Archive for April, 2007

Here it is in all it’s glory – I never get tired of these things! 500 miles in one weekend – can’t be bad.

Wales Training Run GPS Trace

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The bike is away, the flickr photos are being uploaded and I have a full Sunday roast in my Belly…. fantastic weekend, much learned, full report shortly.

Sorry about the strange characters in the posts whilst we were away – the photo update stuff seems to put them in – will get that fixed ASAP.

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It’s 7am but time to pull myself together and get some breakfast on. We =
wont be making the same mistake as last time and leaving before we have =
some popper food and drink inside us. A little wet and cold this morning – =
let’s hope it brightens up.

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It’s been a stunning day. The weather has been perfect, the new tent is =
just right, and the food tonight was top notch. The icing on the cake has =
to be the wonderful camp site Patric found. Good night for now and see you =
all in the morning!

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I’m not allowed to tell you where we have stopped, but suffice to say it’s =
a little red place. Burgers have been ordered and tea drunk. Very very nice =
weather more when we arrive in Wales

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A good wash before we startAfter waiting since February following my purchase of a profit kit from the Rhino Protect stand at this years London MCN show the day had come to travel to the fitting centre just north of Slough, although if I am honest I travelled over the night before and stayed with an old friend as I have a tendency to sleep in. Still, travelling done I had arrived at the centre, which was also the centre for something else but I’ll come to that later. So I arrive and a friendly chap tells me to park up on the wash bay and as soon as I have got myself and my tank bag off he starts washing my bike. Once he has finished thoroughly washing the areas of where the kit is going to be applied I’m instructed to move the bike inside the workshop, manoeuvring past a Lamborghini Gallardo being valeted, I parked up next to a long table as directed by the friendly chap whom, after reading the name on his polo shirt, was called Phil.

Phil sets to work peeling off all the excess bits from the pre-cut shapes on the sheet of film, I say film, Phil did explain to me that it wasn’t really a film as in plastic but something else but to be honest I have forgotten. He also told me that it was developed originally to go on the tips of helicopter rotor blades to stop them from wearing away so quickly, if only the VFR went that quick. Now that Phil had the sheet of film ready he picked up one of the many bottles he had and sprayed the front of the bike in a soapy solution. He then explained that this was necessary as the soap acted as an inhibitor to the adhesive on the back of the film and allowed him to position it in the correct place. After a bit more spraying and positioning Phil was happy that it was in the correct place and started to use a small piece a hard rubber to squeeze out as much of the excess moisture as possible. As he was doing this Phil explained that because the film was micro-porous it would take about 7-10 days for the film to cure during which time I should keep smoothing down the edges and where the film went over decals.

Attention to detailIt didn’t take long for Phil to finish doing the rest of the front during which time I looked around at all the very nice high performance cars in the workshop one of which was a Pagani Zonda. Most of it was covered over but the rear was all exposed where the gearbox had been removed as it was having a new clutch fitted. After looking around and taking a few photos of the Zonda and other cars I went back over to Phil as he was finishing off the front of the bike.

As I have a baglux tank cover fitted there was no need to fit the tank parts of the kit but so I wasn’t short changed it was agreed that I could have the film used on the back of the bike around the pillion seat. However, as there wasn’t a template for this area Phil had to mark out and cut each part by hand. He did this with the same attention to detail as he did whilst fitting the pre-cut elements for the front resulting in a fit that looked as if a machine had done it.

Now that all the bits had been fitted the next stage was for Phil to go round every piece using a hot air blower and his hard bit of rubber smoothing down each bit again ensuring that all the edges were stuck down. He then, using a microfiber cloth, went round the whole bike again and polished off any water marks leaving the bike shining like it had just left the showroom when it was new.

