Over the last year, I’ve made a number of trips to the San Francisco Bay Area, hiring a number of bikes out there and explored many great roads and locations. Here I have rounded up some of the best routes I enjoyed ready for you to download and check out if you’re in the area. Continue reading “Motorcycle Routes around San Francisco & San Jose Bay Area” »
Well you’ve got to love the Great British Summer… Insane, heatwave for weeks, then the weekend you’re scheduled to spend on the bike, it pours down something chronic!
Last weekend I volunteered to help our with the Prudential Ride London cycle endurance race, scheduled to have around 40k Lycra warriors tackling a 100, 46 or 19 mile route. My job was to carrier a cycle mechanic pillion with a tonne of tools and supplies and sweep up those stopped with bike or medical trouble. I feared I’d be dealing with loads of heat exhaustion and dehydration cases, but no, we were dealing with countless punctures and freezing wet cyclists instead. I lost count of how many inner tubes we got through, with many cyclists hit by repeated punctures.
The weather was terrible and after several hours stuck in the rain my Alpinestars Goretex Jet Road gloves and SMX-6 WP boots both gave in and were sodden. My old Rukka gear held up better, but was still damp on the inside. I can’t wait to get my new Hideout Hi-Pro laminate gear… Still, I was far more comfortable than those doing 100 miles in saturated Lycra!
Well done everyone who took part, it was a tough event and a lot of cash was raised for charity. Sadly, two did not complete the day, my best wishes to their family and friends. RIP.
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!
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.
Ever since last August when I attended a track day taster with the Kent Fire bike crew, I’ve been itching to get back onto the track. Once you first bomb it round the track, the bug bites and you just want your next fix. My next hit came in the form of a road bike only day again down at Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
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.