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My oldest friend has written a book

When I say my oldest friend has written a book. I mean the friend I’ve known the longest, not the most elderly friend I have. “My Brother’s Bicycle: Enfield to Athens on a Tandem… by Les Stanley” recounts not just the trip mentioned in the title but various travels and travails around the world.

I should mention that I get a mention. Not polite, not pretty and unnecessarily cruel, I’m sure you will spot it. The book is sometimes spiritual, although I don’t think gin is mentioned. Sometimes thought provoking, though not so much as to give the reader a headache. Sometimes exasperating, tales of putting bikes on trains in France & Italy demonstrate the folly, in my opinion, of two-wheeled travel!

The style is conversational and very amusing. Les manages to put you in his shoes and gives you the opportunity to pedal along in his wake. A great read – highly recommended.

Available in a print or electronic format from Amazon and all good bookshops and some pretty crummy ones too.


This is the authors description of the book:

This book describes a journey of contemplation and misadventure as I re-live a bicycle trip I first embarked on as a fresh faced 20 year old. It was more than 40 years ago that I originally mounted the tandem and headed south with a guy I had met at Liverpool Street station a few days earlier. Rod Stewart was still on his third marriage. The channel tunnel was just a dream and only a few years had passed since Man first walked on the Moon. For the re-run I was better prepared, or so I thought. An electric bike as opposed to a clunky old tandem with barely functioning gears, and, as you’ll read in the book, limited braking capabilities. A GPS to guide me and help find accommodation. I even had a helmet and a trendy cycling shirt. I’d drawn the line at padded lycra shorts though. A far cry from the T-shirt, cut-off Levis, tattered maps and soggy campsites of my previous ride. And this time my wife was coming with me, not some guy called Alan from Enfield whom I had met through an ad in Time Out magazine. What could possibly go wrong?



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Memories… regrets and the best bits

A look back at the low points, missed opportunities and a few of the best bits from the past 35 years. 


When a separate theory test was introduced in 1996 it should have been accompanied by some compulsory theory training. A second chance to introduce this was missed in 2002 when the hazard perception element was introduced into the car theory test. Without legislation it has proved impossible to persuade students into a classroom environment.

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Memories… Europe

In 2013 I had the honour of being elected President of EFA, the European Driving Schools Association, and was re-elected unopposed three years later. This second term finished on 2nd May 2019 and I did not seek re-election.

Being President has been fascinating. It has given me the opportunity to travel widely across Europe and I have visited about 25 of the 44 European countries, 20 of them in the EU.

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Memories… Look Who’s Talking

This article was published in the Intelligent Instructor magazine titled “Look Who’s Talking John Lepine MBE – The Manager”

A figure to be reckoned with, larger than life and a font of information on all things driver training, and longstanding manager of the MSA, but after 42 years in the business, John Lepine has pulled up on the right and left the vehicle. His retirement not only leaves an unfillable space at the top table of the MSA, but also the top tier of the wider driver training industry in the UK (and even Europe for the time being).

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A spoke in the wheel for government’s ADI cycle training scheme

Readers of this blog will recall that the minister with the brief to cover road safety and cycling, Jesse Norman, announced a £500K project in August that will offer ADIs training to ensure cyclists’ safety is at the forefront of their minds when they teach new drivers. Teaching driver trainers how to teach learners now to handle cyclist.

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Time to change gear


Claire, Karen, Carol & John Lepine. Buckingham Palace 1991

My wife Carol and I have decided that, after 35 years of working for the Motor Schools Association of Great Britain, the time has come for us to have a change of gear and we plan to retire soon after the association’s National Conference in Nottingham in March.

We hope to see as many MSA GB members there as possible so that we can thank you for the fantastic support we have received over the years.

I will not be standing for the role of President of the European Driving Schools Association (EFA) when my period of office comes to an end in May next year.

After we retire we hope to do some travelling and have a proper look at some of the places we have only been to for flying visits, spend some time in the garden and generally relax.


Cyclical road safety campaigns


An ophthalmologist examining her patient’s eyes

Over the years there have been various campaigns to toughen up road safety standards. Like so many campaigns, however, things tend to be cyclical and come around several times before anything is done.

Here are a handful of examples that immediately spring to mind to prove my point:

Single/Double British Summertime (SDST)

Campaigners say that one of the consequences of the UK’s current time system is that more people are killed and injured on the road because of darker evenings in the autumn and winter than there would be if we used SDST.

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Have you gone away?


DVSA have recently sent all ADIs a booklet about the new driving test and they have reported returns, numbered in hundreds apparently, marked gone away.

Not to much of a problem for those ADIs who don’t receive the booklet there is after all masses of information available about the test changes from MSA GB the other NASP members and of course on GOV.UK

However, it is a condition of being on the ADI register that the DVSA are kept informed of an ADIs current address and there is a danger that an ADI might not receive a standards check invitation or other correspondence which could result in their eventual removal from the register.

Letting DVSA know about a change of address is an obligation for all ADIs and they must update thier ADI registration within 7 days if they change thier name or address. This is easy to do online at Manage your approved driving instructor (ADI) registration. If you need help with the web site you can email

Of course if all else fails you can write with your change of address to:

Approved Driving Instructor Registrar
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street




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Could MOT testers be leading the way for Driver Trainers?


New plans have been revealed by the DVSA to improve road safety and give consumers a better service when they take their vehicle for its MOT.

There are currently around 58,000 MOT testers and around 27 million car MOTs are carried out in Great Britain each year.

The vast majority are done to the correct standard, but DVSA data shows that some errors are made and they hope that the new qualification and training process should help to reduce them.

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