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.
Terrible weather today, absolutely tipping it down. Time to dig out my waterproof over trousers, highly glamorous.
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.
With several inches of snow on the ground, and our road totally covered in ice. I’m going snow where today. Just not worth the risk, both to myself or damaging the bike. Much easier to just stay in the warm and work from home.
This last couple of days I’ve been commuting out of London, up to GSK in Stevenage. So good to get into some open roads and open the Fazer up a bit. 🙂 My normal commute never gets above 50mph and often just filtering in thick traffic, so this has been quite a novelty. And with paying travel costs, double bonus.
The weather has been seriously cold and a little icy in places, so some smooth and careful riding was in order. Stevenage was a good few degrees colder than central London. On setting off home, I had real trouble with the key in the ignition. A right struggle to disable the steering lock. 🙁
I had to head over to my old haunt in Soho tonight to catch up with some old work colleagues. However unlike the the rest of London, Westminster council charge for motorcycle parking in the solo bike bays – the cheek!
You have to register first, then phone or txt through, with details of your bike reg and the parking bay location id. Full details can be found on the Westminster Council website here. The charge is £1 a day. Not going to break the bank, but a right faff when parking up. it is however free after 7pm, until 7am. I can definitely recommend signing up and sticking the number on your phone handy for when you may wonder into the West End.
To find out where there are convenient parking bays, I can recommend this site: ParkingForBikes.com. It has a decent search engine and interactive map, highlighting which bays are free and which aren’t.
I popped along to Ace’s Cafe for the first time last night. Famously frequented by the cafe racers who bombed it around the North Circular. Opening in 1938, it is still a veritable hot bed of motorbike enthusiasts and great place to meet up with fellow bikers and have a good cuppa’.
The occasion last night was Newbie Night for the London Bikers forum, which occurs on the first Monday of the month. I initially met up with a handful of bikers in the centre, then we all set off to Ace’s together and had a good chin wag. It was a great night, lots of comradery and good to hear from other newbie’s and their experiences learning. And discovering I’m not alone in dropping the bike in daft manners! It was a chilly ride home, I was glad of my new heated gloves.
Not a good day today. Whilst on the way into central London, I felt a bump and heard a slight clatter from the front wheel. It cleared quickly , so I carried on. Big mistake. When I did finally stop I noticed this big screw protruding from my tyre, and air hissing out slowly I had only ridden several miles down the busy A13, with my wife pillion on the back – eeek! Damned lucky not to have had a blow out.
Being stuck in Mile End, I rang up nearby Pole Position, who sent one of their chaps round to repair the puncture. They showed me poke the ‘strings’ of the rubber puncture kit into the tyre and seal the hole, enabling me to get to their workshop and replace the tyre. It only had a 3-6 months of tread left in it, so replacement seemed best option. On went a nice new Metzeler Roadtec Z6 front tyre, which seems to get good reviews and will hopefully put me in good stead for the coming winter.
Lessen learnt: If you feel something dodgy whilst riding, stop sooner rather than later to check it out.
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London