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January 2009 Entries
Motorcycle Gloves as Personal Protective Equipment EN 13594

Further to my post on getting measured up for new bike kit (should hopefully be ready sometime in the next two weeks) I have been digging around a little to find out who supplies CE approved motorcycling kit. I was pleased to discover that my Alpinestars boots are CE approved so the only item of my kit that will not be is gloves.

The applicable standard for gloves is EN 13594 and if you do a google search the only gloves you are likely to find hits for are the Halvarssons Safety gloves. These are fine but I haven’t found a local stockist yet and to be honest the one bit of kit I have had a right hassle with over the years is gloves. A combination of big hands and bad circulation and vibes on bikes (not only my bmw but also a suzuki I rode) contribute to me getting either sore hands or numb fingers. This means I like to try them on and have a good amount of space to move around in.

So I’ve been emailing around (spot the IT guy – what’s a phone ?) to set the challenge to various folks. Generally I am getting quick responses, some to the negative, I got a positive response from Ixon in France and BMW are going to get back to me.

Once I garner the responses I will post a summary of what I found out, and where you can choose gloves from.

What I have found is quite a variance in the amount of information available on websites. Taking boots as an example, Altberg in the UK list which of their motorcycle boots are CE Certified, and the Alpinestars website has an icon to indicate which are certified. Others like BMW, Hein Gericke or Ixon don’t obviously list it on their sites. Search for CE and you will get the usual stuff about “armour”.

posted @ Thursday, January 29, 2009 6:19 PM | Feedback (9)
Back on the mend

Mmm, bit of a write off week. Didn't feel well after the bike club committee meeting, then off work and noticed one of my ears had swollen up a bit. Then persuaded by Mrs AlistairL to phone the Doctor, got an emergency appointment, and a slightly worried looking Doctor gave me a pile of antibiotics (didn't think they gave them out anymore) and also told to watch if the symptoms got worse.

Thankfully the symptoms responded to the antibiotics, I didn't need to go hospital as a result, which was a good thing in my opinion. Now to finish the antibiotics which taste awful.

posted @ Sunday, January 25, 2009 11:41 PM | Feedback (0)
Product Review - Maplin Rechargeable Mobile Power Pack

I've been thinking about blogging up some of my favourite things and gadgets that I've found useful. The first of these was a purchase for my bike video kit. I bought the cheapest best value for recording kit to help with the motorcycle observing I do and wanted to avoid connecting anything of that to my bike, so I looked around at battery technologies.

I got an email through from Maplin on their offers and one was a 2000 mah rechargeable mobile power pack that had been reduced by 50% to £9.99. It is charged by and charges from a mini-usb cable, and one of the connectors is a large usb connector - perfect for keeping my miniature digital video recorder going for as long as the sd card in it would record video.


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So I bought 2! on a weekend when Maplin had free postage. The package came full with the battery pack itself, which is about the size of half of a pack of cards. The main part of the package came with 9 connectors and an adaptor cable. The connectors include a variety of mobile phone connectors, as well as a mini and full size usb. They also came with mains voltage adaptors, but I usually charge from a pc from a usb port.

So as well as powering my small mini dvr, I've also used the power pack to power my htc touch diamond with its woeful battery life, my old Orange SPV M600 which I use for TomTom, my bluetooth GPS bought on ebay and one or two other things I'm sure I've missed. The mini-usb connector is something I agree with as a common charging port, it is really handy.

I thoroughly recommend this which is excellent value at its power capacity, and really useful to have on hand - providing you have that essential cable of course!

posted @ Friday, January 9, 2009 9:08 PM | Feedback (1)
Next Motorcycle Course - off road with i2imca

I'm not sure if I have blogged this already, but what the heck I'll blog it again and you can tell me if I am degenerating into an old fart and repeating myself.

Last year I spent a couple of days with a company called i2imca who run motorcycle training in Yorkshire. You may know that I have spent time last year and the year before with the local groups of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) getting their coaching up to prepare for the Advanced Car and Motorcycle tests administered by the IAM. And subsequently trained to be one of what they call an Observer - someone who helps others to prepare for their advanced test.

