Bikesure sign up for Monkey Business 2010
£10,000 to be raised, 250 miles to be conquered, 4 Bikesure staff with no idea and 2 monkey bikes can only mean one thing……Monkey Business 2010
September 18th see’s this years Monkey Business 2010 run head off from Bankstone headquarters in Brighouse, Calderdale completing a full 250 mile round trip over the weekend taking in such sights as Harrogate, York and Scarborough all in the aid of raising money for the Yorkshire Air ambulance. We will also be stopping off at numerous motorcycle businesses along the way to shake our collection tins. Did I mention we will be taking on this momentous task whilst strapped to monkey bikes?
Meet the selected Bikesure A-team that will be undertaking this momentous task:
Soppy – Quote staff – rides a Honda CBR 600 RR
Soppy has the added problem of being about 6 foot 4 which once strapped to a monkey bike promises some hilarious results. Used to the power of a CBR 600 RR, Soppy will have to make do with 125cc of pure adrenaline for the weekend.
Grant – Quotes manager – can only just walk
Grant is the most inexperienced rider of the lot and plans to be on his arse more then a Brazilian striker! The fact he only completed his CBT weeks before the event doesn’t bode well for the trip!
Tommy – Quote staff – learning
Tommy is currently taking lessons and has almost completed his full bike test. Tommy burst out in tears of laughter when I showed him a picture of the monkey bike so a lot is expected.
Luke – Quote staff – rides a Suzuki SV 650
Luke is by far the quietest of the bunch but has taken this incredibly seriously. He has been down the gym on numerous occasions, maybe one day he will have the balls to join!
So please support us in raising as much money as we can for a great cause using the widget below. You can pledge as much or as little as you want but rest assured each penny will go a long way.
We’ve already looked at iPhone apps for bikers, as well as Android applications for motorcyclists. But that doesn’t cover the whole smartphone market, so we decided to take a look at the Blackberry Appworld, to see what the best apps with a biking connection might be. I’m told that Blackberries, well beloved of serious businessmen for many a year, are now becoming really popular with kids too, who like the instant messaging app. So whether you’re a sixteen year old with a moped or if you’re enjoying weekends away from the office on your Harley, these apps should hit the spot.
Blackstar is a GPS based app that is really designed for hikers and mountain bikers, but the range of features on this little app means that it will come in really useful for motorcyclists too.
With the usual details on your current latitude, longitude, direction speed and altitude, as well as distance to your destination, the app also keeps track of geocache locations in your vicinity (if you’re into that). There are links through to your mapping apps and the latest weather, which keeps everything you might need handy.
For me, though, the killer feature is what the makers call Track Management functionality. With this, you can record, save, and export your rides, perfect for recording and sharing a rideout with mates, organising a trip or just to check where you’ve been.
N.B. Not all Blackberries have GPS, and some of those that do won’t let apps access it, so if you don’t have one of those, this app will not work as intended.
Don’t be put off by the name! Sometimes it can be hard to remember where you’ve parked your bike too, whether you’re at a crowded meet, or if you just need to find your way back to your parking spot in an unfamiliar city.
This free app does just what it says in an intuitive way, and you have the option of using a compass/radar type arrangement, or Blackberry Maps overlay to help you accomplish your mission.
Again this app relies on your phone having built in GPS, so check that it does.
Yelp is an app that helps you find the best places to hang out, and track down local businesses with ease, wherever you might be. This app is also available for Android and iPhone, which means that the userbase is pretty big, and therefore more useful, given that it is user powered.
Find a cafe nearby that’s open right now and has favourable reviews? Easy. Find the nearest petrol station when you’re running low? No problem. And, of course you can write a review of the biker-friendly pub you visited last week, to help others find it too.
Another free app, and another that requires GPS.
Everyone is trying to save fuel these days, and this app, which sells for $3.99 will help you to keep track of how often you’re filling up, as well as how economically you are riding. You can track up to 20 vehicles at once, so if you have more than one bike, you can compare your fuel efficiency across all of them, as well as your car.
Another app that comes at my favourite price – free. This app will save you from being unnecessarily distracted while you are riding, without missing any important messages.
