Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Global Traveller

Well, what a 24 hours that was! Maybe not quite a GLOBAL traveller, but I've had quite a hike. Finished work on Monday afternoon, straight to Leeds-Bradford airport, flew out to Amsterdam, then (after a delay caused by strikes in France) I flew on to Luxembourg. Met at the airport by a driver, who took me to the poshest hotel in Luxembourg! Long, hot bath before a trip down to the bar for a glass of wine before bed - and ONE glass of wine was all it was to be! £5.95 for 15cl, which is around the top end of what I pay for a full bottle!
We had a 7:30 date with our transport, taking us on an hour and a quarter drive to Goodyear's test track and proving ground - one of only two such facilities in the world. New laws coming in in 2012 mean tyre manufacturers will provide much more detail about their products, right down to the amount of sound they give off, but more importantly from a safety point of view the grip and drag. We had lectures on worn tyres, winter tyres, summer tyres, and cheap imports.
Then came the practical bit, on the track. We got to drive powerful BMW's and Mercedes, and even a little Nissan which demonstrated the lethal result of mixing tyres. I did 85 in a BMW as I shot over a police stinger device, which was quite an experience - the car handled perfectly throughout, as Goodyear demonstrated the latest generation of "Drive on Flat" tyres. The amazing thing about them is you can continue to drive at 85, for up to 85 kilometres.
At the end of the day it was another mad dash to Luxembourg airport, quick flight to Amsterdam, 2 hours wait for my connecting flight, then back to Leeds-Bradford to be picked up by James Barrett from the Fresh sales team just after 9pm. Thanks to him and Fiona from Sales who did a great job of making sure I made my flights, and got home again in one piece!
I'm hoping to put together a feature on road and tyre safety using the information I got, together with Fire and Rescue, and traffic police. More on that later, but here's the picture that shows (if you look very closely) the hollow needles left by the stinger.

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