Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Crash.

It was early January 2009, and as I was still on holiday I arranged to go for a early morning ride out to Kawakawa bay and beyond.  My mate Delon met me at 7.00 am and we were off.  Eager to get a ride in before the heat of the day kicked in we travelled at a brisk pace.  I was on my Daytona 675, I had only owned it for 3 months but I just loved the bike.

When I look back now I can see a list of mistakes I made prior to leaving.  I had a very late night the night before, I was tired and I was trying hard to keep up with some one that was a far faster rider than I.

I was struggling to get in the zone, and as I entered a tight down hill left hander, I dropped down a gear to soon and promptly locked up the rear wheel.  I am not entirely sure what happened next.  I failed miserable to get traction back on the rear wheel, as I got to the corner I went down with a thump.  I went across the road (thankfully no oncoming cars) and down the ditch.  My bike was upside down beside me, and I had a great deal of pain coming from my left shoulder.  My in experience had shown though big time.

Delon didn't realise I had gone down, and it was some time before I heard him go past, and then past again and then again.  Realising that he did not know where I went down, I grab my munted helmet and through it up on to the bank and on to the road.  I then made an attempt to climb up the ditch I was down.  I was just getting to the top when he rode past a fourth time and saw me.

With no cell phone coverage it was some time before help arrived.  The ambulance guys were great, and as usual my witty sense of humour was to the fore as I tried to sell a "used 675" with "superficial damage" to the ambulance officer.

I spent a couple of days in hospital with three broken ribs and a bustered collar bone.   I probably hit the tarmac at no more than 40kms  per hour, but the damage to my helmet was unbelievable. I would hate to think what my head would have looked at if I had not been wearing it.

It was not till I got some rider training that I was able to work out what I had done wrong, and what I could of done to ad void it.    I was embarrassed by the accident, but I am thankful in one way as I have learnt a lot from it.  In fact I have learnt more form the accident two years after the event than I did immediately after it.  Many of these lessons I have blogged about before.

Of course it didn't put me off biking, just made me more determined to be better at it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Trip Planning-24th december-2nd January 2012

This Christmas my partner and I are heading off to the stunning South Island for a quick trip.  One thing that I always enjoy doing before a big trip is the planning, actually my partner insists it is the only thing I plan for....but that is a different story.

I love looking at different routes to take, places to stop, planing big days, and not so big days on the bike.  Realising that my long suffering partner may not want to spend every daylight hour "on a lean", I try to even things out a bit.

I have toured the South Island before , so this time round I had a couple of roads and places I really want to travel.  So it has taken some real sorting to get it all planed.

Day 1, 24th December, will see us heading South, leaving Auckland early and catching the 6.30pm ferry from Welling ton into Picton.  Where we will stay the night. A long and tiring day....but hey...looks whats coming!

Day 2, Christmas day will see us heading down the east side and straight to Christchurch, where we will spend the afternoon and evening with some friends.

Day 3, 26th December. sees us heading to Wanaka, (425kms) this fulfills my ambition to spend a night there, and positions us perfectly to ride the best road in NZ.....Wanaka to Haast the following day.

Day 4, 27th December.  Will see us heading north through Haast and up the great West coast, including Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers, finishing in Hokitika. This is a big days riding, but will be full of awesome scenery and great roads.  When I am working my butt of leading up to Christmas this will be the day I will be thinking about the most.  It is with out a shadow of a doubt my favourite road in all of NZ.

View Larger Map

Photos of Haast Pass, South Island
This photo of Haast Pass is courtesy of Trip Advisor

Day 5, will see us heading back to Christchurch, this also means I get to travel the fantastic Arthur's pass.

Arthurs Pass Images
This photo of Arthur's Pass is courtesy of Trip Advisor

Arthurs Pass Pictures
This photo of Arthur's Pass is courtesy of Trip Advisor

Day 6, will see us heading north and then back in land to Westport.

Day 7, will see us heading to the very northern tip of the South Island, Colling wood. Another goal of mine.

Day 8 will see us exploring the North and then heading back to Nelson. Where we will leave back to Picton the following morning and the ferry and back north home.

The trip will entail about 5000kms over 10 days.....whoooooo

Like all trips, there will be changes made while riding, so I can not say for sure that this will be the exact route, but hopefully we will keep prett much to it.  If we encounter really crap weather then who knows where we will end up.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stage two complete.

