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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


To me, a very non-worldly person, the US seems to have so many advantages over the UK in terms of sportbike riding. One of my favorite mags, PB, recently ran an issue about how hard it was to ride in the UK due to the inclement weather, tougher bike laws, and shittier roads. But they still do it. I understand why, but for some reason it just seems more passionate. Don't get me wrong, riding in the UK definitely seems to have some advantages such as being 5 min. from a track no matter where you are, being 5 min from Europe, and 5 min. from damn near every GP race there is. They even have they're own Superbike races!!! (BSB). Here in the US though you can ride close to year round in most places and gas (petrol for you UK'er's) is relatively cheap compared to Europe's exorbitant sums. Bike prices are fair and they're everywhere if you know where to look.

Another thing the UK has is the 675, which kicks any US sportbike ass. Though neither of us really have anything on those people from "the east"!



If you actually read all of that, I'll go ahead and apologize for my ignorance and lack of understanding of the real differences (perhaps a worldly rider can tell us!!!). Also... I was wondering... what in the hell does "taking the piss" mean? By context I take it as meaning having it harder than everyone else but I need a real life UK'er to tell me whats really up.
 

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US vs UK Biking
Most interesting post, below is a response to the criteria you mentioned, it would be interesting perhaps to have feedback from other countries as well to see how our lot fairs up to each other.

Weather.
Here in UK we have a mixture of sunny days and wet days, our winters are mostly mild, I would not say that our weather is generally terrible although this year has been exceptionally bad for the summer, you might have even seen news of the flooding that has been hitting some areas extremely hard in the US.
But the exception aside the weather here keeps the grass green and the roads clean so from that standpoint it not too bad at all. (although as a brit we do complain about the weather all the time, whether too hot or too cold but that’s just the way we are).
We very rarely get any extremes such as damaging winds and where we do they are normally localised and short lived.
The bottom line on the weather is that rain or shine it keeps our landscapes looking gorgeous, here in Wales I personally reckon we have views that will challenge anywhere in the world for there magnificence and splendour, sure you might have to throw a set of waterproofs on at some point but that should not stop you enjoying biking, if anything it will make you a better rider.

Laws.
As for Motorcycling laws here in the UK, getting on a bike is fairly easy, you first get a provisional driving license, then you must do a CBT test, which consists of explanations of basic bike controls and principles, followed by practical off road training and finally by a supervised road trip to ensure that the rider at least meets the lowest criteria of ability before being let loose on their own on the road (limited to 125cc with a maximum power output of 11kW (14.6bhp)). Once this has been done you can then do the theory test, which simply checks your knowledge of the highway code (the laws of the road) and a hazard awareness section. Once you have that under your belt you can then take your driving test, depending on age and circumstance you have two option, either take the test on the small bike and ride a restricted bike for 2 years (33BHP) on passing or if older than 21 take a direct access course where you will do the test on a bike with at least 46.6BHP normally a CB500 or ER-5 where if you pass you are not limited on what size bike you can ride.
Insurance is compulsory, with 3rd party the absolute minimum that you are allowed to ride with, although most riders go for fully comprehensive which covers there own vehicle as well.
Tax once again is compulsory though for a 600cc is only about £45 pound a year.
Fuel cost are sadly horrendous with a gallon of juice costing around about £4 or to you in the states $8.
As too people being anti bike, I dare say some are but not too many, the one thing Britain is known for is freedom of expression and the right to be different, being a biker is just one of those classifications that transcends race, creed or religion.
The main issue we have is the proliferation of speed cameras, both mobile and fixed, whilst the establishment is only slightly anti bike it is hugely anti speed, sadly the emphasis is on catching fast riders, not bad riders (or drivers). Last year there were 6200 speed camera’s (not including mobile police units) that netted £120,000,000 in fines on the UK roads. We also have a points system whereby if you get more than 12 points you get banned and lose your licence, you then have to take an extended (as hard as they can make it) test after your ban but before you can get your licence back. A typical speeding ticket will see 3 points added, and they last for 3 years. Double the speed limit and double the points, see 100mph+ and your looking at a court appearance and pretty much a guaranteed ban. Same for reckless or dangerous driving, which includes wheelies and stoppies!
I’m not saying that the above is a complete description of our laws but is a brief overview so that you can compare them with what you have over there.

