Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Need to Ride

It's been a couple of weeks since the trip to Bathurst and all the excitement of that trip lasted with me for a while. Last weekend I didn't even mind so much not going for a ride, just around town was enough to keep me satisfied I thought. Well after riding round town on Wednesday I found that by Thursday morning I couldn't stop thinking at odd times of the day that I just wished I was on the bike today. It's been a glorious week, only rained once even though it looked threatening a couple of times. But really the weather has been perfect, not too hot, not too cold. Ugh I just wanted to be out in it.

So I was pestering Terry ... 'Where we going this weekend?' .. 'What day are we going for a ride this weekend, babe?' .... 'Shall we go somewhere for lunch babe ... and take the bikes?" .. they weren't even subtle hints, I was out and out telling him I needed to go for a ride. I used the excuse I need practice for my test next week, and that's true, but the reality was, I just wanted to get on my bike and ride somewhere .. anywhere .. I didn't care where.

We fiddled around this morning and went to the bike shop to check out stuff for our trip. I impulse bought a new pair of boots, proper riding boots. They're DriRiders and I swore I wouldn't get DriRider gear after the trouble I've had with gloves that brand, but I tried them on in the shop on a whim, thinking they wouldn't fit just like every other pair of boots I've tried on. And they are just so much more comfortable than my cheapy shoes! They're smaller for a start, and the toes aren't as bulky as the shoes, I always had trouble getting my foot under the gear lever with the shoes on. Being a short boot too they also give me more feeling of security and stability. And that was just wearing them round the house today :P  I'm wearing them now ....

Terry bought a new Ventura bag for his back rack, which he still hasn't got, so I tried it on the back of my bike and it looks good. I'm gonna have to get one for myself. We still have a quite a few things to get for the trip, but we are getting there, and I'm hoping to be able to visit a couple (or at least one) of the bike shops in Bathurst when I'm there on Thursday to check out winter gloves and other various warm wear stuff, and Kevlars. You know, gurls clothes shopping, but for bikes. I'm finding it hard to get stuff like that anywhere, yes I'm small but sheesh I can't be the only small woman who rides a bike and wants to be warm and safe.

I wore my boots for most of the morning, doing the washing and stuff, I was wearing them in honestly ... it wasn't a hint to hubby I swear. But after about the 5th phone call from clients who don't realise that it's weekend and even people who work from home need some time off, Terry suddenly turned to me and said, 'Quick lets go for a ride before someone else rings!' Yay!!

I had no idea where I wanted to go so I just told him to lead the way, I needed petrol first was my only stipulation. So after stopping at the local petrol station and getting some admiring comments (I'll never get sick of that) I followed his lead. We went out to Minore, then along the Mitchell Highway for about 8k's before turning onto Bunglegumbie Road back into Dubbo. It was a short trip, only bout 50km's, but it was just what the doctor ordered. I got to try out the new boots, they pass even though I did miss a couple of gears at first. And the saddlebags got a try out at speeds higher than 60km/h. I dunno if I was hitting higher wind areas or it was the saddlebags getting caught by the wind, but I did feel like I was getting hit by the wind harder at times. I did notice a bad habit I've picked up, my line of sight, I realised that I'm not looking at where I'm going so much as at the road just ahead of me. I picked it up when I went round a sweeping curve in the road and remembered to look at the vanishing point, then it hit me that I haven't been doing that much lately. So I concentrated on doing it right today, and you guessed it my riding was much easier. Though at one stage I was doing just that as I was doing a tricky right turn, you know the type where the road curves right at the intersection, so you cant see a lot of the road ahead of you until you are right at the turn. Well I was watching where I wanted to go and just starting to tip into the turn, one more quick glance at the road for traffic approaching showed me a car coming towards me. It was one of those split second decisions, stop? keep going? hit the gas? I quickly decided he wasn't coming that fast so I did my turn safely, but it was a bit of a shock to see a car when I wasn't expecting one. Another reminder to be aware of my surroundings.

