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  1. Cornering – Scared of leaning the bike. What Can I do?

    127 Comments by Streety Published on 01-06-08 02:28 PM
    I am pants at cornering, and I want to learn how to do it like Rossi.

    I am not that keen at getting my knee down as I have a large scab on my left one when I fell over laying the patio 3 weeks ago.

    The problem is I am scared at leaning the bike too much. I am even more scared of crashing and hurting myself and damaging my bike in the process of learning.

    Does anyone have any “sensible” tips to overcome this fear?

    I think my positioning is OK. Someone told me to push on the peg you want to lean with, but that doesn’t really do anything I can see,

    Any ideas.

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  3. #2
    marco's Avatar
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    you are going to open a huge can of worms on this topic. there is alot on the web as far as technique. my best advice is to build up slow doing nice transitions dropping the shoulder keeping the head straight looking ahead. the shoulder is the part of your body that will help the lean and the more you go the more the lean - accelerating after the apex of the turn as you lean will give you the feel. don't try and do too much too soon, build your confidence. fear is what keeps you alive and also makes riding fun. i have about a 3/4 inch "chicken strip" on the edge of my tires from not wearing them out with extreme lean - overcome fear? remember courage is not just risking it all, it is risking it all KNOWING and FEARING the possible consequences...better write your obituary before its too late..
    marco 

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    Go in to corners on the slow side. keep relaxed pitch the bike into the corner( as Marco says follow your shoulder)Look for your exit line , when you see it accelerate smoothly. As you gain confidence you will be doing the same corner faster. Also trust your bike. These 800's handle great.
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    If you can understand the concepts of countersteering it will really improve your lean/turning. Say you want to turn left, you push with your left hand (or pull with your right). This turns your frontwheel to the right, thus leaning the bike over to the left and you go left. It really helped me to learn about this and realize that to turn, the bike wants and needs to lean, you can either lean with it, or simply let it move under you such as in an emergency maneuver.

    http://www.sportrider.com/ride/146_9...ing/index.html

  7. #5
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    Are you saying like lean with the shoulder?

    I mean obvioulsy I do lean, but my cornering speed is untimately compromised because I cannot lean enough. Whilst this is hunky dorey on roads I know, its hell on unknown roads because I don't have the knowlege of how low I can go before i fall off.

    This means for the poor sod behind me that I am accellerating and braking all the time. I am not smooth.

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    Streety,

    The absolute, positive best advice that I can give you is to look around your area or inquire at your dealer about an upcoming track day. Its a little bit of an investment (about $100 around my way) but it will give you a great opportunity to overcome your fear.

    There's always a beginners group that goes nice and slow, and you know the track is nearly perfect, the traffic is controlled, and there are people there who can coach you and that you can emulate.

    The first time you do one, you'll be way slow (and thats ok) but the more and more you go, you can find the limits of yourself and your motorcycle. Eventually you'll get to a point where you, say on a R1200GS, blow right on by a writer of a major US motorcycle magazine on his Ducati 999R.

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    Try scheduling a track day - you can take the same corner over and over watching an instructor or fellow student's lean - you'll probably find that you're leaning a lot less than you think
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    Now - back off just a little bit for the street.
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    Atlanta, GA, USA. donm is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Streety, Can you book an 'on the street riding instructor' class? 10 years ago I took a 3 day class with Larry Grodsky (Rider Mag safety editor, and what an irony in his death) and it took me to a *new level* of riding. It was 6 students and 2 instructors with hourly critiques during the riding day. He apparently got some of his inspiration for using one-way radio with his students from UK riding classes. Once I had his class under my belt, it only took me a year to start putting the valve cover of my airhead R100RS on the pavement and sent me on a search for a bike with more ground clearence in the corners.
    Training and practice are the keys for me. The F800 is more capable than I, so I continue to work on my skills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    S Eventually you'll get to a point where you, say on a R1200GS, blow right on by a writer of a major US motorcycle magazine on his Ducati 999R.

    Now Rob, you wouldn't happen to know personally anyone who has done that, do you?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike in Ohio View Post
    Now Rob, you wouldn't happen to know personally anyone who has done that, do you?
    Perhaps.


