A day of annual leave booked, kids with childminder, mid week, quiet roads, lovely sunny weather – ah the perfect ride out. The intention for the day was to go for a reasonably long run on the bikes, get Mary more accustomed to her new ZZR400, build up her confidence and have a chilled out ride, culminating in a picnic in Finchingfield, Essex.
The route was fairly straight forward. From Dagenham: Hainhault → Stapleford Abbots → Chipping Ongar → Leaden Roding → Great Dunmow → Finchingfield. The route is very scenic, especially the stretch North of Great Dunmow. Undulating fields, twisty bends and corn in the fields being harvested. Total length is just she of 40 miles and easily doable in under 1.5 hours. If you fancy a longer ride, you could continue North through Haverhill and onto Bury St Edmunds, which is another 28 miles.
I went for my first ride out at the weekend with the FOC (unofficial Fazer’s Owner Club), London lot (LoFo). We started off in High Beach, Epping at the well known tea hut, then made our way North up through Great Dunmow, Saffron Walden and finished up near Royston.
The the plan was to meet up with the (slightly more) Northern branch of FOC and then ride back to Epping together. Everything started off well, but the day didn’t continue as planned.
Summer is finally here, the sun is out and riding two wheels into town is most agreeable. One can really chill out, cruise along and soak up the sites of London; Tower of London, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and all the rest. But here I am sat in the office counting down the hours before I clock off and can get back out there on the bike.
There I am trying to make a quick getaway from work with an afternoon off to watch my daughter on her sports day. But something is wrong, bike is all wobbly as hell. Back tyre totally flat. 🙁
A lot of crap stuck in the tyre, but crucially a big hole with lump of glass in it. Tried to pull it out, with a view to repairing it, but I can’t get it with the pliers, just ends up crumbling. The hole also seems bit big for emergency repair. Breakdown recovery it is. At least I’ve got some this time.
Had a good blast out to the Ace Cafe last night. Another newbie night for the London Bikers forum. This time however we sorted a babysitter and I took Mary along. Bit of a round trip, but not too bad on the North Circular.
First time at the Ace for Mary and out with the LB lot. Great night, meeting people, some new, some not. Mary had a sit on Ally’s Kwak ER-6n, now convinced it’s the bike for her and even more determined to get her own wheels. Fair enough really.
I’ve recently found my wrist aching slightly whilst riding. Namely around town, where I’ve noticed my riding posture is all tense and rigid straight arms. Not good. I need to relax my elbows more, use my legs to grip the tank to support myself, and ultimately take my weight off the bars and my wrists.
On the open road I have no problems, but around town, when filtering and doing lots of low speed manoeuvres I keep unconsciously tensing up. Such that periodically I have to mentally remind myself to relax. I guess, with practice I’ll get better.
Some suggestions I’ve read about include gel filled grips and raised bars. What tip do you have do to avoid this?
Watch out, it seems these cameras are the new favourite toy of cash strapped councils. Bolted to lamp posts and enforcing bus lanes, councils can move them about at ease. This one recently popped up on a bus lane along my daily commute, on Lodge Avenue, Dagenham. A spot that used to be covered on occasion by a Smart car with a roof camera. It’s an awkward bottleneck, often in gridlock, with unbroken white lines down the centre, so no filtering at all. Yet the bus lane is invariably empty.
Quite why some bus lanes allow motorcyclists and others don’t had no rhyme or reason. But we can be certain the motivation is purely for revenue generation.
Another Wednesday night, another London Biker meet up at Borough Market. Traditionally home to some of the best food produce, organic fruit, veggies, quality meat, game, hand cooked meals and deserts. So, of course not to be out done, Thamer arrives with a home baked apple crumble strapped to the back of his Street Triple. And why not?!
A little quiet on attendance (bah! you other fair weather bikers!), but we all had a good chin wag and tucked into some tasty pudding. But what culinary delights can other bring next week?
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London