• The Rescogs Guide to Winter Biking

    Riding a motorcycle in Winter happens for a variety of reasons. For some of us, the lack of a car or car license makes it a necessity. Scottie went through almost 20 years relying solely on two-wheeled transport, come rain, wind, sleet and snow. For others, it’s still worthwhile to avoid the endless traffic jams and the joys of public transport. But it isn’t all doom and gloom when the days get shorter, especially if you do it right.

    Good Reasons to Ride in Winter:

    • A dry, sunny Winter day is awesome. A dry, sunny Christmas day is even better, as most car drivers (And law enforcement operatives) seem to either be in front of the TV or in the pub. Which means empty roads away from town centres.
    • You’ll still be sharp come Spring, rather than spending the first couple of weeks getting used to being back on a bike.
    • You’ll also build up a good feeling of smug superiority over fair weather riders, and endless tales of Winter riding to bore them with when you speak to them.
    • Winter Hacks: A chance to pick up something different and cheap, and then abuse it.
    • Winter kit: It gets better, and cheaper every year.
    • You might have to be a bit more careful, but you’ll still get there faster without having to worry about traffic jams.

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  • First-Time Car Buyer Guide

    Resultat d'imatges de First-Time Car Buyer

    A Brief Guide for a First-Time Car Buyer

    For a first-time buyer, the prospect of buying a car can be daunting. With so much choice on the market and many finance options to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start when buying your first car.

    We understand that a car can be a big expense, so here are three things you should consider before making your purchase.

    New or Used?

    The first thing you should think about is whether you want a new or used car. Used cars are often the more affordable choice for first-time buyers, but it depends what you’re looking for in a car. Consider what you’ll be using your new purchase for and whether cost or reliability is the most important factor for you.

    Don’t write off the option of a new car. Although you many think they aren’t financially valuable, if you do your research, you will be likely to find low-rate finance deals that could be within your budget.

    With a new car, you won’t have to experience roadside breakdowns or costly repair bills. Many also have improved safety features that can aid you with driving, such as electronic stability control, back-up cameras and sensors, park assist and lane departure warnings.

    How to Pay

    Many people choose to buy a used car so they can pay for it outright, which is perhaps the most cost-effective way to buy a car. However, if you can’t afford to do this then there are many finance options available, such as hire purchase or a car lease, which allow you to make fixed monthly payments on your car.

    Put some research into the finance options available and weigh up the pros and cons of each to decide which is best for your financial situation.

    Find the Best Deal

    Research has shown that different seasons can affect the price of a car. The best deals are often found at the end of the year, during the festive season. This period is in the middle of registration plate changes and it is also the best time to negotiate a good deal as car dealers will be trying to reach their quarterly sales targets.

    Don’t forget to look online when you’re searching for the best deals on your new car. Dealers such as Unbeatable Car have an extensive collection of new and used cars that can be viewed online and you can also check whether you are eligible for finance on their website.

    By following our three tips, you can take your first step on your journey to buying your first car. Whether you decide to buy a new or used car, you will be able to find a good deal if you take your time to put in the research and consider the season that you make your purchase.

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  • INDYCAR: SO YOU WANT TO DRIVE THE INDY 500?

    We’ve suspected this for many years and now it’s official. The Indianapolis 500 is no longer a reasonable aspiration for most racing drivers, blogs Stephen Cox.

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) president Doug Boles was kind enough to talk with me briefly at the annual PRI trade show in Indy. I asked him what his plan was to increase the number of entries at the Indianapolis 500. His answer took me by surprise.

    “We grew up falling in love with the sport when you had that number of entries,” Boles said. “A lot of those entries were guys who sat around in December and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to build a car in our garage and we’re going to enter it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.’”

    “But first and foremost in my mind is just really safety. I don’t think it makes sense for us to get back to fifty or sixty cars just from a safety standpoint,” Boles continued. “I’d love to see fifty or sixty or seventy cars entering and guys just being able to decide that they have a driver who’s running at Putnamville and we’re going to give him a shot to run at the Speedway. I just don’t think it’s practical anymore.”

    Let that statement sink in. American short track drivers – who routinely filled the field until the 1980s – are now considered unsafe and incapable of running the Indy 500.

    Don’t ever go back to the speedway and expect to find the next A. J. Foyt or Parnelli Jones. There won’t be one. Nor will you ever see another Stan Fox or Rich Vogler claw their way up through the ranks and make it to Indy. For that matter, we’re also unlikely to ever see another Rick Mears or Robby Gordon. Those guys got to Indy through off-road desert racing, not Indycar’s current ladder system. They would likely be considered unsafe at the speedway today.

    Boles countered by saying, “We have the best on-track product that we’ve ever had in the history of the speedway with the last five years. The number of lead changes we have, the number of cars in the field that have a chance of winning it.”

    True, recent events have had a certain NASCAR-green-white-checkered-overtime excitement to them. However, this was not achieved by eliminating drivers of sprint cars, off-road trucks, midgets, late-models or amateur sports cars from the speedway. It was achieved – if indeed, this can be called an “achievement” at all – through regulation.

    More teams are in contention because everyone is forced to use the same spec car. The additional lead changes were artificially created through “push to pass” legislation and turbo boost mandates. Using this logic, even better races could be manufactured by enacting a rule disqualifying anyone who leads two consecutive laps, thus assuring 249 lead changes in every 500!

    The bottom line is this – SCCA drivers are welcome to compete at IMS in the Run Offs. SVRA drivers are welcome to Indy’s vintage event. Short track drivers are welcome to buy tickets and sit in Turn Three.

    But the speedway has no intention of enlarging the field past forty cars and creating space that could be filled by new drivers from other disciplines. That is bad news for thousands of very good racing drivers worldwide. And it is even worse news for the Indianapolis 500 itself, whose relevancy continues to fade.

