Categories
Hardware

My Video Blogging Computer Setup

With not a lot of riding occurring at the moment, I thought I’d give you a glimpse behind the scenes here, to peek at the kind of computer kit I use to run this blog and produce my videos. It may not be the best video editing rig you can buy, but it will hopefully give you an insight on something that can produce good results without breaking the bank. Be warned, this gets a bit geeky!

MacBook Pro

I have a preference for Mac’s, simply because they’re generally well designed, last well and have good migration and recovery features. I’m currently running a Mid 2014 15″ MacBook Pro Retina, with 16GB RAM, 250GB SSD drive and 2.2Ghz Intel Quad Core i7 processor. Now before you cry ‘but boy they’re super expensive!’, I picked MacBook up refurbished from Music Magpie in November 2019 for £650 (but did have to buy a power supply at £80 on top). At time of writing a similar spec brand new Windows laptop will set you back over a grand.

I’d recommend the Retina display, as it’s high resolution is perfect for inspecting video in a small preview pane. But note, RAM is not upgradeable on recent Retina Mac’s, so do get one with 16GB already in it. I also went for the fast Intel Core i7 chip, to help blitz through video rendering and processing. Overall, it’s plenty fast enough to work on long 1080p video, and possibly 4k video at a push.

Categories
Gear Reviews

AGV K5-S Full Face Helmet Review

I returned to the AGV brand for this K5-S helmet after having many fond memories of my first helmet – an AGV K4. I had grown somewhat disappointed with the robustness of my more expensive Shuberth S2 I current wear. So, I decided to go for a middle of the road helmet suitable for daily commuting and touring. For me the key requirements were safety, good fit, a sun visor, good ventilation, quietness and of course price.

This K5-S I picked up in an end-of-line sale for a very reasonable £200 from Infinity Motorcycles, so can’t complain on price. The K5-S comes in many colour styles, some plain and some patterns, I opted for the ‘Typhoon’ design, as I preferred a little fluorescence to help stay visible. It’s a 4 star Sharp rating, granted this test scheme isn’t the be all and end all, but hopefully gives some indication of potential protection it can offer.

Categories
News

Help Your Favourite Online Bike Store with these Discount Codes

We are in a time of crisis, the current corona virus pandemic has halted all leisure riding and much of the country is facing deep financial trouble. Unfortunately, this also extends to many of our favourite motorcycle stores, who as a result are offering big discounts to drive enough sales to scrape by. So, if you’re lucky enough to be in a position to still have a regular income, there are many bargains and reduced gear to be had. Save yourself a few quid and help keep your favourite online retailers afloat in these uncertain times.

SportsBikeShop: 10% off with code SBSAPR10 (ends 30/04/20)

Motoin: 10% discount with code STAYSTRONG10 (ends 30/04/20)

Motoin: 15% discount with code HAPPYEASTER2020 (ends 13/04/20)

GhostBikes: 15% discount with code GIVEME15

FC-Moto: 10% off everything with code: EASTER20

GetGeared: 10% off everything with code: GETGEARED1020

GetGeared: £10 off £100 spend, £20 off £200 spend, £50 off £500 spend.

Infinity Motorcycles: 10% off everything with code: INFINITY10

Demon Tweeks: Free RST Backpack & Gloves with RST Raid jacket purchases.

Please note, that although I’m suggesting buying some cheap bike gear whilst you’re stuck at home, I’m not condoning heading out on your bike to try the gear out, save your new gear for when normality returns. Do also give the above retailers and postal staff some slack as they run reduced staff in these unprecedented times. If you are self isolating with the virus, do add a note to your order and stick a note on your door so postal staff can maintain a safe distance.

Categories
News

Hanging Leathers up for a While, and so Should You

The Coronavirus pandemic has now spread globally, has taken thousands of people and is accelerating in pace. Things just got real, very real. If we stand any chance of preventing our health service from being swamped in the coming weeks we need a drastic change in our social interactions, and that includes ride outs.

The biking season may be upon us, the weather improving and we’re all geared up to head out with biking buddies, but this would be very bad. You maybe caring the virus, your buddies maybe carrying the virus, other people you meet maybe carrying the virus, those you interact with at retail outlets maybe carrying the virus. Symptoms from this virus don’t typically manifest themselves for 5 days, sometimes upto 14 days and some people carry the virus without developing any symptoms. You can’t guarantee those you’ve interacted with in the last couple of weeks don’t have it, you can’t guarantee those you interact with on a ride out haven’t picked it up from someone in last couple of weeks. To head out because you feel fine today, would be incredible selfish to those you meet and those in your household for the coming weeks.

To head out because you feel fine today, would be incredible selfish

But I hear you say, I’ll just go for a solo ride, protect myself with helmet and gloves, fill up with petrol at a self-service pump and take my own thermos flask of tea. Sure, you probably won’t catch or spread the virus with this strategy. However, if you happen to breakdown you’ll be interacting with recovery staff and any other bikers who stop by to help out. If you have a tumble, it will be even worse. Sure, you maybe the safest biker in the world, but unexpected things happen, potholes, debris in the road, diesel spill, or a mad driver thinking the roads are quiet and his to rally. When you find yourself injured in a hedge, don’t expect the incredibly stretched health service to get an ambulance to you in a hurry, don’t expect a free bed in hospital, don’t expect to see a doctor promptly or get any surgery in any time soon. But certainly, bank on picking up a nice Coronavirus infection from the warzone like hospital as a souvenir.

So for these reasons, I’m hanging up my leathers until things change and I urge you all to do the same.

Staying healthy today so you can ride another day is the current priority.

Categories
News

February Leap Year Update – When Life Throws a Curve

“When life throws you a curve, lean into it”

It’s been a pretty crap couple of months for biking, the weather has been naff. Wet and stormy, so no leasuire riding and some pretty miseable commuting has been it.

There’s also been a number of life’s challenges that have reared up and thrown some curve balls. From battling illnesses within the family, to work stresses and the sad loss of an old friend. It’s been a tough few weeks and we’re still not 100% in the clear yet.

Some things have progressed however. As you may have noticed this website has received a revamp and new look. An update that has been brewing in the side lines for a while, I hope you like it and would love to hear your feedback.

I have also been doing a fair bit of work for the ELAM group, managing their online presence and recently putting together a little promo video for their annual Folembray track weekend.

I hope your 2020 has had a better start and see you on the road soon!

 

Categories
Clothing/Protection

A Guide to Motorcycle Gear and Staying Safe

Staying safe when you’re riding a motorcycle is paramount. Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to be involved in a collision than other road users (according to research from the Insurance Information Institute).

That means it’s important to invest in quality gear. What you wear when on two wheels will help to protect you against the cold, sun, wind and rain, as well as absorb some of the impact should you be involved in a collision.

The human body doesn’t do so well when it’s thrown from a motorcycle at any speed, but if you’re going over 30mph then it’s even more important to be protected.

Think back to when you were a kid and you fell off your bicycle – with the cuts and bruises to your hands and knees. If you come off your motorcycle at speed then that experience will be amplified.

Let’s see how you can stay safe when on two wheels.

Categories
Videos

Highlights Roundup Video 2019

It was a busy year for me in 2019 with numerous biking trips and adventures around the globe.  Below is a short video of the key highlights from the past year, do enjoy!

Have you had similar interesting adventures in the past? Do you have any exciting plans for the coming year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.

James Dean