I thoroughly enjoyed my ride today and I'm, as always lately, amazed at how much better it's all feeling every time I get on the bike. I Love My Bike :D

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Nuthin' to See Here

Day off today, the Anzac Day public holiday. I slept in as usual and missed all the excitement, one of these years I will go and look at a dawn service. But I did give the Australian Servicemen a thought and and heartfelt thanks. I used to celebrate Anzac day the traditional young persons' way by going to the RSL and playing two-up and drinking til the wee hours, those days are over and I've grown up now. So I celebrated it the only way I could, I went shopping and rode my bike.

We went to the camping shop to find some luggage that will strap onto the back of the bikes. We didn't get any luggage but I did get to ride the bike round town, into car parks which I hate and parked it a couple of times. I had a few tightish turns to get round the car parks we went into and I did pretty good if I do say so myself. I guess the one thing that I'm really noticing is that I'm feeling more in control of the bike when I'm moving slowly or doing tight manoeuvres. One of the driveways I went into today was like a minefield, and I didn't hit a single pothole yay!!!

So as we were wandering to one of the shops today Terry, (who had followed me in the car, he knows my shopping prowess and reckoned the saddlebags wouldn't be big enough), turned to me and said, "You remember the first time you rode on the road? You were so chuffed that day." Yep I was and I was so wobbly but I loved every minute of it. So I was wondering where he was going with this statement, he often starts saying things and you wonder where it's going, then he told me how much better my riding is, how confident I am now. Wow thanks babe, I need that sometimes, sometimes you don't really notice those things yourself cause it's such a gradual change. But he's right, my riding has changed a lot since those days for the better. We'll see next Thursday, when I go for my licence, if it's good enough. Or if I'm just picking up bad habits.

When we came out of the camping shop I noticed a guy standing beside the baby bike just looking at it. Made me smile, as we walked over he asked what it was and we chatted for a bit. I love that my baby makes people stop and look. It happened a lot today :D And when I left work yesterday I caught one of my workmates standing behind her looking adoringly at her. When I was buying the bike there were three of us who would sit at the computer looking at bikes online, two of us liked the cruiser style bikes but this girl was dead set against them, she wanted a sporty model. Heh I should have taken a photo of that look on her face yesterday! I reckon she'll have a bike by the end of the year :D The only question is whether she'll change her mind and get a cruiser?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Random Thoughts and Ramblings

Unlike car ownership, bike ownership includes a lot more than just jumping on and riding. I like to think that I have always done a pretty good job at keeping up maintenance on my cars. I started driving at the age of 14, in my next door neighbours Valiant Safari Wagon, on dirt roads in the bush around Toronto, Lake Macquarie. Along with that interest in driving came a desire to learn about the car, and I would help my neighbour do all sorts of things like change the oil, change a tire using the old fashioned tire levers and pull bits apart when the old beast was not going right. I bought my own first car when I was 18 and started taking care of those sorts of things myself from the first. Back in those days you could change gaskets yourself, do your own timing and so on easily, since cars became more computerised I've lost that knack, and to tell the truth I also lost the will. So from about the mid 90's I've just taken the easy way out with the car and taken it to a mechanic to get any work done. And since getting married I don't even worry about the basic stuff like checking oil, hubby does all that.

So now I have the bike. And if my tires are the wrong pressure it's likely to cause more problems than it would in a car. For a start bike tires seem to be more expensive than car tires, so uneven or excessive wear is gonna be a pain in the wallet if nothing else. So I checked my tire pressure today, first time since I got the bike. I bought her brand new so I assumed the guys at the bike shop would have the correct pressure in them, never assume. The pressure is much lower than it recommends in the manual. First thing tomorrow when I get on her will be to top up the tire pressure. I haven't checked the oil yet, but that's on my list of things to do today.

