Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Friday, 22 August 2008
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Hope this doesn't catch on....Community Speedwatch, where volunteer vigilantes are given speed guns and trained in how to use them before training them on their neighbours, has been creeping out in towns and villages, but Northumberland police have decided not to bother with the equipment and just invite villagers in Swarland to guess how fast vehicles are travelling and report them: "These details can then be reported anonymously to police who will issue a letter to the alleged offender and store their details on a database. A person reported twice will receive a visit from the police and after a third time, will receive ‘target vehicle status,’ whereby police will look out for their car or van while on patrol."
Given the antagonism between rural villages and bikers who may not be speeding at all, but are often percieved to be (for example, this story from Richmondshire), this seems to me a scheme with massive potential for abuse. I don't want to get a warning letter from the police based on the untrained, unsupported judgement of one person who may have a grudge against bikers or just be having a really bad day. And particularly not if I've just travelled through their village in accordance with the speed limit.
Monday, 18 August 2008
Slightly off-topic but when you watch late-night telly waiting for the smutfest which is the olympic men's diving to come back on, you learn interesting things. During "Kill it, Skin it, Wear it" Merrilees Parker asked Scandinavian mink farmers what happens to the insides of the mink once it's been skinned. The bodies go to become bonemeal fertiliser, he said, and the fat goes into biodiesel.
Not looking so environmentally friendly now!
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Saturday, 16 August 2008
Bags packed, earplugs in, hugs and goodbyes.....bike won't start. Either small Australians have nobbled Ruby in an attempt to secure further piggyback rides or something has given up. Phil from BMW is on his way to find out. Where's a kick-start when you need one?!
Posted by Highwaylass at 11:16 PERMALINK
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
In 1929, Virginia Woolf declared that all one needed to be a lady writer was a room of one’s own and a private income of five hundred pounds a year. Having tried to blog on Monday perched on the hall stairs of my dad’s house while protecting a cup of tea from an all-in wrestling contest and periodically being invited to admire a very small pair of socks (which were indeed both stylish and colour co-ordinated) I begin to understand what she meant. Aunt duties aren’t too taxing – as well as sock admiring, there’s being a climbing frame, giving piggy-back rides and laughing at very bad knock-knock jokes (Knock Knock. Who’s there? Very Loud Cow. Very Loud Cow who? MOOO!!!. This is a very versatile joke - Who’s there? Very Loud Tiger. Very Loud Duck – and may simply be a cunning ruse to get away with shouting indoors)- but they are quite distracting so in the absence of a room of my own (I have a tent in the back garden but it lacks wi-fi access and a power socket) I have retreated to the Cat and Fiddle with my newly-acquired ebay laptop. One of the many advantages of being born in the North-West is that I get to ride the Cat and Fiddle not because I am a leisure biker put on this earth to upset Chief Constable Brunstrom, but because it is the road which takes me home - in a glorious, sweepy, look-lean-roll mind-that-sheep polar bear stylee, admittedly. As a result of our 2 trips round Cadwell Ruby has developed a throaty, Mariella-Frostrup-esqe rasp and a tendency to pop on the over-run, both of which make her faster (obviously!), and I was quite pleased with our progress on Sunday, until a tatty blue Vauxhall Nova drove round the outside not just of Ruby but also the Mecedes we were overtaking at the time, disappearing over the horizon in a cloud of cheap aftershave and teenage hormones.
The BBC promised sunshine today but I may have to complain to the truth and justice committee, as I received my requisite soaking somewhere just outside Buxton – I fear the universe may have decided that I require daily watering, like French beans or peas. In which case I’d like to apply for re-designation as some kind of succulent, which only needs watering once every three months or so. And only gentle watering at that – not the downpour which suckered me outside Newark on Sunday. Blue skies all round but rain hammering down on my head. This time I will be sensible, I thought, and got off the bike to do the banana dance which gets me into my Belstaff Dri-Biker. A short while later, feeling virtuous (if tired and slightly sweaty), I got back on the bike, enveloped in waterproof plastic, and rode straight out of the other side of the storm to complete my journey in bright sunshine. Soaking wet on the inside, baking hot on the outside. Sound of distant laughter…
Sunday, 10 August 2008
Saturday, 9 August 2008
Friday, 8 August 2008
...something pretty* this way comes. Thanks to Caz and Steve, my Triumph is back on the road. Moving from one bike to another is an odd feeling, the Triumph feels like a monkey bike compared to Ruby - and of course, my thumbs are twitching away trying to indicate with the starter button on the right...
* she was pretty until I rode for 50 miles under the torrential rain of last night's electrical storm, which rather sadly undid all Caz's polishing. On Tuesday morning I was gobbed on by just one irate motorist. Last night it seemed that Satan and every one of his minions had decided to join the fun. To take my mind of the misery I decided that when I reached dry land I would measure exactly how much water had dribbled down inside my boots and my gloves...a pint. Not counting the water soaked into Gialis, jacket, fleece, t-shirt, bra and pants. When I say to people "at least it stops at the skin" this is not meant to be a challenge.
And, while I like to read about the style and technique of fording rivers, and understand the importance of not stalling and thus inducing hydraulic lock, I wasn't expecting to have to put this into practice on the A10 just outside Royston.
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
The first junction on my London commute is not an easy one – it’s a stop line, downhill onto a main road with a zebra crossing on the right and a bus stop on the left. Some mornings I am bright, with-it and can spot a marginal gap and whiz straight over. Some mornings, like today, I am tired and dopey and need to wait for both lanes to be clear to avoid becoming roadkill. This means that the cars behind me, who like to bully their way across the first lane and then mow down any pedestrians on the crossing, get impatient.
So this morning, I’m waiting for my opportunity, and the driver of the car behind starts to honk his horn at me. I give him the universal hand signal. He gets out of the car, walks up to me and spits in my face, shouting “learn some manners.”
Which would be ironic, if it wasn’t quite so disgusting.
There are three morals from this story.
The first is, always ride with your visor down.
The second is, don’t reciprocate when faced with aggro – David Hough is absolutely clear on this in Proficient Motorcycling, a book I like a lot, and to which I should clearly pay more attention.
And the third is that, thanks to a very kind and concerned man who let me use his bathroom to clean up, I may no longer covered in someone else’s saliva but the man who thinks it is OK to gob on lady bikers (or, indeed, bikers in general) is still a tosser.
Monday, 4 August 2008
KWH has been trying to educate me over at Telegraph Towers on the art of the journalistic blag. But I have a long way to go compared to Sian Williams from BBC Breakfast News, who is off this morning to Brands Hatch for a few laps pillion with James Toseland. She talked him into this when he was on the programme on 18th June (I was watching in a hotel after travelling to Glasgow for the Def Leppard gig) as part of the MotoGP build up - a firm declaration of how much she loved riding pillion quickly followed by acceptance of his offer (quite possibly before he made it, I'm not quite sure!) I'm taking notes...