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:

 

When cars don’t want bikes to filter through traffic…

When cars don’t want bikes to filter through traffic…

(or “How to make a car driver look like a proper knob!”)

Why do they do it?

If everyone rode a bike there wouldn’t ever be any traffic jams!

By stopping me going past you, you’re effectively making me behave like a car, causing you and everyone else more delays!

It seems crazy to me that some countries still won’t let bikes legally filter or lane split.

Just let them go past, people!

Oh, and you also get to meet my new beast – Yes, I’ve bought a Honda VTR Firestorm!  1000cc’s of V-twin thunder!

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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!

Bassetts Pole & The Council Shutting Down Bike Meets

Bassetts Pole & The Council Shutting Down Bike Meets

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I saw through a friends Facebook status last night that the Police were stopping all bikers from stopping at Bassetts Pole for the huge Tuesday night bike meet that’s been going on for decades.

There is a pub carpark and a McDonalds where everyone parks, and it seems that the pub is trying to take out an injunction to stop any bikes using their car park.

Whilst I can see their issue with having their car park crammed full with hundreds of bikes for one night a week – are they missing the point that IT’S CRAMMED FULL OF HUNDREDS OF BIKES FOR ONE NIGHT A WEEK?  I bet you anything that even if hardly any of them go into the pub itself it will still be by far their most profitable night of the week!

Bikers like to have a drink when they stop off, and we all know that a few hundred pints of shandy are the best any pub can hope to sell for a profit!  If they’re worried that they’re losing out on selling food (which has a much lower profit margin) someone needs to smack them in the face and point out what they’re GAINING for the drinks they sell!  Plus with a fucking McDonalds literally next door they can hardly blame a drop in food sales on bikers blocking their customers, can they?!

And that’s all assuming none of the thousands of fat-assed bikers are going to eat any of the pubs food at all (about as likely as getting kicked in the head by a quadriplegic dwarf).

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And can anyone actually get an injunction in place to ban ‘bikers’?  Surely that shit went out back in the 60s?  What next?  Ban the blacks and jews, you fucking idiots?

Although you have to be pretty retarded to be anti-biker these days (it’s on an even lower level of intelligence than racism), I was once in a group out on our bikes who a pub refused to serve a meal to.  We went back home, got a load more mates and went back there without the leathers and bikes and successfully ordered an ungodly amount of food.  When it arrived, we informed then that we’d just remembered we were bikers, and walked the fuck out without touching a thing.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the Bassetts Pole meeting, because there is always a huge oppressive Police presence and to be honest the ride to and from there is a bit crap, but if we don’t fight against stuff like this you can bet other bike meets will get killed.

Thousands of people would flock to Stratford-Upon-Avon waterfront every Sunday to have a look at all the bikes parked there.  The local businesses must have been raking it in.

But then the Council stepped in and banned all bike parking there, creating a bike-specific park outside the centre where nobody would go, making the waterfront area for disabled parking only, and in the process completely fucking missing the whole point.  And pissing everyone off.

But then the local council doesn’t have to make a profit, does it?  They get paid either way…

So we all need to fight this one, and show the twats in charge of this idiocy that we’re not going to stand for it – especially if their only ‘reason’ is to discriminate against anyone who might fall under the name of ‘Biker’.

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180 Miles Around SAS Territory

180 Miles Around SAS Territory

With another sunny day, I took a last minute decision, topped the oil up, strapped the cameras on the bike and picked a place on a map.

Brecon.

I know of Brecon as the place of fame where the SAS train.  As I’d also be riding through Hereford where their base is, I thought this would be fitting for an SAS day out.  Plus I’d have a rucksack on, even if I wasn’t planning on lugging it around on foot.

The last time I’d ridden these routes were about 8 years ago on a ZXR400, where I’d had a bit of a play with a brand spanking new Honda Civic Type R on the twisty and undulating fast roads from Worcester to Hereford.  I was quite impressed at the speed, even though I still don’t really like the look of the cars.

After getting sidetracked (not lost!!!) in Worcester centre, I eventually found my way back to these roads and wasn’t disappointed.

This ‘ere be zider country!

Much as I love Shropshire countryside, I have to say that Herefordshire is also well up there.  There were some awesome views of the Malvern Hills off to the side of the road, and loads of other pointy-scenery-bits as I passed through the far side of Hereford, too.

I also made a random stop-off at a pub just outside Hereford called ‘The Swan’, just about making last orders for their extremely good Sunday Carvery with very friendly staff.  Still no bloody bread sauce, but for £7.95 it was one of the best I’ve had!

Turning off towards Brecon everything suddenly went all Welsh.  The countryside opened up with huge filthy great straights and random letters thrown onto roadsigns to try and make the reader spit.

I actually never thought Brecon was over the Welsh border until I saw the sign.  Feck knows what Welsh region it’s technically a part of?  I just know that I should state somewhere that this part of the journey was now in Wales, and not England, because the Welsh get all uppity about things like that.  They’re happy to be British to claim dual glory of English activities, but when anything is specifically Welsh the United Kingdom can piss off because it’s THEIRS!

