Close shave this morning. Filter through the Limehouse Link, between two lanes of traffic doing around 10mph. Suddenly an Addison Lee minibus suddenly swaps lanes right in front of me. His indicator blinked once before he had moved across. I hammer the horn and swerve to his left, to find him, moving back over to the left lane. Luckily escaped with just a clip of the mirror. Fucking moron.
Be warned Taxies, be they black caps, private hire or whatever, are often the most dangerous of drivers on the streets of London. Often behaving unpredictably and erratically, with little or no indication of what stunt they’re about to pull. Watch out for:-
Sudden U-Turns, be it across you, or from opposite direction into you.
Sudden lane changes.
Sudden stopping and starting.
Give them all a wide berth and treat with extreme caution…
Booked myself onto the BikeSafe course run by the local police force. Everyone I speak to recommends it, and at just £35 for a days tuition, whose to argue? That said, that’s Romford price, in central London it’s £45.
In an effort to improve my riding I have picked up this book. Universally well regarded and the manual for police motorcyclists. It is jammed packed with advice, tips and lessons to rider better and safer, in all manner of situations.
I managed to pick up a second hand copy off the Amazon Marketplace for less than the price of a couple of beers. There’s a lot to read and learn, with many lessons backed by simple diagrams. I’ll report back, once I have finished reading it, but do check it out yourself in the mean time.
As of 19th January 2013, the rules around motorcycle tests in the UK have changed considerably, Trying to fathom how this affects you is no mean feat. Today I’m going to attempt explaining the changes in a clear and simple way.
Hopefully you will be able to choose the best route to get riding, as taking the wrong test could cost you more in the long run and limit the choice of bike you can ride.
With the crappy weather and roads covered in salt and grit, it’s not just your bike that needs plenty of washing and TLC. Leather clothing can also damaged by the salt. So give it a good wash, apply some leather conditioner and waterproofing. It will cost you a lot less in the long run.
Last night was a work social do, over at the Bincho in Exmouth Market. It was a great Japanese grill house and a thoroughly good night. The key thing, was everyone left the office on Bermondsey Street at the same time, myself on bike, everyone else on tube. Always figured I’d be there first, but most striking was the time difference. They took 40 minutes and I took 15 minutes (including getting bit lost and going long way around St Paul’s)!
Hence chilling out with a lovely pot of Gyokuro green tea and big smug face, when everyone else turned up. Of course, no Sake for me, but I did have a enjoyable ride back, along the quiet moonlit East London streets. Quite a novelty.
I’ve found wind noise is a big issue on the motorbike. Not so much around town at low speeds, but as soon as I get above 40 mph it becomes more and more of a problem. A jaunt on the motorway is literally quite deafening, above 60 mph I can no longer hear the engine, wind noise just overcomes everything else. This is not good, as I have other interests are in music, hi-fi and home cinema. Going deaf or suffering from severe tinnitus will stop me enjoying these.
A study by the University of Southampton found that at 70 mph in ear noise can hit 100 dB. To put this in perspective, British law dictates that anyone exposed to more than 85 dB in the work place, must be provided with and must wear ear protection, to prevent permanent damage. At 100 dB, permanent damage can occur after just 15 minutes!
So, the moral of the story here, is wear some ear protection. There’s a multitude of different products on the market, from cheap foam inserts to custom moulded plugs. I’m currently using the Laser Lite foam ear plugs. Cheap, simple and actually pretty good. A big bag of them on ebay set me back just a couple of quid. At this price, you can get enough that you always have some handy and not too fussed if they get lost of dirty. They work surprising well and quite markedly reduce noise, which at first gives a strange sensation of isolation when riding. Go careful, as this isolation and reduced noise makes you inclined to ride faster than you think you’re going. Around town I tend not to wear the plugs, as I generally don’t go fast enough to warrant them and I like to use all my senses for awareness of those on the road around me. But out on the motorway, they are essential.
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London