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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

Michelin Madness

August 8th, 2007 by sunflowers

BibendumLast night I attended the ELAM club night and we had someone from Michelin come and talk about motorcycle tyres. Before you think how sad I am attending a talk on tyres it was actually quite interesting. We learnt a little bit about the history of the company which is:

‘Two brothers, Édouard and André Michelin, ran a rubber factory in Clermont-Ferrand, France. One day, a cyclist whose pneumatic tyre needed repair turned up at the factory. The tyre was glued to the rim. It took over three hours to remove and repair the tyre, which then needed to be left overnight to dry. The next day, Édouard Michelin took the repaired bicycle into the factory yard to test. After only a few hundred meters, the tyre failed. Despite the setback, Édouard was enthusiastic about the pneumatic tyre and along with his brother, worked on creating their own, one which did not need to be glued to the rim. Michelin was incorporated on May 28, 1888. In 1891, they took out their first patent for a removable pneumatic tyre. Michelin has made a number of innovations to tyres, including in 1946 the radial tyre.’

Then we learnt a little bit about the makeup of the tyre. Michelin’s product improvement programmes (basically working with cars and bikes in various races like Formula One) and the sales pitch of their latest range of motorcycle tyres.

Interesting stuff: Michelin is the world’s second largest tyre manufacture after Bridgestone. The name of the Michelin Man is Bibendum. It is also a huge map company (Allied forces relied heavily on Michelin maps to plan the invasion of Normandy during Operation Overlord in the Second World War) and Michelin stars for chefs were born as a marketing ploy to get Parisian to drive out into the countryside to dine.

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Orlando Bloom In Celebrations

August 7th, 2007 by sunflowers

Duke of YorkAfter my three disastrous dates in one weekend I decided to concentrate on anything else instead of dating but didn’t remove my profile from one of the dating sites so when a cute guy emailed me and asked me out (rather than just babble on by email), who am I to say no. We had arranged to meet up last night but when one of my colleagues had two extra tickets to see Orlando Bloom in the play Celebrations I asked my date if he wanted to go and he said yes.

Orlando BloomBeing stood up by a humanitarian lawyer in front of your colleagues while paying for two tickets to see a boring play about three sons with problems as their mother got pregnant before she was married, would have to rate as my worst stand up yet. Particularly as I could have gone along to Somerset House to see an outdoor movie as my mate is running the projectors. I have learnt at least one lesson, not to see plays with movie celebrities that are written pre 1970 as this is my third and the most mind numbingly dull. ps. One of the pictures is of everyone waiting outside the theatre afterwards to see Orlando even though he was not looking his elfin princely self as you can see.

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Bring a Buddy BBQ

August 5th, 2007 by sunflowers

Bring a Buddy BBQI have been trying to keep my carbon footprint down by not flying to mainland Europe for weekends instead I have more weekends in London so I decided to have a bbq. The thing I probably hate even more than cleaning up in the morning is getting stressed about whether enough people were going to come so I sent out an email to my friends asking them to bring along people particularly ones that I haven’t met before.

It was a lovely evening for a bbq and quite a few people turned up. I wish I hadn’t been so hung over from the night before and tragically my friend informed me that I was starting to get those red lines on your face from when you drink too much which was a bit worrying.

On Sunday we wondered down to Camden and went to the Jewish museum which was having an exhibition on ethnic Londoners boxing. So we felt both cultured and sporty.

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Climbing Castle

August 2nd, 2007 by sunflowers

Climbing CastleEight years ago on my way to the UK I stayed with a friend in Montreal who was obsessed about climbing. So when I got here I convinced a friend we should take it up. We tried on three separate occasions to go to the climbing wall in Mile End but and once actually looked around the centre but always ended up having dinner instead.

I have been looking into courses at the Climbing Castle in Hackney for a year years so when a friend suggested going I jumped at the chance of giving it a go and signed us up for four lessons. So far I have had two lessons. I was a bit nervous before the first one so I had a couple of drinks before going. But I was surprised that I am doing ok. Cycling to my lesson I realised that because of my signing up for the track day in France I am going to miss the last lesson which I am really disappointed about. Still I am glad I have overcome my fear as I think I will make it into a once a week activity during the winter. (Cool how it looks like a real castle eh!)

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July 31st, 2007 by sunflowers

Leathers off of ebayLeathers off of ebayI decided to sell my V Festival ticket and instead attend the track day that my bike club have organised in France. But first I needed to buy a set of leathers. After purchasing my dry suit on ebay I thought that I would be able to avoid my dread of shopping and just pick something up off of ebay. So to date I have had two Daniese sets of leather show up and neither of them fit. Pity as I like the jacket in the first set I purchased.

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Magic Mushrooms

July 29th, 2007 by sunflowers

ER6 MushroomsI had a full biking weekend planned with a social run on Saturday morning and a Machine Control day on Sunday. But after a frustrating week at work and dealing with builders etc I ended up at the staff bar on Friday night and when I woke up on Saturday decided skip the social ride and head out of London to visit a friend.

ER6 MushroomsWe tried to fit the mushrooms that Kawasaki had sent me. Mushrooms are bits of metal with a plastic head that fit onto your frame so that if you drop the bike they hit the ground first and hopefully save the side of your bike. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get the fairings off before it started to get dark so we gave up. I then decided not to go to the Machine Control day as I had pictures of dropping my new bike due to not getting the mushrooms on so on Sunday I went and bought a scott oilier instead and tried to fit both the mushrooms and the scott oilier. This time I managed to get the mushrooms on but not the scott oilier.

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Kawasaki Kindness

July 27th, 2007 by sunflowers

MushroomsI had written to Kawasaki asking for sponsorship if I bought the Kawasaki Versys for my trip and when I didn’t hear from Kawasaki I ended up buying a bike more appropriate to the UK roads – the ER6f (which I love riding after the BMW F650). I finally received an email from Kawasaki saying that they couldn’t provide any sponsorship on the Versys but that they would send me some mushrooms for my ER6f. They must have read about the number of times I dropped my BMW F650 including when I was showing off in my motorcycle maintenance classes by lying my bike down in order to show how I could pick it up.

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Finally on Facebook

July 26th, 2007 by sunflowers

I finally succumbed to joining Facebook. I have been getting emails for a while and a couple of my friends apparently don’t do emails anymore and their primary online contact is through facebook. The final straw was seeing it all over the news today as they are being sued. So I joined up after work and it was quite nice as I had been having a horrible week due to my flat and a couple of things at work so it was nice to wake up the next day with thirty some friends.

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Spanish Rescheduled

July 25th, 2007 by sunflowers

My Spanish classes have been rescheduled from Wednesday nights to Monday nights starting in September which is a real bummer as that is my Toastmasters night. I am not sure what I am going to do as it is more important that I learn Spanish and there are other Toastmasters clubs that run on different nights but I really like my Toastmasters club and it is the most convenient club to where I live.

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Javier’s Journey

July 23rd, 2007 by sunflowers

JavierAfter toastmasters finished tonight I went into Soho and met up with Javier who is motorcycling from Alaska to Argentina in 2/3 week stages starting with Anchorage, up and then down to Vancouver tomorrow. We went out with a friend of his from Spain that had ridden to Ireland to see his son and is now on the way back to Spain.

Quite weird to be sitting with someone who will be starting my trip tomorrow and not a little bit jealous. I also recently got an email from Mike who has finished his trip from Argentina to Alaska. I am really looking forward to when it will be my time to go.

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