Showing posts from March, 2017

Can a deaf person enjoy motorcycling?

Pretty much ends the loud pipes debate doesn't it?

I think the coming wave of electric, silent motorcycles is going to make us all "deaf" motorcyclists.

And the era of motorcycling being "badass" will be relegated to the past.

I've been flip-flopping a lot on this but I've finally decided I 'aint getting loud pipes on The White Knight. Instead, I'm going to use its quietness to train myself into a new motorcycling sensibility.

The internal combustion engine (and all it's noise) will soon be a museum exhibit.

The future is here.

"Ride it like you stole it"

I liked this piece of advice from a 35-year motorcycling veteran. He loved his bike but when he rode it he RODE it. I'm only new at the game but already I can see this is the way to go.

That day

There comes the day in every noob's motorcycling journey when he finally gets the confidence to relax his stranglehold on the handlebars and hold them as gently as birds.

And the whole WORLD of motorcyling opens up before his eyes.

And he stops cursing the "terrible" transmission and starts praising the Suzuki engineers for their skill in creating such a silky box (and he cringes a bit in shame… just a bit).

Today was that day.


The garage

I've rediscovered the joy of it. 

And in the process discovered something about myself that has been buried all my life:

I'm a "craft" worker, not a "list" worker.

All my career I've been a list worker. You know, create the list, do the things on it as quickly as possible so that you can create a new list and start again.

It's a work style born of too much to do and too little time to do it.

Some people love it.

I don't.

I've decided I'm a "craft" worker. I want to spend hours doing a thing if that's what it takes to do it properly. Like 100% properly.

I suspect we're all one or the other.

I also suspect the world needs both.

What I really like about The White Knight is what others consider its shortcoming

It's basic. Especially in the brakes department.

It's a big, relatively powerful bike yet only has one disc on the front and (gasp) a DRUM on the back!


No power assist.

No linking.

In other words, if you want to stop this baby in a hurry, you have to use skill and feel.

And, as a beginner, you have to ride conservatively, knowing that you haven't developed those yet.

I'm not unhappy about that.

Team Building Day

You know the drill: go to some place and scramble over obstacles and then stand around and fall backwards into each other's arms yada yada yada ...

That's not how you build teams. You build teams in every little interaction at work. The way you speak to each other basically.

It's hard work because you don't always feel like doing it but it's the professional's choice.

The Doc is in the house

Mike Nahan has been made Liberal leader.
It was unopposed. And so it should have been. The Doc is a straight shooter who likes to get stuff done.

The Don and The Doc.


PS…. sometimes I think I'm slightly right of Attila the Hun


If you're into motorcycles, you gotta get out to Clean Ride
Open the door to their windowless store and you enter Aladdin's cave. The guy's are so devoted to what they do it's a beautiful thing to see: great products, great service and great presentation.

And once again I learn that real passion can't be faked.

You know you live in a rough area when

your pre-ride check includes checking that your bike still has wheels.
Thanks to Chris Cope for this gem.

Panic helps no one

So a propellor falls off a plane mid-flight.

The pilot goes into a cold sweat and white knuckles the wheel.

Frantic calls are made to ground and everyone starts shouting.

Only that's not what happened.

A prop did fall off an Rex Air flight yesterday.

The pilot calmly informed air traffic controllers, went into training mode and landed the plane on one.


Panic helps no one.

The importance of cafes

They're full of people.

And food.

And coffee.

You enter flat, and emerge full of possibilities again.

Vans in Cottesloe does it for me.

The vibe is "doing" people doing.

All sorts of people.

Execs, grandmothers, young folk.

They're all doing something.

It doesn't matter what.

Doing keeps you alive.

What to do?

You can either ride your bike or you can look at your bike.

But you can't ride your bike and look at it at the same time.

This is important. If you don't see why, it doesn't matter. Go in peace.

If, however, you feel my pain, I can only say to you this:

"I don't know."

I don't know what can be done about it.

Because the sad truth is that you will never see yourself on your bike.

Sure, someone can photograph you, or video you. But then you're just looking at a photograph or a video. You're not actually seeing YOU on YOUR BIKE.

And here's the thing: when you're actually on your bike, it looks nothing. It looks just like any other bike. It's like sitting behind the wheel of a Porsche: if it wasn't for the logo you could be sitting behind the wheel of a Mazda or something. Seriously.


Can't say I wasn't warned

When I bought The White Knight from Rick Gill Motorcycles in Osborne Park, the man himself saw me out and said:

"You realise you have just started an addiction that you will never be cured of?"

I laughed.

He didn't.


That's what I feel like when I suit up - restricted and clumsy. 

