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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


Dublin Delays

August 17th, 2006 by sunflowers

Today I left for work at 4am and didn’t get home until after 11pm. I flew to Dublin out of Stanstead thinking I would avoid all the airport problems but didn’t realise when they said no liquids on the flights that included all cosmetics so I ended up having to check in my laptop bag not to throw away my seven pound lipgloss away but managed make the flight on schedule.

Coming home I wasn’t quite so lucky as my flight was delayed by an hour so I didn’t make it home until after 11pm and missed going to the screening of Brazil at Somerset House. It turns out that the movie has nothing to do with Brazil and I ended up sitting next to a cute Australian guy on the flight home so not all was lost.

I did manage to start doing my tax return while I was at the airport. It being one of those mundane tasks I need to do before I go.

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Run London

August 16th, 2006 by sunflowers

For the last few years Nike has sponsored a 10km run called Run London. I did it in 2002 and 2003 but then the invite for 2004 went into my spam folder and I missed out on registering.

This year they are doing a North vs South of the river run where they average the times from both sides. Quite a few of my friends have registered for the North London side. I was going to run for South London just to handicap them but thought that the runs were held for each team on their side of the river. Turns out I was wrong. Everyone is running in Hyde Park.

New ShoesWhen I ran a couple of years ago I went out and bought some new balance shoes which just about killed my feet. So this time I went to Runners Need where they video you running on a treadmill and recommend some shoes. This morning I did my first training run in my new shoes. I couldn’t run more than a few minutes at a time and my feet still hurt so I guess it wasn’t the shoes after all.

Another reason for doing the Run London is that I have long wanted to take running up as it is one of the few forms of exercise you can do when you are travelling and even though I haven’t managed to do it when business travelling all these years I am hoping to start to run regularly while I am on my big trip.

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Somerset Screening

August 15th, 2006 by sunflowers

Screen at Somerset HouseMy mate Ian is one of the projectionists at Somerset House for the Channel Four outdoor movies playing at the moment and tonight a couple of us are going to see The Night of the Hunter. This has nothing to do with my upcoming trip but on Thursday night if I get back from working in Dublin in time I might try and see the movie Brazil which is also playing at Somerset House and even though I am not going to Brazil on this trip it might be good research material. ps. I have no idea what the movie is about. pps. Ian took this picture not me and I said that I would accredit him.

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The Adventure Motorcycle Handbook

August 14th, 2006 by sunflowers

Adventure Motorcycle Handbook This book by Chris Scott is the penultimate overland on a motorcycle book. It goes through suitable enduro bikes along with their good and bad points. Tips to prepare the bike. Identifies major routes and what to be aware of. Covers legal issues like carnets and border crossings. And finally gives a stories from people who have been there done that.

Until recently every time I tried to read this book I would start to panic. I finally managed to read a bit of it over the weekend and not get butterflies in my stomach. I guess it is because I am slowly getting more organised and at least feel a bit more confident on my bike.

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Summer Sundae

August 13th, 2006 by sunflowers

Summer SundaeNo biking news as I spent the weekend in Leicester at a weekend concert called Summer Sundae. I have gone for the last few years as they have some great bands, it is a good chance to check out up and coming bands and best of all have decent facilities. My high lights this year were Gomez, Jose Gonzalez and Kissmet. Honourable mention to Morning Runner.

tentMost of my festival memories over the years in the UK have involved rain so I should have known better than going without my gum boots and ended up having to buy my third pair. But these have laces on them so they look pretty. Also I am going to need to sort out my tent pole as it makes my tent look a little lop sided.

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UK Prices

August 12th, 2006 by sunflowers

I was going to get my bike serviced in the UK before I left but after reading that the average mechanic charges £116.53/hr in London (up to £170/hr) and £100/hr in eight out of ten garages in Britain I might leave it till I get to Argentina. My flatmate told me about a bike shop in Buenos Aires that caters to long distance bikes so I might get it done there www.dakarmotos.com.

btw – if you are thinking of moving to the UK average house prices just rose to £199,184 in England and Wales with the Greater London average property price sitting at £317,679. As the US dollar is much more well known to anyone reading this outside of the UK you can almost double these figures to convert them into the US dollars £1=$1.89US).

ps. this is why people flat share until a much older age in London than in other places I have lived.

