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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

Project Plan

July 10th, 2006 by sunflowers

Today I got quite scared about my trip. The hosting service that I use has free project management software so I decided to do a project plan for my trip planning and when I was writing down all the things that I have to do before I go I started to get quite anxious and wondered why I am giving up my safe life to quit my job and ride halfway around the world.

They say that some stress is healthy – sorta a motivator to hurry up and get myself organised.

Speaking of which – if you want to see the project plan I did in dotProject.net you can log on as guest/guest onto www.alaska2argentina.co.uk/project (I didn’t get that far as it takes ages to change dates etc as it is online). The form that I set up to collect people’s bets has started getting spam – I might have to try and figure out how to do one of those enter a set of numbers/letters thing before it will accept the entry.

Posted in Preparation | 1 Comment »

Hidden Holloway

July 9th, 2006 by sunflowers

S&MToday I dropped my bike off at Motoden. So hopefully it will be fixed by next weekend. Other than that this is an update on non motorbiking activities. On Friday morning my flatmate said that there was a police van and three police cars parked outside our flat with all the police in armoured gear and they burst into a flat three doors down. I don’t know if this was related to it being the one year anniversary of 7th July. Or there was an Islington paper headline yesterday that the biggest drugs bust recently had gone down in N7. Who knows. I haven’t seen either terriorists or drug dealers on the estate. But maybe that is why no one nicks my bike.

Bicycling home up Caledonian Road on Friday after work I realised that my bag had come undone and my mobile phone had fallen out. Just as I turned around to look at it a car wheel clipped it and it went flying several metres. Turning my bike around my work phone also fell out of my bag closely followed by my wallet. As I was rescuing my bags contents from the on coming cars some kids had picked up my phone and gave it to me. The screen is badly damaged and a few of the buttons bulging and cracked but I think it is still usable.

S&MI then met up with a friend of a friend who sometimes comes over from Canada to work in London and we went to the movie Lake House where another mates band’s song plays during the opening credits so they had arranged a bunch of people to go and see it on Holloway Road. The movie is a bit of a chick flick and slow in the middle – but the band is very good. You can check them out on www.myspace.com/theclienteleofficial.

We also went to a really cool pub just off Holloway Road called The Swimmer The Swimmer at The Grafton Arms. That is the great thing about London you can always find these hidden treasures. On Saturday I also discovered a set of four healthfood shops called Bummble Bee on Brecknock Road www.bumblebee.co.uk.

The on Sunday a friend of mine who has been inspired to get his motorbike license – or in his words ‘if you can learn to ride it can’t be that hard’ – went jacket shopping as he is going to start his CBT next weekend.

Jon's jacketI have also decided that if there is anything that I am going to spend money on it is what I am wearing as at the moment my jacket is like being in a sauna. But I haven’t found anything yet. I did see this helmet that I quite fancy with a visor and it’s own communications system so that I can listen to my ipod www.nolan.it.

The weekend was finished off with the best bangers and mash in London at S&M where you can pick from three types of mash, ten types of saugages including vegetairn options and three types of gravey. This is a picture of S&M, a picture of me spending five minutes trying to get my camera phone to take a picture of S&M and one of Jon and his new jacket (I liked a different one better – but hey).

Posted in General | No Comments »

Motoden (Honda UK) Malevolence

July 8th, 2006 by sunflowers

I had two biking options this weekend. If my bike hadn’t been fixed I could have accompanied my flatmate on his trip to France for the weekend as the bike is ridable at higher speeds. Or if Motoden was finally going to fix my bike I was going to do the machine control day with my bike club on Sunday morning and then had arranged to be pillioned by one of the advanced riders on my bike to get the feel for how fast it could go around the bends.

On Thursday I phoned up Motoden to find out when the manifold was going to arrive and asked to be given the name of the BMW dealership to chase it up myself. When I phoned BMW Battersea they said that Motoden had only ordered the part on Wednesday and it had been sent out on Thursday morning. So I phoned Motoden back on Friday and asked if it had arrived only to be told not yet but they were expecting Friday or Saturday.

This morning I phoned up at 11:00 and was told that the deliveries hadn’t arrived yet but they would phone me as soon as the part was in. I then phoned again at 14:00 and was told it hadn’t arrived yet. I find it hard to believe that a part can not get through six miles of London within two days.

In all this time of trying to get a working bike Motoden has never once phoned me. It is always me that has to phone or email them. And when they do reply I feel they are bordering on being rude like it is my fault that I have a bike that doesn’t work.

I have told them that my bike is dangerous as it has stalled when I have been filtering or doing u-turns and their response is that the issues are little things and that I have done 2000 miles on it (which is totally not true and most of the riding I have done is to Wales and Derby which was after the problem with the manifold started getting really bad).

Tonight after feeling pretty upset for most of the day I decided to take my bike to get petrol in order to drop it off at Motoden tomorrow until it is fixed. When I got home I was doing a u-turn in order to park the bike and it stalled, this time I fell over, hit my head and dropped the bike. Still every cloud has a silver lining and I am quite stoked that I managed to pick up a 200 kilo bike by myself. They are right about the adrenalin kicking in. Just as I was putting the cover on the bike my flatmate got home and had also had an adrenalin rush as someone had just tried to punch him in the street as he was walking home from the tube.