As your text messages and emails come in, Drive Carefully will read them out loud, over your Bluetooth helmet set.
Gaming fans are quite well catered for on Blackberry, and there are a few bike racing games available. This one scores for its variety of options, you can choose from bikes including Ducati, Honda, Suzuki, & Kawasaki models and race around a variety of circuits.
The final app I want to share is not currently available for the UK, but it should be, and Canadian or American users should download this app right away. Typically, the app is aimed at car users with barely a thought to the fact that the same functionality is useful to any road user.
This app does so much that the best I can do is reproduce the blurb, but the short version is that this app will make sure that, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a minor accident, you can take care of everything with a minimum of fuss.
While we hope you are not one of the millions that experience an accident Help I Crashed My Car? provides you and your family with access to almost everything you need if you are ever involved in an accident!
Help I Crashed My Car?s provides you and your family with a one-click automated emergency communication system that contacts up to 3 family members, your insurance company, and your preferred body shop. It will even send your shop a map of your accident location so they can respond immediately!
Because of its GPS location technology Help I Crashed My Car? makes it easy for you to locate and contact the closest Police department, Ambulance service, Hospital, Towing Company, Rental Car Company, or auto body shop.
Help I Crashed My Car? also provides you with important information on What to Do if You are Involved in an Accident, What to Look for in a Repairer, and what your Consumer Rights are after you have been in an accident.
Help I Crashed My Car? even provides you with the ability to complete an Accident Report and take, store, and send photos from the scene of the accident. You can then send the accident report to your insurance company and garage!
Best of all, it’s free. Someone please do a UK one!
Summing up, it’s clear that although Blackberry may not have the range of apps available to Apple or Android users, but there is certainly a lot of quality where it counts, so there’s no need for Blackberry users to feel hard done by.
If you have a Blackberry, and think we’ve missed a great application, please do let us, and our readers, know via the comments.
A brief guide to bike security from motorcycle insurance specialist Bikesure. There are loads of different locks and security systems on the market and some cost a fortune. But bike theft is a huge issue and bikers need to make their rides secure. So what’s the best security solution for your motorcycle?
Locks, chains and ground anchors
Big, secure locks and chains are a highly visual deterrent, which is good. The downside is they’re bulky and heavy, so they’re not easy to transport. However, avoid carrying them in a backpack. As well as being a pain to carry, they’ll affect the ride balance. Worse, if there’s an accident they can cause a nasty injury. If carrying them is a problem, consider using them when the bike’s at home and disc locks when it’s out and about. If possible, get a ground anchor installed at home to connect them to. Check out Almax Security Chains for some top products.
They’re handy and effective. However, they’re a less visible deterrent – so much so that one issue is remembering to unlock them before trying to drive off. The solution to that is to buy disc locks with a handle bar cable – they’re both an added deterrent and a useful reminder the bike’s still locked up.
Alarms, immobilisers and trackers
Alarms and immobilisers are not a visible deterrent but they are effective and easy to live with – provided they don’t go off at the wrong time. Trackers, which enable your bike to be traced if it’s stolen, are similarly invisible and convenient. If you select an electronic security device, make sure to use a professional to fit them. Gap Security offers a wide range of approved products.
Unless it’s a back-up for one of the above, this is probably the worst possible solution. People can invest thousands in a CCTV systems, then some scallywag pops on a £1.99 balaclava and they can have the bike away before anyone can react.
Safe as houses?
Don’t imagine the bike’s safe once it’s home – most bikes get stolen while they’re sitting outside the owner’s house. That’s where it gets seen by thieves, night and day. If a garage is an option, use it. Whatever, make sure the bike is always left secure.
More info: check out the Thatcham site (www.thatcham.org) for information about security. These are the guys that do research into how effective vehicle alarms are.
Sold Secure was set up to assess security products and their site, www.soldsecure.com, has loads more info and a catalogue of approved products to download.
Let us know about your best ways to secure your motorbike in the comments below.
