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!).

Love tap

Wasn’t because he loved me… it was because he wasn’t paying attention.

I was commenting in on the Daytona the other morning and had stopped at a give way. The car behind then proceeded to drive into me. Not hard enough to knock me over, but hard enough to bend things.

It looks like the other guy (and he’s someone at my work too!) has gotten away with about $100 in damage – a bent bobbin (the little knob that is used with a paddock stand) and a bent indicator. I’ll be replacing both of them.

He claimed the sun was in his eyes etc etc. Rubbish he wasn’t paying attention.

Living on the Sun

img_1783So its about 44C here today. This is the second day in a row and it has been a record breaking summer here. A large number of days over 35C, many in a row. But life goes on, even with the threat of rolling blackouts (hasn’t happened yet).

Back to work in 2017. Not much change there.

Back to study in 2017. Not much change there. There is an opportunity that I may be able to shorten my overall study by switching from Bachelor to Masters, but not sure it’s happening yet.

img_1701Kids are back to school. Settling in for another year. Starting to be serious about searching out high schools.

The iMac still fights on!

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No rest over Christmas

Another study period is coming to a close. I think I have done okay in this session, but we’ll see in about 2 weeks when the last results start to filter in. One unit was very different from my others – Performing Arts had me writing AND singing a song and ALSO making up and dancing a dance. Very different from anything I have done before. But actually an enjoyable unit. The other unit was alright, but the assessments were somewhat vague (though I did get 75% on the first one).

I’m not sure that I wrote about this, but I did end up failing a unit in the previous session, so I have decided to repeat that unit this next period. I’ll only do one unit as it appears that there is no break over Christmas. With each period being 13 weeks, there are only 52 weeks in a year… do the maths…. there are only about 3 days free all year.

So by my calculations, my first assessment for the next unit will be due on December 30. Ouch.

So doing one unit, and it being a repeat I hope to be able to get stuck into the assessment early and really make a solid start of it well before then.

A busy lead up to Christmas then.

Watching the traffic

Something you can’t help but pay attention to while riding is other drivers. For obvious reasons, a rider’s life is much more dependent upon being aware of what the cars (and other vehicles) around you are doing.

So after a few years in traffic you get to pick up signs of what people are planning to do, often even before they even realise it themselves. The guy glancing to his right – there’s a strong chance he’s going to be changing lanes. The car slow or moving about in their lane – probably on their phone, all these signs are there and sometimes you don’t even realise you’re seeing them. But you’re slowing or checking your escape options.

So when the the guy in the ute next to me is driving along with his hand on his indicator I was pretty certain he was just waiting for a chance to change into my lane. I had only a car length a bit in front of me, so when the ute moved forward a bit and indicated right (into my lane) I was not surprised or very happy. I held my ground as there was plenty of room behind and there was no reason for him to cut in so tightly.

And I’m well glad I did, the ute dropped back and changed behind me. Immediately he then changed further right, slowing for a turn lane.

So if I had let him in, he would have immediately slowed with me less than a car length behind him, and changed lanes again. A good chance that I might have crashed into him.