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Riding

8 Years Later

“Only look back to see how far you’ve come”

Time does fly, it seems like only yesterday that I started this journey. 8 years ago I finally heeded my better half’s advice, got myself a motorcycle license, bought my first motorcycle, hit the road and I haven’t looked back since. At the same time, I kicked off this blog to document the adventure in the vague hope others might find it somewhat interesting and perhaps learn the odd thing as I progressed. Fast forward to today, 8 years later and it’s been one hell of a ride!

Couples who ride together, stay together

There’s been biking adventures all over the globe, track days, advancing riding, innumerable group rides and lots of tinkering with bikes. Not forgetting riding together with Mary and the kids, seeing them grow up in the pillion seat. This blog has also grown from strength to strength with many great collaborations over the years. Of course, there was the odd mishap and crash, but you dust yourself off and learn from your mistakes.

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Riding

Advantages of an E-Bike vs a Motorcycle

Recently my news feed threw up some articles extolling the advantages of an e-bike and what struck me was how they were exactly the reasons we all love and ride motorcycles. Hardly newsworthy and of no surprise to bikers. The articles described how the electric motor assistance on an e-bike provides the following so-called advantages:Top 10 advantages of an e-bike

  1. Ability to cover longer ranges than a normal bicycle without getting worn out
  2. Avoid breaking a sweat and arriving at work in damp Lyrca
  3. Carry some luggage without the strain on pedalling
  4. Save money compared to public transport or car
  5. Stay fit by still pedalling some
  6. Get fresh air, enjoy the outdoors and stay healthy and stress-free
  7. Cut through traffic with ease with a small e-bike
  8. Discover and explore more out of town on days off

Yeah, everything us motorbikers have been taking advantage of for decades, except a motorcycle takes things much further. You can cover much longer distances, carry more luggage, carry a pillion, cut through city traffic with greater speed and explore way more on days off. So, what are the true benefits of electric bikes compared to a motorcycle? Why not just get a motorcycle instead? Read on to find out.

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Riding

Best Motorcycle Roads Essex has for a Ride Out

Being based in East London, Essex is right on my doorstep and where I head for the majority of my ride outs. Essex may not have epic hills and deep valleys, but it offers many great twisty roads, rolling farmland, postcard villages of thatched cottages and some great coastlines to explore. Here I have rounded up some of the best motorcycle roads Essex has to offer, from the infamous Burnham Bends, the Clacton coast and of course the biker Mecca that is Finchingfield. You will not be disappointed by these routes:

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Riding

5 Tips To Travel Safely During Covid-19 Outbreak

Travel safely covid-19 tipsCovid-19 has drastically changed everyone’s life, putting all of us under two to three months of lockdown. The impact and fear of this virus is mostly decreasing and the global lockdown is finally opening up. Wider travel and international border crossings are starting to resume once again, allowing visits to see family, friends or undertake new adventures. But this doesn’t mean that it’s safe to go out there without any precautions, below are five tips on how to stay safe from the Covid 19 virus when travelling.

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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?

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Riding

Ultimate Guide to Route Optimisation in 2020

When your riders have hundreds, if not thousands, of destinations or clients to visit, planning routes manually is a time-intensive and inefficient solution.

In many industries, driver wages and fuel costs alone make up 59.8% of the total operational cost per mile. So even small improvements to your driver’s routes can not only help you deliver packages or serve your clients faster, but can have a significant impact on your profit margin

With proper route optimisation tools, your business could save up to 20% in mileage and improve your order capacity by as much as 100% without increasing your fleet.

In this guide, we’ll give you a complete breakdown of what route optimization is and how it can benefit your business. We’ll examine real-world examples and provide use-cases for your industry.

We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

What is Route Optimisation?

Route optimisation is the process of improving routes and schedules for any type of delivery or service call. It helps businesses maximize completed orders while keeping the number of riders and bikes to a minimum.

Route Optimisation Phone AppRoute optimization is relevant to your company, whether you offer direct-to-consumer deliveries, business-to-business despatching or are in a service industry where your technicians visit client homes or businesses.

Routing your riders and technicians can be a costly and frustrating process, but with the right tool it can be automated — saving you time, money, and improving customer satisfaction.

Let’s get into it!

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Riding

Mid Wales Ride Out – The Abergwesyn Pass

Welcome to Wales, Powys

This is a route I rode in May 2019, back then I could not have imagined what is happening now one year on. I find myself now looking back at the freedom we had to ride where ever we liked. Enjoy my reminiscing and stick this route on your to-do list for when lockdown restrictions are eased.

This route offers a short loop of mid Wales beginning and finishing in Newtown (because I was staying with family in Welshpool, the next town North, and using this as my base). All in it’s about 130 miles and about 3.5 – 4 hours of riding time, factor in a couple of coffee and food stops and you have a chilled out day on the bike.

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Featured Riding

Scotland West Coast Motorcycle Road Trip with Mapped/FA

Scotland motorcycle tour with Blake, Mapped/FA
Blake, Mapped/FA

I think I’m almost as passionate about Scotland as I am about motorcycles, scotch and good coffee (which means it’s significant). My first Scotland motorcycle tour was back in 2017 for our NC500 Adventure. I fell in love with the scenery, the roads and the people. I knew I would be heading back.

In August 2019 I set off on tour to explore the West Coast of Scotland by motorcycle and, more importantly, the Isle of Mull and the Isle of Skye. I decided to call this adventure the “Western Isles Tour”. Now, I must put my hand up and admit that I have made a mistake. I have been advised by several followers that the Isle of Mull and Skye are not part of the Western Isles. Please accept my apologies for this error! (But to me, Mull and Skye were the Western Isles, for this adventure at least!)

The tour itself took place over five days and was designed to take in key parts of the Scottish Highlands, the West coast as well as the Isles of Mull and Skye. In total, the adventure covered over 1,300 miles, starting and ending in Manchester. AKA Team Mapped Base Camp. Although, the true start point is Loch Lomond.

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Featured Riding

Solo Motorcycle Tour Tips

It’s well documented that riding a motorbike can bring a huge sense of freedom and when you tour solo for longer distances over many days this feeling is even greater. For a beginner, that first big solo motorcycle trip can be quite daunting, raising many what-if questions – what if I break down? what if I get lost? Some people are just more naturally confident, whilst others are less so, worry more and find the idea of riding out into the unknown uneasy.

If you’ve not travelled long distance by bike solo before and are somewhat nervous of the proposition, but do what to overcome this fear and explore, then read on. This article will hopefully give you some tips to beat those fears and plan for a trouble free motorcycle tour.

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Riding Videos

Motorcycle Trip to Yosemite on a Yamaha Super Ténéré

My planned visit to California to rent a Yamaha Super Ténéré from Eagle Rider and head inland to take a motorcycle trip to Yosemite National Park all went to plan without hitch. The weather was perfect, the snow stayed away and the Tiago Pass stayed open. Experiencing Yosemite off season at the end of October and riding the Tiago Pass on a weekday was probably a shrewd move to avoid the crowds and ride the roads at their quietest to enjoy the stunning scenery at it’s best. Below are some video highlights from my trip through Yosemite.

Read about my trip planning shenanigans that went into this mini adventure here. The second half of my mini tour took in Lake Tahoe and a return to San Francisco via Sacramento. Watch this space for highlights on this second leg.

You can download the full route and other top San Francisco motorcycle roads here.