Magnets on my tank

My leathers are less sweaty than my textiles so I have worn them through most of this year. If it starts raining hard I need to get waterproofs on fast or it will be too late. On an overnight or longer trip I will have a lot of carefully packed luggage, and extracting waterproofs is a pain. On a recreational ride I don’t want a top box. A small tank bag is the answer. I had a little Frank Thomas one. It was terrible, determined to move about and come off. No Headstock strap and the magnets were really weak.

I bought an Oxford X4 based on BCF recommendations. The magnets are insanely strong, and on a removable board. There are Velcro straps so it can be used as a tail-pack if required. The zips have some kind of rubbery shroud so are water resistant. There’s a satnav holder, an A5 map holder that’s just big enough for my Philips Compact Atlas or directions printed on booklet mode. It has a headstock strap too. Most importantly, it stays put really well. Right now it’s carrying my waterproof overjacket, my waterproof trousers, my goretex winter gloves, visor cleaning kit, hand sanitiser, a spare buff, a pen, an tyre pressure gauge, my disk lock and (because I fail at packing) my ledergris and boot brush. My phone and wallet sometimes end up in the top section, and sometimes I use the map holder.

It stayed put during every crazy run I’ve made since I’ve had it and feels really well made. It is quite small at 4 litres, so consider a bigger one from the same range if you want something to carry everything. For the bits of tat that I want straight away, it’s perfect. Highly recommended.

All luggaged up

All luggaged up

In Australia it is probably impossible to ride a motorcycle legally.

Rule 271: Riding on motor bikes
(1) The rider of a motor bike that is moving (other than a rider who is walking beside and pushing a motorbike), or the rider of a motorbike that is stationary but not parked, must:

(a) sit astride the rider’s seat facing forwards; and
(b) ride with at least 1 hand on the handlebars; and
(c) if the motorbike is moving — keep both feet on the footrests designed for use by the rider of the motorbike.

This seems like what you do riding a motorcycle right? Right? Well most of the time yes. Let us examine the fallacies:

  • One must sit. No. Speedhumps, potholes, and rough terrain are often better tackled stood on the pegs, isolating body movement from bike movement. Furthermore moving body positions posterior and seat are frequently briefly detached. Being unable to shift weight around on a bike to aid cornering and breaking is very dangerous indeed.
  • Facing forward. Except when checking for other vehicles in areas unseen in mirrors. I’m quite fond of the looking over shoulder into the space I’m about to move into. My instructor calls this shoulder-checks or lifesavers. I think one is supposed to do that in cars too, but then one is supposed to use car mirrors.
  • keep both feet on the footrests There is this instantaneous transition between zero and nonzero velocity, it takes time to get feet onto footrests and doing so too quickly would upset the bike, similarly a smooth stop is achieved by bringing a foot down as the bike comes to a halt. Furthermore, it’s quite hard to keep contact with the pegs as one moves from a comfortable and controllable riding position to a position where a foot covers the brake pedal or is underneath or above the toe operated gearshift. Heal/toe shifters I think are completely impossible to use without some detachment of the foot. And then there is cornering on loose surfaces or at very low speeds where the done thing by trained riders is to extend the inside foot for balance. Lastly, at some point in a journey a quick stretch of a leg is most useful, and likely dangerous to suppress until the the motorcycle can be stopped as precise use of the foot controls is required to operate a motorcycle safely and the discomfort of cramp is very distracting.

This is what happens when people who have very little idea about how something works and do not consult properly with people who do get to make laws. Yes it’s quite obvious that feet go on pegs, bum goes on seat and one faces the direction of travel. That is not the same as this is required at all times for safe riding. At least they got the one hand on the bars thing correct. Visors need adjusting, hand signals need making, occasional non handlebar controls on bike may need adjusting.

Read more on this lunacy at http://motorbikewriter.com/kevin-bartlett-fights-stupid-motorcycle-rules