Annual Review

The website tumbled through 2017 like a discarded newspaper in a gale, sometimes whooshing along at a pace but mostly getting ripped up in the thorns of a hedge.

After 16 years has now passed 1 million visitors! Sorry we couldn't give our millionth customer a gold plated motorcycle.

New Content

Hysterical histories

Like last year we added over a hundred new pages, almost half of which were rally reports from major contributors Phil the Spill and Dave Ranger.

Early on in the year Tony Sheppard repeated his tour-de-force by recounting his youthful experiences, this time in a series called Cordite that featured guns instead of motorcycles.

A successful new departure for was the MotoGP sub-section expertly delivered by Roland Potter. Tell us if you would like to see more sport reporting. Better still - write it for us!

Hans Veenendaal sent data for his European Rally List every week, even when touring on his combo. His desktop pages, mobile page and download files brought over 20% of all website activity. A large proportion of visitors to those pages were continental motorcyclists even though the list also features British and Irish rallies.

Other new content was spread throughout different sections with additions of photographs and paragraphs to existing pages.

Plus there were weekly, monthly or irregular updates to our News, Statistics and Blog pages respectively.


Scribes and artists

I've already mentioned the strong and consistent contribution made to the website by Phil (the Spill) Drackley, Dave Ranger, Hans Veenendaal, Roland Potter and Tony Sheppard. Many others keep the site alive and interesting by sending short comments or faded snaps.

Everyone who sends stuff in is acknowledged on the page that features it and is indexed in our Bibliography. Use our Contact Centre to send your thoughts and memories on the spur of the moment as you read any page.

On the right are the six people whose pages, photos and badges were most viewed by visitors to through 2017. It confirms that readers are still enjoying memories of years ago while living in the present and planning for the future.

Website Users

That's you. Take a bow.

Most folk come for our Rally Section, possibly as a salve for some youthful alcoholic trauma. Or maybe to choose from the Rally Listing in a vain attempt at aversion therapy.

We managed to include a few jokes in some of the News Updates over the year. I know they are popular because of how many people tell me those jokes in the following week.

Every year we show you a table of the top non-English speaking countries that view - there it is, over on the right. To put it into perspective, all the Foreign Johnnies together make up less than 20% of our visitors. Britain is home for just over half of our visitors as you might expect. United States make up almost 15% and other ... er ... English speaking countries visit in their thousands every month.

We have seen interest from 194 countries and this year for the first time welcomed the curious from Cape Verde, Mali and Saint Vincent. (When I describe them as curious, I mean inquisitive, not peculiar)


Rolling along.

Motorcycle rides are, if anything, becoming ever more popular activities for past as well as present members of the Leicester Phoenix MCC. This year saw parties touring France, holidaying in North Wales, taking a break on the south coast and tearing off to places of interest at the drop (and careful catching) of a helmet.

Most of our motorcycling photos are on our Facebook page.
Left to right Mick Ayriss (Velocette), Grahame Billington (Triumph), Simon Over (Triumph), John Muschialli (Triton), Ian Bower (Triumph), Dave Parry (Norton) and John Ashworth (Velocette).

The year has not been without mishaps to remind us that we no longer bounce. Bones have mended and bikes have been repaired or replaced but not abandoned.

Plans are rolling for major sorties in 2018 and the year after. If you are interested in riding and not racing, send us your mobile phone number and we'll let you know when we are dropping hats.


Thirsty riders.

Come rain or shine, Embers cycle group continues to break wind new ground every Thursday. Dedicated practice doesn't make us any fitter or faster but we are finding where the good pubs are. Then we have to go back again to keep the memory fresh. Bit like the reason for this website.

This year we had 54 rides that covered 1384 official miles. In all 18 riders covered over 16,000 miles in total.

Back Office

The tekky stuff

We began the year with the best of intentions; no less than a complete restyle and rewrite of the whole website! That idea lasted about as long as the rest of our New Year Resolutions. However it gave rise to a less ambitious plan to audit all underlying JavaScript on the site. That monumental task took several months, saw few improvements but caused lots of problems. It was the hedge we were torn apart on.

Our statistics page is a dry old assortment of charts and figures. This year we began to show you how much time you are frittering away wisely investing in pages. You can see it on your computer: no-one else can.

Big changes came because of Roland's MotoGP reports. They deservedly generated a lot of stars and many people who rated the pages where expecting their stars to appear immediately; when they didn't, they hit SEND again. So as well as automating the process of adding stars we double check for multiple entries. Now when you have rated a page, the stars turn green. Then we added a client-side (that's you) check for more clicks. If they occur we invite you to send a comment or look at another page instead. While we were at it we became more pro-active in inviting your opinion of pages that you haven't rated yet. Then, to get really tekky, we put a table of stars in the self-documentation of every rated page. Finally we corrected the count on the statistics page to indicate the number of pages rated each month instead of ratings received or total stars. The star rating system was busted until the start of the year but by the end it was better than ever.

We had a falling out with Firefox this year. It was our favourite browser because it was faster at operating the things that write and check our pages. Internet Explorer was too slow and Chrome needs to operate through a server. Then Firefox slowed down. So we employed Web Workers on our main administration page. That worked fine until Mozilla's Quantum update in the autumn. Firefox still works fast but now takes ages to open non-server served pages. Hmfff

Other things you may have noticed ...

Some of this year's improvements and all of the errors I blame on Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke. For me it's a prime example of a little learning being a dangerous thing.


Going before us

Sadly as the years pass, so do good friends and it pains us that we can no longer tap their memory for reassurance that our shared experiences were real.

This year we said goodbye to Ron Rutherford, Reuben Wesson and, at the close of the year, John Wilmot MBE.

They were, apart from everything else, unique characters in the Leicester Phoenix MCC and contributed their enthusiasm to the spirit of the club that made it so enjoyable for everyone. I commend you to look up each of them in our People Index or hover your mouse pointer over their name in the left hand menu and follow the links. Send in personal anecdotes that we can share in their honour.


Viva la Resolution.

Join with me in a verse of Auld Lang Syne and let's make our New Year resolutions.

I resolve to...YouMe