Let Out

The last day of the school holidays came along, and Mrs Mab had the day off. But she was sick and I think that’s why after lunch she let me out for a ride. With a couple of hours free I wasn’t able to get to the top of the Putty or Mac Pass, so I decided to head up Old Pac for a few laps south of Brooklyn Bridge. And while I actually I managed to catch one bike, I was mostly a rolling roadblock for the more skilled riders.

Even more amazing, there was a photographer out (I normally pass through the area in the week when they aren’t there). So I have photos from a rare recreational ride of mine. And I have super rare pictures of me riding AND the first photos of me on the Daytona (I’ve had this bike for 4 years).

So enjoy.

 

The slowest rider on the Old Pac!

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Special thanks to Gideon Motorcycle Imagery (on Facebook) for the pictures.

Study – a solid start

A term or so ago I was over the moon about getting 75% on an essay. The post is here

I’ve managed to top it in an essay. 78%. A longer essay as well – 2500 words. I had run out of time and while I had done the research and a skeleton of the paper it wasn’t until I took a day off work and wrote it that I managed to finish it. 

But even better that should give a high Credit for that unit overall. Pretty good. Pretty happy. 

But I topped that in the other unit. 84% on the final assignment (not an essay) and that gets me into Distinction for the assignment and maybe for the unit overall. 

So a solid start to this Masters caper.  

Next units have me doing a second “make my own lesson, recruit a few kids, and make a video of me teaching that lesson, then critique it“. I actually really enjoyed this last time and did pretty well (78%) so I’m looking forward to that one. 

This term I also have my first practical placement at an actual school. So for two weeks I’ll be a full time teacher, so to speak. Scary and excited. 

Hope it goes well. 

Sad and confused

Yesterday we had a memorial at work. Over the weekend a colleague committed suicide. She was distraught over the recent death of her boyfriend. 

I didn’t know her too well, worked with her a few times and chatted in the gym a couple of times. But knew her enough that it was saddening both not enough so it was a surprise. Equally, and I feel somewhat guilty about this, I feel a kinda mad at her. 

I’m kinda mad because I want to tell her that things get better. People get through horrifying tragedies and terrible things happening to them. There’s always a light in that tunnel even when it’s pitch black. I’ve been in a couple of pretty black places and even once I did think about suicide. But from my perspective it doesn’t  seem like an answer to anything. But I can’t tell her because I can’t bump into her in the gym anymore. 

So I’m a bit mad. Now there are two grieving families instead of one (the boyfriend was killed in a accident while at work, not suicide) and lots of people hurting. 

And all of these people would have jumped in with both feet to help and support her. I don’t know if she asked anyone. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to strangers and I know she was talking to the padre at work, maybe that helped some.  

So I’m mad, feeling guilty, feeling sad and definitely confused. RIP Aimee and Curtis. 

Ninja time

No not turtles. Oh that reminds me – I do have to sit through the latest one. 

I test rode the Ninja 1000sx this afternoon. I really wanted to like it, it was smooth, plenty of power. Nice seating position and I can’t see it struggling with full panniers or two up. Brakes seemed good too. 

But I found that the seat had two creases that I found quite uncomfortable after only a few short minutes. Even after I got off the bike I still was a bit uncomfortable for at least a half an hour. That really made it hard to like the bike. 
The VFR moves back to the top of the list and I’m considering that the newer one is the better choice. Revised and refreshed with some better technology. And available at some reasonable prices second hand. 

Reached a quiet decision

Commuting home on the Daytona the other day I finally decided that it was no longer the bike for me.

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What’s not to love about this sweet machine??

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic bike. And I’m still super happy to have decided that my experiment into the sportbike world was on such a sweet machine. Its performance is amazing, handling is fantastic. It’s actually pretty easy to ride every day even in traffic. And I have travelled some distance on it.

