All posts by Hell8iker

About Hell8iker

Greetings all, I was born in 1976 in Lisbon, Portugal and I am living in London U.K. since 2005. I discovered the world of motorbikes when I was 16, and since then I was never able to quit riding. I am currently a motorcycle instructor working for a motorcycle school in London, teaching and helping out new riders to become safer on the road. I have done a few motorbike trips and I had the idea of a blog a while ago but never got round to do it. This is my first blog and I am not an expert in the art of blogging so there is a possibility that you might find a few mistakes. I will try to do it the best I can covering other aspects about the world of motorcycling and travelling rather than write a simple road diary. Let this be the book about my biker stories and trips and be a source of inspiration for all out there reading my blog!!!!

España Part 1

Salamanca to Lisbon (01/12/18)

 

 

 

I woke up late, slightly hangover, dry and with a headache, silly me!!!!… Thinking I had a 350 mile journey ahead almost turned that headache into a migraine. After a shower and a good reinforced breakfast at the hotel I was ready to get back on the road. Today I would arrive in Lisbon!!!

I left Ibis around 11 am, as usual, the weather was good in South Europe despite the season of the year… nice, warm and sunny.  I did not ride much as I wanted to see a bit of Salamanca before leaving. I parked the bike and walked for a while to the historic side of the city. Sunday morning, the streets where crowded with people, coffee shops were busy and there was even some street animations going on. Salamanca is a lively city day and night for sure.

Salamanca
Walking to the historical center

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salamanca
Salamanca on a Sunday morning.
Salamanca
Historical Salamanca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salamanca
New Cathedral at the back , I had to have a look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Cathedral is together with the Old Cathedral of Salamanca one of the two in the city. It was constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries in a Gothic and and baroque styles. 

Salamanca
The Impressive New Cathedral
Salamanca
The Old Cathedral. I believe at the time I was passing people were exiting after the religious service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salamanca
The New Cathedral
Salamanca
One of the towers of the New Cathedral.

 

Salamanca
Salamanca old Salamanca
Salamanca
These pictures don´t make justice at all of how impressive the Cathedral is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ornamental sculptures are carved along the facades of the Cathedral. In particular the figure of a modern astronaut and a gargoyle eating an ice cream on the facade of the north entrance of the Cathedral, unlike any other, attract dozens of tourists to the door just to photograph these unusual carvings.

 

New Cathedral of Salamanca
The North entrance of the Cathedral
New Cathedral of Salamanca
Note the amazing sculptures carved on the wall all along the entrance.
New Cathedral of Salamanca
Challenge 1: Find the astronaut. Challenge 2: Find the dinosaur eating ice cream.
New Cathedral of Salamanca
The famous intriguing Astronaut.
New Cathedral of Salamanca
The dinosaur or Gargoyle eating ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How could anyone have carved such a clear picture of a modern astronaut in a cathedral built hundreds of years ago and long before such a character existed? 

Apparently this would have happened, in fact, very recently, when, in 1992, the cathedral was restored. The fact would have obeyed an old tradition, in which the restorers usually include some modern element.

Of course this is just a hypothesis, and many claim that the figure has been there since the original construction of the cathedral.

 

There is a lot more to see but I had to start making my way to Lisbon. It was getting late and I had to make a move. I was only 50 miles away from the Portuguese border and could have entered Portugal via Vilar Formoso (North Portugal), however you have to pay tolls on motorways and they are quite expensive together with high petrol prices. It was better to head South and enter Portugal in Badajoz (Spain)/ Elvas (Portugal) meaning that I would be still riding in Spain for another 200 miles or so, and then another 200 miles until I arrive in Lisbon.

The Map
My route from Santander. As usual, I am anti GPS so the route marked on the map together with notes works wonders.

The Spanish autovia A66 (E803) was quite pleasant to ride, nearly empty, in very good condition, and the best of it all, no tolls to pay. I stopped after Bejar to have a quick snack and to refill the petrol tank. Quite curvy and scenic this section and a great sigh seeing of the Autovia I was in. Had to stop for a couple pictures.

The A66
The motorway after Bejar, empty and going downhill towards…
A66 motorway
... towards this great curvy section and amazing scenery. Loved it all the way!!!
The Spanish soil
The places, the scenery, the odors, the bike, the road and the exhaust growling on my ears. All the problems, all the noise in my mind, gone!!! Nothing else matters besides what lies ahead!! That´s why I love long rides!

 

I passed Plasencia, then Caceres and then Badajoz. By 6pm I was about to enter Portugal, so I stopped again to refill my tank right before crossing the border as prices are insanely high.

I entered Portugal on the A6 in Elvas towards Pegoes and then the A2 motorway to Lisbon, in 200 miles I would be at my Portuguese home in family. I did not take any other pictures as I wanted to get home. By 8 Pm I was safe and sound in Lisbon,  although I did not feel safe at all on the Portuguese roads. 

Here is a warning:  If you are planning to ride a motorbike in Portugal, I advise you to do so only if you are an experienced biker, otherwise chances are that you might end up having a serious accident. Portuguese drivers are mad and bad, speed limits are there but nobody respects them at all, most drive dangerously, unconsciously and very aggressively. Also tolls are very expensive, I paid 16.60 Eur for some miserable 120 miles on the motorway,  please be aware of these facts.

 My holidays were just starting…                    

  … Keep an eye for future posts, more to come!!!

 

 

The Crossing

Portsmouth to Santander by Ferry (30/11/18)

 

CBR600f4
My F4 all ready and loaded about to depart to the Ferry in Portsmouth!

 

24 Hours with Brittany Ferries. What a great experience!!!

The Cap Finistère
Riding on the sea!!!

I was due to sail on the 30 st of November by 5 pm from Portsmouth port, however there was a delay of an hour and a half due to someone passing away during the previous trip, unknown to my person the facts of how it happened.

