How my police motorcyclist Dad and bike-mad Mum taught me to stay safe on the road

Jonny Hough lives and breathes motorcycles and motorcycle training. As the owner of Staysafe Advanced Motorcycling in Manchester, he delivers advanced training across the north-west of England. We caught up with him in Stafford to find out what makes him tick(over).

Jonny, you’re a self-confessed motorcycle nut. Were you born with a motorcycle attached? I heard you started young …
I am indeed a motorcycle nut, any bike attracts my attention. I started very young, age four in fact. My mother bought me an Italjet 50 and it went from there! My father was a serving police motorcyclist and also a police instructor so I had the benefit of his knowledge from a very young age listening to his commentary through the intercom up until I was old enough to take my bike test – completely priceless!

Wow – how amazing to grow up with such bike-mad parents! What bike(s) do you ride at the moment?
I only have the one bike at the moment, BMW 1200GS, an excellent all round bike.

What’s your favourite, from all the bikes you have owned?
I’ve owned several bikes including motocross bikes from way back when I was racing. I did own a ZX6R for a while which was great fun. But I must say the GS tops the bill.

How did you end up in motorcycle training?
I ended up in motorcycle training by chance. I passed my IAM test in 2008, went on to become an Observer and then on to gain many more qualifications before opening Staysafe.

Tell me about Staysafe …
Staysafe offers advanced training at any level, from one-day courses through to five-day courses. We also offer bespoke courses for any requirement. We also offer taster sessions straight through to preparation for the IAM Masters test which is the pinnacle of civilian advanced riding. We held a promotional morning earlier this year which was a great success and generated a lot of interest. We will be holding a workshop for the people who couldn’t make our first event.

What’s your view on the current motorcycle training and testing offered to new riders in the UK? What improvements would you make if you were in charge?
If I were to change anything I’d probably change the CBT form a one-day to a two-day course, I believe that would give novice riders confidence before they go it alone.

What’s the most satisfying aspect of your job?
Seeing a rider develop and gain confidence.

I met an IAM Observer recently who gave me a good piece of advice about riding. “Think of it as a job, and keep your mind on the job,” he said. What’s your ONE piece of safety advice?
That’s a good piece of advice, I like that. My advice would probably be “if you don’t look, you won’t see.”

Any low points to your career?
No real low points other than the odd tip off from time to time, but that’s all part of the enjoyment of riding a motorbike.

And highs?
I’ve had lots of highs, mostly from when students fulfil the goals they’ve set themselves and I’ve helped them achieve them.

What do you do for holidays?
I enjoy travelling (on the bike of course) into Europe when I can but I also enjoy the TT and going over to the Northwest 200 to watch the racing.

And what do you do when you’re not riding bikes …
When I’m not riding I do like to get away from the traffic by walking in the hills in the Peak District.

And do you have a motorcycle in the house?
I don’t have a bike in the house now but I must confess that my motocross bikes did live in the house when I was racing.

You can find out more about Staysafe Advanced Motorcycling at Jonny can be contacted on 07580 761728.