Wednesday, 29 February 2012

It Just Seems Like I Should Do Something Today

29th of February ... it just feels like I should do something today, and it's raining too much for me to ride. Tho I'm gonna get on the bike this weekend if it kills me ..

Well I've ridden to work couple days this week, not in the actual rain but on wet roads, it's a whole new experience, not bad and it's good to get the feel of a wet road. At least I didnt get a wet bum, it was like someone likes me, just stopped raining long enough for me to get home yay!!

So I've had some thoughts this week, No. 1 on the list, dont put your gloves on before getting your key outta ya pocket, yeah I did that and struggled with the glove on to get it just cause I couldnt be bothered taking it off again :D

Gonna have to work on that braking a bit, seems that using the back brake as much as I do is not a great idea, to tell the truth I'm having trouble remembering how much I do that, so ride tomorrow is gonna be a long hard look at my braking technique. Other than that I'm feeling pretty good bout my riding round town, yeah I'm taking a different route to work and back each day, just to get different aspects in. It's been great!!

I joined a new forum this week, Shadow Riders Aus, the link is there ...

over there ... ----->

Great looking bunch of peeps, mostly guys but a few gurls, and I've already seen 2 other white shadows exactly the same as mine ... hmm time to get some bling!! One of the bikes is looking damn pretty, I love her saddlebags they have a kinda grey trim I think, might be silver hard to tell in the photo really, but they look great on the white/silver shadow. She also has the louder pipes, got the sound eh ... meh I think I'm just too old, I like the fact that my baby is quiet, I can sneak up on people :P

So I'm looking at saddlebags, and think I might just have to head to Mathews and check out what they can get me this weekend, maybe check out the rear backrest too.

Wonder if I can get something on the back of that, something I'll look into, it looks kinda plain with just a chrome backplate and some bolts. Though I guess a lot of the time I'll have a pack on it, but when I think bout that I wont most of the time, only when I'm travelling. Something to think bout.

These saddlebags I like lots, but they dont have a supplier in Aus and I dunno bout buying from America, I'm just a wary kinda person. But at least I found some without all the tassels ... well I'll check out Mathews catelogues and then bug them for more if I have to, I'm sure they groan when I walk in sometimes .. but I love them :D

Other bits and peices I'd like ... hmm footplates, look cool but I'm not sure how easy they would make riding .. actually I get the feeling it would be like learning all over again, and I havent got the first bit of learning down yet so .. nah.

I did see these in a post on SRA .... I quite like them, and I'm thinking I'll look into this sort of thing in time, not something I ever realised I could get. So maybe get someone who works with metal, I think I know just person, and see if I can get something original. Will have to be in a while tho, I dont think I'd be able to hang the L plate anywhere on that and after all the trouble I had getting it to stick I'm not gonna change it now.

Talking bout the L plate, I'm starting to feel like I could go for my P's sometime soon, have pretty well decided how I'm gonna do that too. In the teensy town I live in ya dont have to do any kinda training, they dont have any available, so ya just go for a ride with an RTA assesor, he walks you ride. Pretty basic .. but I want some kinda feedback, not just you failed cause ... So to do the nearest training I have to ride for bout 2-2.5 hours then do a course then same back home again. I'm gonna do it, they hire bikes which means I could just drive the car there, but I wanna learn on my bike cause it's the bike I'm gonna be riding for the next couple of years. So the options are, hire a bike from them, can then drive the car there and do it in one day, cons: costs more, and dont learn on my bike. Or I could ride my bike, but I think I'd be buggered after just the ride alone and I might even be late, I'm aware that I take longer to get to places on the bike cause there are sometimes when I go slower, if I'm unsure of the road and stuff. So maybe I could stay overnight and go to the course on the second day ... again cost. I'm not sure how I'll do it but I'm feeling confident it's gonna happen soon.

Well that sounded confused .. I'll sit on it for a bit longer and just keep on riding ....

Oh yeah and .. I love my bike!!!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Practice Makes Perfect

Yesterday was Saturday, take it easy day. Did the washing last night so I can have all weekend to do this. Planning for an early start, got lots of riding to get in... got out of bed at 10am. Oh well, coffee, breakky, quick shower and I’ll take off. Hubby wants to do stuff today so just gonna go for a ride round town. So couple of coffee’s, breakky, long shower then another coffee, tis midday already, where’d the day go? Rightio I’m outta here ... seeya babe.