Maintenance is gonna have to be more of a priority for me from now on, but the nice thing is that I'm discovering that I want to do these things. I guess I'm not keen yet to try oil changes or those really mechanical jobs, the bike is still under warranty and they might just come back at me with it if something does go wrong and I've been doing my own servicing. But I'm able to do small things just to make sure everything is going right with my baby. I would love to get hold of an old farm bike cheap just to tinker with, I saw one recently at a farm sale, but the amount of things completely missing from it put me off, woulda cost more to get parts than the whole bike cost, I'll keep an eye out.

Well it's been a lazy weekend for me, Terry was away Saturday and I wasn't really keen to do a big ride without him. I rode to work a couple of times and that has kinda satisfied my burning need to ride, if not the want to go for a long ride. Terry's home today but it's just started raining and so our plan to just take the bikes for a quick somewhere for lunch have gone out the window. So I've been surfing the web all weekend. And I want to buy presents, damn you bank account ... grow!!! I found a cool looking blinker relocator plate, from an American website. So I figured that I would have to buy a bunch of things at once to make the postage worthwhile. Why pay $100 for postage on something that costs $20? So I was shopping .. I found so many pretty things I just have to have for my baby, it's amazing how many chrome bits you can get for your bike. There's a lot of plastic and alloy on the 400 shadows, to keep the cost down I imagine although it's still not a cheap bike.

Here's my shopping list so far ...

For the handlebars, well I was thinking about bar risers, not so much to raise them (I have enough trouble reaching them as it is) but if I raise them then tilt them down they should in theory also come forward, bringing the grips closer to me, not to mention ya can get nice chrome ones that are a lot nicer than the alloy ones on the bike now. And the other alloy bits on the handlebars can become pretty too ...

Switch box housings and master cylinder covers look so much better in chrome. Then there are a million different mirrors you can choose from.

Then there's handlebar grips, and chrome levers (yep mine are alloy). And ya can get foot pegs, shift and brake covers to match.

All the pretty shiny stuff!! I've already spent a couple thousand dollars in my mind. We can all dream cant we. There are so many unbelievable things available for cruisers, skull themes, dice, Lady Rider (to keep the biker chicks happy I guess), it's a merchandisers utopia out there in chrome world. Oh yeah there's a web shop called Chrome World of course :P

When I first bought my bike I loved her just the way she was, I joined a forum and started chatting about finally getting my baby and saying how proud I was of her, and one of the replies said something about how I could now start working on the bling. I was lost .. huh? I thought, she's already full of bling how can I make her any better? Then I started fiddling with her, I realised how much of that pretty chrome is just silver plastic. I started talking to people about what they had done to their bikes on forums, and looking at all the pretty pictures. Then I started looking at online shops, not just in Australia, there's really not that much available from Australia online for my bike, is it because they are such a popular bike in America? I dunno it seems unlikely to me, maybe it's just because it's so much cheaper to buy this stuff from the US or even Hong Kong or China, they have squeezed the Australian vendors out. I'd like to buy what I can locally, unfortunately the bike shops in Dubbo tend to deal mostly in stuff for trail or farm bikes, ya ask for something shiny and they look at you as if you have three heads ... and then ask why? Because it looks pretty of course, it seems to be a completely foreign concept to some people. Well if I cant buy locally I'll do my very best to get it from an Australian outlet, unfortunately that's not always an option.

So all that plastic is going to have to go, I want chrome covers to replace all the plastic bits, and chrome blinkers as well. I love the look of the big bullet shaped blinkers on the Shadow so I'll have to find chrome ones like that ... done :) There is such a range of those too!! Not to mention Chrome side covers, radiator and horn covers, chrome edge guard for the mudguards and tank, speedo visors .. oh the list just goes on.