Roads.
The UK currently has 375,000 km of road. Motorways account for less than 1 per cent of total road length but carried 19 per cent of all traffic in 2004. Trunk roads account for 2 percent, and other major roads 10 percent of road length whilst minor roads (B, C and unclassified roads) made up 87 percent of total road length.

Here in Wales, within 30 minutes I can be riding in mountains, or through winding river valleys, road surfaces are mostly quite good, with even B roads being fully surfaced with either tarmac or something similar, some of the C roads can be interesting but even most of those have a hardened surface of some description and are rideable. We have a tremendous variety of roads from open moorland where you can see for miles, to mountain passes that twist and turn like a snake, an extensive motorway system to get you to your play area quickly and easily and a series of link roads the likes of which are hard to explain or imagine but are great to explore.
I would say that road wise there is something for everyone, whether you want technical routes, speed routes, boring routes or green lanes, the one thing we have plenty of is variety.

Passion.
Are we passionate about biking, man yes we are, more passionate than other countries would be hard to say, but I think it would be fair to say we are as passionate as any others who truly love the freedom and exhilaration of riding bikes (the thought that every corner could be your last lol) but that’s life, you either choose to live it or just to exist, I know which my choice is!.
Here in the UK the people are mostly warm and welcoming, more often than not they will move out the way to let you through on those twisty roads, to get a thumbs up from other road users is not uncommon. As for bikers, almost all will acknowledge with a wave or salute other bikers, as is common with all countries, a small minority of custom riders seem to be outside the biking community and do not feel the need to reply to a wave as they have earned the right to be ignorant lol. Whether a scooter or a gold wing….and even police riders will get a nod or a salute depending on what my hands are doing at the time I pass them in either direction.

Being 5 min’s from everywhere.
The British Isles are far smaller as a landmass than the US, to that there is no dispute, but we are not that small in reality, to drive from north to south extremities in one go, whilst it has been accomplished by some is mostly out of reach to normal drivers being a trip of 874 miles (at its shortest route) and would take anywhere from 16 to 20 hours, with a good portion of that on twisty mountain roads (yet another reason that the UK is a biking heaven). The population figures here in the UK at the moment are 60,776,238 (July 2007 est.) of which just under 8 million live in the London area alone. We certainly do however have a few good racetracks and as your said wherever you live there will be one within an hour or two’s ride.

Sorry for the long post, but hope it was worth the read for you.
 

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Also... I was wondering... what in the hell does "taking the piss" mean? By context I take it as meaning having it harder than everyone else but I need a real life UK'er to tell me whats really up.[/QUOTE]

Hey OGM, this means that the person is just making fun of you.:lol
 

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Taking the piss:
1. To ridicule, to tease, to make fun off. Cf. 'extract the urine'.
2. To take advantage of, to exploit. E.g."Just because they like looking after their grand children, doesn't mean you can dump the kids on them every weekend whilst you go out clubbing. That's just taking the piss."

A bit like:
Taking the Mickey: To tease, to ridicule. Also shortened to take the ****. An abbreviated form of the Cockney rhyming slang take the mickey bliss, meaning 'take the piss'. E.g."Stop taking the mickey out of Billy, he's very sensitive and you're upsetting him." Cf. 'take the Michael' and 'extract the Michael'.
 

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You should wiki this! It's great!

As for the states (California - the only state that matters), getting a liscence is a lot easier than the UK. Frist is to get your regular DL (written and driving test). Then you take the basic rider's safety course (2 days) and that will take care of the driver's portion. The course is taught on 250's in a big parking lot at your local big parking lot. Then you bring your certificate from the course to the DMV (department of motor vehicles), and take another written test (not hard). Then you take a picture, and jump on your ZX14 and you're perfectly legal!

