Off to the movies

So it was overdue that I took myself off for a decent ride, the movie Bladerunner 2049 had released which was potentially going to be a movie worthy of on going discussion, so I figured it would be a good idea to see it with someone of a like mind on these things and Nighthawk immediately to mind, only one little issue, distance.

Nighthawk resides in Dunedin, and well I am in Christchurch, so this sounds like a good excuse for a ride to me, I obtain a couple of days leave and make plans, book a room for a couple of nights and off i go on this trip.

Ah if only it was that easy when you own a Ducati, (sigh), so some minor things needed to be done first, a simple chain adjustment and a quick job to fit my GPS.

GPS you say, it’s nearly a straight road and given the number of time you have done that trip if you don’t know the way perhaps you need more than a GPS! And if I needed the GPS to find my way to Dunedin I would agree but the GPS is used as a hub for the headset to link my phone to and as a MP3 player. Fitting the GPS was rather easy, locating my tools for the task was the time sink as well I really need to sort out the garage/workshop same goes for the tools to do the chain adjustment.

Anyhow a much later start than anticipated and on the road, I made it to Dunedin about 1.5 hours before the booked session to see the movie, meet up with Dale before hand.

Now Saturday I had hoped to Dale and I might head off for a ride but well his bike is potentially not up to legal requirements so we flagged that idea, no point paying extra to the government if you don’t have to, and instead wandered to his workshop where we proceed to solve a minor issue with a side table he had, the video can be found here. I couldn’t stay to help finish off the project as it quite a time sink setting up between shots.

Sunday I was having to return to reality, so I had a fairly relaxed start to the day, popped back to Dale’s to see how he was getting on, then on the road about mid day, for the trip home

All said a good weekend away and my first real ride on L’amante, I was feeling a bit sore afterwards, the body has taken a fair beating over the last couple of years and I certainly am not getting younger. Oh yeah was the movie what I expected, well I will have to watch it a few more times myself to be sure I have the story down, but yes it was, perhaps a bit of a large budget though it was a little to slick.

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In with the new

So being without a bike was never going to be a long term thing so I was watching the market and back in June a 2013 Ducati Multistrada that I had been eyeing up for sometime online dropped in price, so slightly flush with the insurance payout and a quick call to the finance company I secured enough to become the owner of the bike, now readers will know that New Zealand is divided into two islands and this bike was in the north island so I arranged shipping as going up to and riding it back was out of the question thanks to work commitments and upcoming spinal surgery.

So upcoming adventures the I undertake will be astride a near new bike that only had about 1200Km’s on the odometer when I received it

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Out with the old

So I wrote about the crash and the ligamentaxor, but go on Doc give it to me straight, how is the bike?

The good folks Avon City Motorcycles here in Christchurch took delivery of the bike from the towing firm that had collected the bike from the side of the road and stored for a couple of days to do the insurance assessment. The mechanics had a good look over it, the parts department priced up all the parts and this costing was placed through to the insurance assessor, who on the balance of things decided it was an economical repair and gave the go ahead to repair the bike. So all the shiny new parts are ordered and on their way.

A quick visit just to drop off some keys for the topbox, and collect the items that were still inside, and what I thought at the time was an odd question was asked of me, does your bike normally lean over when on the side stand? Not really engaging the brain my thought was seriously don’t all bikes lean over when on the side stand, it how the bloody things work? My answer of course was yes it leans when on the side stand. Not really thinking anymore of it, though this will bear relevance later.

So all the parts have arrived, enough parts that well to be honest would have made it look like a nearly new machine, a most excellent proposition. Another visit to the store, looking at gear, and again I was asked does your bike lean over on the side stand, same thoughts, same answer. Right we are going to start on your bike Monday it should be ready for next Thursday or Friday. Now this was sounding really good as the Brass Monkey rally was on that weekend, and I was keen to attend, having the bike back would be perfect. While you keep in mind that I may not have even been able to ride it effectively due to the sore ribs and damaged finger, I certainly was not thinking this way, I just wanted to get back on the bike and ride.

Monday afternoon 29th May 2017 and my cell phone goes, hey Brent it’s …… here from the insurance assessors, mate I think your bike is a write off.

Umm what? How?

Well the side stand fell off.

So I wander over Avon City to have a look and get hold of the service manager.

Well you remember we asked it your bike lent over, and the block of wood we had holding it up?

I remember the question, but not the block of wood. Why was there a block of wood?

Well see you bike kept leaning further over so we place a block of wood under it to stop it, anyhow it seems the stand was bent, so we went to straighten it and well it fell off. So anyhow the mounts are part of the frame and cant be welded back on because they a structural so the frame is a write off , and well we don’t hold much hope of getting another so the bike will be a write off.

