quickly!
    Best regards, Tony.


    • It’s worse even than that. Water is 1000 litres per tone, but oil is rather less dense, and comes in at something like 1,200 litres per ton, from memory. So that’s 420,000 litres, getting on towards half a million litres per day. And that’s before we get started on the huge waste of resources that goes into stocking the all-you-can-eat 24-hour buffets to keep the cruise victims happy.


  4. Every week that goes by more stupidity jumps on the bandwagon. And I look forward to when people finally understand the process of manufacturing electric vehicles at their batteries and the immense amount of electricity there’ll be used which can’t be supplied by solar or wind. Oh, I’m sure that we will all be using captive fusion reactors. Small, recirculating water self-contained fission reactors are hitting the market, each one capable of powering 600 to 700 homes. I assume reactors will go for like a fart in a diving suit with the general public.


  5. Absolutely Mark – it`s a ridiculous forward position.
    Loved your Gran Milano project-didn`t get an answer from the seller so assume sold,
    Rupert Smedley
    07831 441 338


    • Thanks for the approbation Rupert but I’m mystified by your Gran Milano ref: I’M the seller and I haven’t had a single nibble, so it’s still unsold: any interest, get in touch?


      • Hi Mark
        Always a pleasure Mark, have been enjoying your work for a long, long time – when is a good time to speak – what is your number or call me or text?
        07831 441 338


  6. Just to put the forthcoming comments into perspective, I’ve driven electric cars for the last five years, covering something like 75,000 miles travelling to customers all around the UK (would have been more, but Brexit scuppered my business from about 2018 onwards, then Covid screwed up the few tattered remnants after that. No matter, moving swiftly on…).

    I am a huge fan of electric cars. No point going into why here, anyone reading will have already made up their minds one way or another and won’t care about my opinions, but it’s relevant to what’s coming:

    Banning petrol bikes is a *huge* mistake. It seems to me to be a move from people who don’t understand how us aging bikers (and hell yes, as per Mark’s previous column, we’re aging rapidly as a group) use bikes.

    Bikes for basic transport, commuting to work and so on, if you have off-street parking, an electric bike makes a huge amount of sense. As soon as you go beyond that, and do any kind of riding for pleasure, the limited range and restricted charging options will bite. Most of my riding these days is touring around the UK and Europe, and while I could do that on an electric bike, it would massively change the nature and the style of riding, pushing me much more onto main roads rather than back roads, and reducing the mileage I could do on the days when I want to cover some distance.

    More importantly, what problem is being solved here? What percentage of fossil fuel burnt on the road goes into bikes? I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t do more than about 2-3,000 miles a year these days, and most of my riding friends are the same. And we make up a tiny fraction of the vehicles on the road.

    Ah, well. What will come will come. I’ll carry on riding the bikes I have (and as one of those is a fifty year old BMW, I doubt age will be too much of an issue). Maybe I’ll treat myself to something new in 2029, my 2014 Tiger will be about ready for replacement by then.



  7. I find it hard to see the most sensible way forwards here. The arguments for and against electric cars rage on. They are a cul de sac IMHO. What of hydrogen? Possibly. Advanced ICE with synthetic fuel? Could be an answer as we would avoid the vast cost of ripping up and replacing existing fuelling infrastructure. Only now are we becoming aware of the huge CO2 impact of knocking down and rebuilding the built environment…witness M&S travails with its plans for its Oxford St ‘flagship’. Bikes are a mere drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of things here in the UK. But not in most Asiatic metropolitan regions.

    Would I like an electric motorcycle? Not ridden one. But I can tell you that my electric Mountain Bike is one the most fun things I have ever bought. I sold my Honda SL230 right away. (But 5k for a bicycle???? They’re having a laugh and I’m a mug!!)


    • Both hydrogen and synthetic fuels fail on efficiency, for me. Far too much energy input to get the fuel into the car.

      I am dithering over buying a decent electric bicycle currently. Great fun, to a large extent everything I originally loved about motorbikes, but that’s a lot of money, as you say.



  8. Well hiya Mark, and sincere hopes that you are well and finding some enjoyment in these increasingly bizarre times.
    I think you have hit your own nail squarely on the head: “by 2035 and possibly even 2030 I won’t be around and certainly not in a mood to buy a new motorbike”
    And that mate, is the wonderful secret of Mother Nature’s greatest and cleverest invention, nay gift; Death. Without it there’d be no progress; because ‘we’ oldies know everything, have tried everything, and worst off all, we insist on using our hard-earned, super-credible, ‘can’t beat it’ experience to discourage our idiotic, rash, know-all kids from doing anything different.
    So cough, fart, expire, and move over and out to make way for the next lot of aspirant ‘know-alls’. They’ll find their kicks in something new, just like we trail-blazers (think we) did. And that’s progress.
    All the very best, and cheer up, we did our bit and we did it well.

    Liked by 1 person

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