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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

Enduro vs All Rounder

May 14th, 2007 by sunflowers

Big dilemma! Now that I think I am going to ride from Alaska to Argentina and could probably buy a cheap bike in Canada and save myself having to ship a bike do I really want to get an enduro to ride around the UK or should I go for an all rounder seeing as how I am not going to do any off road and it will mainly be on motorways.

VStromThe problem is I know about enduro bikes (well from talking to people and the Motorcycle Handbook) but I haven’t even ridden an all rounder. I considered the Honda Hornet (petrol tank too small), the Suzuki Bandit (when I learnt to ride a bike someone said they broke down a lot – probably not true but has stuck with me), Honda Deauville (seems to be the only mid size tourer but heavy and ugly), Suzuki VStrom (big) and a Yamaha Fazer (second choice). But in the end I fell in love with the Kawasaki ER6f. It came out in 2006. It was reviewed as the perfect starters bike. Apparently the only new bike to meet the European III emission laws (that did it for me). Looked good. And though not as powerful as the Fazer had better torque (I now know the meaning of torque vs power thanks to my flatmate).

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Writing It All Out

May 13th, 2007 by sunflowers

I am hoping that if I pre-date this entry and also post a few other posts at the same time it will sneak through unread. The main reason I didn’t post for quite a while is I met a bloke at the start of April. After two days of meeting him he asked me not to date anyone else, after four days he said he loved me, after six he took me to meet his parents and after seven he took me away for the weekend. Then for the next three weeks he told me continuously how beautiful I was, how I was the best thing that had ever happened to him and how he wished he could marry me so I wouldn’t leave him. Then after four weeks of knowing him he went out on the lash two nights in a row and stopped communicating. So I went and asked him what was wrong and he said that I annoyed him and he didn’t want any contact for a few weeks. So I retaliated by spending the day crying and drinking in the garden and writing an 18 page 10,000 word unsent letter over next few days until I realised that I wasn’t able to study for my PMI exam and so cancelled my application.

We have meet up two times since then. The first one he said that the whole thing had been a Bridget Jones reaction to his friends settling down and the second one he said that he had met up with his ex-girlfriend (he always talks about his ex-girlfriends) but could we have another date. Walking to work this morning I realised that I don’t want to feel insecure (he always wants to know how much I weight and said his ideal was a skinny girl which I am definitely not), jealous (I would have said I was the last person to be jealous as my one long term boyfriend made me feel really safe until he left me for a girl he worked with but as he married her I think it was for the best) and lonely anymore.

Feeling confused, angry and hurt all the time is silly particularly when I have so many cool things coming up like my Faroe Islands trip and tickets to three of the big summer festivals and work is exciting and going well, plus good friends and a caring family (even if they are on the other side of the world). So I am going to post this and put it behind me. Still I am happy that it happened as it was the first time I have fallen in “love” in over a decade (sad eh) but it is time to move on.

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Bike Broken Down Again

May 12th, 2007 by sunflowers

TransalpI went to ride my f650 today to Bracknell and it started stalling at all the traffic lights. It has started stalling at the end of the France trip I did with the Londonbikers.com but I thought that the change of oil and spark plugs at my last motorcycle maintenance class might have fixed it.

VaraderoIt was quite scary, stalling at the red light, sitting through the green light trying to get it started and then just pulling away as it turned red again. I was worried that a London driver might come up and try and hit me due to that kind of behaviour. My friend Jon and I spent some time looking at f650.com to see what the matter might be and I thought that changing the air filter might fix it.

But it made me realise that it was going to be pretty dicey riding up to the Faroe Islands in a couple of weeks on my bike. And frankly, I am sick of it breaking down! So I decided to buy a 2000 model bike and we went around the bike dealerships trying to figure out what to get. I was particularly interested in the Kawasaki VerSys or the Honda Transalp.

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Sworn to Secrecy

May 11th, 2007 by sunflowers

I would love to tell you where I have been for the last 48 days. It has involved stealth trips into the heartland of France, clandestine encounters, extortion, rigged rafters, cancelling with US agencies, three star restaurants, motorcycle mishaps, dancing the night away, threats to phone the police, personal bodily harm, the bad guys falling through the roof, a whirlwind affair, public speaking with everyone on the edge of their seat to hear every word, personal invites from rock stars, dealing with government departments and Japanese business men. But you wouldn’t believe me if I did. Be back soon …

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March 26th, 2007 by sunflowers

ToastmastersTonight I went along to toastmasters a non for profit public speaking organisation. I used to belong when I lived in New Zealand and Australia but somehow managed to get out of having to make any speeches as frankly it terrifies me. But being able to speak to a group is a really good skill to know and in fact I am hoping that some of the tips that they give for putting together a speech might leak through to my writing. I am ok talking to people one on one (that is once I get started – I do tend to stick to the wall for a while until I feel a bit more comfortable). As soon as more than one person is looking at me I start to stutter, humm and haw and my mind goes blank.