 

Finally around 6.15 pm I was directed to the boarding area. It was a slow process, first the lorries and trailers were allocated  in the ferry garages,  then cars and motorbikes (only 3 counting with mine) and at the end,  caravans and vans. I parked the bike in the designated area and the staff secured it with straps so it would not fall during the trip. Then I was sent to the 7th floor to find my cabin. It was a 4 person berth but the ferry was quite empty so I ended up having it all only for myself, lucky me!!

The ferry garages
Level one garage for cars and motorbikes at the lower deck.
The ferry garages
“Sophia” strapped and secured for a 24 hour sailing on the Atlantic ocean!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Cap Finistere” is a 10 year old  ferry cruise ship serving on “Brittany Ferries” sailing from Portsmouth to Santander or Bilbao in Spain and vice-versa with a capacity for 700 cars and 1600 passengers. It features 2 bars, 2 restaurants, a spa, a mini market, cinema, a swimming pool and a heliport on the top deck in between other facilities. The decoration is good and modern, and there´s Wi-Fi available for free as well (although it´s not the fastest) . Quite impressive  once I was inside I must say!

Cap finistere
Indoor Atrium. One of many.     
Cap Finistere
Floor 7, staircase and lifts.

 

 

 

 

 

Cap Finistere
Simple, modern and warm decoration all round.

 

It was a pleasant trip, as we were leaving Portsmouth I decided to present myself with a  nice dinner and a bottle of wine in order to celebrate my solo journey, followed by a visit to the main bar where there was live music.  I wanted to start writing this post but ended up talking with other passengers and crew as everyone was friendly and warm, great atmosphere.  After a couple pints the ferry was wobbling badly and I was afraid to feel seasick, I supposed we were on high seas already. Around 1 am there was no one around so I went to my cabin and tried to get some sleep. It was a good feeling to be out of the U.K.

 

 

 

I found out the next morning that the crossing was delayed by two hours as someone had an heart attack and an helicopter had to come to pick up the patient. It was a tough landing as the ocean was quite rough. Unfortunately I did not record that event as I was sleeping while it happened. I ended up meeting L. (a very nice lady who told me all about it). She was traveling to Santander to do a car road trip to the Pyrenees and then across France. We exchanged a couple smiles the previous day, ended up meeting and talking a lot. L. was my companion for most of the day as she was a lovely, fun and chatty person. At a point we were told to stay inside due to weather conditions,  and stabilizers had to be deployed as the ocean was quite rough, slowing us down a bit more and balancing the ferry hard.

In open seas.
View from the 6th Deck, Saturday morning around 7.30 am
on the open sea
Later on, same day, being caught in bad weather.
Rough sea
Caught in bad weather!

We docked in Santander by 7.30pm on the 1 st of December, two hours later than predicted (26 hours in total), it was time to wish L. safe travels and to part ways.  Unfortunately it was dark already and I could not see much beside the road, I headed straight towards Torrelavega on the A67 motorway, going up the Cantabrian mountain.   I stopped at a service area next to Reinosa to fill up my tank, also to have dinner as it was nearly  9 pm and I was getting hungry. I was around 1500 meters above the sea level and I could feel the cold, so it was time to swap my summer gloves for my winter ones. From there it was non stop until Salamanca where I booked a night at an Ibis hotel. The Spanish motorway was quite nice, empty and in good condition. I passed the cities of Palencia, Valadolid and finally arrived in Salamanca by midnight, 250 miles later and 4 hours after I left Santander Port. It was time to park the bike and call it a day.

Hotel Ibis
One night in Salamanca

Instead of going to sleep as I should I decided to go for a beer. I ended up staying out until late night. I found out that people from Salamanca are true party animals, I went from bar to bar, from beer to beer trying to find a spot where I could sit down, enjoy some music and a drink but it was nearly impossible, it was crowded everywhere and the streets packed with locals enjoying themselves. The Spanish are loud and talkative, so I met a few people along the way sharing a few laughs. 

 

I went back to the hotel around 4.30 am, tipsy, exhausted and nearly forgetting I had 350 miles waiting for me next day… 

U.K/ Portugal Dec 2018

 

This road trip came up quite unplanned and unexpected… Personal reasons led me to embrace on this adventure. I was supposed to fly home and get back in early January, however my traveling bug on two wheels was stronger. After a brief chat with a friend I decided to book a ferry from Portsmouth to Santander in Spain and from there ride to Lisbon in Portugal.
This is a solo trip, time for myself, the road, the bike and I. My plan is to ride straight from Santander to Lisbon depending of weather conditions, or maybe I will book a night at an hotel half way so I can enjoy the scenery (which I am not expecting to be that amazing). The way back will be by the 10th of January 2019 via Bilbao to Portsmouth.
I will sail for the first time on the 30st of November from Portsmouth at 5pm being the arrival time in Spain next day around 5.30pm. It is going to be a tough and a lone trip, but I will try to update with pictures and posts in real time as I progress instead of writing it down later like the previous trips.
As usual, I did my usual research and prepared all the essentials in order to avoid surprises whilst on the road. While routing the trip I didn´t look at any scenic routes as usual, this time I will be mainly doing the boring motorway until I arrive at my Portuguese home.
I might end up taking you on a discovery trip about Portugal and its beauty on my future posts. It will also be my first time in Portugal by motorbike since I left to the U.K making this trip more exciting. 
Honda CBR 600F4 2001
My “Sophia”!!!

 

Stage 1: From Portsmouth, 30 of November 2018 at 5pm. 24 hours by Ferry to Santander. ETA 1st of December 2018 by 5.30pm

 

Stage 2:   Santander to Lisbon, 1st of December 2018 being the ETA in Lisbon unknown… I guess I will play it by ear.

 

                                                                                                                               To be continued…

Motorbike maintenance

 

IMAG0796

Nobody is born with mechanical knowledge.  I remember when  I purchased my first bike, I had no clue about motorcycles at all. It was a friend who had a bike already who came to my house and got my bike to start as I kept on flooding it. He removed the spark plug, cleaned it, dried up the piston head and started up my little two stroke 50cc. That was all new and unknown to me, since then I have learnt a lot and I am still learning.

