A couple of weeks ago I was asked to lead a ride for the ELAM group. A bit of a double edged sword, a great chance to pick a route via my favourite roads, but also somewhat nerve wracking – you don’t want to miss a turning, lose anyone and so on. For the ride I choose a popular loop around Essex, starting in Harlow, then taking in Finchingfield, Halstead, Mersea Island, Maldon, Burnham-on-Crouch then returning to Harlow.
The first leg starts at Harlow McD’s just off M11 Junction 7, takes a number of rural and twisty roads up through Ongar, Hatfield Heath, Standstead airport, Thaxted and then Finchingfield. These back roads twist and turn and are great to throw your bike left then right, and almost all have great condition tarmac. With the weather warming up a much needed ice cream was had in Finchingfield as we checked out all the bikes on show. Continue reading “Ride Out Route – Essex Loop” »
Owning an off-road vehicle is all well and good, but even if you have your own space on a muddy field to practice on, it’s unlikely to provide the high-octane thrills you’re seeking. Whether you’re into quad bikes, 4x4s, motocross (MX) or all of the above, driving an off-road vehicle presents a whole different challenge to their on-road counterparts. For an all-terrain rider there will be thrills, skills and the need for a different approach to safety.
You may think the UK is limited when it comes to spaces to have the perfect off-road experience, but you’d be surprised! We’ve compiled the top places from around Great Britain to get your wheels muddy, as well as some safety tips, for whichever type of off-roader you’re into. Continue reading “The Best Off-Road Tracks and Courses in the UK” »
I trust you all had a good year and are now putting your boots up and enjoying a well earning Christmas break. Weather, man-flu and busy work deadlines this last month have preventing me updating here as much as I would have liked. However, I did manage a great day at the Ace Cafe Toy Run with my daughter. No matter how crappy things seem to be going at times, it’s generally just first world problems and we can be glad of our health. Don’t forget those in worse plights or very ill.
This month I was posted to San Jose for work, but unlike most work trips this one included a stay over the weekend. So, stuck on my tod in California I decided to hire a Harley to explore the area as it’s not often you get chance to cruise down the West Coast freeways on a big hog, definitely on many bikers bucket lists and too good a chance to miss. I hired my bike from EagleRider in San Francisco, who had a wide selection of Harley’s to choose from (but also have others). I initially booked a Sportster 1200, but due to unavailability was given a Dyna Low Rider 103 as an upgrade – nice one!
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I went too wide powering out of a gentle left hander, kissed the grass which spooked me a little, but kept it upright. However I was out of shape and going to fast for the upcoming chicane, combined with a chap overtaking on my inside, I bottle it and tried to safely just run off rather than just tipping it extra hard to get round. Unfortunately I was just carrying to much speed to keep it upright on the grass and down I went. Bike came fell hard on the front fairing and I went sliding before coming to rest sat on my ass.
The day was split into 4 groups of ability which ran in sequence with 20 -15 minutes each. But before getting on the track some formalities needed to be sorted; registration, a briefing session and of course the dreaded noise test. I attended the day with some friends (on a Ducati and an MV that put my Fazer to shame), but we also shared a garage with others we met on the day. There was a friendly atmosphere of camaraderie, with all enjoying themselves.
It was a bank holiday, the sun was shining and the rest of the family were out of town – such a perfect day teat up Essex on the bike. Be rude not to take advantage.
I struck North out of Romford, up to Ongar, West a bit to Stansted, up through Thaxted and then my first stop was Finchingfield – all roads lead to Finchingfield, you can’t have an Essex ride out not going there… Though surprisingly quiet today, not like most weekends. A quick cuppa in Bosworth’s, then back on the road.
Heading Eastbound to Sible Hedingham, Sudbury, Manningtree before finally hitting the coast in Walton-on-the-Naze for lunch. Parked on the seafront by Revved Up, a friendly little biker shop selling clothes and a modest brew. With sea, sand, surf and the chippie next door it ticked all the boxes for a quintessential British seaside jaunt.
If you plan to commute year round by bike, then here are five super useful mods you should definitely consider for your bike.
Sure, they’re not the most aesthetically pleasing of items and certainly not suited to all types of bike. However they are invaluable for lugging a change of clothes and packed lunch to work and the best way to transport heavy security chains that are now sadly essential in the city.
Givi are the market leader for top boxes, but there are cheaper alternatives from the likes of Kappa and others. Although Givi racks are bike specific, the plates and boxes aren’t and can readily be picked up second hand. Do opt for the better rated Monokey kit, rather than lightweight Monolock ones. Continue reading “Five Super Useful Mods for Motorcycle Commuting” »
“Lest we forget
What they were dying for
Lest we forget
What they were killing for
Lest we forget
What the hell it was for”
This remembrance Sunday I joined an ELAM ride out to Duxford War Museum, which had free entry for the weekend and many remembrance activities organised. The weather had brightened up, but the morning roads were wet and slippery with leaves and crud, so pace was conservative.