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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 Drinking

July 19th, 2006 by sunflowers

Neil & MikeAbout a month ago I received an email from Neil in Dublin wishing me luck on my trip. He and his friend Mike are planning to bike around the world in 2008. As I was working in Dublin I met up with them last night once I had finished work.

It was lovely to chat about our upcoming bike trips. Also it turns out that there is a 50 plus week wait in Ireland to be able to schedule a bike test and they don’t have direct access over there so you have to be on the lower specked bikes for two years. Though it did amaze me that in the UK in the space of two weeks from never having ridden a bike I got a license that allowed me to ride any street legal bike.William Searson

I included a picture of the pub we were drinking at as if you change one letter it is the same name as my father William Pearson. btw please pop me an email or sign my guest book if you come across this site as it is lovely to receive them.

Posted in General | 2 Comments »

Tank Top

July 18th, 2006 by sunflowers

Kiwi Pete put me onto a mailing list headed up by Charles who is biking to Cape Town with his girlfriend, Rensche, at the end of 2007. These are their blogs www.nambok.blogspot.com and www.buyaikhaya.blogspot.com.

Tank BagCharlie was kind enough to send me quite a few encouraging emails when I first got my bike about things like how to check the oil and things to look out for on my first ride on the motorway as well as reassurance emails like other people’s visor’s mist up and no one likes riding in the rain.

Charlie and Rensche recently took their bikes on a week trip and have decided that they are going to use a XR250 and a XR400 rather than the bmw f650s. Rensche’s bike is on ebay and I am buying the tank bag and tank cover off her as she also has a red f650. Charlie is looking at selling his bike later on in the year and depending on how my bike is going I might consider getting it instead of mine as it is black and I reckon looks cooler.

I am quite excited about getting a tank bag as with the bmw having a plastic tank I couldn’t just put a magnetic bag onto it so I wasn’t able to have a map on the top on my tank. Instead I would write down the directions and then promptly forget them.

Posted in Preparation | 2 Comments »

Delays to Dublin

July 17th, 2006 by sunflowers

I am working in Dublin until Wednesday. This morning my flight was delayed. There was over an hour queue to get through customs once I did get to Dublin and then the taxi’s were on strike so it was an hour and a half bus ride into town. Hence I am still working and it is after midnight tonight. I am soon going to sleep as my next door neighbours were having a party last night and kept me awake till two thirty and now I am right knacked.

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Dunstable Downs

July 16th, 2006 by sunflowers

Dunstable DownsSunday morning I headed off to the Elam social ride. This was my second social ride, my first one being not that long after I got my bike in February. It was amazing how much more confident I felt this time. The first one I was just happy to make it to the meeting point. Plus I didn’t know anyone the first time and it was a bit daunting to walk into a group of strangers. This time I was an old hand.

On the way to Dunstable DownsStarting the ride I was the fourth out and I thought that I was going to be a marker but soon everyone else over took me. The ride operates on a convoy system where the lead rider gets the second rider to stay at each turn and point it out to the rest of the group. It’s great. Particularly at roundabouts they have someone pointing to the exit and someone else at the exit just to make sure.

The first half of the ride was lots of bendy roads and I soon ended up at the end of the pack. I have difficulty judging how fast I can go around them. It does help taking the widest path around the bend so that I can see how the road is panning out and that it doesn’t all of a sudden get really sharp. It is obviously an area I still need to work on.

Just my bikeAfter a quick stop in a pull over at the side of the road we regrouped and headed out towards Dunstable Downs. Somehow I managed to stay in the first half of the group as we were going through town and if there is one thing I can do, living just off Holloway Road, it is filtering.

Just out of town soon the front of the group were dropping behind to be markers and I thought I was finally going to get the chance to point the way. Going up the hill towards the final stop it was unusual that I didn’t have a string of bikes passing me.

