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:

 

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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!

Moments That Mark Your Biking History

Moments That Mark Your Biking History

The best thing it’s possible to buy is a motorcycle.

Since that first iconic moment 15 years ago, where I took my CBT test and bought a scrappy little Yamaha TZR125, there have been a few moments that have been milestones in my biking history, for whatever reasons.

On the fourth day of riding, I was following a mate towards an island, and went in a little too hot.

I don’t know if I locked the rear, or it hit something slippery, but either way it ended up highsiding me big-time as I tried to get slowed down on the curve entering the roundabout.

I still remember quite vividly flying through the air several feet up, and looking at the shocked faces of two Police Officers who were driving towards me around the island.

Considering this was my first ever crash, I did well to be thinking about trying my best not to roll as I hit the floor (grass, luckily) so it didn’t snap my back or pull my limbs off, but the bigger thought as I slid along on my back was that I had to get up and back to my bike before the Police closed the road off.

I hurt my shoulder a bit, but was fine to ride the bike away from the scene.  I actually dropped that bike a few times, and always rode it away.

I put many miles on the bike after that, and loved every one.

A few months later I was filtering (badly) through some very heavy traffic in Worcester.  Two ZX7R’s came past me with ease, and I tagged onto the back of them.  It taught me so much watching them – I don’t think they put their feet down once as they carved through the gridlocked roads.  I don’t think I’d enjoyed filtering until then, but that all changed when I saw the skill needed to do it this well.

Having got a bit more experience, of course it was time to learn how to get my knee down.  I raced around as fast as I could, hanging off the bike like a drunk monkey as I did my best to get my sliders to touch down, to no avail…

A big bike came past me on a local road one day, and even though he wasn’t even exceeding the speed limit, he was sweeping the road on every corner with his knee.  I couldn’t believe how that was even possible?!

I upgraded to a Kawasaki ZXR400, which is just an awesome bike for learning to ride fast on.  The front end was like it was on rails and inspired masses of confidence.  Despite this, I still couldn’t quite get my knee down.

Alongside the ZXR, I bought an old 1988 Honda VFR750 FG for courier work.  At first I was terrified to lean it over in case the centre stand bottomed out.  So different to the ZXR it felt like trying to ride a big old skyscraper!

I soon settled in with that bike, and one day I was having a spirited ride around The Cloverleaf, and it was just starting to rain.  I leant it over and hung off and *SCRRRTCH!*!

I nearly jumped off the damned bike until I realised this was my kneeslider touching down!  Even today it amazes me how loud it is when you scrape your knee!

Jumping back on the ZXR after this, I’d crossed a barrier, and could get my knee down on any corner, at any speed.

My mates all got bigger bikes, but the little ZXR had no problems keeping up because of it’s cornering ability.  I still remember my mate trying to get his knee down on a Bandit 1200, and me going around the outside of him about 30mph faster with knee, toes, pegs and damned nearly my elbow touching down!

Life was good – riding was great.

One Sunday morning I left my girlfriend in bed and jumped on the ZXR to grab some food for us.

Before pulling out of my road, I let a Land Rover pass me.  I followed behind, and started to cover my brakes as the Land Rover slowed randomly in the road.

It was about then that something hit my visor, and suddenly I felt a wire across my throat.

Thinking of recent stories of kids tying wires and rope across road to get bikers, I slammed on my brakes, expecting the wire to tighten at any second and take my head off… By some miracle I got the bike stopped before the fallen telephone cable could decapitate me.  That Land Rover driver in front, who had stopped realising I was behind after he hit the wire himself, undoubtedly saved my life.

It was a stark reminder that I wasn’t invincible – and also that however skilled a rider you are, something totally random and beyond your control can take you out in a split second.

It took a while to get over The Fear from that one – I ducked every time I passed that spot for a long time…

Still, my biking continued with a growing love.  I could get my knee down on anything, and as well as being a fast road rider, I was also a safe one.

It was years later that I finally got around to booking my first track day at Donington Park.  I still have no idea why I left it so long, as I have been around racing all my life!

Pulling out of the pits onto that famous tarmac, I rounded the first two bends and nearly shot my beans as I got my first view down the Craner Curves!

So awesome it was almost spiritual!  I had a similar experience around Oulton Park a few weeks later… then a few other tracks as the trackday bug bit me hard!

I have had a couple of crashes during my time, but I’m alive and well.

More alive for riding bikes, I reckon.