    ...and it's a shame about Larry. He lived about 5 miles away from me and used to shop at the dealer I worked for.
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    Streety:

    You need to feel comfortable on your bike. I agree with the recommendations for a track class. They will talk a bit about braking, lines through a corner, body position, speed, keeping your head up and looking through the turn, and yes, leaning.

    I took a track based sport touring class in September on my RT. A fellow I know was there on a Road King. He probably showed the most improvement of anyone in the class because body position is important on a bike with little ground clearance. I now ride the canyons and twisties near my house with more speed and less lean than I did before. I have more confidence on roads I am not familiar with, and just got back from a ten day trip in which I was riding the twisties in the Santa Monica Mountains in a spirited manner, on my loaded RT.

    A track class is a good way to work on your skills and develop confidence in what your bike can do without worrying about being hit by an SUV.

  16. #13
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    Good advice thanks guys.

    A mate of mine suggested a day with Rapid Training so I guess I could do that too.

    Its just that I am a bit "wooden" on the roads. The training I got was all about passing the test and I am seeing the limitations of that.

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    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streety View Post
    Its just that I am a bit "wooden" on the roads. The training I got was all about passing the test and I am seeing the limitations of that.
    The best advice I could give is just ride more and don't rush it.
    Cornering is about technique, confidence and experience.

    Training can show technique and help develop confidence but experience only comes with time.

    There's no rush, you've got years to learn. It's no race and fast corning is fun as long as your driving within your limits.

    The more miles you get under your belt the better you'll become. You'll learn what you and your bike are capable of. You'll learn to judge road condition, fuel spills, gravel and all the other things that make cornering fun. Then one day you'll realise your taking that corner almost laying down and it will just be natural.
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    Streety, don't try and make too much sense of all the conflicting advice you'll get on here (no offence fellers, I know you mean well.)
    Contact your local Institute of Advanced Motorists or RoSPA Advanced Drivers Association Motorcyclists group (see their websites) and for a joining fee you will get as much free, top-quality training as you need to bring you up to a safe standard - and lean angles follow naturally from that. This is probably not the best time of year to be learning how to lean further, but at least you can make a start. And re. your comment on another thread, don't worry if they're - er - older people. They got older because they stayed alive...

    As a qualified Advanced instructor I did advertise on here my willingness to give anyone a free observed ride; only one taker so far guys! I'm in Cheltenham, which is not far from Oxford if you want to e-mail or PM me.
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    Hi,

    I would whole-heartedly recommend Rapid Training - I had a day with one of their instructors and we covered 200 miles and I couldn't believe the difference in my riding. You get taught to make progress smoothly and confidently, whilst also being safe and having a great time. Oh and they are based pretty near Oxford, check out their website http://www.rapidtraining.co.uk I got their details from Bike magazine who recommend them and who use them in their riding clinic articles.

  21. #17
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    Might take you up on that Greyerbeard.

    Also thanks to everyone. Learning to ride with technique is important for all riders in my view. It will make me safer and smarter on the road

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    You might try getting on a good road bicycle and doing a bit of leaning in just to painlessly get over the idea that the bike will slide out from under you.

    Then, ATGATT!!! Cover those knees with something solid and your shoulders with leather and your head with a good bucket. Then go out in your yard (garden to you guys I think) and practice tucking and rolling in full gear so that you can learn that the gear will protect you.

    Then on the road, with fully warmed tires -- look through the turns to the road ahead rather than at the apex of the turn. Don't think about laying the bike over, just lean your body into the turn and let the bike follow. Don't try to "steer" around the turn, just push the handlebar down and lean your shoulder in the direction of the turn as if you were going to "dive" off the bike into the center of the turn. Stay away from the brakes and open the throttle smoothly to pull through the turn and onto the straight.

    I think the biggest thing is to not think about it -- just do it.
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    You know its funny.. I can ride left handers easy.. Hang off the bike, crank it over with zero fear, drop the shoulder knee out move to the inside of the bike and nail it through.

    Right handers though.. no no no no no.. Just cannot get the bike over or move around on that side, right hand round abouts terrify me (we drive on the left here), right hand U turns.. can't get off the inside..

