Monday, November 28, 2016

Down Under Tour. Part one - gold rush towns and outlaws.

I was on my way to do a motorcycle tour of Australia riding some of the best roads and exploring historic gold rush towns in the high plains of the eastern states. An area where outlaws once roamed very similar to the gold rush frontier towns on the other side of the Pacific ocean in the west of North America. This is my rediscovery of a slightly forgotten history.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Grand Motorcycle Tour of Japan – Part two

I am continuing my 17 day motorcycle ride around Japan. In part one (click here) you can read about my riding in Fukushima, Gunma, Toyama, Nara and Wakayama prefectures. Now I am continuing south towards Nagasaki and Gunkajima (battleship island) which I hope to visit. (photo wiki commons) But a lot of other things to see before I get to there.

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Grand Motorcycle Tour of Japan

I am embarking on my biggest ever motorcycle journey around Japan. 17 days, four ocean ferries, high mountains, lush green valleys, remote country roads and blue ocean vistas island hopping around Nagasaki. As Doc Neeson said, this is it folks over the top. If you have some spare time then let me share some of the real Japan with you instead of the concrete jungle that many people think is Japan or indeed many people visit and never travel beyond. (photo via Tokyo Camera Club)   

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Saturday, October 08, 2016

Two Yamaha’s – One Passion

Besides exploring the world on two wheels I have a few other interests. I dabble in photography and for a long time was interested in architecture. I thought about pursuing a career in that direction but wound up creating computer simulations of train networks instead before deciding to hell with corporate life. So anyway when Yamaha asked if I would like to attend their design exhibition I was interested on a couple of levels but I’ll try keep this post mostly about two wheels.

At the exhibition Yamaha Motor and Yamaha Corporation showcased different projects where the designers of motorcycles and the designers of musical instruments have collaborated. First of all I was invited to try the ‘&Y02’ - a auditory movement experience device.

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Saturday, October 01, 2016

Nolan N44 Helmet review

I have been very happy with my Nolan N43 helmet which I have had for 6 years. A replacement liner gave it a new lease of life however I recently discovered there is a legal issue with my third party vehicle insurance if I have an accident wearing a non Japanese approved helmet. That is one with a sticker saying this helmet meets safety standards for Japan. I thought it best I do something and brought the replacement of my N43 forward. Since I am in the land of many famous helmet manufactures I naturally went to look over all their wares. And despite the pricing here being better than Australia I came back to preferring the successor to my existing helmet – the Nolan N44.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Journey is the Destination

I saw a meme on Facebook the other day with that quote. The Journey is the Destination attributed to Dan Eldon a photojournalist who’s life was cut short tragically. A book with the same title has been released based on his journals. As a motorcycle rider I certainly relate to those words but like Dan I also keep a journal. Mine would not make a good book but it does help me if I write things down. I have this section I labelled The Big Picture, where I am, where I think I should be going in life sort of thing. I came to the same conclusion as Dan that life is all about the journey and decided since I already spent a half century on earth not making the best use my time I better change how I do things.

I started questioning the way people around me chose to live. Their desire for ever more expensive real estate and more prestigious vehicles and buying lots and lots of stuff. Living to work. Living to consume. Acting like time is as plentiful as water from a stream that always flows and planning a whole other life after retirement as if they will live forever yet reality is men of my generation have an average life expectancy of 71 years. Of course I hope to beat the average, I’m fit and intend to stay so but by the same token am not living in denial like one of my mates who has a 99 year plan and gets very angry if you question that logic. What may be more difficult to beat is the drop off in confidence and desire to do stuff. I see it in most every guy I know mid 60’s. The motorbike stays in the garage or has been sold, the boat stays in it’s mooring. The idea of setting off somewhere has become too hard and too much of a hassle.  

Of course getting old is not a bad thing – it beats the alternative right!? Interestingly I think for once I can kind of see ahead to a certain degree therefore I know in advance that time right now is extremely valuable. Too valuable to let slip by like it had been in my former life before leaving Australia. As if in conversation with a friend on a train then looking out the window to realise you have already reached the destination and the years are gone. Hopefully I made the right call to leave the herd and try achieve some personal goals for awhile. Could turn out to be my biggest mistake leaving a successful career, comfortable life but if Dan is right then surely it makes some sense?

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The Journey is the Destination first appeared on Motorcycle Paradise September 2016

So then less Facebook and more real life or Carpe Diem as Horace put it. I’m riding more of the beautiful Japanese countryside very soon on my biggest ride here to date if I can get a few weeks without a typhoon. Country pubs and dirt roads tour immediately following this when I revisit my home land down under. Then next year I will pull out all the stops to do some really special rides.  

Ok, normal transmission about motorcycling will now resume here in a new wider screen format after this little interlude of my personal musings.

P.S. Please back up your blog if you have one. Completely. I found some of mine had been deleted. Not sure how, perhaps an automated process gone wrong. Fortunately not too much as far as I can tell but it has been a big wake up call that I cannot rely on Google to safe guard the data.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hokkaido Motorcycle Tour– part two

Continuing my 14 day tour from the northern Hokkaido town of Nayoro. Part one can be read here. After some wet days I was feeling upbeat knowing the rain was mostly finished. I decided to push out the mileage today about as far as I dare to try see some extra places and regain a little that had been lost due to wet weather. A teaser of what is coming up in the picture below but before that I had another wet and overcast start today on day eight.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Hokkaido Motorcycle Tour - part one

Every Summer many riders in Japan head north to cooler and dryer weather in Hokkaido. Ever since first visiting Japan in the 90’s I have been told Hokkaido was the best riding so I decided it was about time I went for a look. Turned out different to what I imagined and if you have some time then I’d like to tell you about it.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Alpinestars Transition DS Gloves review

I purchased the Alpinestars Transition gloves when I was riding in Spain a couple of months ago. I arrived in an unseasonal cool week and after one day of riding with summer mesh gloves I realised I needed better protection from the elements to continue.

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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Polaroid Cube Action Cam review

I have been testing an action cam on my last few motorcycle tours and it is about time I posted a review.

Polaroid is a name I associate with polarized sunglasses and instant cameras. In film days their cameras were very popular and remained so right up to the early digital days being able to produce a ‘print’ of the photo within a short amount of time using self developing film. My friends mother had one, it was ok daytime good light if the person using the camera knew how to compose correctly for the cameras lens and film format. At night it had a weak flash with those old bulb flash units and party photos were poor. I got a autographed Polaroid photo with a celebrity Iron Chef in Tokyo on one of my first trips to Japan (and chose that alias to write this blog as a bit of fun) and that Polaroid was a more modern version that worked quite well. Polaroid like Kodak were in a success bubble when digital came and now are just shells of their former selves but the name lives on with the Polaroid Cube

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