Friday, June 30, 2006

Orange Clean Machine

The problem with spending a day cleaning up my bike to take pictures for ebay is that now I can hardly bear to ride it and get it grubby again.
Yesterday I ended up bicycling to the station and nearly killed myself trying to ride home up the hills of Hastings later.
I guess I'll either have to get fit or resign myself to further polishing.
Writing up the ebay sales description is quite tricky. Obviously I want to sell the bike the best way I can by describing it in its full glory with photos to match, but I also want to be sure that people know exactly what they're bidding for - it is 30 years old afterall and does show it's age in places. It's a fine balance.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Moving On.

My XL 125 passed it's MOT today without any work needed. It had a service too, but nothing really came up.
It's a great bike but now seems a good time to get it smartened up and put on ebay. I bought it 2 years ago for £700 and it's maybe suffered a bit from not being garaged, but it'll be perfect for someone to restore or to use, as I've done, to prepare to their test.
It'll be interesting to see what response I get on ebay - how much I get for it will largely dictate how much I have to spend on a replacement. Hopefully there will still be a demand for a classic 125.

Monday, June 19, 2006

On The Road

It's been nearly 2 weeks since I passed my bike test. It was a strange time - quite intense. Looking back now I can see that I made it a lot harder for myself than it needed to be. I built it up and made myself nervous. I created extra problems
I really didn't need - If I'd failed again, it would have been my own fault.
My instructor was excellent and the examiner was also great and tried to put me at ease. The test itself I have to admit, wasn't all that hard.
It's really just a matter of riding around sensibly for half and hour, paying attention to the laws of the road.
I'm sure with good training, virtually anyone could pass in a week from scratch.
It was a strange day. I re-took the test on the same day of the week - Wednesday, same time - 1.33pm. Beforehand, I ate the same meal in the same cafe with the same instructor and other learner who had failed straight after me previously. I had the same examiner and rode the same route. I rode pretty much the same and so when I was standing in the room with the examiner, after the test, waiting to hear the result, I couldn't imagine hearing anything else other than, "I'm sorry, you haven't passed...".
I was amazed and relieved to pass. Happy that it was over and I could get on with the real part of learning to ride well - actually doing it, out on the road, on my own, every day.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Lucky BMW Spanner

For unknown reasons, it had always been my intention, if I ever managed to pass my bike test, to buy an old BMW R80 motorcycle. I used to hate these, they're ugly I thought. However, I realised I was wrong, they're beautiful, in a strange German way.
I love German engineering. I had a VW Camper for years and now have an old Mercedes and I appreciate the design, the over-engineering, the fact that everything is well thought out and logical to work on.
Anyway, I was wondering around a car boot sale last weekend and kept seeing BMW things - keyrings, badges, stickers. I was feeling pretty low about my lack of motorcycling success and these things seemed to be taunting me - "You'll never get a BMW motorbike, you loser, because you'll never pass your test" (quite nasty). Finally, rumaging through a box of old tools I came across this BMW spanner and it hit me that actually I wasn't being taunted, I was being asked if this was what I really wanted - to pass my test and buy a BMW - and so I accepted this, bought the spanner (10p cheers) and it became my lucky spanner.
Therefore it was fortunate that I didn't realise that my lucky spanner was in my other jacket until I came to look for it when I needed a spanner to remove the L-plate attached to my rear number plate this afternoon after I passed my motorcycle test.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

D-Day Minus One

It's my re-test tomorrow. I'm nervous, but I want to get it over with. I rode pretty nicely today. I did mess up the U-turn a couple of times, but I did loads of good ones. The problem with this is, of course, you only get one attempt - if you put your foot down, that's a test fail. That's where I am now. I reckon I'm a lot better than when I took it last time, I'm much more confident, if I fail, it'll be something stupid.
I have about ten pages of my book still to read - I need to finish this before I take my test otherwise I can't pass. I also have my lucky BMW spanner that I haven't mentioned yet - basically it's lucky and it'll help me pass.
Ok now I need an early night, I have to leave the house at 7.15am.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Back on the road again, again.

I started off today feeling pretty gloomy about my prospects for passing my re-test on Wednesday, but now I'm happier.
Cheered up firstly by my pal James - thanks for that matey, it helps - then my first lesson since failing and I rode rather well.
My instructor was very positive and I now genuinely feel that I am technically competent enough to pass my test on Wednesday. OK, I could still fail, I can still make stupid mistakes, but now I feel it's purely a matter of time and I will pass!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Seconds Out, Round Two.

This time next week I'll either be very happy or very annoyed, again.
My second attempt at the practical bike test is next Wednesday in Brighton.
I have about 10 hours of training booked before then on the big bike and I'll be continuing practicing on my 125.
I'm feeling pretty good about the test. I feel I'm a better rider than I was before I started training. I need to remember the basics - observation, speed limits, not falling off etc... I think I'm better at controlling the bike and I'm certainly more confident.
However once I have the instructor yelling in my ear again everytime I do something wrong I may feel differently.
I'm still not riding as smoothly as I imagine I should be able to though. I know how I want to ride, but I'm still quite rough 'round the edges. I suppose it's the same as most things, when you see the professionals they make it look very easy, and really that comes with experience and practice (and talent) - I'll have to work with the experience and practice I guess.