So with all this chrome on my bike I'm really going to have to make sure I keep an eye on the tire pressure :D

I go for my P's in a couple of weeks, not sure how I'll go but I'm not taking my bike, it's just too far for me to feel comfortable riding alone. I don't even like driving that far alone. So I'm hiring one of their bikes and here's hoping it'll be easier for me to do U-Turns on. Yep I'm still not confident with them, tho I think I'm getting better with practice, I do find that if I think about them I muff them so I haven't been out solely to practice, I have done a couple at work the last week just to keep the practice up and I haven't fallen off or gone too wobbly. Fingers crossed it all goes well, wish me luck :)

I haven't really thought about riding since Bathurst last week, am I bored with it ... no way!! It's just that I don't feel as nervous about it all as I used to. I've done a few of different things, going to different places and stuff, and I'm starting to get a feel for it all. I guess I should go for at least one more ride before I do my licence though, cause not long after that we are off to sunny Queensland. I was told about a nice place to eat in Narromine last week, an Alpaca farm called Andonbel Alpaca Farm, has critters to pat and feed as well as a cafe. We may just go check that out next weekend if I can drag hubby away from work. And we still haven't gone on the ride from Yeoval to Wellington, I'm keen to give those twisties a try.

Well that's all my rambling thoughts for today cept ... I love my bike :D

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Burning Round The Track

We went to Bathurst ... Mount Panorama! Have a look at this Interactive Guide to Mount Panorama and ya will see all the places that I burned up ... well it's a 60km speed limit ... and some of those bends .. sheesh not gonna do more than 35 !! But hey I raced round there and reckon I'd beat some learners .. maybe come second, or third :D

Here's the map:

Our Trip To Bathurst

OK so here's the story: I wanted to do some more riding .. well you already know I want to do more riding, but I wanted something a bit longer than we've been doing. So I sat down one night and quizzed Terry bout where he'd like to go. There had been some suggestions on the shadow riders forum that we get a ride going to Bathurst, to meet half way with some of the guys from Sydney way. That seemed like a plan. I posted up that we would be doing it and to make it more enticing I added a ride round the mountain. We got some takers!! There aren't many guys from NSW in the forum yet, it's a young forum and kinda exclusive as it's a forum for only one type of bike. Don't get me wrong they aren't snobs, they'll let anyone in as long as they ride bikes really :D We were to ride to Bathurst and meet up with two guys from down Sydney way, Verticalc from the city and Owie from Woollongong ... he had to ride for an hour and a half before he even met up with Verticalc ... wow what a guy!!

Sunday 15th of April, we were all ready to go, the plan was for Terry and I to leave home bout 8:45am so we could take it a bit easy, I'm still not great at highways, and this was gonna be highway all the way. I only hit snooze on the alarm twice, that's good for me, have I ever mentioned how good I am at mornings? So we left home bout 9:20am and after getting petrol cause I couldn't remember the last time I filled up, we left Dubbo at round about 9:38 exactly. Right so no taking it easy if we were gonna get there to meet the guys, and still have time to do anything at all.

Off we went, straight through Gurie where I normally stop for a smoko, then all the way to Wellington. I was doing great, the speeds and traffic on the highway weren't as daunting to me as they had been in the past. Terry stopped at Wellington to ask how I was going, I said great .. lets keep going to Orange. That's the longest, most boring stretch of road on this trip. Let's get it over with. 94km of country highway, traffic, and potholes. Oh yeah the potholes, damn it who is supposed to look after these highways, they don't ride a bike that's for sure! So the potholes are strategically placed right on the line you need to ride to take a bend, every time. So instead of riding round a corner you kinda bounce round a corner. They had fixed some of those potholes though, well done guys fill em up with a bit of bitumen so when the trucks get to work on them the bitumen you put in there kinda squeezes up the sides to form a nice wave for me to ride when I hit them ... omg the first time that happened I thought I was gonna die. Right so try harder to avoid those bumps, yep I hit two more on the trip til I worked out that focusing on them was kinda making me aim for them instead of miss them.

