Casual remarks that I make in the News sometimes need explanation.
Unlike every other weblog you ever saw, this one is in correct chronological order so you can read it the right way round.
1 Jan 2021
22 Jan 2021
19 Feb 2021
Up for the challenge
26 Feb 2021
Out with the old
5 Mar 2021
Puns NOT intended
12 Mar 2021
26 Mar 2021
23 Apr 2021
21 May 2021
25 Jun 2021
In the matrix
2 Jul 2021
18 Jul 2021
Found us melting
14 Aug 2021
27 Sep 2021
1 Oct 2021
Nine hundred, change hands
8 Oct 2021
30 Oct 2021
5 Nov 2021
19 Nov 2021
23 Dec 2021
2021 is the Leicester Phoenix MCC 60th Jubilee Year since it's inaugural meeting at the Gate Hangs Well, Syston in 1961.
You can read about the early days of the club as written almost at the time by founding member, John Muschialli. It is transcribed in Megaphone 1968 Issue 1, Phoenix from The Egg, where it benefits from photographs that we were unable to reproduce in the original paper version.
Founders, including Mush, are still in contact and with any luck we will have a reunion at some time this year. In the meantime past and present members are entitled to a commemorative badge. You will need to contact me to arrange delivery.
Contributors sometimes send in a photo that includes past friends or even ourselves that we haven't seen before. The way the website is set up you will find the usual right-click > copy image option has been usurped for other purposes. This is not intended to prevent you getting the photo, but to encourage you to ask for a better version that hasn't been shrunk, cropped and messed about with to make it suitable for the page.
Photographs from the early club years and rallying are thin on the ground because it was not always easy or wise to carry an expensive camera in the pocket of a Belstaff. Putting it in a top-box invited disassembly in transit, much like the rest of British bikes!
My favourite camera was the Rollei B35 that produced excellent quality, full size 35mm negatives or slides through a retractable lens. Sensibly it rolled the film back into the cassette after each exposure, so that accidental opening of the back didn't lose the photos. This camera was much easier (and safer) to carry than my heavy SLR.
In the spirit of spreading the joy, all our content is available to you copyright free, or more exactly, Creative Commons Licence. All we ask is a mention of where it is from.
Instructions for getting the BIGGER PICTURE vary, depending on how they are displayed. This is explained in our F.A.Q. where you can also find other useful advice, such as how to send us a report!
What we would really like is copies of your old photos, faded, dog-eared and redolent of the times.
Up for the challenge
As news breaks about this year's National Road Rally, we will not need marshals for controls again this year. This gives us another opportunity to enter a team made up of stood-down marshals and past members.
The whole purpose is to keep LPMCC on the programme rather to seriously compete for an award. In keeping with the present need to social distance, our riders will each choose a different route and ride alone.
That raises the idea that, to encourage social distancing, and without Controls to keep occupied, maybe the organisers could consider a team award for the most different controls and individual awards for the riders who plan a route that covers the maximum distance in the least number of Controls.
These are strange times but they do offer alternative opportunities.
Out with the old
This whole website is dedicated to the concept of never throwing anything away. Today's junk is tomorrow's treasure. Therefore the pages just grow and grow and very little is ever removed.
An exception is the beginning of March when several things will disappear from LPMCC.net. February's events from the Rally Listing, and Hans' PDF file of 2020 Rallies will come off the server. We will also take off 2020 News updates leaving the latest News (this one) and others back to the beginning of this year.
Well, 2020 was a duff year that's best forgotten.
Puns NOT intended
Most popular page on LPMCC.net is our 'mobile' version of Hans Veenendaal's Rally Listing.
Therefore we also produce a handful of pages that are only suitable for small screens. Beside the popular Rally Listing we have a Mobile Index page.
It shows what is new, what we are doing and has a different Foz joke every day. It will only appear in a mobile device or in a narrow (less than 800 pixels wide) PC window. Otherwise all our dedicated mobile pages redirect to the full size PC versions.
Only a handful (pun NOT intended) of pages are produced in this cut-down version. They also include NRR Control list and Embers Cycling locations. If you think there is something else we should include, you have only to ask.
