Most bikes have a small storage compartment under the seat, ideal for essential kit for them tricky emergencies. You probably already have the factory supplied mini tool kit in there, so here I’m going to go over other useful kit you should pack on an every day basis. Some I’ve found useful myself, some I’ve been recommended by others.
Stumbled across this excellent YouTube video today. Certainly not for the faint hearted, but there’s some definitely lessons to be learnt from the unfortunate accidents shown. Not easy viewing, but do try to avoid repeating their mistakes on the road yourself.
A large number of these accidents are down to aggressive filtering, often on the inside and general lack of perception and anticipation of upcoming hazards. It may be easy to spot these errors watching the video, but many of the riders had too much speed for the conditions/hazards around them, leaving them no time to react. There’s also an awful lot of riders seriously lacking protective clothing – they’re really gonna be hurting!
On the back of the excellent BikeSafe course I did on Saturday, already I’ve found one of the tips covered useful and prevented a potentially hairy situation.
Riding home in the dark, along a quiet tree lined avenue, I spotted up ahead the nose of a car protruding from a junction. Its indicator was flashing to turn right across my path and was slowly creeping out. I changed position, moving out towards the centre of the road, to make myself visible around the tree. The car hit the brakes and waited for me to pass.
It was a simple trick, being aware the tree was blocking the line of sight between myself and the car driver, and changing position accordingly. But had I not moved out the car driver would not have seen me until much later, and likely would have pulled out in front of me.
So, tip of the day, position yourself to be scene. Consider what may obscure you.
Today, I attended the BikeSafe day over in Romford, run by the local traffic police. After hearing many good reports in the course and its benefits, I decided to give it a go.
Distinctly frosty and foggy this morning. But once wrapped up warm, it was a good ride into work. So glad I’ve got my heated gloves and Pinlock visor. I do like riding into London on a foggy day, coming in past Canary Wharf, with just a sun blinding glint coming out of the fog where some skyscraper is hidden. The Shard (pictured) was particularly dazzling as it poked out above the fog, and just the top most floors visible and catching the sun.
This shot of the Shard was taken from just off Bermondsey Street.
In the wet, minimise risk of locking wheels and skidding; apply front and back brakes equally, 50:50 each, gradually and smoothly.
Picked these Basic II Rain Pants up from Hein Gericke for £20. Like their name, just basic thin waterproofs to put on over my leathers. They work really well, keep me nice and dry, zipping down over boots to stop rain running down into them and pulled up under jacket to stop the rain entering there. Very effective, no leakage around the crotch where water can collect. They have no pocket holes mind. Being thin and lightweight, means I can pack them up at the bottom of my bag or under the seat, so they’re always handy in case the weather turns bad.
The only downside with these trousers is they can be a bit slippery on the seat. I keep finding myself sliding forward from my default riding position. No doubt I can get some sort of grippy seat covering, shall have to investigate.
Close shave this morning. Filter through the Limehouse Link, between two lanes of traffic doing around 10mph. Suddenly an Addison Lee minibus suddenly swaps lanes right in front of me. His indicator blinked once before he had moved across. I hammer the horn and swerve to his left, to find him, moving back over to the left lane. Luckily escaped with just a clip of the mirror. Fucking moron.
Be warned Taxies, be they black caps, private hire or whatever, are often the most dangerous of drivers on the streets of London. Often behaving unpredictably and erratically, with little or no indication of what stunt they’re about to pull. Watch out for:-
- Sudden U-Turns, be it across you, or from opposite direction into you.
- Sudden lane changes.
- Sudden stopping and starting.
Give them all a wide berth and treat with extreme caution…
Last night was a work social do, over at the Bincho in Exmouth Market. It was a great Japanese grill house and a thoroughly good night. The key thing, was everyone left the office on Bermondsey Street at the same time, myself on bike, everyone else on tube. Always figured I’d be there first, but most striking was the time difference. They took 40 minutes and I took 15 minutes (including getting bit lost and going long way around St Paul’s)!
Hence chilling out with a lovely pot of Gyokuro green tea and big smug face, when everyone else turned up. Of course, no Sake for me, but I did have a enjoyable ride back, along the quiet moonlit East London streets. Quite a novelty.