Author: Buck

Bored.

His last day on Earth was the longest. He had booked two days off from work, one for Summer Solstice and one for his birthday the following day. He was going to be thirty. The realisation had been growing in him. While he knew it was an arbitrary number in his life, thirty felt like a milestone. The party years were past, the close knit band of friends were slowly separating into their own lives. Now each meet up required planning, and there were always absences. He’d been clinging on to the past but over the last year or two the restlessness had been growing in him. At first he had been just wanted to patch up the relationships with his friends and rebuild the past, but as the itch of restlessness grew so did his clarity. His friends were absorbed in relationships and families and careers, they, he felt, had their lives together, while he was just going through the motions. They were only going to drift further apart. He would have to move on, things couldn’t go back. Admitting his ties to the past were fraying he started to examine the present. He wasn’t in a romantic relationship, his family and friends were becoming more estranged, he was renting, he was working in a warehouse. In other words, there was nothing keep him here. His restlessness had moved up several gears. For the past year he’d been window shopping jobs and accommodation in Cornwall or Scotland, as well as looking into the possibility of emigrating. He didn’t know where he wanted to go, he just knew he couldn’t stay where he was. It had grown from an itch of discontent into a frantic obsession. The approach of thirty had brought it all to a head. He felt if he was to let another year pass he would still be here in another decade, and by then he’d have gone mad with impotent wanderlust. He’d arranged a meet with his friends for the night time. He felt sure most of his friends would attend. They were going to go an old haunt, a bunch of rocks on a hilltop that they had, with youthful imagination, decided was a Stone Circle. It all felt fitting. Watching the longest day end in the Stone Circle with his friends. A last hurrah. Then before midnight, before his thirtieth, he would tell them he was leaving. Tomorrow he was going to number his destination options and roll a die. Thirty year old him was going to start a new life. Knowing this was all happening, that he’d finally committed and was going to be actively pursuing his escape plan within a day, he slept soundly for what felt like the first time in years. He awoke just before 10 am. He came awake with a start, instantly aware today was the day this life ended. As he got ready he checked his mobile for messages. Nothing of import. His friends would be at […]

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Bugger.

I’ve had an eventful couple of days. I was in work yesterday, I got to a drop in Liverpool and reversed onto the bay. The truck was a bit slow to turn so I went in at a bit of an angle, but still well within the guide rails. I missed the bumper on the loading bay, but let it slowly reverse anyway (there are bumpers on the back of the trailer) suddenly I heard a clatter. I got out and somehow I’d manged to hit the shutter door. That’s it. The third panel down from the top right on the first picture (not the concrete, that was nowt do with me) but it slightly buckled the hinge thing on the inside of the shutter. I just couldn’t understand it. It’s what you do. Reverse, then pull forward to straighten up. You just can’t hit the shutter, it’s a foot inside the edge of the concrete wall. It took one of their people to work it out. Because their loading bays are on such a steep angle, the top corner of the trailer had lent over the lip of the bay and hit the door. I got back to the yard and they took my truck off me. I had to do a statement and such and now I’m stood down pending the outcome of their review. When they told me to hand my keys in I thought I was sacked for sure. The agency lad reckons it will probably be a day out with the driver trainer then back on shift. If not, if they do sack me, Sainsbury’s are taking on on the agency. Bummer start times, but stacks of money. Seeing as I’m off I did shock absorber. The one that was on it had leaked all of it’s fluid and I was pogo-ing over every bump. Bloody horrible to ride. It was a pain in the arse of a job, but I got it done. Swapped the crappy aftermarket shock for the original one that came as a spare with the bike. While I had everything off I took the opportunity to refit the original height things, to lower it back to standard height. A good day’s work. I’m happy with that. I took it for a spin and the shock works fine, I can get me feet down at the lights now it’s standard height, nothing fell off and I didn’t die. Oh, and it totally was the shock that had blown, not an engine oil leak, so, a good result. Now I just have some concerns about the clutch. Nothing pressing, but the clutch plates sticking on start up is a worry. For now the tip to free them up (a few blips of the throttle) is working, but I would like to sort it. Hmmm, just re-read the fault finding article fully. There is still something to test before I start cracking open the engine. It could just be down to low clutch […]

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Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.

A couple of things have gone wrong. The trainers I ordered in my true size arrived. I put them on and walked up and down the kitchen. That was enough to hurt my foot for the rest of the night. The rocker is still right under my bones. I sent them back for a refund and ordered a different model of Saucony. The Speed 4. I’ve been training in the Speed 3 for 324 miles and they never gave me pain before I triggered this. They have been good since, but my bones still grind a bit when I get tired. They arrive tomorrow. I have to keep trying. I had a day of fail on my diet, ate a big tea and lost my mojo, so had two choccy bars the next day at work. I managed to muster my mojo and get back on it the last two days. I was 10st 2½lbs again this morning. I did a fairly tough half marathon this morning and haven’t eaten much today so I’m hoping to see 10st 1 and a bit tomorrow. Another fail is my bike. The exhaust in particular. I had a brand new system bookmarked (for about £300) but the company sold out and isn’t making any more. I’ve emailed all the other companies. Nope. The only options are new American or Japanese systems for about £1,000 or a second hand system from a breaker for £330. And the second hand one didn’t look great. Which is doubly irritating as that was the price of a brand new system. Then I noticed a fluid leak under my bike. It was directly under the rear shock. The top of the shock was dry so I don’t think it’s anything leaking onto it, I think it’s the shock itself. *sigh* And, to add to my joy, twice last week I put the bike into first gear from neutral, it did the hefty clunk I thought was just a Honda thing, and stalled. I looked it up and found a really good piece with a good flowchart of possible causes. Seems to be the clutch plates sticking together. If you blip the throttle a few times it frees it up and it snicks into gear quite smoothly. The article said it might be down to too thick oil. If the viscosity is wrong the cold oil will stick the plates together. I changed the oil and filter. Still clunking. It said it could be the clutch basket is scored and needs replacing. I have a Master Plan! Rather than spend £330 for a second hand exhaust system I’m waiting for a spares/ repair bike to come up for sale. I saw a good VFR750 a month or so ago, good tyres, stainless exhaust, good runner, for £800. There’s one with the fairing off for sale now for £700 but it’s silver, so all the panels and tank would be no good for spares unless I got them resprayed. And […]

