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
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
Hardware

My Video Blogging Computer Setup

With not a lot of riding occurring at the moment, I thought I’d give you a glimpse behind the scenes here, to peek at the kind of computer kit I use to run this blog and produce my videos. It may not be the best video editing rig you can buy, but it will hopefully give you an insight on something that can produce good results without breaking the bank. Be warned, this gets a bit geeky!

MacBook Pro

I have a preference for Mac’s, simply because they’re generally well designed, last well and have good migration and recovery features. I’m currently running a Mid 2014 15″ MacBook Pro Retina, with 16GB RAM, 250GB SSD drive and 2.2Ghz Intel Quad Core i7 processor. Now before you cry ‘but boy they’re super expensive!’, I picked MacBook up refurbished from Music Magpie in November 2019 for £650 (but did have to buy a power supply at £80 on top). At time of writing a similar spec brand new Windows laptop will set you back over a grand.

I’d recommend the Retina display, as it’s high resolution is perfect for inspecting video in a small preview pane. But note, RAM is not upgradeable on recent Retina Mac’s, so do get one with 16GB already in it. I also went for the fast Intel Core i7 chip, to help blitz through video rendering and processing. Overall, it’s plenty fast enough to work on long 1080p video, and possibly 4k video at a push.

Categories
Gear Reviews

AGV K5-S Full Face Helmet Review

I returned to the AGV brand for this K5-S helmet after having many fond memories of my first helmet – an AGV K4. I had grown somewhat disappointed with the robustness of my more expensive Shuberth S2 I current wear. So, I decided to go for a middle of the road helmet suitable for daily commuting and touring. For me the key requirements were safety, good fit, a sun visor, good ventilation, quietness and of course price.

This K5-S I picked up in an end-of-line sale for a very reasonable £200 from Infinity Motorcycles, so can’t complain on price. The K5-S comes in many colour styles, some plain and some patterns, I opted for the ‘Typhoon’ design, as I preferred a little fluorescence to help stay visible. It’s a 4 star Sharp rating, granted this test scheme isn’t the be all and end all, but hopefully gives some indication of potential protection it can offer.

Categories
News

Help Your Favourite Online Bike Store with these Discount Codes

We are in a time of crisis, the current corona virus pandemic has halted all leisure riding and much of the country is facing deep financial trouble. Unfortunately, this also extends to many of our favourite motorcycle stores, who as a result are offering big discounts to drive enough sales to scrape by. So, if you’re lucky enough to be in a position to still have a regular income, there are many bargains and reduced gear to be had. Save yourself a few quid and help keep your favourite online retailers afloat in these uncertain times.

SportsBikeShop: 10% off with code SBSAPR10 (ends 30/04/20)

Motoin: 10% discount with code STAYSTRONG10 (ends 30/04/20)

Motoin: 15% discount with code HAPPYEASTER2020 (ends 13/04/20)

GhostBikes: 15% discount with code GIVEME15

FC-Moto: 10% off everything with code: EASTER20

GetGeared: 10% off everything with code: GETGEARED1020

GetGeared: £10 off £100 spend, £20 off £200 spend, £50 off £500 spend.

Infinity Motorcycles: 10% off everything with code: INFINITY10

Demon Tweeks: Free RST Backpack & Gloves with RST Raid jacket purchases.

Please note, that although I’m suggesting buying some cheap bike gear whilst you’re stuck at home, I’m not condoning heading out on your bike to try the gear out, save your new gear for when normality returns. Do also give the above retailers and postal staff some slack as they run reduced staff in these unprecedented times. If you are self isolating with the virus, do add a note to your order and stick a note on your door so postal staff can maintain a safe distance.

Categories
News

Hanging Leathers up for a While, and so Should You

The Coronavirus pandemic has now spread globally, has taken thousands of people and is accelerating in pace. Things just got real, very real. If we stand any chance of preventing our health service from being swamped in the coming weeks we need a drastic change in our social interactions, and that includes ride outs.

The biking season may be upon us, the weather improving and we’re all geared up to head out with biking buddies, but this would be very bad. You maybe caring the virus, your buddies maybe carrying the virus, other people you meet maybe carrying the virus, those you interact with at retail outlets maybe carrying the virus. Symptoms from this virus don’t typically manifest themselves for 5 days, sometimes upto 14 days and some people carry the virus without developing any symptoms. You can’t guarantee those you’ve interacted with in the last couple of weeks don’t have it, you can’t guarantee those you interact with on a ride out haven’t picked it up from someone in last couple of weeks. To head out because you feel fine today, would be incredible selfish to those you meet and those in your household for the coming weeks.

To head out because you feel fine today, would be incredible selfish

But I hear you say, I’ll just go for a solo ride, protect myself with helmet and gloves, fill up with petrol at a self-service pump and take my own thermos flask of tea. Sure, you probably won’t catch or spread the virus with this strategy. However, if you happen to breakdown you’ll be interacting with recovery staff and any other bikers who stop by to help out. If you have a tumble, it will be even worse. Sure, you maybe the safest biker in the world, but unexpected things happen, potholes, debris in the road, diesel spill, or a mad driver thinking the roads are quiet and his to rally. When you find yourself injured in a hedge, don’t expect the incredibly stretched health service to get an ambulance to you in a hurry, don’t expect a free bed in hospital, don’t expect to see a doctor promptly or get any surgery in any time soon. But certainly, bank on picking up a nice Coronavirus infection from the warzone like hospital as a souvenir.

So for these reasons, I’m hanging up my leathers until things change and I urge you all to do the same.

Staying healthy today so you can ride another day is the current priority.

Categories
News

February Leap Year Update – When Life Throws a Curve

“When life throws you a curve, lean into it”

It’s been a pretty crap couple of months for biking, the weather has been naff. Wet and stormy, so no leasuire riding and some pretty miseable commuting has been it.

There’s also been a number of life’s challenges that have reared up and thrown some curve balls. From battling illnesses within the family, to work stresses and the sad loss of an old friend. It’s been a tough few weeks and we’re still not 100% in the clear yet.

Some things have progressed however. As you may have noticed this website has received a revamp and new look. An update that has been brewing in the side lines for a while, I hope you like it and would love to hear your feedback.

I have also been doing a fair bit of work for the ELAM group, managing their online presence and recently putting together a little promo video for their annual Folembray track weekend.

I hope your 2020 has had a better start and see you on the road soon!

 

Categories
Videos

Highlights Roundup Video 2019

It was a busy year for me in 2019 with numerous biking trips and adventures around the globe.  Below is a short video of the key highlights from the past year, do enjoy!

Have you had similar interesting adventures in the past? Do you have any exciting plans for the coming year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.