Motorbikes do  ‘speak’ to us and it’s vital that we listen!!!

Noises, vibrations, grinding, rattling, rubbing, whistling, odd smells, exhaust smokes, sudden loss of power, is the language of the motorcycle telling you to pull over, get off and take a look before it is too late. It is imperative to constantly check for faults and to understand what the bike is asking us.

Reading the owners manual (if you have it) will help developing the ability to identify components,  possible faults and to know when to do a routine service. Or if you don´t have the owners manual the internet is a powerful tool to find out more about your motorbike. You won´t only be safer as you will reduce costs greatly and it will prevent you from being stranded on the road.

B.E.S.T. C.O.P.S.

 

BRAKES:

Brake pads are like a soap bar. They get used every time you apply the brakes and eventually will wear out. You have to replace them periodically in order to be safer on the road and to avoid unwanted extra cost.

From time to time inspect the front and rear brake pads. If they show to be close to the end or if they are gone you will listen a squealing noise meaning that the pad is nearly to the end of their life (probably it´s the wear indicator rubbing against the disk). A grinding noise on braking is usually caused by a lack of brake pad material; the pads and disk brakes are now metal to metal, with no braking material left and damaging your disc.

Also check that brake calipers, disc brakes and brake lines are all in good working order and brake fluid is at the level (see note at the end).

brake pads.jpg

 

ELECTRICS:

 Check if all lights are working properly  (indicators, headlight, back and brake lights, number plate light, horn and dashboard lights). If something isn´t working, check the bulbs, the connections, fuses or if the switch has some bad contact. In case the battery is low maybe it is better to replace it; if it is discharging quickly maybe you should check if it is charging properly ( A faulty rectifier is a common issue on bikes). In addition if you are just the occasional biker and your bike is not ridden regularly it is always a good idea to buy a battery optimizer and put the battery on charge the night before you ride.

 

 

 

 

SUSPENSION:

Inspect the fork seals or dust seals from time to time as you have oil inside the fork. Also check if the inner forks have any dents or chips as they can also increase the chance of premature leaks and fork seal early damage.

That oil residue or a dirty greasy ring around the fork is a sign that you have a problem. Oil is getting past the fork seals and attracting dirt. You should replace the fork seals sooner rather than later as once they start, things will quickly get worse and oil will flow down to your brakes or font tyre.   You really don’t want to let that happen or you will be exposed to unnecessary risks.

In modern bikes you should be able to adjust settings such as the pre-load, compression and rebound damping but if you are unknown to these don´t worry, normally motorbikes are sold already optimized for the road with a standard set up so let´s leave that discussion for a different day!

 

TYRES:

             Condition:  have a daily visual check on your tyres and side walls. Look out for nails, bulges, cracks and cuts. If you have a nail stuck in it, don´t remove it and take your bike to the nearest garage to repair it. As an alternative you can buy a puncture repair kit and repair it yourself in case you know how to, otherwise leave the job for a professional. Bulges, cracks or deep cuts should  can indicate internal damage and should be checked immediately by a specialist.

Tyre condition

              Tread: The legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on your motorbike tyres  is 1mm across 3/4 of the tread. The tread is designed to give a good grip on the wet and to prevent aquaplaning by dissipating water out of the tyre. You can either measure the tread by buying a little gauge specific for tyres or by looking at the tyre. Normally there are some bumps in the grooves indicating the wear. If your rubber starts to be close to these marks, it´s time to get a new tyre or your safety is seriously compromised, just not to mention that if you get pulled over with a bald tyre you will get a heavy fine and possibly points on your license.

Tread

 

            Tyre pressure: Once a week check and re adjust your tyre air pressure when the tyres are still cold as riding under or over the ideal pressure not only affects handling drastically as it will damage and wear out your tyres, and may increase fuel consumption. Go to a petrol station or buy an air pump with a gauge to check this.  The air pressure units can be measured in P.S.I or BAR. Be aware that air pressure varies according to your bike type, if you ride with a passenger or heavy luggage . Check your owners manual for an accurate ideal pressure for your bike or check on your bike. (Ignore the pressure indicated on the tyre wall as that valor is the max pressure for heavy loads on the bike.)

tyre_pressure

Note: When you fit brand new tyres they will need a running-in period around 100/150 miles. Pay extra care on bends, avoid excessive acceleration or abusive braking during this early stage.  This should be done in order to scuff in the tyre surface and remove the superficial gum as it is extremely slippery. After that period you can start riding your bike normally.

CHAIN:

chain and sprockets

The first sign that your chain might not be in its best state is that your gearshifts start to feel a lot less fluid than they once did. You should look at the tension of the chain. A new chain will need a slight adjustment between 300 to 600 miles as it needs to adjust to the new sprockets and after that you should check it and adjust it every 500 to 700 miles depending of how you ride. A loose chain wears out the sprockets and reduces its lifetime, or if it is too tight it can damage the sprockets teeth or the rear wheel bearings. More severe consequences include the chain breaking up increasing the risk of injury or fall. Your chain should have around half inch to one inch of slack for optimal adjustment.

loose chain

 

Every time you adjust the chain you have also to align the rear wheel. Normally there are marks on the swing arm for a fine alignment and a nut to align, stretch or lose the chain tension as you need. If you are adjusting the chain too often perhaps your chain needs replacement or you just bought a bad one.

chain

The chain should also be always lubricated. Inspect it and if it shows that it is dry, it should be re-greased, especially after an extended journey in the rain.  Over time, oil, dust and worn materials clog together and form a kind of a paste.  These will shorten the service life of the entire chain kit through increased wear.  A dry and clean chain is more desirable for quality effectiveness of the chain spray. You can clean it using a brush (non metal one), a chain cleaner and a cloth. Spin the wheel while spraying the chain with the cleaner and let it actuate for a couple mins, then wipe it out with a cloth. Once this is done you can now apply the lube on the chain and lubricate it again. Don´t ride immediately and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes so the lube will penetrate in the chain components. 

products

If you just need to lubricate the chain, apply the chain lube after riding as the chain will be hot and the lube will adhere better and leave the bike to rest. Ideally you can do this at the end of the day when you get home.

