Jump leads, thermal underwear and heated grips.
Monday, 21 December 2009
Thursday, 17 December 2009
I'm on hold for Garmin customer services. The soothing muzak is a version of the "Romeo and Juliet" love theme..which is making me laugh becuase if you're my age then it's indelibly associated with Simon Bates doing "Our Tune", as the music over which he would relate a touching story of love enduring against the odds, in which the object of one's affections would find you again after 30 years apart only to get struck down by haemorraging dengue fever or eaten by crocodiles, and all that you would be left with to remember him by would be "Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo...
Sunday, 13 December 2009
"if you have a motorbike cover or old tarpaulin to spare, then my son would be very grateful,and so will daughter in law, bike can be taken out of front room."
When I first got my KH100 to learn on it lived in the front hall. The firemen who came to deal with a small central heating emergency (came home, house was full of smoke as the central heating fan had got stuck and the motor burnt itself out. Found myself in something of a dilemma as the house wasn't *actually* on fire, and therefore dialling 999 might have been something of an overreaction. Was persuaded that it would be wise to have the experts come and check for flames. I think my neighbours had ulterior motives and simply wanted the diversion of offering cups of tea to handsome men in uniform) took a dim view and persuaded me that the tank full of petrol was best kept the other side of the fireproof door that led to the garage. For the life of me I can't remember why the bike wasn't in the garage in the first place.
(PS Wonder if daughter-in-law has been using the handlebars to dry her knickers on like I was....?)
Saturday, 12 December 2009
"I read your piece in a magazine yesterday when I was getting my hair done."
Since making my print debut I've recieved some amazing emails and messages from people sharing their own stories, hopes and dreams. It's been a powerful reminder that writing isn't the lonely profession it's sometimes caricatured as - solitary scribbler locked in garret (though my flat is currently doing its best to arrest my ageing process by maintaining the same temperature as my fridge). Writing's an intimate conversation, albeit one in which call and response can be separated by weeks, months or even centuries.
It is a bit of a dilemma for me, though. Should I carry on writing as if no-one's reading, or should I be mindful that real people read what I'm putting together, who might be hurt, or shocked, or tempted to follow me down the rollercoaster road that is riding a motorcyle?
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Ruby is 2 today. So far she is showing no signs of temper tantrums if refused the latest Hannah Montana CD but is getting a little sulky as we haven't been out for a couple of weeks. Curse you, warm and dry car!
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Normally when I get invitations that start "Dear motorcycle blogger" they come from the USA and invite me to plug stuff. I've been offered a year's supply of oil if I agreed to sing its praises, and lots of lovely videos from Laura at Harley Davidson to repost on my blog - all about Harley's promotional work in the USA. So it was particularly exciting to get an email inviting me to an open day at a Top Secret Government Lab based here in the UK with no conditions attached*. And it even said please feel free to bring your video camera.
Having misspent my youth watching James Bond movies I was very happy to find that, although not really Top Secret, the INSPEC test lab in Salford does have freakin' lasers (though no Sea Bass) and at least one big red button of the sort that should get pushed after shouting Dive! Dive! Dive! It also has a very, very large number of motorcycle helmets on the shelves awaiting torture, because it's the lab which carries out the SHARP tests for the DfT.
The good people who provided me with a replacement brain back in 2007 wanted to explain the basis of their star ratings (the latest batch of which were released on press day of the Carole Nash NEC Bike Show) and tackle some of the controversy which has surrounded the scheme since certain brands who might have expected a premium rating didn't achieve one.
The debate seems to focus on the high value SHARP puts on testing the X-spot, the part of the helmet which protects the temple - the consequences of a blow to which include "perfect pain, if not outright death," according to my martial arts consultant. The SHARP team's analysis of crash-test science led them to conclude that 56 per cent of the impacts which led to death or serious injury took place to the sides of the head, and they designed their test routines accordingly. The test in the video is the side impact test, which is carried out at three speeds and on a rig which doesn't allow rotation to dissipate the force of impact, unlike the ECE equivalent. The helmet is hitting the anvil at a speed equivalent to falling off a chair, so I'm preferring not to think about how hard my head might hit the M6.
I've been faintly unmoved by the SHARP scheme so far because I can only choose between Schuberth helmets and BMW lids, which are Schuberth rebadged, rendering their star ratings rather immaterial. But when PB went lid-shopping at the BMF show, he did have a choice of several lids from about 50 quid to about 200. We know that he doesn't have a 50 quid head, but how much did he need to pay to be safe?
The SHARP team stressed that their message is first to choose on the basis of fit and comfort, and only then to look at the star ratings and choose the highest-rated lid that fits your head. 80 per cent of women are wearing the wrong bra size. The negative consequences of this include escaped puppies and congestion of the lymph nodes. Around a quarter of bikers are wearing lids one or two sizes too big for them, the consequences of which can be fatal - in around 10 per cent of fatal crashes the rider's helmet came off. So what we may need here is a Rigby and Peller for bikers, where glamorous ladies size you up by eye...
SHARP hope that, in the same way that EuroNCAP has encouraged car manufacturers to compete on the grounds of safety as well as fuel economy, image and power, their scheme will encourage helmet manufacturers to strive for a 5-star safety rating, and consumers to become more demanding. According to their analysis, if every biker rode in a 5-star lid, then 50 fewer of us would die of head injuries, because brain acceleration would be kept below 300g whatever the direction of impact. Which has to be a good thing (provided that the 5-star lid fits your head, that is....)
* In the interests of transparency I declare 2 cups of coffee; several M&S sausage rolls and the patience of the staff when faced with not only my stills camera but my unreasonable video demands also.
Posted by Highwaylass at 20:38 PERMALINK