Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Dad, This one's for you.

A couple of months ago something changed in my life. My father passed away. And I have to admit I miss him like crazy.

Dad was a solitary man. He loved the sea. He spent most of his life at sea.

That's why he was never very close to his family. He wasn't around much during my childhood, and when he did finally come home I was 12 years old, he and my mother ended up divorced. For a long time I hated my father. I think it was one of those things when you are young, you harbour all those hatreds almost closer to your heart than your loves. It wasn't until my late 20's that I forgave him. He rang me out of the blue one day, I didn't even know he knew my phone number, and we chatted for an hour or so. And that started our real relationship.

We didn't really talk often, but when we did it was usually a phone marathon. I could talk to Dad just for a chat, he wasn't ringing me because he wanted anything from me, and I never rang him for any other reason than to say hi. That was one of the things I loved about our friendship.

He moved away not long after we had resumed our relationship, all the way to Tasmania. I always said I was coming to visit but in the end he came to visit us first, at my wedding.

 I'd thought for a long time that I wouldn't have my father to give me away when I got married. To have him there to do that honour was the best thing I could have asked for, and just made my day so special.

Then of course we had to visit him, we had our honeymoon in Tasmania and a visit with Dad was a must.

Even though we weren't close, and you couldn't ever say he had anything to do with my upbringing, he still gave me a lot. There are things that are so similar between the two of us. I am like him in my contentment when I am alone, we both love animals. We both have very short tempers if we let them get away from us. I am so like my father it scares me at times, then at other times it just makes me smile, when I say or do something that just reminds me of him.

Mum says that she has compared photos of me and him at the same age, and that we look the spitting image of each other. I don't have any baby pics of myself, but I did dig up a very cute one of Dad amongst his photos. He was a cute kid!

Dad was born in Germany. He became an Australian citizen sometime in the 50's, and not long after married my mother.

It's strange, these are things that I have only just learnt about since he left us. He didn't talk about himself much, about his past he was pretty closed lipped. He did have a couple of stories that he told me, about some of his travels around the world. He used to like to tell me about Casablanca, he knew I loved the movie of the same name, he said it was one of the best places in the world. But no matter what he was talking about, it always came back to the sea, he loved the ocean and he loved his ships.

There are whole parts of his life that I will never know about. I will never know who most of the people are in his photos (and damn it he didn't write on the back of his photos, I will implore you now to write on the backs of all your photos, just in case), and I will never know about the houseboat that he is steering here. I'll never know about the other photos of ships, and oil rigs, or where in the world these streets covered in snow are, and why is that ship on the beach? I wish I had have said to him, 'hey Dad, got any photos to share?' I just never thought to ask. Someone (probably his mom) wrote on the back of that one baby photo "Klaus age 3 years" and even though it's in German, I know what that means. That's my Dad.

I also will never know the father he never knew. His father died young in the Second World War. Something I just recently learnt. I wonder how that was for him sometimes. But he did have a few things of his, including one photo which I'm convinced is him even though all the writing on the back is German.

I think he looks like him anyway. Looking through his photos has made a hungry to learn more about my heritage. I want to know about my family, but I don't know who to ask. It's too late to ask Dad.

I may not ever learn more, I might be able to find someone to tell me more, but I just might not be able to find the energy to do it. I may in the end be happy with the few photos I have left of him. And the memories of us together.

I think back now and I'm so grateful that I got to know him. He was never a father to me, but he was the closest friend I ever had. I knew he would never forget me, always be there for me, and always come to me if he needed me.

 Dad used to read my Blog, the last time I saw him, he asked why I wasn't writing on it so much, he missed reading about my adventures. So Dad, this little post is for you. I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos. I just wanted to tell you that I miss you, I'm a little upset that you left me, but I hope that you have found that wonderful endless ocean to sail on, and the only time you go on land is to party in some wonderful Casablanca. I love you.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Travelling Pink

Pink is not my favourite color. Pink is the color that the manufacturers of motorcycle gear use to try to tell you that something is for women, regardless of whether it fits a woman. Pink can be a little cliche at times.

