Categories
Riding

Westminster Motorcycle Parking

Westminster Motorcycle ParkingI 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.

Categories
Hardware

Givi Monokey Rack & Top Box

Givi Monokey RackI recently decided to get myself a decent top box for the bike. I have been using some Oxford cloth panniers, which have been fine but proved less than ideal for carrying my heavy chain and lock. Often drooping down on one side, unbalancing the bike slightly and precariously pressing down on the rear indicator stalk.

When it comes to top boxes and hard luggage in general, Givi is the brand to have. Givi have two levels of products the basic Monolock range and the better Monokey range. The latter are higher spec’d to carry more weight, for higher speeds and more weather proof. To fit a top box, I first have to fit some a rack to the bike, which consists of some motorcycle model specific arms and a universal mounting plate. For the Fazer FZS600 this is the Givi 340F rack and the M3 plate (for Monokey boxes). This pair normally sets you back about £95-100 in the UK, however I was able to find a shop on ebay.it that could post the pair (brand new) from Italy for about £60 – bargain. You maybe able to source one second hand, but finding one in good nick with all the bolts and fastenings is not easy. And note, slightly different bolts are required for the early ’98-99 Fazer to the later ’00-03 FZS600.

Categories
Riding

Ace’s Cafe with London Bikers Forum

Ace CafeI 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.

Categories
Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

Gerbing Heated Gloves XR12 Hybrid Review

Gerbing Heated Gloves XR12 Hybrid - close upI know I recently picked up some decent Alpinestars Goretex gloves, but I saw these gloves on special offer through BuyaPowa. They operate in a Groupon kind of way, where the more buyers who sign up for the deal, the cheaper the deal gets. Either way, I managed to get these Gerbing Heated Gloves for the super price of £100, that’s a good £60 off. They took a while to turn up, after the deal closed, but are definitely worth the wait.

Categories
Riding

Bloody Puncture

Motorcycle punctureNot 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.