Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wonderful Achievement.

Here is a link to a nice little article about Taylor's school team winning the Counties Manukau Schools title. It was a wonderful achievement

You can read it here.

The final game they played was an absolute cracker and Taylor was the Captain for the day.  She is normally Vice Captain anyway but there captain was off injured.  Man I was   (as most parents were) a wee bit vocal. It was seriously thrilling and one of the games of the year for me personally, and trust me I have sat through a few!.

As anything with sports there are ups and downs and the following week with Taylor taking part in Auckland Trials she injured her leg in the game the day before and couldn't partake.  Thankfully she gets another chance next Monday.

It is great to see Taylor be a part of some great teams, creating memories for the future. Knowing what it feels like to be apart t of a team spirit, as well as  accepting the good, and the some times heart breaking experiences.  She is developing life long friends. And a passion for excellence.  

Of course the upside for me is that while she is  busy with football she has no time for boy friends...which is good cause I haven't got around to getting my gun license yet.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A view point.

I tend to keep my social commentary and personal points of view on sensitive topic to myself.

But a few days ago I found this open letter to the IOC penned by Stephen Fry.  It is well written and I think it is true.

I found it touched a relevant nerve.

There is an element of truth to what he says.

You can read his brilliant article here..Stephen Fry

I hope he does not mind me posting it!

Personally though,  the only effect a boycott would have, would be to punish the athletes who have worked so hard to get there.  

It is ironic when I think back to the Moscow boycott of 1980.....initiated by the USA opposing the Soviet  invasion of Afghanistan...

Overall, as much as I agreee with his thoughts, I would rather see sports and politcis not mixing.

Feel freee to voice an opinion..

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Perfect Corner.

Sunday once again was a wonderful day.  With winter all but non existent it was decided that a few of us would go for a social ride.  Andy on his k1300 r (affectionately called Brutus), Bruce on his VFR 800 ( affectionately called ..."underpowered"), a couple of other guys from IAM and Myself.  Andy is an observer and Bruce is all but, Brett and Peter, although yet to pass there test are both excellent riders.  

So all of us are heavily influenced by our IAM training, or more specifically "Road craft".

It was a day for just riding, no observing or debriefs, just a good ole fashion ride around some of the wonderful roads the west coast has to offer. 

It was while we were riding , and while I was following Bruce that we began to discuss the perfect corner.  The beauty of intercoms allowed us to discuss a few things while riding.

Bruce is a very talented rider, who demonstrates the art of cornering so precisely and elegantly it is  a pleasure to watch.  Of course it is a continuing process for all of us.  But from where I looked, when it is done well, it is a pure art form and a beautiful thing to behold.  Bruce is very very precise and carries excellent corner speed.  

It got me to thinking how much my riding has changed over the last few years. How my desire for smoothness, precision and perfection seems to encompass my riding so much now.  And I don't just mean when the roads are dry and the camber perfect.  

I mean when you come into a off camber, wet, shiny corner and and yet put your bike around it perfectly, exiting under throttle and feeling the bike drive out.  It is a wonderful feeling.  More importantly knowing why it felt good and being able to rinse and repeat at will.

Cornering on a bike, is one of my life's greatest pleasures.  It is why I ride.  I never perfect every corner exactly as I would like all the time, ...but that doesn't stop me from trying.  

On our way back Bruce was leading with me tucked in behind.  We managed to put a bit of distance between us and the others, but i warned Bruce that Andy loves a challenge and would only give us a few minutes before he would attempt to chase us down.....six minutes later Andy 's light appears in our mirrors....I love motorbikes.   

Saturday, July 27, 2013


July, supposedly one of our wettest and coldest months down under has been any thing but.

Warm, mild temperatures in the mid teens (Celsius).  And dry, with nothing but the odd shower.

Of course this has meant some decent weather for riding, nothing big. No big tours but  good riding weather none the less.

Sunday was to be no different.

The IAM Sunday ride falls on the last Sunday of the month, but I decided to play hooky today and go for a ride with Nathan.  I have done a lot of IAM stuff of late, as well as running around after Taylor and her endless football demands.  All of that is good, but it was time for me to do some thing with my son.

So with Taylor  at her game, I headed out with Nat on the back.  To be honest I wasn't sure  where we were going to go, but it occurred to me as we were leaving that I had never taken him to Muriwai. I have taken Taylor before but not Nat.

We are so blessed here in this country to have easy access to some wonderful marine parks, beaches and reserves. All with  easy access and a short ride.  Muriwai is one of Auckland's wonderful West coach beaches.  In New Zealand the West coast is considered the rougher side.  But that has its advantages and disadvantages....surfers love it...but dangerous swimming.

As u can see it  was a lovely ride.  With some great pic's of a guy  paragliding by the gannet colony, as well as great views.  Coffee was  brilliant and the food from the local cafe exceptional.  So we were only out for a few hours but it was just a great day.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Meanwhile downunder....

