Monday, 26 November 2012

The Green Giant

He was huge and he was scary!! He was adamant that I wasn't going to touch his new domain with my shammy!!

OK he wasn't that huge as such, but he was adamant and he had plenty of attitude!

I had just finished washing my baby bike and was busy drying her off with the shammy when I was accosted by this menacing green maniac!


I stopped what I was doing straight away .. not cause I was scared .. but cause I was laughing too hard to keep working!!

This guy had little man's syndrome to the max, he was being as threatening as he possibly could at me then found my pillion seat and decided to do a few laps on it before I could catch him and put him safely in a tree.

He did like my bike, he has good taste!!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ears .. To Plug or Not To Plug ...

Well I'm all for safety and my hearing is precious to me. As I have a degenerative hearing problem that just means I'm going to be deaf eventually anyway I am all for protecting what hearing I have left. Specially since I didn't protect it when I was younger and sillier. I have been looking for earplugs for when I'm riding for a while now.

I started out going to Bunnings and getting the $3.00 earplugs from the power tool section.

I put them in the way they told me to and waited for them to expand ... intense pain. Yep I have sensitive ears but sheesh not that sensitive. Something must be wrong. So I read the instructions and put them in again .... eeeeek ... I clawed them out as fast as I could. OK they weren't quite that painful but yeah they hurt still. I did the only thing I know to do when I'm after an answer to a question ... I Googled the earplugs. I found a number of posts on forums from people who said that these types of earplugs hurt them, the solution most people seemed to go for was getting custom made ones.

That solution seemed to be a last resort, I looked at a few online and found out about some that Muso's use with the help of a fellow blogger's comment. They looked the part and I was going to go have a look at what was available from my local music shop when I closed down. Hmmm ...  OK I was going have to take a look at what was available at the Hearing Centre's in town. This town has 2 Hearing Specialist Centres that I know of and I wouldn't be surprised if there were more, it seems there's a roaring trade for hearing centres in Dubbo .. must be all the machinery those farmers work with all day. And then I forgot all about earplugs.

I went all winter without thinking bout them, well I didn't ride that much through winter. Then when spring came I thought of them .. once or twice. On a work trip to Sydney I noticed a sign for earplugs on the back of the toilet door in the ladies at the airport. Oh they looked good, I should go check it out while I wait for my flight. I found a good book first though and forgot about them again for another month.

I reckon by now your thinking that I'm really not serious about protecting my hearing like I said at the start of this post but really I am, I'm just a bit slack with some things sometimes. If something isn't in my face then I tend to forget it easily and that's what kept happening with the earplugs. Then one day I was shopping and spotted the plugs that I'd seen on the back of the toilet door, it seemed like fate that I happened on them at a time when there was nothing to distract me from them so they went in the trolley.

The first thing I did when I got home was pull these babies out and start playing with them, they are silicon and are supposed to mold in and seal your ear, I couldn't fit the whole thing in so I broke one in half and stuck it in as I was reading the warnings on the back of the packet .. "WARNING: Use whole earplug. Do not cut, break apart or elongate." Ahh oops, well I put it back together and had another go with the whole thing ... ouch it actually changed the pressure in my ear and hurt, and it didn't fit in, there was some hanging out over my earlobe.

They weren't going to do the job but they did get me moving a bit on getting something that would work. It was only a couple of weeks later that I remembered to drop into one of the Hearing Specialist places on the way home from work one day. I asked about earplugs and got a perplexed look, I wonder why I get those looks so much I'm pretty sure I'm speaking the same language as other people. It's odd that a hearing place doesn't have much in the way of protective equipment. I finally got the girl to understand what I wanted and she told me the only thing I would be able to get would be custom made earplugs and they were expensive ... $198.00 a pair! I told her I'd get back to her. I was hoping there would be another answer.

Then I went to the other music shop that I had finally remembered about (this is the one that didn't close down) and ordered two different types of smaller earplugs made for ladies. This was looking promising.

They arrived the other day and the first thing I did was play with them again. The more expensive ones were silicon again but smaller, they fit in my ear but they still did that pressure thing to my ear too, felt like I was underwater and getting beyond my depth. And the warnings on the back of this one were even more worrying ... "If you push the earplug into your ear canal do not try to remove it yourself. See an Ear, Nose And Throat Specialist ...." Ummm I'm starting to really worry about these silicone plugs.

