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I’ve not messed around with the project motorcycles for a while now, mostly because I’ve been so busy writing and travelling. That’s a lie, the main reason why I’ve not been working on the motorbikes is that it is bloody freezing in the workshop. It’s too cold to be able to grip a spanner and so it’s not that much fun taking things to pieces to see how they work.
 
I need to get some sort of heater rigged up if I’m going to be in there during the winter months. I’ve heard of a ‘fair weather biker’ but is their such a thing as a ‘fair weather mechanic’? Although I don’t think I can call myself a mechanic of any sort really, I can just about take things to pieces, and put them back together again but actually fixing them, well it’s more down to luck than anything else.
 
All this means I’ve not been in the workshop very much over the past few weeks, I’ve been up in London a lot for work or if I have been here I’ve been chained to my computer writing. Which means the big, empty workshop has been left alone for a while and leaving any sort of cleared inside area on this farm is dangerous because the moment you make a big space in a shed it gets filled with a bit of farm machinery.
The motorbikes all squashed up, but why?

The motorbikes all squashed up, but why?

I had started to organise all the tools in the workshop so I could find things faster and then I went away for a few days to test the 800 GS and suddenly something huge and mechanical had appeared in the workshop.

I didn't even know we had one of these on the farm.

I didn't even know we had one of these on the farm.

This is what happens when you clean indoor spaces on the farm, they get filled. It’s like fighting against the tide, one made out of scrap metal. Thinking about it I should have cleaned out the workshop last, so that all these metal things that needed a home were already tucked away before space was made near the tools.

In more upbeat news Hugo at Classic Bike has said he would like a piece on the motorbike my Dad built so I’m writing that now and trying to arrange some photographs. Hugo and my Dad spoke  on the phone about doing a feature on the bike before my Dad passed away so I know my he would be very pleased that this feature is going to happen. 

Even more excitingly as a side effect of this blog I’m off to work at Motorcycle News for a bit. Yes, this is an example of blogging getting people work. I won’t go into the exact details of what happened but I’m really excited about working there.

I start tomorrow and I can’t wait.

med_motorcycle_skisPeople don’t often ask the question are motorbikes dangerous. Or if they do ask the question they just talk about motorcycles and don’t talk about other forms of transport or activities. The reason I mention this is because I often get ‘The Lecture’ and I’m a bit tired of it.

The one thing I don’t like about motorcycles (apart from the cold in winter and riding pillion) is The Lecture. The Lecture happens when someone you know finds out you ride bikes and decides to spend at least the next thirty minutes talking at you (it’s not a conversation) about how dangerous bikes are.

It’s not as if they are going to change your mind, and they don’t even pause to ask anything about your riding style, what you ride or even if you’ve had any additional training to do with riding. They just talk about injuries or people their neighbour once met on a train. I’ve not worked out how you reply to this conversation. Although a few days ago I had a bit of an epiphany, yes while being lectured. The next time someone starts up on this conversation bring up Skiing.

When I get on a bike I put on a helmet that has to conform to an exacting standard – if not a range of standards – and if it gets hit even once I have to throw it away and get a new one. The clothes I wear are armoured, again to a high government-set standard and my gloves and boots are re-enforced as well as armoured.

Before I even get on a bike I have to pass three tests, which are currently some of the most demanding in the world. These test require me to be able to perform a range of maneuvers including an emergency stop and also cover what happens in an accident and even some rudimentary first aid. And finally if I want to ride a motorcycle on the road I am legally required to have insurance.

Let’s look at skiing. There isn’t a test before you get on the slope, so if you wanted to you could just turn up and go down a black run. Most people’s idea of safety gear starts and ends with goggles to stop snow blindness and even though thousands of people injure themselves skiing all the time there is no requirement to have additional insurance. In fact most travel insurance companies won’t cover you if you are skiing.

So the next time the Lecture starts up mention skiing. Of course this only works if the person you are talking to goes skiing or knows people who do, but it’s a start.

Oh and ski cycling looks excellent, I’d love a crack at that although I think I’d rather wear a helmet than a leather cap.

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