As I write this we have just ticked into February and spring is hopefully just around the corner. With a fair wind, a dose of good luck and keeping everything crossed, we might be able to get out and enjoy life a bit more and perhaps even turn a few miles on our bikes.
This assumes of course, we can fit in time for ourselves after using up a good amount of free time attending the weddings, christenings and birthday parties of your newly acquired fiends. These new friends are the Amazon, Ocado and local DPD drivers (or Angels of News as I like to call them) and with whom you now converse on a daily basis, like they are a brother or sister.
A word of caution here, despite now being a part of your extended family, the gifts they bring are getting quite expensive and that bargain Rukka Jacket purchased from Germany ,isn’t such a bargain anymore when you add in the £52 customs charge and the guarantee no longer works in the UK. If it goes wrong, back to Germany it goes. Maybe it’s time for a global collective where countries could sign up and trade freely (as Ben Elton used to say, oops a little bit of politics).
For this next bit, can I just say that I realise how lucky I am. I write not from a position of gloating, but as a way of adding context to my own personal situation.
I've been working from home on and off since March. Since November, I've not set foot on public transport nor had to travel to London and yet, what I'm about to say makes me sound even more of an arse than normal.
For me, the lockdown has been tough. Not just because Christmas and the New Year were knocked for six, but unlike March 2020, lockdown 2.5/ 3 contains long winter months which bring dark mornings and evenings. As a consequence, the only daylight I see is through the window of my study during my 08:00 to whenever I finish in the evening (which is no longer by any means the contracted 17:00) day - poor me.
I'm fully aware that many of you do not have this luxury and live or travel into the city on a daily basis. You work in professions that require you to be at your place of work and you have little or no option but to go in. Some, sadly, are no longer working or like the IAM itself, are furloughed.
Any chance of a quick walk is often denied because of the endless number of calls, Zoom meetings and TEAMS call. As such, the weekends have become precious and represent FREEDOM. They really are freedom too! Released from the Saturday or Sunday burden of the need to go to town, I find myself either out on a walk with family, in the garden or the garage.
I have the muddiest boots, the best-fed birds in Cowfold and three showroom quality motorcycles that you could eat your dinner from. Thanks to my library like organisation in the garage, if you name the tool, I’ll find it for you in seconds!
So where is this going you ask (god he drones on about himself)?
Well, it all comes back to Zoom. Not the 7th February Zoom from Mark Clarke (over 80 attendees. Amazing sign up – thank you) but the day-to-day work ones and in particular, the comments I get about my protective motorcycle headwear that is on view when I use the PC camera. This has resulted in the “I didn’t know you rode a motorcycle” to the more recent “Isn’t that dangerous”? This got me thinking and ended up with a long conversation with Simon Matthews about life, the universe and death – just how dangerous is riding a motorcycle?
Well to evaluate this, we need to use Micromorts (you what?)
The Oxford Dictionary defines it thus:
a unit of risk equal to a one-in-a-million chance of dying
A "micromort" is a measure that represents a one-in-a-million chance of dying. Any activity, even breathing, has a level of risk attached to it. As I type this using my laptop, I run the risk of RSI, back injury from bad posture, eyestrain, electrocution etc.
Unconsciously, each of us decides how much risk, or how many micromorts, we're willing to accept by engaging in all sorts of activities, such as having that extra last cup of tea before one of Trevor’s leaving exactly at 10:00 hrs, on the dot from a place with no open bathroom facilities.
For more information and quite an entertaining lecture, take a look here
Studies at Cambridge University (from which the below data comes) have shown that you can drive a car about 250 miles for each micromort. When walking or cycling, that falls to about 17 miles. The riskiest means of transport is brutally clear: you can go only six miles on a motorbike for a one-in-a-million risk of a fatal accident. In contrast, you can travel for many thousands of miles by air or train.
Micromorts per 100 miles travelled
Micromorts per Activity
Driving a car
Scuba diving - per dive
Marathon - per run
Skydiving - per jump
Serving in Afghanistan - per day
According to these estimates, riding our bikes 100 miles is statistically on average more than twice as dangerous in terms of life expectancy than Skydiving or running a Marathon.
Riding 200 miles is the same as one day serving in Afghanistan (or living with Jane if you fail to empty the dishwasher, or heaven forbid you put the wrong bin out on bin day.
So, is motorcycling dangerous? OF COURSE it is! However, let's compare it with going to work. On average, there are 120 Industrial or work place accidents (per 1m people), which roughly equates to 5 micromorts per year. Using the scale above, 5 micromorts is roughly equivalent to the risk of travelling 30 miles on a motorcycle. So the next time a colleague asks “Isn’t it dangerous?”, just say yes, but it’s a conscious risk.
DO NOT say, “Well yes it is, but it’s a known risk and I’d gladly trade these 5 micromorts to be 30 miles away from this laptop and not listening to your budget projections and even more, I would run the risk of the next 5 micromorts riding home.”
Some serious IAM stuff for Associates. The IAM are in the process of making an online portal available to help with your IAM journey, a series of online content to keep you fresh, until such time as on road riding returns. Check the IAM website for more details.
Stay Safe, smiles per miles always,
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