Riding On The Ice

Riding On The Ice

As you may know, I’m a bit of a Head-The-Ball.  Yes – I am one of those ‘people’ who rides a motorcycle all year round.  This means I’ve had years of experience of riding on snow and ice and in freezing temperatures.

To make things even more fun for myself, almost all of this has been done on allegedly unsuitable sportsbikes.

Surprisingly, I’m not dead, yet.  In fact, I’ve never even crashed in Winter due to the road conditions!

“How have you not killed yourself, Nasty Evil Ninja?” I hear you cry.  Well, let me give you a few tips.

Buy Decent Clothing

You need to be able to stay warm, so make sure you wrap up.  I gave you my suggestions for that in this blog.

Which brings me on to this:

Relax

Expecting the bike to end up on top of you at any moment like a cheap village hooker is stressful.

I make a conscious effort every few minutes to RELAX.  If you’re tense, then you won’t be able to react as quickly, you won’t be as smooth with your actions, and you’ll be working against the bike – which is the last thing you need.

Take a few deep breaths and chill out (in a, you know, trying-to-keep-warm way).

Slow Down

It might seem obvious, but when there’s a huge Land Rover snorting down your chuff on an icy road, you’ll feel a bit pressured.

You’re on two wheels and will crash and die if you don’t ride at your own pace.  Let the cars have their own accident and only go at the speed you’re comfortable with.  If they don’t like it, they can go around you.

Why do car drivers tailgate a biker on snowy, icy roads?  Because they’re -ing retards.  You won’t be able to help them with this, no matter how much you gesticulate.

Grip Levels

You need to get very good at anticipating grip levels – and very quickly.  If temperatures have dropped below freezing overnight, assume anything shiny is ice.

Gritted roads are surprisingly grippy unless temperatures have dropped lower than -4 degrees centigrade.  Colder than this and the grit will freeze as well.  Dry roads are your friends.

You can test grip levels in relative safety in several ways.  Tap the rear brake and see if it locks up.  Stamp on it for a harder test – if it locks or goes sideways, get away from that sucker and stay as straight as you can!

You can also give it a handful of throttle and see if it spins up – but be aware that on a really slippy surface the bike will swap ends in a split second with too much throttle – however fast your reactions are.

Staying Upright

Try and keep the bike as upright as possible, by MOVING YOUR BODY.  Hang off the side around corners or at the very least move your upper body weight.

It makes a massive difference to the lean angles you’re trying to put the bike through – and if the bike is more upright you’ve got more grip.

Filtering/Overtaking

Cars that aren’t trying to ride over your pillion seat will be crawling along at 10mph on a well-gritted and grippy road, or they’ll be stuck in endless traffic queues with their heaters and anger on full blast.

Amazingly, this means you’ll still be filtering and overtaking!

The first thing to be aware of is that although the grit will cover the whole road, the section by the curb and in the middle of the road will still be choc full of icy badness.  There may be room to squeeze around cars, but make sure you know what you’re putting your wheels on!

It’s all too easy to slip past a few cars and then find you’re riding on sheet ice with no way to stop or avoid that ‘keep left’ bollard up ahead.

Filtering is the same, but the gap between lanes is generally grippy – just be aware car drivers won’t be expecting a mental two-wheeler, and they will also be avoiding the ice at the sides of the road so may leave you less room.

Visibility

You’ll be covered in road salt.  If you open your visor, this will go in your eyes.

Even if the salt burning your eyeballs out doesn’t bother you, the extra rocks thrown up from pot-holes will.

Keep your visor down ALL the time.

If you’ve ever ridden in heavy snow then you’ll also have experienced the Time Warp/Star Wars effect it has on your vision!  Kind-of cool, but that snow will also stick to your visor, so you’ll need to be wiping it every few seconds.

Side Roads

Take the long route.  Seriously.

An ungritted road will have you off even if you ride at walking pace with your feet dragging.