But pink can also be pretty cool. One of my favourite animals is pink .. wheee piggy!!

And sometimes you have to be brave to wear pink. Pink can make a statement about who you are, just as it made a statement about Ally from Shybiker recently.

Actually pink often makes a statement about Ally, that she is a person who is proud of who she is and is not afraid to let people know it. A few months ago, before I got busy and stopped blogging, Ally posted a fun outfit on her blog about her plan to send her pink boxing gloves to bloggers around the world. Oh I thought that sounded like awesome fun, I put my hand up.

I got the gloves and was all excited about doing a fun post. I had plans for all sorts of posts, I needed a break from all the study and this would be the perfect reason to get back to my blog.

Then my world dropped out from under me, and for a while there everything was just too hard. And to tell the truth it hasn't stopped yet. I've just been soldiering on, just going to work and trying to keep up with my lessons at Uni. Doing what needed to be done. Then I looked at the post where Ally used the gloves, she'd been going through a rough time too when she made the outfit with the gloves. So I thought it's time that I got back up and have a bit of fun myself.

I got on the bike!

I haven't been for a ride in months, there were networks of spiderwebs on him. Not to mention the layer of dust an inch thick. When I got on him, I was a tad nervous, butterflies were doing acrobatics in my tummy. I managed to get the bike from the back yard to the front, then across the road and park while we put away the car and lock things up. I was wondering if I could even ride anymore, I was so nervous!

By the time I finally got to the end of the street my butterflies were gone and my heart was soaring!

We went for a short little ride, to a little town called Narromine about 60km from home. There's a new little cafe opened up here where we'd been for a work Christmas party and we decided that it would be a nice little ride to go check out what their lunch is like. It's called the Soul Food Design Depot and the building it is in was an orange packing warehouse. The outside of the building is still exactly the same as it was when used for oranges (I think there's a heritage listing involved there).

But inside has been renovated and feels cool and inviting when you walk in the front door. They have some art on display by local artists as well, and it's for sale. Some of it was pretty good too.

This is just half the building, but the back half is kinda empty with a couple of very large tables and some interior design things for sale, again some nice things... gonna have to come up here for some shopping with a full purse and a car to load up.

The food was, nothing spectacular but still very yummy.

Mine was a lamb wrap, with the most tender lamb that I've had in a long time, and freshly squeezed and locally grown blood orange juice. Very refreshing. We'll definitely come back to this one.

Once we'd refuelled, ourselves not the bikes we hadn't ridden far enough to need fuel in the bikes, we headed back towards home.

We had spotted a few things that we thought would be good for photo shoots. Terry thought that some of the freshly plowed fields would look awesome as a back ground, and everything was just so green as we've had a lot of rain out here lately. So we took the first turn off towards home and started looking for places to safely park the bikes with a nice field in the background. With not a real lot of luck.

We'd gone maybe 10km's up the road before Terry said "Umm .. this doesn't look familiar to me, does it look familiar to you?" Hmmm

Then he said "Have we gone over the river yet?" ... no, there's big bridge just outside of Narromine that we have to cross, and it's not this far outta town, and no we hadn't crossed it.

Then he said .. "I think we are on the road to Warren" ... ahh well that's only bout 80km's out of our way.

"Let's turn around eh .."

So after a very dodgy U-Turn on a gravel driveway we headed back towards Narromine. It was only about 2km from town that I recognised another gravel driveway that we'd done a U-Turn on a couple of years ago when Terry had missed the same turn off. Hehe, I did point it out to him, he wasn't impressed but did have a giggle about it with me.

So on the right road and we didn't see any fields with a good place to stop for a photo shoot. But all was not lost, on the way out I had decided that we would stop at the bus stop for some pics. This bus stop is in the middle of farm land, at a cross roads which is kinda surreal when you see it out here in the middle of nowhere. And there was plenty of room to pull off the road.

Time to get the gloves out!!

Terry said we needed one on the bike ... ok ...

"No no no .. one with you with the gloves on" he said.

Oh ..