Took off in the direction that the bike wanted to go. It’s headed to work, so at the next T intersection I turn left instead of right. I headed towards the empty roads I learnt on with the idea I would try a u-turn or two. Couldn’t be bothered and a bit scared so I turned right at the roundabout instead, and did a bloody nice job of it! Doing all the right things, looking at the exit of the roundabout rather than the road just ahead of me, slight acceleration going around til that lovely change of direction to exit. So I head up the road with no real ideas of where I’m headed. Turn left at the roundabout then right. Now I at least know where I am kinda, when I see a local pub I got the idea a bit more, tho this is where I often get lost. So right into a street I think is headed back towards town. 

I’ve had to stop a few times by now, and I’m feeling pretty good bout it all. I’ve learnt how to stop using the back brake and can leave my foot up there while I come to a complete stop most times, tho there were a couple times today that I had to put both feet down due to the camber of the road and a general feeling of unsteadiness. Finding myself stopping with just the back brake at times now, dunno if this is a good thing or not, after reading some forums I think it's not too bad, the back brake seems to be the preferred one for low speeds for stability. Cornering too is feeling pretty good, and when it goes perfectly damn ya just gotta grin into the helmet ... I must look like such a idiot with that grin on my head when I’ve just come round a sweet corner, I’m sure the drivers who can see my face are wondering wot the joke is, I don’t care, I’m loving it! 

So it turns out that the road I’m on is one I know, I get to the roundabout that I recognise and think, ‘I’m getting hot’, so I head for the river and a smoko. Left turn, then headed for the river by going right then left. Right again and I’m noticing that I’m doing a few dodgy stops, stop next to the river for a smoko then I’m feeling a bit better. By now I wish I had a drink so I decide to head to the club for some coolness and to win a bit of bike money:)

Right so this calls for some parking eh. I’ve been wondering bout how to park in these stupid angle parks round here so I decide to give it a go, not to mention I don’t wanna go into their carpark, way too much slow manoeuvring in there. So I pick a park next to a tree and go for it. Right I’m off by a bit, but I decide it will do cause I’m bloody hot and thirsty by now. 

I got rid of all the riding gear, and as I entered the club I realised I didn’t have the right purse with me, sheesh no money, no cards, no drink :( So I send Terry a text and ask him to lunch, my shout if he brings my purse with him .... wheeeeee much better idea!!!

I knew it would take him a while to get there so I went for a bit of a quick blocky and tried to find a park near the cafe .... umm only one with heaps of room for my noob manoeuvring was next to a disabled one, with gravel. Right I decided I can do it!! Yeah ok I was over in the disabled park but I did it without dropping the bike so meh, I was happy and headed into the cafe. First thing I did was ask for water!!! ... Told the girl I was waiting for my hubby then sat down and read netrider for a bit while I waited. The first post I came across for some reason was one posted a while back telling riders to be aware of the risks of dehydration. I was kinda spooked by that. Anyways, I had a nice lunch then headed back onto the bike. 

Needed smokes so I headed to a service station. Pull up in the petrol station feeling pretty damn proud of myself cause I’ve managed to swerve round the bit of metal they had considerately left in the middle of the driveway and park with a bit of class instead of the arse I normally use. Two young guys with cowboy hats in a farm truck watched me pull up and I bet they were disappointed when I took my helmet off and I was a 40yo woman, instead of the 20yo chick they were picturing :P 

Managed to embarrass myself when I pulled out of the servo when I let the bike rest in the groove where there was a drainage grate across the driveway while I waited for the traffic and adjusted my glasses. I always have to do that just after I put my helmet on, it’s like they sit properly til I start moving then they move to the most uncomfortable position as soon as I can't adjust them. Well I had to rev the bike to get it out of that groove so I took off kinda fast and I’m sure I looked like a dick. Meh.

Did the angle park at the club and I think I have this thing worked out, now to just practice so I can do it right every time.

Riding home, I feel pretty crappy cause I lost me money, but feel pretty great cause my ride has been good today. Feels like I’m finally starting to getting the hang of this.

Was gonna go to Yeoval for a nice long ride today (Sunday) but the weather beat me, maybe next weekend when I have three days off I'll find a day to do it. I'm hanging for a decent ride tho I do know I need to get other skills up to scratch that riding round town gives me. Need more slow riding skills, u-turns and just moving the bike round slowly. I ride to work most days still, but I think I might supplement that with going for a little spin round the place on the way to or from work too.
Oh yeah and .. I love my bike.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Tell Me Again About That Learning Curve

Hmm on top of the embarrassing moments list now is trying to get my bike out of the parking lot. No really it shouldn't be that hard, but it seems it is.

I went to the local shopping centre, to buy a few things and get myself a good backpack, the jacket pockets just aren't big enough anymore. I thought I was being clever by parking at the very edge of the parking lot where there wasn't as much traffic to put me off when I'm trying to manoeuvre out, and I thought it was flat. I thought wrong.

