Thursday, July 27, 2006

Things are moving on...

Recap: I've spent the past few months buying parts for my computer. I've tried to get some really good stuff and I'm almost ready to build a good spec pc to run the latest games, fast as lightning.
This computer should be assembled by the end of sunday the 30th.

Last night was strange. I was at the horse and jockey, speaking to Ross (the landlord) about my bike, and the general consensus was that the bike would be much better off at the track. After 20 minutes of alternatley ribbing me about the small size of the bike and its unsuitability to be a roadbike, and then praising the bike and telling me how fantastic it is and how good it looks, we got onto the subject of racing. At which point Ross made me a surprise deal.

He wants to pay to take me and the bike to cadwell park . He wants to pay the track fees, my fuel etc, everything. He wants to ride the RS round the track for a session. Then he wants me to do the same. If he beats my laptimes, I get a free trackday, no expenses at all.
If I beat his laptimes though, he wants to sponsor me, in his capacity as a mechanic. He's basically saying he wants me to race, and if I can beat him, he's gonna be my mechanic. He's got connections in the business that can sort me out with tyres, fuel etc...

He's said time and time again that he's twice as old (he's 42), twice as scared, and twice as slow, but I just reckon that that's "sense of security" stuff, and I don't come close to believing that bit.

Course, I've said yes, and the only question is when. I'm excited and scared at the same time, but if this works out, it could be what I've always wanted. Yes, he's practically offered it to me on a plate, but I've spoken to his other half, and his friends, and apparently he's deadly serious.
Maybe he knows I won't beat him and has nothing to lose, maybe he just wants to get his hands on my RS, or maybe, he wants to break into the racing business again. Who knows...

Anyway, I got paid yesterday, and today's been spent giving the bike the care and attention it deserves. I went to SMC motorcycles in Sheffield, and ended up buying a bottle of 2 stroke oil, a bottle of gear/transmission oil, and a bottle of brake fluid.
I also bumped into my mate, Den, and I convinced him to ride back to mine to help me replace the RS's fluids.

The journey back was fun, not too much traffic, some decent roads, and one really good bit where I overtook a car that decided to pull out closer to the middle of the road, forcing me to ride down the middle of the opposite lane. When a white van was coming towards me! I screamed past the car and I think I must have gone over a bump or something, because the bike launched about a foot (30cm) into the air while I was doing about 70mph, and landed with a bump and a bit of a wobble. I was so proud! I felt like rossi, it was great!! Sure I came damn close to being killed, but I didn't hit anything and I got one hell of an adrenaline rush.
Course I was nowhere near hitting the van and the journey continued, AND den got stuck behind the car, which wasn't my intention, but was funny.

We got home and changed all the bike's fluids, the gearbox oil was a fun one, when I ended up getting my hand covered in massiveley hot contaminated black gear oil. So that was a messy job, but not as messy as changing the brake fluid! wow!
Denis sat on the bike and pumped the lever while I kept the reservoir topped up and tweaked the other end of the brake line close to the wheel. At several points I forgot to close the bleed bolt, and air got into the system, and we had to start again, but we both made a mess of it really, with Denis vigorously pumping the lever trying to force the air out of the system (the bleed bolt was closed at this point so air wouldn't have been forced out as it had nowhere to go), and being taken by surprise as a shot of brake fluid shot all over him. I think his comment of "When I pump it, it spurts on me" was just what I needed, having already been amused by earlier antics, and we kinda accepted that neither of us were master mechanics. Still, we got the fluid changed. Den got fluid all over my bike, I got it all over my drive, but a fun time was had by all.
Shame then, that he rode off and left his stuff here! He's gonna need to pick that up.
I went out and tested the brakes on a nice little local run, I was out for about an hour, and it was fairly nice just to be riding round again.

Well, like I say, my bike's tanked up and ready to go, and tomorrow my AMD 4600 dual core processor and my 1gb of xms3500 RAM arrive, and on sunday, we put the computer together, and I'll be able to play my games on a really cool really powerful system.

Hopefully, the next time I write up, It should be on my new system. Either way, I'll keep everyone posted :).

I'm off out to drink my cup of tea, have a smoke, and figure out why the police helicopter is going loopy over my area.

Take care all.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Psychotic dogs and diesel smoke!

Well, things have changed in the past few days, and I have to say, things seem to be looking up, loath as I am to admit it.

A few days ago, my parents came back from B&Q (a DIY/hardware store) with a small box containing no less than a dozen 8mm fuel line connections including 2 T pieces. Not only were they sitting right under my nose (we looked everywhere except B&Q!), but they cost under £2, compared to the £6.76 for the one from Aprilia which *Still* hasn't arrived!

So I've been back on the road for a few days and me and the bike are settling back into our old routine. In fact, we're closer than before, and thanks to the summer sun warming my tyres and the road, I'm confidently pushing her harder than ever before. And she just takes it and takes it. She's that good.

