Fail

So I got out Sunday. I woke up on monday just in time for the plumber and then went back to bed for another 4 hours before making it out to the monday game. No milk and no butter today. In fact pretty much no anything. Out of meds as well. Got my kit on, got to the chemist, collected prescription, check phone for traffic, google says says traffic towards the small asda is awful so I head towards morrisons. Everything comes to a standstill and the cars in front start pulling u-turns. Looks like an accident ahead. Tesco then. Biiiiiiig Tesco.

I hate this particular Tesco. At least it’s on two floors and I don’t need to go upstairs. But the closet parking is parent and child, blue badge parking runs on one row from just opposite the door all the way down the carpark. I get close by parking in between two 4x4s on a different row. Whilst they have accommodated the wide bays for ease of access aspect of disability access, I don’t think they have considered the criteria for getting a blue badge. Can’t walk is obvious. Can’t walk very far is more nuanced. Walks excessively slowly, yep that’s one of the criteria. Can’t walk very far without excessive pain, well there you go.

At least this place has scan and shop so I don’t have to load my shopping onto the conveyor and back into the trolley with a checkout jockey tutting at me for being slow and me fuming because they didn’t stick to the script they’re supposed to about helping to pack bags.

Milk, butter, yogurt. There’s something about Tesco in particular that induces a wave of existential dread. I think it’s supposed to encourage the buying of comfort food. But I don’t want to eat any of the ready made stuff they have, everything tasty means doing more things  and I WANT TO GO HOME.

Hot. Cross. Buns. Small currant filled bread products of barely concealed hatred for everyone in here. Two packets for a pound. I keep buying these. My freezer is full of them. I’ll be eating them to Halloween. They’ll be on sale again by bonfire night.  If another person accidentally rams me with a trolley as a not-so-subtle hint that I’m not moving fast enough, I will find out if it’s possible to bludgeon someone to death dual wielding tiger bread baguettes. For science, obviously.

Turn LEFT. Walk away from the rum. Each bottle is 200 miles on the bike. And it doesn’t stop the relentless pain as much as it used to, I just fall over more and feel worse the next day. Ignore the “daily helps” signs next to what is optimistically described as heavily discounted wine. You don’t need the flavorings and sugar in a bottle that makes water taste of something that they hide on the other side of the aisle that will double your shopping bill in an instant,

Where the hell is the loo roll? They usually have an aisle dedicated to far more options than there needs to be. It’s signed “Home Baking” of course it is. It’s just the ingredient you need for a perfect pie crust. Maybe that’s the secret of why tesco pies are so bad. Oh, No, there are food products on this aisle too, a whole two metre section of shelving filled with single serving sponge puddings. I just found a bag full of those from my last aldi shop. I think they’d been left in my car for two months. Not a problem, they expire in 2021.

I have a car now. Did I mention that? Well not right this second as I loaned it to a friend for a few days. It’s small and bouncy, tiring to drive and harder to get out of than it is to get on my bike. And waaaaay shakier and bumpier at 40 than my bike is at 60. But it works when I’d otherwise be snowed in.

All the freezers are just marked Frozen Food. The ready meals take some finding. And they’ve gone up in price again. Grab 5 different ones before anyone notices and tuts. Time to go. Scan the barcode on the self-service checkout. Great, random check time. I can see 6 members of staff having a giggle about something. Don’t mind me standing by this big red light whilst I contemplate the paradox that is the U-shaped curve of staff count to wait time. Don’t worry I think it’s hilarious your job has been replaced by a robot and now you have to scan 5 random items from my shopping to justify your existance. That’s 5 different random items. You already scanned my milk once. How hard can this be? How can you be a scan and shop supervisor when you don’t seem to be able to function without adult supervision? Maybe it’s best the robots take over. As long as it’s these robots and not the malcalibrated walmart abominations that chant unexpected item in the bagging area like a faux middle class shopping-dalek.

Card. Pin. Glare at the huddle of staff ignoring the myriad of red lights at the self service checkouts. Leave. Reach bike in time to catch someone trying to squeeze back into a car they parked so far over the line it’s not funny. Yeah, that’s their door rubbing on my luggage. It’s near-indestructible plastic unlike car paint. The alarm goes off. I squeeze my keyfob and silence it.  How she got out in the first place I don’t know as that’s a ford ka not the oversize 4×4 that was there before. “I’m sorry, did I park too close? It’s a good thing these detatch.” not. sarcastic. at. all. I should have bought bread. Tiger bread. Baguettes. One would suffice.

Home. Cold stuff in the fridge. Sofa. Become heap. Not hungry. Food can wait until tomorrow. There’s milk for coffee in the morning. Who am I kidding. It’ll be afternoon. I’m going to bed.

 

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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