It has been raining a lot.  Did I say a lot?  Yes a lot. I don't think I have ever seen it as wet as it has been the last couple of months, we may have had an awesome summer but we are making up for it now.

Normally our winters aren't to bad.  Certainly motorbike riding is  not out of the question.  But the roads have not had a chance to dry out and it is evident by some slippery and slimy roads.  Geoff was talking the other day about taking a couple of associates out for IAM and both had traction issues.

So apart from a few IAM runs my motorbiking has been limited.  This has of course given me the opportunity to settle into the new house, set up my we man cave and do a few things to the bikes.  Finally getting around to setting up the GPS on the 650 and other electrical gadgets on the k1200.....u know what I mean, fish finders and the like!  It is also a good time to sit down and start planning a few bike trips.  Very keen to hit the South Island again this year on the 650 so I can explore some of the great back road leading up to the high country.  Roads like the Molesworth road  are places I haven't seen or ridden. I want to concentrate on the upper South Island taking in the Nelson lakes etc.

There is something to be said for a small home. Easy to manage and run.  Very happy I must say.

The Captain.

Notice the Team oreon cap....xx

With the soccer season in full swing,   the week with the kids is taken up with endless football training's and games for Taylor.  Meanwhile Nat has joined the sea scouts and decided mountain biking is what he wants to do...which means Dad has to do it to....shit.  Should be fun I suppose and we do have some decent tracks close by.  I just do prefer an engine when sitting on two wheels.

Hopefully some decent motorbike blods to follow soon.....as soon as spring gets here!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The K1200s

Since I have got back into bikes there have been only one that really touched my soul.  It was my Daytona 955i.  It had a beauty of a engine,  sounded like it was on steroids and handled well.  It just has some thing.   There has been nothing wrong with any of the other bikes I have owned, but none of them moved me the way the 955 did.  The sprint was great did every thing right..but it never really stirred me.

So along comes  this BMW K1200s.  Splendid in black with an aftermarket exhaust, and I knew the instant I started it up that we were going to have a beautiful relationship.  The throaty growl from the twin brothers aftermarket exhaust just enhances the thrill of  the in line four, it really does sound like a turbine engine eating cocaine.  

Like most BMW's it came pretty specked up.   Heated grips, Electronic Suspension adjustment, traction control, luggage...and attitude, and did I say it looks good!

The biggest bonus of this bike is it's handling. The ESA has an arrange of options which are easily adjusted by the button on the bars.  Stroll through I can adjust when I have a pillion, or carrying luggage, or if I just want a "quick" bit of fun.

Which brings me to the word quick.......


  [kwik]  Show IPA adjective, quick·er, quick·est, noun, adverb, quick·er, quick·est.
done, proceeding, or occurring with promptness or rapidity, as an action, process, etc.; prompt;immediate: a quick response.
that is over or completed within a short interval of time: a quick shower.
moving, or able to move, with speed: a quick fox; a quick train.
swift or rapid, as motion: a quick flick of the wrist.
easily provoked or excited; hasty: a quick temper.

For me...point number four seems the correct definition.

This bike is an absolute weapon to ride.  It is incredible responsive and has far more usable power than I think I will be ever able to use, saying that though I am keen to at least try.  0-100kms in 2.8secs....big grin factor,  just need to remind my pillion before I open the throttle.  

The biggest surprise for me was how comfy the bike is to ride, it's barely different to the Sprint.  I think its title of hyper sports tourer seems pretty correct.  I am not a small guy and it is very comfy for me.  European bike built for Europeans...best sums it up.

Of course with any new bike purchase, it is essential that 'we'personlise it...bling bling bling..

So I have added a carbon fibre centre piece and battery cover, have to say looks the shits!  whooo

Also, have added a tank bag which just clicks to the fuel tank, no straps, tidy and simple.  Never been a fan of tank bags as a rule but pretty impressed with this one I got from Pirates Lair in the states.   While I am at it,  Can't speak highly enough of these guys an girls, very helpful and a delight to deal with.  Always scary when buying stuff from over seas but extremely happy with the result and service.  

Having just moved into a new smaller  home I have created a nice little man cave for me and the bikes, I even have a wee work bench, and I feel like quite the straight guy.  So to help move the bikes around I purchased a Motorcycle trolley dolly, just flick the bike on to it with the centre stand and presto, piece of piss to move stuff around.  I can more the bikes over to the corners and move them around depending on which one I am playing with.  brilliant....now just looking for a nice little beer fridge to fit under my table and I have a place of refuge.

Sorry about he pics, camera was flat so just used my phone.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Here it tis.

OK, will put you all out of your misery, besides I am so excited I got to tell people.

I have to say I don't think the pics do it justice, it is a stunning bike in the flesh. 