Before I post this pic I guess I should warn you, I had my hair done. I'd been wanting to get it done for a while, A real fashion cut and a completely new color. One of the girls at work recently had her hair colored similar to this and I loved it, but felt kinda guilty spending the money on it, and being frivolous at a time that just seemed so inappropriate. The girls at work talked me into it saying that I deserved something for myself that would cheer me up. Ok I did it, just three days ago, and I love it! Hope you do too :)

So for someone who doesn't really like pink as a color, I think I'm using it an awful lot lately eh .. not all of it is pink though, there's a lot of purple and a bit of blue and yellow and orange as well.

So now Terry finally told me what he wanted .. a pic of me on my pride and joy having fun with some new riding gear ...

Truth be told, those gloves made it kinda hard to get a hold of the handlebars. And I don't think I coulda turned my blinkers on and off.

Now just a couple more pics .. the bikes in the lovely Australian outback after a lot of rain ...

Everything is looking so pretty at the moment, where normally it's just kinda brown.

Then Terry wanted one of just me, he said this photo looks flattering, I dunno but my hair looks nice and bright in the sunshine even though it's helmet hair, so lets just go with it.

And then there's just one more pic, this is what happens when Terry gets too smart ..

Nah it's all in fun, I didn't really hit him :)

This has been a fun post, it was a fun day out. And it's been great to write something that isn't academic. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

My Home Town

The weather has really turned now.

Photo taken in the Blue Mountains source: Sydney Morning Herald

Needless to say, this fair weather rider has been busy doing other things. I sat down at the computer tonight, not really knowing what I was going to do then realised I never did a proper write up about the trip to Newcastle, the first and only trip I've done so far on Huck.

I'm not going to wax lyrical about the trip, you already know I enjoyed the ride .. and loved the adventure on my new baby. I think I'll just show you some pics of the town that I grew up in. It has changed a lot since the years when I caught a train from my home in Lake Macquarie to Newcastle to go to the beach when I should have been in school. It's even changed a lot in the few years since I left and the places where I used to go out are no longer there. We went out for dinner one night with Terry's daughter and her family, I didn't get pics of that cause well .. to tell the truth I forgot to grab my camera when we rushed out of the motel. But it's a great little area that has grown up out of the bunch of run down wool sheds that I remember from my youth. There are many restaurants and plenty of places to go for a night out with friends or family. We visited one of the ice creameries even though the night was decidedly chilly.

The hotel that we stayed in was strange for me, it is one of the high rises that has popped up in the area that used to be taken up with the Royal Newcastle Hospital. The hospital was unrepairable damaged in the 1989 earthquake and the prime real estate has been taken over by expensive hotels and multimillion dollar apartment buildings that look over the wonderful Newcastle beach.

Getting into the motel was an adventure I have to say. I was alright navigating us to the motel even in the dark as it was about 7pm by the time we got there. Then we had to get into the car park, I let Terry go first so he could show me how easy it was. We had to go under an automatic gate that was opened with our room key, I was hoping it would stay up long enough while I gathered my courage for the next part. After a sharp left turn it was down a steep slippery concrete ramp and an immediate sharp right hand turn at the bottom, then nearly straight into a sharp left again for the second slippery ramp at the bottom of which was the last sharp left hander before putting them into a parking spot on the right .. oh my! All of this had to be just done in one go, if I had've paused I'm sure something would have gone wrong. As it was I did it and even though I was shaking when I finally got off the bike, I was ecstatic at my accomplishment!

The Bikes in their shelter.

We took my mum out for breakfast the next day at a place that I'd never been to. It's called the Paymasters Restaurant, as it's name suggests it was used as the paymasters office for railway workers. The railway terminal is very close by. It was built in 1879 on a site that was used as a convict lumberyard then stockades from 1804 - 1847. We saw some of the relics that are left from that time when we visited, they are underground things that are covered with glass so didn't photograph very well. Originally it was the Warfingers Office and became the Paymasters Office where they paid the railroad workers in cash later. In 1981 it was left empty and let to become run down.

Paymasters house in its run down state. From: link
In 1993 it was restored and the restaurant has been there since 1994.

What the Paymasters looks like today.