Thinking of hitting the open road and going on a motorcycle holiday? Whether you’re planning to travel abroad or stay in the UK, Bikesure offers five top tips to help your motorcycle touring adventure go without a hitch.
Top 5 tips for motorcycle holiday preparation
- Plan your route. Allow ample time for unexpected hold ups and allow time for plenty of comfort and rest breaks.
- Check your bike. Make sure your servicing is up-to-date and give your bike a thorough once over. Don’t forget our essential motorcycle maintenance checklist too.
- Pack and load your bike. It’s best to take only the bare minimum on a motorcycle holiday. Try and distribute the weight evenly across the bike’s centre of mass. Some essentials to take with you include first aid kit, tool kit, torch and a map.
- Make sure all your documentation is up-to-date and take it along with you. This includes MOT, insurance, road tax and driving license. If you are travelling abroad you will also need to check you bike insurance covers you in your country of travel, as well as making sure you have with you an EHIC card, passport, travel insurance, breakdown cover and V5 registration doc. It is a legal requirement to be able to produce the original V5 registration document in a number of countries.
- If you are travelling abroad check the legal requirements for country of travel. Be familiar with local speed limits before you travel, too.
Finally make sure you are dressed in comfortable, weather-appropriate protective clothing and have enough fuel and currency for your journey.
Motorcycle holiday resources we like:
Highland Motorcycle Holidays – Nigel provides self guided tour document of motorcycle holiday routes, hire advice and accommodation in the Highlands.
If your read Fluxposure, which I think you should , you may have seen details of the new online game from Adrian Flux, Demolition Dodge/, which you can play below, or at demolitiondodge.co.uk
The aim of the game is to survive for as long as possible without being destroyed by enemy cars, who will be trying their hardest to hit you. If you are a biker, this may sound a lot like your average road journey, so I’m expecting you to do well! You can pick up a variety of power ups and time bonuses to help you accumulate a good time.
Every entrant will go into a draw for £1000 and if you record a good enough time, you can win money off your insurance. If you like it, please do pass it on to your friends and family so they can save money on their motorcycle insurance, car insurance or home insurance cover.
On the 2nd of May 2010, 12 representatives from Bikesure all ran 10km in the Great East Anglian run for local charity Tapping House Hospice.
The runners and riders for this event were, Kyle “Minty” Benefer (me), Jon “Turbo GT” Mellish, Lee “Booboo” Boughen, Pete “Zilla” Sanctuary, Jon “Ladies Man” Howlett, Peter “Blockhead” Millward, Philippa “Model” Rowing, Robert “Texas Ranger” Walker, Jason “Never ran in my life” Masters, Robert “Skinny Twin” Botting, Thomas “TJ” Warner, and Matthew “Long Legs” Sopp.
In not so perfect preparation for this event, myself and a few other members did absolutely no training whatsoever. In fact the night before the run a few of us and a couple of loyal supporters gathered round my gaff for Fifa, a few beers, and a Chinese. Here is some picture proof…
So as we all woke up on the Sunday morning, with a small hangover and a full belly, we all decided to meet in our local McDonalds for breakfast. Only joking, that would be ridiculous. We decided that we would all start the race in the same area, and keep together as a team. This lasted all of about 20 metres past the start line, where a few of us, not naming names, Blockhead, started walking and we got split up.
Speaking for myself I was very pleased with my initial effort. I got through the first 3km without stopping to walk. Bearing in mind I weigh nearly 16 stone I don’t think my knees could take much more of a pounding. At least that’s what I keep telling people. So as the hordes of serious runners came flying past me, my fellow lazy swine, Jon Howlett, tapped me on the shoulder just as I was about to start running again, and pleaded with me to wait for him. So begrudgingly I did, because I’m nice like that.
So after our easy stroll for 5 minutes, I looked back and saw a geriatric gentleman dressed up as a tomato. At which point I turned to Jon and said “I ain’t get beaten by no tomato, fool”. We quickly started off on another run, and 30 seconds later we hit the wall again, only to find the old boy tomato go straight past us without a bead of sweat on his face, and a cheeky little wave as if to say, see you at the finish line boys.