    Its irrational and weird.. to the point I had a crash because of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.mow View Post
    Right handers though.. no no no no no.. Just cannot get the bike over or move around on that side, right hand round abouts terrify me (we drive on the left here), right hand U turns.. can't get off the inside..

    Its irrational and weird.. to the point I had a crash because of it.
    Are you subconsciously staring at where you think you're going to crash, rather than where you want to go? Easily done; I once rode into a small ditch on the way to work because over the previous couple of weeks I'd convinced myself I was going to ride into it one day, and couldn't help looking at it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.mow View Post
    You know its funny.. I can ride left handers easy.. Hang off the bike, crank it over with zero fear, drop the shoulder knee out move to the inside of the bike and nail it through.

    Right handers though.. no no no no no.. Just cannot get the bike over or move around on that side, right hand round abouts terrify me (we drive on the left here), right hand U turns.. can't get off the inside..

    Its irrational and weird.. to the point I had a crash because of it.

    I understand you so well. It´s been now 20 years riding bikes of different types and the same happens to me. In fact, all the scratches and broken bones in my body (only a few, and minor, thank god) are "right sided".¿Why? ¿Any clue?

    I don´t think anything when getting into a corner, but when it´s left I´ve always (after my first 3 or so first years) felt confident, relaxed and realy made good leaning. But when it is to the right I can´t but make "square" corners.

    I live in Spain, we drive on the right here, so that may not be the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greyerbeard View Post
    Easily done; I once rode into a small ditch on the way to work because over the previous couple of weeks I'd convinced myself I was going to ride into it one day, and couldn't help looking at it.
    I keep looking at our receptionist but it hasn't happened yet!

    GB's quote has been altered for artistic license and to get my 51st post, apologies to all in advance!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.mow View Post
    ...Right handers though.. no no no no no.. Just cannot get the bike over or move around on that side, right hand round abouts terrify me (we drive on the left here), right hand U turns.. can't get off the inside...

    Must be a common illness. I hate slow right handers, too. I especially hate right turns from a stop sign. I was always convinced that it had something to do with the drive shaft on my ST1300. Nope. No drive shaft now, still hate 'em.

    I wonder if it is caused by the rotation of the earth? Do Australians hate left handers?????
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormin Normin View Post
    I keep looking at our receptionist but it hasn't happened yet!

    Storm
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    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormin Normin View Post
    I keep looking at our receptionist but it hasn't happened yet!

    GB's quote has been altered for artistic license and to get my 51st post, apologies to all in advance!!!!

    Storm
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    I really liken the movement of a bike to skiing. Not only do I weight the bars to start carving turns, I find myself shifting weight on the pegs and gripping the bike with my thighs and shifting weight somehow there as well. It's hard to explain, it's really just intuitive and you've got to trust your bike - it WILL NOT fail you, and can grip a significant amount more than you'd think - especially our F800s. You'd have to be on ice, extreme rain on slick tarmac, and/or leaned over so far you're practically dragging the handlebars, to lowside the bike. That's a big 180 tire back there, and it has plenty of grip. Just feel the Force and flow with it
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    Hey Streety,

    I was and still am in that position of being scared of cornering. My best personal advice is much like the other comments on here is take it slow at first and you really need to have faith in your bike. Your bike will lean, trust it. Take your time though, I started riding in July and could not make most turns into the closet lane and I practiced and I can now. Some turns I still do not take, or dont take fast but you get better as long as you keep trying. Good luck!

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    Nashville TN kismetcapitan is offline Volunteer Moderator - F800S/ST, S1000RR
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    one other way to get comfortable...just because the bike is leaning doesn't mean YOU have to lean. At lower speeds, you can keep your body upright, and lean the bike over into the turn. That way, you still have yourself upright and feeling balanced and in control, while you learn to feel how the bike leans into turns. My bike leans in on most every turn, but at lower speeds my body does not follow, my torso stays upright.
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    Zelhem, Netherlands de100kb is offline Volunteer Moderator - Global
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    Still two more things I'd like to add:

    1) in my opinion the kneedown thing is highly overrated as a token of rider skill and if you try please don't do it on public roads.

