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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake

Too many choices

May 31st, 2008 by sunflowers

Only two more months to go! I can’t wait. I have been trying to find a bike to purchase in Anchorage and apparently enduro bikes are all sold out and any that come up second hand go in seconds.
Honda PC800An adventure rider that read my post kindly offered me his Honda PC800 that he is leaving in Anchorage to ride to El Paso. I have spent many days considering his offer as it looks like a true road warrior. But have had some hesitations due to the state of the bike and the size.

I watched a dvd about Global Buster’s who take an organised tour from Alaska to Argentina and their group of 11 had 1 broken shin, 1 broken wrist and 2 broken legs (the last was hurt quite badly). And thoughts turned towards having a bike that will suit me and getting used to it in the US and Canada before hitting Latin America. But still not fully convinced I logged on today to further debate the use of the PC800 and came across a thread about a young man biking from Settle to Argentina who hit a donkey and is now paralysed from the chest down. So I am going to try and find a KLR650 or a DR650 and only use the PC800 as a backup if I can’t find anything.

Honda PC800Turns out that my sister has just moved from Korea to Calgary to go to university so my mother is flying out from NZ to see her in August. So my work has kindly offered to let me start my trip early if I come back and work from Sept-Nov. Which works out better for me as I get to do Alaska in August and then Latin America from Dec onwards which is apparently the best time to go.

Posted in Preparation | 3 Comments »

Finally Found

May 18th, 2008 by sunflowers

Bike’s Back The Islington police phoned this morning to say that my bike has been found. Apparently enduro bikes are quite popular and in Islington last year 18 KTMs and 20 F650s went missing. They are used in smash and grabs from jewellery shops and expensive bag shops as they easy to ride and manoeuvre around in the London traffic.

I wonder if the tractor has been involved in a snatch and grab?

I have also been doing motorcycle maintenance classes on Wednesday nights and yesterday I won a free pole dancing class for up to seventeen females with www.polesecrets.com.

Posted in Motorcycling | 1 Comment »

Suzuki DR650SE

May 17th, 2008 by sunflowers

Suzuki DR650SEAfter reading Maria’s blog (The Franglais Rider’s Journal) which is not only a great read but actually talks about road conditions and quality of drivers. I am not only packing myself (I have always had a fear about being on the road due to reckless or drunk drivers) but have also decided I need to get a bike that can cope with the poor quality of the South American roads. Plus reading the number of times that Maria dropped her bike – the lighter the better! So now I am looking at the 2008 Suzuki DR650SE as it has an optional lowered seat. This is a comparison between the Kawasaki KLR on the things I look for.

Seat – 890mm (35”)
Weight – 175kg (386 lbs)
Fuel – 23 L (6 US gal)

Seat – 885mm (34.8”) Lowered 845mm (33”)
Weight – 147kg (324 lbs)
Fuel – 13 L (3.4 US gal)

When I asked Maria’s advice after she emailed me and recommended that I don’t take my bmw f650 as it would be too heavy (I told her it had been stolen anyway) she said that the DR650 was a fantastic choice, light, uncomplicated and quite common in the Andeans countries.

I posted on AdvRider for recommendations of dealerships in Anchorage and emailed four dealerships and so far no one has gotten back to me. Not a particularly good sign.

Posted in Preparation | 2 Comments »

Glad I waited but can’t wait to go

May 16th, 2008 by sunflowers

I am really looking forward to going to the Horizons Unlimited Meet Up this year until someone pointed out that it might be quite embarrassing for me as I was there two years ago saying that I was going to leave in a few months and this year I will be there without having gone saying the same thing. But then Maria (who has just finished biking around South America for the last year with her partner) said that she had delayed her trip to save more money and another friend delayed for two years. So it is quite common to delay for financial reasons.

I am really glad I delayed my trip as I have really enjoyed the challenge of my job and I couldn’t really afford to go after investing all my savings in a restaurant in Turkey but now that I am less than four months from going I can’t wait to go! Btw if anyone knows a good lawyer in Turkey please let me know.

Posted in General | No Comments »

Out Funded

May 11th, 2008 by sunflowers

Casa AlianzaI contacted Chance UK , who I used to mentor for and was originally going to fundraise for, and they said that they are currently working with someone else who is fund raising for them by walking the Artic and the Sahara. You can’t really compete with that!

