It’s been a little while since my last update here, July and August have been a rather hectic with all kinds of biking antics on the go. Here’s a brief catchup of the highlights:
Mary in Scotland
The end of July saw Mary heading up to Scotland for a the Curvy Riders MC annual meet up. This year located just outside Glasgow, many women bikers from across the UK gathering for the club’s AGM, ride outs, spa sessions and of course much partying. A bit of a mission from London, made worse by the crazy heatwave hitting the country.
After some false starts, summer has finally hit us and boy has it now gone hot. As tempting as it is, I’m not fond of the idea of riding in shorts and t-shirt having seen too many photos of others with nasty gravel rash following a spill in such attire. So the issue is then how to stay protected and stay cool in this weather – often with no easy solution and fraught with compromises. If only there was some kind of motorcycle air conditioning or jacket refrigerator… cue the Rev’it Cooling Vest.
Hi-vis always seems to polarise opinions in the motorcycle community; those that can’t stand them and don’t believe they make any difference; and those that wear them all the time to stand out. There’s arguments and counter-arguments as to when hi-vis would or wouldn’t help get you seen, but nonetheless we can probably agree there are certainly some times when hi-vis could help get you noticed, even if not in all scenarios. As a year round, daily London commuter, I’m riding into the city in all conditions, day, dusk, night, rain or shine and dealing with far too many less than attentive drivers. As such, I’ll take whatever I can that might help get me seen and save my bacon. It’s also worth noting that it’s now a legal requirement to have a hi vis vest with you when travelling in France, and hefty fines for not wearing should you breakdown. Continue reading “Rev’it Hi-Vis Connector Vest Mini Review” »
So, when was the last time you gave the inside of your motorcycle helmet a clean? Sure, I bet you keep the visor clean of bugs, but what about all that padding on the inside that’s soaked up months or years of sweat and grime? It’s probably a bit stinky by now, but you still keep shoving your head in it without second thought – yuck! Here’s where Muc-off comes to the rescue, well known for bike care products, they also have number of solutions for your helmet too. I recently spotted this Helmet Care Kit box in one of the Halfords sale bins, half price at £15 – bargain! Even better, upon checking the receipt later the kit had rung through the till at £5 – super bargain! But how does the kit stack up in practice? Read on to see if it managed to de-skank by lid.
Apparently summer is now upon us, biking season has begun (did it ever stop?!) and I find myself hanging up my textiles and digging out my leather summer gear. Well, on some days when it’s not pissing down with rain, got to love the great British summer. Nonetheless, I found my old Alpinestars GP-Plus gloves were looking a bit worse for wear and in dire need of replacement. Whereas the GP-Plus and GP-Pro ranges are very race orientated, this time I was after a more general summer glove that didn’t break the bank. I’ve always been a fan of the Alpinestars brand, having always found them good quality, robust and have protected me well in previous offs. Their SP-2 V2 gloves appeared to fit the bill well, and actually graced my own credit card, no review freebie’s this time. Read on to hear my verdict.
Continuing my MT09 adventure down under in Brisbane, for my second day I followed a route loosely based on this Rent This Bike blog post, an epic loop heading North West of Brisbane around lake Wivenhoe, taking in Mount Glorious, then North West over to Kingaroy, through Bunya Mountain and then back via Cooyar, Crows Nest and Esk. A substantial ride to do in one day at around 535 km, that left me minimal time to stop and explore along the route, before riding back into Brisbane after dark due to the early autumn nights. Definitely get out on the road early or consider stopping the night half way for a more leisurely cruise.
So when my boss turned round and asked if I could join him on a sales trip to a prospective customer in Brisbane, I of course jumped at the opportunity. Sure, there was quite a lot of technical prep work setting up demo systems for presentations, the arduous sales meeting itself and the long flights (not business class sadly). But it did afford me chance to grab a couple of free days to rent a bike and explore some of Australia’s beautiful East coast. Being my first visit to Australia, I was keen to see as much of it as I could cram into my time there.
For motorcycle rental, a quick Google revealed Eagle Rider had a shop in Brisbane, certainly tempting having rented from them previously in Sam Francisco. However, I also found the smaller local firm Rent This Bike, with a good choice of bikes and very competitive pricing. They were also more flexible on return times, affording me two full days of riding. I only had a Friday and Saturday free time and EagleRider close at 3pm on Saturdays, whereas Rent This Bike were happy to accommodate pick up and drop offs from 7am to 7pm any day. Continue reading “Adventures Down Under, Rental MT09 in Brisbane, Part 1” »
I’m always interested in new biking adventures and off road riding is something I’ve been meaning to try for a long time. To resolve this, I recently booked myself in at the Off The Kerb Trail Riding school down in Dorking, Surrey. Off The Kerb offer a newbie friendly introduction to off road trail riding, exploring local green lanes in the beautiful Surrey Hills on Fantic Moto 250E Case enduro bikes.
Toppling over in an embarrassing fashion is de rigueur when off road
The day comes in at just over £200 quid, including hire of all the kit you need: bike, boots, full armour, top, trousers, waterproof jacket, gloves, lid and not forgetting lunch. Certainly very handy for an off road newbie with none of the gear, and at a price on par with many other off road days elsewhere. Toppling over in an embarrassing fashion is de rigueur when off road, so doing that in the supplied full armour and less precious kit is definitely preferred.
“Think my tyres have gone off” – said Keith Code’s protagonist in Twist of the Wrist II, and every other biker with lost riding confidence trying to pin the blame on something tangible that’s easy to replace. Confidence is easily dented, whether from a tumble down the road, an arse clenching close call, to a change of bike, setup or yes tyres. Continue reading ““Think my tyres have gone off” and Dented Riding Confidence” »
It’s been a while since I’ve posted much helmet cam footage, but this dozy idiot I encountered the other morning on my commute into work was crying out for some public shaming.
Here I am passing Billingsgate Fish Market and the Canary Wharf financial district on the left on my way into the city. See if you can predict what shenanigans is about to unfold (I’m sure you can). How would you have reacted if in this situation?
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London