Friday, April 28, 2006

Change of Plans.

I was all set to start reading "Gravity's Rainbow", but then another old book caught my eye. Another that I had started and not finished and that seemed more appropriate for this site. So here I go again with "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
According to the Author's note "it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either".

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Test Date

So, I now have a date for my bike test - May 17th. Far enough away for me not to be too anxious, but close enough to start building the anticipation. If I can pass, it should be a perfect for the summer.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Training Days

I've just about sorted out some motorcyle training. I'm doing 3 days intensive riding, then the test day - as long as I can get the time off work. It turns out that this is the guy who took me for the CBT (basic training). He sounds a bit like a Sergeant Major, but he claims to have good results so I'm hopeful. Before then I need to ride as much as possible.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Back On Two Wheels

I should probably point out I'm a fair-weather rider - I'd get booted out of any motorcycle club, I'm a total amateur. This is another reason why I've yet to take my practical test - not enough practise.
I got my bike out of hibernation this weekend. It had been hiding undercover for a few months waiting for warmer weather - I had to get moving though as I need to pass my test before my CBT (Compulsory Basic Training - lasts two years) runs out on 12th June.
The bike started first time, and then wouldn't start again. It's always hard work to get it started anyway. I mended the fuel pipe that had been leaking since I bought the bike nearly two years ago, put fresh petrol in, cleaned the spark plug and finally it started.
I took it for a spin and it felt great to be back on two wheels. Next I need to get some practise and book some lessons to see what chance I have of passing my practical test anytime soon.
I have the number of a local instructor who strikes fear into everyone he teaches, but as he has a very high pass rate, I'm prepared to get shouted at and ridiculed as much as necessary.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Another Tricky Test

Completely off subject - I was looking through my bookshelves for something to read and came across "Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon.
According to the inside cover, I was given this for Christmas 1985. I've tried to read it a couple of times and can remember enjoying it but being defeated by it's density or possibly mine - anyway, to go with my motorcycle test challenge, I'll try again with Gravity's Rainbow. Which will be harder?

MidLife Crisis - Good or Bad?

The Midlife Crisis gets a lot of bad press. Surely anything that makes you stop and think about what you're doing and where you're heading has to be a good thing?
Possibly, packing in your job, ditching the wife and kids and buying a Harley is an extreme measure, but there must be some centre ground to be found in the deal.
I had ridden mopeds and motorbikes when I was a teenager - until I finally grew tired of the wet and cold and passed my car test. (At the 3rd attempt).
Cars are much more practical and sensible. Warm, comfortable, you can take everything you need, anywhere you like. I like cars, they're great.
Somehow though I always regretted the fact that I had never bothered to take the bike test - at the time I hadn't thought I'd ever want to ride anything bigger than a 250cc bike (as was the legal learners limit then). In fact I'm not sure I ever thought I'd want to ride anything again.
Sometime around my fortieth birthday I decided I should get a bike again, a couple of years later I did, now almost two years on from that I find that I still haven't taken my full practical bike test. I've pottered around on a beautiful 1975 Honda XL 125 trials bike. I took my CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) and passed my theory test.
The practical test should be easy - so why haven't I taken it? Lack of confidence partly - not a problem when I was 17. Then I had a bigger bike and no training whatsoever. Now I suppose I know how dangerous these things are and what can actually happen. Now after 22 years of car driving, I'm a pretty sensible, careful road-user.
Anyway - The point is, I have until 12th June 2006 to pass my practical bike test, or I have to take the CBT again - a waste of time and money - so this is where I start to take it seriously.