And every time I swing my leg over a bike, even today, it still moves my soul.

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!

Winter Riding – How To Survive & Stay Warm

Winter Riding – How To Survive & Stay Warm

I’m not sure I like the idea of muffs (err…  😕 ) like many Winter riders suggest.  I prefer having my hands free to bat away stray squirrels and gesticulate at Audi drivers and stuff.

I have Polish ancestry, and would happily live in a fridge, so it doesn’t seem to affect me the same as most.  Either that or it’s because I’ve ridden bloody stupid sportsbikes through the snow and ice and THAT was enough to keep me pretty warm… Anyway, here’s what my 12 Winters on bikes and 2 as a courier have taught me:

Something for your neck is ESSENTIAL.  The one time you forget your neck warmer, The Forces That Be will wait until your throat is so painfully frozen you can’t even close your jaw properly, and then… THEN, your helmet strap will -ing whip you in across the throat like some hungry housewife who speed-read the 50 Shades Of Grey trilogy whilst fantasizing about Indiana Jones. 

This tiny little strap will never do this for any amount of Summer riding – just when you decide you’re going to nip down to Tescos for a baguette on your lunch break.

I bought a Buff polar fleecy thing when I first started biking, and to be honest have never wanted for anything more.  It’s perfect.  Well, apart from the fact I picked the one with the logo all over it – which, when viewed from two steps back from the shop display, suddenly looks like tiger stripe print.  Seriously, why would I buy a tiger stripe print neck warmer?  Stop asking me why I did!  It’s a Buff LOGO.

You’re screwed for your helmet.  The visor will mist up despite spending £400 on the latest de-mist-o-prene coating, and you could tape all the vents closed and then stuff them full of thermite and somehow freezing cold gayness will still pass directly through your skull.

What you can do is buy a Foggy facemask.  This directs your shivering breath out of your helmet as opposed to onto your visor.  I wear mine all year round.  It’s uncomfortable at first until you get it adjusted right, but then so is riding into a snowplough because you can’t see.

If it’s snowing, enjoy it.  It’s like being in Star Wars!  Warp speed!  Hell Yeah!  And then it all builds up on your visor… which is why I think muffs are a Bad Idea…

In fact most gloves are crap when it gets really cold.  Your best bet is warming the buggers up before you get out, and hope they stay a bit warm before you get frostbite.

I can’t really recommend any Winter gloves.  I found wearing my regular Summer gloves (tape over the vents, if they get too bad) with some Cold Killers windproof gloves underneath did the job.  Rubber gloves will allegedly save you if you get caught out – I tried this once and have to say it didn’t seem to help.  You can call into any petrol station and get a free pair from near the diesel pumps, though.

If you’re doing long distances the ONLY thing I found that worked was a set of Oxford Hot Hands heated grips.  You wire it in (easy) and wrap them around your hand grips, and they work perfectly.  You may find you need to tuck your thumbs under your palms for a few mins to get them up to temperature, but other then that you can happily wear your Summer gloves with them.

I wear my Summer race leathers (Halo Oracle) as much as I can through Winter.  Remember thin layers are the best for staying warm, so get 3 t-shirts on under them and it will do the job!  I’d also recommend (again) Cold Killers thermal long sleeve windproof top thingy.  I also have a synthetic Lookwell Goldline jacket with removable thermal liner that’s excellent, although loosing its waterproofing after 12 years.  With that and the windproof top I’ve pounded out thousands of motorway miles – I’ve actually got off the bike before and been able to pull off a complete layer of ice from my front.  It kept me fine for all day long Winter riding at high speeds.

I have no miracle cures for the lower half!  I just wear my regular Summer leathers and am fine.  I did have the Lookwell trousers to go with the jacket, but a wet road, RGV250R and a flatbed truck did for them years ago.  They had a thermal lining, but even then I never actually used it.

And it’s the same for my feet – Sidi Vertigo Corsa race boots.  I’ll probably close the vents, if I remember.  I wear normal socks, but again if you get cold feet I’d advise doubling up rather than one thick pair.

Other than that the main thing I’d say is to get a bike with a fairing!  I have no idea why the ‘ideal’ commuter bike is seen as an upright bike with no fairing?!  Are you mad?  Sportsbikes have a fairing, naturally tuck you in out of the wind, and get your adrenaline singing nicely, as mentioned earlier! 

Whatever you’re riding this Winter, though – keep it safe and do whatever you need to keep yourself warm!

