Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicken Scratchin'

Following this morning's commute on some very dirty and muddy post-storm roads, and the ride home on cleaner, better-chosen-for-the-conditions roads, my rear tire tells me that: 1. it's possible to generate decent lean angles and to have some scratchin' fun even on semi-well traveled secondary roads; and, 2. I lean a bit deeper on left turns.  Chicken strips? I've got mud strips.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Boring Ride

Last Thursday I made one of my famous "wrong turns" on the way to the office, and next thing I knew I found myself a couple of hours away in Maryland's north central boonies.  Not that I had planned it or anything, but the Boring, MD post office had been on my ride list for a few years, sooooo...
According to the friendly postmaster/sole employee/local historian, the post office building dates from the late 1800s, though it presently only occupies only about 1/4 of the structure. The post office's walls serve as a mini-museum to Boring and its post office. There is no longer any delivery; the residents of the 40-odd Boring addresses pick up their mail (held in old wooden sorting boxes) during the 2-3 hours the office is open, which helps solidify the post office's role as the social center of the village.  I noticed a well-worn park bench on the front stoop, no doubt having played host to untold scores of impromptu social meetings, and debates on how best to solve the world's ills. With many Americans fighting to keep home mail delivery in the face of the USPS' plans to utilize more "cluster boxes" and other means of forcing customers to pick-up their mail, has Boring become the future by remaining in the past?

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Get to Grips with Traction

Traction is one of those words that gets flown around insurance brokers offices such as AQuote Insurance, but the principles of traction and its effects are not as well understood as you might expect. Without good traction you can have as much power as you please but you won’t be able to apply any of it to the road or turn it into acceleration. Understanding traction will help you ride better and to corner better, so here’s our definitive guide to the principles of traction.
The Physics of Traction
Traction is about friction, normally thought to be a bad thing but actually this friction force is what creates grip between your tyres and the road, keeping you upright. This force acts tangentially to your tyres (i.e. at right angles to the road surface) but this varies depending on the lean of your bike.
Your traction has a finite limit and if your bike demands more than this in, say, a heavy braking incident or a slippery corner, you may give way and end up slipping.
The Uses for Traction
On the start line or at the lights, you will only be using traction for one thing: going forward. The drive from your rear wheel acts against the road and this force, as you’ll remember from your secondary school physics lessons, must create an opposite force! As a result, you end up going forward.
The reverse is, literally, true when you’re braking. Brakes act as a reaction to your forward power and, in turn, use up a bit of your traction limit. Turning is the final demand on traction and you must imagine, for example, pushing a boat forwards and left at the same time. It all uses up your effort.
Gauging your Traction Limit
Race riders know and use their traction limits to their advantage. Spreading your traction uses (braking, turning and accelerating) efficiently can help you get through corners not only faster but much safer. The difficulty is that this changes depending on the conditions. A new set of tyres, a rainy day or even a scorching hot Spanish autovia will all perform differently.
Racers spend a lot of time working with traction limits as racetracks and sports bikes usually perform consistently. With the sort of data available to MotoGP riders it’s possible to make a split-second decision on a corner. For the rest of us, however, the most important thing is staying upright and cornering well within the limits of our tyres.
There’s a difference between understanding and properly using your traction and the only way to really get to grips with it is practice. Remember that your bike will perform very differently in different conditions so don’t assume you can take a wet corner at the same speed as a dry corner; it won’t happen!  

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Making the switch to motorcycles

Making the switch to motorcycles

Almost everyone in the UK has had to change the way they spend their money in recent years, thanks to an exceptionally difficult recession. Finding ways to save has become ever more necessary for the majority rather than the few, and with little sign of any improvement on the horizon it seems the period of frugality will remain with us for several years to come.

Every car driver will tell you just how expensive it has become to use one on a regular basis. The rising costs of fuel, road tax and maintenance have combined to take much of the pleasure away from driving. These days, most of us only use the car when necessary, and the times when we enjoyed trips for pleasure at the weekend have slowly faded away.