    2) don't try to stear your bike with your hands! Use your body.

    A very nice way of getting a good feeling with your bike (before taking a safety course) is: find a road without obstacles around it and without traffic (like a dead end street in a commercial are on a sunday morning) sit up straight on your bike and only hold the bars/throttle with the tips of your fingers at a low speed (like 20/30 km/h) and ride up and down the road.

    When feeling comfortable riding that way, do it again but now try 'weaving' the bike by moving your weight (ass ) from one side to the other a bit every few seconds. Build that up as long as you feel comfortable.

    On the last run: do it one more time with your bars/throttle gripped like you normally do. It's a good way of getting more confidence in both yourself and the bike.

  36. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by RLG View Post
    Now - back off just a little bit for the street.
    This is a great shot but...is it just me or is this guy about to tuck the front?
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    I agree - I would like to see the shot about 2 seconds later.
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    There is a thread about them somewhere over here. I.I.r.c. they are Swiss (or Italian) kneedown specialists who have titanium sliders on their elbows and make 'elbowdowns' with them (nice sparkles).

    So the answer is yes that is how low you can go on a F800 if you have the capability (and they probably use track tires so you would need those too).

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    de100kb-that's a really neat thing you posted about fingertrip driving and steering the bike with your body. I've never read nor heard that anywhere but I'm going to try that this year when I shake off the winter cobwebs. Thanks for the tip.
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    Motorcycle
    '10 R1200R
    I won't write a disclaimer here but please be careful!

    Thinking of it: I still use this every day (when testing if the tyres have warmed up) and because I know how it should feel I do feel when the tyre pressure is off (as I don't have TPM).

  41. #35
    SKID's Avatar
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    As I was also shy of tiping a bike over when I first started riding bigger bikes (600's+) I read alot of books and followed some really good riders who I learnt a lot from them. I now feel that I can tip it over with the best of them now (apart from when it's raining heavily or I can see/smell diesel on the road)

    My advise is to find a bit of twisty road that is nice and smooth, flat and with no hidden junctions on corners. Then steadily go up and down, up and down within the limitations of the road conditions, your bike and your ability.

    Do this until you feel like you can ride this road with your eyes closed then start turning up the wick. NEVER look down at your Speedo', this will either scare you or make you so happy that it distracts you from getting the next part of the road right.

    To be smooth and fast takes time (or a big pear of balls and an endless amount of money for each time you get it wrong).

    Also hanging off your bike might look good and may also may make it feel like you're going faster but in actual fact it is faster if you keep your bum in the centre of the seat plus you're more in control of your machine if you get a corner or a breaking point wrong. Lets face it when do you see Policemen hanging off of their bikes whilst in a high speed pursuit?

    Try reading a book called Motorcycle Roadcraft - The Police Riders Handbook to Better Motorcycling. You can get this from any good book shop. This book gives you lots of good advice about cornering and many other very helpful tips too.

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  43. #36
    Mike in Ohio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streety View Post
    I am pants at cornering
    By the way, for a curious Yank trying to learn British idioms, what in the world does that mean?
    "So I got a question, do you wanna have a slumber party in my basement, do I make your heart beat like an 808 drum?" "You Love Is My Drug"--Ke$ha 

  44. #37
    greyerbeard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike in Ohio View Post
    By the way, for a curious Yank trying to learn British idioms, what in the world does that mean?
    Ah, Pants - i.e. not very good.
    Crap - worse than not very good
    A Complete Tosser - absolutely rubbish

    Hope that helps!

    (And the offer's still open for a FREE observed ride, folks...)
    Last edited by greyerbeard; 01-17-08 at 05:18 AM.
    Greyerbeard

    Dullville
    Where are my chicken strips then?
     

  45. #38
    Stormin Normin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greyerbeard View Post
    Ah, Pants - i.e. not very good.
    Crap - worse than not very good
    A Complete Tosser - absolutely rubbish

    Hope that helps!

