Category Archives: Riding

Shropshire Ride Out, Shrewsbury to Keele

Keele Ride Out May 13During my recent visit to Shrewsbury I had chance to catch up with two of my sister’s buddies who are also avid bikers. We had a nice leisurely Saturday afternoon ride out, with excellent sunny weather, quiet ish roads (compared to London anyway!) and a decent pub at our destination. I was joined by Blake, riding a heavily customised Harley 883 Sportster that sat barely a hairs breath off the road and Pete on a Honda Transalp adventure style bike. With me on the sports-tourer Fazer, we couldn’t have as far apart from one another in our styles of bike and riding posture.

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Great Ride To Shropshire

I had a half day at work, motorcycle loaded up, 170 miles to cover, time away from kids, lovely dry weather and a pub dinner booked with family in 6 hours time. It doesn’t really get much better than this. It turned out to be great ride up to Shropshire, cross country through the Cotswolds, Worcester and South Shropshire. Here is how I got on.

I left work after lunch and immediately cut straight up across the city via Islington, Highbury etc along the A1, before hitting the North circular and then out of London on the A41. This first leg was a little slow going due to traffic, but later on the A41 was almost empty. A fast dual carriageway with big sweeping bends leading to Aylesbury, a nice easy ride through green countryside, but not the fun country bends I was looking for.

Waddesdon Five Arrows Hotel
Five Arrows Hotel, Waddesdon

Aylesbury is a nice small town, but straight through I went continuing on the A41 to Bicester. The road was mostly single carriageway, but with occasionally stretches of dual carriageway. The scenery was pleasant, highlighted by passing the majestic Waddesdon Manor, but nothing compared to beyond Bicester as I entered the Cotswolds.

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Packed For Trip Up North

imageBike cleaned, serviced and laden with luggage, ready for my trip up North this afternoon. Spending a few days in Shrewsbury, Shropshire with family. I’d rather travel light, however I have a funeral to attend so need to pack a suit and shoes.
My plan is to avoid the usual motorways (M25, M1, M6, M54), as although quicker will get very monotonous and tiresome very quickly. I am going to take a more cross country route on A roads, with some interesting scenery and bends. The route is roughly A41, A44, A458 and will take me across the top of the Cotswalds and through the Vale of Evesham.


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First Time Pillion Rider

first-time-pillion-riderYesterday I took my sister-in-law pillion on the bike, the first time she has ever been on a motorcycle. Kitted out in a mixture of my spare leathers and my wife’s gear, I gave her a lift back home to Islington.

Lovely sunny weather, just cleaned, polished the bike and a great day to ride out through the quiet-ish city streets. She was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but soon got the hang of it and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Was a great ride, except for when I mashed the gears trying to pull away in 2nd or 3rd, stalling lots and struggling to find first. Doh!

Public Transport Strike, Missing Bike

I’m currently working on site for a company in Heidelberg (about 1 hour south of Frankfurt), however there’s been a local public transport strike, both limiting my options and causing huge waits for taxis. The client is situated on top of a big hill a couple of miles out of town, in the middle of some lovely countryside and has some great bendy roads and hairpins on route.

Really missing my bike right now. It would be so handy to get about and so much fun on the roads over here. But alas it sat at home 500 miles away.

London Biker Borough Market Meetup

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Just back from a good meet up at Borough Market with the London Biker forum bunch. Great turn out, lots of bikes (only half in photo above), of all shapes, sizes and ages. Good friendly banter, but cut a little short due to rain. Can’t believe I’ve not made it before as I only work 5 mins around corner.

Here Comes The Sun

At last, it looks like we might be getting over this long winter that has dragged on far too long. First ride into work of the year without thermals on, heated gloves off and shades on!

To be fair, yesterday was also fairly warm, didn’t really need heated gloves on, but I left them on lowest setting. I must be turning into a nesh Southern pansy. ­čÖé Could be time to swap to my summer gloves.

Bike desperately needs a nice wash and polish, however I’m still waiting for damage and insurance claim to be resolved. At least the other insurance company is starting to get their act together. Just had a visit from their engineer to assess the damage and push the claim forwards a bit. Fingers crossed it will be all sorted soon. However it’s looking likely it will be written off, but I have been advised to buy back the bike cheap and repair it myself on the cheap.

Delays on My Commute Home

imageThere were long delays on my commute home today. I ask you, who brings a yacht up the Thames into central London and gets Tower Bridge to make an unscheduled opening at rush hour?! It wasn’t even a posh or expensive looking yacht, nor very fast!

That said, sat on Tower Bridge on a warm Spring afternoon, Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs, Dome to my right, and to my left I can see the Shard, HMS Belfast, City Hall, Tower of London, St Pauls, the nearly complete ‘Walky-Talky’ building, and in the distance, BT Tower, the Eye and Big Ben. London is a mental place to live and work in, crazy, busy, total bedlam, but there are moments when you stop and take in all amazing history and breathtaking sights. Over 15 million people each year, travelling from around the world to visit London, the city I call home.

 

Close Shave with Cyclist & Scooter

This morning on my way into work I had a rather close shave, that could have so easily have turned out badly. I was going round the block just South of London Bridge to negotiate the one way system on Bermondsey Street. Picture me, stationary at a T-junction ready to pull out and turn left, looking right, waiting for a clear gap in the traffic. Also to my right, is a zebra crossing with some vehicles just pulling away as some pedestrians finish crossing.

A scooter comes along, indicates to turn left into the road I’m on, but as he turns, all of a sudden a cyclist comes bombing along on the inside and slams into the side of the scooter, sending him flying towards me! Thankfully the scooter rider manages to remain up right and came to a halt inches from me. The cyclist? Checks he’s OK, apologies, said he didn’t see him indicating, then zooms off.

Obviously, the cyclist was at fault for undertaking. The scooter probably should have done a left shoulder life saver as he pulled away from the pedestrian crossing and about to turn left. As for me, I’m not what I could have done. I couldn’t have pulled out to avoid the scooter, I would have gone into other traffic behind the scooter. What would you have done?