Cars Vs Cyclists – but who’s missing?

Cars Vs Cyclists – but who’s missing?

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It’s the age old argument of who has more rights and who should have more rights – a car or bicycle.

They hate each other, and if one ever posts criticizing the other, within the first few comments you will see things get personal or even violent.

A Facebook friend recently posted a satirical blog about things cyclists do that annoy car drivers, and literally got a death threat from a cyclist for it!

Some of my most viewed YouTube videos, with hundreds of thousands of views, are ones that feature a cyclist or even just that ‘c’ word in the title. To read the comments you’d think I hate cyclists myself – and very few will ever know or bother to watch the videos where I’ve stood up and even protected cyclists.

Hell, some of my best friends are cyclists. Personally, the thought of cycling on modern roads scares the shit out of me and it’s a disaster waiting to happen, but I digress…

There’s someone missing from these road wars.

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Motorcycles.

Whenever legislation is passed, new rules created or road markings laidd, they NEVER think about motorbikes.

Never.

How else do you explain Advanced Stop Lines (ASL’s)? These are the boxes you’ll find at traffic lights as a refuge for cyclists, so they can safely filter through and safely set off first when the lights turn green to keep cyclists safe from cars. No other vehicles are allowed to stop within the ASL.

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Wait – what?

So a motorbike, that has filtered to the front, is not offered the same safety? Even though the biker is just as vulnerable? Even though that motorbike will out-accelerate very easily any car or cyclist, so it makes even more sense for them to be at the front?

Clearly, when they set the ASL laws they’d forgotten about motorbikes, and it was all car vs cycle as usual.

Birmingham is quite good, but a lot of other cities won’t let motorbikes use bus lanes, which makes no sense at all if cyclists can.

There’s never any talk of special motorcycle only roads or paths, despite everyone having a cry that motorbikes account for 99.4% of road fatalities or whatever. Why?

Oh the Government will give you money off a new cycle to save the environment and cut congestion, and celebrate you, and give you lots of free, secure parking – but not if you want a motorcycle! And you’re going to give thousands of cars cheap road tax (yeah I know it’s not road tax – I just wanted you to have THAT rant again!) but motorbikes still pay full, and quite often more than car fees.

WTF is all that about?

All we do get is signs put up by the side of the road saying esoteric things like “THINK BIKE!” that nobody really knows what it means or who it’s there for? I mean, are they to get cars to look out for bikers or are they to get bikers to stop riding like idiots?

How about you remember the other group out there cutting congestion on our over-crowded roads chock-full of single-occupancy steel boxes?

Remember traffic jams are a car problem – not a bike one. And that means BOTH lots of bikes.

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Biker Vs The World Part 24

If you’ve been following me on YouTube you’ll know all about my infamous ‘Biker Vs The World’ videos.

These are a compilation of ‘incidents’ from my helmet cam footage onboard my bikes.

Whilst the clips everyone wants to see are those where I almost get killed by idiot car drivers, or where I get involved in road rage, I do try to inject a bit of humour and even ‘feels’ into them – you’ll see the trucker at the end of this one!

The first clip in Part 24 is a recent one from a terrible rainy morning. A Mini had sped past me and I was loosely following. He went through a crossroads where a car was waiting, and as I approached I was in direct line of sight to the – let’s call him a Cunt, because he is – Cunt, he waited until I got even closer and then went directly across the road in front of me.

I had to slam on my brakes, and the ONLY reason I didn’t crash right there was because that piece of road is covered in Shell Grip. I was looking for a place to turn around to go and batter the absolute fuck of that Cunt (and I don’t actually know if it was a man or woman driving, because I couldn’t see – I just get the feeling this was a male), but there wasn’t a handy turning place.

There was no excuse.

Incidentally, I almost burst a blood vessel in my neck or something when I shouted. That hurt.

Enjoy:

 

Complaint to Shell fuels

Complaint to Shell fuels

Dear Shell,

Your attendant refused to switch the pump on for me last night at your Northfield, Birmingham forecourt.

