Category Archives: Riding

Marshalling Hackney Half Marathon

A change is as good as a rest, so the saying goes and this Sunday on the bike was most definitely a change from the norm. I volunteered to help marshal the Hackney Half Marathon with the East London Advanced Motorcyclists (ELAM) group.

HackneyHalfMarathon01

12,000 odd runners barely a hundred metres behind us.

Our role is to ride the race course in advance to ensure it is clear, the road closures are adhered to and route is generally safe for all the runners to come through. It was an early start, but lovely weather and warming up fast. Roads closed at 7am ready for the race start at 9am. We donned our high viz, took radios and trackers, and made some slow circuits of the course. Finally we rode out slowly in pairs just ahead of the race leaders with 12,000 odd runners barely a hundred metres behind us.

HackneyHalfMarathon02Lots of slow speed control, some polite warnings to public trying to leak onto the course and overall, a nice change to do something different and helpful. Also, a big congrats to the winner Mark Kibiwott, who managed 12.6 miles in 1hr 4mins, in the heat!

London Cabbie’s Right Arm

It’s when a cab driver nonchalantly sticks a hand out of their window, when you really need to stick the anchors on. As you soon learn in London, a Cabbie’s hand out of the window is a profound gesture of biblical nature, for it will truly part the seas of traffic, across all lanes and denominations to allow the Londoner’s saviour, the black cab to perform a U-turn. Come what may, no matter time of day or Sabbath, with no fear of other infidel road users present, the tarmac in front of that cab will be thy blessed and none shall interfere nor blaspheme. Thy shall let that cab perform thy holy U-turn decreed. Upon completion of this latter day miracle the tides of chemical emissions will crash forth, the sea of traffic will return and no enemies shall follow thy holy black cab as they deliver another fair paying city apostle to the promised land.

‐ Christopher. Licensed Taxi 40666.

Amen

 

Autumn Ride to North Wales

For this half term holiday I had the chance to undertake one last ride  for the year, out to North Wales to catch up with family whilst having a blast on the bike. I took Friday off work to ride up, but didn’t set off  until nearly lunch as I waited for the rain to abate. The roads remained wet for most of the afternoon and the weather was grey. I took things steady, even though there were many fun and technical bends to negotiate. The route was very similar to the one I undertook last time: London, Aylesbury, Buckingham, Brackley, Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Droitwich, Kidderminister, Bridgenorth, Shrewsbury and finishing in Welshpool. Night fall hit I passed Bridgenorth, where upon I was glad I had the Fazer with decent headlight, and enjoyed the London’s novelty that is main beam.

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Summer Ride Outs Via Finchingfield

FinchingfieldRideOutAug15-5Not a lot beats a hot August for getting out on the bike and enjoying oneself.  Which is exactly what I’ve been doing this last couple of weekends, by mostly exploring Essex, which invariable entails a stop in Finchingfield. This picturesque village is quite the Mecca for bikers at weekends. With so many great country roads leading to and from it (see routes below), it’s no surprise.

FinchingfieldRideOutAug15-1Bosworth’s Tearooms Cafe still rustles up fine food, although did change ownership earlier this year which has led to some menu changes and price increases. Their ice cream kiosk is still very much welcomed on hot days when sweating like a pig in full leathers.
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IAM Skill For Life Test Passed – Yippee!

I’ve finally done it, I’ve passed my IAM Skill For Life Course, I’m now officially an ‘advanced rider’.

I started the course back in January, when I signed up with the East London Advanced Motorcyclists (ELAM) group. The course is based upon the Motorcycle roadcraft police rider’s handbook, but is presented through a slightly more digestible ‘How to be a better rider’ book (included  with the course). The ELAM group begin the course in a fairly structured manner; starting with a machine control day on an airfield to practice slow manoeuvres, emergency stops and slalom. This is followed by 5 observed ride outs roughly every fortnight, each concentrating on particular areas, e.g. overtaking, bends, motorways, town riding etc. There were also 3 theory night sessions around these rides which covered the ‘system’ – an underlying principle to apply to your riding, various best practices and many legal points.

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Commute Delays in London

Most of the time when on a motorcycle in London you are immune to commuting delays, as you can filter past pretty much anything. However on this day, my commute was delayed by a cruise ship. Bummer.

Here we are at Tower Bridge, waiting for this large Cruise ship to undock from HMS Belfast and make it’s way down the Thames. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t quite filter past this one. Still, it was a nice day to take stock of the fact I ride past some great icons of British architecture everyday.

What iconic landmarks do you commute past on your way to/from work?