If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Beautiful day

Today has been sunny and clear all day - a real spirit-lifter after the rains and general misery of the last few weeks. After I had done the requisite chores, I decided to spend half the afternoon getting to know the Bonnie a bit better.

I took a different route this time: basically a circuit of the Preseli Hills, anticlockwise. South side of the hills and up to Crymych, and then back along the North side and home over the tops. I couldn't resist a shot of Llawhaden Church, almost visible through the overgrowth by the river

and then a couple more shots at the top of the pass that crosses the Preselis at Bwlch-y-Groes. That's a favourite spot, as there is a car park with access for walkers going to either Foel Cwmcerwen (Preseli Top) or Foel Eryr - a spectacular lookout with views to Ireland in one direction and Worms Head - 70 miles distant - in the other.

Foel Eryr in late afternoon sun

And, of course, the customary bike shot:

The bike went well and was the ideal tool for a journey like this one, with plenty of interesting roads ranging from fast A-roads to tiny shit-strewn back lanes. I adjusted the foot controls yesterday, and they are nearly right. They just need another small tweak.

I've been experimenting with an open-face helmet recently. It's partly for novelty, partly because the weather permits it, but also there is a sneaky image thing going on. I combined my open-face CAN helmet with Halcyon goggles rakishly stored above the forehead, and eye protection was taken care of by a cheap pair of sunnies. This limited top speed to no more than 70 (and that not for long), and I got home with eyes streaming.

An open-face helmet is nice. You definitely get the fresh air and smells better than in a full-face, and there is a certain feeling of 'being there'. I am reminded of a Robert M Pirsig quotation which I used here many moons ago and is worth repeating, if only because the blog traffic was next to zero at the time, so no-one will be saying 'duh, not again'.

You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

To some extent (and perhaps a very small one), the chinbar and visor of a full-face replicate the windows of a car, and the feeling of immediacy is slightly lost. I suppose the ultimate is to wear no helmet at all. But the helmet is the last line of defence, and not to be given up. One day, if it all goes wrong, I hope that the helmet I am wearing on that day will at least save me from a life eating through a straw. But in the right weather, an open-face is a very pleasant bit of kit.

I got home thoroughly frozen, as the heat had gone from the sun by 5 pm and the air got very chilly. A great ride-out, and a bit more bonding done. I'm getting to like that Triumph.


  1. Glad to see you are enjoying the new bike.

  2. Thank you! I have a plan to ride round the four corners of the UK this summer, and I think the Triumph will be the bike to do it on.

  3. If you get as far as Scotland it would be fun to meet up. That is, if you don't hit a pothole. They are bad enough for cars, but a bike! Hardly bears thinking about.

  4. That sounds like a nice idea. The plan is to visit Lizard Point, Lowestoft, Dunnet Head and that place on the West Coast whose name I have forgotten, keeping fairly close to the coast unless there is a pressing reason not to. I am planning to call in on a few friends in various places, and it would be great to meet up. This was Plan B last year if the Denmark thing hadn't taken off, but it's something I've always wanted to do. I just need to speak nicely to Anna.

  5. Sounds like the shipping forecast.

    If you are passing by Cheshire I'll give you an out rider escort!

  6. Hey, I could do with that. I hear there are bandits round Alderley Edge these days.

    Seriously, if it goes ahead, I will let you know.

  7. endemoniada_888 April 2010 at 23:41

    Re: the helmet - that's why I swear by my flip-front (which spends most of it's time flipped open with the sunvisor down). Worth considering something like a Roof perhaps? Not quite THE look, possibly, but at least they have a distinct style and the chinbar flips fairly unobtrusively all the way back.

    Anyway, nice to hear you're getting the chance to put some good miles on the Bonnie. If you're popping down Saarf at any time, let me know...

  8. I've looked at a few flip-fronts in the catalogues, but the only one I have worn was a cheapie from Lidl, bought as an experiment for (I think) 30 quid. It's truly awful, but that's probably the cheapness rather then the concept. I may try a Caberg Sintesi (I have their V2R and it's brilliant for what was a sub-£100 lid) or perhaps a Roof. Not a Schuberth, mind - if I spend a lot it will be to replace my all-weather, long-distance, ultra-comfy, ultra-reliable Shoei XR1000. Open faces are definitely for certain days only.

    If this four corners thing gets going (I need to do a lot of preparatory work on the domestic side first) then I will serpently be calling Darn Sarf. In fact, you were one of the 'friends in various places' referred to above. It won't be for a while yet, though. I have a 'proper' holiday booked for June, and a number of 'family' trips I can't avoid as well, so it will be later in the year.

  9. Cool and LOLZ and all that! Maybe even 11!...

    I do rate Caberg - my day to day lid is a matt black Justissimo GT (funnily enough, my distance lid is also an XR1000). That comes with an open face conversion - not that I've ever been bothered to do that - but I'd prefer the Sintesi's locked-open option. Airoh make a pretty good budget flipper too, but their latest models have a different shell that doesn't fit me, otherwise I'd probably have had the Mathisse RS instead of the Caberg.

    I actually don't mind the Schuberth's either - it's a lot of cash, but I reckon they're sturdy and quiet enough to do both town and country work. If I remember correctly, Schuberth also do the BMW System lids that plod are so fond of. Or possibly "were" - can't remember the last time I actually saw a bike cop!

  10. Bike cop? That is just soooooooooo 20th Century!

    I like my Caberg, but it's a bugger for misting up. Even on a good day, I have to ride with it open a touch, and the tinted inner visor mists to opacity every time I use it. Trouble is, it just feels plasticky, whereas the Shoei feels solid. That may well make no difference from a safety POV, but it sure does when you plonk your lid on the bar mirror for a quick break. It's a bit like those car companies that spend millions engineering a good 'thunk' into their doors. It may be irrelevant, but it has owner appeal.


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