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Progress.

After my week off after the marathon I’ve been back training. I did 57 miles last week, and a bloody hilly 18 miler today. The good news is I think it was the trainers being a half a size too big that was causing the pain. I’ve been out for a bunch of runs in snug trainers and the pain has been getting a lot less frequent. I’ve ordered the same trainer as were giving me trouble, but in the true size. I’m hoping without aggravation the pain will stop altogether. It’s already way better. It stopped me on a run last week. Today was a lot of foot pounding down the hills and I only got a few bad pains. I was planning on just throwing loads of miles at this period, between training cycles, but I need structure. I’m going to run through the plan again after tomorrow’s rest day. My new trainers, which I thought would arrive today, while we are both off, are coming tomorrow, when we are both working, because of the bank holiday. Super. It’s UPS, so it’s pointless trying to get their excuse for a website to work so I can rearrange the delivery. Meh. See how it goes. Another irritation, that website that was selling the stainless steel exhaust system for my bike (for about £300) that I had bookmarked for when I needed a new one have sold out. I emailed them . They are not making them anymore. The one time I show some restraint and sensibly wait until I actually need a thing rather than just want it… There are some systems about, from Japan and America, but they are over a thousand pounds! I am so kicking myself. They had them in stock and everything. I’ve emailed another company that used to make them, to see if they are doing any more. Failing that I’ve found one company that seems to make them to order. For £440. I’d buy a second hand stainless exhaust system, but the only one I’ve seen so far is from a bike breaker and they want £300 for it. Which was the cost of a brand new system. I know it’s cheaper than £440, but it’s second hand so you don’t what you’re getting, and I object on principle. I had a blip with my diet. I did a big session, 8 miles run, 30 minutes rowing, 48 minute lap on the bike turbo on one day, but either I didn’t eat or enough or I triggered a bit of plague weakness, but the next day was intolerable at work. I ended up eating a flapjack and two cookies on top of my rations just to get me through. Back on it. I was 10st 3½lbs this morning. My plan is to get to 10st then eat. But stay off the biscuits and sweet stuff. That will give me the energy to train but I won’t be eating half a pack of biscuits […]

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Vicious Cycle.

After a surprisingly long period with my new bike I had a blip. On a whim I started looking for an engine to strip down to practice a bit of mechanic-ing. But then I realised I wouldn’t know if I’d been successful if it was just an engine. So I started looking for a cheap, project motorbike. That way I could play on it, there would be visible results (assuming I got it running again) and it would have some resale value afterwards, so I wouldn’t be pointlessly throwing away the price of an engine, oil, gaskets, etc. Unfortunately on some of the sites that gives you very limited hits. To see all the available bikes I had to put in ‘motorbikes, private seller, under £1000’. That returned all the spares/repairs, project type bikes that I’d be interested in, but unfortunately it brought up lots and lots of really tempting bikes that had nothing wrong with them. I saw a 1976 CB550 that was an imported non-runner for £500. That is a fantastic price, when sorted the bikes go for thousands of pounds. I was straight on to the seller, but he lives in Cardiff. I was still up for it, even though it would have been a nightmare organising a van, getting there, loading the bike, back, unloading it, and returning the van inside the opening hours of the rental place. Then I had big issues with the seller. I gave him a time and day when I could pick it up, he agreed, I asked if he could hold it for 2 days until that day (so I wouldn’t lose my money booking a van) and I didn’t get a reply for 5 days. I was still going to do it, I sent another message giving him two alternative days I could go and pick it up, but the app froze. That gave me time to reconsider. I messaged him and said it was too far to go, I didn’t want it. By this time I’d been looking at a lot of bikes. The whim to look for an engine had turned into obsession and fixation. Again. I saw a bunch of Harleys I’d like. Two big ones for less than £4,500 each. That is a bargain price. I had visions of me puttering around on a big Hog. Then I saw some big Japanese cruisers. I have a notion I’d like to ride to my Saville marathon. That’s a 3,000+ mile round trip. So I was fixating on big, comfortable mile-munchers. The downside with the pure tourers is they are huge, specialist beasts. Massive fairings, massive weight, massive power. Great to ride from Warrington to Seville, but pointless and cumbersome the rest of the time. I was getting frantic. Literally losing sleep fixating over it. I was at the point where I wanted to buy a bike, any bike, just to get some peace. Then at gone midnight I read an article with a countdown of all […]

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