Tuesday, February 28, 2012

preparation on the bike - February

I had allowed to return to UK in April or May to get the bike finalised, ready to go. it just so happens that there is a wee off road course in Portugal happening in Feb/March with Simon Pavey and the BMW off road school so I decided to combine the both.

Here we are in Portugal!
Outside the htel before we set off on first day

Stop for coffee

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Perth campaign for city status

Here's something I didn't know. Perth isn't a city. Well the Scottish Perth isn't.

I always thought it was, but in 1975 due to some government thingy ... too boring to go into, Perth was stripped of this status. It can become a city again but needs the help of her majesty down south in Buckingham palace. Only the Queen can grant this apparently. There is a campaign on the go attempting to recover city status, hopefully this year. There is some more information here

I never noticed and I've been to Perth a million times.

Here's something else I didn't know. Since the huge floods that drowned Perth in 1993 a huge flood defence system which includes gates, walls and so has been installed. These are part fixed and part temporary. I'll get some more info when I get there with the camera.

------ stop press -------

Perth has now been awarded city status again, the Queen must have read this and thought ... welll If he thinks it's alright then it's fine by me. Thanks Mrs Queen.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Got the T-shirt

The Brand
Today's mail brought a delivery of T-shirts for P2P. They pretty cool too. Can't be arsed putting up a picture at the moment but I'll do so later on when I get the chance. I've also recieved a new toy that should make video recordings that much better - a remote microphone. Yes it's not what you'd call that exciting but bugger it. I like toys and this one is practical. You've noticed too, I've learned sub headings.

The Gear
The problem I've always had with recording is getting the sound right. You can often muck around with pictures but the sound is very important. Dont get that right and all you can do is stick in some repetitive rock music to your motorbike video and voila! Another youtube motorbike video that doesnt mean very much at all. Yes I've seen and made a few of them.
This microphone thingy means I dont need lots of fiddly cables and bulky transponders, different battery packs and so on. The clip on mike takes one small AA battery and communicates via bluetooth to a receiver thing that sits on top of the camera which also supplies power. Dead easy and works a treat. So now I have excuse for crap sound. Time will tell.

The Route
Oh - the Route. In the past few days I've been looking at various routes and have spent too much time procrastinating over going via KKH or China or Iran or Caspian Sea or Iran or China ... driving myself round the bend. I often wish to stop planning and simply drive my bike. Sadly I need to organise visas in advance for many countries so thats not really practical. I might just leave it till end of March, see if the Israeli's and Americans fancy another war and then decide.

The Rider
I've been a lazy bugger this week. Haven't been to the gym once. Haven't had any booze either so we're even. I have over 2kgs to lose in just over two weeks which is achievable usually in the first few days of a health campaign but not after four weeks. Also, Its really hard to stay reasonably fit if your job means sitting down at a desk all day in front of a computer ... just like now for example. I must say also, my back has been giving me some worry. I've been getting pains from standing up too long, then pain for sitting down too long, I have small pains in my left foot as well which sounds alarming but I've had it so long its a way of life.  I have some seriously damaged discs on my spine. Two are damaged and one is in danger of disappearing altogether. This may or may not make things worse, the vertebrae can and will fuse together by themselves, or it can all simply turn to shit and I'll be unable to move at all without an spine operation which obviously is not good. My own back care regime is basically - ignore it and keep moving moving moving ... worked so far. I'll keep a batch of anti inflammatories at hand just in case.

The Movie
No I'm no film star, I really dont carry too well on TV (if thats the phrase I was looking for) but Im hell bent on making a video that I can look back on with my kids in 10-15 years time think - Hey! thats allright. It would be nice to see on TV again (yes I've been on TV once) but Im not holding my breath for another shot at my fifteen minutes of fame.
I need to develop the art of one man production. Being able to feel safe enough to leave a camera at the side of the road without it being stolen, having the ability to record events happening to me when I already have enough to deal with. are just some of the challenges ahead. (Maybe theres some merit in a helmet cam and rock music on youtube, it's much easier)
Anyway, Lorraine keeps on at me to promote this trip, others tell me to write a book of my adventures. Others tell me to just go!
There are dozens of books out there written by far more talented and entertaining people than me, whats the point of another one. Who wants to see another bloke on a bike chugging around the world on two wheels. Hmmm well I do for one.  Now where's my wife hidden that overused Mondo Way Buster Rider movie gone to?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Branding and Logo

I've been wortking on Logo's for this wee adventure. Not that it's needed but branding will help identify my trip and hopefully stick in people's minds easier. (helps with begging for sponsorship later on)
I put out many requests for logo's using fiverr.com but ultimately ended up making my own. This is latest P2P one. I'll ponder this for a few days I think.

I've mucked around with about 20 others but still think this is simplist and easiest on the eye for the moment.
Update. Decided to go with this and ordered some T-shirts too.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maybe time to look at Plan B perhaps

Maybe Iran would be a bit more exciting than I'd hoped for... Daily Mirror 4/2/12...

hmmm maybe Kazakhstan would be nice this time of year.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sorted the video equipment

I know this isnt really that important but I've sorted out the video equipment and editing suite. I replaced my long faithful EEpc with a new solid state hrd drive netbook. This means no hard drive to go wrong due to vibrations and the like.

The screen isn't as large as I would like but any bigger and I would need to buy a huge laptop which is too big and too heavy to fit in my bags. However, I do have an iPad and discovered a groovy app that turns it into a second screen. see here..

iPad with Aspire S3 running Sony Vegas

I've tried out a few small files and it all works great. The whole idea is that I can edit whilst onthe road instead of building up tons of footage that is just too hard to go through when I get back home eventually. Too hard!

So if all goes to plan I will be putting up videos online as I go.

I've also installed maps for Europe, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore so navigation is sorted. I still need to get somepaper maps though, as a gps screen can be hard work sometimes.. I will be using my old trusted Zumo which is made for the bike and has been through a few wars by the look of it. Looks a bit dated these days but is waterproof and is easy to use, even with bike gloves on.

Well only 3 weeks till Portugal and final bike prep.

Updte 4/2/12 - test video
Just put this together to test the laptop and the editing staff. Pity about the star though!