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News

Happy Christmas! Take care, it’s been a tough 2022

Happy Christmas!

Take it easy, folks, we’re still going through tough times, and the Christmas spirit is in short supply (budget cuts, austerity etc). So stress not on all the whirlwind of consumerism and obligated gifting. This year, the well-being of family and friends is the greatest priority. A simple catch-up and blether over a wee drink is worth more than some hurriedly purchased tat online.

We’ve all had greater struggles recently, be it physical or mental health, finances or work stresses. Many are still dealing with the fallout from Covid, rocketing inflation has hit some more than others, and work is certainly not getting any easy. I wholeheartedly support those striking over crap conditions and pay. My wife has been dealing with some shocking stuff as a Nurse at the Forth Valley NHS Trust. It is just one example of tough times many people everywhere are going through, which left unchecked can severely affect health and well-being.

So check in with those close to you and especially those you haven’t heard from in a while who aren’t joining in with activities they previously enjoyed. The quiet isolation of a once close friend can be the first sign of mental health deteriorating. It affects huge numbers of us, yet is still a taboo subject less spoken of for fear of shame. Suicide rates are depressing high, with 5,583 recorded in 2021 in the UK (10.7 in every 100,00), around three-quarters were male and the highest in those aged 50 to 54 years. However, the biggest increase was in females under the age of 24, a scary trend and possibly linked to Social Media and unrealistic expectations.

Do you have a biking buddy you haven’t seen out for a while? – Now is the perfect time to check in with them and see how they’re doing.

The weather may be rubbish, daylight hours short and not much opportunity for biking – which we all know does wonders for stress, but hang in there, we’ve just crossed the winter solstice, and the countdown to better biking days has begun. Look after yourselves this Christmas and New Year, and see you on the flip side.

If you want more help on mental health, for you or someone you’re worried about, get in touch with:

 

 

 

Categories
News

A Wet February off the Bikes

Kelpies, Falkirk
A brief moment of winter sun at the Kelpies

Wet. Wind. Sleet. Cold.

Pretty much what one would expect from a winter in Scotland. Although some extreme weather has hit the UK (122mph wind on the Isle of Wight! WTF!), here in Stirling we have dodged the worst of it. But it’s still been pretty wet and miserable, so not a lot of biking has occurred this last few weeks and things are a little quiet on the blog. In the meantime, I’ve been keeping busy with other projects.

Categories
Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

HeatPerformance Maximum Heated Motorcycle Gloves Review

No one likes cold hands and fingers when riding a motorbike. Sure, some will pack their bikes away for the winter, but they can miss out on some beautiful sunny winter days. Some make do with heated grips, which do help but can still leave your fingers and back of your hands cold.  Some fit muffs on their handlebars, which although effective rarely fit on a faired bike. One of the best solutions is heated motorcycle gloves – decent protective gloves with an integrated electric heating mesh sewed inside.

Heated Motorcycle Gloves Tested

Loch Tay, Scotland, Winter Ride
Bit nippy in Scotland, definitely heated gloves weather

Dutch firm HeatPerformance produces many such heated gloves for a variety of sporting activities, skiing, hiking, outdoor work and of course heated gloves for motorcycles. HeatPerformance put forward their gloves for review, which now we are in Scotland we can most definitely test out.

HeatPerformance glovesThe HeatPerformance Maximum heated motorcycle gloves are powered from two 7.2V 2600mAh Li-Po batteries, which slot into the cuff of each glove. The gloves have 3 heat settings, which are quoted to give you between 2.5 and 8 hours of heat depending on setting and charge within 4 hours. The gloves retail for £150 which includes one pair of batteries and a charger. A spare/replacement set of batteries costs £40.

Categories
Featured Videos

Motovlog: Why Scotland?

A new YouTube video has just gone live for your viewing pleasure. Since making the decision to relocate to Scotland, everyone has wanted to know why. In this video, I run through some of our reasons and show some of the amazing scenery I’ve ridden through up here.

YouTube player

Apologies if this comes across a little too much like a tourist promotional video for Scotland! Nonetheless, we’re all loving it up here.

Categories
Riding

Numb and Cold Hands and Feet when Riding a Motorbike

Just after the summer break, the weather in the UK begins to deteriorate quickly. The leaves fall on the roads and the temperature begins to drop rapidly. This is always a rather dangerous situation for motorcyclists.