Not even half way, Jon says to me “My feet hurt. I think these trainers are giving me blisters”. I look down to see parts of his shoes hanging off. Probably not the best footwear if you’re running 10km. So I ask him “Did you find them in a skip on the way up here?” Only to find out that he borrowed the shoes from his Step-Dad, who only uses them for his gardening. Seeing as Jon is such a “Ladies Man” and far too “Trendy” (these are his words by the way) he doesn’t own a pair of running shoes, and therefore had to improvise. Maybe his fashionable plimsolls would have been a better choice.
As we’re doing our best to get round the course, we have our loyal supporters Bunts and Dyer standing around with their tins of Strongy, geeing us up at various different stages of course. This for me, had no positive input at all. I started to wonder, why am I putting myself through so much punishment, why am I not standing with Bunts and Dyer with a Strongy in my hand. Then I remember that Soppy is to blame for arranging this whole fiasco.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, and when I get some energy back, I will have my vengeance.
Anyway back to the race. Jon is now running around in just his socks. He hasn’t yet thrown his shoes in the bin where he found them, as he fears he may have a backlash from his Step-Dad for losing his favourite gardening shoes.
I’m going to miss out the middle section of the race as there was really nothing interesting happening. Unless you like to watch, unfit, lazy, fat people struggle a lot. The end of the race couldn’t come round soon enough, and I knew I had a big finish in me. We was in the final 150 metres and by this point I couldn’t be bothered to wait for Jon in his socks any more. Such a whiner.
Anyway, so I started picking up the pace and I was passing all the stragglers and some of the spectators started to cheer me on to the finish. I felt like a million dollars I was nearly there. Finally I had done it. Finished the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and collapsed flat on my face. Probably shouldn’t have sprinted that last 100 metres. Doesn’t matter anyway, I don’t have to do that ever again.
I completed it, in my eyes, in a very respectable 1 hour and 8 minutes, with no previous training and a few beers the night before. I walked straight past Linford Christie and went to find my fellow Bikesurians to bask in our glory.
This is us after we finished…
And this is how we celebrate…
On a serious note. I think we all enjoyed doing the race, and we all felt a lot better about ourselves and it made us even closer as friends and a team. Most importantly we raised a lot of money (over £600 and counting) for a very worthy cause.
Here are our tips to help ensure that you, and your bike, get the most from your tyres. Properly maintained tyres can make a big difference to the enjoyment of your ride, will save you money, and, most important of all, they may save your life in a pinch.
- Pressure: Check your tyre pressures weekly using an accurate gauge – you can buy them in Halfords for pennies. Remember to do it while the tyres are cold – the pressure will increase as the tyre heats up which will give you an incorrect reading. You should maintain your tyres to the pressure recommended in your manufacturer’s handbook. Your bike will perform better, and be more economical. Incorrectly pressurised tyres contribute to a surprisingly large number of accidents.
- Integrity: Inspect your tyres for any obvious defects, including any cuts, bulges, rips or foreign objects. Check for signs of uneven wear. If you are in any doubt about the tyres integrity or safety, bin it. Your life is more important than a few quid for a new one.
- Cap It: Always use valve caps as they will keep dirt and oil away from the valve and give you an additional seal too keep everything airtight.
- Wheels: Check your wheel rims. If they show signs of warping, cracking or other damage, replace them – they are crucial to keeping your tyre attached to your wheel, and you don’t want to find out they aren’t working properly while you are on the move.
- Tread: Check that your tread depth is well above the legal minimum of 1mm (for bikes over 50cc). In practise, 2mm gives you a better safety margin and you should start thinking about replacements when your tread gets to this level.
- Stems: The valve stem is easily damaged, because it sticks out, and can also rub or shear against the wheel rim where it pokes through the hole. Pay particular attention to this area.
- Direction: Make sure your tyre is fitted the right way round, by checking that the directional arrow is pointing the correct way. It is surprisingly easy to get this wrong if you’re not careful, and this will compromise safety, and cost you more money as your bike will be less efficient.
- Balance: Have your wheel assembly properly balanced to ensure even wear and maximum economy. This will only cost a few quid and could save loads in fuel costs.