Note: The chain and sprockets (Can be a belt or shaft but that´s different) are the final drive of a motorbike and should be checked periodically. There´s no economy at all when you buy a cheap chain as they will wear out 3 or 4 times quicker than a good one. My piece of advice is, buy a decent chain and always replace it together with the sprockets to avoid these to damage the new chain.  A good chain and sprockets should last around 20/25 thousand miles easily and without much hassle depending of how you ride. Of course, maintenance is mandatory in order to get it to last.

 

OIL:

Maybe one of the most significant motorbike maintenance points. Engine oil!!!! The oil is the lifeblood of the motorbike. It lubricates the engine protecting moving parts from wear and tear caused by friction and thereby prolongs the engine´s life. Oil also helps to cool down the engine, collects debris and prevents oxidation inside the engine internal components.

 An engine running with a very low oil level will have a poor lubrication and therefore will generate more heat risking wear and tear rapidly or even a massive breakdown by seizing the engine it if runs dry. An engine with excessive oil level may affect the bike performance, it might burn together with fuel and give a sluggish feeling just not to mention that it will blow up the gaskets and consequently oil leaks will come due to too much pressure in the engine.

Due to all these reasons it is extremely important to check regularly the oil level. Some motorbikes have a glass window in the engine others have a deep stick so we can check the oil level. You should do it when the engine is cold so the oil is all in the engine pan and the bike on a flat surface  or you won´t have a accurate reading.

 

 

Oil changes and the oil type are vital in order to prolong your engine´s life, keeping it running smoothly and without faults. There are different types of oils, so you need to check your bike manual in order to find which one is appropriate ( there are mineral oils, semi-synthetic oils and fully synthetic oils. Four stroke oils and two stroke oils). A good quality oil also helps prolonging the engine life.

Your motorbike manual will indicate the oil change intervals and I do really recommend any biker to stick to that. Or, if you want some peace of mind, change your oil a bit earlier, keeping it always fresh in the engine. Every bike from the little 125cc to the big 1400cc has a specific time to change the oil, again, check your owner´s manual. For example, for my bike I should change the oil every 5000 miles, however I do it every 3000/3500 miles. A broken down oil has little lubrication properties, creates more friction in the engine components which generates more heat, increases risk of damage, reduces performance and potentially the life time of the engine. ( One of my bikes has 95000 miles. The engine runs smoothly thanks to oil changes before the recommended).

Old and New OIL

Note: Worth to mention that you should change your air filter and oil filter every second oil change to keep your engine always at an optimal performance and to extend durability. If you have an aftermarket air filter element then you don´t need to replace it, perhaps just to clean it. 

Apart from the oil you should check other fluids such as the coolant level and the radiator water level ( don´t do this last one after riding or you risk burning yourself.)

 

PETROL:

This is more for those who don´t ride daily and only take the bike out once in a blue moon. Nothing wrong about old petrol in a bike tank, however be aware that if you leave it for a long period of time it might deteriorate and leave some residue. That residue can go to the fuel filter so, maybe better replace the petrol filter (if the bike isn´t ridden for years). Also don´t ride with your bike near the reserve constantly as normally tanks may have some particles of dirt, rust that can go to your fuel system. If you are the occasional rider, make sure you leave enough petrol in your tank at least to ride to the nearest petrol station to then fill up with fresh petrol.

 

STEERING:

The steering has a major effect on handling and requires regular maintenance. The steering has head bearing and connects the front wheel to the rest of the motorcycle. On big bikes the brutal acceleration and slow down pressure,  sometimes up to 1G forces have a direct impact on the steering bearings.  If you feel and hear a knock coming from the steering or you feel weird vibrations as you ride perhaps the steering bearings need adjustment. ( It is an easy job but I do recommend a professional to do so). Now if the steering is stiff as you move it from side to side that could mean two things. The steering bearings are now gone and need replacement, or, maybe there´s a cable, wire or pipe obstructing your steering preventing its natural course.

steering head bearings

 

OTHER:

Bolts and nuts, check mainly the joint points of the bike, fairing bolts and wheel nuts as you don’t want your wheel to come off or to lose fairing panels as you ride. Check cables such as the clutch cable as sometimes they tend to snap. Check if the throttle is working freely and optimally. Look for any visual damage such as cracks, dents, or scratches on the motorbike´s body, mirrors etc. Don´t forget to wash your motorbike from time to time, especially during the winter time (in countries like the U.K) as roads might be gritted to help de-icing. Grit is very acidic and penetrates in everything that is metal corroding it, so a regular wash will slow down that process.

On a non regular basis, every two years and for optimal performance you should replace the brake fluid and the suspension oil as both are mineral oils and therefore they deteriorate. A brake caliper rebuild is also advisable as the washers will eventually wear out, especially if you live in a country where the winters are severe. Keep an eye on the cam chain, if you listen a rattle coming from the engine could be the cam chain tensioner or the cam chain at the end of its life. If that the case replace cam chain, cam guides and the tensioner.

Note: I only mentioned aspects about basic maintenance of a motorbike, for more detailed information check your owners manual or seek advice with a professional in case you have some kind of anomaly. However, if you regularly check these points I mentioned, your motorbike should not give you much hassle!!!

Thanks for reading!!!                                 

Feel free to comment or share!!!

 

Quiz

Ok, let´s do a little quiz and find out your road knowledge level. This should be fun and at the same time you might learn a thing or two.