We had gotten to breakfast early .. I mean really early!! So while we waited for Mum we wondered down to the foreshore. Now this area has a lot of memories for me as that's the way I walked from the train station to the beach in my youth. Wow has it changed! Some things stay the same though, they can pretty up the walkways and put in parks, they look lovely, but they will never really be able to change the harbour that is the mouth of the Hunter river where it meets the ocean.

Looking in one direction you can still see some of the industrialisation that Newcastle was built on.

The mountain you can see in the sunlight in the background is Mt Sugarloaf, those towers are the tv towers that service the Hunter region. It's a great place, and somewhere I really must visit again one day soon.

Looking towards the ocean you can see where river meets ocean .. and the light house that isn't operational any more but still a landmark called Nobby's. Nobby's Beach is the beach I favored all those years ago.

All along this here used to be where the tug and pilot boats used to moor, not sure if they still do, you can see one pilot boat there, maybe they were all out working while we were there.

We wandered around the park beside the foreshore for a little while then went back to Paymasters for breakfast with Mum.

The rest of the day was spent doing not much at all. We wandered back to the motel, along the way we passed some buildings that haven't changed much since my childhood.

And they did invoke a sense of nostalgia, even though I never thought about them when I was young, I walked past a lot of them on a regular basis and seeing them after so long away brings a strange feeling.

This is all that's left of the old Royal Newcastle Hospital, I did some of my nursing training right through those doors and looked out some of those windows at the ocean on my breaks.

We wandered around the Hunter Street Mall for a while at lunch time and had a lovely meal at one of the trendy new places that has sprung up. Then just spent the rest of the day doing nothing. The next day was our trip home .. first we had to get the bikes back out of that car park. I lined Huck up at the first ramp then just went for it .. not stopping til I got to the driveway. Terry followed me and we made it out of the city center to a new bike shop in Islington.

Lots of bikes to look at, but I was interested mostly in trying on as many helmets as I could. There aren't a lot of choices here in Dubbo .. but as you know, I didn't end up finding one there. Terry did ...

And then we rode home without getting lost this time. It was a great trip and all the better for being the last time I've really ridden in so long that my memory of riding is starting to fade I'm sure of it. That will get better soon, the weather will start to turn nice again soon. But even so I do expect that I'll still be a bit slack in the blogging department. I have decided to start a uni course, that might take me 3 years to complete, or might take me a hell of a lot longer if I get lazy. We'll see, the thing is it's taking a bit of my time .. and has held my interest so far. I'll post up when I've nothing else to do never fear .. I'm just not managing to keep up with what all my friends are up to like I used to.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Wishing For a Ride

Unfortunately the sign is about at far as I made it that day.

I did ride to work for a week a few weeks ago, but then I had the next week off, and last week was just too cold. Our cold weather finally hit us last week, it's been a very mild winter up til now, but the frost has been thick on the ground for the last 4 or 5 days. Friday, the ice was an inch thick on the windscreen I swear! While we don't get snow here, we get temperatures that are cold enough to produce snow during the middle bits of winter. Luckily those extreme temperatures only usually last a month or so. Once every couple of years it snows in Orange (150km from here) and last weekend they got some, yep you can feel the wind coming off it even here. I don't really mind the cold, as long as I have some way to keep warmish. I do love the crispness in the air on a cold winters morning, I just don't like to have to get out of my warm bed to smell it!

The weekend that I was on my break we decided that a ride, even just a small one, was a must. I'd spent most of my time off doing a late spring clean in the house, and sitting round watching movies. Huck got a few new presents, new hand grips, foot pegs and a backrest. I'd put on the grips and backrest the week before, that's why I was able to ride to work. Finally somewhere to attach my bags.

The backrest was surprisingly easy to install, on Roxy I used to have to juggle backrest, fender, fender rail and all the assorted bolts, washers and spacers that go with it. With the Vulcan you don't have to undo the bolts that hold the guard onto the fender strut, there are 4 bolts each side, two for the guard and two for the fender rail. So I just had to undo the bolts that hold the fender rail on, put the spacers on the backrest struts and do up the bolts .. so easy. Then it was a case of slipping the backrest into it's slots and attaching the rack. The rack came with a slight manufacturing fault which I'm sure quality control didn't think anything of. I didn't think anything of it, until I went to bolt it on. The weld on one side where it bolts to the strut was a little rough, not bad, but bad enough that it wouldn't give enough room for the bolts to line up properly with the holes.

