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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


Clearing the Carburettor

May 24th, 2007 by sunflowers

Loaded BikeBurwins phoned up to say that my bike is fixed. They drained the carburettor. They also changed the back breaks as they were gone which is weird as they were done when I had the MOT done in Jan and I haven’t ridden that much. Either I am using my back break way too much or it has been rubbing which I think is what was happening as it was hard to spin my back wheel when putting chain lube on (shoot, that is what I forgot to pack).

They also changed the spark plugs. Again they were new and all I had done is ride 60-80 miles since I put new ones in. But apparently they were black. And they cleaned the airfilter – which was totally new. Still what matters is that it works and they are going to store the bike for a week and a half while I am on my trip. It is a wonderful feeling to have found a good bike shop! I am just worried that all those bits were new and they are just going to go again but hopefully it will get us to the Isle of Wight and back.

What a cool two weeks – from the Shetland Islands to the Isle of Wight in the last week with a few days back at work in between!

James cooking me breakfastI left work at five and started heading north. I decided to take the A5 to Branston (near Derby) where I was staying as I needed to keep the rpm under 4000. I got as far as Marylebone Road when I realised that my service book was at home so I stopped at home and grabbed it and headed off on the North Circular to the A5 junction to pick up my tickets to Isle of Wight. I almost killed myself on the Staples Corner roundabout being honked at by several vehicles. But eventually got onto the A5. I thought that I was lost once and back tracked to find out that I was going the correct way and then did get lost and someone kindly let me follow them back to the A5.

Loaded BikePassed St. Albans it was a lovely ride. Almost no traffic on the road, beautiful summers evening and I cruised along at 55 miles per hour occasionally going through all the gears. I hit Branston at about ten and then spent an hour getting lost before I finally made it to James (friend of a friend who was putting me up for the night). I had a warm welcome, a bed and a cooked breakfast in the morning. And then I set off in the rain with my fully loaded ‘sports’ bike.

Posted in Faroe Islands Trip | No Comments »


Sean Saves Me

May 23rd, 2007 by sunflowers

Even though I have a brand new bike I want to use my old bike to go down to the Isle of Wight festival (the Rolling Stones are playing) in two weeks time. Mainly, because myself and my friend are going and we need the space with the panniers on the bike and it will be easier to pillion her with a backpack on the old tractor. Plus I don’t really want to take a new bike to a festival.

SeanI needed to get my bike fixed now or in the day or two I will have when I get back from the Faeroe Islands.

Motor bikers are the most friendly community of people you could ever meet. Within a day of posting for help to my motorcycle group nine replied including an offer from someone to come and look and it and Sean who took a few hours off work in the morning to come and pick up my bike in a van and take it to Burwins (where I got my MOT done).

Also in the picture you can see the back brace bar that I had to screw back on after it almost came off on the France ride out.

Posted in General | No Comments »


Cold and Nervous

May 22nd, 2007 by sunflowers

I am now two days away from the start of my ride from London to the Faroe Islands and I am absolutely packing myself. I finally looked at the weather forecast for Lerwick (Shetland Islands) and it is between 5-10 degree Celsius. I am too scared to look at the forecast for the Faroe Islands. Why do I do this to myself? It is all hard enough without having to ride in a new bike and having next to no luggage space (particularly for heaps of jumpers) and now I am going to be cold. If there is one thing I really don’t do well it is the cold.

Tail LuggageBut so far the Shetland Islands Cruisers led by Colin have been so helpful it is amazing so I am sure I will be able to get through the cold thing. They have even booked my bike in for a service in the Faroe Islands in case I don’t get time to get it done in Aberdeen on the way up.

I am taking part in ‘The Shetland Gathering’ which is being held as far north in the UK you can go 60 degrees north. I tried to get their logo off their website but I can’t so you will just have to go and look at their website www.shetlandislandscruisers.com.

Posted in Faroe Islands Trip | No Comments »


New Bike Syndrome

May 21st, 2007 by sunflowers

I am really worried about this breaking a new bike in stuff. I am not sure how I am suppose to get from London to Aberdeen in an evening and a day at 55 miles per hour. I tried to say to a couple of people surely that was bunkum about having to keep below 4000rpm. But my flatmate and my colleague said that they say it for a reason. So I looked up what it meant on the internet. It turns out that it is something about wearing in the piston ring seal so that it will seal all the way around the bore. There are a couple of sites that recommend sitting on a motorway at 55 miles an hour is probably the worse thing you can do – even though all my owner’s manual says is not to take it above 4000rpm. It appears that the most important thing is to go through all the gears and revs.

These are the sites that I looked at and they seemed to make sense.
http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm
http://www.calsci.com/motorcycleinfo/NewBike.html

So I rode my bike home trying to take it up and down through the gears and probably came close to either killing myself or getting a speeding fine in the four miles between work and home in London traffic.

Posted in General | No Comments »


Airless I Think

May 20th, 2007 by sunflowers

Changing the Air FilterChanging the Air FilterMy bike on Sunday went from stalling at the lights to not working at all. I changed the air filter hoping that would work. I was pretty pleased as even though it is pretty easy it was the first thing I had done on my bike all by myself. Then I went to try and start it and even though it turned over a few times and I managed to keep it going a little bit while holding open the throttle it soon wouldn’t start at all. I also managed to backfire it which was really loud. I was tempted to push it a mile down the road to get RAC to come out but in the end emailed my motorcycle group for advice and someone kindly offered to come and pick me and bike up and take it to the guys that did such a great job on the MOT.

