Like many of you, there’s been very little riding happing here at Beginner Biker Adventures, lockdown blues combined with the winter’s miserable weather and dark nights have scuppered any chance of motorcycling therapy.
Our Christmas and New Year break a quiet family affair, just Mary, myself and the kids. No visits from extended Grandparents or family and all festivities rescheduled due to Mary working in ICU on the Christmas Eve and Day. No bother really, every day blends into the next at the moment. Beyond that, there’s just been the usual monotony of working from home, homeschooling the kids and the craziness Mary’s been dealing with in the hospital ICU. The commute may have kept her riding, but the A406 North Circular is hardly a fun ride and the only daylight ride was after a night shift.
Again like many, such times cooped up at home have made us reevaluate priorities and question the future and where/how we want to live. From the obvious things like decluttering and renovating our immediate living conditions to the longer-term things of where we want to be in years to come. Mary’s now completed her nurse retraining (after a diversion into Law and academia for the last 10+ years) and is now looking for fresh nursing positions. My daughter’s chosen her GCSE options and is already thinking ahead to University! Family meetings were held and plans were formed – primarily a house sale and potential migration from London to Scotland.
If you want to start riding a motorcycle in London or anywhere in the UK, your first step is to get your Compulsory Basic Training or ‘CBT’ completed. This is a simple one day course and isn’t a test as such if your instructor finds that you have reached the required standard to ride on the road, your CBT training will be complete and your certificate issued. See more information about CBT courses in London and the UK on RideTo, the UK’s #1 platform for new riders.
So what happens on the day? Once you have booked a CBT with your local RideTo training school, you will be instructed on what you need to bring and what you need to wear on the day. The minimum requirements from a clothing point of view are a crash helmet, gloves and boots that cover your ankle. Your arms and legs must also be fully covered. If you don’t have any gear yet and are waiting until you complete your CBT, the training school will be able to loan you the minimum required equipment for the duration of your training. Although with the current pandemic, new riders are being advised to bring their own equipment where possible.
With not a lot of riding occurring right now, I’ve been busy on my video editing suite digging through hours of past footage from my daily riding in and around London and have now finished the second episode in my filtering tips series. In this video, I discuss gaps and junctions, what you need to look out for and how to filter in a smarter and safer manner.
Much is common sense, but you may still learn something new. Nonetheless, I hope you find this video interesting and useful. Do comment with your thoughts and other filtering experiences you’ve had.
The Sixth Sense Skills series of videos were one of my first moto-vlogging projects that spanned several years of my early riding. Each short video presented a particular incident or encounter on the road, inviting viewers to predict how things will unfold. Part mini-game and part training video to provoke thoughts around your own riding. This video is a compilation of the best clips from the series. Enjoy!
You’ll notice many of the video segments are several years old and the progression of my riding from beginner to somewhat more experienced. Not all of my riding back then was the most exemplary, I’m sure you can identify how you could ride better! But then, getting you the viewer to think about how you would ride in these scenarios is exactly what I intended.
My wife and I just hit our 15-year wedding anniversary, a bit crazy really. With all the current lockdown restrictions, it wasn’t really feasible to travel and stay away anywhere, so we kept it fairly low key. Taking advantage of the kids at school (remember those days?!) we took off on bikes for a quick ride into the Essex countryside for a decent pub lunch. Here’s a brief video of the mini-adventure – enjoy!
I also managed to try out some new kit for this video: the new GoPro Hero 9 (all chin-mounted footage) and a DJI Osmo 3 for more stable phone camera footage off the bikes. The difference between the Hero 9 and my old Drift Ghost X is huge! Although I miss the long battery life of the Ghost X; 4+ hours versus just over 1 hour on the Hero 9.
This year it certainly won’t be happy and definitely not merry, so just have A Christmas.
Stay safe, follow the best scientific advice, scrutinise the politics and look after those you can. It’s cold, dark and bleak out there and the weather isn’t much better either. Optimism is in short supply, each day seems worse than the last. But hang in there, keep in touch with friends, family and loved ones, we’re all in this together. Hopefully, 2021 will bring some better times.
The problem with reviewing cold weather motorcycle gear is you actually need some cold weather. This Autumn it’s been strangely mild in the South East of England. I’m starting this review in mid-November, it’s blue skies, sunny and I have the conservatory doors wide open. I don’t know if this is climate change, but as beautiful a day as it is, it doesn’t make this Exotogg review very easy…
The Exotogg body warmer is not your usual cold-weather layer, it’s essentially an inflatable gilet/vest that you don under your bike jacket, which you then inflate with three or four puffs of breath, whereupon it’ll form a nice layer of air that will keep you warm. If you get too hot, you simply open the valve and squeeze the air out. The idea being you inflate or deflate it as and when needed, easy-peasy.
Using a layer of air to insulate against the cold is however a tried and tested method to maintaining warmth. Materials like fleece, down and wool all trap a layer of air to keep your body warm. So, the science behind the Exotogg vest is sound, but what advantages down it have over traditional layers?
It’s that time of year again, marketing departments have gone mental, your mailbox has been spammed with tonnes of offers and you’re getting overwhelmed with so many offers. So who is offering the best deals and biggest discounts on motorcycle gear?
15% off with discount code BLACKWEEK15 (expires 30th Nov). FC-Moto operates from Germany in the EU, so no VAT/Duty upon import until we Brexit in the new year… You’ll need to pay postage on returns, but the offer discounted return postage labels to help here.
Lots of discounts on motorcycle and motocross gear (kids motocross clothing included), especially on lesser-known brands like Shox, Black and Agrius. Ghost Bikes also run daily specials discounts and will match and beat competitor prices by 25%!
For many, wintertime is when bikes are garaged away and in storage until the warmer spring weather. Even many who would normally ride year-round are facing the no riding blues from various lockdowns in place to tackle the covid pandemic. I’m personally in this category as I’m now working from home permanently. So, what can a die-hard biker do to while away the dark and miserable winter months? Read on for some suggestions on winter motorcycle entertainment.
→ Additionally, there’s a lot of stuff mentioned here that would make great biker gifts and motorcycle Christmas presents or stocking fillers. So, take note if you know a biker and are stuck for gift ideas.
I have wanted a Triumph since I was a teenager, which is a long time ago now. I used to knock about with some bikers who had old Bonnies and I have loved the aesthetic, the slim lines, the torquey twin-engine and its ability to negotiate those country twisty roads which we all love. The old Brit engineering with the oil-bearing frame and the total loss oil system? Not so much.
The Triumph Street Twin encapsulates the best of both worlds. It is a bike which captures what is so attractive about the older Bonnies, the tidy lines with the attractive tank that flows straight into the comfy seat, the neat twin engine with bags of torque which sits tidily underneath and that lovely thud as it runs. It does so with the reliability of a modern bike which I view as essential – it starts without complaint on cold and damp mornings, it is smooth and intuitive when ridden.