But as soon as the bike's rolling it changes instantly to a feeling of weightlessness.

It's better than heroin and doesn't kill you.

Actually it can.

Oh well, it doesn't have withdrawal symptoms.

Actually it does.

Oh well, it's just better ;)

"Know thyself"

I've had a hankering to take these stock exhausts off my bike and put something louder and meatier on. 

I've told myself all the usual reasons. There's only one problem:

I don't believe me.

"Know thyself" was the motto carved into the wall of my university. I think it's a worthy one.

"Why be happy when you can be normal?"

That's what writer Jeanette Winterton's mother said to her when Jeanette was a young girl trying to figure out her unusualness.

Sad, huh?

"I wish I only worked 15 hours"

That's what a work colleague said when I told him my hours had been cut.
"Work is a privilege" I said. "There are plenty of people lying in hospital beds who would love to be able to work."

"What's more, it's the best way to stave off dementia and a bunch of other things."

"If you don't like your job, sure, get another one, but don't stop work."

"Retirement's a mug's game. The whole concept is daft - that you stop work and sit on your arse just because you reach a certain age. Why? If you can still contribute and be productive and earn money, why not keep doing it? You're engaging with people, using your brain, helping others with your experience and knowledge."

"Playing golf and going fishing? Meh. Fast track to brain mush."

Last time that guy talks to me I'm sure!

I get a fright every time

Every time I go for a ride, something happens that scares me. 
Every time.

Not big scares (so far), just little ones.

But sufficient to make you stop and think.

I was telling a mate (who also rides) and he said "good, it'll keep you alive. The time you get into trouble in this game is when you think you're good."

Ah, humility. Probably the single most important trait of all.

But how do you know when you're humble?

Simple. For as long as you think you are, you're not.

True story. Think about it.

Mind-bender, huh?

Advice on buying a motorbike

Don't buy one from a beginner who's upgrading.

It's liable to have a gearbox full of iron filings and clutch plates as thin as sandpaper.
And a worn drive train.
And bent things.

On the other hand, it will be very keen to be your friend, anything to get away from the ham-fisted butcher who's been it's master for the past twelve months*.

* I don't know of course - just theorising.

PS…. I understand now why they called this bike the Intruder. It comes into your life and steals everything you've got. In a good way though. See that LC? It stands for "Life Changing"  😎

First world problems (2)

The current anxiety consuming the hand-wringers is whether our billion-dollar stadium* will be finished in time to hold a cricket match.
I mean, if it's not, what WILL we do?

Eat cake I suppose.

*What other community of two million people can afford to build a billion dollar stadium? Oh, that's right, we can't.

You don't have to be going anywhere

when you ride a motorbike. 

Because riding is the destination.

So, crack of dawn, I'll be out there again tomorrow*, God-willing.

Because I can.

Because it might be the lasttime I can.

Who knows.

Every ride is precious.

A privilege.

What a lucky guy.

* The White Knight had its maiden voyage today. A daybreak run to Yanchep and back. Even then I didn't want to get off. Gobs of torque whether in 2nd at 5kmh or 5th at 80kmh. A big, fat, beautiful beast that shimmies, shakes and vibrates just like a classic motorcycle should. You can see where this is heading, can't you? Harley Town. Just don't mention the war. I did once, but I think I got away with it. 

The Black Quacker taught me something else today

It likes to be RIDDEN!

I'm realising motorcycling is a very "active" pastime, not a passive one like driving a car can be. It demands your whole mind and body to do it well.

And that's in part because bikes are relatively crude things compared to cars. There's really not that much to them. It's you sitting on a frame with a lawn mower under you working it's box off. Well, not really, but that's kinda how it feels - on this little fella anyway.

There's no comfy seat, no climate control, no nuthin'. It's you, a piece of metal and the road. And that's what I love about it. It's about as "real" as it gets. In a world of cubicles and computer screens that's a welcome release.

Speaking of cubicles and computer screens….no I won't start on that.

Another post perhaps.

Suffice to say it's killing us.


Getting it out of the system

After months of being restricted, today was my first proper ride sans L's.
What did I learn?

That I've got a lot to learn.

As a bloke at work said yesterday:

"Now that you've passed your test you can really learn to ride."

Uh huh.

You got nuthin'

The appearance of having "a life" is an illusion. 
Even when everything is falling into place and you seem to have it all, you got nuthin'.

All you really have is this moment. This second. This breath.

Live NOW.

"Come now, you who say: 'Tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit'. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapour that appears for a little while then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say: 'If the Lord wills we will LIVE - and also do this or that.' "
James 4:13-15 (New Testament)