Travel Diary

Online Journal for the 'Right Around Australia' project.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Practise makes perfect ...

Ulls: Changing tubes and tyres is something I've been a little scared of having to do, until now. After about an hour with the first wheel, I managed to break the bead and remove the rims. About an hour and a half later, my first wheel with the new tyres from SIP was on and ready to be put on the bike. You see, I've been riding around on my old bald wheel for the last week since having my rear tyre blowout on me (read Monday, May 15), so this was something that needed to be done anyway.

The biggest challenge, I feel, is making sure you don't pinch the inner tube with the rims. The split rim system definately makes this quite an interesting process. While kneeling on one side of the tyre, and pushing the other, you need to take a soft and thin tool (icing spatula works well) and push between the rims to ensure this pinching doesn't occur. Get the the spring washers and nuts on, tighten a little, add a little air, push tube back from rim with spatula, tighten more etc ...

Once it's all done, get the tyre up to pressure and test it out. This is scary the first time. Putting you life in your own hands can be somewhat off putting when you're not 100% sure you know what you're doing.

After three tyres, I have the process down to fifteen minutes to remove the old tube and tyre and another fifteen to twenty to fit the new ones.

All up a good learning experience.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Battle ready ...

Ulls: After a week in the shop, my scooter is back, and what a difference the shocks and exhaust make. It probably wouldn't have taken as long, had we known about some issues with the parts we bought. With some clever thinking, and long hours put in by Paul from Retro Scooters along with some help from Torsten, they managed to sort it all out and deliver what I feel is a completely different machine.
I gave her a quick test ride this morning, donning my thermals, new boots and nice big aviator sunnies, and the change is incredible. Smoother acceleration and almost no vibration along with really tight gear selection make it an absolute pleasure and joy to ride. From the traffic lights I can even take on the most willing V8 (for about fifty meters). Unfortunately though, I was unable to see how fast I came down the western freeway, as my speedo cable had wiggled itself loose. I'll just tell myself it was caused by EXTREME G-FORCES. Should go back in no worries.
I'll have to load her up again on the weekend, as we have a planned photo shoot at Aztec Coffee Company on Monday for The Courier-Mail, for Saturday 3rd June CARSguide.

Monday, May 15, 2006

What a day ...

Ulls: I was coming around a big round-a-bout with the first hints of rain misting up my visor, when I obviously missed seeing something on the road that was not meant to be ridden on. As I straightened up, the rear of the bike, with rack and panniers, began to fishtail uncontrollably. Any onlookers would have enjoyed the show, I'm sure, however it wasn't as much fun being the passenger to my trusty scooter. We wobbled together toward the gutter, where she finally came to rest over the crest of this dangerous intersection.

After collecting my thoughts, I began the mammoth job of pushing this block of steel away from the danger and toward the safer intersecting road. When there is no air in a tyre, they just don't want to roll. I was actually on my way home from a massage therapy session, I managed to pull something in my shoulder during this process and so did forfeit the right to the great feeling you get after such treatment.

Straight on the phone to my emergency breakdown service (Torsten) and he responded in a timely fashion. Being the great older brother he is, I was instructed to stay in the car where it was warm, and not raining, till further notice. I watched with pride as he undid the nuts on the dead tyre and soon after I was called into action.

I lifted the rear of the bike as the rain came pelting down, and Torsten worked his magic. Within no time I was on the road (cautiously) and heading home. The bike did feel awkward however, and will need to be testing in the morning. That means the car for me tomorrow. The bikes go in for final servicing at Retro Scooters for fitting of our extra bits and pieces anyway, so we'll be sure to hash out any problems that may have been caused by my mishap.

Probably the most exciting news in a while hey ...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

First impressions ...

Ulls: Well, I loaded her up today and presented her to the world (or just Eagle St. Brisbane) in all her glory. With some our sponsor logos in place, the bikes are starting to look like adventure machines. If anyone living in Brisbane wants to see the bike, it'll be on display till Friday 12th May from 6am till 2..30pm at Aztec Coffee Co. (Major Sponsor) 145 Eagle St. Brisbane City.

There's only five weeks to go till the big day now. As always, there's always something to do for this trip everyday, at work, after work, at home .... always. I think I sense a few butterflies growing ....