Snow isn’t too bad until a few cars have compacted it, but sheet ice will see both wheels come out from underneath you however skilled you are, even if you’re going in a straight line.

And above all ENJOY IT!

It’s not really so bad – it’s just different!

Most people (even most bikers) will never get to experience it – so you get bragging rights for down the pub!

Public Lemmings

Public Lemmings

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[RANT ON]

Surely, the first thing you were taught after being told you could let go of your Mummies hand when you were outside, is that you should look before you cross the road?

After that, if you had non-Jeremy Kyle level parents, they should have even suggested that if there’s a pedestrian crossing within a few feet, then you should use that to cross in safety.

So why, in the name of Holy mouse-eared fuckability, do so many of you braindead cunts run blindly out through the traffic at every opportunity?

I’ve just started commuting into Birmingham city centre, and was expecting to be knocked off and squished by idiot car drivers who were drinking coffee, texting, and shaving their bawbag on their way to and from work… but NO!

The things trying to kill me are big two-legged twats loping off the curb like something out of a fucking 1980s video game!

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I’ve ranted on before about Bromsgrove.  There’s a section of road where there are TWO pedestrian crossings within about 30 yards of each other – and what happens?

Lummox-like cabbage-fucks do that ‘just-crossing-the-road-don’t-mind-me-mister’ stupid jog causing everyone to slam their brakes on.

My mate actually hit some stupid bint here as he was filtering on his bike.  Good!  Apparently her shopping bags went up in the air, comedy-style.  And my mate and his bike were totally undamaged.

I had another one only this morning.

I saw her and slowed, she saw me and carried on without a second glance – making me slam the anchors on and screech at her in a voice so high only dogs could hear.

And I bet the dopey-faced fucktard blames ME for the fact she went pottering off accross a damned road!

What’s wrong with you people???

Your parents can’t have dropped you ALL on your heads when you were little, surely?!?

[RANT OFF]

How To Deal With A Crash

How To Deal With A Crash

When you ride a bike, it happens.  At some point you’ll either lose it all on your own, hit a filthy great slick of deisel, or some cock-rag will drive their car into you.

Someone (mrtommygunwhite) from the motovlog.com forum asked for advice on what really happens during the whole crashing process, and so I did my best to answer:

At the time:

Enjoy it!  Seriously.  Crashing is a Hell of a lot of fun!  I remember my first ever crash (highsided my TZR going towards a roundabout), and when I was flying in mid-air I saw the astonished faces of two Policemen in their car coming towards me!

Or sliding down the road at high speed once you’ve come off.

Or locking both wheels of my RGV250R for the 4th time, totally sideways, as I tried to avoid the huge spikey truck that had pulled out and stalled in the road ahead, and then getting flipped off and between the wheels of the truck.

Sure, it hurts, but in that moment, and looking back afterwards, it’s a unique experience.  WHEEEEEEEE!!! 

The only worry I’ve had is to try and keep my helmet from smashing against the road (they’re expensive!), and if you know you’re going to flip or roll get your limbs in so they don’t flail about and come off.

Just after:

Yeah, it’s not so brilliant from here on in.  My first thought is normally “Nooooo – not my bike!!!” and getting to is ASAP to pick it up and assess the damage.

Next it’ll be what’s missing from me.  If it’s a bad one (actually, you should ALWAYS do this first) just stay the fk down.  Have a nice lie down for a while and see if you’re still breathing.  Have a little bit of a gentle wiggle to see if anything hurts.  Then have a look and hope your toes aren’t in front of your visor, or anything daft.

If you’re not hurt, then try and control any rage so you don’t rip someone out of their car window and beat them to death with their own gouged-out eyeballs. 

A car pulled out on me on an island, and I banked it over and thudded into the side of her, somehow staying upright and still on the bike (which was written off for front suspension damage).  I was -ing livid, and have absolutely no doubt I’d have pounded the dumb bints face so badly she’d look like a dropped pasty.  Luckily, she only stopped about 50 yards down the road, and I’d have looked pretty damned stupid running all that way just to get to her.  I shouted lots, though.

