Friday, 2 January 2015

Fed Up With Blogger

I keep having problems getting posts the way I want them in Blogger. Add to that the fact that people seem to have difficulty posting comments in Blogger but not in Wordpress and it's time to move.

As of tonight, the Truely Madly Moto blog will be moving here. Hope to see you there. Thanks for reading.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Poor Service Indeed

I should have known,‭ ‬from the way the dealer looked at me,‭ ‬that he'd something to hide.‭ ‬You see,‭ ‬I'd asked the him to deliver it to my go to mechanic.‭ ‬I'm glad I did too.

The dealer,‭ ‬who shall remain nameless promised a full service before the bike was delivered.‭ '‬If it needs it,‭ ‬it gets it' I was told.‭ ‬Great.‭ ‬That's simple with a Moto Guzzi because everything is done on every service:‭ ‬valves,‭ ‬engine oil,‭ ‬gear box oil,‭ ‬final drive oil,‭ ‬air filter,‭ ‬oil filter,‭ ‬plugs,‭ ‬and so on.‭ ‬Serviced is serviced,‭ ‬right?

People look at me a bit funny when I tell them there's only one person I trusty to maintain my bikes.‭ ‬Thing about having a mechanic you trust is you therefor don't trust the others.‭ ‬Nor,‭ ‬I guess,‭ ‬should you, as I discovered.

I arranged for Alan to re-service the Breva 750 we've bought for Angie's first big bike using the components and lubricants he trusts. It's a good thing I did.‭ ‬The final drive oil he drained was completely white (‬so full of water) ‬and the gearbox oil was dirty (‬so not new‭)‬.‭ ‬The valves were set way to wide,‭ ‬possibly because the adjusters were goosed,‭ ‬not that I believe for one second they even checked the gap.‭ ‬Needless to say,‭ ‬it also didn't have new plugs in.‭ ‬Goodness only knows what they put in the engine,‭ ‬though that at least looked fresh when Alan binned it.‭

So,‭ ‬in conclusion,‭ ‬find a good mechanic (‬unless you are one‭) ‬and don't feel bad about not trusting 2nd hand motor dealers.‭ ‬This isn't news though is it.‭

Sunday, 30 November 2014

John's All Year System

I got into a wee chat with someone I follow on Twitter today. We were discussing how in late November we were still wearing summer gloves and she hasn't yet fitted the liner to her jacket. I never fit my liner and not because I'm some well hardened ice cold biker hero. I'm happiest all warm and comfortable with a tendency avoid any unnecessary 'character building.' The liner just isn't party of my system.

I imagine all of us have systems which vary wildly depending on where, how, what, when and why we ride. Experience and funds will also be a factor. Here's mine.

The base layer, worth getting right!
I through a rural Yorkshire Dales year, mostly on a well faired bike. Part of that fast roads on high ground and some technical valley stuff. Recreational riding is similar but further. Budget? Well, pretty tight. Experience? Hard earned with more to be gained. My main riding cloths are the same all year round. I just add or remove layers, open or close vents and keep a whole lot of gloves handy.

First up, the base layer. I used to think these were an expensive myth. Not so! I've learned having cotton next to skin is a schoolboy error. I now use the same base layer all year. It's not meant to keep heat in. It controls moisture and that's all. Synthetics are good value and effective but tend to get stinky and don't feel particularly nice. Merino wool is everything synthetics aren't at only 5 times the price. However, you can wear more often between washes if so inclined. It's now my preferred option.

In practice, many mid layers become one pullover. 
In steadily cooler weather, the mid-layers steadily added. Most of these are fleece or cotton synthetic blends. In cold weather they really build up so the trick is to leave them all together when you take them off and then just pull it back on the following morning. Having a genuinely waterproof outer is important there. I also leave one fleece in the back box of my bike.

My outer layers are where the real money is. Probably £700 or so. Mine are both man made fibre, well waterproofed with good vents and usable pockets inside and out. They also carry all the armour I wear at the minute. Though I don't use the jacket liner, the trousers liner stays in all the time but has clever temperature control so it's fine until it gets crazy hot. The only real disadvantage here is when the outers get waterlogged they get heavy and unpleasant. One day I'll get round to purchasing a rain suit for use when persistent rain is forecast.
My extremities are a little different. I've one pair of fantastic boots I wear all year. They're a little warm in the summer and too tight for really thick socks on the coldest days but I'm pretty cold proof in the feet. Quitting smoking really helped with that. Also staying well hydrated. Anything that helps with circulation. 

