Friday, 30 September 2011

Oh Wayne...

Our dear friend Wayne has had a horrible accident, we heard this morning that he came off his bike and has seriously hurt himself. so being the good friends we are, we sprinted across Bristol to see him. He is alive, but battered and enjoying the attention of the ICU staff.

Wayne, the genius bike builder.

Sadly Wayne's bike was not so lucky and it is very likely that she will be sent to the great scrap yard in the sky. 

Rest in peace Little Ninja
After years of hard work, the ZX10R was finally finished in all of it's carbon and titanium goodness, to hear that she is most likely going to be broken up and scrapped is heart breaking.

Both Carol and Jayne would like to send the warmest get well wishes to Wayne, we know how hard he worked on his bike to make it perfect, but more importantly, we are just so pleased that despite the seriousness of his injuries, Wayne should be back up on his feet in a few months. Time to finish the ZX13R  with all of that Stainless steel and carbon goodness. 

Much love to Wayne and a huge thank you to the medical staff who are working tirelessly to make him better again, from Carol and Jayne

MAG protest ride against bike fiddling laws...

Ban this sick filth!

Mag protest Ride, 25th September 2011. Did you go? Did you know why it took place? Do you care?

We did this because we were worried about what Legislation is going to hit us from the non elected bodies that advise the EU law makers. Now this is not the place to make a political statement, this blog is about fun and adventures, but even we get political occasionally.

So it was planned and we spread the word and we well buggered about in pouring rain trying to stay dry. But most of all, we had a damn good laugh while making a powerful statement. We as Bikers, yes bikers, leather clad, tattooed, petrol snorting, fag smoking, café racer building, chop making and streetfighter riding bikers are not prepared to take it up the arse any more.
Is that a Type Approved Air Filter Madam?

Sunday the 25th September, I got up early which was not hard because I was at work and about ready to come home. Usually after a night at work I crave only my bed for it’s comforts and the warmth of my wife, but not today. Today I dashed home and dumped the work kit before heading out into the rain to collect a good friend of Curious Adventures, Carley, also known as Fazer girl. Carley has just over come huge personal difficulties and life threatening illness and has fallen in love with bikes. Seems pretty normal to us and it is always cool to have a biker mate to hold your pint while you drill out a stuck exhaust stud.

Sadly Sylvie is still away at the motorbike hospital and it seems more and more likely that she is about to be written off, so today’s adventure for Carley and I was on a bike designed for elderly gentlefolk, the classic lines of the do it all Honda. A bike so bland it makes knitting and embroidery appear to be dangerous pursuits. Luckily Carley was not too unkind about the Chronically boring 600 and just about managed to climb aboard. The ride back to Curious Adventures HQ was so dull both of us nearly fell asleep on that Honda.

Carol and Alex were almost ready, computers were packed and barn owls fussed. Pulling on the one piece water proof suit Alex declared that he felt like he had gained years if not decades in age and kept stating that he felt like an old man! I was sure that there would be plenty for him at Gordano.

So two bikes, four riders, all bikers. Carol and Alex were to ride Noreen the ZRX1100, leaving Carley and I with the Chronically Boring 600. So off to the motorway we headed and with in minutes car drivers started doing what they do best in the rain. Drive like bigger pillocks than normal! While we are on the subject, car drivers this question is for you. Why, when it rains, do you insist on driving like you are a gorilla that has just had a frontal lobotomy? You are inside your nice dry steel boxes all tucked up nice and safe, yet you still manage to drive your two tonne death machine like a dangerous road weapon. Use you damn mirrors, give motorcyclists braking space and try to drive with a bit of consideration. To the gentleman who changed lanes with out even so much as a sideways glance and in doing so nearly took out the two beings I care for most in the whole world, I say this. Stay off the road you dangerous old fool. Had you hurt or killed those two people, you would have been deeply sorry. Luckily for you, you got away with a pushed back mirror. Eye for an eye remember.
So we hit the motorway and headed to Gordano, it was a gentle ride, a little bit of speed never hurt anyone did it? However, being undertaken by a tit in a road going 4x4, pulling a caravan at over eighty was taking the biscuit. You are the sort of man who deserves to have a Police Man following you and then taking away your license. Swerving from your lane to mine because you were speeding, while towing a caravan in bad weather makes you an idiot. It is not often that we here at Curious Adventures use such harsh language in text, but you deserved it, for nearly hitting my friend and I, it is justified. Let’s just hope that you did not hit anyone else that day.

Arriving at Gordano we were greeted by a beautiful sight, half of the car park was filled by bikers, of every conceivable type. Fluro vest wearing super distance riders, chop riding old schoolers, sports bike riding super heros, hack bike riding couriers, patch club members and us. Even the Harley riders turned out despite the rain, ever seen a rain soaked Harley? I have now and they are still pretty.

Unfortunately for me, the Chronically Boring had picked up a bolt and which pierced her tyre and slowly let the air escape. A quick discussion and the thought of a RAC truck home with a lovely chap just did not appeal. So from the hidden depths of friendship appeared a bottle of Tyre weld and this got us home. I do not know how, to me it looked like soap foam, the stuff you would use to wash the sofa (especially if you have a pet Barn Owl!) or the carpet, yet it blocked the hole with white foam and held the air tightly enough to make it ridable.

