30 December 2011

Doctor Marten Boots

Hello John Gotta New Motah?An homage to the longevity of the Dr Marten boot. I wear mine in the winter and when I need sure comfortable footing.

I originally bought them to ride on a trip to Spain as I wanted a boot I could ride my bike with and also walk at the other end. Sadly, Catalunya had the worst weather for decades and the boots were useless.

Worn with a waterproof inner sock my feet were dry but the boot was sodden most of the time.

Alexie Sayle singing Dr Marten Boots

29 December 2011


What can I say? After months of my brother sending me invitations to join, workmates extolling the virtues of the "group" buying scheme I succumbed.

What a simple way of getting Christmas presents?

I never believe anything that claims to be a huge saving; either original profit margins are super high or the goods are lesser quality. After some googling and even eyeballing similar items in shops the deals looked good enough, although I still think the RRP claimed is a little high.

In the end I bought some Grip-on fashion watches for Claire. Ideal as she likes a watch that can be worn as a novelty time piece. They took over a month to arrive, rather than the "allow 21 days" the supplier stipulated. They arrived on the 23rd December! 1-0 to the crap side.

The second item, Swarovski crystal earrings. They are silver and look really good. They came well within the "allow 10 days" period and despite my thinking the seller was from Liverpool they actually came from Poland. Doubly good. Quick delivery and from outside the UK. 1-1!

As for the third item. I am still waiting. Ordered on 11th December also with the "allow ten days" clause and now 18. 2-1 to the crap side.  I have emailed and simply got automated replies. Not very good at all I emailed Groupon but didn't get an encouraging reply to the two late orders.

Compare this to a £4.09 (free postage!) eBay purchase of a new  Pama Bluetooth handsfree unit for the car. Two days from order to delivery. Or consider the £80 (postage inclusive) purchase from eBay of an Odyssey battery for my motorcycle. It had an estimated delivery of first week in January, but it arrived December 24th. Thirdly, maybe consider the BMW parts I ordered and that came in three days from Motor Works?

Maybe there were fewer orders for the handsfree or the battery, but once the customer has spent their money with you, it is time to give a shit.  Two of the Groupon companies obviously don't with their poor communication, and it seems Groupon are similarly uninterested.

23 December 2011

Merry Christmas

The beer that I have got in for Christmas.  Most of it is the 99p offering from Aldi called "Bavaria". Despite its name it is actually from Holland.

The others are two large Leffe Blonds and a few Shepherd-Neame  brews.

20 December 2011

Day trip to Mimoyecques V3 Site

I am in the middle of planning a trip across to France to visit the V3 "Revenge Weapon" site at Mimoyecques.  

I originally emailed in the Autumn and the reply was that they would be open in early April.  I took this to be more like the 1st rather than the 16th.... So planned this trip for the 15th.... I think you can see the problem?

We are now going to have to change the date to the 22nd!!!!

More details to follow.


19 December 2011

New Battery - Odyssey PC680

Not having any power in my garage means that I am unable to attach a trickle charger to my battery to keep it in tip top condition.  I then suffer the problems of a dead one and end up jumping the bike a few times from my Punto. 

This has worked successfully for a few winters, but sadly, although it starts, the standard BMW battery is now officially NFG!

So after asking the question "Odyssey or OEM?" on a few forums I have bought an Odyssey PC680 from a UK retailer and hopefully it will arrive between Christmas and New Year.  It's not the kind of expenditure a person needs in the run up to Christmas, but the deal I got saved about £25.

Fingers crossed that god's gift to batteries fits (!) and does what it is supposed to do.

Buy a big dog and hope it can bark loud. That's the Odyssey.  We'll see.

16 December 2011

Last Biker Down 2

Since posting this here, on the Kent Forum and on Facebook there have been a few takers and we have now joined forces with Kent Riders to see if we can get a better turnout.  Altogether there are 5 of us from the Kent Centre.
Any more?

15 December 2011

Christmas baubles

Christmas baubles, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

14 December 2011

Tiger in Wagamama O2

Tiger in Wagamama O2, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

Paul Devall

13 December 2011

Londonshire Cream Tea

Londonshire Cream Tea, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

Day 2 of the ICT Bake-Day.

