Motorcycle Blog UK

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

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Categories
Riding Uncategorized Videos

Random Encounters Video – Scotland Style

Random encounters when out riding in Scotland are quite different to what I used to encounter in London. Check out this short video of some of my recent daily observations from riding around Scotland.

YouTube player

Have you bumped into anything wild on your riding adventures, do comment below, I’d love to hear more.

Categories
Riding

Is the end of petrol motorcycles upon us?

At some point, we bikers really need to discuss the big elephant in the room – burning petrol, no matter how much fun it is, causes some serious problems.

Recycling dinosaurs doesn’t half feel good!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy revving the tits off my motorbike as much as the rest of you, hooning it through the twisties, revelling in the sound, vibration and smell it makes. Recycling dinosaurs doesn’t half feel good! But we really need to face up to the fact that burning petrol is not without consequences. I don’t want to go all Greta Thunberg on you, but we can’t live in denial and we should face up to some home truths.

Categories
Riding

Fair Weather Biker / Weekend Warrior

What’s happened to me?!

When I first learnt to ride almost 10 years ago, it was primarily driven by the need to commute to London in a more efficient way. I needed to get to work and back faster and cheaper than train, tube and bus. Too many changes, too much walking to/from stations and tight childcare drop off/pick up deadlines simply meant public transport was no longer working for me.

London biking wasn’t necessarily enjoyable, but infinitely preferable to public transport

Over the years that followed, I became a hardened London biker, commuting in all weathers, all year round, carving my way through the traffic, idiotic drivers, suicidal cyclists and oblivious pedestrians. I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as enjoyable, but it was infinitely preferable to public transport and it certainly kept one alert and on the ball. Though, London weather was rarely ever too bad to contemplate riding in.

Like many, the COVID pandemic changed everything. The office commute stopped just like that and working from home became the new norm. My employer reducing office space, introducing flexible days and new hotdesking plans meant that even when lockdown restrictions eased, I was still only commuting into London just once or twice a week. The change of pace, and the additional time freed up in the day all added up to a better quality of life and something I was keen to take advantage of permanently and somewhere outside of East London suburbs. If you can work anywhere, you may as well work somewhere nice.

If you can work anywhere, you may as well work somewhere nice

Fast forward to today, I’m working from my dedicated home office in beautiful Scotland and only pop back down to the London office for a couple of days every couple of months via train. It’s 5.5hrs train vs ~9hrs on bike and tickets are a similar price to the petrol! This is all great, but the amount of biking I’m doing has dropped considerably. No more motorcycle commuting, just fun blasts through the Scottish mountains on free weekends when the weather is decent. A leisure ride in Scotland in torrential rain or snow is not something you want to do out of choice…

Yep, I’ve become that stereotype I used to mock, I’ve turned into a fair weather biker and a weekend warrior. Uh-oh!

Categories
Videos

Family Motorcycle Tour Scotland, Part 1

A family tour on bikes to Scotland, what could possibly go wrong?! With the British weather not on our side, it certainly was going to be a trip to remember. Check out this part 1 video of our journey North from London to Scotland via the Peak District, Yorkshire and the Pennines.

YouTube player

Been sitting on this footage for a while, but with so much other stuff going on recently, I’ve now finally got this first part edited. Hope you enjoy it.

Categories
Clothing/Protection

Womens Motorcycle Clothing – Motogirl Irene Dungri Review

Womens Motorcycle Clothing - Motogirl DungriWhat is worse than riding your bike and feeling the telltale slide, the moment where your trousers slide down, your jacket rides up and your arse is left glinting like the moon above some clouds? The cool rush of air as you are riding along, just coming up to a lovely sweeping bend and you find yourself distracted trying to pull your trousers up and your jacket down. And now it has started raining too, great!

There are many solutions available on the market; braces that one attaches to the offending trousers, bib and brace leathers and winter textiles with a similar arrangement. Many of these lack the comfort of stretchy textiles for lighter and warmer weather. Biker braces, on the whole, tend to be made for tall men and not for short women, leading to painful chafing on the neck rubbing one raw where the metal adjustment clasp inevitably ends up. There’s zip together two-piece suits, but unless you’re that ideal size for womens motorcycle clothing, it can be tricky to find a matching top and bottom pair that fits well. One answer which is designed especially for women is the Motogirl Dungri’s (yes, that’s Dungri’s and not dungarees!)