These are not my pics but ones taken from the advertisement  I will post some of my own up when I get the bike in the garage, picking it up tomorrow.

This bike is going to be soooooooooooooooooooo much fun!  Welcome to the world of hyper sports touring....

2008 K1200 S

Monday, April 22, 2013

All good things...

My all time favourite pic of the Sprint.

Worlds longest place name.


Arty pic....


Off Road Adventures

South Island

must come to an end.

And so it is,  that I bid farewell to my beloved Sprint.  Sold in the flash of an eye.

58000kms of happiness together has come to an end.  Time to move on.  Time for change.  It is the most mileage I have ever done on a bike I owned.   It has always been a good and reliable bike.   BUT..


I love bike shopping.

No sooner had the casket been lowered, the dirt piled high, was I out searching for the next thing to float my boat...

Actually motorbikes seem a bit like my relationships...they last about five years!  (actually some only lasted five days but that is a drinking story, and don't get me started on the five hour ones).  Buy me a bottle of Vodka and I will tell you all about it.

Anyway I digress..

I just felt it was time for a change, the sprint has been a great bike for me. But while I still can I want some thing with a little bit more sports than touring, a bit of grunt, and it needs to be sexy....besides I need to keep up with that old bastard from Coromandel.

So my lovelies watch this space....

I Will give you a hint though...it's black!

(hope you enjoyed some of my favourite pics with my bike)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pro Rider Training.

On Sunday I attended the Pro Rider training course in Albany.  This course is run by Pro rider who is the designated provider of subsidized training here in Auckland.  This is done through ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) and Auckland Transport.  The cost to me personally was $50 with the remaining amount of $200 being subsidised.

Although I have done a lot of training over the last few years and have become an Observer for IAM,  I am always open to learn more and improve my skills. 

I registered for the course a couple of weeks before the day and the returning email told me I would be sent an email out the week before confirming venue etc.  I did end up chasing up the information and eventually got it five days before.  I was surprised to see that even though I put done my level as "Experienced"..this course catered to all levels.   I really wondered how they were going to manage this.

When I arrived on Sunday I was again surprised to see just 4 instructors for 16 riders. I had expected a better ratio of instructors to riders .

The debrief consisted of a brief discussion on shoulder checks and road rules, before we were shown pictures of where to position our bike on corners.  There was no mention of the widely accepted I.P.S.G.A system of motorcycle roadcraft and control (Information, Position, Speed, Gear and Acceleration).  This surprised me as it is one of the fundamentals of road-craft training.   TUG was only briefly mentioned. (TUG is Take (information), Use (information), Give (information)

The five learners went off by themselves with another instructor and someone else to assist who had no qualifications to be teaching. (I know the person and skill level) This now left three instructors and 11 riders. 

We initially rode out west where we would complete several circuits of the same road during the course of the day.  My previous doubts as to the level and skill of the instructors began to be raised when I witnessed one of them continually fail to indicate through three roundabouts  then ride through roadworks with a designated 30 km/hr speed limit at 70 km/hr .  I questioned him and he said that he was doing 50 kms per hour...moot point really.  Speed signs at road works are there for a reason.... didn't appreciate my bike getting showered with new gravel either.

I was beginning to get the impression that the level of training I have been getting and was expecting was not going to happen today.  In fact, it appeared that the more numbers that were being pushed through the better, with no real consideration of the training quality provided. Important topics were ignored or simple brushed over.Braking was covered with a three minute video at lunch as well as counter steering. No demonstration was given. 

The day dragged on with very little feed back to riders.  Roadside debriefs consisted of short videos and more pictures to look at.   It was one thing to talk about stuff, it is another thing to be taught it, showed it, and given time to put it into practise.

I was further alarmed when being overtaken buy a guy on a 250cc motorbike through the same 30 km/hr work zone I have just mentioned,  showering my bike with stones and showing a blatant disregard for other road users. To rub salt in to the wound, none of the instructors mentioned it to him or confronted him about it. 
Further frustration arose when I saw that the Pro rider leader was riding a bike that was not registered to be on the road.  I was informed that it was, but again it is a moot point. The bike as it stood is illegal for not displaying a current registration and should not be ridden on the road until it does.  This all coming from some one who is supposed to be setting an example and teaching safer road craft.

I was certainly getting frustrated at the amount of stuff that was not getting taught, or simply glossed over. And this is because the ratio of instructors to riders is too low and no proper training was ever going to happen.  The majority of the day was spent practicing on the same piece of road going around corners.  As the day drew to a close, I was disheartened to see three riders in front of me run compulsory stops signs. Again I think it reflects on a lack of proper instruction and a glossing over of the road rules at the beginning of the day.    How after 5 1/2 hours of so called training are riders still running stop signs....something seriously is lacking in the approach taken to this training. 