I ride a motorcycle, and have spent 17 years filling up whilst sat on the bike, so that I can safely see what I’m doing and fill the tank to the maximum safe level.

The attendant said that she was new, and had been told not to allow bikers to fill unless they dismount. I got back on my bike and rode off to fill up at the next available forecourt, with no issues.

I stayed calm and polite, despite the humiliation of having your staff member gesturing wildly at me (I thought she might be signalling “Intentional Grounding” but then realised she wasn’t an American Football referee) for a while, before I had to walk into the shop to enquire what the issue was.

I can only think of two possible reasons why I may have been refused:

  • Theft. Shell assumes all bikers are thieves who will run off with the small amount of petrol a bike can hold. Apparently the 2 seconds it takes to get back on a bike makes a major difference to this?
  • Safety. After 17 years of filling up without turning into a fireball, admittedly this COULD be the one time I set myself on fire somehow. Again, I’m not sure what major difference there is when it takes me less than 1 second (note this is quicker than getting on the bike) to dismount whilst my leathers and helmet are engulfed in a chemical blaze. Please also note that the ‘safety’ option makes even less sense when you consider that after I’ve filled my tank to the brim, I will then be climbing on top of it, resting my torso on the tank, and starting the engine in a series of controlled explosions to power me away from the Shell forecourt.

Could you explain why this is, if this is even policy?

Also, what can you do to compensate me so that I feel welcome using your fuels (and I will always pick Shell over the competition) in the future?

Yours faithfully,

Nasty Evil Ninja

The New ‘Crap Bike’ – Yamaha FZR600R

The New ‘Crap Bike’ – Yamaha FZR600R

After around 6 years of service, the GPZ500, or as I fondly refer to it, The Crap Bike is being retired.

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It’s rideable and fixable, but after new front wheel, head bearings, welding to repair the exhaust, wheel bearings, and many more hours work, it will still be just an old slightly less-crap bike.

So I decided it was time to upgrade.

I looked at what I could get for as little as possible that would do for a commuter – not even considering something a bit fun this time (apart from a CBR600F that tempted me…). It was CB500 and EN500 city, with a slim chance of snagging an SV650 to join my V-Twin stable.

Then a friend with some unfortunate circumstances offered me his bike. I dismissed it instantly, as I knew he’d done loads to it, and didn’t think he’d appreciate me killing it through the Winter.

I was wrong, and he gave a good price – and so here is my new, sensible commuter (which I’m not sure I can call ‘The Crap Bike’):

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Ooh yes! My very first bike was a blue and white Yamaha TZR, so this was going back to my roots!

I picked the bike up, realising that this would be the first time I’ve ever ridden a 600cc bike on the road, the rest being on track, and pootled it home to see what I’d bought.

It wasn’t running great, possibly needing a carb balance, but I was happy with the deal in whatever state, and you can’t buy a 19 year old bike and expect it to not have any issues. And it had been stood for a good while.

Other than not wanting to pull away or rev at the top end, the low-down grunt was ok. It felt much lighter and flickable than I’d expected, and with those combined it was already seeming like a good commuter.

It felt old, and with the speedo showing up to 180mph, it seemed the bike was barely moving as I was doing around 60mph – I thought that might be a bit of an effect of using such a small portion of the speedo, as a really good one may get just over 150mph back in the day.

The front brake isn’t as sharp as I’d like, but I can put R600 calipers on and sort that out, and tyres are all good.

I took it out for a blast the next day to see if I could blow the cobwebs off, stopping off for a few pics as I tried to get lost down country lanes as I got a feel of the bike.

After about 25 miles I headed back towards home, having given it beans and not scared myself. But then, after the VTR ripping my arms out on the throttle, what could I expect from a tiny old 600?

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Then I accidentally over-revved it and it was like flicking a switch!

The sound changed as all four cylinders suddenly woke up. I got back on the power and hooooly poop!

The front lifted as the race can snarled out its true potential, and I revved out the first few gears to see what it had got.

It’s got more than I thought!