Well we got stuck behind a learner just before Molong, it had been a good ride so far for me, I was coping well with the highway speeds, so slowing down to 80 felt wrong even though I realised I shoulda been doing that all the way. There were a few learners on the highway that day, all the kids getting in one last drive before they go back to school I guess. But on the highway at 80km/h, I've always wondered how safe that is, and round this neck of the woods ya just don't have much choice, you have to take the highways to get anywhere. So Terry overtook this learner just before Molong and I had to follow him through town, just as we got outta town I saw the perfect spot for an overtake, we were only doing 50km still from the town limit and I started to try to take off in 4th, ugh that wasn't happening, so kicked her back to 3rd and off I went round him. One thing I have noticed is that when I want to accelerate for overtaking I do have to kick her down a gear, she's not a speed demon, she's a cruiser, but when I do kick her down she does the job satisfactorily. I was excited, my first real overtake (not counting the hay baler a few weeks ago, but that doesn't count cause he was only doing bout 30km/h). I headed up the hill and noticed Terry sitting waiting for me by the side of the road, looks like I'm in front now ... ugh.

We got to Orange with no dramas, I could see Terry behind me, and I was doing good in the traffic. Orange main street is busy even on a Sunday, but the traffic crawls. I find that going from highway speeds to town traffic is a bit daunting, I find that in the car too, takes you a bit to get used to it is all. I noticed that my leg cramped every time I put it down to stop at a light, and I had to stand up a couple times to ease it. Might be time to stop for a break and stretch. I watched Terry so I could give him a signal that I was stopping when we got somewhere safe, wait ... no Terry ... hmm. So I stopped just at the edge of town near a pretty park, lit a smoke and waited.... and waited... and waited. Right I'll call him, maybe he took a shortcut I don't know bout. So when me smoke was finished Terry came into sight from the main street, he'd stopped for petrol, oh yeah I forgot that his tank is tiny. We chatted for a bit with a lovely old lady who was in love with our bikes, her son had just bought a Vulcan and she'd been for a ride on it, she loved it, heh wot a cool old duck :D

So we headed on to Bathurst, time was gonna be tight but it still looked like we'd make it in time, so I didn't check my phone or bother sending a message to the guys we were meeting. We got into Bathurst at bout 12:15 or so, and the guys were there waiting for us. Apparently they went to another Macca's first then moved on to the next one when they realised we'd probably know this one cause that was the end of town we'd enter by. They sent a bunch of sms's too, that I actually got when I got home and checked my phone ...

Time for a bite to eat first, we decided to follow Terry cause he knows Bathurst the best and he promised not to get us lost, he didn't either. There were a bunch of Harley's taking up all the parking spots in front of the cafe we were going to, so Terry took us round the corner to park, and did a U-Turn to park on the opposite side of the road, closer to the cafe right .. I don't do U-Turns, specially with an audience .. nope not happening. So I parked down the road and my bike didn't get in any of the first pics :D

Terry and Verticalc had a chat, bout bikes .. while Owie did the important stuff, took photos.
 They were parked in front of a church, on Sunday, and the service had just finished, the parishers were streaming out the doors to be greeted by Verticalc's bike ...

Pretty bike eh? He bought it like that recently and a good find, someone has already done the hard work putting pretty bits on it. Can ya see the airbrushing? Let me give ya a closeup ...

Yep, no one seemed to notice tho, and I even got a smile from one lady wandering down the stairs, I don't think they could see it from there but I certainly didn't make eye contact when they were walking past. It's not an offensive picture tho, and a damn nice job on the airbrushing.

Owies bike is pretty, tis a 750 Ace I think, ya can correct me if I'm wrong Owie.
Owie's bike

So we headed up to Elie's for lunch and a 'get to know you' type session. Kinda interesting talking to people who's only common interest is bikes ... conversation is stilted almost, til someone says something bout bikes .. oh yeah they all opened up then :)

The meals at Elie's are good, and the girls working there are lovely. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them if you're looking for somewhere for a meal in Bathurst, they do all day breakfast too.

