Mercedes Benz


Mercedes Benz is brand that is recognised worldwide, providing luxury automobiles for the top end of the market. Their headquarters are in Stuttgart, the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany under the Daimler AG label, however the origins of the company date back to the first ever gasoline powered car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, which was patented in 1886. It was first marketed in 1901 by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft.

The Benz Patent Motorwagen was built in a tiny garage in 1885 in the German town of Ladenburg, situated in the West of Germany, close to the famous Heidelberg, and it is widely regarded as the world's first automobile. In Mannheim 1886, Karl Benz, a German engine designer, excitedly unveiled his invention to the public.

Unlike most cars that we have today, the Benz Patent Motorwagen only had three wheels. The engine was mounted on the rear and contained many brand new inventions such as steel spoked wheels with rubber tires which were Benz's own design. Parts of the original engine are still seen in modern motor manufacturing today, and pieces such as the pushrod-operated poppet valve for the exhaust still resemble the modern parts that we use.

Bertha, Karl's wife, made an interesting publicity stunt to publicise the Benz Motowagen. She took the car, supposedly not to the knowledge of her husband, and made the first ever long distance road trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back again, covering a total distance of 194 kilometres over three days. The route is signposted and so you can follow the tire marks of this historic journey, and every two years a parade of antique automobiles follows this route to celebrate the journey made by Bertha. Along the way she encountered a few problems - she had to clean the carburettor with her hat pin and to insulate a wire using her garter. She also had to refuel, which she did using ligroin from a pharmacy in Wiesloch which could technically be argued as the world's first gas station, and she accidentally invented brake linings as the original brakes wore down and she asked a local shoemaker to attach leather to the brake blocks to ensure her safe carriage.

Benz set the land speed record with his company's invention of the Blitzen Benz, reaching speeds of 226.91 km/h with its 21.5 litre engine, driven by the French driver Victor Hémrey. This record was not beaten for ten years by any other vehicle.

There is now an auto-museum in Ladenburg in Karl's name, and you can see the building from which the first automobile was assembled in one of the town parks.

The name ‘Mercedes Benz' first appeared in 1926 when Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler merged their companies to create the Damlier-Benz company, and continues to thrive as one of the world's top car manufacturers under the Mercedes Benz name, maintaining a reputation for quality and durability. Their moto is “Das Beste oder Nichts” which translates from German as “The Best or Nothing”, under which they continue to make some of the best automobiles in countries all over the world.

Motorcycle safety tips

Motorcycle Safety

Driving a motorbike is often considered very dangerous for the driver due to exposure and other's lack of visibility of the rider. In a car you are protected by a crumple zone, by air bag, by seatbelt with locking devices, roofs, bumpers and doors that motorcycles have none of, leaving the driver in a much more vulnerable position. Here are a few ways you can maximise your efforts to stay safe on the road when riding your motorbike.

Make yourself visible - one of the most common causes of accidents for motorcycle riders is when they are not properly seen by other drivers on the road. Consider that you are much smaller than a car, and that your driving path differs from the standard vehicle on the road and is not always expected, and that a driver who is not paying so much attention will much more easily look over a motorcycle than another car. By wearing bright and reflective clothing, you will show up better, particularly in bad weather or at night. By using your lights, even in the day, you will also be easier to spot.

Use a helmet - in most countries this is the law, however even when it is not a legal requirement, this is essential safety gear that will be the difference between life and death in the event of an accident. A full face helmet is the best protection, and you should always be aware that helmets can deteriorate over time and should be regularly checked and replaced when necessary to do so.

Use protective clothing - aside from protecting your head is protecting the rest of your body. Wearing a full body of leathers and thick boots may not be comfortable on a hot summer day, but it will be much more comfortable compared to a pair of jeans and a t-shirt when you're sliding along the asphalt. Gloves and over the ankle footwear are important to ensure you are protecting your whole body. These articles of attire will also protect you from wind, cold, bugs and also provide better protection from flying debris in accidents.

Drive defensively - while in car/motorbike collisions the car driver is the one at fault 60% of time, you should not argue with anything bigger than you on the road for the sake of your own safety. Considering how much more vulnerable you are, driving on the side of caution has much greater benefits for you than a car driver.

Avoid bad weather - motorcycle riders are even more at risk during wet and icy conditions, and if conditions are not ideal, you may be much better off taking pubic transport or your car.

Take a course - motorcycle safety courses are available in most places around the world and are an excellent way to improve your skills and to check that you are riding correctly and safely. Ensuring that your riding is optimised towards your safety is perhaps the biggest step you can make towards securing your personal safety when riding your bike.

New Zealand a Roadtripping paradise

nz roads

New Zealand is a prime tourist destination due to it's stunning nature which has become iconic in movies such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, however many people don't realise just how great the country is just to drive around. Here are a few reasons why you should have a road trip in New Zealand.

