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.
Who hasn’t got any bad riding habits? Don’t lie, none of us are perfect, I bet you all have the odd bad habit you’ve picked up. Maybe you don’t realise, maybe you know full well but have never managed to shake it. Below are a number of very common bad habits and why they can be bad.
Covering The Front Brake
Covering the front brake can be bad as when taken by surprise you are more likely to grab a handful, panic brake and lock up the front wheel. Especially if you have no ABS, are banked over or in the wet. By not covering the brake, you are more likely to consider a swerve instead or brake progressively.
Secondly, if (like me) you tend to cover with two fingers only, you won’t be applying as much leverage on the brake lever, and possibly obstructing it with your other fingers. If you brake hard and your little finger gets squashed, at best you can’t brake any harder, at worst you’re gonna release the brake cause your little pinky hurts!
Just picked up this Alpinestars one piece suit off eBay. With a bit of patience I managed to blag this decent nick one for a monkey, not bad as they often go for £150-300 odd. Sizing was a bit tricky, as I’m pretty tall and skinny (6’1″ & 11 stone), but an EU52 fits well for height, not too bad around the waist and it only a spot baggy around the arse. Plenty of room for my separate back protector. The knee sliders are also nicely worn, so I won’t look a complete track day virgin… 😉
My plan is to try some track days, starting with a Novice Skills Day at Brand Hatch. Run in combination with Kent Fire Service and MSV, it covers Biker Down, slow speed control, an IAM/RoSPA observed ride and two 20 min track sessions. All for the princely sum of £55. It’s been a while since I did a Biker Down course and more slow speed and IAM tuition is always handy. Watch this space for my report back on the day.
It seems everyone is riding with a camera protruding from their helmet these days, all super hot shot VBlogger’s in the making and hoping to match the likes of Baron Von Grumble / Royal Jordanian, or simply bring all wrong doers to justice. The reality is, 99% of the footage shot on a bike is pretty dull to watch and the remaining 1% needs some serious editing to create 5 minutes of entertaining YouTube video.
However, here are some more adventurous riders whose YouTube channels don’t contain yet another dull city commute dodging pedestrians. Enjoy!
“Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do ride everywhere.”
You’ve all been there, spent ages on Google Maps trying to plot a perfect super twisty route down all the quiet back roads; but come unstuck when trying to follow the route whilst on the bike. At the end of the day, you’ve got a computer with a route on the screen and a phone in your pocket with a GPS and maps – why is it so hard to your route from one to other and then ride it? This howto guide goes through all you need to ride a route off Google Maps on your bike, using your phone.
Last weekend I made another motorcycle trip up from London to Welshpool, North Wales to visit family and friends; which of course took a long, convoluted and twisty route there and back. Come on?! With beautiful weather and a couple of days to kill on the bike, you think I’m just gonna sit on the motorway for 4 hours? Stuff that…
Over the last year I feel my cornering has improved a lot, I’m definitely more confident, leaning further over and carrying more speed (safely) through a bend. This became very apparent following a trip up to North Wales at the weekend and comparing my chicken strips to doing the same trip last August 2015.