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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

Lining Panniers

October 24th, 2006 by sunflowers

Last night I biked home in the pouring rain but luckily missed the huge thunder and lightening storm that came later on in the evening. Maybe mother nature is trying to compete with all the fireworks that the local kids are letting off with Guy Fawkes day coming up soon.

I have now lined my panniers with sticky back plastic (the kind you used to line your school books with). Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to have them anodised which is apparently the preferred option (why don’t they just come that way?). I also started the packing of my panniers. It seems like I have lots of room. I wasn’t going to take my camping gear but as I quite like camping for short periods of time I am thinking that I might as I was already going to take my thermarest and down sleeping bag inner (to use as a light sleeping bag) anyway.

Oh – and this is really funny. I might listen to it again today just to have a laugh. It uses sound howtoprankatelemarketer.ytmnd.com

ps. I was just looking at the statistics on my website and there has been 57 searches this month on ‘orange outage’ that have brought up my site, probably somewhere on page 1000 …. actually I just did the search and I come up as the second entry in google with the third saying ‘Orange Outage hits 10300 punters’.

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October 23rd, 2006 by sunflowers

Actually I spent my whole weekend wondering if I am really doing the right thing by doing this trip. If I had wanted a change because I was bored, why didn’t I just change jobs and move to a different flat? Part of it is that although I like riding a motorcycle I am not crazy about it. I had originally planned to take six months off to go around South America when I got my British citizenship. But when the time came even that sounded boring and it wasn’t until I thought about doing it on a motorcycle it became a challenge.

After a weekend of self doubt finally this morning I thought of other things that I was unsure about that turned out ok. At university I only selected Information Systems (designing computer systems) as the elective of my Business Degree because it was the hardest option. I didn’t really like computers and I had wanted to become a hotel manager or the PR person for a resort. But it turns out that you probably use computers in the job as much as anyone and I have been able to work in lots of different industries which has been interesting.

When I moved to Australia I thought that if I didn’t like it I could just move back to NZ. In the end even though I enjoyed a lot of the things about living in Australia it never felt like home. Then when I quit my well paying contract position in Canberra to move to London I definitely wondered if I was doing the right thing as I don’t like crowds (turns out that you can live in London and avoid the crowds which is one of the reasons I have never used the tube regularly).

A better parallel for the motorcycle is I used to hate riding a bicycle and now I wouldn’t get around London any other way. So I figure it will be all right.

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Slobbing Sunday

October 22nd, 2006 by sunflowers

Seeing as how I won’t have many more weekends to do nothing I am taking a break from all my preparation and spending the day lying around reading books that I got from the library. And scanning old photos that I am hoping to organise while I am on my trip.

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Saturday Shopping

October 21st, 2006 by sunflowers

It’s the last weekend before I have to take my bike down to have it shipped out so today was spent getting the heavy items that I want to be shipped in my panniers rather than taking them out in a rucksack. Most of the things were bought from Halfords (a car/motorcycle/bicycle parts supply chain). Surprisingly I wasn’t able to get a puncture repair kit or a larger tire lever, even after visiting two motorcycle shops. So I will have to order it online to take with me later.

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No show

October 20th, 2006 by sunflowers

Didn’t get the contract. Oh well. Ready or not Argentina here I come.

Posted in General | 3 Comments »

Panic Attack

October 20th, 2006 by sunflowers

It is three in the morning here and I have been lying in bed having a panic attack. I think it has only just dawned on me that if I don’t get this job that I am shipping my bike down to Lisbon on Wednesday (five days away). And as I heard nothing about the contract this is the last weekend that I have to prepare stuff on my bike. I did know that, but it has only just really sunk in. So instead of lying awake with all the things I have to do running through my mind I have written them out. Please feel free to comment and offer advice. Any help is appreciated.

I am thinking about getting this bag for the back of my bike and putting a pacsafe over it. I am not sure whether I should have the bag horizontal across the panniers or vertical laying along the seat? Ortlieb X-Tremer Dry Bag

I am thinking the 130 litres rather than the 109 litres as they are both the same height and I can always roll the bag smaller. Also I won’t be taking this down to poetical with me and shipping it with the bike but instead using it when I fly out at the end of November.

Height: 112cm
Depth: 30cm
Circumference: 149cm
Weight: 1320g
Capacity: 130 Litres

Height: 112cm
Diameter: 39cm
Circumference: 122cm
Weight: 1150g
Capacity: 109 Litres

As I am taking my laptop I was thinking that I would put my motorcycle hard backed laptop bag inside the bigger bag on the back. Either that or my colleague pointed out this really cool solar panel bag that will recharge my laptop which I could strap to the top of the bigger bag. I am not quite sure if it would provide enough protection though.
But if the bag doesn’t work I am thinking about getting a solar panel by itself – but I can sort that after my bike has gone.

At the moment I am thinking I should take my tank bag as it is good for putting a map into and my valuables.

Tomorrow morning I am going to do an order to motoworks who supply bmw parts for the following.
– front sprocket
– throttle cable
– water pump kit BMW part #s Kit, 11 51 2 343 451
– large paper gasket #11 14 2 343 039 and a rubber gasket 11 51 2 343 129
– bottom chain roller
– kill switch
– brakes and brake checking kit?
– external inline fuel filter
– filter, plugs, bulbs, fuses and amp
– brake lever
– clutch lever
– headlight guard
– chain?

I already have a front and rear spare inner tube, spare sump plug and clutch cable.

I am also getting hand guards (Acerbis or Renthal handlebars) but I should take them when I fly over as they aren’t going to fit into my panniers. Though maybe I can just strap them to the bike in the shipping container.

As for tools I have a socket set, spanners, allen keys, bmw tools (came with bike), tire levers and washing up liquid.