It is a country where the main highway runs north to south, and for the majority of the time, consists of just one lane in each direction. With a population of only 4.5 million people, once you're outside of Auckland and Wellington CBDs, traffic build up is very uncommon and you find yourself with a lot of empty space on the roads. The only times you might find yourself in traffic jams is when there has been an accident, when nature has blocked a road, or when you find yourself waiting for a herd of sheep to cross from one field to the other.

Although there is not much traffic, it usually takes considerably longer to reach your destinations than your GPS will predict. This is due to several reasons; the first being that you often find you have to stop the car to take a photo. One of the best things about travelling in New Zealand is the driving between points as you pass by unimaginably beautiful landscapes, so make sure you have some room on your SD card. The other main reason is the roads themselves - they're not very straight. Due to the mountainous nature of the country, you will find yourself snaking through gorges, cornering around mountains and clinging to the sides of cliffs. This makes an exceptionally fun drive for cars with good grip, and most corners are signposted with recommended speeds for travelling around.

Some of the more exciting roads include the road between Christchurch and Akaroa which meanders down the Akaroa peninsula along various ridge lines providing fantastic views of the ocean while testing your driving ability, State Highway 43 (better known as The Forgotten World Highway) between Taumarunui and Stratford which follows a 150 km historic route following colonial bridle paths and crosses four mountain saddles, and Arthur's Pass which crosses the Southern Alps through a national park.

Aside from conventional driving, there are a number of unsealed roads to tackle. These become quite common the further you venture from the highways. There are also a number of four wheel drive tracks in many places across the country, and 90 mile beach up the top of the North Island which provides some wild and challenging beach driving.

One more road worth mentioning in Skipper's Canyon, close to Queenstown on the South Island. Rental cars are forbidden from entering here, and it is most probable that your insurance won't cover you. This is a one lane, two directional road entering in and out of a canyon of exceptional beauty, but the road is notoriously dangerous as large sections frequently fall away and there are many sections with no safety barriers to stop you from falling to your death. If you really want to test your driving skills and your stomach while you're at it, this is the place to go.

New Zealand is becoming very popular for road trips and infrastructure in most parts ensures there are (just) enough fuel stops and plenty of accomodation for camping and in hotels and hostels.



The Nürburgring is a famous racecourse in Western German, situated in the town of Nuremberg. It has a Grand Prix track built in 1984, but is more well known for the Nordschleife, or “North Loop” in English, track which was built in the 20's and encompasses the medieval village and the castle of Nuremberg. The track has 20.8km and an elevation difference of over 300m, and has been nicknamed “The Green Hell”.

In the early 20's, car races were often held on public roads in the Eifel Mountains, but this was recognised as impractical and dangerous, so construction of a dedicated race track was begun in 1925 and completed in 1927. The original track consisted of 174 corners.

After WWII when motor racing was resumed, in 1951 the Nordschleife was used as the venue for the German Grand Prix as part of the Formula One World Championship tours, but as the racing cars were developed to increase performance and speed, the Nürnberg ring became more and more dangerous and modifications to the track were made to improve safety, including a chicane corner before the finishing straight to reduce speeds at the pit lane entry.

in 1971 further changes were made due to demands from the F1 drivers who boycotted the Nürburgring one year due to safety concerns following a fatal crash. These included smoothing out some of the surfaces and removing some sudden jumps, as well as installing safety barriers. Parts of the track were straightened out in accordance with the racing line and the number of corners was reduced. These changes made it possible to host the German Grand Prix for a further six years between 1971 and 1976. In 1973, further improvements were made by flattening some bumps and by widening some stretches of road.

As the Grand Prix was starting to be televised, the Nürburgring offered a lot of challenges to television crews due to the sheer length. The length also created safety concerns as more than five times the amount of safety marshals were required than for a standard Grand Prix race which cost a lot of money and the German government were not willing to do this. The last Grand Prix race on the Nürbergring happened 1976.

The record time for completing the Nürburgring Nordschleife is currently six minutes and 48 seconds, completed in the Radical SR8LM car in 2009. This is closely followed by the Lamborghini Huracan Performante at six minutes and fifty two seconds. There are currently only five timed laps that sit below the seven minute mark, and to score below eight minutes is almost near impossible without a professional racing driver behind the wheel who is very familiar with the track.

The track has featured several times on the BBC motoring show “Top Gear”, probably most famously where German Driver Sabine Schmitz, who is one of the presenters on the show since 2016, completed the track in a Ford Transit van in 10 minutes and 8 seconds, in 2005.

The track is open to the public to drive around. It is an important part of automotive history and has become very popular for motor enthusiasts worldwide.