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:

 

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!

NHS Complaint to Bromsgrove MIU

NHS Complaint to Bromsgrove MIU

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The online feedback form I left on the NHS website should pretty much explain this one.

My answer to the question before, “What could be done to improve your visit for next time?” was: Get the nurse to wind her neck in.

“How likely would you be to recommend our service to friends and family?”

Very unlikely.

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“Please tell us why you gave that answer?”

Oh, ok then… *takes a deep breath*

I was told to go to x-ray and MIU by my GP with a suspected wrist/scaphoid injury following a racing car crash a week ago, where my open wheeled car had collided with another car, torquing my hands around with the steering wheel (and launching me 3ft in the air before another heavy landing, if you want all the exciting details).

The x-rays thankfully showed no fractures, and I dutifully booked in to MIU as advised. I do not like hospitals or doctors, hence me having waited a week in considerable pain from my injuries, but was extremely pleasant to all staff, especially after the x-ray as I was happy that nothing was broken. I am aware this pleasantness and cheery attitude may have been interpreted to mean I was not in pain – when in fact I would have rated my pain on this visit at a 7/10.

The student nurse who saw me very quickly advised as it was a soft tissue injury there was likely nothing more that they could do as the preferred method is not to strap up such injuries. This was absolutely fine with me, as was the quite long subsequent wait as she went to seek advice from a nurse. The wait was also fine, as I was by no means a priority case and fully understood others needed staff attention.

A blue uniformed nurse then returned to me pushing a trolley load of attitude before her, making her impatience with me extremely clear as she asked me – yes ME – why I was there. Somewhat confused by this, I told her the GP had told me I should go to MIU after my x-ray. She snapped on about x-ray being the ones who would refer me to MIU – which may well be the case, but I don’t see how I’d become the naughty schoolboy?

After answering “I don’t know?” when she asked what they were supposed to do, she then dug her thumbs into what I believe is known as the ‘snuff box’ area of my wrist.

I’m not sure how she then managed not to notice my hissed intake of breath through bared teeth, but declared instantly that I wasn’t in any pain (Really?? I’d have rated that a good strong 9, thank you very much!!!) before stroppily lecturing me that I would need a serious bone deficiency to have any chance of a scaphoid injury in that type of incident.

If I wasn’t so shocked by this whole damning onslaught, I would have corrected her that it is, in fact, one of the most common injuries of open wheel racing drivers in exactly this type of incident, but still trying to hold onto my relief I thanked her (not even sarcastically, because I’m apparently too polite a person for such hateful interactions!), and left.

Having been very worried when my GP advised scaphoid injuries could cause major complications such as necrosis, I realised I should have been more willing to seek medical advice sooner – but after meeting Blue Nurse from MIU, I’m back to thinking I’d be better off with a staple gun, duct tape, and staying away from corrosive moody people to solve my medical needs.

I am actually sorry for wasting your time, as if I’d known there was no after care I’d have just gone back to work sooner. But I don’t know that – and I feel that it’s the job of Blue Nurse and her ilk to advise me. Nicely.

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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!

Mobius HD Action Camera Review/Mounting

Mobius HD Action Camera Review/Mounting

I’ve used cameras on my bike for around 6 years, now, eschewing the ‘popular’ (i.e. expensive) cameras in favour of the cheaper options.  I’ve also found that the cheaper cameras are smaller, and so more covert to use.

Whilst looking for a new helmet camera, someone on a bike forum mentioned the new Mobius HD Action Camera.

It’s designed by the same people as the very first Keychain Spycam I used all those years ago.

It’s far smaller than the rest (although bigger than the Keychain Spycam), and a more sensible shape for most fitments than Go Pro’s and the like.  It was also boasting some extremely impressive HD 1080p quality.

The more I read, the more I liked: 80 min battery life – but you are also able to record whilst using external power, great low light resolution, super-wide lens available as standard, and a promise that this is a camera FOR THE PEOPLE.  As such, there is a user designed software set up package and the whole shebang is still being actively developed.  And a good price of £50-£90 depending on where you buy from.

The only thing stopping me buying it was the lack of waterproofing or any cases for it.  This makes it pretty useless most of the time for what I want it for.

Then, after keeping my eye on things for a few months, I saw mention on a forum that JooVuu have created a custom waterproof case for the Mobius – and so I ordered a camera and case.

The Mobius has been developed primarily for use on radio controlled planes and helicopters, because of its small size and light weight.

My ultimate plan was for something to use on the Formula Vee race car this season – and being able to use it on the bike would be a bonus.

Mounting it on the car won’t be an issue (I’m thinking on top of the roll hoop so it give a view ahead and down into the cockpit), but for the bike it posed more problems.

As an initial test I used the supplied Velcro mount stuck on top of my helmet.  This works fine, but wind noise is a major problem – and there is no external mic.  In the waterproof case the wind noise is massively improved, but the overall sound is also far quieter, so you can’t hear much of the bike engine, for example.

The problem was trusting the extra weight when the camera was in the waterproof case…

I ordered a few new mounts, deciding I’d use a permanent stick-on mount screwed into the camera.

As you can see, this took me back to the whole Go Pro situation of looking like a damned Telly Tubby with the camera sticking out the top of my head!

I couldn’t live with this, so found some sturdier Velcro, unscrewed the bolt mount from the waterproof case, and went back to the tried and tested Velcro method.

This is still far less covert than an MD80 hidden behind my tinted visor, but it’s just about acceptable.

All seems pretty stable using just the Velcro up to speeds that wouldn’t be legal off a race track, but I’m sure there would be an upper limit where things might depart company, but it would take a lot.  How fast to RC planes go, anyway?  120mph plus?

So the Mobius Action Camera itself is well impressive.  File size is quite large (about 1.4GB per 15 minutes), but not too bad in comparison to other action cameras.  You would be wise to choose a 32GB card for it, though.  Incidentally, the software program will allow you to set recording to chunks of 10, 15 or 20 minutes.  There is no gap between the files.  There is also an ‘max’ option which will record up to 4GB to each file, but I found reviewing footage could freeze – probably down to my system limitations than anything with the camera, and all footage was useable.

The only fault I can really find is the picture is a bit blurry/pixelated in the bottom right hand side. It just looks like there’s something on the lens, but is such a small area it’s not a worry.  Also, the spare lens covers supplied with the JooVuu case are pretty scratched up (See comment below – I now know there is a protective sticker you’re supposed to remove- doh!).  You can’t see any difference in picture quality when using the case, and I’m sure dropping a quick email to JooVuu’s excellent customer support would mean a few replacements being sent out – I haven’t done this as it really isn’t an issue.

I’d definitely recommend the Mobius Action Camera to anyone, and the fact that it is still being developed for the end user by Mobius and third parties like JooVuu is extremely impressive, and bodes well for the future of this fantastic camera.