Oh, right, OK, thanks. Wow!

So having been through this process personally a few year back I settle in for the wait, these things never happen overnight and reflect on the kilometers that we have been through in the past, and the adventures 1300km in a day while on the TT2000, touring the North Island with Kerry, even taking the long way to work.

Being honest, the bond was never fully there, but none the less there was a sadness to parting in such a manner.

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Medieval torture device?

Ligamentaxor, rolls right off the tongue doesn’t it, if you are squeamish don’t click that hyperlink, unless you already have.

So previously I wrote of having a broken finger and how it was a story of its own well this is it. As the process is still ongoing this story is not fully finished and potentially will take years to be fully realised.

The crash had badly damaged the joint, in such a manner that had it been dealt with by immobilising it, the position it was placed in would have been permanent and useless so the surgeons decided to fit me with a very simple but effective solution the aforementioned ligamentaxor which is designed to keep the joint separated for mobility but aligned correctly, so during the initial healing process you actually move the joint to encourage the formation of new cartilage which is going to allow the joint to become functional, however it is never going to be as good as it originally was.

So don’t get me wrong, while it would be fantastic to gain full function, this is never going to happen, but the fact that I can move it and use it to grip, although currently very lightly this over time should improve.

I am very thankful to modern medical science, the skill of the plastic surgeons, the time and effort put in by the hand therapists for giving me the ability to move forward.

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Superman can supposedly fly

Without a plane, unfortunately the laws of physics suggest I can’t so there was no need to attempt to prove it, however once again the road conditions conspired against me in my travels and I was ejected from my bike at about 100Kph, while heading north on state highway 1, April 6th 2017.

There was the tail end of a rather nasty storm over the country so the conditions were very wet, certainly not ideal, but nothing to really be to concerned with. That would be if it weren’t for New Zealand’s poor road maintenance and design, chip seal is very effective until the base tar bleeds through in the heat then cools to form a surface with limited traction in the dry, and when its wet well traction is sometimes optional, not a big deal in a car where if one wheel is compromised you have three others that are hopefully stable, on a motorcycle loose traction on one wheel and you have lost fifty percent of your contact with the road, and your stability, which is exactly what happened on this occasion.

After a short flight, of a few meters I impacted with the road, during the flight there was time to think to make the conscious decision not to land with my arms outstretched, which could have lead to broken arms, hands, or collar bones, so I tucked in, (training helps, if you take enough of it, and of course listen), my landing was not pleasant, but thanks to spending on decent gear I was intact but not entirely unscathed, my right glove was shredded but amazingly that hand was completely intact, my left glove looked fine but my pain receptors were telling the hand inside was not in it’s normal state, and when the glove was tenderly remove my little finger was at an odd angle, it wasn’t difficult to tell it was badly broken but that didn’t hurt to badly, my ribs however were my source of pain and causing me difficulty breathing, thankfully I was not far from assistance, the car in front had seen me go down and another was behind fast enough, emergency services were called, in New Zealand when outside of most larger towns, (even close to some), the first responders are the volunteer fire service, and thankfully being just one kilometer from Dunsandal they were onsite in a few minutes and thankfully they had oxygen on board which aided me with my breathing while we waited on the Ambulance to arrive. It was cold and to be honest I was starting to go into shock both from the pain and the cold so things get a little hazy for a while until I was in an ambulance and warming up a bit, until once again the shock took a hold and I passed out briefly causing a little concern to the the ambulance officer so we pulled over and I was attended to by the paramedic who was following in a car behind.

The trip from this point was uneventful, well until the question. I was asked is there anyone I should call? Umm yes I guess we had better inform my wife her number is on my phone under ICE, (hey if you don’t know already have a number on your phone under ICE, which is short for in case of emergency), and well that number was known to Helen, (the ambulance officer), she had kind of just got off the phone to nearly the same number, she had been speaking to the emergency department at Christchurch public hospital , the main section of the number was the same just a different extension so there was very probable Kerry could be there waiting, thankfully by the time we got there Kerry had been and returned to work leaving instructions to be called on my arrival.

Having been in the emergency department a few times over the years for various reasons, (not always related to accidents), I never knew there was a room that looks as if it could be used as an operating theater, things you learn, anyhow there was a full team of folks there prepared and awaiting the arrival of some really messed up person involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, so that wasn’t me right? No cant be, oh it is me. I heard one doctor make a remark that there was no way I had crashed at the speed I had and sustained so little damage, (not quite famous last words but to their eyes I was in nearly perfect condition), x-rays were taken, an ultrasound, and a CT scan, which confirmed my suspicions re the ribs, not broken but fractured, and my finger well that’s a story on its own, and this one has gotten long enough.