Mainly I go because I like hearing other people’s speeches as they usually cover a wide variety of topics and I always learn something. I would also like to get through the ten basic speeches this coming year. The first speech is an introduction speech and I might try and do it on why I am fund raising for Chance UK and why I feel so strongly about the work they do (basically because I was very unhappy during my own childhood).

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Up to Test Standard

March 25th, 2007 by sunflowers

ELAMI turned up on Sunday for my observed ride to see if I was up to test standard in order to sit the IAM test ride. Unfortunately they didn’t think I was coming as I hadn’t replied to the email saying who was in which group as I hadn’t realised I was suppose to reply. Luckily for me though the person who was supposed to turn up didn’t so I got their place. My observer suggested that based on my previous ride that I wasn’t up to even being ready for the 90 minute observed ride so suggested that we did a normal observed ride where we stop every half an hour to critique the ride. We covered most of the types of riding, roundabouts, an overtake, bends and town riding. And …

At the end he said that my ride had been up to test standard! I need a few more social rides just to ensure it is all there but if I keep at that level I should be ready to sit my exam in a few months.

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Iceland or Isle of Wight

March 24th, 2007 by sunflowers

I am planning to ride my bike up to the Faroe Islands via Aberdeen and the Shetland Islands and back via the Orkney Islands and the Highlands. I have wanted to visit these islands for ages. I would like to continue the trip up to Iceland but it would either mean spending only a couple of afternoons in the Faroe Islands or spending a week there and only getting a night in Iceland anyway and not going to the Isle of Wight festival which I have tickets to. I wouldn’t mind missing the festival but I don’t really want to spend a week in the Faroe Islands only to have two days in Iceland or take three weeks off work when I am trying to save for my big trip next year and still paying off the money I sent over to Turkey. On a totally different topic I posted my date to go to St. Pauls Cathedral to see the modern slave trade exhibition followed by lunch at the Borough market and no one responded. I think it is because the site appears to have ten females to every male.

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Route Planning

March 23rd, 2007 by sunflowers

My company has said that they would like to get rid of all contractors (me) by the end of the coming financial year (end of March 2008) and as I now want to do Alaska to Argentina starting in August of 2008 I have been dreaming of (for some time now) extending my trip to around the world and biking down to North Africa through Algeria and Tunisia, up to Sicily, then through Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia, then across through Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus to Moscow from April to June. Then catch a train across Russia and maybe a boat to Alaska for August and down to Argentina for Feb 2009.

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Stripped Screws

March 22nd, 2007 by sunflowers

Stripped ScrewLast week I stripped the screws holding my front fork on so this week I had to take the windscreen and front fairing off in order to get at the screws and use an impact hammer to drive a larger screw into the head and get the screws out. I am also worried as my bike has started stalling a lot even after I have been riding it for a while so I don’t think it is due to the incredibly cold snap we have been having.

Stripped ScrewStripped ScrewStripped ScrewIt turns out that one of the guys on my course is a commercial lawyer and I told him about what was happening with the restaurant in Turkey and he said seeing as how my partner had advertised in the UK and the agreement had been made in the UK I would probably have a case under UK law and that for that amount of money I should definitely get legal advice.

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Guilty Pleasures

March 21st, 2007 by sunflowers

Guilty PleasuresThis post is nothing about my motorbike vibrating at high speeds or the comment someone made on my blog linking it to lovebiker.com with its suggestive biker talk. Rather I went to see the BBC Concert Orchestra play with various UK music artists performing all those classic songs you love to sing along with on the radio (and in fact it was being recorded for BBC Radio 1 to play Easter Monday). Cerys Matthews did Dolly Partons Islands in a Stream and Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, Suggs from Madness did Paul Youngs Love is in the Air and the list goes on. It was an excellent night in the Hackney Empire (beautifully restored theatre) with an auditorium singing along. It made me realise how much I miss going dancing. ps. if you are in London this is also a club night in Kokos.

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