12 December 2011


London Cyclists' Problems

The statistic that 16 cyclists have died on London's roads ought to be a stark reminder of how dangerous things can get for users of powered and non-powered two wheeled vehicles alike.

As a fair weather motorcyclist, that now only commutes in the summer to Islington, I have witnessed a few near misses over the last 15 years, both motorcycle/scooter and cycle.

If you want to live longer:
  • Don't ride up the inside of trucks and buses that are in the nearside lane. They may be turning left!
  • Don't ignore their flashing indicators!
  • Don't push to the front into the blind spot under their bumpers where the driver can't see you.
  • Don't cycle along with your iPod blaring in your ears!
  • Don't assume everyone else can see you.

It makes me shudder to see cyclists squeeze between trucks and the railings. The gap barely wider than their handlebars. Crazy.

Do ride defensively and be aware how vulnerable you are. It isn't rocket science. THINK!

Lunchtime walk to the Emirates

I had a walk at lunchtime. 

A brisk promenade across Highbury Fields cutting across to the Drayton Park across behind the library.

Far further than walkng along Holloway Road.  In the end I took the pics in the order they are shown on the left.

Herbert Chapman at the stadium end of the south bride, then round to the front where they have cited Thierry Henry. Then all the way to the opposite corner to the base of the steps at the north bridge end where Tony Adams' new bronze is situated.

Wenger's View - The Official Manager's Email - 12 December


Wenger: 'I suppose that 1-0 is quite an historical scoreline'

Dear Arsenal supporter,

Our Club celebrated its 125th birthday before the Everton game and I felt it was important that we played to the level of history at Arsenal.

In the end, we won it with an artistic goal from an artist and I suppose that 1-0 is quite an historical scoreline when you think about it.

The victory put us in the 'virtual' top four because we know if Chelsea get a draw on Monday they will be in front of us.

However we started from so deep this season that nobody could have predicted that we would be where we are now at the beginning of December. We have to keep going though because, in my opinion, we are still far away.

Maybe the turning point was when Andrey Arshavin scored against Swansea because that was a game we absolutely had to win.

After that there was the victory against Chelsea - that helped confidence - and we did well in the Champions League too. In the qualifier, we played Udinese who have been top of the Italian League this season and then we finished top of our Group F. We never got credit because when people decide you are a bad team, you are a bad team. We just have to work slowly and let people talk.

For me, we are a bit more mature these days but we still want to improve and be faithful to our style. On Saturday, Everton looked very good in the middle of the park and stopped us from playing. They have very intelligent players so Robin van Persie's winning goal was vital.

When you are 22 and you do not have the best of games, you rush your moments a little bit. When you are 28, like him, you keep focus and, if you get a chance, get it away.

It is difficult to take a ball over your shoulder like he did. The timing has to be right, you have to lean forward very quickly and your body shape has to be correct. Everybody who has played football understands that is the most technically difficult movement for a striker.

People will say we are 'Van Persie dependent'. But on Saturday, he got us a goal which came at a moment of the game where we were struggling to create chances. He delivered something special and three important points.

Thanks for your support.

Arsene Wenger's signature Arsène Wenger

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7 December 2011

Euro developments and where to now?

The European Parliament's Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted in Brussels yesterday on its report on the proposed regulation and on a raft of tabled amendments. About 35 IMCO members voted around 100 times on compromises, single amendments and blocs of amendments. We still haven't got the breakdown of the voting, to see which amendments were accepted, but in the meantime;

In the view of IMCO, as from 2016 motorcycles will have to become cleaner and manufacturers must fit ABS, even for light motorcycles. As from 2014, measures to prevent power-train modifications (which are still to be developed) must be applied and users shall present their bikes for inspection when carrying out "substantial" modifications. The text is a little ambiguous, so for the UK there may be little change from the current MoT for certain changes.

Yesterday's vote can be seen as a reference and recommendation for the final vote of the European Parliament, which is expected to be held by the beginning of 2012, probably March. We hope it is put back a little further, so that there is more time to organise a Euro wide demo. As soon as there is more info, I'll let you know.
Before the vote was carried, IMCO chairman Malcolm Harbour made reference to an impact assessment which started on November 23rd, dealing with time-lines, emission limits, ABS and anti-tampering measures, and whose outcome is expected to influence Parliament's final vote. This is why we still need to talk to all our MEPs as the process is changing all the time and those research results are in yet.