With seconds to spare, I inflated the tyre and found Wayne waiting with Carol, Alex and Carley. With in seconds, we were off. It felt like well over a thousand bikers surged forwards as one and the ride was begun. Carley and I sat upon the Old persons bike, Carol and Alex on Noreen and Wayne riding his old work horse Fazer. It was time to make a statement. That statement was big bold and took place all over the country and it was this. Do not mess with our lifestyle!

Now I know that some people have discussed the mass protest ride and stated that it achieved nothing except for slowing down other road users and annoying car drivers. Well, I have a counter to this, in the fight fir civil rights, some people are going to be upset. After all, let’s look at some of the significant figures in history. Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 – 1928), a women that we adore to this day caused a significant amount of upset. If you check out the joy that is Wikipedia, it has this to say about her.
She was widely criticized for her militant tactics, and historians disagree about their effectiveness, but her work is recognized as a crucial element in achieving women's suffrage in Britain.”

Given the fun things she got up to, a few thousand Motorcyclists taking up a couple of lanes on the motorway is hardly that big a thing. Remember though, this was about civil rights, your right to modify your bike with parts that may not meet the strict rules of EU law. We all want safe bikes and to be safe on the road, but do we want the strict anti modification laws telling us which air filter we can use and what bits we can bolt on to where? I don’t think so. My bike is unique, it may look like many others, but it is mine and I will do with it what ever I want.

So we headed onto the Motorway, our statement big and bold as brass. Keep your hands off of our bikes. The rain fell and the traffic slowed. Cars suddenly took on formula one tactics, weaving in and out of the bikes like action movie stars. This was despite the fact that we had left the outside lane clear. Then came the git in the Gold coloured Range Rover, pushing his way through the bikes and forcing me into the middle lane. He wound down his window and began to shout abusively at me. He was disgusted that we were doing what we did. It hardly seemed fair to argue back while trying to ride in a pack with others on a motorway. Instead as he attempted to push onto my lane, forcing me back slightly, I just opened up the throttle and pulled forwards. Mr Range Rover had to stay in his own lane. Maybe if he had indicated I could have moved out of the way, but he was using his large truck as a weapon and once he came close enough I was able to reach into his vehicle and rifle through his glove box, help myself to a werthers and switch his radio station. He was very cross and he promptly sped up and tried to bully the bikes in front of him.

Our next incident came from an orange people carrier, one of those vans that are littered with seats so the comically inbred can carry their sisters and all of their children in one big car. Mr Inbred sat on my wheel, luckily Carley was in the way so he could not take up the pillion seat, but he was close. Then with no indication he snapped into the clear outside lane and then darted back in front of me, causing me to brake hard and sound my horn. Another stupid Car driver thinking that they can bully a biker out of the way. I will be eternally thankful for the chap riding the yellow GSXR Streetfighter who shot up behind me and proceeded to bang on the window of Mr Inbred. Mr Inbred then backed off from riding on the rear tyre of the bike in front of him.

After that excitement, it just chilled out. One car driver chose to leave the motorway by driving down the hard shoulder for half a mile before cutting up a queue of bikers by the exit. Mr 4x4 gave it a good shot of doing the same too and Mr Inbred managed to slip away with out endangering anyone else. We left the M4 and turned onto the M32, heading for Bristol. The last few miles of calm before the chaos that is Bristol, scary when you ride a bike. The procession slowed and more cars joined the queue to leave or enter the motorway. Finally we hit the end of the motorway and rolled to a stop at the traffic lights. Here everyone dispersed and with in minutes, no one could tell that Bristol had just been besieged by bikers with a political agenda.

So, who do we have to thank for this protest ride? Firstly, the EU. With out them none of this would have been needed. Now I usually love Europe, especially having travelled around a lot of it and been to many of it’s beautiful countries, but suggesting that I stop fiddling with my bike was a step too damn far. This leads us to MAG, the Motorcycle Action Group, a huge massive thank you to them for organising and designing the idea. With out them, many things would just go with out comment that would other wise affect our hobby. So thanks MAG and keep up the good work. Also a big lot of thanks to the riders who rode with us, you made a cold and wet day a huge amount of fun and made sure that every one had a good day.

We're not going to take it -

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Sylvie has gone to Motorbike Hospital and Jayne becomes a Vicar!

Sylvie was knocked over and damaged recently while she was parked up outside my place of work. So the Insurance companies have taken over in dealing with the repairs. So far it looks like she is going to be away for a while and I am greatly missing my beautiful girly bike.

While it is hard to take photos that show the damage, we have managed to get a couple.


Luckily it was a low speed impact, and damage was minimal, but the lesson learned here is to never rely on just parking sensors alone.

