This month I was posted to San Jose for work, but unlike most work trips this one included a stay over the weekend. So, stuck on my tod in California I decided to hire a Harley to explore the area as it’s not often you get chance to cruise down the West Coast freeways on a big hog, definitely on many bikers bucket lists and too good a chance to miss. I hired my bike from EagleRider in San Francisco, who had a wide selection of Harley’s to choose from (but also have others). I initially booked a Sportster 1200, but due to unavailability was given a Dyna Low Rider 103 as an upgrade – nice one!
I went too wide powering out of a gentle left hander, kissed the grass which spooked me a little, but kept it upright. However I was out of shape and going to fast for the upcoming chicane, combined with a chap overtaking on my inside, I bottle it and tried to safely just run off rather than just tipping it extra hard to get round. Unfortunately I was just carrying to much speed to keep it upright on the grass and down I went. Bike came fell hard on the front fairing and I went sliding before coming to rest sat on my ass.
Ever since last August when I attended a track day taster with the Kent Fire bike crew, I’ve been itching to get back onto the track. Once you first bomb it round the track, the bug bites and you just want your next fix. My next hit came in the form of a road bike only day again down at Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
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.
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.
If you plan to commute year round by bike, then here are five super useful mods you should definitely consider for your bike.
Sure, they’re not the most aesthetically pleasing of items and certainly not suited to all types of bike. However they are invaluable for lugging a change of clothes and packed lunch to work and the best way to transport heavy security chains that are now sadly essential in the city.
Givi are the market leader for top boxes, but there are cheaper alternatives from the likes of Kappa and others. Although Givi racks are bike specific, the plates and boxes aren’t and can readily be picked up second hand. Do opt for the better rated Monokey kit, rather than lightweight Monolock ones. Continue reading “Five Super Useful Mods for Motorcycle Commuting” »
“Lest we forget
What they were dying for
Lest we forget
What they were killing for
Lest we forget
What the hell it was for”
This remembrance Sunday I joined an ELAM ride out to Duxford War Museum, which had free entry for the weekend and many remembrance activities organised. The weather had brightened up, but the morning roads were wet and slippery with leaves and crud, so pace was conservative.
Who hasn’t got any bad riding habits? Don’t lie, none of us are perfect, I bet you all have the odd bad habit you’ve picked up. Maybe you don’t realise, maybe you know full well but have never managed to shake it. Below are a number of very common bad habits and why they can be bad.
Covering The Front Brake
Covering the front brake can be bad as when taken by surprise you are more likely to grab a handful, panic brake and lock up the front wheel. Especially if you have no ABS, are banked over or in the wet. By not covering the brake, you are more likely to consider a swerve instead or brake progressively.
Secondly, if (like me) you tend to cover with two fingers only, you won’t be applying as much leverage on the brake lever, and possibly obstructing it with your other fingers. If you brake hard and your little finger gets squashed, at best you can’t brake any harder, at worst you’re gonna release the brake cause your little pinky hurts!
Just picked up this Alpinestars one piece suit off eBay. With a bit of patience I managed to blag this decent nick one for a monkey, not bad as they often go for £150-300 odd. Sizing was a bit tricky, as I’m pretty tall and skinny (6’1″ & 11 stone), but an EU52 fits well for height, not too bad around the waist and it only a spot baggy around the arse. Plenty of room for my separate back protector. The knee sliders are also nicely worn, so I won’t look a complete track day virgin… 😉
My plan is to try some track days, starting with a Novice Skills Day at Brand Hatch. Run in combination with Kent Fire Service and MSV, it covers Biker Down, slow speed control, an IAM/RoSPA observed ride and two 20 min track sessions. All for the princely sum of £55. It’s been a while since I did a Biker Down course and more slow speed and IAM tuition is always handy. Watch this space for my report back on the day.
It seems everyone is riding with a camera protruding from their helmet these days, all super hot shot VBlogger’s in the making and hoping to match the likes of Baron Von Grumble / Royal Jordanian, or simply bring all wrong doers to justice. The reality is, 99% of the footage shot on a bike is pretty dull to watch and the remaining 1% needs some serious editing to create 5 minutes of entertaining YouTube video.
However, here are some more adventurous riders whose YouTube channels don’t contain yet another dull city commute dodging pedestrians. Enjoy!