By three o'clock I still had yet to receive any feedback on my riding, when I questioned this, I was told I was smooth but probably travelling too close to the centre  line on left hand bends.  I did mention that I get excellent visibility through the corner from there, and always give up the position for safety .....oh good he says.  End of conversation.

At the end of the ride I was given a certificate of completion, a smiley sticker on my dashboard  to remind to to smile, relax and enjoy the ride, and a photocopied picture of the vanishing point.....the first time it was mentioned during the whole day.   How the hell do you teach cornering with no emphasis on the vanishing point?  I was also given a book on other reading material and encouraged to check out You Tube videos.

My honest opinion is that the level of training was poor, too many riders, unskilled instructors, not enough attention given to individual riders,  all the time making a lot of money....taxpayer  funded money. To properly teach, demonstrate and assess  someone's riding,  one-on-one, or one-on-two coaching is the maximum you should expect.  The old adage "People don't know what they don't know"..certainly rings true with me today.

I make no apologies for the bluntness of this blog, I have stood beside too many graves of dead bikers to stand by and see sub-standard training become the norm  Regular readers will know that I am unashamedly passionate about motorcycle safety. Who is auditing these trainers, who is checking that what is being taught is of a high standard? Who is checking that tax money and ACC levies is being spent wisely?

ACC and Auckland Transport seriously need to assess where they are going with motorcycle training which measurably delivers value and high quality outcomes.  It makes me thankful of the training path which I embarked upon nearly 2 years ago.

Friday, February 15, 2013

I like this...

I saw this pic on Face book, considering my last post, it touched a nerve.

It is Saturday night here, a hard day of house cleaning in prep for the sale..time for a Vodka..whooo

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dreaming of Jupiter?

Dreaming of Jupiter.

I left school at 16.  Went straight into an apprenticeship   I brought a house, got married, had two fantastic kids, started a business, got divorced and had to rebuild financially again. Worked long hours and weekends.   I have always done what was expected of me, what is right.  I have always walked the well trodden path that lies before me. I have sought to "improve" myself through material gains.  I have brought into the material side of life.  

My travel has been limited to a few weeks every three or four years travelling some where.  I never did a "BIG OE", which here in NZ is almost a right of passage.  I have for a few years wanted to do a big trip, a trip that would define me. A trip which will keep me awake at night, not only from the excitement but also from fear.  You could say I have been dreaming.

 One day I  would like to ship my bike to the states, ride to the top of Alaska, criss cross Canada and America, through Mexico then to the bottom of Argentina, cross the Andes a couple of times.   Will I ever do it? Honestly , I don't know. 
But, I can begin to prepare for just such a trip. It might not happen for a while, but there is no harm in continuing to dream. I have read many inspiring stories of average people, men and women, who have done this trip.  There is nothing special about them, except an adventurous spirit and a love of life. The only difference is they have acted on there dreams. 

So I have begun to make some changes, to UN clutter my life. To simplify things. I have a big mortgage and a big house, I don't need either.  So next week the house goes on the market.  I want to down size. Some thing easy to manage, and easy to rent out.

Time to get rid of two lounge sweets, and dinner sets and cutlery sets and stuff...just stuff,  stuff I will probably never use...just stuff. I am over stuff...where the hell did it all this stuff come from.

I have enrolled in Spanish classes, winging it on kiwi probably not a good idea when trying to cross into Bolivia with a grumpy boarder guard!   Languages, how I wish I was gifted with that skill.  It will be hard work , but at the same time I am having fun.

Next is a mechanics course.  My bike maintenance skills are severely lacking.  It has always been easier to give to the expert and say "fix it". Time to learn a few basics. 

So I am beginning to dream, to plan.  Will it ever happen? I really don't know. It is still not the right time. The kids are still to young and in there early teens.  Although they would not hesitate to support me if I did decide to go sooner rather than later. But plans are forming in my mind. If a window of opportunity presents it self, then who knows.  In the meant time I shall continue to plan, scheme, and dream..

Until then, Bonjour!  oh Shit...hang on ....... I mean Adios!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Barber Musumn

When I was in Atlanta living  off Lori and Chris for free,  they mentioned the world famous Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum, which is located a couple of hours north of where they live.  I jumped at the opportunity to visit. It is not every day you get to see such an amazing collection of rare and vintage bikes. It is truly an astounding place that every biker should try to visit at least once.  It is considered the largest motorcycle display any where in the world.

On the way there we  go past the famous  talladega superspeedway, which is also bloody impressive and just mind boggling, there is one thing you go to say for the Americans, they never do anything in small sizes!

Of course it meant I got to tick of another state I have visited, which now makes 4!

Many thanks to Lori for providing most of these pics....I am a crap photographer, mainly cause I am a lazy bugger....

As usual click on the pictures for full size.

My favourite is the white BMW with side car, such a classic.

So George and Geoff, here are a few pics for you....