The other ones were nice and cheap, and they are pink! They are just a smaller version of the ones I originally tried from Bunnings. I rolled one up and popped it in .. it expanded .. it didn't feel like it was exploding in there. There was no pain. Yay we have a winner!!

So I stuck them in a few times round the house, just to see if they were comfortable, I didn't wear them for long at any time and I now have a bit of a sore ear. I don't think it's related but I'm going to wait til the ear gets better before I try them on the bike. I don't think I'll be riding very far any time soon anyway the weather has gotten a tad warm and is tipped to get warmer in the next week. So the only trips we did this weekend were to the coffee shop for lunch and home again. If these plugs cause issues with my ears I'm actually not sure what I will do maybe I'll have to shop around a bit more but I'm just not really keen to pay $200.00 for the custom ones when they may not be suitable for me either. I'll just have to see how the pink babies go first, fingers crossed they aren't going to cause me pain and weren't the cause of the ear infection I have now.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Yeoval Road Finally!!

For ages I've been saying I'm going to go try the road to Yeoval and not doing it. Something always comes up and to tell the truth I think I've actually put it off, I've been a bit scared. This road had been recommended to me by one of the girls I work with who said 'all the bike riders go out to that road specially cause it's an awesome road with lots of twisties!!' So I was a bit nervous, I've looked at the road, Renshaw McGirr Way it's called, on Google Maps and it looks twistie alright. I don't have a lot of experience on twisties.

Terry had to go see a client in Wellington last Monday, and that was my last day off before I went back to work, so when he said lets take the bikes for a run I was pretty keen. Then he suggested we come home via Yeoval ... ahh yeah ... oh lets do this!!

I rode round Wellington for a bit while we looked at stuff for Terry's work then I had to negotiate two car parks on my own while Terry was busy. I did it all without a problem, oh the confidence is really getting up there now!! I tried not to get too cocky :)

So after Terry was done we headed towards Yeoval via the Renshaw McGirr Way, here's the video ...

As you can see by the video I went slowly round a lot of those bends but it really wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. I even had fun on a couple of them!!

We got through that mountainy bit and had a truck on our tail, he wasn't pushing but we weren't going over the speed limit which I'm sure he was keen to do, so at the first opportunity we pulled into a bus stop where the road widened enough for us to pull over without slowing right down to a stop .. he flew past us. About 5 km's up the road I noticed him pulled over, and then Terry pointed out the funeral procession coming towards us .. oh.

We pulled up behind the truck and waited .. and waited .. I was getting hot so I got off and took my helmet off and stood under a tree, when I spotted this watching us.

There are two of them over there ...

This is the best close up I could get .. I saw a sign in town pointing back this way for an Angora Farm, I think this might be an Angora Alpaca.

 Wasn't far to go to get into Yeoval.

Which is tiny but does have a Royal Hotel. I'm starting to see a pattern with these Royal Hotels, I'm pretty certain that every town in Australia might just have a Royal Hotel.

Across the road from that was the petrol station that Terry was happy to see!!

It also had this awesome mural painted by the local school kids! Love small outback towns!!

We hit the road again, this road is the Obley Road and is a part of a touristy thing called Animals On Bikes which has a whole heap of animals on bikes in paddocks or some of the smaller ones are letterboxes. They are sculptures in case you hadn't guessed, I only saw two of them on this trip tho, the first one was this one

It's a horse with gumboots on, not a great pic tho :(

We kept going and before too long the road became .. well ordinary.

Great scenery but in some places it was the worst road I've been on yet, just too uncomfortable for me to want to do it again anytime soon.

 Those causeways can hurt if you go too fast over them. like I did with this first one, the next one I slowed right down!

We made it home in one piece, and I did enjoy the ride even though I have vowed not to travel that road on the bike ever again. It was a great experience and I was pretty tickled with not being too freaked out by all the bends at the start. I also did a pretty tricky right turn round the end of a median strip out of the petrol station in Yeoval that I'm pretty proud of, when I got round that corner I saw Terry waiting for me. He told me when we got home that he was getting ready to come pick the bike up for me, such confidence, but he was pretty proud too that he didn't have to do it.

