Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Fillerup

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  • andrew llewellyn,

    The short summary is there is a point at which you are better to continue driving your old car than replacing it with a new(er) more fuel efficient car.

    I've been coming to the same conclusion - and after reading the piece in the Listener (Julia Hartley Moore really wasn't mentioned enough) and the used car salesman saying that everyone is trying desperately to trade down, I doubt there'll be much of a market for gas guzzlers & SUVs before too long.

    WHat are we all going to do with them? Abandon them someplace? Our SUV might make a pretty cool chicken house I suppose.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I'm glad to hear that, Bart. I have an elderly but very reliable Legacy that I plan on driving until it rusts or petrol goes to $100/l, whichever happens first.

    It'll be forced off the road because of the incandescant headlights.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    best quote someone told me about oil?

    "we didn't move out of the stone age because we ran out of rocks"

    and d, d, d.

    1965 HD Holden Special

    and

    muscle car

    shouldn't be used in the same thought... beautiful, classic car, but muscle it is not.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    What about electric scooters though?

    hills. the nemesis of electric scooters. just. not. enough. grunt.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Wammo,

    While we're plugging the virtues of scooting I've been riding my Kymco Espresso 150cc for over 2 years now and I don't see myself on 4 wheels any time soon. I'd discourage anyone thinking about getting anything less than 125cc. If you can't ride with traffic or feel shepherded to the side of the road you're unsafe and at the mercy of more hazards.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • Nick D'Angelo,

    I know a guy who works at a Scooter shop. He says they can (and do) do something to the Scooters that means you get the benefit of a 50cc scooter (ie no WOF or liscence req'd) and the power of a 125. Something like how you can tweak a semi-automatic rifle (legal) into a fully automatic rifle (illegal).

    Simon Laan • Since May 2008 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    The latest Borowitz Report closes with:

    Elsewhere, a carjacker in Los Angeles stole a tank of gas but left the Mercedes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew G,

    I once test rode a new Peugeot 50cc scooter in at an Akld scooter shop that had the limiter removed. It was very fast, and would out accelerate most cars and stick with the traffic easily. Only weighed about 70kg. As I understand, it's pretty easy to get the limiter removed and you're probably unlikely to catch the eye of the law. Much safer than riding in the gutter at 50km/h with trucks sqeezing past you every 5 seconds.

    Napier • Since Mar 2007 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Hansel Dunlop,

    Please buy an close faced helmet. Speaking as someone who used to wear an open faced one and ended up hitting the central window column of a sedan, through no fault of my own, at 70km/h with my face... trust me it's not worth it.

    Biting through both your lips is not fun and you look like an idiot for MONTHS.

    You will end up in someone's blind spot, it's just a matter of time.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    boots with the steel toe caps

    I hear negative opinions about steel caps - mostly from people who've seen poorly anchord caps detach from the sole and leave you with a chunk of metal that helps the car or road amputate a few bits of foot more effectively. Certainly all the riding boots I've ever tried either use plastic caps or a steel shank in the base to preserve their structural integrity.

    On the other hand, my only disagreement with a car (which part of "learner driver in a Legacy GT wagon doing a u-turn on a blind corner" seemed like a good idea?) I was wearing steel cap boots. You could see the rather large dent on the side of the car where my foot impacted, and the boot is missing a small chunk of leather down to the cap, but said cap remained in place (and so did my unbroken toes).

    god knows what would happen when you kiss tarmac

    A web page I've since lost suggested that people who are reluctant to wear gloves et al should be encouraged to walk down the footpath dragging their knuckles on the concrete, the try the same thing running, and then asked if they still think they don't need gear at 50 km/h.

    and they flounce down to the basement in their summer dresses, jam on a crap hat and toot! toot! they're away.

    A common affliction of scooteristas (and, for that matter, cyclists) is the delusion that, in an impact at 40 or 50 km/h, the damage will somehow be magically mitigated because one is not on a motorbike.

    Ladies: your nice arse may look better in a summer skirt than padded trousers, but I assure you it will look a lot less nice with gouges carved out by gravel rash.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Biting through both your lips is not fun and you look like an idiot for MONTHS.

    My "always wear a full-face" came via helping a guy who'd come off his bike on a back road. He was OK, but the chin bar of his full-face helmet was mostly worn through from skating face first down the road at probably over 100 km/h (initially).

    It that had been his chin... I shudder to think.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Brislen,

    For those Aucklanders considering a scooter, I heartily recommend Retro Scooters. I've lost count of the number of times I've been in "bike" shops where they either refuse to talk to you because you're not looking at the latest green Kawasaki beast, or that simply don't know what they're talking about when it comes to things like helmets, gloves etc, or just treat you like shit because they can.

    Retro Scooter were great. They took their time, the bike I originally wanted turned out to be HUGE so we talked turkey about other options and eventually Mike (good man that Mike) talked me down from the 250 to the 125 version of the bike I was looking at (I don't go on the motorway and he said the gearing was better on the 125 anyway for start/stop traffic).

    No affiliation, just very happy to promote their name. They're online too.

    Now all I need to do is find a better quality full face helmet that doesn't bend my glasses out of shape. Anyone got any recommendations?

    Gloves are a MUST HAVE. I had a nice man crush my scooter like a bug by indicating right and turning left at the last minute into a new parking space. Without the gloves I'd still be picking bits of glass out of my palms I'm sure.