Got myself a great little bag and a bit of stuff to put in it then wandered back to the bike feeling pretty good. Jumped on the bike and started her up, then tried to back out. She stopped. No really she just wasn't moving at all. So after heaving and puffing and sweating enough to fog up my glasses so I couldn't see, I moved her from the front of the park to the back of the park. Yep bout a foot, damn I'm good. Had to do a U'Turn through the 2 empty parks next to me, thank heavens they were empty or I don't know what I would have done. Wheee I did another U'Turn!! After glaring after the guy who wandered past and watched me bust my gut trying to move the monster without the slightest move to help, I went on my merry way.

I've learnt something, the hard way. I'm gonna be taking a whole lot more notice of the slopes on the road, that car park looked as flat as a die, wasn't ....

Saturday, 18 February 2012

If It's Comfortable In The Shop ... It's Probably Going To Suck On The Bike

Went for a little ride today, along a sweet little road that takes you to Eumungerie via Mogriguy. Was a lovely little road, even better than the highway I took to get home on. Even so I just wanted to get home once I'd been riding for ten minutes. Why? Because I bought new gloves last week, they have been a drama since the very first.

First of all I tried them on in the shop, X-Small it said on the packet, so I put one on and went, sheesh it's roomy. Talked to the nice young salesman about that and he said well they're not huge on you are they, I said well not really I guess. They felt damn big and clunky and I was wondering how I was going to get a grip on anything with them on, but I figured they were the smallest I could get so I would have to just work it out. I needed new gloves because the ones I had feel too small and hurt my thumbs after a while.

I got home and proudly pulled them outta the packet to show hubby .... 'Look new gloves!' I yelled and put them on. The one I put on in the shop went on first, then the left one, it felt tight ... huh? Ok I thought, maybe the other one is stretched from being tried on by various people in the shop. I took them off and sat down to do something else, oh I think it was looking at reviews of them online, shoulda done that first I guess but I didn't find anything anyway .../shrug. Then I looked over at them sitting on the table next to me and a label caught my eye, 'Ladies Lrg', it said ... huh? Right so now I figured out that I had bought a pair of gloves that contained a large and an x-small ... sheesh.

Shop was by now closed, so wait till Monday and take them back for a matching pair, in my wisdom I decided to try on a pair of small. Which I did, and they seemed pretty comfy in the shop. Then I wore them today. Ugh they were too big, they slide off my hand as I'm riding and bunch up under my palm. My hand was really hurting by the time I got home and it was only bout an hour ride. Well I've decided that if it fits in the shop then it's probably not going to fit when I get on the bike. Take my shoes, in the shop they felt too big, way too big. On the bike they're the best fitting I think I'll get. So I guess I'll have to wear my old ones again until I can afford to go get more gloves. I wish you could take this stuff for a test ride before you buy it.

Oh yeah and while I'm on the subject of comfort ... another hint I wish someone had told me before I did it ... Don't wear tight jeans! ... no kidding they look great when ya wondering round the streets, but they get damn painful after a while perched on a motorcycle seat.

Besides that the ride today was nice. Cornering is getting better, and even braking is working itself out, I really think the shoes help me there. I've been riding to work as well most of the week, all this practice is paying off I think.

Oh yeah and I LOVE MY BIKE !!!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

It's All Part of the Learning Curve

Out and About
 This weekend I didn't bother going for a long ride. I rode the bike to work a couple of times this week and I'm still finding stopping a pain, not quite literally but it's a close thing. I've worked out what I'm doing wrong and I'm trying to correct it, I am almost afraid to go slowly, so as I approach a stop I put my feet down too soon, and half the time its both feet, stopping with just the front brake which is making me jerk to a stop. I'm trying to think about what I'm doing and make myself approach stops slowly and just put down my left foot, the back brake is a much gentler stop and using it in conjunction with the front makes it go like clockwork. When I do manage to stop like that tis lovely, when I don't, I look around to see who saw me cream myself on the tank.

I've gone for a couple of rides around town this weekend, just for practise and to test out my new riding shoes. New shoes!! I couldn't get boots to fit me properly unless I paid $700 for them, and I really don't know yet if I will get enough use out of them to justify that price, but I want to be safe when I'm doing highway or country rides. The shoes I got are a bit big for me, but they are lace up so i can tighten them enough that they don't slip off my foot. After having them on for a couple of hours yesterday my feet were so damn hot and starting to swell, I was glad for the extra room, and when I get a bit more than town speed up I seem to be getting a breeze in them, probably because of the loose fit, I likes that. Getting used to chunky feeling shoes is becoming a challenge, yet another one. I cant feel the gear lever like I could in my joggers, so half the time I don't know if my foot is actually under the lever or not, caught myself looking down a few times to see, and I have had it stuck under the lever a few times too. The tread is great on them, putting my feet down feels a lot more stable, and I do feel safer with some protection on my feet. That tread also means the boot doesn't slip on the foot peg either, no more sliding my foot a bit forward and down to change gears, I have to lift up my foot and move it now, changing habits can be a huge challenge. Sometimes I cant feel the actual change, I've gone into neutral more times this weekend than I ever have in the past, another one of those moments when you look around to see who saw you ...