When we got home and I took my helmet off the GoPro caught this shot that I kinda liked.

 Then I had to take this pic ...

Home Sweet Home

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Playing round with the GoPro

A couple of weeks ago my wonderful husband got me a GoPro Hero2. I got it home and immediately started taking video of that wonderful husband who then threatened me with all kinds of nastiness if any of those videos ever saw the light of day anywhere. He needn't have worried cause I was just practising and you always throw away the just practising ones don't you .. I'll get better ones of him later :)

I took a video of the Big Red Ride a couple weekends ago, played with editing it and ended up with a couple of videos from that. I like the video thingy, tis interesting but what I'm really excited about is the photo part of it. Set it to take photos every 0.5, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds I was dying to test that out! I was going to try it on the second part of the ride but I found out the first interesting thing about the GoPro before the halfway point on that ride, the battery doesn't last very long. So it went flat before I got to try out the auto photo thingy bit. I was disappointed, but you do have to learn these things don't you, next thing on the shopping list is a spare battery along with some new mounts for it.

Oh yeah the mounts, you can mount this thing anywhere right? As long as it's on your helmet, and there's some space on your helmet that doesn't have vents or little buttons to open and close the vents. So I wanted it on top of my helmet, thinking it would give me the best shots, but I have a rotten big vent and a pretty moulded section that the button sits in on top of the helmet. So I worked out how I would be able to mount it on the side of my helmet. It's not too bad a view, you have a bit of helmet in the view but I think I can work out how to minimise that, and I just need to work out how to not get quite so much bike and handlebars in the shots. I've been looking at mounting it at different places on the bike and one of the other things I am interested in getting is some RAM mounts. I'm still looking and working out what I want.

So I went for a bit of a ride today with hubby, just for a late brekky at our favourite cafe for breakfast and I decided to set up the GoPro for camera shots every 10 seconds. This is what I got ... (actually I got a lot more shots but this is some of the more interesting shots) (actually they aren't really that interesting cept to see what can be done and I'm sure a lot of you have seen it before but I hadn't so I found it fascinating, I actually enjoyed sifting through all the 350+ photos to pick out my favourites)

Here we go, photo number one ... looking up the street from our driveway at the red dirt in the vacant lot next door to us. I'm loving this photo cause it reminds me of my first impressions of Dubbo when I came here a few years ago to find a new place to live .. dry, red and dusty! But exciting :)

A lot of this route is the way I go to work every day so it's kinda boring to me, but this pic is exciting cause it's got the motorbike shop I go past every day in it, they always have something that catches my eye out the front.

The next one shows the guy who made eye contact with me while I was going round the round about then decided that he would cut in front of me and turn right from the left lane while he was at it ... I do love when they do that ....

Have you noticed yet how wonderful and blue that sky was today? It was bout 22 degrees too .. perfect!!

And after negotiating all that Saturday morning madness traffic .... (hehe) .... we made it to our favourite cafe, Selah Doro!!

The car park is out the back up that driveway and I'm pretty proud of the fact that I went in there today without a single tremble. I still don't love car parks but this one, even though it's a bit tight,  isn't quite as scary as there aren't as many cars around back there and cause it's so small I think the crazys take a bit more care.

After having our usual (we need to change it up a bit I think, they are starting to tell us what we're having) I got in the lead when we left the cafe. Terry said he was going straight home, he had work to do and was expecting phone calls, I figured I'd just head home too I wanted to check out the pics!

I'd noticed when I got to the cafe that the camera seemed to be pointing very up .. I straightened it and wondered if I'd bumped it when I was putting the helmet on at home or taking it off at the cafe. Then I turned it on and headed up the road with Terry behind me.

I should have turned left here if I was going to go straight home but I decided to take the longer way home. I was pleasantly surprised that Terry followed me, I thought he would just head straight home and let me go on my own merry jaunt.

Before too long that road turns into the highway out of town and you get to the 110km/h zone just seconds before you get to this turn off ....

Which takes you down a nice quiet little suburban street that has not much traffic and lot of lovely corners for me to practise on.

