All posts by Arthur

Seasoned London commuter, doing my best to stay rubber side down and never stop moving forward.

Bike is definitely fastest transport across London

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.

 

Protect Your Hearing – Laser Lite Ear Plugs

Laser-Lite-Ear-PlugsI’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.

 

Cleaning Day

Cleaned-Yammy-Fazer-Jan13Spent the afternoon giving the Fazer a damned good clean and wax. Washing off all that bike eating salt that had accumulated over the last few weeks. Looks much better now.

I was hoping to put some fresh ACF50 on it to help protect it from corrosion, but I was totally out and on visiting Halfords, they had never heard of the stuff! Very annoying. As you can see them downpipes really need some ACF50 on them. Otherwise I can envisage myself replacing them with some new stainless steel ones in the not too distant future.

Winter Salt Eating My Motorbike

Salt covered motorbikeThe roads are covered in salt at this time of year. Essential to ensure they remain ice free, but a nightmare for your bike. The salt aids waters ability to corrode metal, which is very bad news for your motorcycle. As you can see, my poor Fazer is covered. 🙁

The solution is regular cleaning to rinse off the salt. Use cold water (heat increases the rusting action too). A cold hose pipe is best, don’t use a pressure washer, this will force water into places where it wouldn’t normally get to and won’t dry, causing more rust… A job for the weekend for sure.

I doused the bike in ACF50 back in November, which I’m very glad off. This should have covered everything in a protective film preventing rust and halting any existing corrosion. Ideally, reapply more ACF50 after each wash.

New Heated Gloves Controller Arrived

New Heated Glove ControllerAt last, my new Gerbings Junior Controller has arrived. After freezing my fingers off last week, this couldn’t come sooner. After plugging it all in, everything was working again, definitely confirming it was the old controller/wiring that was at fault.

I’ll be sending the old one back for replacement (as it has 3 year warranty), but this will keep me warm in the mean time. A spare will be useful, if I have problems again in the future.

Sods Law – Coldest Day and Heated Gloves Broke

It’s -4°C here in London this morning. Not that bad, but unheard of in London. And this morning my Gerbings heated gloves go on the blink. Right hand stopped working. Left hand fine, but my right hand fingers went numb after just a couple of miles. 🙁

Must be a loose connection in wiring, as it started working again for half the journey home. Have swapped gloves over and it does appear to be the controller and/or wiring rather than the gloves themselves. Thankfully this part has a 3 year warranty. Must sort out a replacement prompt. Numb fingers are bad, painful, distracting and affect my riding. In the city where up most concentration is required at all time, this is a dangerous combo.

Work Blast Out of Town

This last couple of days I’ve been commuting out of London, up to GSK in Stevenage. So good to get into some open roads and open the Fazer up a bit. 🙂 My normal commute never gets above 50mph and often just filtering in thick traffic, so this has been quite a novelty. And with paying travel costs, double bonus.
The weather has been seriously cold and a little icy in places, so some smooth and careful riding was in order. Stevenage was a good few degrees colder than central London. On setting off home, I had real trouble with the key in the ignition. A right struggle to disable the steering lock. 🙁

Flat Battery

battery-chargerAfter a thoroughly relaxing Christmas break and taking a couple of weeks off work, I had planned a little ride out with my wife. The weather was cold, but nice and sunny, so I unwrapped my bike ready to go, only to find it wouldn’t start. Totally flat battery. 🙁

Not too surprising considering I hadn’t used the bike in about 2 weeks and left the battery out in the cold. A trip to Halfords to purchase a battery charger was in order. They only had one model that was suitable for motorcycle batteries, the Ring SmartCharge 100 and cost me £57. Back home, I took the battery out and left it charging indoors for several hours. The charger was simple to use, it auto diagnoses the battery and displayed its charge level. Once fully charged, the bike started fine, but now it was too late for our ride out.

So, get yourself a decent charger before you actually need one. You’ll be able to source one online much cheaper than the Halfords store. If you do plan on leaving your bike unused for more than a week or two, it’s well worth leaving it on a trickle charge. Either bring the battery inside, or setup a lead off the battery which you can plug it in with.