The exhaust note was now reminding me of the 600 track bikes I’d been on, hitting that sweet spot at about 13,000rpm where it’s like a drill being rammed into your eardrum.

I was suddenly approaching the corners “quite a bit” faster, and now KNOW I need to sort out the front brakes.

It also means a track day might be back on the cards!

Who was it who told me 600’s were crap on the roads? And that old bikes are slow and heavy?

I think this little old FZR600R could make me fall in love with Yamaha again!

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Auto Aid – the best breakdown cover

Auto Aid – the best breakdown cover

The big names like RAC and AA take all the limelight for breakdown cover.

Without a doubt, they are good – but they’re also very expensive.  Even if you think you’re getting a good deal having cover free from your bank etc, the chances are you don’t actually have the cover you want or need.

A basic policy can be had for £60 that doesn’t include (what should be) essentials such as home start, and, more importantly, most of these will cover only a specific car, or you as a driver, until you start paying £200-£300 per year for a service you may never even use!

But even then, what  if you own cars and bikes, and want them both to be covered when you’re riding?

It still amazes me that so few people have even heard of Auto Aid.

You pay £40 per year, and that covers YOU as a driver or passenger in any vehicle.  And you get home start, forward travel, and pretty much everything you need.

So what’s the catch?

Well, assuming you are unlucky, and actually have to use the service you’re paying £40 per year for, you have to pay for any roadside repair or recovery out of your own pocket – but don’t panic!  All you do then is send Auto Aid your invoice, and they will reimburse you the full amount in about a week.

I was a little dubious about this aspect, but assuming you have a credit card, it won’t be a problem.

Having held a policy for years, I actually had to use it for the first time a few months ago – and I had to test exactly the dodgy stuff that you’d be worried they would refuse to reimburse you for.

Basically, the brand new Honda VTR1000 that I bought minutes before broke it’s drive chain on my way home with the bike.  So on all the DVLA systems I was not even owner of this bike, although I had taken out insurance (not that they ever asked – as the policy covers me as a person!).

I rang up at around 10pm, and they got a local contractor (exactly the same as some of the more expensive companies) to come out to me within about 40 minutes.

With no hassle at all, they loaded up my bike and took me and the bike home, as all the garages were closed at that time of night.

I paid their flat fee of £50 for a journey of about 20 miles by card over the telephone.

Now for the dodgy part – I had to get the bike from my house to a garage the following evening (again outside of working hours), and the person on the telephone had advised me to just call them again, and they would send someone out to collect the bike and take me there.

Again, no hassles – I paid by phone another £50, and they took me where I wanted.

Still nervous, I posted the invoices and receipts (keeping a copy just in case) back to Auto Aid with their simple claim form, and exactly as promised, they refunded the entire amount to me!

I’m not making anything from this, I’m just doing my good deed of the day by letting you know of a brilliant and much cheaper alternative.

You’d be crazy to sign up to anything else!

Drug Driving Is Officially Illegal From Today!

Drug Driving Is Officially Illegal From Today!