New shoes, any girls dream,
not exactly glass slippers tho
 Yep this week has all been part of the learning curve, getting used to new things like shoes and helmets, it's amazing how much of a difference those things can make. I'm still learning so much every day that I ride, and I know I still have a hell of a lot to learn. I went to lunch today and took the bike for a ride otherwise it wouldn't have gotten a run today at all. I've never parked in the main streets down town because they have a pretty mean camber on the roads, and it's angle parking. The angle is going the wrong way for me. I have to park back into the curb because with the camber on the road I would never be able to move it back when I want to leave, I'd probably have to get some burly bloke to give me a push. I don't back the bike out of it's parking spot at home, hubby does that for me and turns it around so I can just take off forwards down the driveway. I parked my bike in a different spot at work on Friday because of the threat of hail, and I had to push it back to get out of that park, it felt a lot easier, I've always said that moving the bike would get easier once I built up the muscles I need to make it happen. I'm also getting the feel for how to do things, it's the same as anything eventually after doing something for a while you find the most natural and easiest way to do things. So when I got home on Friday I was all full of confidence, and Saturday I made hubby stand by while I did the backing out, he only had to give me a push twice when I got stuck on the side of the driveway:) I don't like the angle parking in the main streets, I'm going to have to work out how to park in them, if I park in the direction of the park lines the bike is leaning at the wrong angle, and it actually doesn't sit on the stand properly, it moved back on the stand today and that's not a nice feeling, plus when I take off from that angle it's a hard left turn to get onto the road, I practically had to do a u-turn to do it. Hey I did another u-turn, yay bring it on!!

One other thing today, I washed the bike! (yes again) I was using a you beaut motorcycle spray on and rinse off wash, it lasted 2.5 washes, and when I couldn't finish on Saturday I didn't bother using the shammy, bad mistake. The water marks on the chrome are sinful and I couldn't stand it, had to buy something to make my baby shine, so went with an old fashioned wash that requires a bit of elbow grease, all good I still love my bike enough to bother and now I'm off to polish the chrome :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Ride To Gulgong

The Shadow in the main street of Gulgong

 Yesterday was a day of adventure. Rode all the way to Gulgong and back myself. Well I wasn't on my own really, but Terry didn't take over for me at any stage, I did it all. Terry drove the car behind me though, cause I like company :)

It's about 100km's, give or take a bit, to Gulgong and the whole trip was 225km's, the longest ride yet for me. Damn it was fun!!

Well yeah things are changing, the very first time I rode at 80km/h I felt almost scared, the wind was so strong and it seems so much faster when you can see the road so intimately, but yesterday when I first started out I got up to 80k's straight away with no problems, yeah the wind is still strong, but it's not as daunting. So on the highway to Wellington I sat on 90km/h quite comfortably, by the time I got onto the back road to Gulgong I found myself doing 100km's, certainly wouldn't have done that a couple of weeks ago. Not all the way though, just on the bits where it seemed like I wouldn't kill myself, or the bumps wouldn't kill me.

The bumps, trust me those country roads are not highways, and I was complaining about the bumps on the highways. Right so my kidneys got shaken out somewhere between Wellington and Goolma, but I still enjoyed the lovely scenery, didn't I? Hahaha I guess it's not that bad, sometimes you hit a bump and it sends you in the air, you kinda lose a bit of control of the bike for that split second, and when there's a succession of them you have to slow down just so your eyes will stop vibrating. At other times its just a bit bouncy, that's not so bad, I'm getting used to that, and the good thing is today when I was riding to work, the roads in Dubbo just didn't feel so bad after all. A couple of times those bumps were craters, the thing is I never saw them, there's no warning, and all of a sudden you feel as though something has just hit you in the stomach and the kidneys all at once, you're winded and you feel as though your back has just been folded in half. The worst part is I'm not sure how I'm supposed to avoid that, I never saw what caused it, although the second time it happened was on a stretch of road going through the forest, tree shadows on the road are distracting and camouflage the condition of the road nicely.