The rest of the bikesPulling into the parking lot right after the group leader I quickly took a picture of the fact that my bike was the first in rather than being the last. After a couple of minutes congratulating myself for keeping up I began to wonder if the reason that no one else had turned up was because I was suppose to have pointed out a turn and hadn’t realised. So I went up to the group leader, Mike, who was marking the parking lot and offered to take his place at the entrance while he went to find out what happened.

Turns out that there was no place to stop and mark the last turn so most of the group had gone straight on ahead but Mike rounded them up and brought them back. After a half an hour stop watching the kites and gliders it was time to head back.

Ride Statistics:-
Bike drops: 0
Stalled: 1
Times holding up everyone else: 2
Number of cars overtaken: 5
Round trip distance: 90 miles
Roundabouts: lots
Bendy bits: too many

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July 15th, 2006 by sunflowers

Music Roll ExchangeSaint Giles

On Friday night I was invited along to the initial screening of Lycanthropy. Very cool, as not even the directors had seen it on the big screen yet. Even though didn’t think that it would be my type of movie (being more into romantic comedies – I am a chick after all), it actually exceeded my expectations. It reminded me of CSI (which I do like) without the close ups of the scientific explanations. It was well good. Look out for it when it comes out – I recommend it.

Saturday I was at Guilfest to see Music Roll Exchange on stage. Other notables were Mohair and Aha. The rest of the day was spent checking out other bands and catching up with the band and a few bevies.

 Tin Pan Alley FestivalSaint Giles SpireA few of us tried to check out the Tin Pan Alley Festival on Sunday but it was a night mare to into the street so we went to De Hems near Leicester Square for a drink. Then decided to listen to the bands from right behind the stage by sitting in the garden of Saint Giles-In-The-Fields church. The history that surrounds you in London is great. Saint Giles was founded as a leper hospital in 1101 by Queen Matilda becoming a parish church in 1547 and this present church being built in 1734. Parish Registers dating from 1561 contain half a million names including a whole bunch I didn’t know but the ones that I did were Milton (Paradise Lost I think), Shelley (Frankenstein), Byron (Poet) and Plunket (something to do with babies?).

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Screaming Screening

July 14th, 2006 by sunflowers

Roll on the weekend. Tonight I am attending the screening of the movie Lycanthropy whose makers Rotunda Films have kindly agreed to sponsor my trip 0.25% of the profits from the movie until 2010. I have even gotten dressed up for the occasion.

Tomorrow I am off to Guilfest as the band Music Roll Exchange I was managing until a few months ago is playing and as a thank you for all the hard work I did they have gotten me a ticket for Saturday.

Sunday I am finally going to attend my second of the social rides my bike club holds now that my bike is fixed and then hopefully make it down to Tottenham Court Road for the Tin Pan Alley Festival and more live music.

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Dirty Dancing

July 13th, 2006 by sunflowers

No motorbike related news. My bike is parked outside the flat waiting for me to ride it and find the next thing wrong.

I went speed dating last night. This is going to be my last time (not that I go all the time) but I wanted to do an evening based in the Borough of Islington where I live as commuting across London can be such a pain that it would be nice to meet someone who lives near by. Out of the eighteen guys, only one of them even lived in North London and he said something about living in gritty North London only to confess he lives in Muswell Hill. I just did a search and a cheap studio is £200,000 plus. One of them even commuted two weeks on two weeks off from South Africa.

One of the blokes said that if I wanted to meet someone locally I should just do it at the local pubs so afterwards me and my mate went to one of the local clubs and I realised that I never meet guys when I am out unless it is on the dance floor and there they seem to go straight from dancing beside you to trying to dirty dance and you don’t get to ask them the three things they most like about living in London.

I love finding out the history behind words. I just found this about Holloway – sounds like not much has changed except the A1 (Holloway Road is now just stop start traffic instead). Oh and my good news was that I left my sunglasses in a pub last night and when I phoned up today they were there. That is rarer in London Town than winning the lottery.