As ever, when riding around places like this, I was keeping one eye on the sky to see what bewinged creatures were mooching about the place.  I saw a hawk sat on a telephone cable, but the literally big news was the Buzzards down that way.  Lots of them, and they are MASSIVE!

Coming into Brecon there are several Army-type bases.  I was going to get a picture of my bike in front of one of them, but then figured they might shoot me as a terrorist, so carried on sharpish.

Now I know where the Brecon Beacon(s) is (are?), I shall be planning a future picnic there with a day out having a walk about the place.

I didn’t see any SAS soldiers this time – but they’re sneaky!  Next time, and with a chilli, ham and cheese roll in my hand, I shall do some proper spec-op spotting!

Getting The ZX9R On Track

Getting The ZX9R On Track

I’ve always hired bikes for trackdays.  The way I see it, although it is quite expensive, is that you’re getting the use of a dogs bollocks expertly set up and prepared race bike with super-sticky tyres, brakes that pop your eyeballs out every time you touch them, and generally an ability much better than you’ll have as the rider.

I’d highly recommend trying Lady Snoots for hire bikes from a great bloke, and also Smallboy and Pattracking I had no faults with whatsoever.  The Focused Events trackbikes of a few years ago were shitters.  They did the job, but they were blatantly cutting all the corners they could by using (old) sports-touring tyres and maintaining them like your average ped rider.  Things do seem to have changed, but they’re still expensive…  The biggest pisser is that you HAVE to use their own hire bikes on Focused Events days…

Anyway, my main reason for hiring was that my bike was my only transport.  This has now changed now I have a license and car, and if I dropped the ZX9R and it was off the road for a while for repairs it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

So with funding nowhere near what it was after my redundancy, it makes sense to cut the costs by getting the 9r out on track this year.

It will still be a compromise, but I want to do it for as little cost as possible.

Ideally, I’d want: Full race fairing, race compound brake pads, aftermarket rearsets (I scrape my pegs in normal road riding!), some kind of protection for my engine covers, and sticky race tyres – possibly even a spare set of wheels.

The reality is that this would cost as much as it would to hire bikes for a couple of trackdays…

So, after scouring Ebay for race fairings (£340 from China!), I’ve decided that I’m just going to go for it with the bike in standard trim.  If I do come a cropper, THEN I can buy a new fairing and replace the parts.  I’ll just have to try my best not to come a cropper!  But thinking about it I was well within my limits on the hire bikes, as I didn’t want to be liable for paying out the crash deposit!

What’s left to worry about?

Tyres.  I use Pirelli Angel ST’s on the road, because they give a combination of awesome grip from cold, massive mileage, and just do everything better than any other road tyre.  On track I’m sure they will overheat and slide around a bit – but am I capable/willing to push them that hard for them to become a problem?  I shall just have to try it and see…

Ground clearance could be an issue, as I’m not afraid of leaning the bike over even on the roads.  Someone from ZX-9R.net came up with an ingenious solution of taping a 5p coin in the hinge of the footpeg to raise them and give a few degrees more ground clearance, and so I may well try that.

Whatever – I can hear the call of the racetrack again, and I need to get back out there SOON!

Plus it would be great to have a few photographs of me on track riding my own bike!

Watch this space!

My Favourite Road – Bridgnorth To Ludlow

My Favourite Road – Bridgnorth To Ludlow

As a biker, I’m happy to just jump on the bike and ride.  It doesn’t matter where I’m going, or for how long.

Much as I hate paying almost £1.40 for a litre of Super Unleaded petrol, I WILL pay it and have fk all to show from it apart from a smile on my face and slightly less rubber on my tyres, and maybe less plastic on my toe and kneesliders.  Yeah, screw you Society!  That’s how I roll!

Of course, I do have my favourite destinations.  The Redditch Cloverleaf is almost impossible to resist anytime I have to ride past and the roads are dry.  I mean, you simply pull off the dual carriageway and scrape your knee around the four corners and then carry on in the direction you were headed as if nothing had happened.  It really is Heaven.

Except this year the road surface on the Cloverleaf is rather shocking… The tarmac is broken and very rough on EXACTLY the line you want to be taking around there!

Anyway, enough about that – what I really wanted to blog about here is one of my favourite roads.

It’s the B4364 that runs from Bridgnorth to Ludlow.  It’s over 22 miles through some of the most beautiful Shropshire countryside, and has everything from open straights and fast sweeping corners to mega-tight OFM (“Oh Fuck Me!”) twisties.

Ludlow itself is a very nice place for a stop-off, as is Bridgnorth – and the Quatt Biker Cafe just outside Bridgnorth is always a mecca for bikers of all kinds who drop in for a bacon sandwich and a coffee.

At the Ludlow end of the B4364, if you head in the opposite direction towards Kidderminster, you cross the stunning Cleehill – where you’ll see a lot of my bike photographs are taken.

This was a lovely sunny day, so I got the Veho HD10+ mounted on the bike and decided to get footage of the whole of the B4364, at legal speeds to show how it is still a lot of fun to ride without being silly.

I hope you enjoy this and don’t criticise my riding too harshly!