Cornering. Always a challenge for me, and even hubby said that at higher speeds he felt as though he had to try and haul the bike around some corners. I  think I'm getting the hang of that a bit. I always think about the great advice I have seen in forums, and in A Twist of The Wrist (seriously that has to be any bike riders bible) look at where your going and hug the tank, it's getting easier to do these things. So there were a couple of corners where I knew I was going to go too wide and I had to slow down, but when I corrected what I was doing I found cornering started to become enjoyable, this is the stuff I wanted to ride for. I love that feeling.

Have I mentioned the smells, the smell of those huge hay bales rolled up at the side of the road, one of the best smells in the world. Riding through a forest that is warming up after two weeks of rain, wow amazing. Then there are the not so lovely ones, tip to the uninitiated, when you see a dead kangaroo on the road, don't just swerve, hold your breath!

Gulgong, I guess I have to tell you about that place, first time I've visited I ashamed to say and it's an amazing little village. It's like stepping back in time, I didn't go into the museum, though that sort of thing fascinates me and if you're into history I would think it would be worth the look, I didn't have time but next visit it's a must. The whole town is like a museum, you were almost looking for the horse and cart coming up the road :) Oh and lunch and coffee at The Butcher's Cafe is good.

So we came home along a different route, that was where I got the forest and the tree shadows across the road, the road is much the same either way but I got to travel along the Golden Highway for the last 30k's or so, it was lovely to get on smooth road.

Have I mentioned bugs, thank heavens for the new helmet cause they were thick and fast, there was the grasshopper who tried to barge through my chest, made me go oof. Then there was the bee who tried to hitch a ride ... on my glasses. When he first flew up my helmet onto the inside of the visor I raised my visor to try and shake him, he disappeared up there somewhere, but when I put it back down I think I'd just made him angry or scared, or both. He hightailed it onto my glasses and when I felt him inside them tickling my eyelashes that was too much. Time to pull over!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Finally Its Stopped Raining

Worked this morning and t’was very overcast when I left for work, so no bike today :(
But wait by the time I got home it was hot !!! So I had a little sleep cause they make me get up early for work, then decided to take the dog for a walk by the river .... and wheeeeeee take the bike for a ride. I had the little twisty bit of downhill road to get to the parking spot at the river and a U-Turn at the end, was nervous bout the U-Turn but didn’t have an issue with it, though when I got to the curb to park I kinda over balanced and it started to go over, excitement plus ...  I didn’t let it fall. Yay another day I didn’t drop the bike.
Used my new helmet, now that was interesting. Not being used to full face helmets, made it all a new experience for me. I like it. I felt as though I couldn’t breathe when I tried it on the first couple of times, cause I’m not used to having something in front of my mouth like that. When I got it on, it made me feel like I had to hold my breath, so I did at first then worked it out. Got on the road and wow, the noise is different with it on, not so noisy but you can still hear stuff. The vents don’t seem to do a lot except add a bit more noise, but it wasn’t hot in it anyway. Moving the visor up and down while moving was easy peasy, not awkward like I thought it might be. Oh yeah and the cheek pads ... well Ok I’m sure they do a job but the thing they seem intent on doing is raising my cheekbones bout 3 inches. Made me do fish faces and by the time I got home I was chewing my cheeks. I’ll get used to that, and I’m hoping it will ease and soften as the helmet gets used, oh and the chin strap... feels more like a hangman’s noose atm, that has to be from the way it was packed in the box, I can kinda move them forward so they aren’t strangling me for a while but they work their way back again after a bit, gotta train them, the buggers, wonder if they will respond to a reward system.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Just Doing Stuff

Well I'd planned to ride to work all last week. Of course it rained all week.  It's been raining forever, I'm dying to go for a ride. The saddle bags didn't fit, oh well I guess I'll have to work out a plan B.

I would have liked leather ones, but they are all so poxy, tassells and stuff all over them, why do they think everyone who rides a cruiser is some kind of country bunkin who like tassells? The other thing is the Honda saddlebags for my shadow look small. I guess it's time to reveal why I want big saddlebags, or luggage at all. My big plan!!

We have a trip to Queensland planned, and we want to ride the bikes. Yep that's what I said bikes, plural. Terry has plans too. When I got my bike there was a gorgeous VT750S, it's a shadow but without all the fancy stuff, not as much chrome, no big fancy fenders, lower handlebars and old fashioned chain driven. It has the most classic cruiser look. We're working on that and I cant wait til we go for actual rides together instead of him driving the car and me on the bike.

Terry's dream bike
I got myself a new helmet. I had to order it in because they didnt have it in small, but it's pretty and after a bit research I thought it looked like it was going to be good enough quality to last me a while.