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According to a few news sources (who as a rare treat are actually pedalling important news that isn’t about some granny falling off a stage), today, new rules come into force to crack down on people driving under the influence of drugs.
Whilst in theory, this means less chance for people like me to get squished by big white vans stinking of ganja at 8 in the morning, it also grinds on me like an ugly stripper that you suspect has herpes, and wants to rub her damaged bits on you.
It seems that by swab tests at the roadside or ‘other tests’ back at the Police station, they can now catch you and charge you.
And it’s pretty hefty, too – 1 year minimum driving ban.  I don’t fully understand the measurements they use to identify a positive test, but they look pretty low.
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And there lies our first problem…
I have no problem with people injecting whatever drugs they like into their eyeballs or up their snouts, but if this is going to catch someone who had a sly joint 2 days ago, it’s not a good thing for anyone.
Then there’s the fact that they WILL also test for legal medication, and you can still be charged. In one link I saw this:
“People using prescription drugs – including morphine and methadone – will not be penalised if they use the drugs within the recommended amounts.”
Whoa!
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So, you’re telling me that somone with a trace of cocain in their system is more of a danger on the roads than someone who’s just had a legal dose of methadone? I’ve never had a legal dose of methadone, admittedly, but considering it’s take to replace a hit of heroin, I’m pretty sure that the dosage will fuck you right up. A trace of a stimulant drug that speeds up your reactions, vs some meth head in his dream world?
Who exactly has made these decisions?
Secondly, where the Hell did this all spring from?
I literally only saw an article this morning.  If I’d had my usual prescription dose of crack before jumping on my bike, I could have been banned!  Or, in more serious terms – did you have time to check and arrange other transport instead of risking your prescription meds?
And lastly, I do wonder how this all compares to the tits who STILL use their mobile phones whilst driving?
And I mean, every single day I see lots of drivers with them, texting away in their lap without even looking at the road for seconds at a time.
That’s, what? A £60 fine when they get caught? Not that they ever do…
I can’t help thinking that I’d fancy my chances more against a driver on LSD than some twat updating their Facebook status as they drive…
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The New V-Twin Beast

The New V-Twin Beast

With Winter drawing in, frosty mornings, and my GPZ500 not entirely making it through its MOT test, I was offered a bike from a mate at a price I couldn’t refuse.

So I took the GPZ off the road last week in favour of my new sensible Winter bike:

Yes, it’s a Honda VTR Firestorm.  1000cc of filthy great V-twin hairy-chested bastardness!

It wasn’t without pain – very shortly after buying the bike, before I’d had a chance to get it up to speed, I had what I thought was a sudden box full of neutrals.  After pulling over, and walking a long way back down the road, I found the chain:

I’ve never seen a chain break on the roller pin before!  Luckily it went straight off the back of the sprocket, rather than through my leg, or the engine, or the head of anyone behind me…

A new chain sorted that out, and I got my first taste of a big twin.

It’s a bit like riding a horse!  It sort of gallops along lazily.  It’ll plod along sounding like Mr T on a treadmill, but then you look down and you’re in three figure speeds!

It’s very strange.

It only revs to about 9,500, but will just saunter up to the limiter in any gear at any time in a constant barrage of power – and I’m talking from 2000 rpm here!  It just doesn’t feel or sound like it’s getting there quickly, but it bloody well is!

In fact, I did read that when it was released, it was the fastest ever bike 0-60mph.  I’d believe it.

There’s not much up the top end, and it’ll run out of steam over 140mph – but maybe that will be a bit safer for my licence!

And it sounds like The Devil!  The vibrations from the twin Micron race cans would even terrify Jenna Haze or Stoya.  Proper porno power!  I feel like I should have more chest hair and a medallion!

So that brings me to the handling.

Well, it’s December, and around freezing most of the time – and then towards the end of the week, it rained.

It was hard to say much about the handling, because it’s on damned Pirelli Super Corsas with less tread than a Mumbai taxi!  The bike pretty much tried to murder me at every opportunity!

The first I knew was pulling onto the road one morning in the rain, letting off the throttle gently and weaving like a hooker walking down the aisle!

I visited several bike shops on Saturday, all of who pissed themselves laughing at my when I said what tyres the bike sat outside on the icy road was wearing!

Thankfully, the last one was where I swapped them for a brand new pair of Pirelli Angel GT’s.

Anyone will no I’m a massive fan of the Angel ST.  They’re flawless.  Knee-down from cold on the roads, good for Summer, Winter, snow, track days… I’m on my 4th or 5th set on my ZX9R.  The GT is supposed to be the same, but with more wet grip and even longer lasting!

Instantly, without even having had a chance to scrub them in properly, they’re better.  Loads of confidence and stability, and I’ve been able to have a bit of a play already.  The steering is much slower than the Super Corsas, but I’ll soon get used to that.

I never wanted a V-twin before, but now I seem to have got one, I’m starting to see why so many absolutely love them!

All I need now is some warm, dry roads to scrape my knees on it!