So I will just fund raise for Casa Alianza who work with street children in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico. I already contacted Casa Alianza before I was going to leave in 2006 and they were going to arrange for me to stop and visit their projects. Which will be really interesting.

Posted in Childrens Charities | 1 Comment »

Pirelli MT 60 Corsa Tyres

April 29th, 2008 by sunflowers

I posted a question about the Versys ability to off road and surprise, surprise it can be done but depends on the riders ability and the type of roads. But the good news is someone sent me a link to an article that road (and off road) tested the Kawasaki Versys and recommends some off road friendly tyres, the Pirelli MT 60 Corsa Tyres http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycles/kawasaki-versys/

Someone else recommended a book by Glen Heggstand called Two Wheels through Terror who was captured in Columbia and held by rebels. If I told my mother that she would absolutely pack it. Already this is what she emailed me this yesterday

Hi Annette,

I had a dream last night that I think had a bit of wisdom in it for you and me. I was going into the sea to sail around on a motorcycle. I was afraid and didn’t even know how to get into the sea safely. There was a big surf coming in. I just went forward and wouldn’t even open my eyes to look at the surf, I was so afraid.

Then somehow I found myself out on the water and realized I hadn’t even brought a sail with me. How stupid. I wondered why I had even wanted to come. This dream made me think of you doing things that are fearful for you. Why do it? You have a lot to live for. Skills and personality to give to the world. Also care to your unborn children.

Love Mom

Ahh, bless, isn’t that sweet!

Posted in Motorcycling | No Comments »

Versys Revisited

April 28th, 2008 by sunflowers

I am still trying to figure out which bike to get. I would love to buy the latest F650 but they are only available in Canada and when I included the tax and a shipping cost upwards of £5,500 ($US11,000). My other option is the KLR 650. £2,600 ($US5,100). But I am worried the bike will be too high and I would rather have more of a road bike that can do some rough tracks rather than an off road bike.

Then I remembered the Kawasaki Versys. I had a look at the Versys forum and they say it can do some rough roads but I have also been told that one of the most important factors to going on rougher roads are the tyres so I phoned up a Kawasaki dealer to see if they will take off road tyres and they won’t. So I am really not that better off on a Versys than my ER6f. Mmm, what to do?

Posted in Motorcycling | 5 Comments »

Gone for Good

April 16th, 2008 by sunflowers

“Everything can be taken from a man but … the last of the human freedoms… to choose one’s attitude.” Victor Frankl

Ironically this was the inspiration I received the day I reported the bike to the insurance company after confirming that the council hadn’t removed it.

A consultant at work said that his 1993 Yamaha XT600 had been nicked from the station and he was surprised as it didn’t seem to be the most desirable bike in the lot but apparently a lot of these bikes are nicked for parts. I just checked on ebay and there were no F650 bike bits being sold.

Posted in General | No Comments »

Missing One 1994 Red BMW F650

April 11th, 2008 by sunflowers

I got home last night and my BMW F650 was gone. I am not sure whether it is because I had an old tax disc on it the council have towed it (I live on a council estate). Or it has been nicked. In the UK they have a trace line for vehicles that have been removed so I phoned that and they had no record of it. So I have reported it to the police as stolen.

But I just can’t believe that it has been taken as it wouldn’t have much of a market value. I have that surreal feeling that it can’t have happened and it is parked at work. The annoying thing is that I just got it’s MOT (warrant of fitness in NZ terms) and tax disc renewed.

Anyway I will phone up the council today and find out if they removed it.

Posted in Motorcycling | 1 Comment »

BMW Canada

April 8th, 2008 by sunflowers

I had a look on the BMW Canada site and they sell the 2008 F650. My first thought was to change my flight to fly into Grande Prairie (where my mother is from) and bike from there but it is 3,315 km (2060 miles) and due to cutting it so fine with the weather I won’t have much opportunity to see my grandmother and cousins.

Snow in London in AprilSo now I need to find out about shipping the bike to Anchorage but then I also need to take into account breaking the bike in and it’s first service. It is a lot of cost and effort when the KLR650 is considerably cheaper. But I am more familiar with the F650 and would feel a bit nervous about a bike I have never seen and I know will be too tall for me.

I finished my level 2 Spanish lessons today thank goodness as I really disliked going to them. Even though I studied I was still really struggling.

Weather Update: London woke up to snow on Sunday and Monday which is quite unusual for April. This is the view from my bedroom window.

Posted in Preparation | No Comments »

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