I guess I could have sent it back to the place of purchase. It's the Kawasaki's brand and cost a lot more compared to others on the market, as they often do from bike manufacturers, so I think I'd be within my rights to send it back. I just couldn't be bothered waiting all that time and not to mention trying to talk to people in the states. It's not that I don't like people from the states, quite the opposite, it's just that the time difference makes it very difficult to get someone during business hours. I'd priced the rack from my local dealer here, it ended up being $100 more than from Cruiser Customising including the grips, adaptors for the pegs and postage. So while returning it would have been easier if I'd bought it here, that price difference just couldn't be ignored.

As you can see from the photo, I got the rack on eventually by loosening the fender bolts on the troublesome side and just jiggling til I got the rack to line up and the bolt went in. I have forced it a bit by doing that, I'm sure there's tension on that bolt so I'm just hoping that the bolt doesn't eventually snap.

The grips were another story to put on. The only other grips I've put on were just slip on ones. Whack a bit of glue round the place and slip them on .. easy peasy. These ones did that on one side, the clutch side, but the throttle side had a bit more to it. I had to undo the switch housing and remove the grip from the throttle cables, and then put the whole thing back together with the new one. It was an easy enough job, but I did have to adjust the throttle so that I had a bit of play while doing it. Which all just meant that I have now learnt how to adjust my throttle. It was not quite right at first as I noticed the first time I rode, but now I know just how to fix it quickly. I know I should have learnt all these little adjustments by now, but I do tend to leave that sort of thing to my mechanics, it's just easier ... there's my lazy streak showing again!'

The grips are black which I think is great on this bike .. suddenly I am not looking for chrome everything, black is actually a lot harder to find for these kinds of bikes. They look great, I got some little green accent rings for them while I was ordering them, they aren't in your face, but just kinda match without being tacky. The important thing is, they are comfortable. These are the same grips that I put on the Shadow so I knew that they were comfortable, these ones seem to be softer though. The last ones came hard and took a bit of use to soften enough to be super comfy.

So we had to go for a ride. Even though I'd ridden to work with the new stuff attached, I needed a bit of a longer ride to test out those grips. Work is only 4km from home. Also I needed a photo of the bike in front of a sign that had a place of further than 100km's distance for a forum competition. So only 1 km out of town and we stopped for the photo. Then we travelled maybe another kilometre to a turn off for a road I've never been down. The reason I've never been down there is that I wasn't sure whether it turned to gravel as so many of the roads around here do, and Terry wasn't sure either. Well I'm a lot more comfortable on gravel with Huck so I said let's give it a whirl. It didn't turn into gravel. It loops around the back of the zoo, so one side of the road was bush (zoo grounds) and the other side was farm fields .. what a lovely little road.

Terry had me stop just before a bend in the road while he went on ahead to stop and take a photo of me coming round the bend. I knew it took him a while to get the gist of how my camera works so I gave him a lot of time. I was sitting by the side of the road for at least 10 minutes .. well 8 minutes for sure .. I timed it. While I was sitting there I looked across the road and noticed a building, with a car park .. and finally worked out that this was the Dubbo Observatory. I knew we had one but never knew where it was, now that I know we're gonna have to go back soon to check it out. Then I thought there was no way he wouldn't be ready so I took off slowly. I came round the corner and .... he was running to the side of the road looking perplexedly at the camera. Hmm not enough time. He did get a couple of pics though .. this one isn't too bad eh.

Behind me if you looked closely enough I'm sure you would see some kind of animal, I think that's the fields where they keep things like Antelope or Barbary Sheep, but it's a big field so maybe not.

