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September 2007 Entries
I've been going to the gym

This post is as much for me as it is for you lot, but if you read these posts you may already have that suspicion about many of my posts.

With a switch in my working arrangements back to our offices in Leith, I restarted a regular habit of mine and started going to Leith Victoria every other morning. My plan has been to go three times a week before work, and didn't post here until I was regular. I started in June and I've pretty much managed to keep going. I used to go swimming, but decided their gym would be better for me to get fitter and lose weight. Leith Victoria have a nice wee gym with machines from Life Fitness.

I did the induction session with Tony the gym supervisor, and due to my blood pressure and body fat percentages I've been doing solely "cardio" machine work. I've got my workout progress card with my programmes to pick, and do 15 minutes on the stationary cycle, 15 minutes on the cross-trainer torture thing, and 15 minutes + 3 minutes cooldown on the treadmill. The programmes all have various themes which I think are interval based, the resistance goes up and down through the 15 minutes.

Had my follow up visit on Wednesday 12th September 2007, and unfortunately I've lost the original numbers for body fat etc, but if memory serves me correctly I've dropped about 3/4%. The stats for my visit where 198cm tall, 134.Kg weight, 31.2% body fat. Lots of distance to go, but progress none the less.

So confirmed scientifically - I'm tall and fat, but if you make a big deal about it I will sit on you :P

I've now got my new programme, which is tougher, and now adds a bit of rowing machine into the mix too. I've been through the new programme a couple of times and managed through ok, even if it is harder.

posted @ Tuesday, September 18, 2007 6:22 AM | Feedback (2)
Colin McRae

I've been watching the story about this unfolding on the web. First there was a report of a helicopter crashing near Colin McRae's house in Lanark, then reports of a helicopter registered to him crashing, then confirmation that Colin McRae, his 5 year old son Johnny, Johnny's 6 year old pal Ben Porcelli and Colin's pal Graeme Duncan had all been killed in a crash at 16:05 yesterday (Saturday 16th September 2007). It happened while I was having a wind-buffetted ride home from the Scottish IAM Motorcycle Forum in Perth.

Rallying has always been a big tradition in Scotland, going back to Jim Clark and beyond, and in my lifetime Jimmy McCrae was in his peak in my early teens, then Colin McCrae started up. The RAC Rally, as it was called back then, was one of the big motorsport events that was televised consistently. And I watched while I was in hospital for two weeks during Rally time.

My sympathies go out to the families.

It is a reminder that as drivers, pilots, riders, sometimes things go wrong and it is not only us but our passengers that are effected. BUT!- Whatever you do, don't hide at home and wrap yourselves in cotton wool, weigh the risks, and act responsibly.

posted @ Monday, September 17, 2007 12:42 PM | Feedback (0)
New Clutch on the R1100RS - Update

The new clutch is excellent, feels completely different, and the slip in 4th and 5th gear is gone. Now I'm having to get used to the full engine range in 3rd to 5th gears!

And like the cars I have driven with new clutches, the quicker biting point is taking a wee getting used to. I think I'm doing well - I haven't stalled it yet!

posted @ Sunday, September 16, 2007 5:39 PM | Feedback (0)
New clutch in the Motorbike

Mrs AlistairL got the call earlier from the chap who fixes my motorbike to say that he had fitted its new clutch. The clutch has been slipping in high gears since I got the motorbike so it will be really interesting to see what the motorbike is like to ride.

The clutch on the R1100RS is dry, like a car, instead of the type you get in most motorbikes which sits in the engine oil. Slipping the clutch on a motorcycle is essential to its low speed stability, hence most being set up to endure extra slipping.

I'm off to pick the motorbike up tomorrow evening.

posted @ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 9:06 PM | Feedback (0)
Application Deployment and stuff

Work continues to be interesting, I'm currently involved in a project packaging up a large application we wrote for a Financial Instituion. This involves scripting everything on and off the target machines using their chosen deployment API.

Another learning curve, but good discipline for the end of things that developers don't tend to like. By the end of a project anything would run on our development machine because we've installed the contents of downloads.microsoft.com over the months, but show it a clean machine? Bang.

We're making great use of Virtual machines to configure and test this stuff, they are just superb things even if they are a bit resource intensive.

posted @ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:48 PM | Feedback (0)
Advanced Drive 1-4

I just had my fourth drive with Observer Colin from Edinburgh Advanced Motorists. The Institute of Advanced Motorists existed at first to train and test Advanced Car Drivers and the other categories, such as motorcycles, followed later through the years as the need became apparent.

Edinburgh IAM are separate to EDAM, the car group spun off the Motorcycle group a number of years ago and both groups have grown to be two of the biggest voluntary road safety organisations in Scotland, with hundreds of full members (i.e. those who have passed the advanced test in the relevant class) in both groups.

There have been similarities and differences between efforts toward the IAM Motorcycle test and the Car test. Similar stuff is:

  • The System of Motorcycle Control and the System of Car Control are closely related, both with Information, Position, Speed, Gear and Acceleration phases.
  • Both emphasize safety over all other considerations such as smoothness and speed.
  • Positioning for corners and limit point analysis are similar, within the constraints of the relative sizes of the different vehicles.
  • Both are prepared for by means of the Observing arrangement, which isn't quite training but more of a drive and comment arrangement.
  • Both are based on their versions of Roadcraft.
  • Both have specific starting and stopping drills to apply a systematic approach to beginning and finishing a drive.

Different things are:

  • Where the Observer goes. In the car they sit in the passenger seat alongside you and can make comments as the drive runs. For Motorcycles they follow on their own machine, and then stop and discuss the ride in a debrief before continuing. This is quite an important difference, as Motorcycle Associates usually contribute to the fuel expenses of their Observer.
  • Motorcycle Helmets restrict peripheral vision, so the System of Motorcycle Control also features the so-called "Head Check" and "Lifesaver" looks which are a quick look to the right or left (depending on the maneuver) or a look right round over your shoulder. This takes place before the Acceleration phase and is part of the Information phase which extends throughout.
  • Not a System thing but a group thing, Edinburgh IAM run 3 class based theory sessions which take place before the drive, and they also give you a CD-ROM and DVD with the course info. EDAM run a weekly homework system based on chapters from Roadcraft.

I might think of more differences, so I'll post them if they occur to me.

posted @ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:44 PM | Feedback (0)
What's been happening in the land of AlistairL?

A bit of a gap in posts, so it is time for a catch up. I'll post separately on Advanced Driving and work and other things, but I've been on holiday and generally wiling away my hours doing nothing much in the warm weather.

posted @ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:21 PM | Feedback (0)