In the mean time, the Insurance company have provided me with a couple of Hire bikes while Sylvie is away. 
The first was another SV, a brand new bike with just enough miles on the clock to justify the first service! She was a beautiful bike, but with the standard clip-ons was murder to ride. Strangely, she felt much smaller than Sylvie, the seat felt lower and the bike actually felt much smaller and lighter. I cannot imagine that there are that many differences between a K3 (Sylvie) and a brand new one (K9), but I did notice an aluminum rear frame. 

Jayne and not Sylvie.
The saddest part of riding her though was not the position, it was the restriction. The SV was restricted via the horrors of a throttle stop, giving the throttle about a third of a turn before it stopped. Just lovely, in a very un-lovely kind of way. If anyone out there wants to restrict their SV, I fully recommend the restricted ECU as opposed to the throttle stop way. The ECU allows full use of the throttle and allows the engine to breath fully, but electronically restricts the bike rev speed. This keeps you legal, but still allows your bike to feel like a big bike. The throttle stop prevents the engine from hitting the power band, so it is always under powered, unless you keep it in lower gears than you would normally use. Then it goes everywhere screaming, which sounds great, but looks pathetic!

The next bike delivered was a Honda CBF600 and I was expecting great things.

Castration is a terrible thing to do to a bike.
The CBF was comfortable, but felt narrow at the bars and overly top heavy. Riding it though revealed that it had been badly castrated by the throttle stop, so badly in fact that it was unable to make it up our local hill, two up, in second gear. 

The ride to Gloucester was a nightmare of struggling to keep up with Carol and Alex on the gorgeous Kawasaki ZRX1100, the Honda was simply outclassed, which is such a shame because I have always held Honda Motorcycles in such high regard. The Honda has a power band starting at about six and a half thousand revolutions of the engine, the throttle stop prevents it getting much past four thousand unless it is again ridden in low gear and thrashed like a loon. Riding the Honda is an experience that in terms of excitement I can only compare with extreme sports such Knitting, embroidery or ironing! For such a good looking bike, it has a terribly bland ride and trying to fit Sylvie's luggage was a disaster because there are so few fitting points. The grab rail is actually a pair of handles that are open ended and do not give a tie down point or easy fitting of a seat pack. Were that not bad enough, while riding it has a disturbing feel to the steering that causes the rider to have to pull the bars back from a turn because it feels like the front wheel wants to fold under the engine. In all, the Honda feels entirely underwhelming and nothing like the Suzuki SV, which is a fire breathing monster in comparison. I miss my dear Sylvie.

So while Sylvie is away I must endure the trials of boredom by Honda and frustration by Insurance Company. Now to be fair, this has very little to do with my Insurance company and I can now fully recommend CIA Insurance (although I am profoundly grateful to not have to be dealing with the incompetent MCE at the moment. God alone knows what kind of a mess they would have made of this!), who have gone out of their way to be helpful with Sylvie. They have passed Sylvie over to a company called Plantec and it is from Plantec that I have had the hire bikes. Now having never heard of Plantec, I was more than a little worried about giving them my bike. Internet feedback seemed poor and advice from trusted people in know like dear old Lozzo from the SV forum made me even more worried. However, armed with good advice from these sources, I was and am still prepared for war. So far though, Plantec have been very good, with regular weekly updates on progress with Sylvie, checking that I am happy with the hire bikes and that I am able to perform pre-ride checks. Their service has so far been very good, I just hope that this remains to be the case and that Sylvie is returned to me very soon, especially as I am not sure that I could survive a long trip on the Honda, I might die of boredom first!

So, that is the ongoing Sylvie story, I feel like I have had a limb removed while she is away, luckily Carol has been a rock and continues to be so. As for my friend who knocked Sylvie over, she continues to be my friend, I just hope that dealings with insurance companies do not mess that up, she was extremely sorry and knowing how much I love my bike, shed a tear or two with me. Bless...

Yes, Bless her. In my newly acquired official capacity as a Reverend, I can bless her, I am just not sure as what Deity, if any, I should choose to bless her with!

Burn, you sinners!

Not being the overly religious type, not really believing in God and not liking religion makes it hard to be a Vicar in this modern world, but I do not see why only men who wear dresses (and possibly harm children) are allowed to perform such duties! After all, I am very well educated woman, I have an excellent vocabulary (although it is littered with filthy words and vile terms!) and I am able to listen to people while providing a kind and sympathetic ear. 

Now I feel that I have to explain my actions a little, after all I would not want you thinking that I am something of a hypocrite. I have a very strong and profound belief in something very dear. It is not in a deity, for in truth I am not sure that there is room in our universe for such a being, however my faith if you want to call it that is in something far more tangible. My faith dear reader is in you. I have faith that you as a human being are capable of many great things and many great acts of kindness and courage. If you take away the spooky stuff from religion, you are left with a moral code, if you remove the political nastiness from that moral code, you are left with some pretty basic good stuff. Be nice to each other, don't murder each other and enjoy life.

So ladies and gentlemen of my flock, this is my sermon to you.

Go forth and enjoy your lives, show kindness to those about you, hug those you care for, do something that promotes human rights and most of all, watch out when reversing your car near my bike!

Bless you, now go and have some great sex with someone of the same or opposite gender to yourself!

Love each other and listen to lots of brutal black metal!