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Showing posts from June, 2017

"Assume" makes an ass of you and me

It's about 5pm and I can see 40kmh and symbolic worker signs ahead.

Yeah, yeah ... someone's been doing some work on the verge. They've knocked off now and left their signs out even though there's no longer any workers around. No need to back off my speed from 60kmh until I get there. Even then...


They hadn't been working on the verge. They had in fact pulled the whole road up! It was now very loose gravel and the car in front of me has realised it a bit late too and has braked quite hard.

I'm now in the gravel. Can't brake hard for obvious reasons. The rear of the car in front is looking like something I'm about to get to know very intimately.

Fortunately I don't panic and aim the bike down a sliver of a gap between the car and the median island. I'm not sure it'll fit but it sure looks better than T-boning a rear end. At the last second the car sees me and pulls away, giving me just enough space to breathe.

Wow. That was close…

The joy of now

Riding reminds me that I can waste too much time looking for life, when it's right under my nose the whole time. As John Lennon said, "life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."


I did a really simple thing today: I lifted my head. I tilted it up so that my eyes were level with the horizon - and what a difference it immediately made to my riding! I could now no longer see my bike at all (the chin-guard of my helmet blocked even peripheral vision of it) and I felt like I was hovering in space, flying along the roadway. Amazing how such a small thing can completely change your experience.


Me:  I gotta check this out...

Dion:  Nice, isn't it?

Me: Moto Guzzi "Bellagio"... what year?

Dion:  2009

Me:  Wow, it looks newer than that

Dion:  Yeah, I take pretty good care of it. I've ridden a number of bikes since buying this one new eight years ago but haven't found one I like better yet.

Me:  Cc?

Dion:  It's only 940

Me:  (why do guys always apologise for the size of their engines if they're not over 1000?) But I bet it still hops along, right?

Dion:  Oh yeah

Me: Interesting V arrangement for the cylinders (remember, I'm a noob at this)

Dion: Yeah, it's how all the Moto Guzzi v twins are

Dion was a bit of a late bloomer rider like me (been riding 9 years) and was heading off to ride the Himalayas for the second time later this year. Great stuff. I just LOVE how bikes bring people together. Really enjoying this instant camaraderie. It gets me talking to all sorts of people I normally wouldn't. And that's (almost) as good as the riding :)

Beating the cornering jitters

I 'aint been riding long but one thing I've learned for sure: if you look down at the road when you corner, you just recede into an ever-tightening spiral of fear. It gets to the point where you feel like you're riding on egg shells around every bend. Something happens in the brain and you just get worse and worse until you almost can't ride at all. Solution: yes, scan for slippery bits on the corner as you approach it, but once you're satisfied it's a sound surface, LOOK UP  - and roll-on the throttle. You almost have to get to the point of thinking "I've done everything possible, if the back end still slips out, so be it!". At some point you just gotta trust that damn bike :) Thanks to Kevin at MCRider for his excellent videos on this. PS… a good comment I read on a forum was to also keep your hands light on the bars - that way, if you DO slip a bit, the bike will usually correct itself.

Mystery solved

I think this is why I was so drawn to my Suzuki C50, why I thought it was a "proper" bike.

This is my grandfather on his Harley in the 1920's. It's a picture we grew up with as kids so it was probably burned into my subconscious: the upright riding position, the feet forward on floorboards, the low, wide, swept-back handlebars….all identical to my C50! Now if could just copy his hair style…

Kevin's got me thinking

I was watching one of the videos on Kevin's website where he talks about the need to set aside time each day to practice. And by that he doesn't mean just ride, he means spending time in a parking lot or deserted road practicing stops, tight turns, swerving and so on. Of course we much prefer to just go out and ride but Kevin makes the excellent point that unless you're competent in these skills they're not going to magically appear when you suddenly need them. And we crash.


I got my license when I was 18 years old, living in Minnesota. However, the scene there at the time was not one that I really wanted to be part of (I ran into a lot of sexist and racist people), and I ended up falling out of love with bikes for quite a while. My passion was reignited when I moved to the United Kingdom in 2006.

First bike that I personally owned was a 2005 HondaCBF600SA. The least sexy of all the unsexy bikes.

Currently ride a 2017 Triumph Tiger Explorer XRX. It's also terribly unsexy but goes fast and is damned useful.

I often think about getting an Indian Scout and customizing it. I also daydream about using a Harley-Davidson Road King or Indian Chieftan Limited as my everyday bike. That all assumes that I kept my day job of riding a lot of different bikes. If I had to give up moto-journalism and settle on just one machine I'd probably stick with …