If you're under 21, you have to go through these steps. If you're over 21, you can get your permit first by taking the written test, and with that you can drive w/o passenger during the day, and not on the freeways. Then you can go straight to taking the driving test at the DMV. This is the lame part: you can take the test on a scooter, and then jump on a ZX14 right away. No tiered system.

As for scenery, living in California makes me pretty spoiled in terms of driving. Road conditions in the mountains are actually pretty good. It's on the regular streets where it really blows. But from here (The OC), you can reach Ortega Hwy (1 squid dead every weekend on average), Angeles Crest - Hwy 2, 243 out of Banning, Mulholland in Malibu, Azuza, GMR, and if you're a HD rider - PCH.

And we don't have many cameras. Only the red light kind. We Americans got our start fighting against stupid taxes, and for the most part we still get our way, although this has been slipping lately.

As for the wave, most people are cool, except HD riders. They're lame. A lot of cops will wave too. I give waves to everyone on two wheels (even scooters), except Goldwing Riders. I mistake them for civics too many times.

Anyways, I hope this helps explain our customs on this side of the pond.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, here in Missouri where I'm at, you take the written test, come back after an hour or so and you can take the full test. The "full test" is a riding "skills" test where all you do is turn through a couple of cones, monkeys could do it with their eyes closed. Then you can hop on your turbo and nitrous 14r and wheelie into the sunset. All in one day. The UK system seems way more effective in that sense, "protecting" riders, but in my opinion, that's a cool thing about America, I like making my own mistakes, although I don't like paying for others through raised taxes and such...

True about the HD scene though. Every day I'd start with a big smile, hop on my bike and ride, I'd wave to the first HD and if he waved back (rarely) I'd continue to do so. The first HD to not wave would make me remember how stupid I was to think that a "cool" HD rider would wave to me. But all in all bikers are a cool lot regardless of where they're at. If your riding a sportbike in the UK, in Antartica, or on the Moon, you and me are already friends.
 

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You guys don't give them enough credit (HD riders) If they let go to wave that side of handelbars would start vibrating so bad he would lose control and he might run off the road or run you over! so you see he's doing the responsile thing and you a favor at same time. And besides some of them around here might have a problem with the mechanics of waving while steering and using a throttle at the same time. So I feel fine not showin off and waving while I'm riding past one. So cut a Hog rider a break man!:rotflmao :rotflmao :rotflmao
 

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If they let go to wave that side of handelbars would start vibrating so bad he would lose control and he might run off the road or run you over!
:evil Evil but funny :crackup , not just some custom riders though, even some "dedicated" sport bike fans can be above (in there opinion) responding to another brother (or sister) of the road, tis a shame if its got 2 or heck even 3 wheels (unless its a robin reliant) it gets a wave or a nod.
 

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Excellent thread!!!!!


HD remarks :rotflmao :rotflmao :rotflmao

Isn't there someone on here that has like the only zx-14 in their country? I wonder what it's like where he's from.
 

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i have always found that funny. most cruiser riders don't like to waive to us "hooligans" on sportbikes. maybe it's because that big "hog" may be compensating for something.....:tard

j/k

i thought about getting a bobber or some kind of custom bike, but they are way too expensive.
 

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Just returned from a 12,500 mile trek around the USA and Canada [full thread here].

TBH there wasn't an aweful lot of difference. I felt completely at home. Sure, the distances are greater Stateside, but then its only a short hop across the Channel for us... which opens up the entire European continent and beyond.

I did find US traffic habbits a little anal I must confess... and nowhere have I experienced folk actually calling into the police to report you. Over here and in Europe they'll actually warn you of an approaching police hazard... in the US they're more likely to shop you!

Lane discipline is also non-existant in the States. And filtering anywhere other than California is seen as a cardinal sin... I mean c'mon! If I'm on a bike why should I have to sit behind all the cagers?! The no filtering laws are just silly. Speed limits on interstates designed for 120, which disappear into the horizon are also a little daft imo.

Yes... we have more cameras, but the traffic ones are painted bright yellow and don't have wheels. It seems to me we have alot less mobile police out here... so in reality, its a little easier to edge over the limit, especially if you're familier with the roads.
 
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