Time does fly, it seems like only yesterday that I started this journey. 8 years ago I finally heeded my better half’s advice, got myself a motorcycle license, bought my first motorcycle, hit the road and I haven’t looked back since. At the same time, I kicked off this blog to document the adventure in the vague hope others might find it somewhat interesting and perhaps learn the odd thing as I progressed. Fast forward to today, 8 years later and it’s been one hell of a ride!
There’s been biking adventures all over the globe, track days, advancing riding, innumerable group rides and lots of tinkering with bikes. Not forgetting riding together with Mary and the kids, seeing them grow up in the pillion seat. This blog has also grown from strength to strength with many great collaborations over the years. Of course, there was the odd mishap and crash, but you dust yourself off and learn from your mistakes.
Recently my news feed threw up some articles extolling the advantages of an e-bike and what struck me was how they were exactly the reasons we all love and ride motorcycles. Hardly newsworthy and of no surprise to bikers. The articles described how the electric motor assistance on an e-bike provides the following so-called advantages:
Ability to cover longer ranges than a normal bicycle without getting worn out
Avoid breaking a sweat and arriving at work in damp Lyrca
Carry some luggage without the strain on pedalling
Save money compared to public transport or car
Stay fit by still pedalling some
Get fresh air, enjoy the outdoors and stay healthy and stress-free
Cut through traffic with ease with a small e-bike
Discover and explore more out of town on days off
Yeah, everything us motorbikers have been taking advantage of for decades, except a motorcycle takes things much further. You can cover much longer distances, carry more luggage, carry a pillion, cut through city traffic with greater speed and explore way more on days off. So, what are the true benefits of electric bikes compared to a motorcycle? Why not just get a motorcycle instead? Read on to find out.
Being London based bikers, we are through necessity always interested in the latest motorcycle security developments. Keen to stay one step ahead of bike thieves and keep our bikes secure. So, when Litelok approached us with their new Litelok Moto lightweight motorcycle security chain, we were of course, excited to check out this innovative British designed and built security chain.
Litelok was founded by ex-Rolls Royce aero engineer Professor Neil Barron and his company has built up a reputation of producing strong, but lightweight bicycle locks. The Litelok Gold Moto 108 is their first heavy-duty product aimed at motorcycles, essentially taking their tried and tested design and beefing it up. We’ve been using the Litelok Moto over the last couple of months, read on to find out our verdict and if this really is the best lightweight motorcycle security chain currently on the market.
Looking for Motorcycle tyres in London? A new garage has just opened up which should definitely be on your list of places to check out. Two Tyres recently opened in August 2020 selling motorcycle tyres online or fitted at their bricks’n’mortar shop near Oval in South London. Formed by Ben Cope (original founder of the VisorDown website) along with Chris (one of the founders of FWR – another reputable shop for motorcycle tyres London) and Deano (another ex FWR mechanic). Between them, they have plenty of experience of the real world mechanical, customer service and shop running side, in conjunction with the online and marketing side.
I visited Two Tyres a couple of weeks after it opened to fit a fresh pair of Metzeler RoadTec 01 SE tyres on my Yamaha FZ6, check out their new facilities and grab a quick interview with Ben Cope.
Read on to find out more and blag yourself a discount code for Two Tyres.
If you have a motorcycle or scooter over three years old, you will need to submit it for an annual motorbike MOT test to ensure it is still safe and road legal. No one wants an MOT failure and the prospect of a large repair bill. However, a large majority of test failures are simple things that can easily be identified and fixed yourself before you take your bike to the garage.
Historic Motorcycle MOT Exemption
As of May 2018 historic motorcycles over 40 years old are exempt from MOT tests and vehicle tax. You will however need to apply for the ‘historic tax class’ – more details on the Gov.uk site. But note you can still be fined and get 3 points if your motorbike is not in a road worthy condition.
Covid19 Lockdown MOT Extension
Note there were MOT test date extensions brought in due to the Covid19 lockdown, don’t get caught out now this extension period is over:
MOT’s expiring on or after 30th March and before 1st August, get a six-month extension
MOT’s expiring on or after 1st August are due as normal
MOT Failure Statistics
Recently the Dept. for Transport (DfT) released MOT data for 2019, which provides for some interesting stats:
83% of motorcycles & scooters pass first time, compared to 67% of cars and light vehicles (up to 3,000 Kg)
Across all vehicles types, 7% ‘Pass with Rectification’ – that is, after minor fixes at the test station within 1 hour
10% of motorcycles fail their MOT test, verses 25% of cars & light vehicles
Clearly, motorcycles are less likely to encounter an MOT test failure compared to other vehicles. In this article we will look at what the most common failure reasons are and if they could have been spotted before hand, thus compiling a motorcycle MOT checklist you can follow.