Gloves for every weather and spares as well. 
Guards are better than good gloves. 
What sucks isn't really cold hands but cold wet hands. I have three glove types, summer, cool 5 fingered and cold 3 fingered. Even the best thermal gloves become waterlogged easily so basically, I just own more of them. Some live in my back box with the spare fleece layer, some at work and some at home. That way I'm never starting out in wet gloves. I've heated grips I rarely use but the most useful hand protection is the guards which keep off most of the wind and rain.

I never wear anything except sunglasses under my helmet. I just don't get cold in the head. I do wear a Buff to seal between my jacket and helmet because I really do feel the cold on my neck. 

What system do you use when other have parked their bikes up? Perhaps you live somewhere it's just to hot to use something similar. Perhaps you ride a colder winter and have to use a more effective system. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

A bit of retail therapy..

It was a drizzly Saturday morning and with nothing planned for the day and some very boisterous children tearing around the house we decided to go shopping for some new trousers. Having done a lot more riding since deciding to do my test I was getting increasingly frustrated with my current trousers which were a couple of years old, had never fit very well (unless you like the baggy bottom look) and frankly leaked with even the lightest shower. Owning a very good jacket (Hein Gerike-gortex) meant my top half was always warm and dry however when I got off the bike after any rain and took my trousers off (revealing my running tights base layer)...well folks lets just say the wet look around the crotch is not a good one for any female and usually incites mutterings of 'Tena Lady!''

So off we plod in our small car to the nearest city which boasts two motorbike apparel shops conveniently located next door to each other. The first shop we went into had lots of choice for women's textile trousers so I picked some in the price range I was looking in and headed off for the changing room. Several minutes later, after trying to defend my dignity in the face of a flimsy curtain and two stampeding children, it became apparent that despite choosing the 'XL' these trousers were not going to fit. At this point I should point out that I consider myself at a size 14 to be an averagely sized woman. Upon asking the sales assistant if there was a bigger size I was told that the XL was the biggest size in that range. Feeling embarrassed and deflated I left the shop and hoped for more luck next door.

The very northern lady sales assistant next door was like a breath of fresh air. She recommended a pair of trousers which were a good price and had everything I wanted. Again I started off with the XL and they fitted everywhere except the waist which was tiny. I walked out the changing room where John was waiting saying 'they look great' only to pull my fleece up and show him the open fly!

However these trousers were available in a bigger size to order and could be delivered. I took a risk and ordered them and they arrived two days later and fitted. And when I say fit, I mean I actually look like a girl in them and not a michelin woman. After several rides (a few in the rain) I am dry, comfortable and happy! Win!

I have however learned a few things about buying motorbike gear as a woman:
  1. If you think buying in a high street shop is difficult think again when going to buy gear for motorbiking. Leave any body self conscious issues you have at the door (and as a mother of two children I have many!) because bike gear seems to be engineered with Barbie-like proportions in mind.
  2. With point one in mind conveniently forget what your usual size is because it will probably bear no resemblance to the size you end up in..instead judge by looking at the overall garment itself.
  3. Seek out female sales assistants if you can particularly if they are bikers themselves. The lady in the second shop was able to recommend something from her own experience with it.

Happy biking ladies x (and gents).

A New Blog

Right then, I said I was going to do it and now I have. She said she would do it and she's doing it now. We now have a joint Motoblog to go with our joint mortgage, joint account and joint responsibility for our joint brood. I've never shared a blog before but having been generally together since somewhere in the 90s, there's no one I'd rather share with. As I type, Ang is writing about trousers, I think.

Why now? After all, we've been riding together for a decade and a half, off and on. Well, it seems my wonderful wife has decided she's redone her CBT enough times. I suspect she's also decided her YBR125 is a pogo stick. Anyway, she's now just one test away from a fully fledged, unrestricted motorcycle licence. What's more, she's not only decided on her first big bike (a Moto Guzzi Breva 750), Ang has bought it. Apparently, buying your first big bike before actually passing your test is rather akin to 'Buying your wedding dress one size smaller and promising to slim into it.'

So, now a new era begins and with it a new blog. Not that I'll be posting anything much different to the stuff on my old blog. It's just that from now on, anyone who reads this blog will get another perspective, one I've always valued. I do listen, honest.