- Clean: Wipe your tyres with a washing up liquid solution – this will clear away any oil and grease they’ve picked up from our filthy roads – just don’t use the wife’s favourite dishcloth…
- Buying: Check that, where possible, both of your tyres are made by the same manufacturer with the same tread pattern and rubber. Select the correct type of tyre for your machine – often you’ll have a choice of tyres to suit different conditions and different riding conditions. Your local tyre specialist should be able to help you choose something that meets your needs if you aren’t sure. If you are a four seasons biker you should definitely get a set of specialist winter tyres for the winter months.
Easter is just about upon us, and many bikers will be getting their motorbike out of the shed ready for a new riding season. After a few months of storage, it is essential to check your bike for potential issues before you ride it, as the consequences of neglecting a solid maintenance regime don’t bear thinking about. Even if you are one of the hardy souls who got your bike out as soon as the snow went, it is still worth giving the bike a once over.
I always find a checklist helps me accomplish a task more quickly, so we’ve compiled our tips into an easy to follow list.
- Review any notes you made when you put your bike into winter storage. It can be easy to forget little things like that small part you removed to get a matching replacement and never got around to replacing. It’s easy to lose your notes too, but if you remember tinkering with your bike before you stored it, you’ll hopefully remember what you were doing… If not, best check everything!
- Did you removed the battery for winter storage? Or perhaps as some people prefer, you just left the negative lead attached? Check and clean the battery terminals before refitting. A bicarbonate of soda solution works well to clean the terminals.
- Charge and refit the battery. Positive lead first!
- Check / change the oil and filter, and check the grease and other lubricants.
- Check all cables and lubricate with the specified lubricants.
- Drain the fuel tank, clean and refill with fresh. This especially applies if you left it nearly empty during the winter. An empty tank will have air inside, and that air will have moisture, which will condense out in the cold as water.
- Check the tyre pressure and wear of tread. If you had a special winter pressure, remember to change it for summer. Don’t use a tyre cleaner on bike tyres – it will make them hard and slippery.
- Check all lights. Don’t forget the flashing ones!
- Check brake fluid level and ensure brake pads and shoes aren’t worn.
- Clean the inside of your helmet with a mild soapy solution and ensure it is dry. Examine it for hairline cracks.
- If you put away your winter cover during the summer, air it properly, then store it somewhere warm and dry. Don’t let yourself suddenly discover it damp or mildewy next winter when you suddenly need it again.
- Start a new log book for the year and write down your starting mileage – and all the actions you took to get out on the open road again. Promise yourself that you will keep it up to date this year!
Did we forget anything? Please let us know, and we’ll add it.
Don’t for get you can get printable copies of this checklist, which you are welcome to share with friends.
Other motorbike safety resources:
www.bikesafeshow.co.uk – BikeSafe is a national initiative run by UK police forces to promote better biking, improve the safety of motorcyclists on the roads
www.wairbag.com – This ingenious jacket acts like an in-car airbag system. On falling off your motorbike the the airbag system inflates to protect your neck and torso.
After our exploration of iPhone apps for motorcyclists, we decided to check out some of the many apps available on the Android platform. After all, being a biker is not about fitting in, and who wants the same phone as EVERYONE else!
Although I’ve called it a top 10, the apps are not listed in any particular order, and it is important to note that, since I have written this from a UK perspective, in some cases, equivalent apps may be more suitable if you live somewhere else. If no price is mentioned then the app is free, and in some cases there are free versions of the paid-for app mentioned, albeit missing a useful feature or two.
In case you have not seen them before, the funny black and white blocks are QR codes aka 2D-Barcodes. If your phone has barcode reading software, you can scan these and you will be taken directly to the download. If you are reading this on your phone, the links for each app will likewise take you to the marketplace download. OK, let’s crack on.
Pay at the Pump
Find petrol stations with pay at pump facility, so you can save time and not have to strip off your gear – plus avoid being mistaken for an armed robber when you forget to take off your lid on the way into the kiosk. This is aimed at the UK market, and won’t work too well elsewhere, but there are other apps available that cover other countries.
