Apologies it’s been a bit slow around here, been suffering from some broadband issues which have hindered updates and have been off the bike away with family for the Christmas/New Year period.
Progress lowering Mary’s CBF500 has been good, but slow. Rear shock refurbished, shortened and refitted, front forks dropped, low seat sourced (NOS genuine Honda one found!) and dropped bike off at a local workshop to shorten side stand today. Along the way, I hit some issues with the wiring loom full of water and a join corroded away, requiring some patching up. 🙁 Watch this space for a full low down on lowering the a CBF500.
Plenty of new accessories have been purchased ready to fit to the CBF500 though: Givi rack, Acerbis hand guards, rear hugger and crash bars. Also picked up better looking front fender and fuel tank cheap to replace the current ones with a little cosmetic damage. Almost all bits have been sourced cheap second hand, some needing a lick of paint to tart up, definitely going to be a commuters hack / rat bike!
Overall, progress has been slow due to no garage and crappy weather, allowing me to only spend a few hours working on the bike at weekends. Nevertheless, Mary should be commuting into the city on the bike later this month, fingers crossed.
Mary also treated me to a Drift Stealth 2 camera, definitely better than my old Roadhawk Ride. So I hope to get round to some new videos published later this year.
It was a Bank Holiday weekend, so as per tradition it pissed down. Not that rain could stop the Essex Motorcycle show, over at North Weald airfield.
Being local and free I dragged the family over (albeit in the car), to see what the fuss was about having not visited in previous years. It was a small, local show setup outdoors with various aeronautical gubbins as a backdrop. Stands were mostly a mix of local dealers (promoting KTM, Suzuki, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson), local advanced riding groups, training schools and the emergency services. Not a huge amount, but still worth an hours mooch, especially as it was free. Oh yes, did I mention it was completely free to get in?!
If you’re near Oswestry on the A5 on the last Friday of the month, then check out the British Ironworks Centre. They’re offering free coffee and biscuits for bikers who pop in, perfect for that ride back from the Horseshoe Pas.
This last few weeks have been busy, but unfortunately rather mundane. A running theme of work, juggling kids, gloomy weather and being skint haven’t made for much excitement. Commuting through the winter is not a fun ride, but at least we’re starting to gain more light in the evenings now. Glad I went for the super bright Fluro helmet now. I am however getting more and more pissed off at idiot using mobiles whilst driving. See shot from my helmet cam, this idiot was even stupid enough to opt for a super bright blue mobile that can be seen miles away! With the Met Police currently running their RoadSafe website to pass on info, it’d be rude not to do something with all the juicy film footage I collect daily.
Back home after tiring day walking around the London MCN Show down at the Excel centre. Pretty local, so seemed a good plan, however in hindsight it’s debatable if taking the two kids was also a good plan. Much moaning, whining, squabbling and numerous toilet stops later, we’re feeling pretty damned drained!
The MCN show is not huge, certainly not a patch on the Brum show at the NEC, but still visited by all the main manufacturers; Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, KTM, BMW, Ducati, Harley, Victory, Moto Guzzi. There was also an Ariel stand, some Lexmoto and Peugeot scoots on show too. No Royal Enfield’s this year though. No brand spanking new releases unveiled, but it did give me chance to check out first hand the new Yamaha R1 and Tracer, the Kwak H2 (No H2R on display though).
And there we have it, another new year and a year older, possibly a little wiser too. The tail end of 2014 was insanely hectic for me with my day job sending me out to Gothenburg and Boston, followed by a mad Christmas break visiting all our family in Shropshire and North Wales. It has been good to be back in London and back on the bike. It’s funny how some time away from two wheels leaves you hankering and longing, but once riding again at first you feel awkward, slightly nervous and rusty. It’s taken a couple of days to relax and get reacclimatised, but it’s good to be back.
I suppose I should have some New Year resolutions and plans, so here we go:
Do my IAM. My lovely wife treated me to their Skills For Life course (starting Sunday), which I’m looking forward to and hope to complete this year.
Update my YouTube channel. Life has been so busy lately, I’ve done little video editing, however I have some plans for a new video series in the pipeline.
Bike maintenance wise, I hope to give the Fazer’s forks a good service and swap on some braided brake lines. I also have some yellow wrap for the headlights which I’d like to try out for the dark nights.
Fingers crossed, I’d like to resolve my incident from September 2013, which is due to go to court at some point.
Lastly, it would be great to get my wife another bike. Hopefully she’ll complete her PhD and get a job, so finances can resolve this.
The top chaps at Motorcycle House have teamed up and we can offer you a 10% discount code to use at their store. Motorcycle House specialise in a huge selection of luggage bags by Viking Bags for cruiser bikes. They also have luggage for other bikes and a selection of clothing too.
Just enter the code BBIKER10 at the check out to get a discount.
It’s October the 1st and the paper tax disc has officially been obsoleted, no longer needing to be displayed on your vehicle.
No more tearing our the perforated paper disc, no more hassle trying to open your seized up tax disc holder, no more soggy paper and no more worrying about tea leaves stealing it. Of course you will still need to pay VED (vehicle excise duty), either online, over phone or down the Post Office, but enforcement will be through ANPR camera’s.
The Gov have introduced the option to pay by direct debit on a monthly basis, but it’s still cheaper to buy 12 months up front. The biggest change, is vehicle tax is now no longer transferable when a vehicle is sold. The seller will need to cancel their tax, getting a refund for whole months only, then the buyer will need to buy fresh tax prior to using the vehicle. I envisage this last change being a logistical nightmare , as buyers try to sort out insurance and tax at the same time.
At the weekend the Bike Shed MC were hosting their annual show down in Tobacco Dock, East London, having outgrown their usual Shoreditch haunt. The event was a huge showcase of the best custom bikes, cafe racers, cruisers, bobbers and other random hand built two wheel mayhem. The weather was lovely, but unfortunately this was a family outing, so the bike remained at home. But that didn’t stop hundreds of other bikers descending and enjoying the chilled out atmosphere. But I couldn’t help wondering if I’d fit in better with a well trimmed beard, waxed moustache and a full sleeve tattoo. A peculiar blend of ’50s rockabilly and Chap was very much in vogue.
I couldn’t help wondering if I’d fit in better with a well trimmed beard and waxed moustache…
It was good to check out all the funky bikes, even if I’d be hesitant to take any out on the streets of London myself, style over substance seemed to pervade in many instances. Knobbly tyres and Hessian wrapped pipes are definitely this seasons look. Front mudguards are optional and the more belts on show the better.
Hope you like the snaps of all the best bikes we saw. The kids pinched my camera for most of the show as they were getting a bit bored, so please excuse the odd framing or any not quite in focus. They were pissed they couldn’t sit on all the bikes like at the last show we went to!