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Heathrow Hassles

August 11th, 2006 by sunflowers

Yesterday when I heard the news about the foiled terrorist attack and huge delays at Heathrow my only thoughts were to feel sorry for the American’s that are in our office this week for training.

This morning reading the free newspaper on the tube I feel a very sceptical about the whole thing. Maybe it is lack of information that seems to have been given out by the police. Maybe it is the timing:- the height of the school holidays and Israel currently invading Lebanon (a colleague of mine suggested that maybe barring Israel from the Eurovision song contest might influence them to desist). And of course the last two total blunders the British police have made in killing an innocent Brazilian and the two brothers in Bethnal Green.

Still, even though I know that you should not judge a population on the actions of a tiny, tiny minority and one of my best mates families is from Pakistan, it is hard not to feel emotional about the topic.

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It's not my fault

August 10th, 2006 by sunflowers

I have always been slightly scared of being on the road. It isn’t just because of my lack of experience but mainly because of the others on the roads. Last night biking home someone pulled out in front of me without even looking and then proceeded to pull out in front of a taxi.

Tuesday’s metro had a story about a young women being killed as a lorry driver who was trying to operate a mobile phone and hit her stationary car. People using mobiles while they are driving have always been a pet peeve of mine. I can’t remember whether it was when I was living in NZ or OZ but a lorry driver hit a car while texting his girlfriend and half way through the text message it actually says something like ‘oops, something really bad has just happened, will call you later’. This was before predictive text. In these cases I believe people should be locked up for being stupid.

Sadly Paul who was one of my fellow associates on my advanced riding course was hit coming back from the social ride on Sunday. He has two witnesses that say it wasn’t his fault and has had to have 5 hours of surgery on his hands and arms.

Somebody needs to tell me that this trip isn’t as dangerous as say, home DIY. I like it how people try and allay your fears by telling a dangerous statistic about some totally unrelated activity.

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Better Blogs

August 9th, 2006 by sunflowers

I was going to write a terribly interesting blog today but then got home and fell asleep on the couch with Kindergarten Cop on (don’t ask as I don’t know why – I think the channel changer slipped). So now it is just a quick one before I go to sleep.

I have become a statistics watcher to see how many people have visited the website, where they have come from and to answer the question is my family in NZ following it (the answer is no). I also am surprised when someone links to my site and have come across a couple of other biker’s blogs who have.

7cero.blogspot.com Motorcycle traveller in Spain (I think or could be Portugal) who has some amazing photos if you scroll down. He linked to mine with a list of female motorcycle travellers (I am not the only one this insane).
and
www.besidetheseaside.eu Mike who I met at a few of the horizons limited meetings and is riding around the coast of Europe.

ps. when I actually start my trip I am going to make my photos much bigger than they are currently.

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Helping Hands

August 8th, 2006 by sunflowers

DanThe cool thing about doing this trip is that I have received a few emails of help and encouragement from other bikers. I received a lovely offer of help from a couple in LA who have themselves biked around Canada and the US. I am looking forward to seeing them when I get to LA but I hope I don’t have to go through snow anywhere on my trip.

Also I came across a world vision initiative for your old mobile phones. That our mobile companies encourage people to upgrade every year is one of my pet peeves and it must be a massive waste of resources. When my mobile phones are lost or finally break or run over as my last one I usually just scab someone’s old one from work.

www.worldvision.org.uk/getinvolved/phonesforfood.asp

Do you have an old mobile phone gathering dust somewhere? Probably, because there are some 90 million of them out there. Now your phone can help fight hunger around the world!

For example it could provide the money for a day’s food for a child orphaned by AIDS in Zimbabwe. A newer model could even become chickens or fruit trees to provide food and an income for someone’s future.

That’s why World Vision have launched their Phones for Food campaign in partnership with mobile phone recycling company ShP Solutions.

Simply put your old mobile phone in a padded envelope or jiffy bag with its battery and charger if possible, and send it to:

World Vision Phones for Food
ShP Solutions
Freepost NEA14439
Lancaster
LA1 1ZZ

Even better, become one of our Phones for Food Friends and seek out phones where you work or from among your friends. If you collect 5 or more phones ShP Solutions will arrange for a courier to pick them up. And they can send you a specially designed bin if you want to set up a permanent collection point at your workplace. Just call 020 7288 6201 (don’t forget to mention World Vision)

By sending in your old phone, not only would you help support our work in communities struggling to make a living and feed their families, you will be helping protect the environment for future generations.

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