This past week we've used some of the latest gizmos to breathe new life into our Home section "promo" banners that scroll at the top of the pages. Nothing you should normally notice except ...
The changes involve background files and browsers have an annoying habit of using the old stuff instead of the latest. Pages get out of synch and you may end up with a jumbled page. On a PC it can usually be sorted out by holding down CRTL key and giving the F5 key a damned good rattle.
Mobile devices either need their data storage deleting (and risk losing your saved passwords!) or just come back tomorrow.
There wasn't much wrong with the old version. It was just a little complicated, clunky and temperamental. Bit like my old bikes (except for the complicated bit)
So expect the new version to be a tad smoother, easier to control and more economical, like your latest motorcycle.
The Club began in 1961 but how old is LPMCC.net?
We registered the domain in July 2000 and put something on line soon after. I probably have a very early backup on a floppy disk.
Earliest unchanged pages are from 2006, but some badges are dated back to 2001 and by 2006 we had over a thousand on the website.
One of our earliest unaltered pages explained why the website was created and we haven't changed our purpose. However I did feel compelled to add a suitable photo to the page.
After all, 2006 is now ancient history.
After encouraging others to send in tributes to their favourite motorcycles, I bit the bullet and finally put together a piece about my beloved Triumph Trident.
Now I realise why it can be so difficult to find adequate words. There is so much tied up in the journeys, adventures and people that my T160V carried me to. It was a constant companion over decades of my life. Writing about it is like exposing my naked soul to the fires. But the heat is cleansing and the process brings some release.
The story exactly parallels the way I've mistreated the wimmin in my life, which explains why I am now a bikeless hermit.
Any-road-up, it's a long (40 years!) story. Where shall I begin?
Step 3 releasing us from Covid restrictions went ahead on schedule.
As well as gathering back in larger groups, I'm finding my diary is suddenly filled up.
I also have the lengthy tasks of unpicking all the pages on LPMCC.net that were adapted to lockdown conditions. Club meetings are returning on a travelling schedule.
In the meantime I am conscientiously continuing handwashing, face covering and twice-weekly tonsil-tickle-tests.
In the matrix
The National Road Rally list of controls, matrix and final instructions are about to be released. Staff at LPMCC.net are on a double-war-footing. No-one is permitted to attend their 3rd grandmother's funeral or pull a sicky.
Each year that we code our interactive version of the matrix we add more and more notes to clarify our methods. Despite that, a year (or so) down the line it might as well be written in Sanskrit for all the help it gives.
This year the event is split over two days as opposed to running continuously over two days. The difference was sufficient for me to decide to rewrite the system in a simpler form.
Days later, studying the old code as a guide, I realised that the old system recognised and solved more issues than I remembered. New code was abandoned and I went back to cobbling the old system together in the new format.
It proves that the people years ago knew what they were doing and I have to make the same mistakes all over again to appreciate their wisdom. Even when it's myself!
Email Fail 1: The Club's meeting at the Gate Hangs Well this week came at short notice. I sent SMS and emails to past members but many were returned undelivered. Many phone numbers and email addresses are no longer valid. In particular all old Freeserve emails that became defunct some time in 2017.
If you want to hear about forthcoming reunions and meetings, please make sure that I have your current email address and, if possible, your mobile number. These are not given to anyone else unless I get your explicit permission.
Email Fail 2: My personal email address has been firstname.lastname@example.org for many years but yesterday it stopped working and I am in the throes of getting it fixed. In the meantime, please use the website Contact Centre or email me directly on email@example.com.
If you send anything and don't get a timely response, please try my other address.
Found us melting
It was good to have Taverners' Section Founders Day back after a year off. It was certainly hot. Thankfully the Leicester Phoenix MCC had a larger space this year so they could erect a canopy to offer some shelter - from the sun as a change from rain!
This event is often where we briefly catch sight of other past members as they relive (or continue to live) the halcyon days when the sun was always this bright and bikes so polished.