An observation of advanced training in the UK that is based on the Roadcraft system in the UK as the IAM approach is, is that their focus is on observation and planning rather than machine control. This is not really a fault, the Roadcraft book is used by the Police and other organisations sits alongside intensive practical training at their training schools and unless you happen to be at one of those schools, you don't see this aspect of the training. Why they should happen to publish the roadcraft book as they have done over the years is something I must admit I don't know so I will find that out and share it one day.

The i2i training scheme was borne of this understanding by an Observer in Yorkshire who was a corporate trainer by profession and combines elements of machine control based on the physics of motorcycles, a bit of motocross offroad knowledge and a bit of training psychology. They split their machine control training over 4 courses of a day long each. Course 1 introduces their ideas and philosophies and you go along to this on your own motorcycle, riding up and down on a bit of tarmac away from public roads. Course 2 takes place on off-road bikes and using their kit to practice the techniques in more slippery conditions where slides and skids happen at lower speeds in a controlled environment. Course 3 is back to using your own bike to build on the techniques, and Course 4 is on their bikes again but this time with types called supermotard, which are like off-road motorcycles with road tyres.

A new idea i2imca took on last year was running Course 1 and 3 back to back on a Saturday and Sunday, so I went for this in April 2008 and spent the weekend getting my bits frozen off (it snowed the second day) and having a great time learning how to do things I didn't realise I could on my old BMW. For one thing I learned how to "hang off" my bike - I did not get my knee down, but I did learn how it helps steering and feel and how it relates to counter steering. Having enjoyed that I planned to complete the course (and checking with Tom that they had boots for my big feet) and I am off to Yorkshire at the beginning of April this year to a different venue to do Course 2 which is all about off-road. Using their bikes and their kit, I will be trying to learn how to cope with skidding wheels etc. Although it isn't that far away, I am fully anticipating that I will be really sore after the course so I am going to get the Train down to Thirsk and I have booked my B&B - really looking forward to it.

posted @ Wednesday, January 7, 2009 8:03 PM | Feedback (0)
Bus Lane Code of Conduct for Bikers

Specific politics aside for Boris Johnston, whatever his personal politics are, but he has held to a pledge to an extended trial of allowing motorcyclists into bus lanes.

Unfortunately this has not gone down too well with the Cycling Lobby so I really hope the bikers in London rise to the challenge of showing they can use the facility well. To this end the Motorcycle Industry Association has proposed a code of conduct to make this trial a success and something that will make other councils look up and pay attention.

Unfortunately Edinburgh City Council recently decided not to review their practice of excluding motorcycles from bus lanes, and I was quite disappointed at the manner of the local cycling group compared to the other representatives.

Personally I have taken the time through people I know to understand how horse riders get on on the road, and also road cyclists and a wee bit with HGV. We are all road users and have different perspectives, and a bit of understanding but also pride in our choice of transport to use it safely and use it well.

posted @ Monday, January 5, 2009 11:17 PM | Feedback (2)
Scottish Motorcycle Show on 14th and 15th March 2009

Well, instead of being as near to the 8th March as possible, the Scottish Motorcycle show at Ingliston is a later weekend this year - Saturday 14th March and Sunday 15th March.

posted @ Monday, January 5, 2009 9:17 AM | Feedback (1)
And I went on a first aid course for bikers

As I may have mentioned a while ago, I'm "involved" with the local Edinburgh Motorbike group affiliated to the Institute of Advanced Motorists. EDAM as they are cheesily called have an events coordinator who has done an excellent job of getting some events off the ground. Organising these can be quite challenging as some events really need a minimum number of attendees to make them viable. But we do everything we can to make them as accessible and cheap to EDAM members.

One thing organised recently was a First Biker on Scene type course. This is a first aid course tailored to the sort of things we might need as bikers - our fun does involve an element of risk, which we seek to minimise, but we can always help others we come across.

It was the first time I had done anything like this and was a lot to take in, but a lot of fun. I've got the basic supplies to carry on my bike now (I have a kit in the car already) and have bought a book to remind myself.

Thanks to Elliot Beattie who is the EDAM events coordinator, and Derek McNaught MBE of Spectrum Training (and St Andrews Ambulance) who conducted the course.

posted @ Sunday, January 4, 2009 1:27 AM | Feedback (0)