Cold Weather Motorcycle GearMany motorcyclists have these problems. Fortunately, you are not the only one. There are two types of motorcyclists, those who only ride in the summer and those who always ride. The tips in this article will help you to continue to ride safely through the winter weather.

One key problem is cold hands and cold feet. But not only these two, also the rest of the body is difficult to keep warm in the freezing air. It is therefore important that you clothe yourself properly on the motorbike.

It is also important that your motorbike clothing not only protects you from the cold, but also from possible falls. So, make sure you wear protective motorcycle gloves that are warm, warm underwear, and of course, some good quality kit to protect against the slippery roads in autumn- or winter weather.

Categories
Gear Reviews

Exotogg Review – Essential Cold Weather Motorcycle Gear or Hot Air?

The problem with reviewing cold weather motorcycle gear is you actually need some cold weather. This Autumn it’s been strangely mild in the South East of England. I’m starting this review in mid-November, it’s blue skies, sunny and I have the conservatory doors wide open. I don’t know if this is climate change, but as beautiful a day as it is, it doesn’t make this Exotogg review very easy…

Exotogg body warmer reviewThe Exotogg body warmer is not your usual cold-weather layer, it’s essentially an inflatable gilet/vest that you don under your bike jacket, which you then inflate with three or four puffs of breath, whereupon it’ll form a nice layer of air that will keep you warm. If you get too hot, you simply open the valve and squeeze the air out. The idea being you inflate or deflate it as and when needed, easy-peasy.

Using a layer of air to insulate against the cold is however a tried and tested method to maintaining warmth. Materials like fleece, down and wool all trap a layer of air to keep your body warm. So, the science behind the Exotogg vest is sound, but what advantages down it have over traditional layers?

Categories
Maintenance

No Riding Blues? Winter & Lockdown Biker Entertainment

Going Snow Where - Winter Motorcycle EntertainmentFor many, wintertime is when bikes are garaged away and in storage until the warmer spring weather. Even many who would normally ride year-round are facing the no riding blues from various lockdowns in place to tackle the covid pandemic. I’m personally in this category as I’m now working from home permanently. So, what can a die-hard biker do to while away the dark and miserable winter months? Read on for some suggestions on winter motorcycle entertainment.

→ Additionally, there’s a lot of stuff mentioned here that would make great biker gifts and motorcycle Christmas presents or stocking fillers. So, take note if you know a biker and are stuck for gift ideas.

Categories
Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

Cheap Chinese Heated Vest Review – eBay Bargain or Junk?

When it comes to staying warm on a motorbike, the traditional option is to layer up, loads of jumpers and thermals, but you inevitably end up feeling like a Michelin man with restricted movement issues. These days, however, there’s loads of great electrically heated cold weather motorcycle gear on the market, from gloves and socks to vests and pants. All nice thin layers that will keep you toasty without the bulkiness. The only problem is, much of this serious gear comes at a serious price.

best heated vest? read on to find outIt’s at this point you may have noticed there’s a lot of very cheap heated clothing on eBay from China. It can’t all be that bad, can it? So, in the name of research, we picked up a heated vest for the princely sum of £20 (delivered). A far cry from big-name brands costing £100-150 or more. Read on to see if we wasted our money or found a little far Eastern gem.

Categories
Gear Reviews

Oxford Heated Grips Review – Hot Grips For Commuters

Oxford Heated Grips - HotGrips for CommutersNo one likes cold fingers on a motorcycle. It’s uncomfortable, distracting, hinders fine control and can get painful. It’s also all too easy to underestimate the wind chill factor when travelling fast on a bike. It may be a bearable 5°C outside, but on a 60 mph blast, the wind will chill you down to cool -3°C, which will inevitably give numb fingers after a short while, even with thick gloves.

I’ve written about a number of approaches to tackle the cold hands on a motorbike issue in the past, but here today I have a pair of Oxford Commuter Hot Grips up for review. Intended to replace an old set of failed heated grips on Mary’s Honda, we picked these up as a freebie gift with a Ride magazine subscription last year. Annoyingly they took ages to turn up leaving Mary with cold hands for the first half of the winter, but finally, I fitted these last January and they’ve been tested thoroughly since.

Categories
Motorcycles

End of the Season – Yeah Whatever!

It’s been a stonker of a summer, Britain was taken over by a huge heat wave followed by almost monsoon rains. Now Autumn is well and truly upon us, the leaves are falling and everyone is all talk of end of season for biking… What’s that all about then?!