Then we headed into town. I'd noticed that Terry's brake light had been stuck on the whole ride so I suggested that we drop in at the Honda shop on the way, since we were going past. We did, and a bit of WD40 fixed the sticking on the hand brake. His foot brake is corroded and doesn't work at all so they are ordering the parts. I had a bit of a look at their range of leather jackets, I've been wanting to try out a leather jacket since Terry got one earlier this year. As with all the bike shops in town, they seem to be reducing the amount of stock they carry with any cruiser accessories and expanding in the motocross type stuff.

They only had few types of jackets and only one leather .. men's .. sizes: huge. I had a bit of a rummage with the owner .. lovely man .. and picked up the smallest, a size 14 in men's. I wasn't confident but surprisingly it only floated a little bit on me. The sleeves seemed way too long though, you could only see the tips of my fingers poking out. I didn't mind the loose fit on the body, gives room for jumpers and stuff underneath in winter and breathing space in summer but the length of the sleeves was putting me off. The owner told me to go sit on my bike and see if they rode up when I was reaching for the handlebars .. and they did. It was perfect. Terry bought it for me, and I wore it home.

And that was the end of the ride. Just a short one but I found the grips comfy and got a couple of photos that I wanted. And since then I haven't been on the bike again. I still haven't fitted the foot pegs that I have here. They were ones that I got to put on for pillion pegs on Roxy, but they hit her back shock so I never did install them on her. All I had to do was get adaptors for Huck and they will go nicely on him. I just remember how painful that little spring was when I fit them before, and I'm having a lazy period. Maybe I'll get the energy this weekend ... and the patience!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Looking for Photo Opportunities

Even though I've become a traitor and changed from the Shadow to a Kwaka, I am still a member of SRA even after writing a heartfelt email to the Pres in which I told him I'd understand if I had to hand in my badge. His response said it all .. something along the lines of it will be a cold day in hell when I tell you to leave SRA. Aww I was touched :)

Recently I was excited to see that they have posted up a new photo competition. I love these comps and they had been let slide over the last couple of months. Probably due to all the planning that had to be done to get the AGM perfect. Now that they have accomplished that .. it's all a go again .. yay!

This months theme was your bike with a bridge, and there was some pretty good pictures being posted. Australia doesn't have the lovely covered bridges that I've seen on Trobairitz's blog but we do have some that are more than photo worthy. It was going to be hard to beat, but I'm up for the challenge.

Then I realised that well, since I don't ride a Shadow, then perhaps I shouldn't enter. I went all frowny face for a while, then decided that meh, even if they didn't wanna accept my pics as an entry for the competition I could just post up them anyway.

Terry and I went for lunch today, then afterwards I thought I might just go find a place to take some photos. With a bridge. That was photo worthy. Hmmm. We thought about it for a while, then decided on this one.

It was built in 1881, it has survived numerous floods. Terry even walked across it when he was a wee tike once during a flood. It was the only bridge that wasn't under the river and the only link between the two sides of town. Actually he didn't walk, he was carried across on his fathers' shoulders. That's the kind of memory that sticks isn't it. They had to walk along a plank that was just wide enough to walk on and between the two tracks. The trains were still running too, so you had to keep a keen ear out for the sounds of an approaching train and hope you'd be able to run for it if one came.

So we went over to the bridge, and I had to do a few different angles. Great practise on the new baby. I did U-Turns, they are much easier now! I also got to test out how the bike likes being lowered, last Monday I got him lowered 2 inches. Wow it makes a difference for me when stopped, I can touch the ground with both feet flat. I can comfortably stop with one foot up on the brake now too. I can back him into a parking spot with ease (unless it's uphill, still just don't have the strength for that). I love my Huck!!

I still don't have any bags for him, so I was taking photos with my phone. I played with them a bit in Paintshop Pro and do like the effects. Even so the phone didn't take terrible photos.