By the 15th century the A1 was in a parlous enough state to be called Holloway, meaning the sunken highway…

A century earlier it had been described as “notoriously miry and deep”. The upper and lower hamlets along its route were gradually given the same name, and by 1860 the entire area was covered with factories and uninspired labourers’ housing, gaining a hard-nosed reputation for poverty and criminal runnings. It seems appropriate for the time that in 1910 the infamous Dr. Crippen came from this locale.

N7’s twin leviathans, Hollway and Pentonville prisons, are Victorian creations that still hold a front-line role in Britain’s prison service. Holloway, built in 1852 and rebuilt in 1979, was made an exclusively female prison in 1902. Pentonville was built in 1852. Star prisoners have included Emmeline Pankhurst and Ruth Ellis at the former and Oscar Wilde and Evans & Christie (both executed here) at the latter.

I live just opposite Holloway Prison. But as I explained to my mother when she pointed this out – it is a women’s prison and so you don’t get a bad impression of Holloway I love living here as it is an easy walk to either Camden (weekend market) or Angel (great night life and restaurants) and if you ever need illegal dvds or cigarettes you can find them on Holloway Road. It has a good live music scene, excellent transport links into the city and is still reasonably affordable.

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Bike back

July 12th, 2006 by sunflowers

Outside MotodenPicked up my bike today from Motoden. I really hope that it works this time. They mentioned that the idle speed was 900 when I brought it in. But when I had got it back from them the first time they had put it up to 3000 so I had adjusted it in my motorbike maintenance class back down to the recommended 1400.

Trashed ScooterWhen I was sitting on it in the alley it cut out once but then I put the idle speed up and it seemed ok. I really hope that is the last of it as there is no way now that Motoden will take it back. I think that they would be quite happy never to see me again.

This is a scooter that was around the corner from Motoden. It had absolutely been stolen, joy ridden and then trashed.

Posted in Preparation | 3 Comments »

Story Satiation

July 11th, 2006 by sunflowers

Apparently my bike is fixed. I hope that I can pick it up on Thursday night. Other than that all I have been doing for the last few weeks is reading. I really feel quite guilty. I feel like I should be doing something constructive. For me reading is more addictive than telly.

Since Saturday I have read:-
Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris – author of Chocolat, good read but a bit wasp factory.
The Righteous Men by Sam Bourne – cited to be a challenger of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code but the conspiracy theory wasn’t as interesting but it was better written.
The Conjuror’s Bird by Martin Davies – Short listed by Richards and Judy’s book club which I rate very highly and is better than the book for the Booker Prize
The Sea by John Banville – which I didn’t make it through more than the first few chapters.
The Laments by George Hagen – had me laughing out load most of the way to Brussels.
I have just started a love story which is just annoying as the girl has just said that she is overweight compared to her friends and she is 5.5″ and 120 pounds. So I am going to watch telly instead.

Today’s meeting was incredibly boring so I managed to write out three pages of tasks to add to my project plan. Which I have now managed to delete and have written to my host provider to ask how to re-install.

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Back in Belgium

July 11th, 2006 by sunflowers

BrusselsWell it is two thirty in the morning and I am catching up on the work I failed to do on the Eurostar here. I have also installed software so I could get the photos I took on my work mobile. Again I forgot to bring my camera.

I am not really sure why this little water fountain is one of the main attractions in Brussels. I guess the Japanese need something to take pictures of while everyone else is drinking Belgium beer and eating mussels, fries and chocolate.

MankinpissI have also posted on the hubb for a bike in Argentina. I thought about offering a swap but then realised it might be just as expensive to ship a bike from Alaska to Argentina. On the other hand I am totally happy if I can get a bike over there for someone to borrow my bike for six months. I am even allowed to add other’s to my insurance for free. On the other hand I might sell this one and get a faster one when I get back! That is if I am still keen on riding.

I also found a posting of a girl who is riding from London to South Africa. I started reading her posting about difficulty in raising sponsorship and wish that I could have talked to her before she went. Particularly as I could have gone to the RISE festival which she had a booth at as it was just up the road from where I live. long-way-home.blogspot.com

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