Archive for March, 2020

Plague!

There’s only one subject of conversation at the moment; the Coronovirus/ Covid-19.

Because we are dedicated followers of fashion, indeed, bleeding edge fashion setters, we chose early adoption. We’ve been off work for a week with it now. We both thought they were being stupid at work, sending us home to self-isolate, then it hit us hard.

The thinking is that 80% of cases will just be mild. Which sounds nice until you look at the definition of ‘mild’. Anything not requiring “machine assisted breathing” is mild. Cases developing into pneumonia can still be mild.

The other thing I read is that bad cases usually require hospitalisation within 7 days. We are approaching that with no serious issues. Hopefully ours is right at the mildest end of the scale.

For us it has been a horrible weakness that comes upon you mostly in the afternoons. You can still do stuff if you really wanted to, but all you want to do is flop. It’s nasty.

The other thing, as it’s a virus that attacks your lungs, is an odd pain deep in your chest, and the cough.

Wendy’s had that for days, but thankfully it’s not getting any worse, I started properly with it last night. The coughing is just little patches every now and then, nothing constant or irritating. The lung pain is pretty constant. It’s a very mild pain, but it is really unsettling.

The worst thing, which is totally unexpected, is it messes with your head. I noticed a week ago that I was feeling a bit rough, then suddenly I felt like I was having a panic attack.

In the same way “depression” is confused in common usage with “a bit sad”, panic attack has come to mean “a bit flustered”.

I don’t mean that. I mean sudden, irrational, thought blocking fear. It only lasted a few seconds but it was terrifying. I was actually hoping it was just that I’d caught the potentially lethal bug rather than that I was going insane again.

And now the lung thing has kicked in it is provoking more of the same. Wendy’s had bouts of it, so it’s not just me.

I am particularly miffed as, in normal life, due to my condition, I don’t really suffer from fear. I’m not boasting, or pretending I’m brave. I used to think I was, but it’s not true, it’s just that BPD makes you take risks without caring about the consequences. It’s not bravery, it’s a mental health issue.

When they said covid-19 has a 7% mortality rate, my first thought was to lick the first person I met with it. I like those odds and I hate waiting.

Wendy was wildly opposed, by the way.

So you can see just how much of a nasty shock having panic attacks is to me.

At least I’m not going insane.

 

Also, because we live in an arbitrary yet vindictive universe, as soon as the government were finally pressured into a lockdown (by the French threatening to close their border as a health risk) the rain stopped and it was lovely and sunny. We’re stuck in the house, bored and a bit poorly, just as it’s getting to motorcycling weather. Super.

 

Selling my Honda is pretty much off the table for the foreseeable future. The economy is tanking, all non-essential businesses have been ordered to close, the workers are getting furloughed or sacked, and even if someone had the money to buy it they aren’t allowed to travel to pick it up.

 

I’ve got to ring my work tomorrow. That’s the end of my 7 day isolation. I can’t see me going back just yet. The afternoon malaise hasn’t struck yet, but the lung pain (more of a discomfort) has started already.

Even if I could tough out the weakness I’m fair sure they don’t want me to kill all the fat old drivers.

 

There have been a few, ironic, political laughs.

Basically every policy St Jezza was slagged off for, as being too expensive and/ or impossible is coming to pass.

They’ve nationalised the railways, after a decade of the poor starving to death because there was no magic money tree they’ve suddenly found and spent more than Jezza’s planned budget, and at the drop of a hat they’ve ended homelessness. As someone on Twitter observed, thousands of poor kids starve to death every day all around the world but nothing is done because the rich can’t catch that. The Murdoch owned, Tory agenda, Financial Times ran an article saying this is the end of the Johnson project. People will not stand for a cash starved, threadbare NHS after this. I hope so. Another irony is a headline yesterday in the Torygraph saying that Britain will starve unless we fly in 90,000 Eastern European skivvies to pick the crops.

Brexit. Biting the hand the feeds it since inception.

 

Twitter has been providing some light relief in these worrying times.

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Stay safe out there.

Later,

Buck.

What?

Everything is going a bit mad here due to the fear of the Covid-19/ Cornona virus.

We’ve got idiots fighting in the aisles over toilet paper. We’ve got selfish, greedy, morons stripping the supermarkets bare of anything they can lay their hands on. People are actually stockpiling water! There is a tap in every house. I went into a spring water bottling plant yesterday, usually I’m in and out. I was there 3 hours queuing behind lorries. The guy said they usually send out about 40 loads, yesterday they were sending out 120.

The last time I saw a toilet roll on a shelf was a week ago. There were 3 packs of 4. Because I’m not a selfish, greedy, moron I took one of them.

 

On the plus side, it means we can get overtime again at work.

 

As we are now owned by Tesco, they’ve introduced a new policy. Staff can go and get their shopping from Tesco on a Sunday morning an hour before the store opens to the public. I’m going to try it out in the morning.  Other good news from work today is someone has just left so a full time vacancy has become available. I’ve reminded them I want to go back to full time, so hopefully I’ll get that. It’s Tuesday- Saturday,06.00hrs start. A bit earlier than I would have liked, but I’ll take it if they offer it to me.

 

More good news is that I dug out two partial packs of very early tomatoes that I bought a year ago and the year before that. I thought I’d give them a go. So far 24 out of the 25 have germinated! Yay! I’ve just moved them to the cold frame. I’ll just have to keep an eye out for frosts, but they should be OK.