I just like these effects, especially with that old rusty bridge. Actually bit more history bout the bridge, a lot of the red that you can see isn't rust as I thought at first. Apparently when it was first built it was painted in Red Oxide as an undercoat and stayed like that for ages, it soon earned the name The Red Bridge, and that name has stuck for over 100 years. Yes the trains still run along here regularly and they aren't planning to change that anytime soon. The bridge is as structurally sound as the day it was built.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

New Toys to go with the New Bike

Well as I said in the last post Terry and I both got new helmets. My old helmet was starting to see a bit of wear, mainly around the chin guard where I carry it when not wearing it, the lining was starting to come undone. The whole helmet was also starting to get a bit too loose on my head, so that if I turned my head a little bit while riding it would move just enough to not be straight, and really annoy me. I was starting to think that I'd gotten a size too big. Not to mention the old helmet, while I love the design on it, just doesn't go with the new bike! So while we were in Newcastle, we stopped into a new bike store that I'd never seen before. It had a good range of helmets, but none that I really liked. Terry, on the other hand, found just the ticket.

He chose this Shark Evo-line series 3

The main reason he chose it was because he hates full face helmets, but also sees that he needs one for highway riding. So he has two helmets, one open for round town and one full faced for highways. The open face is standing up to the test of time quite well, but the full face one is starting to show some wear, mainly in the lining. This little beauty does both!

As you can the chin part that folds up, actually clicks into place way back on the helmet, so it's safe to ride with it like that.

He seems to like it, it's just taking a bit of getting used to how to unclip the swivel bits, and while the first trip he said it was quiet, the ride the other day he said it was so noisy he couldn't even hear me over the Sena. We think that the visor isn't closing properly, I guess it's just one of those things you have to get used to, it is a touch awkward to adjust things just because nothing is where he's used to it being. Other than that he's loving the convenience of it all. And of course he loves the red! It also has a handy sun visor inside that's great for us glasses wearers.

Mine is another Shark, I wanted Shark because I loved my old helmet so much. I was looking and looking, and while at Robertson's (where I bought the bike) I had looked at a few over a couple of visits. There was one that I kept going back to, but I wasn't really sure about it because it was an extra small. Now I knew in my head that if the last helmet was a small, and is too big for me, then the extra small would be right, but I just wasn't sure.

So the last time I was in there the guy spotted me eyeing it off again, try it on again he said. Then he helped me to decide by telling me he'd give me a deal on it. Oh I just cant pass up a bargain, either that or I'm a sucker!

It has the things I want, it's a smaller size, and while that felt a bit too tight at first, I have to admit that after only a couple of short rides it's already feeling very comfortable. It also has the sun visor that I was really after, no more being caught at night with a tinted visor that I had to lift up so I could see, and freezing my face off at the same time.

Plus I really loved the design. I don't know if I'm imagining it, but I also think it's quieter than my old helmet was, I was always impressed with that in the old one.

Both helmets have spots for you put on the Sena easily, they also both have sections cut out for you put on your glasses easily, which was just a bonus. The lining doesn't go round the chin guard like my old one, so I'm hoping that means it wont fall apart like the old one did. Oh yeah and it has a little clip that lifts the visor up just a touch, to help un-fog you on cold mornings, haven't tried that yet.

Now I'm just working on finding a way to take my stuff with me on the bike. I have ordered a backrest/rack and expect that to arrive sometime in the middle of next month from USA. I haven't been able to ride to work as I cant take all the stuff I need, like lunch.

And then the solution presented itself a little while ago, I saw a post on Theo's blog where he reviewed a bag from a place I'd never heard of before. I checked out the site, www.vikingbags.com and was pretty impressed with the prices and the range. Before I'd had much of a chance to really think about it, I was asked if I'd like to do a review for them. I've never been approached to do a review for anything before, I'd seen a few on other blogs though. I am not really sure that it's something I'd do, I am not really a promotion type of person, and I knew that I couldn't lie about something .. so I told the contact that. And got a good response, please tell it like it is was the gist of the response. Well if they are that confident in their product well why not.

I do like the looks of their stuff, and I've already spotted just the bag that I like. I should receive it soon, and the review will come along just as soon as I can get it on the bike to test out. Oh and they have an Australian site too www.motorcyclehouse.com.au which is great, no more waiting months to get things from America.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

New Bike, Same Adventure

I guess it's time to introduce the new bike to you properly now. Everyone please meet Huckleberry, Huckleberry .. everyone.

