Archive for December, 2011
With the season of goodwill fast approaching, what better way to celebrate than by giving one lucky person the chance to win £100 in vouchers for motorcycle accessories?
All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is to head on over to our competition page and answer the question by leaving an insightful comment or opinion.
Since 1974, when ‘Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance’ was published, biking has had a bit of an intellectual thing going. Robert Pirsig’s seminal text might not be to every motorbiker’s taste, but it’s earned its place as the one philosophy book that most riders have actually heard of. (It’s probably the one philosophy text that most people have heard of, period).
But Pirsig isn’t the only thoughtful motorcyclist – and we’ve looked for some other stocking-filler books with a serious motorcycling flavour – written by philosophers, provocateurs and politicians who have taken to two wheels.
Matthew Crawford has to be a favourite. Not only a philosopher and a biker, he also runs a motorbike repair business in Virginia, USA. He’s written a book called ‘Shop Class as Soul Craft’ which, according to Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government, Harvard University, looks at the “morality and metaphysics of the repairman.”
‘Philosophical Ridings: Motorcycles and the Meaning of Life’ is written by Craig Bourne, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire. It takes in aesthetics, justice, life and death as well as motorbikes. Sounds like it should be on every biker’s Christmas wish list…
Of course, you don’t have to be a pure philosopher to be a biker and a thinker. Look at Che Guevara: apparently, riding a bike around South America helped turn him from medicine to political activism and, ultimately, into a 20th century icon. If you’re interested to find out more, but don’t fancy tackling the great man’s written diaries of the trip, then check out the 2004 biopic, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. MovieMail is one of the sites selling the DVD on special offer.
Conan the Barbarian wouldn’t get into many lists of intellectuals, but the folk at Bikesure are nothing if not freethinking. So Arnie Schwarzenegger, who played him on film, gets picked as a Harley-Davidson rider and a politician who, as Governor of California, managed to ruffle plenty of feathers. If you fancy a Schwarzenegger-style Fat Boy, there are plenty of online resources to check, such as Bowker Motor Group’s Harley-Davidson pages. Meanwhile, if you’d like to find out more about muscular Austrian and the philosophy (really!) behind his bodybuilding methods, you could start with ‘Arnold: Education of a Body Builder.’
The philosophers have it that people cannot live by bread alone – but we can’t live without it, either. Jamie Oliver gets into the Bikesure list because there’s no doubt that his ideas stir things up, and not just on the hob (though some of those recipes are really tasty). Check out the heat he generated with attacks on attitudes to school dinners, fast food, healthy eating, and so on. These days on the box he’s more often seen in a Range Rover than riding his scooter in a pukka Parker, but we love him because, like the others mentioned here, he’s definitely a fan of two wheels.
Our tips to help scooter riders stay safe in the Winter months
Winter doesn’t mean you have to store your scooter away until the brighter months. By following these simple tips, you can carry on riding your scooter throughout the season.
- Wear warm, waterproof clothing. Keeping warm and dry will help keep you more focused on riding and the conditions around you.
- Wear a scarf or some kind of neck covering to stop cold air getting in between your helmet and jacket. Wear suitable gloves to keep you warm, but also keep hands free to use the throttle and change gear.
- It’s important to wear a full-face helmet as most body heat is lost through your head. Visors should be clear and kept clean and scratch-free. Choose a helmet with ventilation to prevent steaming up.
- Be seen. It’s important to be visable, especially in the winter months when it gets darkearlier and bad weather can impair vision. Use your lights and wear reflective strips on clothing and on your scooter.
- Thoroughly check your scooter. Make sure battery is charged. Check you have enough fuel to get to destination. Check oil levels. Make sure tyres have enough tread and that the pressures are correct. Check all lights are in working order and check your brakes.
- Keep your scooter clean as grit from roads can corrode the bodywork and cause all sorts of damage.
- Check the weather and the road conditions and allow plenty of time for journey. If the roads are particularily bad then revise your route if possible.
- Be aware of the road conditions when riding. Edges of roads tend to be slipperier and ice takes longer to thaw in shady areas. Beware of potholes and areas that have not been gritted. Ride according to the road conditions. In snowand ice be slow and gentle with your brakes, clutch, steering and throttle. Remember braking distances are increased on slippery roads
- Be aware of other road users. Keep an eye on cars close behind you and signal in good time.Leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front.
- Always carry a mobile phone and some money in case of emergency. With these simple tips and some common sense there is no reason not to ride your scooter in winter. Be safe and enjoy the ride. If you get too cold or the conditions are too bad then stop, when it is safe to do so.