Still, after spending the day sitting round, watching tv, chatting on MSN etc, I decided to go out, down to Ship Hill in Rotherham to see if any of my old pals were about. So about 10pm, on go the leathers, and carrying my lid out the door, I get the bike niceley warmed up.
I get no the bike, eager to go on only my second night-ride since the bike broke down 8 weeks ago, flick the switch and the road in front of me illuminates under the glare of the headlight. Great, we're in business.
A quick ride down to get some petrol/gas and some ciggs, and up to Rotherham I go.
It was weird, riding round there for the first time in 8 weeks. I ride up past the police station, and hear the thumping music from the clubs nearby, see the revellers falling over or laughing and telling jokes, see lights swirling inside the clubs. The taxis fill the air with diesel smoke and as a couple of scooters ride past, two stroke smoke leaves it's distinctive smell, while the merest hint of weed smoke seems to underlie the whole thing.
Damn, I'd forgotten what the place smelled like.
I do a couple of laps of the hill, none of my mates are there. No one really to talk to, just a couple of pedbois and 40+ modified car owners, so I head off back home.

Riding back home, I stop at a junction while a guy goes past me on the main road. Course I pull onto the road behind him and head back towards home. I quickly realise that the guy in front is going so damn slow, sticking to the speed limits like superglue. The road widens out and I pull towards the center so I can sea past. There's another car coming towards me but it's fairly far away, I'm confident I can make it. Just before we approach some roadsigns in the center of the road, the road widens further and I see a chevronned do-not-drive-on-these-markings markings on the road. I indicate, and pull out behind the guy, start to overtake and I see the damn fool indicate right, too. What the hell is he playing at?!
I kick down another gear, scream past him, onto one side of the chevrons and almost into the center of the other lane while the oncoming car starts flashing his lights at me. I duck back in just in front of the car, and while my heart's still racing, the idiot just pulls off the road into his driveway. Damn fool.

I'm approaching the next small town on my way home, and I see something fluttering about in the middle of the road. No sooner do I wonder what it is than BANG, it hits me just under my left collarbone with an impact that made me wince. "What the hell was that? A Bat!?" I think. So I pull up in a nearby car park to check myself over for, I dunno. Blood? Fur? Feathers?
Nothing. Damn thing was probably something like a hawkmoth or something. Shame to have hit it really, they grow pretty damn big and live for about 2 years!

Still, I manage to get back home and ride down to the bottom to see if the kid with the motocross bike's out. His bike's there but he isn't. I turn round, and as I'm doing so I see a smallish dawwgeh (doggy=dog) wantering around forlornly. I finish turning round and there's no sign of the owner, so I pull up fairly close to him and stick the bike in neutral while he looks at me expectantly while wagging his tail. Now I work in animal welfare so I know if this guy's not reported found then things are gonna look pretty bleak for him. "Hey little guy" I mumble at him, and no sooner do I get the "He-" out of my mouth than he goes psychotic! Barking, waving his tail like crazy! He calms down a little but starts edging towards me. I fix him with my gaze (just what you're NOT supposed to do to nutty dogs, in hindsight) while I calmly and slowly reach to the clutch lever and put the bike back in gear, expecting him to have another go. He starts another barking session and edges closer. His barks get louder as my engine revs up, and before I realise what's happening, we're both accelerating up the road, him chasing my back wheel, barking all the way up to around 25mph before he starts dropping behind. I scream up the road at a fair rate of knots and pull into my drive, thinking to myself "some dogs just don't WANT to be helped!"

So I sit on my front doorstep, having a smoke, cooling off after taking my jacket off. Listening to the traffic in the distance, the splashing of the neighbour's garden fountain and the tinkle of some wind chimes somewhere.
"No matter" I think, "what happens, I've always got my bike. And If I haven't, at least I've had tonight".

Riding aside, I'm getting pretty excited about my computer. I just can't afford to get the 2GB of memory AND the CPU, but I'm not going to go another month without my new computer while this one continues to throw hissy fits and suffers the PC equivelant of multiple organ failure. I'm gonna get one gig, and the CPU, and maybe next month or the month after, I'll get another two gig, giving me a whopping 3 gig in my new system! Every little helps!

So Now I think I'm gonna get ready for a little sleep, maybe have another smoke, and try to wake up bright and early for work tomorrow. I've got to admit, I'm not entirely horrified by the prospect...



Take care.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back on the road!

Well after a few mediocre weeks, during which not much has happened, I've finally got the parts I need to get the bike back on the road.
They've been fitted and the bike runs beautifully. Course, I haven't taken it for a run yet because I'm still recovering from a bit of an all-dayer (like an all-nighter, but I woke up late), but tomorrow I think I'll be spending some quality time with the bike.

My hard disk has arrived, I opted to get a 250gb 7600rpm drive, on the basis that A. I can't afford a 74 gig 10k rpm raptor at the minute, and B. I need to move more than 74 gig of stuff onto my new machine when it's up and running.

My sparkly keyboard is a real pleasure to type on, and looks pretty cool. I'm only a CPU and some RAM short of having my new system up and running. Everything I need is here, just ready to be put together. On the downside, I seem to have started smoking again, but that's only a temporary thing, I don't predict it'll last long once I'm signed up at the local gym.

See ya round.