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March 2008 Entries
Getting ready for my weekend in Yorkshire

I'm off to do two days motorbike training in Yorkshire next weekend, so I'm beginning my preparation. I think I am going to switch back to the standard lids on my R1100RS system cases - I have been running with the narrower city lids for over a year as I don't go away on the bike, and the narrow lids look better and hold enough anyway.

I've got excellent wee things called Kugler Klamps on the cases which allow me to easily swap the lids, so I got the standard lids out of the shed to check them but discovered the bolts I need have disappeared off. So I'm hoping the bag of M4 bolts that I've ordered off eBay arrive before Friday so I can get the panniers sorted.

posted @ Saturday, March 29, 2008 9:42 PM | Feedback (0)
First Aid MP3s

Again, Via Kevin from Survival Skills, he has posted a link to a page with mp3s for a few first aid situations, produced by the South East Ambulance Service.

More relevant to those of you who already have First Aid qualification, but a wee reminder to the rest of us to go out and do a course.

posted @ Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:45 PM | Feedback (0)
Motorcycling - Fixing Your Lines

Kevin (Spin Doctor on Visordown) over at Survival Skills has put up an excellent post on sorting out your lines on the road. I like this for a couple of reasons, the first being that every now and again I get a bit ragged in my cornering and feel really ackward, and also that he puts his finger on the building blocks to sort it out.

Motorcycles are relatively narrow compared to the amount of road width needed by cars, and there are more options for positioning. They also carry less grip, so the options for getting out of cornering problems can be less if you aren't so sure of your machine and skills.

I recommend a read of that post if you are a motorcylist.

posted @ Friday, March 21, 2008 11:00 AM | Feedback (0)
Bike Passed its MOT

Had a day working from home this week so that I could drop off and collect my motorbike from the local MOT place, C&J Wilson in Uphall. At the time I took the opportunity to get the Autocom Active Plus kit fitted. Wilson's are an Autocom dealer, and although I didn't buy it from them, they said they were ok fitting it to the bike.

So the good news was that the bike passed its MOT, with a wee word of caution from the tester about a rattle from one of the brake discs. The discs are floating types i.e. they are not rigidly fixed to the wheel so that they can move while braking along the axis of the wheel rotation. With age the various parts wear a little so I'll keep an eye on things. It will need to be looked at if bits start pinging off.

They also fitted the Autocom, and a very very neat job they did to. The unit itself is mounted in the tail piece of the bike, with the cables running to the front for my headset, and near the rear for the passenger headset connection (unlikely to be used). The auxiliary socket is on one side and I've also bought the wire to connect this to one of my recently purchased Motorola T5622s. This will give me the option of bike to bike comms for Observing and general coughing, sneezing, singing and other stuff I do when riding my motorbike.

I've also got a couple of other wires that plug my phone and mp3 player into the thing. I'm not planning on phone calls, but the option of music or even perhaps the TomTom GPS on my phone may be handy. Lots of gadget options to play with.

posted @ Thursday, March 20, 2008 9:57 PM | Feedback (0)
Passed my IAM Car Test

Pass my IAM Car test today - woohoo! Those in the know will know that technically I have been recommended for membership of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, but I think you all know what I mean.

Thanks to Colin Lawrence-Waterhouse of Edinburgh IAM for being my Observer, and thanks to J McBirnie for spending some of his day off sitting in my car watching my driving.

I had a good drive and I am chuffed.

Route was:

  • Out of the services to the small roundabout and turn right onto the B6145 towards the roundabout.
  • Turn left off the roundabout onto the slip road for the A1 and join the A1.
  • Follow A1 and leave at the next junction.
  • Turn right onto Salters Road (A6094).
  • Follow Salters Road straight across roundabout into Whitecraig Road (A6094).
  • Continue through Whitecraig (A6094).
  • Leave Whitecraig on A6094 towards Dalkeith.
  • Turn Right at roundabout onto Musselburgh Road.
  • Follow Musselburgh Road round to Dalkeith High Street.
  • Continue on Dalkeith High Street straight on to Eskbank Road (A6094).
  • Follow Eskbank Road to Eskbank Roundabout.
  • Take 5th Exit from Eskbank Roundabout on to B6392 Melville Road.
  • Follow B6392 Melville Road on to B6392 Gilmerton Road.
  • At Roundabout take first exit on to B6392 Gilmerton Road.
  • At Gilmerton Road Roundabout take 3rd Exit right on to A7.
  • Follow A7 to Sheriffhall Roundabout and take first exit onto A720 City of Edinburgh Bypass.
  • Stay on A720 and leave at Straiton junction on to A701 Straiton Road.
  • Keep right on A701 Straiton Road passing under the A720 City of Edinburgh Bypass and take the first exit at the roundabout on to the A701 Burdiehouse Road.
  • Follow A701 north to junction with B701 Frogston Road.
  • Turn right into B701 Captains Road.
  • Follow B701 Captains Road across junction with Lasswade Road on to B701 Gilmerton Dykes Street.
  • Follow B701 Gilmerton Dykes Street on to B701 Newtoft Street.
  • Follow B701 Newtoft Street to junction with A772 Gilmerton Road, going straight ahead on to B701 Ferniehill Drive.
  • Follow B701 Ferniehill Drive to junction with A7 Old Dalkeith Road and turn right.
  • Follow A7 Old Dalkeith Road to junction with The Wisp, turning left into The Wisp.
  • Follow The Wisp to the junction with the A6106 Millerhill Road and turn left along Cloverfoot cottages.
  • Follow A6106 Cloverfoot Cottages on to A6106 The Wisp.
  • Follow A6106 The Wisp to junction with A6095 Newcraighall Road and go straight ahead into A6106 Duddingston Park South.
  • Follow A6106 Duddingston Park South to roundabout and take first exit, onto A6106 Duddingston Park.
  • Follow A6106 Duddingston Park through junction with A1 Duddingston Crescent on to A6106 Duddingston Park.
  • Follow A6106 Duddingston Park to junction with Southfield Place and turn Right into Southfield Place.
  • Follow Southfield Place on to Brighton Place.
  • Follow Brighton Place to B6415 Portobello High Street and turn right into High Street.
  • Follow B6415 Portobello High Street to B6415 Joppa Road and turn right into Morton Street.
  • Follow Morton Street and turn left into Coillesdene Avenue.
  • Three point turn and reverse round corner.
  • Follow Coillesdene Avenue to junction with B6415 Eastfield and turn right.
  • Follow B6415 Musselburgh road onto A199 Edinburgh road.
  • Follow A199 into Musselburgh and A199 North High Street.
  • Follow A199 North High Street on to A199 Bridge Street.
  • Turn right on to Mall Avenue.
  • Continue on Mall Avenue on to Olive Bank Road.
  • Continue on Olive Bank Road to junction with B6415 Eskview Terrace and turn left into Eskview Terrace.
  • Follow B6415 Eskview Terrace on to B6415 Monktonhall Terrace.
  • Continue on B6415 Monktonhall Terrace across roundabout.
  • Turn left at roundabout onto B6415.
  • Turn right in to Musselburgh Services.
posted @ Wednesday, March 12, 2008 10:39 PM | Feedback (0)
Anniversary Weekend

It was my 11th Wedding Anniversary at the weekend, so the wife and I had a couple of days away in a Holiday Inn Express.

The weekend started with a meal for us and the kids at Chenzo's in Uphall, which is a bit of a family tradition.

Then the Scottish Motorcycle Show on Saturday morning. This was fun as I had been swapping emails with a company that does custom ear plugs, and as I had recently fitted the Autocom headset to my helmet, I was told to get a "lid-on" impression. This means they let the moulds set while wearing your helmet. I popped along and they had a look in my ears, then pop a little sponge in each ear about as deep as a normal ear plug. Then they fill your ears with blue goo, from a thing like a miniature calk gun. Of course, this was all at the bike show so I was sat on a chair on their stand with folks walking by while I had it done. Then the lid on part removed what dignity I had. The audiologist had a plastic cover but my head was too big so it was down to a modified trusty Morisson's carrier bag instead. That went over my ears then the helmet went on. As instructed I did the helmet up exactly as I would wear it, to help the impression work. Then I was sat there for about 15 minutes while the goo set, then it was off with the helmet and the chap unscrewed the moulds from my ears. Then they go off to the lab and they make my snazzy earplugs.

We wandered around the show and I sat on a few bikes, the best was the R1200GS Adventure and the new Kawasaki tourer. Both had lots of room. I had a sit on a Ducati 1098 and I could almost feel my hip joints being seperated. Owowowowowow.

Having looked around we headed off, and I got as far as Bathgate before realising I'd forgotten that I'd left my helmet at the Charity helmet park. So I had to drive back to Ingliston to get my helmet. Then another go at driving to Glasgow.

Glasgow was nice, we stayed at the Holiday Inn theatreland and went to see three films. We saw U23D first which was great, loud music and 3d filming. A great way to see a concert, albeit the music could have been a bit louder! The next day we saw two films, one was The Other Bolyn Girl which I didn't fancy much but was alright - my wife had read the book and wanted to see it. Then we headed to the West End of Glasgow to have lunch at the Kelvingrove Cafe - a restaurant in the basement of the restored Kelvingrove, pausing on the way to see my name on the wall as one of the sponsors of the restoration. After a nice lunch we headed back into town and went to see Vantage Point later, which I thought was good but has an irritating device of showing the same 12 minute sequence from the perspective of about 6 or 7 different people. Folk were swearing in the cinema by the third go.

Photos to follow.

posted @ Monday, March 10, 2008 9:40 PM | Feedback (0)