Let me tell you a little bit about him. First he is a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom, and he has a few very cool features that made me fall for him, the colour would be the first thing I guess. Isn't that just the greatest green you've ever seen?!?! I also love the blacked out bits, and the streamlined features of him, it's a big change from the chrome and the large guards that I'm used to.

OK that's the looks, then there's the other things, well he has certainly got more grunt than the baby 400 had, the first time I went to overtake I almost forgot how much more power he had, and he pulled me back on the seat when he took off.

Handling is something that I've been very pleasantly surprised with, he just seems to love corners .. either that or all the practise I got on those mountains recently did some good. I also wonder if the wider rear tire has something to do with it, he just seems so much more stable then I'm used to.

He is a bit taller then Roxy was, about 20mm, so not that much. But I did have Roxy's seat modified to make me closer to the ground so it's probably a bit more. When I stop I am ballerina tippy toeing if with both feet, but here's the wonder for me, I can flat foot if a stop with one foot down, and I can do that with Huck and he just stays there! I used to feel when I tried that on the shadow as if I would topple at the slightest provocation. Not now, sometimes I even wonder if he'd just stay up if I put both feet up .. nah don't think I'll try that.

He also has a very handy petrol gauge, love that! The instruments are a bit lower on the tank though, one thing that annoyed me a bit before, now it's kinda worse having to look down to see things, and you cant see any of the lights, like indicator light, without feeling like you are trying to look at your belly button. I've left the blinker on a few times, lucky Terry is there to tell me.

He is also a bit beefier, at about 30kg heavier than the shadow. At the moment I do have to give it two tries to get him off the stand sometimes, and if I park wrong I have had to get Terry to give me a little push as well. I've worked out the parking on roads now, I just back him in straighter so that he's not leaning too much on the stand.

What else to tell you, he has more fuel with a 20l tank, but it doesn't actually feel wider, must be deeper. I also love his switches, yeah I know now I'm getting picky, but I noticed on the return trip from Newcastle that we did the weekend I got him, that the high beam switch is really easy for me to reach and flick, but doesn't seem to get in the way so I'm not accidentally flicking high beam all the time when trying to turn on/off the blinker. Little things count eh.

Hmm too much writing here, time for a pic!

Terry and I went for a little ride today to Gilgandra. It's a little town about 60km from home, and just far enough for me to get up the k's for 1000km service. I'm getting the service done next week as well as having him lowered, have been waiting for the linkages. Now's a good time to talk about the place I got him, Robertson's Motorcycles here in Dubbo. The service these guys have been giving me has just been fantastic! They lowered the front of the bike when I picked it up, after seeing me sit on it and struggle a bit, since I was expecting it to already have the lowering kit on. Then when I was chatting after the Newcastle trip with them about how hard I was finding it to reach the clutch, he told me to bring it in the next day and he'd fix it for me. All this and every time I walk in I get a smile and asked how the bike's going. There's nothing like that kind of personal service.

More pics I hear you scream. .. yeah OK here ya go ...

We went for a little ride round Gilgandra after grabbing some lunch, Terry went up a dirt road to check out a job he has, I waited by the tarred road, huck's great on gravel, so much better than I'm used to, but I wanted to grab some pics too :)

Then it was time to head home, and I did not get lost, I was following the signs!!

We stopped along the back road to take more pics :)

Did you notice the new helmet? Yep Terry and I both got new helmets, but I'm saving that for another post. I did have to get something with green in it though :)

Terry took the camera for a while, and took about a million photos of me and my new baby.

At the moment I have no where to put anything so I'm loading up Terry's saddlebags. My tank bag doesn't fit him because of the longer instrument panel, and I don't have racks yet. The Kreiga bags will probably be able to be fitted to the back seat, there's nothing there for the straps to be attached to but I think that when I get the back rack I can fix at least two of the four to that somehow, at least that's what I'm hoping. The other two will just go round under the seat. And that brings me to another thing I love, the seat comes off using your key, no more undoing bolts and then having to line them all back up every time I have to get under there.

And then we just rode home, haven't managed to wipe the grin off my face yet!!