Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mags or Blogs

Many of us subscribe to a variety of magazines on the topics we love to read and learn about. Me I subscribe to just one! A monthly issue of a local motorcycle magazine - you would never have guessed that - Kiwi Rider. When a new issue arrives in my post box I am a bit like a kid with a new toy. I rip off the plactic cover and flick through the pages checking out whats new in the motorcycle world. Thats my first read, over the course of the next couple of weeks the mag gets picked up and put down a dozen or more times and each time I find something else interesting that I didnt find the previous times. It takes me a month to finish with the magazine and by this time the next issue is due. Thats what I love about printed material, you can read it, leave it, put it down and come back a few days later and there it is right where you left it.
I also subscribe to a couple of Blogs - no, not just on motorcycles, I do have other interests! These Blogs have great reading and the information on them is up to the minute stuff, as you would expect these days from our great online communities. What they dont have is that lingering effect. Once you click off, its gone, only to come back when you decide to next visit the site again. In many cases I never do, I skim read over all the relavent stuff - like I do when I first rip open the magazine - but dont go back to it, until something jogs my memory. Why? It's not sitting there in front of me while I eat my breakfast or laying on the floor beside the bed to flick through one more time before I turn the lights out. Sure laptops are portable but it's just not the same. If you have a hobby or are passionate about a particular interest you cant beat good old print for great information and worthwhile reading.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Well.....daylight savings is about to start here in New Zealand. I have always wondered why we want more daylight at the end of the day? To get the lawns mowed? To do more around the house after work? To socialise longer and get less sleep so we can wake up in a crappier mood! For some it means we can ride longer into the evening. Daylight Savings for me always indicates the beginning of summer, albeit a few weeks early. The days may get longer but time certainly goes by quicker. I have a trip coming up in October that has me and a friend flying over to Australia for a few days to ride from Brisbane to Melbourne via Canberra and Adelaide. We are hiring a couple of BMW F650s and taking to the roads less travelled. Armed with an Australian motorcycle atlas, a tent and keen sense for adventure we really have no set plans, just 2 dates, the day we pick up the bikes and the day we return them. We hope to ride a couple of the top 100 roads listed in the atlas especially the Great Ocean Road past the 12 Apostles. I will also be experimenting with my new POV 1.5 helmet camera and all things going well I should get some good footage and stills of the Aussie landscape and hospitality. By the time we are done I should have the whole setup sorted and it will be all go for the trip across Russia and Europe. If interested you can find these cameras at Launch Helmet Cams or DirtVideo if you are in NZ. Keith at Dirtvideo is a great guy and is only to willing to help with setup and tips for getting the best from your camera.

Hmmm...seems I forgot to post the last blog entry (above)...oh well I shall continue it then!
Its been a week since daylight light savings has started and it has taken me all week just to get used to it - especially the gym days, those early mornings are killers.
Sunday is always a good day to catch up on a little sleep or get up early and do something I love to do like dirt bike riding. Unforntunately this morning the planned trail ride got cancelled due to the heavy rain we have presently - wimps! A six hour cross country event was held on the same location yesterday and the riders managed. Although from the calls I got this morning it was very slippery and some large bog holes have been created.
While it may have been wet out west it was a beautiful sunny day here (I did say was!) and I got to play on the streets for awhile on the DR. All the bitching I do about this bike is often forgotten when lane spliting down the motorway or hooking U turns in the middle of conjested inner city streets to get to a park on the other side - can't do that in a cage!
The new screen works a treat, gave it a good test on the open road and for such a small item it is very effective. Supplied by Screens For Bikes in Australia, Peter is very helpful and I will be geeting a new screen for the Ducati from him in the near future.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Start of the Renovations

Isn't it pretty in white??
Well looks dont account for much (wonder where I have heard that before!) This bike would not pull the morning skin off a rice pudding in its current dress. Talk about disappointment.....this bike is supposed to be a 650! The engine is drastically strangled to meet emissions, the suspension is so soft you darent take it off road and the brakes are a reflection of the suspension.
Ok so why did I buy it if I dont like it? As I have mentioned it is simple and because of this it has potential. There is also what I call a cult following on these bikes. There is forums and websites solely dedicated to these DR650's - people out there love 'em!
The photo was taken the day after I picked it up - 16/05/09.
Over the past 3 or so months I have been slowly changing things so the bike will do the job I bought it to do. I have to remind myself, often, the DR is a Tool, not a Toy. Pity really I could have alot more fun if it was a toy. With this being the case the modifications are for practical purposes. The first thing to go on was a alloy bash plate by B&B Engineering in Aussie. I did look into building one myself, but unless you work in an alloy shop, just buy one. B&B's plate also looks great and is easy to fit.

Currently I still have not put many k's on the clock, still less than 1000. With the mods done to date I still have not touched the engine - yet! The biggest improvements have been rising the bars 25mm ( I used a set of Triumph Speed Triple bar clamps I had lying around) and the fitment of a screen. Never would I have thought that a screen fitted to a dirt bike would make so much difference to rider comfort when at cruising speeds. And for those who know me - No! I am not fitting one to my WR450.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another RTW hopeful

Well it's been about nine months since I did anything with this blog. Why so long? And why start it again? To answer the first question seems irrelavent as writting a post for this blog or writing in my diary is something that I do when I feel like it not a daily chore - still nine months is a bit of a long wait.
So.....why start again. I didn't stop because I lost interest in motorcycles or riding, quite the opposite, I got more involved but at a different level. For along time I have wanted to travel the world on a bike, just could never see my clear to how it would be done. In reality I still can't but one hurdle at a time please. Keeping a short story shorter, J'ean (John - South African you know) a work accomplice who is a vintage motor cross bike lover/racer asked if I would be interested in riding across Russia. Me being me there was only going to be one answer - Hell yes! Then worry about logistics 2 minutes later. That was October 2008.
Had I been more focused and not so scatter brained I would have kept this page up to date with the things that I (we) have been doing to get this trip underway.
Here is a condensed version events.
Do nothing for the first three or four months because we have plenty of time to get things done and organised. After all we have not put a definite date on this or so I had thought.
Read about other peoples adventures in magazines, forums, blogs etc. This keeps the enthusiasim up and get an insight into what works and what doesn't.
With sudden realisation our trip we had been dreaming about seemed very close. Although we had not set a date to leave, it was a mute decision at some point that it would happen in the Russian summer of 2010. We had not decided on what bikes to take, although it was narrowed down to two, Suzuki DR650 and the BMW F650 Dakar.
We decided on the DR's, for two reasons, they are simple and cheap.
We have riding gear but will it hold up to the rigours of 3 - 4 months of constant daily use. Most of us have riding gear that we say has lasted us for years and we love it, but, most of us dont ride in it every day in some of the harshist conditions known. Now there is a subject I know little or nothing about - camping. Me I am a 5 star boy generally, so the lessons here are going be hard and hopefully not to painful.
That was a quick update to where we are, I hope and I say hope, to be better keeping this updated more regularly and with more insight on what we have achieved.
The trip route has been devised, we will travel east to west across Russia, starting in Vladivostok, and then down into the Ukraine, Hungary, Austria and finishing this journey in Paris, France where J'ean has friends who have a place to store the bikes.