This is not an official quiz meaning that its structure and wording may be different  from an official theory test. Its main purpose is to help a better approach to the road.

If you have any suggestions about how to get this quiz better, if you think I should add anything else  or  if you simply want to share your score, please do it in the comments area at the bottom of the page.

HAVE FUN WHILST LEARNING!!!

 

 

 

****QUIZ**** QUIZ****QUIZ****QUIZ****QUIZ****QUIZ****

 

Green answer= correct

Red Answer= incorrect or wrong

 

What´s the only piece(s) of equipment required by law in the U.K. when riding a motorbike?
Helmet
That is true. The helmet is the ONLY legal requirement regarding equipment in the U.K. ( If you are from the Sikh religion you don´t need to wear a helmet as long as you wear a turban).  Also be aware that if you are traveling abroad the legal requirements may be different.
Helmet and motorbike jacket
A protective motorbike jacket is strongly recommended but it´s not legal requirement.
Helmet, motorbike jacket and gloves
Ooops!!! that´s quite not right!!!
Helmet and motorbike gloves
Even if gloves are recommended, they are not a legal requirement.
  Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
What is a blind spot?
An area you can´t see on your mirrors.
Spot on!!! Remember, the mirrors only reflect what´s behind!!
The area shown on the mirrors.
Uh-Oh, That´s very very wrong!!!
The area right behind the motorbike.
Wrong!!! Isn´t that what mirrors show?!
A dirty area on your helmet visor.
Definitely wrong!! If you answered this one I strongly recommend you to read the highway code book again!
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

What is the difference in between these two signs?
On the Stop sign you must come to a complete stop even if it is clear to go. On the Give Way sign, you don´t need to stop if it is clear to continue.
Correct, on the give way you must slow down and look. If there´s a vehicle approaching then you stop and give him way. On the Stop sign you simply stop by the white line.
You must stop on both signs.
Wrong. Try to find the correct answer again.
Both mean the same. You have to stop if there is a vehicle approaching otherwise you don´t have to stop.
Wrong!!!! That´s the give way sign.
The Stop sign means that you have to stop and the Give Way sign means that you have priority.
Absolutely wrong. You do that, and you are dead.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
When riding we often look over our left or right shoulder because:
We need to look for hazards on our blind spot areas.
Correct!!! An action also known  as shoulder check or life saver.
The motorbike has no mirrors.
Wrong!!!
We listen better to the traffic around when turning the head.
Obviously wrong!! Hope you didn´t answer this one.
Looking around all the time helps us to see other road users better.
Not correct. You don´t need to do shoulder checks every two seconds.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
What should be our correct riding position in our lane on a normal two way road without obstructions and when we don´t intend to maneuver at all?
On the middle of the lane.
Absolutely correct. By doing so, you are in front of other drivers and it´s the position that offers you better protection. (Of course, sometimes we use other positions either to take advantage of them or for our protection)
On the left side of the lane, close to the kerb or pavement.
Wrong. By doing so you are inviting everyone to overtake you, getting yourself in a very compromising situation and also you are now on the peripheral vision of other drivers.
On the right side of the lane close to the oncoming traffic.
It is not safe at all. You are on the peripheral vision of other drivers. Traffic behind might undertake you and overtake you, no protection. Too close to the oncoming traffic may not be safe either.
On the right side of the road.
Hell no!! If you answered this, simply STOP riding until you are familiar with the left hand drive.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

What type of road signs are these?
They are warning or danger road signs.
100% correct. And that´s for all triangular road signs you find out there.
They are informative signs.
Nope. I suggest you to review my U.K. Road Signs post again in order to get it right.
They are directional signs.
Not these ones.
They are positive order signs.
That is 100% wrong. Read the U.K. Road signs post so you can improve your knowledge
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
How should you ride your motorbike when new tyres were just fitted?
Carefully until the shiny surface is worn off.
A brand new fitted tyre will be slippery due to a grease they have. It is important to ride the first 100/150 miles gently without putting too much stress on new tyres. Once that “gum” is worn off you can then ride normally.
Fast and weaving a lot so the tyre will warm up.
First things first. You are not Valentino Rossi no matter how good you think you are. A new tyre will always need to be ridden gently at first.
I should do a burnout to wear out the gum they have when they are new.
Do that often and in no time you are buying a new tyre.
Gently for the first 5 miles as they are new and then normally.
I am afraid but you will need to ride new tyres for quite longer than that to wear off the grease they have when they are new.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
You are riding on a dual carriage way. What should you do before changing lanes?
Check your mirrors, signal and do a shoulder check before changing lanes.
good stuff!!! That´s the way to do it safely. By looking over your shoulder you are covering your blind spot area!!
Check your mirrors, signal and change lane.
Wrong!!! If you do like that you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. Always do your shoulder check to cover your blind spot area.
Speed up and change lanes.
Wrong!! always apply your OSM PSL routine before changing lanes.
Indicate so you have the right of way.
Nope!!!! An indicator never gives the right of way towards drivers. Indicators are used only to inform other road users about our intention of maneuvering.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
What is likely to happen if you get cold and wet when riding your motorbike?
Your concentration level will drop down.
That´s correct. Always adjust your gear according to the weather conditions before a journey to avoid unnecessary risks.
Your reflexes and reaction time will be quicker.
Absolutely not. As you are cold and wet you will be way less attentive to your surroundings.
Your visor will steam up.
That´s a possibility when riding in cold weather but it isn´t the correct answer to this question.
You will get sick.
You might later on, but this is not the answer we are looking for in here.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

You are approaching this roundabout and you want to go to the 1st exit. Which indicator are you going to use?
Left indicator.
Correct. Also you want to position yourself on the outside lane in the roundabout to be safer and to help the traffic to flow better, reducing that way the risk of accident.
Right indicator.
Wrong and dangerous. If you are doing that you are informing everyone you are looking to go exit 3, 4 or that you may be doing a U-turn in the roundabout.
No indication.
Despite the fact many drivers don´t make use of their indicators often doesn´t mean we have to be the same. Try looking for the correct answer.
Switch hazard lights on.
Wrong and I don´t think an explanation is needed.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

