March 27, 2012

Waiting for me...

Well...  I can't get the bike until I get the learner permit (something to do with the finance), so it is waiting in the shop for me.  I dare say it will wait for a couple of weeks if need be, but hopefully I'll pass the prac re-test on Sunday.

It is so purty...

The first hurdle...

I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 day learner course with HART, it really was a brilliant weekend.  From someone who had never really ridden a motorcycle at all, and knew pretty much nothing I got up to speed reasonably well.  Like my brothers I would recommend it to anyone - even if you never intend to ride a motorbike, do the course.  It is awesome fun, and may just make a better driver out of you too.

It was certainly immesely disappointing that I managed to fail the prac test, although I've already booked in to re-sit that, and I'm pretty hopeful of getting through this time.

It has actually been an interesting experience in and of itself, because while I never really thought I'd be a natural, I didn't expect to have any real dramas.  And in practice I did master the skills ok...  nerves did me in though, in a disappointing way.

My first reaction was frustration and disappointment, followed by quite a bit of second guessing...  I'm actually not used to failing things, and I'd like to think it is character building.  Certainly I went from dispondance and disappointment to thoughts of "maybe I'm just not cut out for this".  I guess that I pretty quickly squashed that...  I'm nothing if not stubborn, and I know I can do it - hell I did it just fine in the run before they sprang the test on me. 

Sooo...  key take aways.  Keep at it.  Persistence will pay.  And for me personally, just relax and do it, because I know I can. 

If I fail again, well, I'll just resit again...  and again...  until I get it.  

March 20, 2012

Oh yes, it shall be mine

Well, finance approved, bike arrives at the dealers on Friday.  Saturday I'm off to HART for my 2 day learners course, and all things going well Monday I'll have my new bike.

I'm still a little bemused by it in a way, but immensely pleased and excited too. 

Big question will be whether I'm up to riding it home Monday night or not, but I definitely plan on getting into the saddle a lot, and getting my skills up to speed.

March 14, 2012

Shopping trip (part 2)

Wherin the intrepid author proves again his propensity for an impulse buy...

Yep, went out to meet Ross, and had a look at bikes.  Put down a deposit for a new Ninja 650L ABS in green.  Whew.  No denying it is a lot cheaper than a new car (I did that with the Daewoo) but still a big purchase.  I'll sort out finance with them in the next week or so, or with a bank...  either way, depending on convenience and rates I guess.

My wife also suggested a leather jacket for my birthday - so I now have a new leather motorcycle jacket.  A bit more than she was really budgeting for, but I'm happy to make up the difference.  I also now know I need to get a new helmet and a spine protector, but that is cool. 

I have the jeans, boots and gloves that Ross had for me, so I'll be set to go then - and just need to add to my wardrobe over time to better cater for the cold/wet etc.

Not bad for a lunch break's work...

Shopping trip (part 1)...

Well, today the adventure continues as I explored the mysteries of bikes, protective clothing and steak and chips lunch with my brother Ross.

The shopping trip...  well, actually before the shopping trip...

I between running unit tests, correcting code defects and the like I spent a few stolen moments looking at the specs for the bike I'm most tempted by, the Ninja 650L ABS.  As a complete newcomer (and ignoramus) to the field I didn't have much of an idea of what I was looking at to start with.  My first question (what exactly is the difference between the 650L and 650RL) seems to have been answered with - in the 2012 model they dropped the R from the name.  Okayyy...

So in short not a huge difference between the two, but a few nice little improvements in the latest model.

This bike does tick all my boxes:
  • ABS (hello safety my old friend)
  • A somewhat bigger/heavier bike that will handle my bulk at freeway speeds
  • 500cc+ Engine (for the same reason given the freeway around my home is 110km/h)
  • Somthing that should be reasonably comfortable as a commuter/tourer
  • Something that should be reasonably fun to ride as well
  • Something that I hopefully won't grow too bored by during my license restriction period*
It also helps that I really have liked the Ninja for ages, it has a cool name, looks awesome, and my brother has one (well its big brother the 1000 anyway).  Not that I'm shallow or anything...  much.  ;)

*I'd add something that won't scare me witless when I first start riding, but I doubt that this bike exists, and if it does it will almost certainly fail some of the other criteria.

With this mystery suitably explained it was then time to go meet Ross and take a look at gear and possibly bikes.

March 12, 2012

I can see clearly now...

Contact lenses.  Why did I wait so long to discover you? Sure there is an ick-factor about poking yourself in the eye, but wow!  Let me just repeat that...  wow!

My vision ain't fantastic (short sighted to quite a reasonable degree) but the contacts are just awesome.  Better vision than with my glasses, and hello peripheral vision, I'd forgotten what you were like.  :)

So already this obsession has led to a genuine quality of life improvement.

How's that you ask?  Well, it was glasses fogging up and slipping down nose inside motorcycle helmet that led me to take the dreadful plunge, bite the bullet and give the contacts a go.  I mean, I'd been intending to get around to it for ages...  well, about 25 years actually.  But now I have.  And it is awesome. 
OK, maybe mid-life crisis is a bit harsh, but people who know me well are probably all a bit bemused about now...  :)  I'll fess up right now that 45 is a tad off as well, I'll be 44 in a week, but a round number sounds better, and you know, I do hope I can at least get up to 45 km/h at some point (or 45 degree lean - it works on so many levels).  A mid-life crisis makes a plausible excuse at least, and there is always the comfort for family that at least it is a motorcycle fixation - it could have been worse.  :P

For those that are interested, I'm a software developer by trade, father of two, and probably one of the more risk-averse guys on the planet, so a sudden compulsion to get a motorcycle seems a wee bit out of character.  But in my past I was a more active guy, with a background in martial arts and a tendency to be a bit of a gym junkie - it seems one never quite gets over adrenalin addiction.  The minute I rode pillion with my brother my fate was sealed.

So now I am eagerly awaiting the approach of my 2 day learner course at HART, albiet with a little trepidation thrown into the mix.