Remember that the challenge to the Commission about the way the proposal was drafted in the first place, is still to be answered, which is yet another angle of attack we are pursuing through the Ombudsman's office.

With regard to power-train modifications [Article 18] IMCO adopted a compromise in line with the European Commission's logic and propounded by Wim van de Camp's office, with 'delegated acts' laying down measures for manufacturers to prevent subsequent modifications by the user that may have adverse effects on safety or the environment.

Additionally IMCO added a new article 18a which requires that users seek inspection and approval "by the competent authorities" in case of substantial power-train modifications. It may well be that the 'competent authority' in the UK will mean the MoT. "A modification is deemed to be substantial when it renders the original type approval obsolete" or when it harms safety or the environment. Interesting terminology and until we see what 'delegated acts' include, it is hard to comment.

Aline Delhaye, General Secretary of FEMA says: "This regulation contains many good parts FEMA is in line with, like durability requirements and improved access to repair and maintenance information for the user. But if the current text of article 18 is finally adopted, it will mean that all the usual changes motorcyclists make for riding comfort, fuel efficiency, or simply to suit their riding style, will be illegal or will have to be checked and approved. This has not been a problem so far and there is no reason why it should become a problem tomorrow. FEMA will certainly keep on working on this regulation."

Battle Lines Drawn on Type Approval


7 December 2011


Battle Lines Drawn on Type Approval

A key vote by a European Parliament committee has set the scene for a battle royal over the toughest technical proposals yet to threaten European motorcyclists say the BMF.
On Monday the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee voted through stringent proposals for the regulation, approval and market surveillance of motorcycles, three wheelers and quadricycles.
The IMCO committee vote is an early stage of the legislative process and is in effect a recommendation to the European Parliament. If the European Parliament take the same view, it would mean that from 2014, measures to prevent power-train modifications* must be devised and applied by manufacturers and also that owners must present their motorcycles for inspection after carrying out 'substantial' modifications. It would also mean that as from 2016, tighter emission laws would apply and all machines would have to be fitted with ABS, not just those over 125cc as previously tabled.
The European Parliament final vote will be held in the New Year but on the positive side say the BMF, IMCO chairman Malcolm Harbour will conduct an impact assessment dealing with timelines, emission limits, ABS and anti-tampering measures, the outcome of which is expected to influence the European Parliament's final vote.
Speaking after the vote, Chris Hodder, the BMF's Government Relations Executive said: "Rather than protecting the right to enjoy their property, IMCO MEPs are recommending that it be curtailed. Some requirements such as those for durability and improved access to repair and maintenance information are good, but others that restrict the owners right to adapt and modify their own machines strike at the very core of motorcycling and are totally unnecessary."
The BMF is now stepping up its lobbying of UK Government and MEPs through its membership of FEMA, the Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations.
Power-train modifications will mean manufacturers employing measures to prevent subsequent modifications by the user that may have adverse effects on safety or the environment. Additionally IMCO added a new article 18a which requires that users seek inspection and approval 'by the competent authorities' in case of substantial power-train modifications.
A detailed report on the IMCO vote will soon be available on the FEMA website: www.fema-online.eu
Issued by Jeff Stone:  t: 0121 709 1040 m: 07802 763094 e: jeffstone@bmf.co.uk
Details on this and other bmf activities can also be found on our web site: www.bmf.co.uk
BMF (Enterprises) Ltd, 3 Oswin Road, Brailsford Industrial Estate, Braunstone, Leics, LE3 1HR. 
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2 December 2011

Westenhanger Car-park

Westenhanger Car-park, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

Aqua cars and wellies only.

1 December 2011

Last Biker Down

Kent Fire Bike are running a series of evening courses to cover all aspects of what to do if a rider in your group has an accident, or if you come across a rider that has come off and needs your help.

At the moment there are no dates confirmed for 2012 but the organiser would like names and email addresses so he can build a waiting list of interested individuals. If a club can get together between 15 and 25 people, then they will put on a special group session.

So, are you interested?  Names at first to me and then by mid-December I need to give them email addresses as well.

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