The day was split into 4 groups of ability which ran in sequence with 20 -15 minutes each. But before getting on the track some formalities needed to be sorted; registration, a briefing session and of course the dreaded noise test. I attended the day with some friends (on a Ducati and an MV that put my Fazer to shame), but we also shared a garage with others we met on the day. There was a friendly atmosphere of camaraderie, with all enjoying themselves.
Just about to overtake and despatch a slow Sunday driver, you pull out, road clear, give the throttle a good twist and leave them for dust. But no – Grrrr! Clutch slip! The rev counter flies round, the engine screams for mercy, but you’re not going anywhere – eh?! Seconds later the clutch finally grips and wham! forward you finally shoot. A worn clutch slipping has to be one of the most infuriating issues to put up with.
Vintage bikes and dirt track scrambling – what’s not to like? This weekend saw a blast out to Marks Tey in deepest Essex, to catch one of the Pre-65 Motocross Club scramble meets. A low key affair in a field beside the busy A12, it had a friendly atmosphere of motocross enthusiasts having lots of fun on vintage twin shock bikes from the ’60s and ’70s. It was great to see a wide pedigree of classic bikes from the likes of BSA, CZ, Triumph, Bultaco, Greeves and many others not just looking great, but being used for their built purpose. A super polished classic in a museum is one thing, but a classic in it’s element haring round a track is really quite something else.
I popped along to this local fun day a couple of years ago, I recall it being a bit small – just only a handful of stalls. Returning this year, it was good to see the event had developed and had a lot more going on.
The fund raising event is organised by the Essex & Herts air ambulance, a entirely charity funded service, and one that is often deployed to a fallen motorcyclist. North Weald airfield is a great venue for the day, and obviously where the air ambulance runs from.
It was a bank holiday, the sun was shining and the rest of the family were out of town – such a perfect day teat up Essex on the bike. Be rude not to take advantage.
I struck North out of Romford, up to Ongar, West a bit to Stansted, up through Thaxted and then my first stop was Finchingfield – all roads lead to Finchingfield, you can’t have an Essex ride out not going there… Though surprisingly quiet today, not like most weekends. A quick cuppa in Bosworth’s, then back on the road.
Heading Eastbound to Sible Hedingham, Sudbury, Manningtree before finally hitting the coast in Walton-on-the-Naze for lunch. Parked on the seafront by Revved Up, a friendly little biker shop selling clothes and a modest brew. With sea, sand, surf and the chippie next door it ticked all the boxes for a quintessential British seaside jaunt.
One of a biker’s biggest bug bears when bombing around the countryside is the constant splatter of bugs. Midges, flies, wasps, mossers and other bugs, all just want to commit suicide on your shiny new visor. Visibility soon sucks, and when you make the mistake of trying to wipe that big bug mess from between your eyes, you inevitably spread a huge smear of insect entrails hindering vision even more… If you’re the sort to prepare, you may have a rag and some squirty stuff under your seat for when you finally take a break, otherwise you just grin and bear riding most of the day with naff visibility.
This is where Visorcat comes in. A crafty gadget that straps to your left glove, sporting a soft sponge and rubber squeegee to let you clean your visor on the go. Sorted! Well, the lovely people at Visorcat sent in one for review, so read on to find out my verdict on whether it shapes up to be gadget or gimmick.
You know what parents are like, strong opinions as to what is best for you, mildly tolerant of your motorcycle ‘hobby’, but secretly scared to death you’re gonna kill yourself on your bike. So my old man keeps seeing lots of big adventure bikes adorned with bright spotlights, and declares I must install said distinctive pattern of lights on my bike to ensure I stand out. My Dad has a few odd opinions, but more often than not he’s right.
After borking at the price of offerings from Givi etc, I decided to take a punt on some cheap Chinese lights off eBay. Very cheap at under £20 for a pair including wiring. I didn’t have high expectations, but they can’t be that bad, can they? Read on…
After Mary had flattened her battery twice this week, I promised to wire the heated grips up properly with a relay…
When we first bought Mary’s CBF500 it came with heated grips fitted, but they were installed with no relay so all to easy to leave on when parking up. After Mary had flattened her battery twice in this manner this week, I promised to wire them up properly with a relay to cut the power when the bike’s ignition is off. However, the heated grips aren’t the only accessory wired in, we have a satnav, USB sockets and probably more gadgets in the future. So, to help simplify stuff, I opted for a secondary fuse / distribution box.
Tapping the rear number plate live is a good choice in case the new circuit causes a short, loosing the number plate light won’t prevent us riding.
A mate happened to have a basic Mictuning 6-way fuse box going spare – perfect for the job. My plan was to tap a switched live feed from the rear number plate light circuit, which would trigger a relay, to feed this fuse box and in turn all of the bike’s gadgets. Tapping the rear number plate live is a good choice in case the new circuit causes a short for any reason, loosing the number plate light is no big loss and won’t prevent us riding. On the CBF500 this light is connected by some bullet connectors behind the rear right hand fairing panel. I opted to strip back the insulation and solder on a feed, rather than using a Scotch lock which have a reputation of failing. The final join was covered in heat shrink wrap and waterproofed with amalgamating tape.
At the weekend I popped by the Classic Dirt Bike Show up in Telford. Being in the area with family and having not checked it out before, it seemed too good to miss. Admittedly I’m no off road dirt biker, but some green lane and trail riding has always been on my list of stuff to try. So with kids in toe we rocked up to ponder all these curious bikes with knobbles.
If you live or commute into London, you will undoubtedly have heard about a raft of emission charges, toxicity charges or ultra low emission zone charges being banded about to tackle pollution. With so many charges, consultations and plans a foot it’s tough to get a grip of what the hell is actually coming into affect and how it’ll affect you and your bike.
Pollution is pretty bad in London, but motorcycles should definitely be considered as part of the solution. Bikes rarely, if ever sit still in traffic jams and have much shorter journey times and thus pollute less. Recent TFL consultations even concluded bikes contribute less than 1% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. So read on to learn how to avoid the charges and keep biking.