Posted in Preparation | No Comments »

My Mind

July 7th, 2006 by sunflowers

 Ljubljana’s three bridges In the mornings when I am bicycling to work I write my blog in my head. In there it is a humorous discourse on the state of society espousing a route of healthy optimism or probes my deepest feelings about the state of my life which can go through peaks and troughs. But then when it comes time to put fingers to the keyboard my exposition is in no way as sparkling as it is in my mind and I shy away from writing about anything I am too embarrassed to expose to the world at large. So it becomes another posting on how Motoden still haven’t fixed my bike.

 Ljubljana One of the top five issues in my life is my weight. I have been on every diet imaginable and when I weighted myself this morning I realised I am back at the apex my weight range. Which, is no good if I am ever going to get a decent looking pair of bike trousers as unfortunately they just do not do armoured skirts.

My hotelPlus now it is no longer about losing weight it is also an issue about getting old. Don’t get me wrong. I love being older. Growing up has been the best thing that has happened to me. I just don’t want to look older. So based on my latest read ‘Optimum Nutrition Bible’ by Patrick Holford and having failed at counting calories, points or meal replacement shakes I have decided to see if I can stick to 2 pieces of fruit and 5 helpings of vegetables a day. When you don’t cook it is a lot harder than it seems especially considering I don’t think I am allowed to count the two pints of Belgium strawberry beer I had last night as my fruit allocation.

The pictures are from Ljubljana. One is my hotel, another is the river Ljubljana that runs through the capital city of Slovenia Ljubljana and the other is of the three bridges that cross the river in the middle of town. Apparently they have some significant meaning but the tour guide couldn’t remember what.

Posted in General | No Comments »


July 6th, 2006 by sunflowers

I was going to complain again today about Motoden now taking over four weeks to fix the manifold on my bike but they emailed me this morning and said that the part is arriving tomorrow. We’ll see.

Missed my last motorbike maintenance course as my flight was delayed in Frankfurt. Work has officially caused me to miss half of my guitar lessons and motorbike maintenance classes.

Other than that I have been too tired to do any other preparation for my trip. Maybe this weekend!

Posted in General | No Comments »

Tuesday Talks

July 5th, 2006 by sunflowers

SloveniaSlovenia (Slovenija)
Population: 2 million
Borders: Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Italy and the Adriatic Sea
Capital: Ljubljana

I have been working in Slovenia for the last couple of days. I have been involved in meetings with six companies to agree on the outcome of the factory acceptance testing of the project software and hardware. The companies involved include two client companies (they used to be one company before the government split them up), the prime contractor, the consultancy firm, the hardware supplier and us. So for seven hours thirteen guys and I sat around a table where we moved from a state of total disagreement and ready to abandon the whole project to concessions and agreement of how to move the project forward.

Today we will have the internal (the four supplier firms) wrap up and then I get to fly home hopefully in time for my final motorbike maintenance class. I hope I make it as I have to adjust my bike chain as apparently it is almost too tight which apparently can be worse for the bike than being too loose. It has something to do with going over bumps with a tight chain will cause something bad to happen (aside from me dropping it or just going too slow around the corners).

Posted in General | No Comments »

Buying Out There

July 4th, 2006 by sunflowers

This is the response I got from the couple that were considering selling their bikes in BA. I really should get a posting of my own on the HUBB looking for a bike in BA.

Hi Annette!

Thanks for taking interest in one of our bikes but if we can´t sell them both we will fly them back to the states. I´m sure the Tractor will serve you just fine…our beemers have been trouble free and every country has a BMW dealership. We will follow your progress and wish you the best! I know how excited we were just before the start of the journey.

Best regards,
Lynne and Tom

Posted in General | 1 Comment »

Working Way too Much

July 3rd, 2006 by sunflowers

I think now I have worked till after midnight every night since the Monday before last (except Saturday). Monday was another work till one am and up at six to be at work by seven. I must say it is hard to be so busy when I am so disillusioned with my company.

So all I am posting for today is the latest email to Motoden spurred by Hank’s comment…

Hello Craig and Tony,

Can you please give me an update on acquiring a manifold? I have phoned and written several times but no one has gotten back to me.

I wanted to ride my bike on the weekend as my bike club had a social ride but was too embarrassed to ride something that cuts out at every intersection. It also cuts out at low speeds and has done it when I have been filtering and during a u-turn which could be dangerous.

If you still haven’t been able to get the part can you please give me the details of the dealers so that I can enquire into it myself.


Posted in General | No Comments »

To Buy a Bike or Not to Buy a Bike

July 1st, 2006 by sunflowers

At the moment I am deliberating whether to ship my bike over to SA or try and buy one out there. Apparently if you want to buy a local bike it can be quite difficult as a non-resident so I will try putting an ad on the hubb and see if I get anywhere. I am going to have to make a decision fairly soon as it is going to effect buying luggage etc.

The Globe
Phoned up Motoden and they still don’t have a manifold for my bike so I am spending the day lying in the back yard working (unfortunately). But tonight I get to go to the Globe to see Anthony and Cleoptara. The Globe is a recreation of the theatre that was around in Shakespeares day and I have never seen a bad performance there. You can buy standing tickets for a fiver.

Posted in General | 2 Comments »

Start of Sponsorship

June 30th, 2006 by sunflowers

I went to see Gracia the CEO of Chance UK today and we talked about the kids following the trip and sponsorship. Chance UK are going to try and line up press releases into the Islington local papers, the Evening Standard, a female magazine and Time Out. As well as a slot on either GMTV or the Breakfast Show. Quite scary.

Posted in Childrens Charities | No Comments »

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