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.
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)
Most bikes have a small storage compartment under the seat, ideal for essential kit for them tricky emergencies. You probably already have the factory supplied mini tool kit in there, so here I’m going to go over other useful kit you should pack on an every day basis. Some I’ve found useful myself, some I’ve been recommended by others.
A chilly morning and just cleaned the bike. As recommended, I used cold water to not accelerate rusting, but damn my fingers are numbs now! Why cold water? Well hot water provides more activation energy for the oxidisation process, thus increasing speed of corrosion. Chemist geeks can read up on the details of reaction temperature dependency and the Arrhenius equation that governs it.
Stumbled across this excellent YouTube video today. Certainly not for the faint hearted, but there’s some definitely lessons to be learnt from the unfortunate accidents shown. Not easy viewing, but do try to avoid repeating their mistakes on the road yourself.
A large number of these accidents are down to aggressive filtering, often on the inside and general lack of perception and anticipation of upcoming hazards. It may be easy to spot these errors watching the video, but many of the riders had too much speed for the conditions/hazards around them, leaving them no time to react. There’s also an awful lot of riders seriously lacking protective clothing – they’re really gonna be hurting!
On the back of the excellent BikeSafe course I did on Saturday, already I’ve found one of the tips covered useful and prevented a potentially hairy situation.
Riding home in the dark, along a quiet tree lined avenue, I spotted up ahead the nose of a car protruding from a junction. Its indicator was flashing to turn right across my path and was slowly creeping out. I changed position, moving out towards the centre of the road, to make myself visible around the tree. The car hit the brakes and waited for me to pass.
It was a simple trick, being aware the tree was blocking the line of sight between myself and the car driver, and changing position accordingly. But had I not moved out the car driver would not have seen me until much later, and likely would have pulled out in front of me.
So, tip of the day, position yourself to be scene. Consider what may obscure you.
Check out your local Lidl store next week, they’re doing a bunch of biker gear cheap. Lids, boots, gloves and thermal base layers. The Lids, gloves and boots look a bit cheap and probably only worth bothering with for occasional pillion use. However the thermal base layers look decent. Although the worst of the winter is over, it’s still pretty chilly out there, so will still be useful before next winter. Offer starts Feb 28th, but be quick, once the stock has gone, that’ll be it.
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London