Like this ... (yeah I know you cant really see the corner but trust me that sign is doing the S bendy thingy and the road does too)

And this ...

Then you turn onto the road that eventually takes us back to our street, this one has a bit more traffic.

OK so not so much here, there's more up further really. Terry overtook me not far from here and gave me a silly grin (you know the silly grin of a man on a bike) and I was hoping the GoPro caught it, that was the sort of thing I was wanting it for!

Aww it missed the grin :(

Pulling into our house, with a nice shot of the garden and the front of the house. OK so the garbage bins might need to be moved ... and the weeds are going nuts ... shhh I still like this shot :)

To park the bike I ride it up that little path to the right then back it back til it's behind the gate.

And there we are, safe at home in our little cubby hole :)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Getting a Grip on These Bike Thingys

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I'd gotten a package from Cruiser Customising with a bunch of pretty shiny bike thingys for me to play with. One was the mirrors and that was the first thing that I put on the bike, I did it first because I figured it would be the easiest to do ... hahahahaha!! They went on before the trip to Canberra, and at Geurie (bout 25km) I had to stop and get out the wrench to tighten one of them. I had been afraid to tightened them too much when I first put them on, I soon learned that they need to be tight or the minute you get over 60km/h they start to wobble round.

Well after that seemingly simple task ended up being a bit of an ongoing job I was a little worried about putting on the grips.

One of the big warnings on the instruction leaflet that came with them was about not gluing up your throttle. I could see this becoming a worry. So I put it off. Then this week I have some time off work. I'd been planning to paint the kitchen, something I've been going to do for about a year or so but never gotten around to cause the ceiling is just so big, but then I hurt my shoulder and to tell the truth I just couldn't be bothered painting the ceiling this week anyway. I put on my new grips instead!!

New mirror with the old grip.

I Youtubed an instruction thingy which stated that it could be done in under 8 minutes, yeah right they've never dealt with me before.

After psyching myself up for a while I went out to the bike armed with a screwdriver, WD40 and a wrench. Lets do this!! Got the end of the clutch side off without damaging anything, then stuck the screwdriver under the rubber of the old grip easy enough. Spray that WD40 and then ...

......... give it a couple of twists and that old grip just slid straight off. 

I was feeling pretty proud of myself by now, all this had taken me maybe 2 minutes ... wow. I had to go brag to Terry. He then came out while I was getting the end off the throttle side ... oops.

For some reason the chrome endy bit of the throttle side was actually glued to the throttle sleeve and when I tried to twist that endy bit off it snapped the end off the throttle sleeve. Eeek, it's only a little bit of plastic that doesn't seem to do anything except make you break something when you pull the end off the standard grip, so I just kept going with the hopes that things would continue to work.

I got the glue out ready to get this job finished!! The little tube of glue was hard as a rock, they gave me two little tubes of glue, I found the other tube and it was hard too. This wasn't looking too promising. What is this stuff, they keep calling it superglue on the youtube thingy, but it didn't look like it was straight out superglue. Just as Terry proudly placed the superglue he'd managed to find in our kitchen draw, onto the bench, I decided not to use superglue. It was still soft and everything. I was having visions of trying to get a grip back off because it had only gone on halfway cause the superglue had dried before I could get it all the way on the bar. Nope I wasn't going to go blindly here, I turned to the Internet.

I found nothing that said what glue to use anywhere, oh comeon this has to be a basic fact that lots of people need to know!! Right, I was feeling a bit stumped when I couldn't find my answer with Google, Google has never failed me before. Then I had a flash of inspiration ... I would call the bike shop!! I called them and they told me to use grip glue, they have tons of it, I could come down and get a tube wheneva I liked. Me and Gizmo jumped into the car (she likes visiting the bike shop cause it's somewhere that lets her in) and went got glue!!

So now for the scary part, I put glue on the bar and slid the grip on. I was worried that the glue would be pushed along the bar when I pushed the grip on and then pool near the switch housing, not such an issue with the clutch side but on the throttle side... I don't know why I worried, it didn't do anything bad. And I put the throttle side on without a hic-up and the throttle even still moves and everything. Looks awesome too.