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London Calling…

IMG_5704The Mayor of London doesn’t appear to like motorcycles, I don’t like politics so at least we have some sort of connection.

If you’ve been reading the news lately you’ll be well aware of his ideas and plans to discourage Londoner’s from using older motorcycles in good old London town.

If you’ve regularly ridden in and out of London this isn’t really anything new.

I spent years commuting into London, motorcycles offer you a convenient way to get amongst the roads in the A to Z, but once at journeys end that’s where their advantage gets clouded.

IMG_5705Finding somewhere to park is your first problem, the bike ranks are often crammed, if you ride a motorcycle that’s your pride and joy you might even consider buying a bike just for the weekly commute. I can remember when motorcycles were the cheap option, those days are long gone. A £1,000 doesn’t buy you much in the way of a reliable motorcycle, also our consumables for whatever reasons given cost more than our four wheeled friends, tyres, brake components and road tax can cost more than your tax free low cc car.

There’s so many tangents that I’m trying my best to avoid, mostly because they are pretty negative towards getting bums on saddles.

The motorcycle test is a subject that still confuses me, maybe because I did my two part test back in the late 1980s.

It was cheap, and it also worked to get newbies behind the bars, besides we only never really stop learning to ride, despite having a bit of paper saying we’ve passed our test.

With chatter of rider revolts and demonstrations of how fed up we are of the latest notions to not include motorcycles in being part of the solution, instead we are being touted as part of the issue.

IMG_5706I went on a few Rider’s Rights days held almost thirty years ago, bikers being rallied to protest about the threat of leg shields on bikes and laws that would limit bhp to around 125bhp. We now live in a world where manufacturers restrict their 200bhp beasts to only 187mph, just to keep powerful lawmakers in suits happy.

Before I learnt to ride a bike I was taught how to stop, makes sense but how often do we see videos on social media where we laugh at people who jump on and pull the throttle and end up going through the fence, shed or patio doors.

Bugger, see I’ve only gone off on a tangent! This is because the motorcyclists airbag coat is not only a thing, but it’s price point is around that of a decent little car, or on par with an unfinished motorcycle project.

IMG_5709Thirty years ago we were whipped up to protest about badly informed safety legislation, now we are encouraged to divvy up for it. Meanwhile in car land manufacturers have been made to take IMG_5713responsibility for driver safety, fitting cars with air bags as standard kit.

My daily bike riding coat was a hand me down from a friend! He was chucking it away, not because there was anything wrong with it, but because he was drowning in freebies from pr hungry companies aching to get their product in his magazine.

I’ve had that coat for 7 years now, and still have no urge to replace it. I was also gifted a jacket to wear, thanks to my presence in a motorcycle magazine. With a retail price of around £400 I would have never bought it, making matters worse within a few weeks of wearing it the zips on the multitude of useless pockets started to break. If I write a honest review would anyone publish it? It might damage the revenue stream from that brand that are deposited in the publications coffers.

IMG_5714I will continue to ride to London on whatever used bike I happen to be mooching on, wearing my charity case coat and enjoying the pleasures that motorcycling gives. Motorcycles to me aren’t just a leisure or fashion statement, they are a passion and one I will continue to indulge in and enjoy. Maybe in another decade or so the latest Euro rules for new bikes will include in built air bags and electric only engines?

All of this bun fighting about motorcycles and emissions etc in and around London does make me laugh, for several years I had the pleasure of living on the flightpath for Heathrow, watching planes circling above the London Low Emission zone often had me scratching my head.

But that’s another tangent.

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