Fuel Prices UK
Everyone needs fuel, and no-one likes to pay more than they have to. This app will help you save money on every petrol stop. It is powered by Experian, which collects data from all the fuel card transactions fleet drivers use, so the data should be pretty accurate. The data comes on an annual subscription, with £4.99 and £9.99 variants, the dearer app gives more details on exact prices. Assuming a 2p per litre saving on each fuel stops low mileage scooterists might struggle to break even, but if you ride a bigger bike, and especially if you run another vehicle too, this app should more than pay for itself. Incidentally, this is blatantly the same app (same developers) as the identically priced AA Fuel Prices iPhone App, but without the annoying AA branding.
The ultimate road trip app. Winner of the travel category in the 2nd Android Developer Competition. Use Trip Journal to record and document your travel experiences and share them with friends and family. You can track your route, record waypoints and photos and geotag everything with Google Maps and KMZ Export. The full version is well worth the €1.99, as it adds Facebook, Flickr and Picasa support as well as a useful backup facility.
This app helps you remember where you parked, and as well as cars, you can obviously use it to find your bike. Parked up at Box Hill on Easter Monday, and can’t remember exactly where you left your ‘Blade? Looking around you can see about 20! This app will guide you right to yours using your phone’s GPS. If you are in a Multi-Storey, you can set the Level, Section and Colour too. Finding your car is simple, with a choice of map or radar view. The paid version at $0.99 removes ads and adds a parking meter feature, so you know when your time is nearly up.
This app is an awesome way to share your own routes with mates. If you have a favourite ride out between two points, it may (unsurprisingly) not be the route Google Maps chooses. And giving directions doesn’t always work out the way you think. But this app goes beyond this, as you can integrate photos of custom waymarkers, (e.g. turn left at this pretty white cottage) and tag points of interest.
Geotag a meeting point and send it to your mate. Then you can go and get a cuppa while you wait for him to turn up. When he arrives, you get a message telling you he’s there.
Motorcycle theory test preparation
This app will be a great help to new bikers who are preparing for the theory test. Saying that, those of us with more experience could do worse than to brush up on our Highway Code knowledge. $4.99 (but don’t worry it is for the UK test). There is a car version too.
Ultimate gps speedometer. speed, max speed, ave speed, pace, altitude gain and loss, odometer, map, replay, charts. A pro version adds live tracking…
Augmented Views 2.0
There are plenty of traffic applications out there, and the RAC, Transport Direct, and some independent folks have decent apps, and you really should have one of them on your phone. But this app shows the future of real time traffic info. This free app takes your regular traffic info and supplements it with some unbelievable extras – live feeds from nearby traffic cameras, traffic and travel related tweets from users near you and speed trap warnings. It speaks to you as well, so you can use it on the move. For when you are not on the road, there is also an augmented reality view that orients you relative to local cameras and alerts. Some features are only available in certain areas, so you’ll need to check out what’s available for you. Incredible stuff, and the UK is fairly well covered, especially around London and Glasgow, along with various North American cities. In its current form, I would use it in combination with a more regular traffic app. The live pictures could really help you decide if it is worth carrying on and filtering, or if you would be better off making a detour.
Finally, time for some relaxing fun. An entertaining game with a motocross theme. Costs $1.99 and has a pleasingly retro feel to it.
I hope you have the opportunity to try some of these apps for yourself. On Android phones, if you delete a paid-for app within the first 24 hours you get a full refund, so there is nothing to lose by trying them out.
If you have an Android phone, and you have found another app that is useful for bikers, please let me and everyone else know via the comments.
If you are in the motorcycle trade you are probably already aware of the Motorcycle Expo being held at the NEC from this Sunday 24th to Tuesday 26th of January.
We will be there, of course, on stand 407, so please come and see us. The Bikesure Babes will be in attendance to hand out their new calendars, and, if you visit our stand, you can enter our competition to win VIP tickets to this year’s MotoGP at Silverstone.
You can also sign up to our dealer network if you haven’t already – and if you have been working with us already we’d love to catch up with you.