Dealing with the fear, i.e. the nightmares

This can be bad, but remember they ARE just nightmares!  Afterwards I’d often jump off the bloody bed thinking I’d crashed again, or locked the front etc.

I do think it’s good to get back on a bike ASAP, but when you do you should take it easy, rather than going at it full-on straight away.  It’ll take a while to build up your confidence again.

Weirdly, BEFORE a few of my crashes I’ve had dreams for a few weeks before it happened.  Like dreams of losing the front on the brakes before someone did a U-turn and I did indeed lock up the front and go down.

In that crash, back in January 2008, that is all I remember.  I was filtering, saw a cars wheels turn before he immediatley floored it and pulled out.  I hit the brakes HARD, remember losing the front (not that I had a chance of stopping at that distance)…. and then I was sliding down the road on my back.  I even remember trying to hold my head up (it was a Shoei!) and just giving up, letting my head drop because I figured I was probably an ambulance case.

How did I get through a solid car?  Did my body actually hit the car?  I have no idea, and to be honest I’m not sure I really want to have that memory come back…

Oh, and remember your adrenaline will be through the roof after a crash, and you may not notice broken ribs and stuff for hours afterwards.  Get theeself to hospital if there’s any doubt (a chest impact could do heart damage that will kill you hours or days later etc).  And remember you WILL be in serious pain the next day, even if you think you feel fine at the time.

And finally the people who are out to get us – the trolls:

They’re not!  They’re all just regular people who have brain-dead moments.

Take a walk around a supermarket and note how people park their trolleys in the most stupid and selfish places, or push them without any kind of awareness of their surroundings.  That’s pretty much how most people drive.

The New (Sensible) Beast

The New (Sensible) Beast

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Soon I will be required to commute to work on a motorbike – just like the good old days!

Because I’ve already ridden my ZX9R on snow and ice, I decided this time to get something a bit more sensible.

As I’m doing this to keep travel costs down, I decided I need something that looks a bit tatty, very reliable, easy to work on myself, cheap to buy, run and tax, and something that isn’t too nickable to thieves.  There’s only so much I can compromise, so I also wanted something with a bit of poke to it, that wouldn’t depress me every time I straddled it, and a fairing would be nice, too.

A 500cc maximum pointed me towards the kind of boring bikes you do your test on – Honda CB500, Kawasaki EN500, Suzuki GS500 or Kawasaki GPZ500.

I wanted to pay well under £1000 for a bike on the road, and found it’s possible to have any of these for that money, but you really have to get lucky to find a CB500 under this with long tax, MOT and tyres.

After viewing a few shitters, I saw a faired GPZ500 (EX500 Ninja to you Yanks) that fit the bill, made an offer on it, and rode it away the next day.  Sorted.

I have to say I’m a bit embarrassed by it.  It’s like having mongy girlfriend does the job for you, but you don’t really want to get into a discussion about her with your mates down the pub, because you KNOW you’ve compromised for something easy and available.

I thraped it on a long motorway run showing it no mercy straight away, and nothing fell off or leaked.  I even scraped my toes on that same ride back after buying the bike.

It’s got skinny little tyres and the suspension feels a bit wobbly in the corners, and I have no idea how far I actually CAN lean it over before something solid touches down and I fall off and tear my petticoat.  So I’m a bit wobbly on it as I try and push to build up confidence… *NOTE* This has improved since checking the tyre pressures last night, and adding around 30psi to the rear to bring it up to around 33psi…

And it’s got a ‘Vee Rubber’ rear tyre!  WTF is THAT???  I know it heats up very quickly, but that’s probably more to do with me not checking pressures for the first few days.  Then finding about 2.5psi in the rear.  It might even be a bit less wobbly in corners now!

The GPZ500 allegedly has 60hp – so 10 more than the other ‘less sporty’ bikes mentioned above – will do 60mph in under 4 seconds, and tops out at 120mph.