You want to take the 2nd exit on the roundabout, which indicator should you use when approaching the roundabout?
None.
Yep, that´s correct.  You should indicate left only as you pass the first exit to inform other drivers about your intention of leaving the roundabout onto the 2nd exit.
Left indicator.
Wrong. By doing that you are informing everyone you intend to exit on the first exit.
Right indicator.
That is wrong. You should never indicate right if your exit is before or is at the middle of the roundabout. ( Go to my roundabouts post and read about the clock tip)
Right indicator on the roundabout approach, and left indicator before exit two.
That is not correct. On the approach you should not indicate at all, however you do a left indicator after you pass the first exit.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
You are riding slowly in the city or town centre. Why should you do a shoulder check to the left before turning left?
To check for cyclists or motorbikes.
Yep. When riding slowly in busy town centres be aware of cyclists and mopeds especially. They are quick and they can fit in narrow places. When turning left it is important to check if no one is trying to filter past you.
It will give me extra stability when turning left.
Absolutely non sense.
To look for any road signs on the left.
Wrong!! You should have looked for these way before turning.
You don´t need to do a shoulder check left.
Errrr… Yes you do. Try a different answer.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

You want to go to the 3rd exit. Which indicator should you use on the roundabout approach?
Right indicator.
Well answered. You position yourself right and  indicate right. don´t forget to position yourself on the inside the roundabout always indicating right until you reach the 2nd exit. Then switch your indicator to the left, do a should check left and if it is safe go across to the outside lanes towards the 3rd exit.
Hazard lights.
Wrong and no comments added!!!
None.
That is wrong. We should inform other road users about our maneuvering intentions. In this case you should use the right indicator.
Left indicator.
Wrong. Although you go around the roundabout by the left you should indicate right on the approach. ( Read the roundabout post of my blog for better understanding of this please)
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points


What is the passing sequence in this junction?
Yellow, Blue, Red.
Correct!!!
Red, Blue, Yellow.
That´s not right. The red one is the last to go as he is on a minor road. Try a different answer.
Blue, Red, Yellow.
Wrong! If you do that, you will end up having an accident. Although the blue one is on the main road, he must give way to the yellow one.
Yellow, Red, Blue.
It is wrong. The yellow is always the first to pass followed by the blue as he is on a main road as well. The red one is always the last except if road signs tell you otherwise.

Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
What´s the national speed limit on a single carriage way for motorcycles and cars?
60mph.
Yep, 60 mph on single carriage ways and 70mph on dual carriage ways.
90mph.
Exceeding the speed limits can be dangerous and may result in points on your license together with a fine. You should know the speed limit of a road by observing the road signs.
30mph.
That´s the max speed limit for built up areas such as towns or residential areas. Careful, riding way below the speed limit may not be safe as you will potentially create a congestion behind you.
50mph.
Wrong. It´s a little bit more. Try a different answer.
 
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

 
What is this sign?
Dual carriage ends.
Correct! Be aware of traffic merging from a dual lane into a single lane.
Road narrows.
Not right. That´s a different sign.
Dual carriage way starts ahead.
Wrong. This sign means exactly the opposite
No overtaking.
Wrong. I suggest you to re-do the quiz after reading the highway code book.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

 

What sign is this?
Give way to oncoming traffic.
Well answered!!!
Priority over oncoming traffic.
Be careful, that´s not quite right.
No overtaking.
Very wrong. Road signs are extremely important, by not understanding them we are putting our and other road users life at a high risk.
End of two way road.
Wrong!! Tomorrow it will be give way to oncoming traffic.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

 

What type of road signs are these?
Negative order or prohibition.
Correct!!!
Warning signs.
Nope. The triangles are warning signs.
Positive order signs.
Wrong!!! I recommend you to the highway code book again or my post entitled U.K.Road signs.
Information signs.
Ooops. I hope you didn´t answered this, otherwise you may have trouble on the road.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

What are the two dashed white lines inside the red box?
A give way road marking.
Exactly!!! In the absence of a vertical sign the dashed lines across tell you that you must give way to traffic.
It´s a stop line road mark.
It´s wrong. A stop line marked on the road is a continuous thick and single while line marked across the lane.
It means priority over other road users.
Absolutely not!!! If you think this was the correct answer you will end up having an accident.
Forbidden to stop on them.
Hell no!!!!
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
What should you be sure of before riding anyone´s else motorbike?
That your insurance covers riding other motorbikes than your own.
Some insurance companies don´t offer this option if you don´t require it. If you borrow a motorbike make sure you are allowed to ride it.
That the owner insured the motorbike.
Not correct. Even if the bike is insured you need to have your own insurance to ride other motorbikes.
That the owner has the insurance documents.
It´s wrong. You need to have your own insurance.
That the owner insured his motorbike at least with a 3rd party insurance.
It´s wrong. Again, you need to have your own insurance and it needs to cover riding other bikes than yours.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
Which of the following you should do before stopping at red traffic lights?
Check the mirrors.
Correct!!! By doing so you are getting aware of what´s happening behind you reducing the risk of being hit from behind.
Select a high gear.
Absolutely not!!! On the slow down you want to shift down gradually helping with the brakes until you come to a stop. During this process it is only wise and safe to check your mirrors so you can see what´s happening behind.
Sound the horn to warn others you are stopping.
Wrong answer!!! No comments added.
Get your legs out so when you stop you won´t fall.
That is a very wrong answer. Legs should be kept on the bike or operating the foot controls until the moment before you come to a full stop.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

 

What does this sign mean?
Minimum speed, 30mph.
That´s right, spot on!!!
Maximum speed, 30mph.
Wrong. Don´t mistake the circular red bordered 30 sign with this one.
Recommended 30mph.
Wrong answer. only if it was blue rectangle.
Road only for vehicles over 30 tonnes.
Wrong. A non sense answer just to prove you should read the highway code book before any attempt to drive or ride.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