Posted in General | No Comments »


Brand New Bike

May 19th, 2007 by sunflowers

New BikeOn Friday night I went and stayed with my mate in Bracknell. He pillioned me there which was pretty cool as I have only been pillion a couple of times. It was his first time with a passenger so he was a bit nervous going through the London commuter traffic on the wet roads but he did an admirable job.

Odo ReadingOn Saturday morning we went about 11am to pick up the bike as they had said not to show up too early. Unfortunately all the good work they had done selling the bike over the phone went down the drain after they made us wait an hour and a half without doing the paper work and by the time the bike was ready the guy who does the paperwork had gone to lunch. Maybe that was their ploy as I did manage to buy a tail bag and some new boots during the wait.

After being told to have patience by the sales guy I finally had my new bike. I gingerly rode the five miles to the petrol station as they only give you two litres. I took a picture of the odo reading of 9 miles and then went to my mates to read the stuff about breaking in a bike which no one at the dealership had told me about and realised that I wasn’t suppose to have gone over 4000rpm! Or rev the bike.

New BikeSo I rode back into London at a sedate 55 miles per hour which is all you can do at 4000rpm. It was also a bit scary not having as good a mirrors as are on my F650 as I couldn’t really see anyone behind me very well. On the other hand I knew that I could go faster without having to worry about the bike breaking down. To celebrate I went out to see the musical Fiddle on the Roof.

Posted in General | 1 Comment »


Orange Out Again!

May 18th, 2007 by sunflowers

I really wanted to blog this week about my bike breaking down – yes, yet again. But my broadband connection hasn’t been working since the 12th. So yes, yet again have I and my flatmate been spending our days on the phone to Orange Support.

Unlike the previous five weeks of outage last year Orange have scheduled a technical person to visit on a Sunday! I don’t know why when they had admitted that there was a fault at the exchange last weekend. But hopefully I will be back online this week (today I am visiting a mate who has kindly allowed me internet access).

Posted in Preparation | No Comments »


Phone Shopping

May 17th, 2007 by sunflowers

Having made my decision to purchase the ER6f abs I phoned up a Kawasaki dealership and ordered the bike over the phone without doing a test ride. Scary/silly, I know. But I needed to sort something out by this weekend for my upcoming Faroe Islands trip.

It also gave me a reason to cancel my track day on the 19th June as my flatmate said that I shouldn’t be revving a new bike so soon which was a much better excuse than I wanted to loose a bit more weight before I buy leathers. I had tried on a few leather combos when I was bike shopping and it wasn’t a pleasant sight. It is like wearing a wetsuit but with armour! Also the thought of doing a track day has been quite frightening.

Posted in General | No Comments »


New vs Second-hand

May 16th, 2007 by sunflowers

2006 ER6fThere were a few second-hand ER6fs on ebay including a black one with this wicked looking red pipe work. Which was up in Newcastle, had 1000 miles on the clock, still 1 years warrantee left and would be much closer to Aberdeen where I was catching the ferry to the Shetland Islands on Friday the 25th. But it was ‘buy now’ for £3550 and you could get a new one with 2 years warrantee, abs and 0% finance for £4600. So I waited to see what the one on ebay went for and when it when for £3300 I decided to buy a new one.2007 ER6nIt was really the ABS that swung it for me as I tend to use my back brake and skid all the time. I think it is because on the third day of riding, on my four days of learning to ride from scratch and sitting my test on the fifth day, I pulled my front brake doing a u-turn on ice and was down without knowing what happened. I did really want the red pipe work on the 2006 model and asked if the naked 2007 which had the red pipes could be fitted with a fairing but they have a quite different front.

Posted in General | No Comments »


Horncastle & Sons

May 15th, 2007 by sunflowers

Hole in the CeilingBack in October we contracted Horncastle & Sons to fix the roof of the Kings Cross flat and the work started several weeks ago. Originally the work was quoted at £6500 + VAT and after taking off the roof they said that the rafters needed replacing which would be an additional £8500 + VAT (the cost is split between four of us who own the flats). A week or so into the job I got a phone call from Horncastles to say that one of the builders had fallen through one of the rafters into my flat and making it sound like I was responsible for a faulty rafter. Then next day my tenant got home and emailed me mortified at the mess in the flat. So I phoned them up to say that I thought that they should take some responsibility and the guy asked me if I would be responsible if I walked out into a street and a car hit me. To which I replied I would be if I wasn’t looking and he said that if I was walking down the road and a coping stone fell on my head would I be responsible. I said that I didn’t think that he should be saying that to me and he said until I showed him some respect he was pulling everyone off the job. I phoned up a couple of times to apologise for how the conversation went and asked one of the other leaseholders to help me out. In the end Horncastles agreed to pay for the ceiling to be re-plastered but I have been left with paying for the painting, my tenant not wanting to pay full rent and the damage of her property. Oh to be a builder!

Posted in General | 2 Comments »


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