Terry, Brenda, Verticalc and Owie at Elie's
Well it was getting on in the day so we all headed up to The Mountain. Following Terry again cause he knew where he was going, and after making sure he wasn't gonna try to make me do a U-Turn again we headed off. We got to the mount and worked out where we were supposed to be after only a short conference, Terry wanted me to go first but I didn't wanna, kind nervous being in company. So he headed off up the Pit Straight. Slow ... really slow ... I was gonna start wobbling .. OK I overtook him :) And off I went, slowly .. just not as slow as Terry, he was checking out the pit stops. I headed up the mount and it was all going good, nothing too scary as you make your way up the mountain, and I spotted a pull over place right at the top ... photo op!

The view from up there is breathtaking.
The Shadows enjoying the view.

And we talked again .. about bikes what else.
 One thing you have to remember bout Mount Panorama is that when it's not being used as a race track it's a public road. They don't mind if people cruise round it for the thrill, but tis frowned upon to race round it, as you notice when you first see the huge signs telling people to SLOW DOWN, and then there's all the 60k speed limit signs. I dunno how many people take notice but I've heard there's a permanent speed camera set up there somewhere, and it wouldn't surprise me if there were cops up there regularly. As we were there chatting and taking pics two young guys on their racey sports bikes went cruising past, they were stuck behind a car. So the back guy was taking the opportunity to film his mate in front with his mobile phone ... I hope he didn't try that on the esses!

And more chatting bout bikes.
I wanted to try out getting pics of bikes moving and where better to get those shots than round the esses, I had noticed a good place to stop near the end of them. Terry offered to take the pics for me, and after a quick lesson on how to do the continuous shots with my camera he headed off. I thought I'd given him plenty of time, and I guess I'd run outta bike talk for the moment, so we jumped on our bikes. I told the other guys to go in front as I knew I'd be slow as a wet week and I didn't wanna ruin their fun. As I went past Terry I was in third gear and just cruising, and he was too. Leaning against the wall next too him, no camera to be seen. We hadn't given him enough time, oh well I'll get those shots next time.

Those S bends were exciting even though I was only doing bout 35k's .. and Hell's Corner .. wow!!! We went round twice and then at the entrance to pit lane I found the guys waiting for me ... still no sign of Terry. I wondered if he'd got lost but Owie pointed out it was a circuit, he couldn't get lost going in circles. He was right and Terry turned up not long after. So we headed up pit lane for some photo's and to chat more bout bikes. And Owie made me do a U-turn .. omg in front of everyone! I was worried, I did it but it was one of the widest U-Turns I've done yet. You know, when I worry about U-Turns I furber them up, when I just do them cause I have no choice, I dont have a problem ... psychological block happening here I think.

Right so more pics ..

... of bikes on pit lane

... and blokes talking bout bikes on pit lane

...and bikes and people talking bout bikes on pit lane.

And the famous sign.

And that was the day at the mount. The guys had a long ride home especially Owie who was gonna get home in the dark. Was a long day for us all, but it was great meeting people who have passions the same as you. Fun day out!!! So we headed our separate ways.

Terry and I stopped a couple times on the way home for petrol and drinks and once just to stretch at Wellington. We came across an accident blocking the highway just out of Bathurst and got turned around to take a detour. I had to do another bloody U-Turn, in the middle of a highway with traffic around me all doing the same thing. Was kinda scary and I knew if I dropped my baby there it was gonna cause all sorts of problems. I did it though, went a bit wide, I was more worried about being hit by the impatient or unobservant doing the same as me than I was bout getting my U-Turn perfect.

We had a great day and to top it all off we saw the most perfect sunset just as we were getting towards home. It was a long day though and all I wanted was to be home and warm so I'm sorry no pics for you.

Yep and I Love My Bike!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

And Now The Saddlebags Are Where I Want Them

I wasn't happy with the saddlebags. I told you they stuck out .. a lot, that was so they didn't hit my shocks and to clear the seat. What that meant was, that I was practically sitting on them, not quite, but lucky my bum ain't so big or I woulda been. It also meant it was near impossible for me to get my leg over the bags as well as the seat. It was hurting my back lifting my leg up so high, have I mentioned I'm vertically challenged. So I wanted them moved and was making myself unhappy about it for a while now. I tried to ask the motorcycle shop to move them for me, and they hedged and ummed and ahhed and wouldn't give me a quote for it until they had talked about it with their mechanic. How long will it take for me to get a quote? Oh bout a week, just for a quote, what are you a builder or a plumber? So I told them forget it I'll work it out myself.

