Dec 182018

A few years ago, I rented a Nissan Juke and drove it a few hundred miles and I came to actually like it a little bit, despite the fact that I was unable to refuel it and despite having to drive it very slowly to ensure that I got back to the rental company safely. 

Last weekend we needed a car to drive up north and despite booking a ‘Skoda Octavia or similar’, they handed me the keys to a Nissan Qashqai. Initially I was somewhat skeptical, they had given me a compact SUV rather than the big Skoda that I thought I would be getting. 

Having to exit the car rental place onto a busy roundabout with no idea where the clutch was going to bite was a little bit scary, but all was well, the engine had plenty of power and the gear change, while exceptionally long-throw, was predictable. The drive home was uneventful, unless you consider driving something that is perhaps 50% bigger than anything you have driven in a while outside of the B&Q truck, uneventful. The steering was nice and light, the clutch and gearbox easy to use, but the brakes are stupidly sharp, which means that even a gentle touch on the pedal had the nose diving for the tarmac and the passengers trying not to eat the dashboard.  Around town then, this is not the best choice. 

Continue reading “340 miles in a Nissan Qashqai.” »
 Posted by at 3:24 pm
Aug 102016

A Squid

In motorcycling terms, a squid is the name given to bad rider that wears minimal protective clothing and rides a bike way beyond their abilities.

The term ‘squid’ refers to the way that they look after they have been scraped up off the road.

Sadly, motorcycle licensing in the US is very bad. A license is obtained simply by completing a safety course which contains no street riding and no speeds beyond about 25mph.

Other than a small insurance discount for having passed a test, there is pretty much no incentive. You can simply walk into a dealer and buy the fastest bike on the planet and ride out. Obviously a riding buddy can teach you all you need to know in a few minutes because riding a motorcycle is dirt easy. Right ???

Sometime a wannabe rider will ask experienced bikers for their opinion on a good starter bike. Almost without fail the conversation goes like this.

Q. Hey guys I’m looking to start riding, I’m thinking about getting a Kawaduci 1000RRR as a first bike, is there anything (sic)  I need to know ?

editors note: The more R’s in a bike model name, the more it is aimed at racing use rather than street use. Additionally, 1000cc bikes make 150-200hp and are absolute spaceships, our wannabe rider here is aiming way too high.

Continue reading “Squidly Mc.Squidface” »

Feb 012015

I’ve been waiting a long time to post this and finally I can……

Max vs Aygo

Max vs Aygo

The ‘Driver’ that hit me on August 1st, causing the crash that left me with a broken collarbone, multiple cuts and bruises, a broken bicycle and a destroyed helmet pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving and was fined and given five penalty points on his licence.

Justice, as they say, has been served.

So, here are a few more details…..

The car that hit me is shown on the left in its final position after the driver stopped, as you can see in the photo, I was obviously in the middle of the road on the roundabout, not, as was postulated riding around the far left lane. If you look carefully you can see that there is some glass on the floor behind the rear wheel – that it from the impact. The door glass shattered when I hit it. Continue reading “Guilty (Of Careless Driving)” »

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Oct 012014

Today is the start of month three of my recovery.

As you will have read in previous posts, I was knocked off my bike on August the 1st 2104.

One plate and six screws

One plate and six screws

While I had several other, relatively minor injuries, the major one was to my left collarbone. which was broken fairly badly.

I underwent surgery on August the 14th to stabilise it. They inserted a titanium plate and six screws into the bone. For the last few weeks I have been recovering slowly from the procedure.

Unfortunately I am not recovering very quickly, I am struggling with quite badly reduced mobility in my shoulder and severe stabbing pains and muscular spasms when I move the wrong way – or indeed too far. I also have significant pins and needles that stretch from my shoulder to my little finger on my left hand.

I have an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist next week to discuss further options which looks to include additional surgery. Continue reading “Crash – Recovery Month Three” »

Sep 012014

Note: This is part 2 of my recovery, for the first part, read this post first.

Monday September 1st 2014
(feeling very sorry for myself)
A full month has now gone by, it feels a lot longer. The first few days after the crash were miserable beyond belief, I could barely do anything at all, any movement sent shocks of pain through my body, As the bone was broken and separated it was especially painful when movement would cause the ends to touch.

I was somewhat happy to be considered for surgery, but frankly I totally underestimated just how huge an impact it would have on me. I assumed I would be in and out of the hospital and that I would be back to normal in a few days.

