Car Vs. Bike

Car Vs. Bike

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I always heard that although bikes will slaughter cars accelerating in a straight line, in the corners and on the brakes is a cars domain.

Your average 190 section superbike has a contact patch around the size of the palm of your hand to put close to 1000hp per tonne through.  For a start you won’t get many cars these days with tyres less than 190 wide – and of course they have two or even four driver wheels to get their power onto the asphalt.

Plus when hard on the power the car won’t be trying to flip itself over backwards, so you’d think a decent car would be able to whupp a bike from a standstill.

Unfortunately bikes are a Hell of a lot lighter, us bikers are able to get our beer bellies weighted over the front end, and even a bad start will see 60mph in around 3 seconds.  Most car drivers don’t understand this when they see us “Shooting off from the lights like a drag race!!” – the chances are we’re taking it easy but your car does 60 in more like TEN seconds.  Think about it.

To quote myself whilst explaining how fast bikes accelerate:  You know how you walk at, say, 4mph?  And you sort of take that very first step and are already at maximum walking speed?  That’s like how a sportsbike hits 30mph.  I could pull out into traffic between two cars (leaving your obligatory 2 second gap, of course) and be up to speed without anyone having to brake to avoid me.

If you haven’t ridden a fast bike you can’t even comprehend it.  It’s a blessing.  It’s silly.  It’s far too fast for the roads.  And to even begin to think that a lot of cars don’t have a rev counter?!  WTF?  I have no idea what the Fiat revs to, but I can only guess that it’s less than my ZX9R’s 12,500rpm?  And the Fiat certainly doesn’t do over 80mph in first gear…

Now, as any of my regular readers will know, after 10 years of riding sportsbikes I took and passed my car driving license a few months back.

OK, so I’ve only got some skinny-tyred Fiat Uno, but it’s weird.  I still find myself driving sometimes and think “What the fuck??  What the Hell am I doing in a CAR??? How did this happen?”.

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This is often followed by muttering about “Monkey drive car!  Oo-ooh OOKA OHH!!!”.

I have to recalibrate my whole brain to deal with the road speed differences.  The car is like being in one of those nightmares where you’re trying to run but can’t go fast.  Everything happens in verrrrrrryy slowwwww motionnnnnn….

And I’ve done a skid control course, tried to push the car, and fully intend of getting a racecar on a track ASAP.

Other than pulling out on islands and at junctions which require about five times the space of a bike in laziest mode, the thing that’s getting me is the corner speed.

Four tyres and loads of grip, and I’ve always just assumed cars are faster in corners… but that just isn’t the case!

In the Uno I’ve tried the Redditch Cloverleaf a few times and the ‘safe’ speed is about HALF what it is on a bike  I was horrified the first time as I drove into the first corner at a very conservative speed and still felt I had to brake.  And what a weird viewpoint it is compared to having your head banked over all the way to the left about 18 inches from the tarmac!

I’m still to drive a high performance car, but I just can’t see it pushing my limits like the bike does?  It’s too easy!

And riding a bike at 190mph is possible, and feels ‘OK’.  To be doing 120+ ina  huge metal box of a car, with all those forces involved if you do come a cropper???  Terrifying.

I think if I’d done this the other way around (i.e. had a car for 10 years and THEN a sportsbike), I’d just be absolutely terrified of the bike every time I threw my leg over it.

They’re an awesome vehicle to be privileged to ride – and I mean that ‘awesome’ in the truest and most lost meaning of that word.

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Thoughts Confirmed: Car Drivers Are Spastics

Thoughts Confirmed: Car Drivers Are Spastics

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Having spent the last 10 years riding through Winter on a variety of hideously unsuitable sportsbikes, this will be my first ever on four wheels.

I’m sure most of you have seen my videos from last year riding in the snow – the most noteable where I took out my near-1000hp per tonne Kawasaki ZX9R Ninja and attempted to get through the snow to a main road to get to work.  When I did reach the main roads, they were almost as bad, and I eventually gave up when I started sliding backwards and sideways down a hill.

At the time this wasn’t exactly ‘fun’, but looking back now I have to say I rather enjoyed the challenge, and am especially glad to have caught it on camera!