It is the decision two years in the making, ever since the roo jumped onto the Hume and laid down my VFR. I didn’t enjoy the track day, I don’t have time or the real interest in putting effort (time, money and stress) into track day schools. I have also decided that I don’t really like heading out to the same road and just repeating it over and over.

I want to head out for a couple of hours (or days or weeks) and explore. Heck, this even sounds like my WoW interests, lol.  The Daytona doesn’t really lend itself to that. I’m not out there wanting to shave seconds off time, I’m happy cruising along at the speed limit(ish) and eating miles looking around. A topbox would be great for work commute.

So I’m heading back to the Sports Tourer world

But no idea how I’m going to pay for it.

Sell the Daytona is the first step.

That should give me enough money to get a good condition VFR800, say 2010 or so. A known bike I would be content with.

So what else?

Well the new VFR seems an obvious choice. I have decided to loosen up my personal restriction and investigate the over 1000cc bikes. Otherwise, there basically isn’t anything to choose from that isn’t choked by Learner Approved restrictions. I may also consider the strongly road orientated “adventure” bikes, this opens it up somewhat too. I would like at least a windscreen (so no nakeds please!) and hope for factory panniers/topbox. LED headlights are a big plus having experienced that in my car now. The difference between normal halogen and LEDs is massive! Maybe I would have seen that roo???

So my list currently has

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2014+ Honda VFR800 (White or Red)

Honda VFR800 – Newer than my old one. Has LED Lights, same sweet engine and similar ergonomics. Almost a known factor, can get second hand too. Panniers/topbox, tick.

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Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX – I step up to 1000cc. Plenty of power. LED lights, ABS, traction control. Panniers OR topbox, not both at same time.

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Triumph Tiger Sport 1050

Triumph Tiger Sport – LED lights, ABS, traction control. I presume options for topbox, panniers. More adventure tourer than sports tourer. 1000cc triple (triples are sweet). Heated grips etc etc.

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Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer. – LED lights, ABS, traction control. I presume options for topbox, panniers. More adventure tourer than sports tourer. 900cc triple (triples are sweet). Heated grips etc etc.

All four of those are improvements on the version before. Better suspension or better tuned engines, improved seating or some such. Ninja, VFR and Tracer should be available in good second hand versions, without some of the newer bits and pieces (LED lights mostly).

I can’t really think of any others. Possibles might include Suzuki GSX1000F (though it’s pretty ugly). Ducati Multistrada 950.

I’ve put the Daytona up for sale at work. I’ve tested a 2017 VFR800, and plan to test the Ninja on Friday. I think thats the strongest alternate to the two VFRs.

But then I have to figure out how to pay.

Tired of the weather

Though actually yesterday and today are really nice. Summer was mostly super hot and so far the weeks of Autumn have been wet mostly. The bike is always dirty and so is the car. I have not been able to ride my push bike to work either. 

And the grass is on some kind of super growth spurt everywhere too.

Rain forecast for next week. Can we just have some mild weather for a while, rain maybe a couple of days instead of every day.

Bird Nest?

The Daytona went in for a service yesterday. 40,000km in 4 years. I’m almost running it exactly 10,000 per year as each service comes up about Easter time. 

Overall everything was okay but they thought at one stage that they had found a birds nest inside it. They described a bunch of sticks and flower down the intake near the air filter. 

Didn’t make a lot of sense as the bike is ridden almost every day and stored in a garage. I didn’t see how a bird would decide to nest there, and I thought it unlikely that a mouse would have enough time to set up. I have heard of mice and other such things nesting in bikes, and even being there for some time, but it usually bikes that spend a chunk of time off the road (such as laid up for snowy northern hemisphere winters), but not really heard of it in bikes that are ridden often. So it was initially a mystery, but I think I’ve figured it out.

At work, the bike parking closest to my office is under a big tree. A big tree that also has heaps of tiny pink flowers. And that’s a match – I’ll have to park somewhere else from now on. Not too annoying as the next closest parking is about 20m away. 

So apart from a new air filter there wasn’t anything of not from the service. And that’s good.