Braindead Car Drivers With Aids

Braindead Car Drivers With Aids

I went out for a good long ride the other day along the scenic and fun roads around Shropshire, but almost didn’t make it that far because of this incident just a few minutes into my journey:

Now, firstly I need to stress to you how important it is to make sure you’re ‘switched on’ whenever you’re on the bike.  It’s easy to get complacent when you’re only just setting out, and even more so when you’re close to home on your return.

In the video, you see the car ahead of me is positioned over to the right hand side of the road approaching the roundabout.  He is actually up against the right hand curb as he’s going around the roundabout, before suddenly and without indicating he cuts across to take the left exit.  Almost taking me out.

His road positioning and percieved intention to turn right is exagerated even more because the car ahead of him took the correct positioning and line, making his actions even more deceptive.

I had plenty of room to go around the left hand side of the car, but to be honest I was expecting such a stupid move, so hung back.  You could say my Spidey Sense was tingling, and it saved me.

You’ll notice that afterwards I overtake the car.  There are several reasons for this – firstly what you can’t see is that I was gesticulating to the driver as I was alongside.  When I pulled in front I was switching my indicators on and off and pointing at them.  Do you think he learnt anything?  Doubtful.

Secondly, I believe that it’s better to have the idiots as far behind you as possible, where they can’t cause you any damage.  If they’re still in front they’re still dangerous, as they can brake and reverse or do other mental stuff.

What exactly are we doing to educate drivers?  Other than the million to one chance of them getting caught being Nobbers by the Police, we’re creating hundreds of driver aids to make the cars safer.

Sorry?

We’re making the CARS safer, taking even more responsibility away from the driver?!  Meaning they have even less need to concentrate, because the cars will brake, stabilise themselves, keep within the road markings and protect the dumbass occupants when they do end up upside down in a ditch?

Maybe we should be taking all the driver aids away and surrounding the driver with sharpened metal spikes facing inwards, so they might start to learn that their pissing about behind the wheel has CONSEQUENCES.

Better Than A Poke In The Eye With A Sharp Stick?

Better Than A Poke In The Eye With A Sharp Stick?

[RANT ON]

Last night, I rode in the darkness (and without my trusty tinted visor) for the first time in months.

I was a bit rusty.  It takes a while to get all your confidence back in night riding.  A big part of riding a bike is looking through the corner to the exit, but of course the headlights only shine forwards, so essentially you can’t really see, and have to totally readjust your riding style.

Added to this, you can’t see the potholes and dead badgers.

And it was drizzling with rain.

I headed off down the country lanes, being very sensible, and it wasn’t long before a car approached from the opposite direction.

I was riding on high-beam headlights so as not to end up sniffing the hedgerows, and, as I always do, was riding with my thumb over the high beam switch.

This is a very simple concept:

When you shine a 6,000 watt light into someones eyes at night, they have trouble seeing.  If they are driving two tonne of metal or riding a bike at the time, this makes for a dangerous situation for all concerned.  Especially with rain to refract the light so that it blinds you even more.

https://i1.wp.com/gopaultech.com/files/2009/03/hid-headlights1.jpg

When traveling down your average country lane, you can see a vee-hick-al coming the other way very clearly, because their headlights illuminate the hedgerows and can be seen with a clear view from miles away.  At worst, you have a good few seconds notice that someone is coming around the same corner in the opposite direction.

ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL you have to do is flick that -ing switch back to dip-beam BEFORE your lights are shining directly at the oncoming vee-hick-al, and all is right and good in the world.

It’s that simple.  See the reflection of lights approaching, dip your headlights.

It’s common fucking sense.

So why does every braindead zombie cunt-wig leave their lights on high beam until I take both my hands off the bars, covering my face and screaming like some bloody Triffid has spat in my face, slowing to a 2mph crawl as I try to wobble to the left of the brain-searing source of the light without dying???

And what can you do about it???

‘Bastard Instinct’ makes you flash your lights at them, but all this really does is blinds them, meaning you’re even more likely to die.  So this can’t be the best plan, can it?

Or there’s getting on the old Noddy horn, but this is a bit Ghey.  Most bike horns sound like a virgin farting in a lift, anyway.  It’s not very intimidating.

How would the Law look on someone who is half blind turning around, chasing down some High Beam Twat, dragging them out of their car, and beating them to death with their own brainstem?

Fuckers.

[RANT OFF] https://i1.wp.com/www.smartdriving.co.uk/Assets/Driving_Assets/Photos/headlights.png