Categories
Gear Reviews

TCX Gore-Tex Motorcycle Boots Review – X-Five.4

Yuck! Piddling down with rain, leaking boots, wet, soggy socks – that time again. My old Alpinestars SMX-S boots finally wore out, the soles worn through and no longer waterproof. But what boot to replace them with? I am usually a creature of habit and would have just ordered a similar pair of Alpinestars SMX boots again, or their Web Gore-Tex boots, however this time I was stuck. A lack of stock, long lead times, very little in a size 11 that were waterproof (note many of the SMX models come in waterproof ‘WP’ or ‘normal’ non-waterproof versions…), and those in stock were commanding silly prices of around £200+ Hmmm.

I needed an alternative to the Alpinestars Web Gore-Tex boots.

TCX Gore Tex Motorcycle Boots X.Five.4So, I had a hunt around and came across these Gore-Tex TCX X-Five.4 boots for the slightly more acceptable sum of £160. I’ve never had TCX boots before, but have heard a few good things about them. I figured £160 was a good price for Gore-Tex motorcycle boots since Gore-Tex always carries a premium for the Gore-Tex guarantee.

The TCX X-Five.4 boots are a fairly standard construction and have an understated design that doesn’t stand out. Black leather outer, a small reflective panel on the rear shin and textured rubber toe cover to protect against the gear lever. There’s some discreet TCX branding on the front shin in a grey and tiny Gore-Tex metal badge, but that’s it. Ideal if you don’t want anything to stand out to wear under your Kevlar jeans for work or a meet down the pub. Further to this, these TCX Gore-Tex boots are not as bulky as the SMXs, so fit a lot better under trousers or jeans.

TCX X.Five.4 Gore-Tex Motorcycle boots

Categories
News

Scottish Motorcycle Show 2022

After what seemed like years, we made it to a motorcycle show. This weekend we popped along to the Scottish Motorcycle Show in Edinburgh, having missed many past bike shows due to various lockdowns and those that followed in Birmingham and London shortly after due to our big move to Scotland. It was good to check out the local show up here, see many of the new bikes to hit the market and all the other stands on show.

Custom Tartan Yamaha XJR1300
Custom Tartan Yamaha XJR1300

The Scottish Motorcycle Show spanned 3 large-ish halls with a number of manufacturers, stalls selling gear, custom and classic bikes on show and many stands from local motorcycle clubs. Outside there was some entertainment in the form of the Two Brothers stunt riders and some trials riding.

Categories
Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

Cherry Red Spada Pilgrim Grande Boots Review

If you are an old fart like me and hark after a simpler time where dressing to go for a ride didn’t take hours and you didn’t feel like your legs were encased in lead pipes then the Spada Pilgrim Grande Boots are for you. I still don’t like wearing full-length boots, even though I know that they give better protection. However, proper motorcycle ankle-length boots are a good compromise. In the event of an off, they will provide support and protection to your feet and ankles whilst not feeling as restrictive as full-length boots. They allow you to walk around and get lunch without feeling like you are walking up the hill to the cafe in moon boots. I have worn these Spada boots for a few months now and they are still comfortable and hard-wearing. They also work well as a chunky alternative boot off the bike too.

Categories
News

A Wet February off the Bikes

Kelpies, Falkirk
A brief moment of winter sun at the Kelpies

Wet. Wind. Sleet. Cold.

Pretty much what one would expect from a winter in Scotland. Although some extreme weather has hit the UK (122mph wind on the Isle of Wight! WTF!), here in Stirling we have dodged the worst of it. But it’s still been pretty wet and miserable, so not a lot of biking has occurred this last few weeks and things are a little quiet on the blog. In the meantime, I’ve been keeping busy with other projects.

Categories
Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

HeatPerformance Maximum Heated Motorcycle Gloves Review

No one likes cold hands and fingers when riding a motorbike. Sure, some will pack their bikes away for the winter, but they can miss out on some beautiful sunny winter days. Some make do with heated grips, which do help but can still leave your fingers and back of your hands cold.  Some fit muffs on their handlebars, which although effective rarely fit on a faired bike. One of the best solutions is heated motorcycle gloves – decent protective gloves with an integrated electric heating mesh sewed inside.

Heated Motorcycle Gloves Tested

Loch Tay, Scotland, Winter Ride
Bit nippy in Scotland, definitely heated gloves weather

Dutch firm HeatPerformance produces many such heated gloves for a variety of sporting activities, skiing, hiking, outdoor work and of course heated gloves for motorcycles. HeatPerformance put forward their gloves for review, which now we are in Scotland we can most definitely test out.

HeatPerformance glovesThe HeatPerformance Maximum heated motorcycle gloves are powered from two 7.2V 2600mAh Li-Po batteries, which slot into the cuff of each glove. The gloves have 3 heat settings, which are quoted to give you between 2.5 and 8 hours of heat depending on setting and charge within 4 hours. The gloves retail for £150 which includes one pair of batteries and a charger. A spare/replacement set of batteries costs £40.