Lomo 60 Ltr Holdall in Yosemite, CA

This blog tells my story as a biker in London, from learning to ride to now a seasoned city commuter and lover of motorcycle adventures further afield.

Read and watch videos about the lessons I’ve learnt, tips I’ve picked up, reviews of my kit and stories of amazing rides around the globe.

Categories
Maintenance

Easy Motorcycle MOT Checklist to Avoid Failing

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.

Motorcycle MOT Check
Pass your Motorcycle MOT first time!

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:

  1. 83% of motorcycles & scooters pass first time, compared to 67% of cars and light vehicles (up to 3,000 Kg)
  2. Across all vehicles types, 7% ‘Pass with Rectification’ – that is, after minor fixes at the test station within 1 hour
  3. 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.

Categories
Riding

Best Motorcycle Roads Essex has for a Ride Out

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:

Categories
Riding

5 Tips To Travel Safely During Covid-19 Outbreak

Travel safely covid-19 tipsCovid-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.

Categories
Riding

Weekend Fair Weather Rider

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…

London Commuting Tower Bridge
London commuting all weathers

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.

Yamaha FZ6 S2
Yamaha FZ6 S2 commuter hack

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.

How has the Covid19 crisis affected your biking?

Categories
Riding

Ultimate Guide to Route Optimisation in 2020

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

With proper route optimisation tools, your business could save up to 20% in mileage and improve your order capacity by as much as 100% without increasing your fleet.

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 Optimisation Phone AppRoute 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.

Let’s get into it!

Categories
Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

Bull-it SR6 Motorcycle Jeans Review

Bull-It SR6 motorcycle jeansAs 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.

Categories
Motorcycles

Famous Motorcycles on Film

Over the past few months of lockdown I’ve been watching many films to while away the time until I could get back out on my bike. Of course, we all love movies with bikes, and so here I have rounded up a number of iconic motorbikes on film. Some from films portraying motorcycle (counter) culture, some just excellent stylistic choices supporting other narratives. All highly memorable and iconic motorcycles I’m sure we’d all to ride.

Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider 1969No list of bike films would be complete without Easy Rider and the story of Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) checking out of mainstream society and undertaking a journey from LA to New Orleans Mardi Gras to discovery America and themselves. They pick up Jack Nicholson on route for a drug addled and tragic ride across middle America.

The custom choppers were built by Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy, from 1949, 1950 and 1952 Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide ex-police bikes. Four bike were built to provide backup in case some broke down or got trashed to avoid filming delays.

Find Easy Rider on Amazon

Categories
Videos

May 2020 Update and Post Lockdown Finchingfield Ride

Been a bit quiet on the biking front lately due to all the Covid shenanigans. So here’s a quick video update on what we’ve been up to and a cheeky post lockdown ride out to Finchingfield.

Regarding the route I took, it’s the first chunk of this Essex Loop I have blogged about previously.

Categories
News

Killing in the Name

You justify those that died
By wearing the badge, they’re the chosen whites
Some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses

#BlackLivesMatter #BlackoutTuesday

Categories
Riding

Mid Wales Ride Out – The Abergwesyn Pass

Welcome to Wales, Powys

This is a route I rode in May 2019, back then I could not have imagined what is happening now one year on. I find myself now looking back at the freedom we had to ride where ever we liked. Enjoy my reminiscing and stick this route on your to-do list for when lockdown restrictions are eased.

This route offers a short loop of mid Wales beginning and finishing in Newtown (because I was staying with family in Welshpool, the next town North, and using this as my base). All in it’s about 130 miles and about 3.5 – 4 hours of riding time, factor in a couple of coffee and food stops and you have a chilled out day on the bike.