Birthday preparations

I have always loved my birthday. As a child growing up in Sweden I was disappointed that I could never have a garden party, the 1st of November would always be a dark and rainy day. Mind you, this was before Halloween was introduced into Sweden and autumn was a long dark wait for Christmas. As an adult, I have always tried to do something special on my birthday. When moving to Spain, I was pleased to discover that my birthday coincided with a national holiday which gave me an opportunity to travel somewhere. A couple of years I spent these days on Gran Canaria, other years we made excursions hiking somewhere around Madrid. But as far as I remember, I have never spent my birthday on a motorbike holiday and therefore I’m particularly pleased to be able to ride Lazy Cat over to Beachy Head for the race. Although the race itself is not on my actual birthday, it is on the 28th, I still see it as part of my birthday – I’m only going to turn 40 once so I might as well celebrate it properly.

Power Yoga built this body!
Power Yoga built this body!

All the preparations are completed. The training is done, mainly spinning and power yoga – since I want to be very careful with my foot, I have only done a couple of short runs per week. While this might sound nice to some, I must add here that running short distances is very difficult to me, just when I get the into the flow I must stop. The longest distance I have done in preparation is 7.5k and more often I’ve done 4 or 5k. To run the 10k on Saturday is going to be fantastic, since the course is challengingly hilly it will take a good bit longer than an hour as well. I look forward to this immensely. The kit is prepared: my favourite leggings, woollen top, jacket, waist bag for the phone – yes, this time I’m going to take pictures.

Running with cows
Running with cows

I received a birthday letter from my aunt, “Congratulations, finally grown up” it said. I’m not so sure, but I did change the brake pads on my bike today, that must count for something. But apart from that both Lazy Cat and Koneko have been serviced by a local mechanic. I can’t remember when my bike ran this smoothly last, and for Koneko all the problems with sudden power loss at top speed disappeared.

Before closing the computer and heading to bed I want to extend my deepest thanks to all of you, friends from near and far, who have donated to Pikilily on behalf of my birthday. I look forward to this birthday-weekend of riding and running – you will all be in my heart!

Lastly, there is a new video diary out from Pikilily, great progress!

All previous video diaries can be accessed from their website as well as from their Crowdfunding page, where you, of course, can make a donation.

Weymouth beach motocross and WIMA mini-meet

If you think that the beach is for sunbathing only, think again! Last Sunday’s motocross competitions on the Weymouth beach attracted people of all ages for an action-filled afternoon.

This expands the mening of "playing in the sand"
This expands the meaning of “playing in the sand”
Round and round they go - the waterfront being the straight of this very different race track.
Round and round they go – the waterfront being the straight of this very different race track.

The sand on Weymouth beach is so fine that it barely qualifies as sand and is therefore perfect for sculpting sandcastles, or so I read on the information board. Apperently, it is suitable for racing as well, it certainly seemed so watching the motocross bikes ride through the sculpted obstacles and lap after lap grind them down by twisting and tossing their bikes around the courners and up the hills.

On the other side of Weymouth, you can find Chesil beach, whose stony shore gives that relaxing rumbling sound – at least on a moderately windy day. We were a small group of WIMAs who came together to enjoy the action of the beach motocross as well as the scenery and culture in Portland and the Tout Quarry sculpture park. We stopped for a drink at the local pub and learned that this place is flooded in rough weather, the waves literally wash over the pub and flood the houses in the area. It amazes me how people choose to live in such exposed places, even with this moderate wind it was noticeable when riding across to the peninsula. Well, I never was one for windy days – although it keeps the mosquitos away 🙂

Posing at Chesil beach
Posing at Chesil beach

Photo courtesy: Sue Barnes

Becoming a safer rider with Bike Safe

Last weekend, I took advantage and did something that has been on my To-Do-list for my stay in England, namely the Bike Safe workshop. I found the course very useful, both theoretically and practically – not at least regarding the first aid component. Living and riding in different countries has its advantages but following different rules and regulations can also be confusing. My long term followers might remember a post a wrote some years back on the topic “The helmet – remove it or  not?!” where I contemplated what to do in case of an accident, since I had been taught conflicting things in Sweden and in Spain. So, now in addition, I know how things are taught in the UK as well – luckily this very much resembles what I was taught in Sweden a long time ago, although with some updates. Now it is believed that chest compressions are enough and that compressions alone will make the air circulate. Therefore, there is no need to remove the helmet, at least not if the air way is unobstructed. I think, however, that there must be a legal difference between Spain, on one hand, and Sweden and the UK on the other hand, since I was taught, both in Sweden and the UK, to act and do whatever seems appropriate to help save a life. While in Spain I was told that I could be held liable if, for example, a person lost a leg due to me making a torniquete to stop the person from bleeding to death. Well, enough about that – off you go and take your own first aid course!

Freebies! I love the motorcycle shaped side stand plads!
Freebies! I love the motorcycle shaped side stand pads!

The main part of the Bike Safe workshop was focused on how to prevent getting into the kind of situation where first aid is needed – in other words – how to “bike safe”. A lot of focus was put on how to read the road and the environment for signs of danger, how to interpret other road users’ behaviour and how to ride sensibly. This was followed by practical riding advice where we were riding a stretch of road while being observed by a police officer who then gave us advice on how to improve. I was told to adjust my positioning on the road to improve safety both in cornering and while passing potential dangers. Sounds easy but it is harder to implement than one might think – old habits die hard and all that. Having said that, I found the workshop hugely motivating albeit a bit scary. I’ve never been observed by a police officer before. I was also told to practise slow riding since he thought I put my feet down too much, I didn’t tell him that I hang my legs down as much as I can to prevent my legs going numb. Maybe I should have – but I learned in Spain never to argue with the police and I didn’t feel like investigating whether or not the same goes for the UK.

Despite this misunderstanding, I hugely enjoyed the workshop and I wish I could continue and do the Advanced Riders Training. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can be around long enough to complete it – I did check the possibilities to rent a room around here to stay a couple of months longer but it seemed difficult. Ah well, I can always start reading “Motorcycle Roadcraft – The Police Rider’s Handbook”, and of course, the Highway Code. I have both on my tablet.