So finally on the weekend we were able to move into our new home, felt like a long wait and a lot of hard work.  But as we sat down on a wet Sunday afternoon, lit the fire and had a glass of wine, all the hard work was forgotten and we were able to relax.

The music room.

Some of my guitars.

We still have lots of little things do do, put pictures up, etc, and we still have a few boxes to work through that arein the garage.  Glad the worst is over, perhaps now I can get back to doing what I enjoy, riding my bike and catching up on lots of blogs I havernt had a time to read properly.  Roll on summer....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stage one complete.

We took possession of our new house on Friday of last week.  It was very tired inside and I decided to give it a repaint and carpet before we moved in.   It is a big place and My Father, partner, sister and a few others and I worked tirelessly for a week to complete the painting.  It is finished, top to bottom.  I have even replaced all the latches on the windows, new smoke detectors and a few other bits and pieces.  Spent a bit of time also tidying up the gardens and around the pool.

These pics are where we are up to.  The carpet is due to get laid this week and we will finally move in on Saturday,  very excited , cant wait and a bit over it.  I did enjoy painting and pottering around, but now am keen to move, light the fire and have a nice glass of wine in our new home.

The Lounge

Our Kitchen

The garden outside the master bedroom

Tee pool  (roll on summer)

Family room at the end or the house also opens up on to the pool

Master bedroom.

Big french doors in the lounge, opens on to deck and pool.
So these pics are where we are up to at the moment, the carpet is due to go down tomorrow.
The color on the walls is actually a very light grey, the pics don't really show it, I love the colour it is very crisp and we can add a lot of different colours to it.  As I said to my partner, I didn't really mind what colour as long as it wasn't bage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A very big thank you to my fantastic Dad, and Mum who is making all the new curtains and with out who's help we would of never got it all done.

Will let you know when it is finished and I will post some pics, and a date for our house warming.....I am sure some of the overseas bloggers would love a good excuse to visit NZ!

So for me I have not done much riding, but come Sunday, once we have moved, regardless of how much unpacking we still have to do I am so going for a ride.......I mean I do deserve it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Advanced Rider Training...Two Months on.

So two months on from completing the first stages of rider training ( Part 1  Part 2 )  how am I going?  Unfortunately I have to access this in a self analytical kind of way.  I will try to be as honest as I can.

There are some areas I have felt have very much improved.  My feet position and hazard awareness has improved a great deal. I seem to be far more aware of what is going on around me, even behind me. I am constantly scanning and taking in what other vehicles are doing, how they are parked, position of wheels etc etc.

I am far smoother under breaking, and am using the brakes to control the bike, especially when coming up to lights and having to control my speed. My breaking distances have reduced considerably.  No more jerking to a stop, then taking off.   Saying that , my slow speed manoeuvring has improved, but there are still lapse's where I need to put a foot down , but completing it a few times normally results in success.   The thing about rider training is it gives you the tools to work on your own riding, where as before the 'wing it' theory was my main form of education.  

When out on the open road I am constantly reminding myself about I.P.S.G.A.   The thing I have noticed about this is that I am selecting a lower gear when entering corners than I use to, giving me a nice firmer acceleration out of the corner.  Interesting point my average mile consumption use to be around 5.6km/1000, now it is around the 5.8-5.9 mark.  Obviously using the power of the bike a lot more.  This has been one of the great joys of the training, I am enjoying the stability of cornering so much more, and combined with the change of entry and exit angle I feel Like I am cornering far better and with more confidence. I am positioning myself differently on the road when entering corners, giving greater visibility during the entire process. Great fun.

All in all the lots of skills are being slowly built into my riding.  I still have a long way to go, yet at the same time I have come a long way from where I was.

Having read Police Riders Handbook to better Motorcycling  and Proficient Motorcycling both excellent books they have helped to re enforce  what I have learnt and are a great resource for future referral.  Click on the link and you can read both reviews.

In the spring I will go back and attend some more sessions.  Lots more to learn and I want to make sure no bad habits are creeping into my riding.  It is a long journey, but incredibly rewarding.

Something I learnt when I was learning guitar.  I would practice stuff really hard, spend hours trying to master a technique or riff, my tutor said to me, after practising just play.  Forget about trying to learn , just enjoy and play.  What happens is those very skills you have been trying to master came naturally into my playing once I was relaxed and not trying so hard. I would just start having fun, yet I would be doing some of the stuff I had been trying so hard to master. To some degree this principle applies to riding a bike and acquiring new skills also. You work at some thing and after a while it becomes natural.