I figured I would live with them where they were til after the trip to Queensland, that's coming up quick now. Then I got a new (second hand) sissy bar set. I decided I can at least put that on myself .. wrong. I was starting to get fed up with it all, I needed longer bolts (yeah, that figured when I thought bout it, of course I'd need longer bolts), so I put the fender rail, and the bolts and spacers that held my saddlebags, back on the bike and left that alone til I could chat with a mate bout helping me with it.

Sunday morning. We were heading off for a trip to Bathurst (that report coming soon, gonna be a novel :P) and I decided to take the saddlebags for extra stuff we might need for the cold weather that's the norm in Bathurst. Saddlebags wouldn't go on, the way those you beaut spacers were fitted meant that when I moved them they no longer lined up. OK nothing I could do about it then, we were on a schedule, so today I rang my mate.

'Hey Tony', I said, 'you know those saddlebags I wanted you to move after my holiday, they don't go on the bike at all anymore, and I'm gonna need them before I go on holidays. So I was wondering when you would be free ....' I didn't get to say anymore, he just said are you busy today, nope, be here wheneva you want today and we'll fix her up for ya. Man he's just such a nice guy :)

So I took my baby over to his work shed, this guy is a machinist and metal polisher, but he loves tinkering with anything to do with cars and bikes. He's worked on some damn nice projects.

Here's one of the projects that Tony has helped out with:

I felt pretty confident having him help me out with this stuff, that he would do what I wanted without making excuses, but also tell me if something I wanted just wouldn't work. As it turned out nothing I wanted was not doable. Took us the whole day, I hung around and listened to him chatting away about everything and anything, and watched everything he did with my baby. First he pulled her apart, but not as much as I did the first time, sheesh he made it look so easy and he had the sissy bar on in a jiffy.

Sissy bar in place already.
Working out the saddlebags ...

He got the saddlebags worked out pretty quick too, then we noticed that they would hit the shocks on one side. So I suggested we put them on opposite sides. That meant the brackets wouldn't fit properly, they had been lined up with their specific bolts, well I was causing problems but Tony didn't even flinch. He just fixed it with his trusty lathe. The man has the patience of a saint, but I did help, kinda, I found a couple of bolts to undo :D

At times he was hard to keep up with.
Then he'd stop ... look for a while,
and come up with the solution.

Thoughout the day he'd disappear into the shed to lathe, drill or play with a bit that needed fixing, talking the whole time and he just seemed to be having a ball. I think he was surprised that I stuck around for the whole day, but I was fascinated with how he was going about it all, watching him play with my baby and make her just right. And listening to his chatter the whole time, he has a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be tapped.

I swear when he stuck
 his tongue out it all went smoother.
Even when he was crawling round on the ground.

The saddlebags were all sorted out, it was getting late in the day and still had to reposition the blinkers. I had the thought they would look better on the bullnose thingy that holds the number plate light than on the number plate holder I have. I don't really like that holder, it's too wide, and with the blinkers on would be like a truck. So we pulled all that apart, I helped, I told him when bolts were on too tight :P Got it nearly all apart so he could drill holes when he realised it was plastic .... Right. Back to the holder that I don't really like, but I can change that later. The guy at the Honda place told me that it wouldn't work, too thin and the holes would weaken it ect. So I asked Tony, nope he says, not an issue. And next thing I knew holes were drilled and blinkers attached.

Blinkers in place and
wires waiting for their place in life
Just needed to finish up tidying up the wiring and put my baby back together again. Damn that looks great !