There is an alternative, however, and it’s so affordable that many people have turned their backs on their cars for the foreseeable future. The answer is a simple one – switch from four wheels to two. The benefits of using a motorcycle instead of a car are all too apparent, and when we’re in the middle of a world recession it’s easy to see why so many have done it.

Finding a suitable motorcycle couldn't be easier. All you need is an Internet connection. Whether you’re searching for a sleek and sexy dream machine or a convenient and functional scooter to get from A to B with a minimum of fuss, you can find just what you need on the web, thereby putting you on the path to cheaper living and more affordable transport.

Doing the necessary homework
The majority of those who decide to move from cars to bikes will have done a little homework about their ideal machine long before they actually buy. Thankfully, there is plenty of relevant and helpful information on the Internet, so it doesn’t take long to find out which make and model of motorcycle best suits the needs of any one particular man or woman.

With such a wide selection of machines on the new and used market, it can be a little confusing for newcomers to get a firm idea of what they want. Despite this, it can still be informative – and great fun – to simply have a browse. Shopping for bikes on the web is a relaxing and exciting pastime, even if you don’t intend to spend that very day.

If you are currently using a car and worrying about the overall costs every month, perhaps it’s time to think about making the change. Motorcycling is empowering, convenient and highly enjoyable, and with so many excellent deals to be found on the Internet it represents one of the most sensible opportunities to save money in the current financial climate.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Expect more great action at the Eni Motorrad MotoGP

The 2013 MotoGP season has certainly been hotting up lately, with plenty of excellent action and racing battles. Coming up for the halfway point of the season, the Eni Motorrad Grand Prix will be held at the Sachsenring circuit in Germany between the 12th and 14th of July.

About the track
The Sachsenring is a little bit of an oddity when it comes to race tracks; despite the fact that it is known as one of the slowest circuits of the season, it is also known as a great track for up close racing action with plenty of tight turns and corners. Sachsenring saw its first MotoGP event in 1998 but was then drastically redesigned in 2001, and modified again in 2003. As one of the most recent additions to the season, it is a modern track with a very good safety record and facilities. So hopefully the riders won’t be in need of Express Insurance to get round the track, which is 3.671 km in length, with 10 left-hand corners and three right, as well as a 700m straight which is where the top speeds are reached.

What happened at Assen?
The previous race took place at the Netherlands Grand Prix in Assen, with Valentino Rossi claiming his first MotoGP victory since 2010. The seven-time champion Rossi has had to wait for a long time for this victory as he is not the force to be reckoned with that he once was. The Italian took the lead on the sixth lap and never looked back, with original pole position holder Cal Crutchlow only able to convert his great qualifying run into a third-place finish. The dominating Spanish trio of riders, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Marquez all finished in the top five, with young phenom Marquez doing best with second place on the podium. Pedrosa finished fourth and Lorenzo fifth, with the German, Bradl, making up the top six. Lorenzo actually did well to get on the bike at all in Assen, having had surgery only days earlier after a 120mph crash in practice.

Current standings
The Spanish triumvirate are still dominating proceedings in the championship table. Pedrosa leads the way with 136 points, with Lorenzo only nine points back with 127, and Marquez catching up on 113 points. Cal Crutchlow maintains his fourth place position albeit a significant distance behind on 87 points, with the added pressure of Valentino Rossi now only being two points behind with his Netherlands victory.

British riders
As we have already mentioned, Cal Crutchlow had high hopes in Assen due to his pole position start to the race. Despite only managing to convert that into third place, it was still a good performance from the Brit and he will be looking to take it to another level in Germany. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith did very well in Assen in taking ninth spot, a result which sees him in 11th place in the overall table. The only other British rider is Michael Laverty who is having a tough first MotoGP season and will only be looking to improve each time out.

Author Bio: Lee Thurgur is a petrol head from Oxfordshire whose father introduced him to a love off all things engine related and he has been obsessed ever since.

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