All posts by Arthur

Close Shave with Cyclist & Scooter

This morning on my way into work I had a rather close shave, that could have so easily have turned out badly. I was going round the block just South of London Bridge to negotiate the one way system on Bermondsey Street. Picture me, stationary at a T-junction ready to pull out and turn left, looking right, waiting for a clear gap in the traffic. Also to my right, is a zebra crossing with some vehicles just pulling away as some pedestrians finish crossing.

A scooter comes along, indicates to turn left into the road I’m on, but as he turns, all of a sudden a cyclist comes bombing along on the inside and slams into the side of the scooter, sending him flying towards me! Thankfully the scooter rider manages to remain up right and came to a halt inches from me. The cyclist? Checks he’s OK, apologies, said he didn’t see him indicating, then zooms off.

Obviously, the cyclist was at fault for undertaking. The scooter probably should have done a left shoulder life saver as he pulled away from the pedestrian crossing and about to turn left. As for me, I’m not what I could have done. I couldn’t have pulled out to avoid the scooter, I would have gone into other traffic behind the scooter. What would you have done?

For Sale: Oxford Heated Grips Light

Oxford-Heated-Grips-LightReceived these as a complementary gift when subscribing to Ride Magazine. Did take a few months to turn up mind, but now they’ve arrived. However, since I’ve got my heated gloves I can’t see myself making use of these grips, so I’ve decided to sell them on.

They’re the ‘Light’ version, which is mostly the same as the normal version, but with a lower current draw so they don’t overload a small bike and as such, don’t get quite as hot.

I’m looking for £35 + postage. If you’re interested, please drop me a message.

Ah! Warm hands again

My replacement Gerbing’s heated gloves arrived last week. Quick turnaround time again from Gerbing’s. Good stuff, but they really should be more reliable than this. Of course, sods law strikes again, Monday was fairly mild, so I found myself scrabbling to turn them down on route to work as my knuckles were burning!

Alpinestars Jet Road Gore-Tex Gloves Review

Alpinestars Jet Road GlovesI picked these gloves up second hand after being thoroughly disappointed with my Hein Gericke Pathan gloves. I opted for them based on their wide spread regard on various motorcycle forums and due to their abundance on eBay cheap. As such, I found this pair in almost new condition for £30, a bargain considering they sell new for over £100.

The gloves are made from Gore-tex, so totally waterproof. On top of this is, there are sections of leather and a decent amount of knuckle protection. There are two Velcro straps per glove one around the wrist under a flap and one on the cuff. I found the cuff a bit on the short side and didn’t go over my jacket very well, thus letting in a draft and water. My arms are quite long though. These gloves aren’t however the latest iteration, later versions appear to resolve this with an extended storm.

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Tax Disc Woes

Decent Oxford Tax Disc Holder

I recently taxed my bike and through the post came a quaint little circle of paper to affix to the bike. A bureaucratic vestige of a by gone time. Now almost every road in the country is under the watchful eye of ANPR cameras, do coppers still look at these little discs? Regardless, it is still an offence to not display one.

Problem #1: My tax disc holder would not open, not even budge. Tried WD40, tried thread free spray, tried everything, stuck fast. 🙁 In the end, seemed easier to just get another tax disc holder. Picked up a basic Oxford one (pictured below) off ebay for couple of quid.

Problem #2: The hole in new holder is too small for the existing bolt on bike and my toolbox lacked appropriate drill bits. So I bolted it to a random fairing bracket which had a convenient hole already there.

Crap Oxford Tax Disc Holder

Problem #3: Tax disc holder is crap. Just a flimsy rubber band around the edge to hold disc in place. Kept coming open every time I took the cover off the bike and brushed past it. A couple of times (by luck) I found the disc on the floor outside, long after I put the bike away. The seal is crap too, the holder is full of damp.

So at last, I purchased another tax disc holder (off ebay), one with the correct size hole, is solid and has bolts holding it together. It is also of the Oxford brand (pictured top), but a much better one. The little alan bolts are bit fiddly, but then you don’t want it too easy to get into, lest a tea leaf takes a fancy. It’s also anodised in a fetching blue, which almost matches the bike.

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Feck My Fingers Are Numb

Gerbings XR12 Hyrbid Heated Gloves palmsSods law. Weather turns cold again and my lovely Gerbing’s XR12 Hybrid heated gloves pack up again. 🙁

As great as they are, I’m really beginning to have doubts about their reliability. Bought them new in November (4 months ago). Two months in, one controller had an intermittent connection fault. Last week the spare controller I purchased, has started exhibiting the same problem. One hand keeps cutting in and out at random.

I dig out the replacement controller I was sent, but this one randomly won’t turn on, just flashes blue when you press the button. Apparently this means it’s getting a feed of less than 11V from the battery. OK, but why then does the other controller still turn on? And why does it start doing this after a long run and momentarily stopped for a refuel?

So I persisted with that for a week, but now my left hand glove won’t heat up at all. From neither controller or either wire on each. 🙁

Have sent the whole lot back for replacement. But in the meantime, it’s barely above freezing out there, I’ve reverted to my Alpinestar Jet Road gloves with wooly gloves underneath and still getting numb fingers after 5-10 mins on the road. I’m hoping they won’t take too long to send out replacements, they turned the last controller around in a couple of days. However I’ve lost a lot of confidence in the Gerbing’s. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great when they work, but when you’re paying top dollar, they need to work for more than a couple of months…

Don’t reverse into me!

Had a really close shave this morning. On my way into town, with Mary pillion, going down A13 as it crosses junction to Blackwall tunnel, I pull up at some red traffic lights. I filter so far between the two lanes of traffic, but have to come to a halt due to lack of room. I’m a bit hemmed in, sitting between the lanes behind a couple of cars, but everything is stationary. The lights turn green and whilst I’m waiting for the traffic in front to move, the people carrier in front to my right, rolls backwards towards me. Not just an inch or two, but a good metre or so. I have to lean the bike right over on my left leg to dodge it, they still clip my mirror and continue rolling backwards right alongside me as I hammer the side of the car!

A couple of centimetres closer and they would undoubtedly have pushed us over into the near side lane of moving traffic. Good job my right hand foot was on the brake or they would have rolled over it. It turns out the car had Polish plate and was left hand drive, but still no reason why he didn’t see us in his mirror, I could see him fine… And certainly no excuse to roll backwards so far.

Not sure what there is to learn from this one. Had I not been between lanes, they would have rolled right into us and done serious damage. Tricky one. There’s no accounting for incompetence on the roads.

Impromptu Essex Ride Out

Took a day off work today to sort out some loose ends, however this afternoon made for an impromptu ride out into Essex. Weather was perfect, bit overcast, but warm and calm. With my wife, Mary pillion we sent off from Dagenham, with a plan to get a late lunch at Pizza Express in Baintree. Our route consisted of:

  • A112 to Hainault
  • A113 to Stapleford Abbotts (possibly cutting through Lamboune End)
  • A113 to Chipping Ongar
  • B184 to Dunmow
  • B1256 to Baintree

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