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Not forgotten just neglected

Well it’s been a long time since I took the time to post here, and so much has changed as life does for us all over the years. Kerry has not ridden her bike really since we returned from that last trip together, and frankly I have not thought I had any thing decent to say.

Looking back on the ramblings here though and how they refresh the memory of times past both good and near disasters I have come to the conclusion that a few minutes spent recording our history regardless of whether it interests others is probably time well spent. Sure there is plenty of social media out there but they are also full of rubbish, click bait advertorials based upon some algorithm that is supposed to provide you with material that reflects your interests, random “facts” that a moments investigation reveal to be falsehoods and hearsay.

Social media held such promise, sure I still have a Facebook account at this point in time, this may change in the future, but when interacting with friends and family is only done via this or similar platforms something is missing, sure I work stupid hours and it makes it difficult to interact with me, but I have a cellphone, and SMS is fantastic, direct and will not get lost in a swamp of meaningless pictures of cats that were amusing the first time around, or the do you know this person who is a friend, of your friend, of your friend you have not interacted with for so long.

Sorry this has turned into a bit of a rant, hopefully soon I will get back into more interesting journeys around the country, they will possibly be just the South island for the time being, and hopefully Kerry will be back on her bike, or maybe we can find a way to upgrade it to something she will be happier on.

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Riding season and a rant

Well its nearly riding season again, a little of a misconception, there really isn’t a non riding season here, you can ride most of the year with caution in the winter due to ice etc, and spring normally has some high winds which one has to be pay attention to.

So what are the plans for this year, unfortunately no major trip around New Zealand, just a few trips around the South Island, and a couple of rallys.

Rallys are certainly becoming an interesting topic, well more the number of them that are no longer happening due to the legal requirements around alcohol and event organisation making the costs prohibitive for many clubs. At the current rate there might be only two or three left in the next few years. OK that’s my personal opinion, but observation at the ones I managed to attend last year would appear to play this out, many folks saying they feel the numbers are down at some of the major events, it will be a shame. On that note, rumours are around that the Brass Monkey Rally held in the middle of winter is not gong ahead, this was once one of the biggest events in the South Island and the only rally held over the winter.

Another factor that might see motorcycling in New Zealand become a wealthy persons hobby, (I strongly hate the idea it’s a hobby, to me a hobby is something you do on a cold winters night to fill in time), is the potential that the costs are going to rise above the levels most of us can afford due to changes in the ACC system. ACC is short for Accident Compensation Corporation, (it used to mean Accident Compensation Commission but our government changed it into a corporation a few years ago), there is more information in the Wikipedia link. The basic system is now screwed, it’s run as a corporation now, the figures used to cost out some of the data have been proven flawed, with accidents off road being counted as on road, even the in some instances the vehicle involved not even being a motorcycle. ACC claim to have made changes in the way the data is recovered and recorded but they still quote data from prior to this change. While there is an organisation called the motorcycle safety advisory council,(MSAC), and while they are trying to improve some of the things and having minor success, an example of which if the changes in the way data is recorded, they are still back the company line, I guess they kind of have to being funded by ACC.

Here is an example of the way I see the system as faulty, previously I reported here that Kerry and I had a fairly major crash in Kawakawa, Kerry’s injuries were more substantial than first thought with damage to the tendons and ligaments in both her knee and elbow, while undergoing treatment for her knee the elbow had been masked due to the pain relief, but her strength was just not getting better, now ACC covers the cost of treatment and rehabilitation which is what insurance is for and that’s what ACC is. Here is where things fall over as I see it, there were multiple factors in this incident, but the biggest was the condition of the road surface, sure had we been in a car there may have been no issue, but the fact multiple motorcycle crashes had happened at the same place previously over a few weeks indicate there was an issue with the road. According to ACC however, we were involved in two crashes, with no other party involved as no cars hit us, thus it becomes motorcycle at fault, there lays one issue ACC is supposed to be a no fault, no blame system, the other is the fact the road should be considered as a factor, but it is not.

On discussions with other motorcyclists there are many similar incidents, from Diesel/oil on the road, roads not swept after resurfacing, stock/animals on the road, or avoidance of a worse a collision due the actions of other motorists, the examples are endless, but as a group we have limited voice, sure the MSAC is supposed to represent us but discussions with past members lead me to believe they are not interested, and there is no singular political voice, there has been attempts at this in the past with BRONZ, but they don’t seem to act with a singular voice, there is not even a branch in Canterbury where we are based. I would have to suggest motorcyclists are an apathetic lot when it comes to our rights, I guess because for many it is just a hobby.

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