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Farewll 2017, Roll on 2018

Riding a Harley in San Francisco

2017 was quite the packed year on and off the road. In my main line of work as a software team lead I’ve been managing multiple projects in parallel, done three work trips to New Jersey and one to San Francisco, and have now just taken over a second team!

ELAM Folembray Track Day

On the biking front, I’ve also been busy in 2017. The highlights were a couple of track days (except when I binned it), an Essex Fire Service/Hopp Rider skills day, hiring a big fat Harley Dyna in California and seeing my better half, Mary Crash Bobbins improve her riding on her IAM course. I’ve been heavily involved with ELAM, sorting out their new website  which has been very rewarding. And let’s not forget all the great rides over the year, with ELAM, London Bikers, solo or as a couple with Mary.

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New ELAM Website Launched

As well as working on this blog, I am involved with the East London Advanced Motorcyclist (ELAM) group and over the last few months have been revamping their website. That’s my excuse for the somewhat sporadic updates to on this blog recently.

The group’s old site was pretty dated, but was WordPress based so plain sailing to update with a theme change. Fresh photos were sourced and page layouts reworked make things more engaging. Whether the IAM is something you’ve considered or not, take a look, any feedback would be much appreciated.

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Pre-65 Vintage Motocross Scramble at Marks Tey

Vintage bikes and dirt track scrambling – what’s not to like? This weekend saw a blast out to Marks Tey in deepest Essex, to catch one of the Pre-65 Motocross Club scramble meets. A low key affair in a field beside the busy A12, it had a friendly atmosphere of motocross enthusiasts having lots of fun on vintage twin shock bikes from the ’60s and ’70s. It was great to see a wide pedigree of classic bikes from the likes of BSA, CZ, Triumph, Bultaco, Greeves and many others not just looking great, but being used for their built purpose. A super polished classic in a museum is one thing, but a classic in it’s element haring round a track is really quite something else.

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Essex & Herts Air Ambulance North Weald Fun Day

I popped along to this local fun day a couple of years ago, I recall it being a bit small – just only a handful of stalls. Returning this year, it was good to see the event had developed and had a lot more going on.

Two Brothers Stunt Team
Two Brothers Stunt Team

The fund raising event is organised by the Essex & Herts air ambulance, a entirely charity funded service, and one that is often deployed to a fallen motorcyclist. North Weald airfield is a great venue for the day, and obviously where the air ambulance runs from.

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Telford Classic Dirt Bike Show Report

Some nice Husky’s

At the weekend I popped by the Classic Dirt Bike Show up in Telford. Being in the area with family and having not checked it out before, it seemed too good to miss. Admittedly I’m no off road dirt biker, but some green lane and trail riding has always been on my list of stuff to try. So with kids in toe we rocked up to ponder all these curious bikes with knobbles.

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Is My Bike Affected by London Emissions Charges?

If you live or commute into London, you will undoubtedly have heard about a raft of emission charges, toxicity charges or ultra low emission zone charges being banded about to tackle pollution. With so many charges, consultations and plans a foot it’s tough to get a grip of what the hell is actually coming into affect and how it’ll affect you and your bike.

Pollution is pretty bad in London, but motorcycles should definitely be considered as part of the solution. Bikes rarely, if ever sit still in traffic jams and have much shorter journey times and thus pollute less. Recent TFL consultations even concluded bikes contribute less than 1% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. So read on to learn how to avoid the charges and keep biking.

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IAM 60th Birthday Bash at National Motorcycle Museum

Earlier this month I popped along to the IAM’s 60th birthday bash up at the Nation Motorcycle Museum in Solihull (near Birmingham), being a member of IAM it seemed daft not to. Especially as they had guest talks from Steve Plater, Peter Hickman and Mick Grant and a chance to check out all the classic bikes in the museum.

I rode up with another from my local ELAM (East London Advanced Motorcyclists),  avoiding the M1/M6 by taking the old A5. On arrival, of course we had to check out everyone else’s bike, including the parade of bikes from every year of the last 60. Next we hurried into the main hall to listen to Steve Plater, Peter Hickman Mick Grant discussing BSB, the TT and how bike racing has changed over the years.

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New Year Update 2016

Second hand Givi rack gets Hammerite treament
Second hand Givi rack gets Hammerite treament

Apologies it’s been a bit slow around here, been suffering from some broadband issues which have hindered updates and have been off the bike away with family for the Christmas/New Year period.

Progress lowering Mary’s CBF500 has been good, but slow. Rear shock refurbished, shortened and refitted, front forks dropped, low seat sourced (NOS genuine Honda one found!) and dropped bike off at a local workshop to shorten side stand today. Along the way, I hit some issues with the wiring loom full of water and a join corroded away, requiring some patching up. 🙁  Watch this space for a full low down on lowering the a CBF500.

Plenty of new accessories have been purchased ready to fit to the CBF500 though: Givi rack, Acerbis hand guards, rear hugger and crash bars. Also picked up better looking front fender and fuel tank cheap to replace the current ones with a little cosmetic damage. Almost all bits have been sourced cheap second hand, some needing a lick of paint to tart up, definitely going to be a commuters hack / rat bike!

Overall, progress has been slow due to no garage and crappy weather, allowing me to only spend a few hours working on the bike at weekends. Nevertheless, Mary should be commuting into the city on the bike later this month, fingers crossed.

Mary also treated me to a Drift Stealth 2 camera, definitely better than my old Roadhawk Ride. So I hope to get round to some new videos published later this year.

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Essex Motorcycle Show 2015

It was a Bank Holiday weekend, so as per tradition it pissed down. Not that rain could stop the Essex Motorcycle show, over at North Weald airfield.

Being local and free I dragged the family over (albeit in the car), to see what the fuss was about having not visited in previous years. It was a small, local show setup outdoors with various aeronautical gubbins as a backdrop. Stands were mostly a mix of local dealers (promoting KTM, Suzuki, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson), local advanced riding groups, training schools and the emergency services. Not a huge amount, but still worth an hours mooch, especially as it was free. Oh yes, did I mention it was completely free to get in?!

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Free Coffee & Biscuits for Bikers in North Wales/Shropshire

IronWorksFreeCoffeeBiscuitsIf you’re near Oswestry on the A5 on the last Friday of the month, then check out the British Ironworks Centre. They’re offering free coffee and biscuits for bikers who pop in, perfect for that ride back from the Horseshoe Pas.

When: Last Friday of the month. Open 9am – 9pm.

Where: British Ironworks Centre. Google Map.