This year's Big End Rally was a great success after a very difficult and restricting time. It was good to get back into stride by meeting old friends in the fresh air. it was also an ideal opportunity to celebrate the club's 60th anniversary with ... cakes!
I was asked to bring old club photos. In the process of ransacking the loft I rediscovered a few I'd forgotten and some stickers from many years ago. They will be added to the website soon.
You may have pictures and stickers hidden in the folds of an old book and stories lurking in the back of your memory. Please share them with us when they turn up.
Today we said a sad farewell to early club member, Derek Foster who was instrumental in setting the club on the right path in the early 60s.
Derek enjoyed the comradeship of other past members and mixed easily with the new boys. He helped many of us keep our bikes on the road in the old days, and our sanity in later times with his unrelentingly cheerful personality despite difficulties that would overpower lesser mortals.
He will be remembered for many things, starting with his recruitment drives outside of Motor Cycle Accessories. That is where many new members were persuaded to change the direction of their lives. Derek was a great evangelist.
Derek moved to Tenerife and in 2005 he instigated our regular Skype Nights that still bring past members together for regular Wednesday virtual club meetings, instantly wiping away the miles and years. Derek returned to Blighty just in time to cop COVID-19 and although he found restrictions compounded his difficulties, he retained his great sense of humour.
Derek's sudden rapid demise was a great shock to everyone. We were making plans. Now, for the second time, he's buggered off and left us!
Nine hundred, change hands
Today's News Update is the 900th since records began (29 January 2003). I have started to add the issue number on the website version.
Here at the Treadmill we have access to all the old News Updates although the format has changed and many of the pictures no longer materialise. On the website you can read them back to the beginning of this year. We will remove old copies as the year progresses.
We still have sixteen subscribers to our free email version who signed up in the first year. I diligently record requests so that I can prove I'm not sending unsolicited spam if I am challenged.
Thanks to our many contributors, there is always new content to announce. Friends have also kept the Foz Spot alive and that is probably the biggest incentive for people to subscribe.
We are now looking forward to our 1000th edition in about two years' time. You don't need to put it in your diary - I'll remind you.
As autumn approaches we may be blessed by a few more days of sunshine, tempting us out on the roads before they are covered in corrosive salt and sticky molasses.
When low sunshine is in your eyes, it is easy to recognise the hazards of reduced visibility. Just remember, when that low sun is behind you and you are riding into your own shadow, road users ahead of you may find it difficult to see you or judge your speed even if they look!
That includes pedestrians who don't need to pass any eyesight or road sense test, as well as vehicles setting off from parked, reversing out of premises or turning across your path.
Don't get carried away by the exuberance of a fine autumn day or you may be carried on a stretcher.
When I put my clocks back tomorrow morning I will consider winding mine back to 1965 in the hope of avoiding some of the motorcycle accidents I have suffered over the years since. Knowing my luck though, I'll simply repeat the same pain and anguish.
My first hospitalisation was entirely my fault. I learned my lesson and became much more careful.
The second ambulance trip wasn't despite my extra care, it was because I was being extra cautious!
Third wallop was again because I chose to take a "safer" route home. The lesson seems to be that we cannot evade our destiny. We only struggle to delay it.
I'll just stop winding my clocks.
Now we are returning to our pre-covid cycling activities, we are discovering new tracks and byways in our backyard. Therefore I spent far too long trying to recall how I coded cycling routes. Simon Over traces the route using satellite navigation recording. Fortunately the way his resulting GPX file is encoded remains unchanged. All I needed to remember was what files to put where and which programs to run. Oh how I wish I'd written it all down while it was still familiar!
Routes go back to 2016. The most recent few months are shown as thin blue lines.
The result is a few more snail trails on our map of rides. On the Google map you can zoom in and click a route for more information. Can you suggest any places that we haven't yet tried?
I mean pubs, of course.
Content is King. Cannot emphasise that often enough. My job is just to present it as well as I can. The value stands by the actual writing and pictures.
We are fortunate to have excellent contributors who are on our fairly narrow wavelength. They receive no reward except knowing that they are very much appreciated.
