Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I need a hat…

Well 500 miles on the new motor now in 2 1/2 weeks, just filled it up a 2nd time - taking as indication that the half-full blob on the dial is empty. So it's the same sort of range per tankful as the old Corsa, but about 2/3 the gas involved. And it's getting that much use because of the usual seasonal bane of April Showers - fine spring mornings giving way to afternoon downpours that I don't care to cycle 10 miles in - despite the better light in April, I always cycle more in March than the next two months.

I am getting used to the different gearing - push to change up, pull to change down, with auto-downshift when braking that means that you're usually +/-1 gear of where you need to be after a manoeuvre, so manual downshifting needs to be handled cautiously. Changing up, it seems to have a complex algorithm for when to suggest the change to you - some function of speed and accelerator setting and torque, not just speed alone. However as a rule of thumb, 3rd is for the 19-20mph limits, 4th for 30mph, 5th for 40mph, and 6th for the open road. However, that usually means about 50-55mph - you start to notice that it's a tallish car with a small wheelbase when at speed you feel the texture of the road (the suspension is quite stiff), and you're not fitting in the "tram-lines" everyone else is. Definitely a vehicle for short-range mainly urban commuting - I certainly won't be doing any more motorway driving in it than I have to - if I have to visit our High Wycombe site, I'll be using the scenic route (Woburn-Leyton Buzzard - Aylesbury) rather than the direct (A1-M25-M40) one.

And hence the title. The usual reason for a man of my age to wear a hat is to say "I don't want to display my bald patch." - thus advertising the problem. No, thankfully I don't have that issue. No, it's the other reason - the "little old man in a hat" - flat cap or pork-pie (Eddie Waring style) hat worn at the wheel by gentlemen of a certain age to advertise that they will not be making exceptionally fast progress.

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