All of which is of course bullshit.  Mayyyyyyyyybe it’ll see 120 on the clocks on a 10 mile salt flat, bu I doubt that’s the real speed.  0-60 I don’t even want to think about or I’ll cry.  At least I’d have time to get off the bike, find some tissues in a supermarket, buy them, and then get back on before it actually hit 60mph.

Brakes are ok, but I don’t think a track day will be on the cards for this one.

It’s my first time on a parrallel twin, too.  It reminds me a lot of my very first Yamaha TZR 125.  It’s light, needs loads of revs to do anything, and even has a slightly 2-strokey Old Bike Smell.

It’s actually quite fun to ride because you feel you can just fling it around everywhere!  I’m probably already riding it more antisocially than my 9r!

But it’s not fully fun.  I get my confidence from a new bike by scraping my knee.  Is it even possible on a GPZ?  How hard should I push for this, considering I really bought it to get from A-B through traffic?

I suspect it will just be a reliable runaround that goes forever.  Maybe I’m getting old…

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Don’t Bother Insuring Your Car/Bike – It’s Worth The Risk!

Don’t Bother Insuring Your Car/Bike – It’s Worth The Risk!

First off, I’ll make it clear that all my vehicles ARE fully insured, but I can see why people wouldn’t bother insuring theirs.

Insurance companies are absolutely terrible cunts.

If you’re loyal to them, they will put up your policy price when you renew. I call it a Stupid Tax for those who can’t be botherd to shop around, but the fact is they still do it deliberately to rip people off.  They are NOT loyal to you in any way, so why should you be to them?

Once you do find a policy that you can fucking afford without turning to prostitution, you find you have to pay an ‘excess’ – basically this means that if anything happens (i.e. the whole reason you have insurance in the first place), you – yes YOU have to fucking pay anyway before the fucktards at your insurance company will get the chance to rip you off again!

So you insure your £700 car, and notice you have to pay out £500 before they pay a penny.  Let’s assume on that £700 you’re paying the average price of £500 (PER YEAR!?!?!), then when you make a claim of course the fucking retards tell you your car is only worth £500 due to depreciation, so you’re fucked.

You pay £500, they pay nothing.

THEN, they properly kick you in the balls for the next 5 years by making you pay more on every policy you take out!

This is whether the claim was your fault or not.  How in the Jesus Titty-Fucking Christ is that even LEGAL?!?

Then there is car and/or bike insurance.

You have to take two separate tests for two separate licenses.  But crash your car, and you have to declare that on your bike insurance, and so they BOTH go up for 5 years!

And you have 7 years No Claims discount for your car?  Oh, but you want a second car as well?

You can only drive one car at a time, right?

Right!  Well fuck you – you can only use your No Claims discount on ONE policy!

Want a car AND a bike?

Fuck you – you have to buy a policy for each.

I pay £130 per yer fully comprehensive on my 190mph superbike.  I recently bought an old shitter of a 500cc slow and sensible learner bike.

I honestly thought I could add this bike to my policy for around £20.  I called up my insurance company (DIRECT CHOICE – there’s your mantion you fat, greedy, robbing cunts! *waves*) who took my details and offered to add this little bike onto the big bike policy for… how much do you think?

£500.

That’s right – FIVE HUNDRED CUNTY-BASTARD POUNDS STERLING!

It still makes em laugh now.  I did a quick price comparison search (not allowed to use my NCD, remember) for a brand new policy and got one for £70.

Direct Choice you are utter, utter useless feeble cunts. Thanks for your help, and confirming that if you EVER call your insurance company after you’ve bought the policy, they stick their big fat cock up your arse without any lube.

And I even get a free cuddly Meercat toy ony my new bike policy.

Wankers.

0-60mph in 2.5 Seconds!

0-60mph in 2.5 Seconds!

Acceleration is very addictive.

It’s one of those things that most people may never experience on a very extreme level.  Maybe the moment when an airplane starts its stampede down the runway will be familiar to most people.