    (And the offer's still open for a FREE observed ride...)
    Also North American Football, I mean Soccer
    If tha wants owt fo nowt do it thisen

    ·"'We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages. We're English, and the English are best at everything.'" - William Golding, Lord of the Flies, Ch. 2

    · "BUGGER" said in that sickening moment when you wished you hadn't made that last post - Dunny, F800 Forum, Friday 29th February 2008 

  46. #39
    Streety's Avatar
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    Soccer! Wot the feck is that?

    Are youse talking bout the footie?

    New Website: www.promulgate.co.uk 

  47. #40
    Stormin Normin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streety View Post
    Soccer! Wot the feck is that?

    Are youse talking bout the footie?
    Yep, I put soccer so's our intrepid exploring relatives could understand
    If tha wants owt fo nowt do it thisen

    ·"'We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages. We're English, and the English are best at everything.'" - William Golding, Lord of the Flies, Ch. 2

    · "BUGGER" said in that sickening moment when you wished you hadn't made that last post - Dunny, F800 Forum, Friday 29th February 2008 

  48. #41
    Streety's Avatar
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    Cimmon Mike (in Ohio), don't you get British Telly, The Office, The Sweeney, The Bill and Life on Mars.

    Buy HBO you cheapskate.

    Further Britisims:

    You slag - Gentleman of ill repute
    Shutit - be quiet
    Bling - cheap and nasty
    Jordan - cheap and nasty
    Havin' a laugh - You must be joking

    New Website: www.promulgate.co.uk 

  49. #42
    SKID's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streety View Post
    Havin' a laugh - You must be joking
    Having a laugh (London or Cockney) = Bubble Bath

    Plenty of others will no doubt follow..............
    LINGERING LIKE A BAD SMELL WHILST SAT ON MY XL700VA - TRANS ALP  

  50. #43
    SKID's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streety View Post
    Havin' a laugh - You must be joking
    Having a laugh (London or Cockney) = Bubble Bath or You're 'aving a Bubble!

    Plenty of others will no doubt follow..............
    LINGERING LIKE A BAD SMELL WHILST SAT ON MY XL700VA - TRANS ALP  

  51. #44
    Streety's Avatar
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    Guess this one Yankies!

    I am going for a Gypsies Kiss?

    If you had a language as old as ours you could bugger it up too, but not as much as we do.

    New Website: www.promulgate.co.uk 

  52. #45
    stainman's Avatar
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    And that not even starting on the various dialects.
    And the night shall be filled with music,
    And the cares that infest the day
    Shall fold their tents like the Arabs
    And as silently steal away.
    ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Day Is Done 

  53. #46
    SKID's Avatar
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    And to add to that we Londoners do not sound anything like Dick Van Dyke out of Mary Popins..........Cor Blimey, you know what I mean!

    And another thing, Easteders. This more than likely as realistic as Dallas.

    I mean who gets into there house and poors a great big shot of whisky as JR did?

    Well this is about as realistic as everyone drinking in the same pub, all working on their door step and no one has a bloody washing machine too.

    I'm way off the beaten track, sorry!
    LINGERING LIKE A BAD SMELL WHILST SAT ON MY XL700VA - TRANS ALP  

  54. #47
    Streety's Avatar
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    YOOOOOUUUUUUU SSSSSLLLLLLLAAAAAAAGGGGGGG!!!!!

    (i take that back. No excuse for rudeness)

    New Website: www.promulgate.co.uk 

  55. #48
    SKID's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streety View Post
    YOOOOOUUUUUUU SSSSSLLLLLLLAAAAAAAGGGGGGG!!!!!

    (i take that back. No excuse for rudeness)
    I say old chap, easy on the familiarities ! LoL
    LINGERING LIKE A BAD SMELL WHILST SAT ON MY XL700VA - TRANS ALP  

  56. #49
    Streety's Avatar
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    It was Mike Reid from Eastenders who really had the art of cockney abuse.

    God rest his soul.

    Oi Ricky!

    New Website: www.promulgate.co.uk 

  57. #50
    SKID's Avatar
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    Wwwolllerp
    LINGERING LIKE A BAD SMELL WHILST SAT ON MY XL700VA - TRANS ALP  

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