    I do struggle with hot hands though so I have a pair of gloves I bought from Mitre10 (supposedly for chippies and the like but which they'll never wear) which are lighter weight and still have good solid protection. Ideal for summertime.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    people who are reluctant to wear gloves et al should be encouraged to walk down the footpath dragging their knuckles on the concrete, the try the same thing running, and then asked if they still think they don't need gear at 50 km/h

    Quite. How about this: I'll tow you behind my car, with you wearing normal clothes. We'll start off at 25kmh, around half the speed you'll crash at. Not attractive? How about 15 kmh? Still not keen? 10? 5?

    the motorbike license test is a piece of cake. They just follow you round on another motorbike. I have no idea how they can see what you're doing

    There are three stages to getting a full motorbike licence. The first is a two-parter: firstly, pass the scratch test, with the 10 extra questions (25 for a car, 35 for a bike). Don't make the mistake of actually thinking that the info in the road code is correct, but memorise it for long enough to pass the test. Secondly, show that ride a bike around some cones in a carpark and use the brake. Passing this gives you a basic learner licence - you're limited to 70kmh on the open road, you can't ride after 10pm and before 7am (or is it 5am?), you can't ride anything bigger than 250cc, and you can't carry a pillion.

    The second stage is to pass the restricted test after either 6 months or 12 months have passed (as a minimum, depending on your age). You'll be followed in either a car or on a bike, depending on the testing station. It'll probably be roads around town, so no highways. Restrictions more or less as above but with an open road limit of 100kmh. Unless you hammer off away from the tester, they can see you. You're supposed to keep an eye on them in your mirrors so they can show you when they want you to do something, like turn left or right.

    The third stage is to pass your full: you'll be followed around on the open road and city streets, have to show that you can u-turn, brake, and identify hazards.

    None of the test is particularly hard. They certainly don't require you to demonstrate what I would consider to be an acceptably high level of skill - i.e. enough to get you out the other side of an 'oh shi...." type of situation.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Of course, while it always starts out nicely it's not long before caring carbon neutral yoof turn to Vespa inspired violence:

    What was THAT Nick? I'm old and I'm in shock!

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    It that had been his chin... I shudder to think.

    So do I - at age 11 I came off my pushbike on a (quite gentle) hill, couldn't have been doing much in the way of speed.

    I remember the tarmac coming up to meet me - 25 stitches to my chin & upper lip, concussion & hospitalised for 2 weeks, I only kept my teeth because the ambulance driver plugged them back in & the healed (he straightened a few up I think) and I was unable to eat solids (open my mouth) for the whole stay.

    I still have a noticeable scar (it did fade from the bright red after a few years), and the inside of my mouth is lumpy.

    Dunno if a standard bike helmet would have helped me, but full face would have.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    I only kept my teeth because the ambulance driver plugged them back in & they healed (he straightened a few up I think)

    cool

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    I wants a MP3 .

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    who needs an electric scooter?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1707 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    I wants a MP3

    two front wheels? that's about as uncool as a full face helmet.

    practical though. no more losing the front wheel under braking

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Pete,

    I had a 200cc Vespa Two stroke that would pull wheelstands and haul my 100kg up Ngauranga Gorge (WN)all the way at 100kmh.
    I look at those cheap (Chinese made?) retro style scooters struggling up hills and shudder - too little power is dangerous cos those car drivers are just gonna run you off to the side if you don't keep up.
    Besides, being able to give it a squirt and get out of a bad situation is important.
    Ditto on the full face helmet - I met a bloke whose jaw is now a ceramic/plastic composite. It hurts him to eat.

    Welcome to bikes - if you like it I can recommend branching out into trail riding - dune jumping on the KLX650 can be immensely satisfying.
    If you've still got cell coverage, you haven't gone far enough..

    Since Apr 2008 • 91 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Now all I need to do is find a better quality full face helmet that doesn't bend my glasses out of shape. Anyone got any recommendations?

    I find my Suomi Dark Metal really good on that front, although it fogs up at night a bit easily, and I'll probably make sure I get a Snell rated one when I buy the next helmet (which is due about now, actually). My wife's found her HJC good, and it is Snell rated, so that's probably what I'll be looking at.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Honiss,

    I wants a MP3

    I did too until I saw one in the flesh, seriously large butt. Lots of storage and comfy for a passenger I guess but will make it hard to slip through traffic and not good for parking in tight spaces.

    Also, here in Melbourne the 400 costs nearly $12K which makes it even less attractive not sure that 250 is much less.

    two front wheels? that's about as uncool as a full face helmet.

    practical though. no more losing the front wheel under braking

    Stops about 20% quicker and handles tram tracks with aplomb.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell,

    Rogerd, the Snell rating may not be a good indication of helmet safety. Have a read of this:http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/motorcycle_helmet_review/index.html

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Interesting article, John, thanks. I'll probably revise to looking for ECE approved helmets - the main issue I have here is that it mostly seems to be a choice between DOT or DOT & Snell approved, and given that DOT approval is basically just awarding yourself a sticker if you make helmets... well, let's just say I'd prefer a third party checking the validity of that sticker.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    the motorbike license test is a piece of cake. They just follow you round on another motorbike. I have no idea how they can see what you're doing

    I remember a good few years ago back in the UK. A Friend of mine was taking his test on a scooter. In those days the tester would tell you to drive around the block and watch you at random points. Before you set off he would tell you "at some point i will step out in front of you and hold up my hand and you will do an emergency stop' Well, said Friend set out around the block and saw the tester a couple of times and carried on around the block. A little while later he rounded the corner to see the tester laying in the road next to a guy in a helmet and a scooter not too dissimilar to his own. Oh how we laughed.
    BTW they all lived happily ever after. ;-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

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