Archive for October, 2011

I wear a helmet because I want to, not because I have to…

Posted in R.I.P. on October 29, 2011 by bleiglass

Hyperventilating Health and Safety bureaucrats rule the world, and we let them hijack day in day out our own responsibilities. As a citizen, I do not need a brain any longer, all I need to do is following the ever increasing rules and regulations issued by a army of nerds. And if anything goes wrong, we hire a lawyer to sue the shit out of somebody close.

This is a very dangerous development.

I am very worried by recent announcements, where people, sitting in dark back-rooms in Brussels or Westminster, are trying to force us bikers to wear HiVis day glow vests. I am not against HiVis clothing, I own one myself, but I want to decide when and where to wear it, and not be ordered by some public servant who is paid to invent new regulations. The point is: they do not have these ideas because they want to save the world, no, they just want to save their job and be important.

We live in a overly regulated world, where any kind of personal responsibility is discouraged. All what our children learn is to wait for the little green man, and they do not know anymore how to cross a street in safety once the traffic lights break down. This is very wrong, and dangerous. Some communities start to realise this and dismantle traffic lights altogether, leaving it to few simple rules, common sense and the observation skills of its citizens to organise their movements. In principle, we are all willing to respect a set of rules and values, but if our own intelligence gets questioned by politicians piling regulations on regulations, we start to loose the respect of rules, and worse, we start to break them. And it becomes fatal, when we start to break the wrong ones.

Me in yellow at a 4am start John O’Groats – Lands End Iron Butt run to

I wear a HiVis on occasions, when I ride in dark foggy winter conditions, but on a sunny day, my black leathers or even T-shirt for the short dash to TESCO will do just fine. You may consider this risky, yes, but it’s a risk I take, you are not put at risk at all. So let me live my life, if you want to spend yours sweating in a Ronald MacDonald costume, fine with me.

I do not want to ride my bike looking like a clown, I want to decide when I wear a HisVis and when not. The point is: all I endanger is my own life, so please step back and let me decide what to do with it. If some cool dude want to ride without helmet, gloves and in his flippers, let him, its his choice to turn his life at a much too early stage into that of a rotting tomato.

The thing with these health and safety bureaucrats is that they never stop being creative. Today its HiVis for all bikers, tomorrow all cars have to be painted in either bright yellow and orange. Seriously, if I have to ride along in a yellow or orange clowns costume to be seen, I expect every pedestrian to wear the same garbage men’s HiVis vest, so we all can see us during daydreaming. And then we all will suddenly ride faster, and walk with even less attention, as -hurray- we can expect to be seen!! A fatally wrong development, as all our attentions will reduce dramatically. The first to die will be cats and dogs, ah no, wait, stupid me, they will also have to wear Hi-Vis vests.

In a sea of yellow and orange, black becomes the new HiVis colour. Leave Hi-Vis vests for those who actually need them: traffic obstacles. A broken down car driver, the road workers, RAC, AA and ambulance or police, and many others, as they are all temporary sudden obstacles that deserve a special high level of recognition and protection. But normal traffic participants like cars and bikes are not a obstacle.

If we follow the bureaucrats misguided inspirations, we will drown in a bright sea of hi-vis colours, not recognising anymore what is a traffic obstacle and what a normal participant. That is when serious accidents will start to happen.

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Harley-Davidson recalls 300.000 Touring models 2009-2012

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2011 by bleiglass

Since some days it is official, Harley-Davidson recalls over 300.000 bikes, to fix a switch problem that can cause failure of the brake lights and possibly even the rear brakes themselves. The HD eecall ID is 0145.

The problem affects Touring, CVO Touring and Trike motorcycles from the 2009 through 2012 model years. They were built between June 6, 2008 and Sept. 16, 2011.

Now, in the next days or weeks, I expect to receive a nice letter from my dealer to schedule a repair, but what happen until then, how serious is this defect, and what exactly is broken. Its all about this little switch:

Here in more details:

A – is the rear brake fluid line leading to the switch
B – is the switch, which is activated by pressure in the brake fluid line
C – is the electrical cable for the rear brake light

As all this is very close to the exhaust, its getting hot, and heat can break the switch. 3 things can happen:

1) rear brake light fails to work
2) rear brake light works all the time
3) brake fluid leaks from the switch, compromising brake pressure and eventually the rear brake will fail

Am I getting nervous? No, not at all. If the brake light fails or works all the time, bad luck, I check it prior to each ride, but I do not consider this critical, if you know its broken, drive more defensively and check your rear mirrors closer. Having no rear braking power is not very nice, but if you know it, one can still limping home, as over 70% of all braking is usually done via the front brakes. Just be careful in corners and do not push too hard.

Until I get the recall notice or the all clear from my dealer, I will check this switch for leaks prior to each ride, and test occasionally that the rear brake light works. Otherwise, I will continue to enjoy every sunny mile in these last days of the riding season.

Disclaimer: This is not a recommendation, this is what I do, and it may damage my health.

For a list of all included in the recall, see:

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/results.cfm?rcl_id=11V506000&searchtype=quicksearch&summary=true&refurl=rss.  

Thank you Steve Jobs!

Posted in R.I.P. on October 7, 2011 by bleiglass

You made a large part of my creativity possible.

R.I.P.