And while bad, this wasn’t the worst!  A few years before I’d ridden my Honda VFR750 FM down more than 10 miles of abandoned roads covered in 6″ of snow, passing many cars which had given up.  Ironically, this journey also ended with me sliding backwards down a hill within sight of my house, and I had to dump the bike in a safe place for the night.

Now THAT was both very scary and very kick-ass!

I love to do stuff that nobody else has done.  Stuff that nobody else would even attempt to do!

If that involves using some actual skills and talent then it’s a proper bo bonus!

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So I booked up a skid-pan training course to do in the car.  And the snow hit yesterday with my course still a few weeks away!  Doh!

Now, I’m fully aware that I’m still a rookie driver, even though I’m eager to grab any advanced training that I can.

Right now I’m no Driving God.  OK, so I have to slow down my thinking to drive cars, because it all happens so much slower than on a bike.  Apparently this biking stuff has taught me to be a perfectionist on the controls, actually THINK about the whole driving experience, and plan well in advance.

And THAT’S the problem!

Come on!  If I can be smooth and not crash a 16 year old rustbucket on skinny tyres, then what the Hell is every other flid doing on the roads?

I have renamed the Bromsgrove-Redditch dual carriageway ‘Flid Road’, because every single day some fuck-tard manages to crash and close it off!

Honestly, I’m the Rookie and yet nobody else has a -ing clue about how to drive as soon as they’re faced with adverse conditions?  It’s shocking!

Or maybe it’s because I invested in a Madcatz steering wheel controller for the Xbox 360, and if I can get a TVR Cerbera around Mugello on road tyres, a snowy commute in a Fiat Uno just isn’t going to challenge my skillz?

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Behind The Wheel Of A Red, Snorting Italian Beast

Behind The Wheel Of A Red, Snorting Italian Beast

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As it’s a few weeks before my test, and the car could come in useful for the house-moving antics before that, I decided to bite the bullet and pay out to get my car taxed and insured.

Long story short on this, but invaluable info: I used ALL the online comparison sites and was getting the odd price for 3rd Part on a Provisional driving license that came in at under £1000.  Erk.  A lot of hard work later my lowest quote was just under £700.

As a last-ditch attempt, I rang up the local insurance brokers based in my village, because they did great things with my business insurance.  They didn’t let me down – advising that if I added a random ‘second driver’ to my policy (I thought about Michael Schumacher but settled on my Mum) then the price drops.  To £470 for fully comprehensive insurance in this case!  It would have been cheaper after I’d passed my test, but I wanted some driving hours before the test…

That’s the boring stuff that might help someone, now for my first drive of MY car, and the first drive without dual controls!

My Ex-Step Dad seemed vaguely keen on taking me out in the car, and because he’s worked on it for years I thought it was a good idea incase he hears/feels anything wrong with the car.

He surprised me by saying he actually failed his first test.  Now considering he’s a National racing champion, and rebuilt his first engine when he was about 8 years old, that says it all about the true value of the UK driving test!  Any spastic can pass as long as they drive to pass the test, rather than learn to drive.

So I sat in the little Fiat.  Everything looked a bit rickety and bare compared to the modern Fiesta I’ve been learning in.

The gearbox gate felt scarily close together, so I was already looking forward to changing down when I was trying to change up a gear!  And no rev counter?!?!  WTF?!?

The good news is there’s a CD/radio player in there and a sun roof!

I started off by getting the feel of things and was very surprised by how easily it pulled away.  Especially as the handbrake was still on.  Err… OK, so it’s not the best of handbrakes, in that it doesn’t actually stop the car rolling or moving in any realistic way at all.  Apparently this is something I need to ‘get used to’.

I’d been really worried about the lack of power steering, but probably because the Fiat is so light, it was barely even noticeable!  If anything, it was better because there was much more ‘feel’.

All in all, I was expecting the old crappy car to fight me all the way, but amazingly I found it extremely easy to drive.

Neither of us died or caught fire, either, so that’s a Good Thing.

I think he’s even willing to come out with me again!

I be on tha roads fo’ realz, yo!

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