I myself used to love that bit.  What a rush!

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And then I got into sportsbikes, and it’s all a bit ‘meh’ when it takes off now!

I even had a go on the ‘fastest accelerating rollercoaster in the Universe’ Rita Queen Of Speed at Alton Towers – and while it was pretty quick it wasn’t anything unusual to what I do commuting to work every day.

I’ve said before many times that unless you’ve been on a sportsbike you can’t even begin to imagine it.  The biggest mind-blower is how the damn things will pick up their petticoat and leg it with the slightest provocation.  It’s seriously unreal.

I saw a few YouTube videos where people were having a go at filming their 0-60mph times, and as I’ve already uploaded a video showing the top speed my bike does in first gear, I figured I’d have a go at this challenge myself.

First off, I found that it’s not as easy as you might think.  I mean, to go out and do this legally, you need a nice flat, uncambered road with masses of visibility behind (so you don’t get splattered), and obviously a speed limit of at least 60mph.  Even finding all this you then have to get lucky with traffic.

Then the realisation set in that I’ve never actually practised race starts on a bike before.  I know in theory you hold the revs high, drop the clutch, and then flip over backwards and die in a cloud of tyre smoke, flames, and excrement.  And almost certainly tear your pinafore.

Hence I just did this as I would pulling away from traffic lights – giving it a big handful and dropping the clutch as quickly as I could whilst trying to keep the front end down.

I’m under no illusions that someone with more skills couldn’t easily beat these times on my own bike.  I’m not a racer, the rear (Pirelli Angel ST) tyre wasn’t even spinning up, and the front hardly lifted.  Because that’s as far as I wanted to push it on public roads.  It is still well within the limits of the bike… Plus I had to roughly time this on a rickety old video editing package, as the ONE time the bloody time stamp on the camera would have been useful, it doesn’t show tenths of a second!  ARGH!

Life moves pretty fast when you can pull out 3 second 0-60 runs any time you want.

And do you know what?

You get used to it very quickly, and want it to do it twice that fast!

England Should Ban Jaywalking!

England Should Ban Jaywalking!

Jaywalk –verb (used without object)
to cross a street at a place other than a regular crossing or in a heedless manner, as diagonally or against a traffic light.

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Should we have it in the UK?

The ‘Merkins have a lot of stupid Laws – often only in one particular state.

California, for example, has a law that everyone must grow long hair and play Death or Thrash Metal.  And their wives are allowed to blow their heads off with shotguns when they get famous. Ohio has something in their Laws about crap US football teams and corn.  And serial killers are encouraged.

But much as it pains me to admit, one of their laws is just downright sensible – and that is the aforementioned ‘Jaywalking’.

If you go pottering across the road in New York, a big porker in a rain mac will shoot you dead.  You don’t even have to be Muslim!

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In Bromsgrove Town Centre, UK, however, it seems to be perfectly acceptable to ignore the two pelican crossings which are around 50 yards apart, and go Ninjaing between the traffic regardless.

People seem to see this as fine, for the sake of saving a good three or four seconds of their life where they’d have to walk to one of the crossings… and then they get splatted by a filtering motorbike, sending all their bags of pound shop goodies flying through the air.

This has happened to a few people I know over the last few years.  There weren’t any real injuries, by some miracle, but the aftermath in one involved the stupid bints husband calling up my mate afterwards threatening him and trying to make him pay out compensation.

Compensation for your wife being a dipshit who couldn’t be *rsed to use one of the PEDESTRIAN crossings???

I’ve had a few near-misses myself when these idiots suddenly pop out between the cars, not looking and certainly not thinking.

I will tell you that if I ever hit one they better be dead, because I would beat the ever-loving shit out of them if I or my bike got damaged!

And that’s why it should be a crime in the UK.

Because it’s yet another thing that innocent people get punished for and end up paying out for, all because some retarded mouth-breather feels it’s everybody elses fault for them being a dick head.

Watch for around 2:20 into this video for a prime example: