Back from hiatus (sort of)

Well, votes in, I suck. But I haven’t been doing anything really fun on my motorcycle lately, so I forgive myself. The weather has turned, the cold has arrived in Canberra and the heated grips on Stella have been in use for a fortnight or so.

Autumn is one of my favourite times of year. I love the colour changes, the winding down and closing up of the world. The sky darkens earlier, and everything gets a hard, glittery sheen from cold. I love summer warmth and long days and gentle nights, but something in my soul resonates deeply with autumn, and quietly celebrates. Then I bitch and moan my way through winter lol.

But back to Stella. New chain and sprockets have had a second adjustment and are doing just fine. Needs an oil change though, starting to get that crunch from first to second that heralds the change. Got a new front tyre and brake pads about 6 weeks ago, feels fantastic. Did blow a headlight last week, which was quite annoying. I now have one new and one old lol, white and orange and purple :-) to be bought back into proper affect shortly!

The little Duke is cracking on. I took its big brother, the 690, for a test ride a couple of months ago – and I have to say, I didnt enjoy it. Everything that is charming about the 390 was grating about the 690. And my ass was completely numb within 10 mins. At least now I know, and can stop entertaining it as a possible replacement.

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The above photo has nothing to do with riding, but it’s still important. This is the Australian War Memorial at dawn on Anzac Day this year, the 25th April. This year marks 100 years since the ANZAC forces landed at Gallipoli during the first world war. With all the media circus and press surrounding the commercialisation of the event (basically, some big brands tried really hard to cash in, and it back fired – as it should have) it was still a poignant moment – to see the record numbers of people (estimated to be around 130,000) standing there, in compete silence as the sky begins to lighten, to honour the people who have served our country and all those who died in conflict – it gave me hope. I can’t really tell you why, but it did. I was expecting people to come for the circus, but instead they came in respect.

2 days in

And all appears to be going well.

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Filtered up to the shitty roundabout without hassle yesterday and this morning, and filtered through several lines of traffic yesterday coming home from the city. OH reported a couple of scary moments from following me, where cars appeared to be surprised by 2 bikes coming through, and we had one guy actively-but-poorly attempt to block (that received a raised middle finger once safely through, and I hope he went home, got online for a whinge, and then had his ego deflated after finding out we were being perfectly legal and he was not) but other than that, for myself and OH, it appears to be going very well. Keep up the good work Canberra!

Another delay in posts (I’m getting slack)

One and a bit weeks until the filtering trial starts here in the ACT. I’m really looking forward to it. Travelling to work at the moment is pretty easy, due to a large population of people still on holidays or not having to take their children to school, but that all changes next week and it will go back to chaos at roundabouts and intersections as several thousand more people flood the inadequate road from the northern town centre to the western. I’m having that week off work so am not going to be witnessing it this year, but from my past experience it is a nightmare, until everyone remembers that they do not own the road and they have to share with other people lol.

But anywho, back to the trial. Advertising is supposed to start today, but there is nothing in the local newspaper. I guess we’ll see? I think I’m going to stick the gopro on for the first week of the filtering trial, there could be some interesting footage!

In other news, I’ve managed to snag Stella back for the last couple of days, while OH has been on leave. I love riding her. The Duke is great fun, and to be honest far more suited to my short, traffic heavy commute to work, but there is something special about riding a beautiful, powerful bike that gathers a lot of attention. And, the triple whistle….. I missed that. Hoon inspiring.  Only get to hear it a couple of times in my trip though unfortunately.

Perceptual Cell, National Gallery of Australia

archetypicalone:

I think I want to go to this, but an not sure if I could take it. Would I put my hand up? Hmmmm.

Originally posted on In The Taratory:

It’s my first post for 2015 and I actually don’t know where to begin. I’m trying to put myself back in the Perceptual Cell Bindu Shards, part of the James Turrell exhibition at National Gallery of Australia. It is an experience that almost defies words. But I’m going to try to drag them out.

For over 50 years, James Turrell has been using light to make art that is psychologically perplexing. Each piece isn’t viewed, but experienced. With his pieces, every sense you use to identify something, to make sense of a situation, is challenged.

View original 1,162 more words

Stomy weather

Don’t judge me, but I’ve actually spent most of my holidays off the bike and in the car. Its just been too hot. But yesterday it looked lovely and after cleaning and lubing on Saturday, we jumped on the bikes to go get a coffee in the Canberra CBD.

The sky however had other ideas :-/ we sat out one brief cloudburst and saddled up to go hunting for an aeropress. We were on the road for 5 mins and it started hailing on us…..

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Stella’s parked just to the right.

It never looks as impressive in a photo as it does in real life, but there was enough large hail to actually be painful and to make the road very slippery. So we pulled off the road, huddled under a tree and I snapped off a photo while we waited. And waited….we eventually took off while it was all raining but after the hail had melted. Fun times :-) I was saturated though, mesh gear is not known for its waterproofness.

And then, this is the forecast for the rest of the week….

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But as long as it’s not raining on the way to work, I’d rather get wet. Too hot in wets lol.

As an aside, times like this is why its important to practise riding in all sorts of weather. This is the second time I’ve been caught in hail (although the first time I knew it was coming, I just didn’t beat it home) but because I still ride when it’s windy and rainy, I can concentrate on riding safely rather than panicking when the weather decides to surprise. Keep your skills sharp!

Delayed Christmas greetings!

Sorry it’s been so long readers! With the Christmas rush and my health not being so awesome, I’ve actually not had much to write about. Poor Stella has been in the garage for over a week, and has only been commuted on for the last couple of months. With saving for our apartment, we’ve been living quietly and have had a lovely peaceful Christmas at home.

I’ve been learning a fair bit more about photography, thanks to my dear OH, who has being trying to spark my interest for a while. It’s finally paying off and we’ve been visiting lots of places and trying new techniques, which has been a lot of fun. It can be done on the bikes, but is a lot safer and more comfortable in the car……

But anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with friends and family or just by yourself if that’s how you roll, have a fanatistic holiday if you are, and welcome in the new year with hope and wonder (and bubbles!)

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The dog says happy holidays too! (now give me more ham!)

Summer is coming

And I can hardly wait. I’ve been celebrating early and getting out and about while Canberra is at its best, but sadly not on my bike :-/ everything is running smoothly with those two, just OH and I have been enjoying the AC in the car. And, for this week, I’m off the bike due to a gym induced injury (and out of the gym so it’s a very sad archetypicalone all round).

I really loathe driving to work. Especially since we have big cars. As we commute by bike, it makes sense to have a workhorse style vehicle, as it doesn’t get used regularly except to carry stuff too big for a bike. It makes me feel incredibly lonely to be all alone, in my massive 5 seater car, crawling through peak hour traffic, watching my fuel consumption rise and rise…..
But yes. If I rest my shoulder until it heals, the sooner I will be riding again. And going to the gym. Damn I miss that.

But anywho, as mentioned earlier, OH and I have been enjoying Canberra’s warmer weather. Last Friday night we had bbq dinner at Lonsdale St Roasters BYO&BBQ nights, and I had fried chicken I could live off forever. It was so good I didn’t even ask for a bite of OH’s burger (always curious as to what I may have missed out on lol).  Then we visited Dessert Castle, which I wasnt overly impressed with. I did make a nice Reece’s Pieces flavoured Frozen yogurt though, but the Salted Caramel Opera Cake had no hint of caramel at all.

Saturday we ventured down to the deep dark southside to visit Smoque, which has opened their second restaurant in the foyer of Abode Apartments in Woden. Oooohhhhh I was so tempted to get the fried chicken and waffles, but went for the pulled pork instead. Delicious.

Edit: forgot about this – on the way home we actually went to Parliment House for the (my) first time. It’s surprisingly beautiful inside – sort of 80’s post modern with lots of light and white and golden polished wood. We went up on the roof, had a look at the rooms, viewed the Magna Carte exhibit, and exited via the surprisingly good coffee shop.
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View from the top of the building, with the Captain Cook jet going off
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This flag looks as big as a bus!

Sunday was quiet, mainly because the weather turned and it was raining. So off to the gym to injure myself I went lol.

I miss my bike. Soon my pretty.

(Sorry this is so disjointed, i considered splitting into 2 posts since I have been writing it since Monday, but meh.)

New chain and sprockets!

I’ve tried to post this several times, and perhaps I’m putting in too many pictures as it keeps failing! 
Thanks to Team Ghetto Racing, Stella is now wearing a 520 chain conversion and some sparkly new sprockets. She also got a custom front sprocket guard, hand made on the day, which I am very chuffed with. She feels pretty fucking awesome!
So let’s try this with less pictures lol.