All material on the website is attributed with the name of the author at the bottom or as a tooltip on photographs and badges. The names of all contributors is also collected in a bibliographic index of all their work. Their effort deserves more than that, so this week I added a by-line for lead contributor's to the top of relevant pages, just below the main heading.
I'm too lazy to change 2,000 pages by hand. It is all done by jiggery-pokery and as safe as loose chippings on a bendy road. I hope you flag the corners (of the website) where I slid off.
Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools
That's how the saying goes and many fools interpret it to mean, "Only fools follow the rules. Wise men take them or leave them."
The correct interpretation is that wise men will do the sensible thing without the need for rules. Fools need to be compelled for their own good.
Take motorcycle helmets.
As soon as I took up riding a Mobylette moped I bought a bone-dome for 10/- in a Millets sale. Bought one for my dad as well so he could replace his ancient leather cap when speeding along on his NSU quickly.
Helmets became popular once they became a requirement in track events. Helmets were worn to emulate racing heroes. They were also recognised (by wise men) as a good precaution as well as a way of keeping your hair on.
Once 80% of riders were wearing them voluntarily, it became possible to make them compulsory for the 20% who were fools.
Anti helmet protests never worked because most of the riders believed they were about helmets rather than compulsion. Fools still don't understand the difference.
I only started wearing a cycle helmet when I took on responsibilities. It was to protect my family from the possible need to abandon their way of life while tending to a brain damaged cabbage for the next forty years.
I also needed to set a wise example to my children.
It irritates to see families cycling when children are wearing helmets but not their parents. Are they implying "As you get older, your head hardens" ?
At the park with my young daughter Katie on her cycle (with helmet) a playmate said "My daddy says I'm a good rider and don't need a helmet"
I responded "Katie is an excellent rider. Unfortunately, many people on the road are not as good"
There is no doubt that seat belts save lives and reduce injuries. Second hand anecdotal cases of "I'd have died if I'd worn mine" need to be put in the context of dubious evidence set against overwhelming benefit.
Like helmets, seat belts have improved enormously since their introduction. Full inertia belts are so much better than the early fixed lap belts. Yet, despite compulsion, fools still drive unprotected.
All the above measures are secondary safety; there to reduce injury after the accident. There to protect you from your own failing or from another fool who causes an accident.
Do any of those measures induce you to subliminally take greater "compensating" risks? Not for me. The very act of putting on protective gear reminds me that there are lots of fools who will casually injure me. (and I'm one of them!)
Daytime Running Lights
These are a Primary Safety feature; they attempt to avoid accidents caused by poor visibility or inadequate observation. When lights had to be manually switched on, it conferred two advantages.
You also turned up your attention.
You could identify fools by their lack of response.
Using a mobile phone while driving is Primary Danger! Years of accident investigation, and too much experience, lead me to consider the main cause of accidents as complacency. Fools not giving the task sufficient attention. A mercifully small proportion of accidents are caused by Dangerous Driving. The vast majority are failure to show Due Care and Attention. Letting your mind wander, distraction and not bothering. For vulnerable road users the result is just as life changing - or extinguishing.
The risk through using a phone while driving is evident with a little thought as well as dozens of academic studies. Yet it needs ever-tightening rules to bring it home to fools.
Primary v secondary safety
There is a general belief that primary safety is most important and secondary safety is an admission of failure of some sort. If secondary safety results in greater risk of an accident, then it may be self defeating. Such as thicker A-frames reducing side vision.
Reducing all accidents has an equal effect for all casualty and damage severities. By definition we are just reducing the numbers.
Secondary safety, on the other hand, reduces injury severity down the range. Some that would have been fatal will become serious. Lots of potentially serious injuries become bumps and bruises, Many slight injuries are avoided.
There is a hard line under fatal accidents because there is not much doubt when someone is dead. The lines between other severities are blurred.
In the following diagram, severity is on the vertical axis and the triangular area represents the number of incidents. There are buttons at the bottom to demonstrate the effects of Primary and Secondary safety.
The cross, with description in the box, represents an example incident that would benefit from primary and secondary safety.