You are riding your motorbike and you come across this sign, what is it telling you?
It is a bus lane sign and you are allowed to use it 24 hours, no restriction.
Correct. This bus lane is open to all vehicles shown on the sign. The time restriction is not applied to motorbikes.
It is a bus lane and you are not allowed to use it anytime.
Wrong. This bus lane is open to all vehicles shown on the sign including motorbikes, 24hours no restriction. 
You can use this bus lane only in the period shown underneath.
Wrong. The period of time on this sign is not for motorbikes, cars can drive on this bus lane but only OUT of the period shown underneath.
All vehicles shown on that sign are forbidden during the period shown.
Not right at all. It is exactly the opposite. I do recommend you to read the BUS LANES post on my blog.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
If traffic lights are out of order at a junction who has the right of way?
Nobody.
Correct!! You should treat that junction as an unmarked crossroad. Be prepared to stop or give way. Be aware of traffic attempting to cross the junction. Approach with extreme caution. 
Traffic going straight.
Wrong. You should treat that junction as an unmarked crossroad. Be prepared to stop or give way. Be aware of traffic attempting to cross the junction. Approach with extreme caution.
Traffic turning right.
 Wrong!! You should treat that junction as an unmarked crossroad. Be prepared to stop or give way. Be aware of traffic attempting to cross the junction. Approach with extreme caution.
Traffic turning left.
 Wrong!!! You should treat that junction as an unmarked crossroad. Be prepared to stop or give way. Be aware of traffic attempting to cross the junction. Approach with extreme caution.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points
Why are young motorcyclists more likely to have accidents and crashes?
Because they are inexperienced.
That´s right!! Over confidence and a bad judgement can lead a biker to take poor decisions getting them more exposed to an accident. It is important to develop skills and techniques to be safer on the road.
Because they do wheelies.
That´s right!! Over confidence and a bad judgement can lead a biker to take poor decisions getting them more exposed to an accident. It is important to develop skills and techniques to be safer on the road.
Because they are too slow.
Not right. Over confidence and a bad judgement can lead a biker to take poor decisions getting them more exposed to an accident. It is important to develop skills and techniques to be safer on the road.
Because they are too scared to be pulled over by the police.
Wrong. Over confidence and a bad judgement can lead a biker to take poor decisions getting them more exposed to an accident. It is important to develop skills and techniques to be safer on the road.
Correct at a first attempt 2 Points  
Correct at a second attempt 1 Point 
Correct at a 3rd or 4th attempts 0 points

 

SCORE:

BETWEEN 43 and 50:

Ace!!!! Well done!!!! You probably are a safe rider!!!

BETWEEN 25 and 42:

Not too bad, but the lower you scored in this range means that there´s space for improvement. Have a second read on the commuting posts and highway code book and come back to see if you got better.

BETWEEN 1 and 24:

Novice!!! You scored very low. This is not an official test but shows that you have a poor knowledge. You might not be safest on the road and it is only and wise to suggest you to buy or download “The DVSA official highway code” or “The Official DVSA Guide to Learning to Ride” books so you will become better and safer. On my site you can also find some good tips, however  I´m only showing the tip of the iceberg.

If you don´t ride and you want to ride, try to understand road signs and rules before you do  a CBT. It will be easier to go trough it and obtain your license.

 

The Official DVSA Guide to Learning to Ride

One  or both books will help you out to become a a safer, wiser and a better biker!!! Remember, we only have one life!!!

 

Hope you liked my quiz!!!

U.K. Road Signs

 

 

Understanding road signs is one of the most important components when we are driving or riding on public roads. Without a reasonable  knowlegde of these it will be very difficult to stay safe and to garanty for other road users safety, especially when we ride or drive in urban busy areas.
Road signs are the bible for anyone who drives, rides or is about to become a road user, so I decided to do this post where I will try to explain a few signs particularly for those who are less experienced or unfamiliar with the U.K. Road Signs.

 

   How To Understand Road Signs   

 RED BORDER CIRCLES– Normally prohibition signs or negative orders.
RED BORDER TRIANGLES– Normally warning signs.
 BLUE CIRCLES– Indicate a positive order or obligation. 
BLUE or WHITE RECTANGLES– Informative signs.
BLUE or GREEN backgrounds  and BLACK BORDER RECTANGLES,  or BROWN BACKGROUND RECTANGULAR- Direction signs, primary routes, secondary routes and other directions such as points of interest. 

 

PROHIBITION or NEGATIVE ORDER SIGNS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 WARNING SIGNS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important note:  The give way sign and Stop sign, both mean that we have no priority at a junction, We must stop to give way to any traffic from the left or right. The difference in between them is that on the give way sign you must look both sides, and in case it is safe to make a turn there is no need to stop at the junction. On the STOP sign, you must stop at the junction independently of any vehicle approaching or not.

 

POSITIVE ORDER or OBLIGATION SIGNS:

 

 

 

 

A FEW EXAMPLES OF INFORMATION SIGNS:

 

Example
NOTE: The “Right of way over oncoming vehicles” is always opposite to the “Give way to oncoming vehicles”  as shown on the example above.

 

 

DIRECTION SIGNS:

 

THE NATIONAL SPEED LIMIT AND ITS SIGN:

This road sign and meaning  apparently seems to generate confusion to most people so I hope this explanation can clarify my little audience about “the national speed limit”.  ( Please note that the value changes according to the type of vehicle we are using, and this post is more motorbike orientated.)