Healing really nicely

Healing really nicely

I am now over two weeks into my post-surgery recovery and I am still not back to normal, not by a very long way.

I almost cannot imagine riding again this year. Maybe in a couple of months I will be fine, but by then the weather will be crappy and it will not really be the time to go out.

I just made a physiotherapy appointment, it is not for three week, so even if PT is a miracle cure, I have another three weeks of limited mobility and a doubt about how it will heal and if it will ever return to normal.

All in all, it could be a lot worse, I am sore and in pain a lot and I have limited mobility. I am looking forwards to fixing my bike and I am looking forwards to getting out there again in the future.I just wish it was sooner rather than later…

Continue reading “Crash – Recovery Month Two” »

Aug 202014

[Warning – this is a bit graphic]

Over the years I have been incredibly fortunate to have been able to cycle many thousands of miles and stay pretty much on my bicycle. Sure over the years I have fallen off a mountain bike, but it has always been my fault, often a combination of too much speed and not quite enough talent in the dirt.

On the road though I have been either very lucky, or very observant, managing to avoid a road-crash for at least the last thirty years. I think that the last time I fell off my road bike was back when I taking my O-Levels.

Now I have a Titanium plate holding my collarbone together.

This is the story the crash and of my recovery so far…
Continue reading “Crash !” »

Dec 262013

Sure, we have all heard about the Nissan Juke R and the Nismo R, but are you aware that there is a Nissan Joke Dismal available in the UK ?

I was not.

Until Hertz handed me the keys to one with just 1.4 miles on the ODO.2013-12-21 11.43.48

….and I headed out onto the M25 in the pouring rain and howling gale-force winds. Oh yes, it was dark too

The Nissan Juke 1.5 dCi 110PS Stop/Start has 81hp at 4000rpm and goes from 0-60mph in something like a month of sundays. Officially it does it in 11.2 seconds, but it feels slower than than. Much, much, much slower than that. It tops out at about 100mph. Again it feels slower than that too – 75-80mph is comfortable, beyond that I have no idea.

Continue reading “386 Miles in a Nissan Joke.” »

May 092013

Normally when you say goodbye to someone, or maybe something, it is normally followed with, ‘see you soon’, or ‘nice meeting you’.

I said goodbye to my Audi A3 last night after a mere 21 months.

This is the shortest period that I have owned a car in a very long time.

I had a twinge of regret when I handed over the keys to the BMW dealer. The car was a truly great car hampered by all manner of minor issues that made it reallly very hard to live with.

Let me rewind though….

I bought it used in August 2012. I paid about the going rate for the car, it was very well equipped with a huge sunroof, DSG gearbox superb leather sport seats and one of the nicest 2.0 Turbo engines I have ever encountered. It was also very, very low mileage in the two years and two months since it was registered it had covered a little over 17,000 miles and had obviously been extremely well cared for.

In the first two weeks of ownership I had a ‘TMPS System Failure’. I reported it to the Audi shop – CommonWealth Audi in Santa Ana and they said to mention it at service. The light had done out and the car felt normal and I passed happily through 18,000 miles. This was of course a mistake that would prove costly.

Very Costly. Continue reading “Goodbye Audi…” »

 Posted by at 10:07 am
Jul 152010

And so, with those words did the conversation start…..

Let me rewind a tad. On Saturday morning I rode to Cars and Coffee, there is nothing new there, I often take ‘the bike’, there is special motorcycle parking and my bike is fairly unusual.

At the end of the event I walked back to where I had parked and there was a young guy standing next to a black GSXR 1000 talking animatedly with another motorcyclist. As I approached, sensing his chance the other biker left the conversation and the GSXR owner said, loudly ‘and that is why you should always run’, thus engaging me in conversation…..

The young guy – he was 23 it transpired – had just been on the receiving end of ‘huge’ ticket and a ‘hour long’ lecture on his riding.

He is now, it appears, in a position where he is going to have to sell his bike as his insurance is going to cost him more than he can afford.

Rather than learn ‘do not ride like a dumb-ass’ he has learned that you should always run.

He even showed the ‘cool’ flip-up licence plate that he had fitted – well, when I say ‘fitted’ I mean ‘bashed with a hammer until it was barely recognizeable and then bashed onto the bike with cable ties and ductape.


 Posted by at 3:37 pm