Something Left Over?

After days and days of rain (autumn brought a real change after days of scorching heat in summer), Friday saw a break in the weather (that so far has lasted until Sunday morning).

So I rolled out the car and washed it, rolled out the bike and washed that. Then I rolled out the lawnmower and mowed the lawns. Now rolling out the mower means rolling out the race stand (for the bike), and the two kids bicycles.

After all that was done I rolled them all back into the jigsaw that my garage is, swept the driveway and generally cleaned up. As I did I found these two items on the ground.

 

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I found the washer first. It was a little worrying. But when i found the clip I was quite worried. I was pretty confident that it didn’t come from the car. But it could have come from the bike. Would my next ride see me have no brakes, or the chain fall off… I put the parts in my pocket and did some other chores, while I pondered where they might have come from.

After a look over the bike and some thought, I decided it wasn’t from the bike. So probably the mower. Next time I mowed the lawn, could I expect the blades to come flying out?

As I looked at the mower at the bottom of the pile of bicycles (told you it was a jigsaw)I realised where they came from. I didn’t have to worry about the mower, or the next time the kids went for a bicycle ride.

It was from the axle of my race stand (which I hadn’t used to clean my bike). So a clip back in, double check the other three (two on each side) and all was good.

Lucky to be here. 

No not a new crash. 

Now and then again I see something that drives it home again just how lucky I was 2 years ago in my bike crash. Today I watched some of a YouTube video where a bike ran a red light and hit a car. These guys were being complete wankers stunting on the street and rode through the lights at speed. I don’t have a problem with the stunting, its when these riders are blocking traffic, running lights or on the wrong side that they’re just being dickheads and giving riders a bad name. 

While the first bike made it cleanly the second collected a car and the rider and his pillion were thrown across the bonnet and down. The pillion’s foot is either completely torn off or hanging by a thread. I didn’t look too closely. If you’ve a stronger stomach than me go and check it out

I hit the road at a higher speed than these two and was lucky not to get thrown off more violently. I could have gotten tangled in the bike or the roo or slid heavily into the fence. I might have landed differently and torn part of myself apart as I slid 100m along the road. I might have been run over. 

I wore a mix of good and great gear. I had a kept a fair bit of space around me in the very light traffic. But when the roo was there – there was NOTHING I could have done to avoid it. 

But I was also lucky. Very lucky. 

And now and then there’s something that makes a cold chill run down my back and remind me. 

Study – Changing degrees

So I’ve spent about 3/4 of a year studying online. It’s the first year of a 4 year bachelor degree. I already have a bachelor but there were not any postgraduate options available online. Certainly if I took 2 years off work I could have attended a local university and studied full time. I even applied and was offered a place in my preferred university. 

But that would have put unimaginable strain on my family’s financial situation so wasn’t really an option.

In late February, just as I was finishing a unit for my study I discovered that starting this year there is now an online post graduate degree available in the field I am studying. Still be finalised but open for enrolment. 

By the time I found out, it was already a week past the application closing date, but with some advice from the university I submitted the application and was accepted. And then, with less than a week to go before classes started I managed to get enrolled in classes.

Now it is a bit of a risk. The degree isn’t yet accredited (it has had preliminary accreditation) and is under development. It is also significantly more expense (each unit is $2000 rather than $700) per term. And because my previous study was at Bachelor level and this is a Masters, even though the subject matter is the same, it cannot be counted for prior study.

However being able to finish around a year earlier than the other, which fits in well with my timeline is a huge positive. 

And the previous study isn’t completely lost. Even though its a long way from anything I have done before I found the first year really interesting and I’m happy with my choice. I have also gotten a lot better at managing my study and somewhat better in my essay writing. There is some initial overlap in what I have studied as well. 

The assessments are harder and the units cover twice as much material as the Bachelor ones, but it is Master level after all. 

Week 2 has started now and I’m encouraged with how it is going (and so far no assignments are essays! Or concept maps!).