THE SIGN:

NEGATIVE ORDERS
National Speed Limit Applies

 

National Speed Limit
Max 60 MPH on Single carriageways
National Speed Limit
Max 60 MPH on dual carriageways separated by a single or dual continuous line

 

 

NATIONAL SPEED LIMIT
Max 70MPH on a dual carriageway with a physical divider (eg. Metal rail, pavement, etc)

ROAD MARKINGS:

Road markings are part of the highway code (our bible). They strongly contribute in  guidance, orientation and safety for any vehicle, motorist or pedestrian on the road. They shouldn´t be ignored at any time as their role is fulcral in order to keep the traffic flowing orderly. Also many road marks work in parallel with vertical signs and often replacing a traffic sign in its absence, so it is imperative we understand them.

 

Road Markings across the carriageway:
Road marking
Junction marking. Give way to any traffic on a major road. (Can also be at mini-roundabouts.)
Road Marking
Junction marking. Stopping line at a STOP SIGN.

 

 

 

 

 

Road marking
Give way to traffic on the right at a roundabout.
 Along the carriageway:

 

Road markingThis dashed central line separates a two way road or divides lanes on a road with two or more lanes. The dashed line along the road also indicates that overtaking is allowed on a two way road and changing lane in a road with two or more lanes is also allowed.
Road markingA central double white line separates a two way road or dual carriage way. Overtaking is allowed to the traffic on the dashed line side and a continuous white line forbids it to all traffic traveling  on opposite direction. 
Road marking Similar to the previous road marking. It can be on a two way road or a dual carriage way. In this case the continuous white central lines indicate that overtaking is on allowed to any traffic on both directions.  
Along the carriageway Stopping and Parking road marking restrictions:
Road marking
NOTE: Be aware that stopping time may vary from council to council or city to city and traffic wardens may operate in the area issuing penalties to enforce the rule.

 

Red Lines

 

Other road markings:

 

Other Road marking

Other road marking
Road Marking indicating direction of the lanes
NOTE: I only posted a few road signs, probably the most common signs you will find on the roads. There are way more signs and road markings (pedestrian crossings, yellow junction and bycicle boxes and more), so for a better knowledge I recomend you to read the highway code book. This post is merely to help out a bit those in need.
Leave your comment below if you feel like I should add anything else or mention other aspects than these. Thanks

Day 12

Trets CassisTrets  08/08/17 (9am/7pm)

 

It felt weird to wake up in an unknown house however, we slept quite comfortably… as opposed to our infltable camping mattresses. Our aim today was to visit Cassis. As suggested by E. (Marie´s friend) there are great walking paths and beaches on the “Calanques de Cassis“, and it is a good way to spend the day. A quick shower and breakfast, beach towels and in no time we were on the road road again!!!
Another day on holidays, another summer day, another hot day!!!
Trets
Mountain view near Trets. Beautiful!!
Our road ride got us a little lost for a while. I didn´t take my tank bag where I kept my maps so we were riding by GPS… Conclusion,  we got lost and we spent most of the morning trying to find Cassis. I  did the mistake of entering the A8 and we were riding  back and forwards confused, to end up in Marseille accidently. I didn´t take any pictures as we didn´t want to lose time however I found Marseille ugly, dirty and  a bit of a dodgy city, people also drive madly (like in most cities I guess). We were pretty much lost in the city centre, not knowing where to turn or where to go, until finally and after asking a few people, a local guy on a scooter (250cc at least) was kind enough to show us the right way. ( He also was mad on the road making it difficult for us to follow him). Uff, once out of chaotic Marseille  we were back to the nice and scenic country side roads. We arrived in Cassis around 12pm, later than we wanted… of course, before anything, we were hungry already, so meal first.
Cassis is situated in the Mediterranean Coast, East of Marseille in the Cote-de-Azur department. It is a very picturesque town by the sea, famous for the outstanding “Calanques de Cassis” (Cassis cliffs), port and beaches making it a very touristic town.
This is Cassis
The port, the fortress and the cliff
This is Cassis
Cassis and the beautiful sea front.
This is Cassis
The fortress of Cassis (which we didn´t visit) and the port where you can do boat trips

 

We walked a bit near the port just admiring the town and taking pictures here and there when we found a company that offer boat trips around the famous “Calanques”. Instead of walking as suggested by E. we decided to book a boat trip as it could be interesting and maybe we would have time to enjoy the beach after.

The boat trip and the “Calanques de Cassis”!!!!

Cassis
This is the Calanques de Cassis
Quite affordable and a great experience that´s what I can say; there are several boats operating in Cassis so the waiting time isn´t long even if it is a quite popular attraction there. The trip lasts for about an hour  and a half  but it is well worth it. There´s a touring guide that also comments on the Calanques all the time. ( If you understand french you might find it amusing too). We took loads of pictures and it was hard to decide which ones to upload but here are a few:
NOTE: Click on the pictures for a better viewing, it is really worth!!!

 

 

Leaving Cassis by boat:

 

 

 

The Calanques de Cassis:

 

 

Little bays and beaches in the Calanques:

 

 

 

 

 

Way back to Cassis:

 

 

I could have uploaded a few more but I believe the pictures above give a pretty good idea about the “Calanques”. It is an amazing spot and much better in person. There are many little bays with little beaches and ports. It is all populated with people on the water swimming, bathing and doing all sorts of activities, either on the water or simply sunbathing in their boats, however it isn´t crowded, which is good. Definitely Cassis is a good place for holidays… maybe someday in the future!!!
It was still early so we had time for a sunbath and a swim on the beach. The sea in Cassis was a bit more wavy and not as hot as in Saint-Maxime, but with 22 degrees in the water it is still awesome.
Cassis beach
It was hot and there was I somewhere in the water… swimming, diving or just relaxing and floating…
By 6pm we were leaving Cassis to get back in Trets ( this time we didn´t get lost). My other half wanted to get back to catch up with her friend. We had dinner and a few drinks at E. and bedtime was calling us. (P.S. if you read this, many thanks for the hospitality E.). The following morning we would be leaving Trets to get back to Saint-Andre-Les Alpes and enjoy our last two days on holidays before the road ride back to London.
Cassis… What an amazing place!!!