Staff bikes: Triumph Street Triple - Conquering the capital
First rides & tests
17 November 2010 11:30
Street Triple 1 : London 0
London is a congested network of road works, cycle lanes, tight, un-filterable traffic lights, one-way systems and road rage, all vigilantly policed by a swarm of unblinking CCTV cameras.
The perfect place to test the “Street” in Street Triple.
On a rainy autumn night last week I leapt aboard the Triumph and ploughed down the M11 heading for Elephant & Castle.
The Michelin Power Pures I’m running at the moment are a great tyre, but they took a little while to scrub in, and a little while to warm up. They weren’t ideal for tackling London in the cold and wet [some Pilot Road 2s might have been more fitting], but the Striple’s twin headlights are so penetrating that nothing was going to take me by surprise.
The outskirts of London were eerily deserted. Strangely, this didn’t help. A barrage of signs, temporary and permanent, assaulted me in the constant drizzle. I was directed into business parks without exits, riverside developments with one-way routes to nowhere, curious tunnels that crept and bent and deposited me on the other side of the river… and always the lurking threat of a camera flash for infringing some esoteric traffic regulation.
At least I could smugly ride through (most) bus lanes and ignore congestion charges. And the Street Triple’s so light and easy to handle [even for a 5”7 novice like me] that turning around and weaving to the front of traffic lights was easy work.
100 minutes after leaving Huntingdon I rolled into Elephant & Castle, and - as every biker knows - it’s much more impressive than arriving by bus.
As dawn broke into blue skies the next day I plotted my escape. I needn’t have done. The streets were bright and empty. Southwark, the Strand, the City, Islington, Highbury… all fell beneath my warming Michelins.
The A10 became my lap of honour as I flew back north to glorious Cambridgeshire. Job done.
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