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Rear set undone (so you can move the gear shifter off for access to the front sprocket) and everything loosened off

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Busting the chain

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Ooh shiny new sprocket

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Nooooo put it back!

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#thisguy

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Bling!

And that’s how you change a chain lol :-)

The fight against filtering

So this morning, I filtered through stopped traffic to a known dangerous roundabout. In the time I have lived in my suburb, 16 months or so, I have traversed this roundabout by motorcycle most working days. After seeing the debris of several accidents, seeing actual accidents, and having a couple of close calls when the traffic had been stopped (nearly rear ended by people distracted by phones/children/breakfast/etc) I have made the executive decision that’s is safest for me to spend as little time as possible in the mess. So, once the traffic splits from 1 lane to 2, if it’s stopped I will slowly ride up between the lanes and get through asap. I have no desire to be rear ended.
Most of the time, this is not a problem. I have had the occasional bad tempered response or someone try to race me off the line at a break in traffic, but this morning something took the cake.
I filtered up to the top, and stopped in front of a white older Toyota Ute with a canopy (commonly referred to as a ‘low lux’ – I think they are actually branded a high lux but they are the same height as a normal car, not a 4wd). I took off at an appropriate break in the traffic, and he tried to cut me off. He didn’t suceed, and off I went down the road.
The ute tailgated me for a considerable distance, then backed off a bit, but cut people off at the roundabout.
After a little while, I had to stop at a set of traffic lights. The ute pulled up beside me, and honked their horn until I opened my visor. The flowing exchange occurred:
(driver) Why did you overtake me on a single lane road?
(me) I didn’t, it was 2 lanes at that time.
(driver) but why did you overtake me?
(me – a bit concerned by this stage, he was yelling and gesturing out the window) have you ever thought about what happens if a motorcyclist gets rear ended?
(driver) have you thought about the fact that I’m an off duty cop and in going to send you a ticket?
And at that point the light went green and I took off. The ute continued to follow me and then turned at a point close to my work which was going to take him back in the direction from which we came, telling me he was quite possibly following me to see where I worked.
Considering there is a filtering trial starting in the ACT at the start of next year, this attitude is something all riders are going to face at some point .
I also call bullshit on the off duty cop remark, if he was off duty he is still required to identify himself and show identification, not yell it at me out the window of his shitty ute at the traffic lights.
And the fact he nearly followed me to work is just a desire to bully and intimidate me.

Grrrrrr. I hope the government does a good job of raising awareness of the trial, as this may get ugly.

A brief brush with disappointment

This weekend I had a rather unpleasant experience.
It began while I was looking for upcoming events on a riding forum. In one of the events, the OP had stressed that lady riders were welcome, which led me to question why the emphasis was needed. So, I asked. One smartass response (not from the OP) was answered in like, and then someone else commented that while a bit creepy, it was more likely a misunderstanding, that the OP was just trying to ensure that no one felt excluded. I acknowledged this response, and moved on. No one is perfect, and misunderstandings are common. People continued to discuss the point, but when someone justified it as old fashioned manners I did something. I took the bait.

All in all the experience was quite disappointing. I was accused of being discriminatory against men, of supporting a complaining culture, and of deliberately stirring trouble (to summarise). Essentially, despite attempts of reason and mutual understanding by one or two other members of the forum, it all came down so much man bashing hysteria, when what I was trying to say is ‘if you don’t want to exclude us, dont single us out.’

After the OP actually responded with an extremely condescending post, where he called me sweety and baby, discussion only got another handful of posts before the mods stepped in and locked the thread. Unfortunately, that is where it has stopped. There has been no word from the mods (except for some private sympathy) regarding the behaviours exhibited during the discussion, and perhaps they do not feel it is their place.

One thing that saddens me though – very few men, and possibly few women would have seen a problem with what was said. I can’t speak for all women, despite sharing the same style of genitals. But some would have, and, as evident by the comments before it denigrated into a shit storm of man bashing hysteria, some people of both genders agreed that the wording was ‘creepy’. To me that indicates they didn’t feel comfortable about female riders being singled out. To be singled out can indicate that you are different, that you are not able to be included in the general sense. To me, in this sense, it says women riders are not welcome except by special invitation. And that’s really disappointing in 2014.