 

After my Tesco’s shop tomorrow I’m going to give my VFR750 a wash and relist it. The temperature is rising, (slowly) and it’s stopped raining every single day, so maybe I’ll be able to sell it. I’m going to take a picture with a toilet roll on the bike to drive sales.

Talking of bikes, I got the other tail tidy so I could fit the top box. Then I realised I would have to butcher parts of the brand new plastics on the tail tidy to feed the arms of the rack through. Nothing is ever easy. It was a huge faff, and I had to keep undoing bits I’d already done to do the next bit, but I got it done.

Before:

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After:

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OK, so the box is ugly, but it’s very practical. And the tail tidy has removed all that ugly plate holder frame thing.

The box doesn’t look too bad from other angles. And I can’t see it when I’m on it.

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The final thing I’m doing to it is swapping the handlebars to clubman bars. Which is to say, drop down handlebars so I’m not sat upright catching all the wind on the motorway.

It does everything I wanted. It handles great (and it should feel even better at cornering with proper bars) it feels fast and it slows me down. Perfect.

What I mean by that is some bikes you can be cruising along at 160mph and you just don’t feel like you’re going fast. You’re in the smooth air from the fairings, the bike isn’t straining, it is just a number on the clock. One that will get you very banned.

On this one you feel all the wind smashing into you, the engine is screaming (not in strained way, it just has a lovely howl) and you feel like you are going really, really fast. Then you look at the clock and you’re not even doing a ton. (Allegedly. So I’ve heard.)

 

I’ve not managed to run for a week. I’ve come down with some bug that leaves you feeling weak and tired. Meh. It’s not such a concern, as all three of my marathons have postponed until the autumn due to the plague.

There’s a strange duality about life at the moment. Hysterical panic buying, hoarding, people going into self isolation, versus mine and Wendy’s unchanged lives. Well, actually Wendy has had to endure trauma. Her hairdresser has self isolated for 3 months. I said I’d cut it, but she’s still not happy. And her church are stopping meetings.

Happily I’ve been practicing “social distancing” for many years and am so far ahead of the curve on the “avoiding physical contact” thing that I’m basically virus proof.

So that’s where I’m up to .

As Bob Dylan said “the only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keeping on”

Stay safe, people.

Later,

Buck.

Striple, Latest.

I’ve had a few minor developments.

The back brake binding issue was just the anti-chatter spring thing fouling. Since I’ve taken it off all is well. My new spring arrived today. I’ve bought some specialist grease as well, so when I strip the calliper to fit it I’ll give it another clean and a grease.

I was having issues with the ugly bar muffs. They worked great on bikes with a fairing, but on my naked bike they were being forced onto my handlebar levers by the wind pressure.That was not good. I adjusted them as best I could, as they do work great at stopping your hands from freezing.

Then I was riding to work, I pulled off the motorway on to the slip road and the bike totally died. I was left freewheeling with nothing. Luckily it was stupid o’clock on a Saturday morning so there was nothing behind me. I was fumbling about in the muffs trying to pull the clutch in and hit the start button. Still nothing.

I pulled on to the pavement and had a look. The bar muffs had knocked the kill switch, which cuts all the electrics to the engine. I wasn’t best pleased, but at least my new bike hadn’t died. I put it back on and set off. A mile later it did the same thing. The bar muffs came off before I rode home. Enough is enough. I’m not getting killed by a killed switch. It would be too ironic. That might sound melodramatic, it only turned my engine off, but if I’d have been in the outside lane of the motorway at the time, or accelerating out of a dangerous situation, it could have got very messy, very quickly.

On the bright side, the bike looks loads better for it. The sun was out today for the first time in forever, and it wasn’t raining, so I took the opportunity to wash the road muck off and take some pictures.

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I have been struggling with the wind blast on the motorway. I know, that’s why I got a naked, to slow me down, but I still want to be quite nippy. Also I don’t like the riding position with the high handlebars for cornering.

The solution to both is simple; a new set of handlebars.

You can spend an absolute fortune getting a single headlight conversion and clip-on handlebars ($500- $1000 just for the headlight kit- that you need before you can fit the clip-on handlebars-.)

It is the best look

dear do!

But I’ve done this before, thought “it doesn’t matter how much it costs, it’s my forever bike so it will be worth it in the long run”, then a year later wanted a change and took a kicking on the price.

As Wendy said, “Buy the bike you want. Don’t buy it and convert it into a different bike.”

There is a workable compromise though. Clubman/ Ace bars. You don’t have to modify the bike in any way, you just take the standard handlebars off (and keep them for refitting if you decide to sell) and stick in the new handlebars.

Like this

clubman

clubman

As you can see, it’s not the full-on look of clip-on handlebars, or quite the drop, but it’s a cheap and easy way to lower the riding position. It will let me feel more confident to throw it into corners, and let me lie over the tank at motorway speeds.

Then it will be the full package.

I’m still struggling with the top box dilemma.

Do I get the other tail tidy and fit the top box to make it practical for everyday use, or keep it pretty?

top box

Looking at it, it’s not *that* bad.

OK, get over my superficial self.

Right, that’s the way to go.

On the bright side, this Triumph seems to be faultless. I’ve put 2 weeks and about 3 hundred miles on it, and it’s not missed a beat. Splendid.

Later,

Buck.

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