Hardly see the edgesWhen you consider how much the kits cost then add on the cost of a pro fit it is easy to see why some might say “its nice but a bit expensive” but to those people I would say that the cost of having it fitted is worth every penny. The service you receive is fantastic and, as for the film, apart from it protecting your bike for chips, scuffs and abrasions it also lifts the shine making the bike look great. For example, my seat cowl was really starting to look its age what with boot scuff marks and rubbing from my Ventura bag yet after Phil gave it a little polish with some fine compound and then fitted the film it instantly looked like it was brand new.

In short, I can only urge people to get their bikes covered. It is well worth the money, the service is fantastic and with all the loose debris on the road it just makes sense. I know I’ll be a lot happier when we are on our Journey to Russia knowing that my bike is as protected as it can be. Thank you Phil you did an excellent job.

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Ready for the off – again – as we prepare for the April training run. We’re heading to Celyn Brithion back home in Wales.

It’s a beautiful spot right at the heart of a beautiful country (not that I’m biased). I’m really looking forward to the long corners and steep bends that the road up to Dolgellau offers. We may even have time to drop in on the family.

The run is only around 188 miles one way, but that should be more than enough to blow the cobwebs out and get used to long days in the saddle. I’m trying to work out at the moment if we should blast across the A40 all the way to Breacon and then go up and over the hills, or if we should go up along-side the M1 and M6 through Birmingham and Shrewsbury and then break across mid-Wales. Perhaps we’ll do both – should make for an interesting ride!

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We’re very luck here in Journey To Russia towers… we have a genius photographer with us. His name is Stace and he can’t half shake the right end of a lens around.

Here are some of the amazing shots he took of our Dartmoor run – he wasn’t even trying to take brilliant shots as we were all for the most part just worried about where the next cup of tea was coming from.

You can see all the photos from the run on our Flickr stream – make sure you comment :-)

The beauty of Dartmoor

A safe distance

Its morning

Nice line up

Sunset

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We’ve chosen the location, we’ve bought new kit, and we’re ready for the off!

Well, almost. I still need to change my sprockets and chain, Stace needs to re-configure his luggage after buying a new 2 second tent with a smaller ‘wing factor’, and Patrick needs to ride-in and make sure his recent head bearing replacement has taken.

Next week we’ll also be announcing a stunning partnership with another site… so keep your eyes on the RSS feed :-)

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Picked this up over at motorcycleramblings.com – it’s advice from a book by Tim Cahill – which you should go buy immediately.

The following is an excerpt from Tim Cahill´s book Hold the Enlightenment. I would like to reproduce a good portion of it hear, assuming that he will not mind as long as I make a shameless plug for his books.


Tim Cahill’s Travel 101

  • Have a quest. You really want to meet indigenous folks, understand their concerns, find out how things work, make friends. You don’t do this in the company of English-speakers. So have a quest, some bit of business that will shove you into the cultural maelstrom… Perhaps you are interested in trains, or motorcycle clubs, or ecological issues. Find locals who share your passion. You’ll make friends.
  • You will be bored. Bring a big book.
  • Stop whining, no one wants to hear it.
  • Read guidebooks and books by local authors and expect them to be wrong or out of date.
  • It ain’t about the money. There are places where you are expected to bargain and sharpies who want to take advantage of you. Unfortunately, too many people who think of themselves as “world travelers” become obsessed with money. Too often money, and the process of saving money, becomes the entire point of traveling. If the nature of your quest is financial, stay home and get into arbitrage.
  • Thinking of your hosts as “natives” who can be “spoiled” dehumanizes people and creates the kind of abyss that is impossible to bridge with friendship.
  • Try the local foods. Eat what is put in front of you.
  • Learn the rudiments of the local language.
  • You are the foreigner, dickweed.
  • The “natives” have their pride.
  • Schedule a rest day every now and then. Contrary to what you read, insights seldom happen at the summit of a mountain, at the moment a whale is sighted, or in the face of some overwhelming bit of landscape.
  • The worse the experience, the better the story.
  • There are no bad experiences.
  • I first got into Tim Cahill’s books when I overheard someone at a Horizons Unlimited meeting talk about his book Road Fever which recounts a world record run in a car from Argentina to Alaska. Hilarious!

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