One happy guy!! (really he's happy)

Right, pic of the bike with the happy guy who fixed her up, pose now Tony ... smile .. OK ya smiling on the inside eh :D

Huge thanks to Tony!! You took all day, you put up with my input, even when it added extra hours to the job. You did a job that looks good and did the job that I wanted done. And the whole time you kept me entertained. Massive kudos to you!!

I rode her home with a big grin on my dial. Just like the ones I used to wear when I did something I found challenging (like stopping without doing injury to myself). I love having the saddlebags on, and I love that they look the way I had always imagined they would. They no longer sit way out from the bike like a couple of satellites, and I no longer kick them every time I get on the bike. The bolts are black still, but he machined the heads of them so they look pretty and then painted them a nice shiny black, they don't look outta place and I can get the heads chromed later if I want to. The blinker bracket isn't my ideal, I still think it looks to wide, but the wring is in place now thanks to Tony's hard work and when I want to change to a more streamlined one it will be easy cause of the top job he did putting in connectors where they are needed.

And my baby looks pretty again ....

Thursday, 5 April 2012

I Have Saddlebags!!

Well it's been a long time coming .. feels like it to me anyway being the impulse buyer extraordinaire that I am and wanting everything yesterday. I got my bike back today with saddlebags firmly attached to her. Yay!!

They look good ... see. It was a drama, had to get those spacers made up and they couldn't do the bolts for some reason that was explained to me but, cause I didn't really understand what was being said, I immediately forgot. So I still have to somehow get the bolts prettied up, I'll work on that when I can.

I rode her home today paying particular attention to the fact I now have a bit of extra weight on the back even with empty bags, and I'm not sure what I was expecting but it wasn't what I thought it would be. When I first got her off the stand I could feel the difference immediately and I was a bit nervous when I took off from the bike shop, but once I got moving it felt good. I actually think the extra weight is great, I don't seem to bounce with every little bump like I normally do. Awesome, here's hoping when I get her fully packed for the trip north it will still be good. There's more practising to be done before then anyway.

The bags sit a ways out from the bike and I was wondering what, if anything that would do to the balance of the bike ... hmm no noticeable effect, moving slowly and turning seems to be the same. I thought I might have felt more unbalanced, I'm glad it doesn't cause I seem to have trouble with that as it is. It is getting better tho, disregarding the drop last weekend, I feel pretty good on her lately. I've done a few tightish turns and maybe they aren't U-turns, they are still tight enough that I used to feel nervous before doing them and would sometimes completely furber them. I have a tight turn when I take off from work and I usually wobble like crazy when I do it and one of the girls at work even commented on my wobbles a few weeks ago .. cheeky bugger she's not getting a ride when I am game enough to pillion people! So this week I got to ride to work Monday and didn't have even the slightest wobble when I did that turn .. I think I may have said woohoo!!! It's like I've always known and keep saying ... practice.

I'm loving my bike and riding is become less of a chore, more fun. I knew it would cause it's something I enjoyed even when I was screwing up things and nearly doing myself permanent damage on the tank every time I stopped. I have worried at times that I'm biting off more than I can chew with the plan to ride to Queensland, that it's just all too much for my noobness. Today I am just excited about it, we've got plenty of time so I don't feel like I'm under pressure to get to there, I can just do my own thing. Looks like we will get to meet a few of the Northerners from SRA and that's something I'm excited about too. Get to meet people who have given me advice and I feel like I have come to know in a short time just by reading bout their own adventures, experiences and passions for their bikes, what could be better. We are going to the Buderim Ginger Factory too ... wheeee!!! Riding with a group will be interesting I hope there's not too many ...O.O But I'm pretty confident they'll be great to ride with and will excuse my noobness.

Don't think we will be riding this weekend, though Terry did point out to me that he hasn't had a ride all week. He wanted to go to Newcastle for a day or so but I'm not really keen because the holiday traffic scares me, why are there so many road casualties during long weekends? So we might go for a bit of a local trip just to get the need to ride out of our systems.

And yep you guessed it ... I love my Shadow