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  • The Origin of the Chain

    Humanity is so familiar with chains – we see them and use them in hundreds of applications throughout our lives – that it may come as a surprise to find that they are a relatively recent invention.

    The word “chain” itself is a derivation of an ancient Indo-European word and the earliest known use of a metal chain is that of a well-bucket chain made from linked metal rings back in 225BCE. The use of chains developed alongside humanity’s growing expertise in metalworking and these early chains would have been prized for their vastly superior resistance and longevity compared to the ropes made from animal skins and plant fibres.

    Nowadays our industries still make use of chains, although they’ve evolved somewhat! There are heavy duty chains capable of withstanding caustic and abrasive environments, as well as temperatures of up to 530C, such as the chains used in lime production. A far cry indeed from a hessian rope!

    Da Vinci’s ideas

    Back in the 16th century, genius inventor Leonardo da Vinci made several sketches and plans for what seem to be the first steel chains. These chains appear to have been designed for a pulling application rather than a wrapping application because they have plates and pins only, as well as metal fittings. The sketch does reveal a roller bearing ensemble as well, though, and it’s not dissimilar to bearings used today!

    leonardodavinci

    As was often the case with the Italian genius, da Vinci found his ideas were way ahead of their time. The technology to realise and produce the concept was limited by the restrictions on the production and processing of steel itself. Thankfully, innovations in the 19th century made steel manufacture and processing easier and more sophisticated so that it was possible to make chains and bearings much more accurately and uniformly. In 1832, a French inventor called Gull was awarded a patent to make a chain similar to a modern-day bicycle chain and the so-called Gull chain is still used today in hanging and suspension applications.

    Chains take off

    With the invention of the moulded chain in the 19th century, chain technology started to advance more rapidly. Next in line was the cast-detachable chain, made from cast links that are identical in shape and dimension. Then came the pintle chain, which features a separate pin. Both types of chain, cast-detachable and pintle, have been refined and improved over the decades, as you no doubt imagine and they are still in use today in some industries. They are gradually being replaced, however, mainly by large pitch steel conveyor chains.

    By the late 19th century, the bushing came along to change the chain industry further. Chains that featured bushings had much greater resistance to wear then the Gull chains because the bushings provided a bearing to protect the pin. This is when chains really started to develop and to be used in more and more industries and applications. Steel bushing chains were used in bicycles, as well as in the rear-wheel drive of early cars and even in the propeller drive of the Wright Brothers’ 1903 aeroplane.

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  • Signs of Confusion?

    The British have always been great travellers with some of the world’s most famous explorers hailing from our shores: Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh and Captain James Cook to name but a few who faced incredible dangers in uncharted territories with constant threats from disaster, disease, wild animals and hostile locals. It seems that Brits have been successful in reaching every corner of the globe (assuming that globes actually have corners!) but there is one peril that these heroic globetrotters did not have to face but one that lies in wait for any unwary modern-day British traveller brave enough to venture from these sheltered isles. That danger arises from the apparent inability of the British to understand other countries’ road signs.

    Of course any traveller needs to understand a little of the local lingo even if such knowledge is limited to STOP, LEFT and RIGHT but it seems that most confusion arises with the signs containing pictures or symbols. Although there have been moves towards standardisation of road signs for many years (a protocol to which the UK did not sign-up), there remains much national diversity and there are even some signs which have different meanings in different countries. This failure to understand, and consequently not to follow, the instructions given by these signs has been cited as one of main causes of accidents abroad and this fact has been recognised by overseas car-hire companies who are now imposing additional insurance requirements on British drivers who they regard as being a bad risk. This may slightly dent the pride of our usually well-respected motorists but insurance companies report that the countries from which the most accident claims originate are: Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Australia. The latter, being an English speaking country, may be surprising and many visitors from the UK expect driving here to be just like at home, with the possible exception of a few signs showing Skippy bouncing across the road, and are not prepared for some of the unusual road signs. The Australian sign for “The Road Ahead Will Change” is a classic example of a sign where the image seems to bear no resemblance to the message it is purporting to convey. It seems that you really need to think Australian to fully understand the logic. Some of the Icelandic signs are also highly symbolic rather than pictorial so need to be carefully studied.

    Both in the UK and overseas, there are also signs which are unlikely to have any relevance to the average motorist such as the prohibition of vehicles carrying explosives but the whole business of understanding other countries’ road signs is a matter which should be taken very seriously and some, such as those advising which roads are “priority routes”, inform drivers as to who has the right of way and abiding by this is almost as important as driving on the correct side of the road.

    The most important thing is to recognise which signs are concerned with road safety and which are simply providing information about local facilities. In France for example a sign simply showing the letter é over a silhouette of a village church simply indicates the location of a stop-over village (Village Étape) and a single letter t indicates the toll booth location for season ticket holders. It may be some consolation to know that French drivers’ knowledge of some of these minor signs is not much better than that of UK drivers.

    It should always be remembered that UK road signs are probably just as confusing to overseas visitors and we can only wonder what a Renault-driving Frenchman would do when confronted with a sign saying “FORD”.

    So, whatever country is to be visited, some time should be taken to become familiar with that country’s road signs and, if it has been some time since a driving test was passed, it would do no harm at all to also study the latest UK road signs as their numbers also steadily rise. The realisation that most of the important overseas road signs are intuitive comes as something of a relief to those with limited language skills and the few which are symbolic rather than pictorial can easily be learnt. Driving in a safe and considerate manner should be no more difficult overseas than at home and will win the respect and appreciation of local motorists. It also enables such trips to be fully enjoyed, carrying on the British tradition of travel and exploration. Take a look at the coop’s infographic:

    Road signs

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