If you’re at a roundabout to the left of a big vehicle that you can’t see through, there’s no need to wait until you have a clear view. If it pulls out, you can too. Anything coming round the roundabout will have to get through him to get to you. But make sure he really is going and not just nudging forward.
When filtering you always have to be aware of cars turning across you into junctions. But taxis are especially prone to u-turning when they see a possible fare. Black cabs have a ridiculously small turning circle, so never assume that the road’s too narrow for a darting cabbie.
As soon as drivers start getting all courteous and letting each other out then it’s time to get paranoid. When one driver waves another one out, they may forget that they have to give way to you and punt you off.
As well as getting your feet wet, puddles hide sharp objects that can puncture your tyres, which are more prone to flats when they are wet. Avoid them if you can.
Heavily used roads in town can deteriorate in days. So don’t assume the well-surfaced rat-run you used a week or two ago is still pothole-free.
A flashing indicator only means that the bulb is working, so never trust them even if the body language of the car…or ‘bike looks as though it’s about to turn. On the flip side, develop a nervous twitch to check you’ve switched yours off.
If the car you’re following has a lowering window, then watch out for the flying cigarette end, especially if you have your visor up, and even more especially if you have a leaky petrol cap. Another version of this hazard (which you won’t find in the Highway Code) is the van driver spitting out of the window. Rare, but unpleasant.
Carry spare fuses (beats resorting to bits of tinfoil), a torch, a ciagrette lighter, some money in case you’ve forgotten your wallet, tyre weld, radweld, insulation tape, cable ties, coke can for soft sidestand moments, bungies and Lambretta clutch cables because they’re long enough for anything. And, because the quality of tool kits varies, re-stock it with tools that actually work - sockets, pliers, and ring spanners.
Why spend those miles on reserve gingerly pottering around waiting for the engine to splutter to a halt in the middle of nowhere? Strap a fuel can to the back, ride at your normal pace and run out deliberately. You only have to do it once, and you’ll always know.
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