I think that I need to go and get
– adjustable wrench
– 22mm and 32mm sockets
– one big tire lever
– those tie things you told me to take
– inner liner bags for my panniers from millets
– dw40
– thread lock
– more chain lube
– puncture repair kit
– better tire pump
– small roll of mechanics wire
– roll of electrical tape

Well it has taken me an hour and a half to go through all the emails various people have sent and making sure that I am not missing anything. A special thanks to Charles, Hank and Thomas who sent me numerous emails suggesting bits and pieces.

I might try and get another hour sleep before I have to get up.

Posted in Preparation | 2 Comments »

Telephone Interview

October 19th, 2006 by sunflowers

I had a telephone interview with the consultancy firm last night and apparently they have two candidates that they have put before the client. So now I am just waiting to hear from them which one the client prefers. When I was told they wanted to speak to me I had prepared to talk about my relevant experience and knowledge etc but I think the main thing they wanted to know was, why if I had resigned and was planning to do this trip would I consider delaying it. I explained how the whole thing had come about and that even though I am still going to do the trip I wouldn’t mind delaying it in order to have more time to prepare. Also if was six months then I could do Alaska to Argentina and it might be easier for me to start in countries I know better.

Oh well, all there is to do now is wait and see. I have been pleasantly surprised that on telling people I know the situation that no one has come back and said that if I had planned to do the trip now I shouldn’t delay it (though I haven’t told the children’s charity yet). And my mother is positively praying that I will get the position so that I have more time to prepare.

The rest of the evening was spent updating my Links page (surprisingly this took hours) and responding to a few of the emails that I have received. I realised that I had accidentally deleted one of the emails someone sent me when I was deleting the huge amounts of spam that I get (if you emailed and you have recently travelling around the European coastline for two months can you email again so that I can reply?). And if you have written and I have written back it is probably because I deleted with the spam – it is good if it has a relevant title rather than ‘Essential/Grand/Momentous note. You have/are required to read.’ Has anyone else been getting lots of those recently?

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October 18th, 2006 by sunflowers

Darn those cheap European flights. They make it seem like no where is too far away. I really did not know how far Lisbon to London is. Now I do. It is 2117km, 23hours and 10 minutes according to www.viamichelin.com. No wonder why everyone looked at me a little bit funny when I said I was going to ride my bike down to Lisbon to ship it out.

There is a ferry from Plymouth to Santander in Spain but it only runs on Wednesdays and Sundays from the UK which isn’t the best timing. So I think I might just ride mine the whole way. It will be a good test run.

MapsLast night I went to see Avenue Q a puppet musical in the West End. Sorta like Sesame Street but a bit more raunchy and politically incorrect. As it didn’t start until 8pm I popped into Stanford’s (established in 1853 and devoted to maps) and bought the road maps for Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Apart from all that preparation I am still waiting to hear about the contract in Dublin. I must say most of me wants to earn a bit more money and do some more preparation – while also having a change of scenery. A few of the guys on the Chain Gang (www.f650.com) think that I should take more time to prepare – but I have a feeling that they might never thing I would be ready ;-). On the other hand I was really looking forward to starting my adventure and missing the Northern Hemisphere winter. My mum is just hoping that if I take the Dublin job I will come home over Christmas as my sister and her husband are flying back from Korea and I haven’t been at home for a Christmas since I was eighteen. Oh, and my Orange broadband is working again – thank goodness or my flatmates would crucify me.

Posted in Preparation | 7 Comments »


October 17th, 2006 by sunflowers

I don’t do suspense very well. I wasn’t going to blog about this as nine times out of ten things don’t happen the way you want them to at work (like when they were going to send me to Rome for work but ended up sending someone else who could speak Spanish as they decided he could learn Italian faster).

When I handed in my resignation on Friday my boss had just asked me if I would consider going to work in Dublin for six or seven months as a consultant. I said that I would be interested but that as I was resigning and my trip was all booked I would consider doing the work as a contractor (pays more and I would get a living away from home allowance). I don’t really want to put off my trip again but for the amount of money I could save in those months I could turn my trip into a round the world one and take at least a year off rather than just six or seven months doing the trip on my credit cards.

Plus it would give me six/seven months to sit my Project Mgmt Institute exam (I have to do this before June 2007 and was going to do the study while I was travelling), learn Spanish and more about my bike. I could even buy a bike that isn’t always breaking down and it would be great experience on my CV. I have also just started a low calorie diet that I did a couple of years ago where I lost 40 pounds (20 kilos) and then put it all back on again. Again I wasn’t going to mention this in my blog but my mate reckons if I do it will give me more motivation to stick to it as after doing it the first time I kept on trying to go back on it and failing before finally giving it up.

But as I didn’t hear about the job on Monday so I don’t think it is going to happen :-( so I better start looking for ferry crossings to Portugal!

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Hit and Run

October 16th, 2006 by sunflowers

On Sunday night coming back from Farnham it took me three hours to do just over fifty miles as the A3 was sectioned off. I found out on Monday that there had been a hit and run. Which meant about 30-40 minutes of filtering before coming off the A3 and then going to London through a whole bunch of little towns. That is why you should take trains in the UK.

It was slightly scary filtering with the panniers as I kept on thinking that the metal box corner would scratch down the side of some BMW or Merc and everyone knows, that people who drive them are uptight. I also watched a few drivers stretch their arms out the side of the car and flex their hands. I thought that was funny, as my hand never gets tired when I am driving, until I realised that my headlights weren’t on and it was starting to get dark. How embaressing I never usually turn them off so I hadn’t checked that they were on.

Got home and our broadband isn’t working again! Don’t ever use Orange!

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