Being based in East London, Essex is right on my doorstep and where I head for the majority of my ride outs. Essex may not have epic hills and deep valleys, but it offers many great twisty roads, rolling farmland, postcard villages of thatched cottages and some great coastlines to explore. Here I have rounded up some of the best motorcycle roads Essex has to offer, from the infamous Burnham Bends, the Clacton coast and of course the biker Mecca that is Finchingfield. You will not be disappointed by these routes:
Covid-19 has drastically changed everyone’s life, putting all of us under two to three months of lockdown. The impact and fear of this virus is mostly decreasing and the global lockdown is finally opening up. Wider travel and international border crossings are starting to resume once again, allowing visits to see family, friends or undertake new adventures. But this doesn’t mean that it’s safe to go out there without any precautions, below are five tips on how to stay safe from the Covid 19 virus when travelling.
Like many of you, recent the Covid19 lockdown has completely changed my usual way of life and biking. Thankfully, I’ve still maintained my main job as a software engineer, albeit now all working remote from home. I haven’t commuted into central London since the middle of March and only recently had chance to enjoy time on my bike on a few recent weekends when the weather has been reasonable.
Yep, I seemed to have become a weekend fair weather rider…
I used to be one to ride all the time, an all weather biker, commuting to into London rain or shine, but now I’m desk bound at home Monday-Friday. If anything, I’m putting in more hours now than I used to as I work the time I would have previously spent commuting. Weekends are now my only chance to get out on the bike, where I’m choosing to ride for enjoyment and thus I want to ride out into the sunny countryside. A weekend blast in the rain just ain’t quite as much fun.
It’s anybody’s guess when we’ll all return to normality and start commuting back into the office. Somehow, I don’t think normality will be quite what it used to be though. Like many forward thinking tech companies, my employer always had options for flexible and remote working. However, like many companies they are now planning for many of its staff to work remote far more, using shared ‘hot’ desks and reducing office space in central London. After the success of remote working these last few months, there’s no argument for not continuing to offer such an option.
So what does this mean for biking? With less emphasis on commuting, I’m seriously questioning my current choice of Yamaha FZ6 as a pure commuter hack. Why am I putting my priorities into a basic commuter bike? Why don’t I get a fun weekend bike than can commute upon occasion? Longer term, I also can’t help but question even living in the London suburbs. If I can work remote, why not live remote?! Once the advantage of a short commute is eroded, what else does the East London suburbia have to offer? Why not live rural, escape the crowds, find nicer roads, beautiful scenery and cheaper motorcycle insurance?
These last few months have definitely been a time of questioning, challenging prior assumptions, re-evaluating life choices and priorities. We maybe getting closer to normality, but it’s clear it won’t be the normal we’ve been used to in years past.
When your riders have hundreds, if not thousands, of destinations or clients to visit, planning routes manually is a time-intensive and inefficient solution.
In many industries, driver wages and fuel costs alone make up 59.8% of the total operational cost per mile. So even small improvements to your driver’s routes can not only help you deliver packages or serve your clients faster, but can have a significant impact on your profit margin
In this guide, we’ll give you a complete breakdown of what route optimization is and how it can benefit your business. We’ll examine real-world examples and provide use-cases for your industry.
We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
What is Route Optimisation?
Route optimisation is the process of improving routes and schedules for any type of delivery or service call. It helps businesses maximize completed orders while keeping the number of riders and bikes to a minimum.
Route optimization is relevant to your company, whether you offer direct-to-consumer deliveries, business-to-business despatching or are in a service industry where your technicians visit client homes or businesses.
Routing your riders and technicians can be a costly and frustrating process, but with the right tool it can be automated — saving you time, money, and improving customer satisfaction.
As great as leathers are, once the hot summer arrives they get awfully toasty and sweaty. In days gone by a good pair of Levis was considered perfectly adequate for a casual summer ride, but you really don’t want to come off your bike just wearing a pair of fashion jeans. I also doubt today’s Levis are as robust as pairs made in days gone by. Today we have on the market many motorbike jeans with Kevlar or other branded variants of this super strong abrasion resistant aramid fabric, like the Covec used on these Bull-It SR6 jeans I picked up a last summer.
The Bull-It SR6 set me back £60 in a sale, which included both knee and hip armour inserts (they’re sometimes optional extras) – bargain. But are they actually any good? Read on to find out more.