Rural Rides: hazards that lurk in the lanes in autumn and winter.
On bright autumn and winter days there are few things better than blowing out the cobwebs by blasting out of town and onto the UK’s high roads and by roads. However, rural routes require handling with care by motorbikers – especially if you’re more used to smooth city surfaces and fast A roads.
Bumps, pot holes & puddles: the size, variety and sheer number of lumps, bumps and potholes on back roads are a huge danger to the motorbiker. Be especially careful of routes that take you down lanes that are little more than tracks, which are probably seldom used (and then only by country folk in 4x4s or tractors). But it’s not just the tracks: there are plenty of relatively busy rural roads with real pothole issues. Fill That Hole is a cycle-based site but it’s aimed at everyone and worth checking out: it features maps and a simple way to report potholes.
Mud: city bikers are unlikely to be used to mud. At least, not in the quantities you may find on rural roads near fields. Despite campaigns and laws to clear up the stuff, (the Farmer’s Guardian points out that leaving mud on the road is an offence under the Highways Act) farm vehicles tend to drop the brown muck all over the place, making roads highly slippy and dangerous – never more so than during the sugar beet harvest (September to Christmas). So take extra care and go slower, especially on the back lanes.
Sun…: that low winter sun is a blinder so even if it’s cloudy when you set out, be prepared with decent shades for just-in-case. RX Sport offers a selection of good quality eyewear, including prescription sunglasses. Remember the sun can blind drivers, too, so ride with your lights on to be more easily seen.
… and Rain: Be especially careful in the rain on a rural ride, when relatively innocent looking puddles could hide nasty holes. Mud on the road is going to contribute to its slipperiness, too. Winter weather is unpredictable, so always have rainwear to hand. GetGeared offers a good selection of biker rainwear for men and women.
High hedges: the high hedges and banks on narrow lanes are a common and significant hazard. Not just for bikers, but also for the pedestrians and animals that share the road with vehicles. So take care and try to anticipate potential dangers – for example, slow down and toot the horn at blind corners.
Map it: even if you plan your route, even if you have satnav, it’s worth taking a good old fashioned map of the area so that when you get lost, you can have a better idea of where you are. Dash4it sell a wide range, including the OS Explorer Active maps, which are large scale (4cm to 1km) and weatherproof.
Some things make you proud to be British.
This isn’t one of them. Here a generic bunch of underclass yoofs demonstrate the downside of the influx of cheap scooters to these shores in recent years, and in the process provide a stark reminder of the reasons that children’s play equipment and internal combustion engines are rarely put together.
While there is a certain amount of schadenfreude whenever an idiot gets his just desserts, I think I’ll simply point out that I am not aware of any scooter insurance policies that offer cover for this sort of use…
We’ve been asked to pass on some info about this year’s Get On events taking place at dealers up and down the country. This free event is aimed particularly at first time bikers, or those who are considering their first steps into the world of biking, but seasoned bikers will get something out of the day too, as there is tons of great info and offers on some top kit available from the participating dealerships. Newbies get the opportunity to have a ride for free.
The date for your diary is Saturday 19th June, and the motorcycle industry is hoping for Britain’s largest ever biking open day at showrooms across the country. The aim is to encourage bikers and non-bikers alike to find out more about riding and will offer them the chance to win a variety of amazing prizes. Any biker who brings along a non-biker friend will be entered in to a draw to win some great prizes such as on and off-road riding holidays in Italy and Spain as well as kit from top brands Arai, Weise and BKS.
For those that have never ridden before, they will have the opportunity to find out more about motorcycling and sign up to Get On’s free one hour taster session to experience riding for real. Anyone who signs up will be in with the chance to win a selection of iPads, iPod Nanos and digital cameras.
The National Dealer Open Day is being run by Get On which aims to get more people out on to the open road on two wheels. It offers free rides to anyone over the age of 16 who can register and sign up on their site www.geton.co.uk. 65 dealers across the UK are taking part in the day offering prizes and motorcycling information.
In today’s economic climate, and with increasing traffic congestion and environmental concern, travelling by bike and scooter makes sense for more and more people, so events like this are a great way of helping people consider whether they can swap their metal box for the freedom of two wheels. And with some extra special moped and scooter insurance rates available for new riders from Bikesure, there’s every reason to take someone along and change their outlook on life.
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Other motorbike related sites
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Motorcycle Supermarket – Comprehensive site for new and used motorcycles including scooters.
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That was the quote from the coroner after the unfortunate passing of a 71 year old man who, according to the coroners verdict, literally died of excitement whilst riding his motorbike for the first time.
You’re probably wondering what kind of adrenaline-pumped machine he was riding that excited him to the extent that he died. Well, so was I so I found out. It was a truly fearsome 125cc Honda Pantheon scooter, which, in case you were wondering, is learner legal and develops a jaw-dropping 13.5bhp.
You’d best shield your eyes if you’re pregnant or of a nervous disposition.
If you thought the slogans on the bikes were funny, wait till you read the owners manual, like the one that comes with the Qingqi scooter (and yes that really is pronounced “kinky”!)
The opening sentences give you a flavour of what’s to come:
Read the rest of the manual at the Chinglish Files. And if you’ve got a Qingqi scooter, or any chinese import motorcycle, remember that Bikesure can give you a Chinese Scooter Insurance Quote, even if no-one else has heard of it.
There have been a plethora of new makes and models of moped and scooter in recent years, the vast majority from China. In fact the influx is so rapid that many motorcycle insurance companies are unable to keep up, as the bikes often aren’t listed in the UK lists of make and model that are usually used to calculate your insurance premium.
Bikesure doesn’t work like that. Our long experience with insuring custom bikes, trikes and rare classics means we quote for each and every bike on its own individual merits. This means we are one of the few companies able to cover every road-legal model of scooter, no matter how unusual or new to the market. So give us a try for Chinese Scooter Insurance.
Now if only someone could do something about the “Chinglish” slogans that the manufacturers write on their bikes…