Monday, November 30, 2015
I've been buried in *other things* things lately and motorcycles haven't had a look in, as they say. Tried to get my norton tank sorted for the Smash Palace show but failed when at about 3am the night before I realised that the tank cap I had wasn't gonna fit. Anyway I thought I'd chuck this project up here cause it's what I've been busting my chops on lately...
This is Cheap Thrills, essentially a music zine/journal which was proposed to me by Erin Kimber and which I've (probably foolishly) jumped on board with as sort of an editor, but more designer/printer... and also somehow; collator, binder, trimmer... sheesh, good idea!? Nah it's been awesome, even though it almost killed me getting it ready for the launch on Saturday! One of my students, Luke Shaw, has worked tirelessly on this with me also and he deserves a decent handshake and a few free beers.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Haven't done fuck-all bike related lately except this! The poster for the next Smash Palace Motorcycle Show. I designed and printed this sucker on our risograph at the Ilam Press last week. This year the show's on out at New Brighton and it's on November the 21st.
I'm planning to have the Norton done for the show, not that I expect it to be winning anything, but just because it's a good deadline! I don't really have much to do, just make decals, get tank and side-covers clear coated, and make mounts for the front of the tank. Should be easy enough, just need some TIME!!!
Thursday, September 3, 2015
They're here! 1000 copies of the flexidisc for the next issue of Head Full of Snakes. Thanks so much to Tacoma band Girl Trouble for this one. Now we have the flexis in hand we will be making plans to produce this issue (given the wait for them last time, we thought we'd chill til we had these!). Thinking we'll be looking at a November launch at the moment, maybe as part of the Smash Palace Motorcycle Show? Dunno? I'll keep ya posted.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Scored this old XL185 for $100 a couple of weeks back. I had my other one out at the vmx racing and this older guy, Willy, came up and mentioned he had one at home that he was keen to get rid of. I wasn't that keen until he said it went ok and he'd give it to me for $100! Sweet. So yeah went and grabbed it. Willy's a good guy, I must go back for a cuppa' sometime. Anyway here she is... pretty rough – obviously! But it actually runs really bloody well. I'm gonna do it up a bit, I've already got a new seat (from KG for $40!) and new handlebars and levers etc. There's a bunch of nuts and bolts missing – not hard to replace. And I'll tidy the tank up and paint it. The tank looks bad but inside it has no rust at all! I need to get a muffler sorted. At the moment the header runs into that box on the side you can see in the bottom picture there, and Willy's stuffed it full of steel wool or something. Keen to get a muffler like what's on my other XL cause it sounds fuckin awesome. Anyway all going well – and my biggest problem at the moment is being totally swamped at work – I may have this ready for the next race day? Which would be good as I think I've killed the gearbox on my other one at the last race!?
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Got my Hi Rider tank and other set of side-covers back off Marty last week. This is the tank I got from India fucking aaaaages ago now, see it when I got it here. And also here it is with Marty last year when he was helping me out with the seat pan. So yeah it's been a long time coming and I was pretty stoked to get a text from Marty last week saying "come get it!"
I've procrastinated for ages over all of this but I'm real fuckin' happy with the plain old gloss black actually. I'd thought about all sorts a shit, even a metal flake, but yeah I dig the gloss black a lot. I'm also happy I didn't chop this bike more. I like the 'mild' customization job I'm doing on this – a light touch! I kinda like that it sorta looks like it coulda' come out like this?
There's still a bit of shit to do. The tank's just sitting on there at the moment. I'm going to make up some decals – not sure what yet – and then when they're on, take it back to Marty for another beautiful thick coat of gloss. I'm going to have to rethink the mounting as I want it to sit higher than normal too...
And yes the white handlebar grips will be going. Maybe onto the Triumph?
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Wow it's been a while. I've been busy as hell since returning to work and I've also been trying to aclimatize to the winter here! Anyway I've been squeezing a bit of motorcycle related activity in...
A week or so ago now me and some of the lads went vintage motocross racing. We'd met a guy out at the rained-out Day in the Dirt event and he'd told us about these motocross meets that happen. They're organized by some local club who's name I can't quite remember right now? But yeah Bad Evil got the info for us, we all got up real early, dragged our shitty dirt bikes out of the sheds and headed for this field somewhere out off West Coast Road...
And what a day! The weather was great for start. That helped. The four of us who went had a great time even though none of us have ever done anything like this before. In fact we're all fairly new to dirt bikes at all! So I guess it was all kinda freaky at times, especially since we were the slowest there by miles, and we had what looked like 10 year old kids flying past us on 400ccKTMs and stuff like that!? We were supposed to be in classes, but they didn't seem to be too anal about that. It was kinda a free-for-all it seemed? Although we definitely avoided the modern big-cc races. Shit were they faaaaassssst. Anyway I made this stupid movie... I always use the go pro and then can't be fucked editing it together!? Mainly I just made this for the boys to see, but thought I might as well chuck it up here. It's kinda embarrassing I guess, but there you have it, our first day out VMXing... have I mentioned the week worth of all-over-body-pain that came afterwards?
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
So here we are at the end. The last ride. As if the universe empathized with my state of mind I woke up to cloudy skies and a forecast of rain. Great. I packed everything in plastic bags and headed out of Kernville expecting to get wet. The sky was grey and you could smell it wanting to rain. It didn't yet though and I pulled off the road at Lake Isabella to hoon around in the dirt a bit for one last time. I considered unloading the bike and really going for it, but I got worried that it'd be stupid to drop it right at the end of the trip, right before I wanna sell it. Also I realized I was being watched by a ranger. I got back onto the road and headed for Bakersfield, which Warren had raved about after he went there with Connie.
The road to Bakersfield was actually pretty cool. Later on Tucker told me there was a better, more twisty and remote one I could have taken. But considering what I was expecting – long straight roads, traffic, and rain – it was all good. The road was full of sweeping bends, there was hardly any traffic, and it didn't rain! I got to Bakersfield and rode around aimlessly for a bit trying to remember what Warren had told me was good about the place. I remembered something about the 'Buck Owens bar' and also a guitar store...
What a bloody goldmine! Front Porch Music in Bakersfield is awesome. Almost like a museum. It was hard on me though as I was on a motorcycle and also very close to totally broke. Hence I didn't actually spend very long there at all... I couldn't handle the temptation. Check out that Sunn stack!!! And just so many guitars. I coulda stayed there all day, but I would've ended up remortgaging the house and buying half the place.
I hit the road pretty quickly, partly because Bakersfield had a bit of a weird vibe, kinda dero', but also because it was really looking like it was gonna piss down. Big black clouds had been following me there and I thought if I took off again I could stay ahead of them...
It sort of spat a little here and there, but I got back to LA without getting wet at all really. When I arrived back at the Tucker compound James and Colleen were just about to tend to their bees, but James had been working on Joe's yellow DR. It looked amazing, like a new bike almost. The engine was spotless. I was amazed. It was funny seeing Joe's bike again, I'd really dug riding on my own but I sorta missed the boys again now.
I now had a week to spend in LA visiting people and doing work related stuff. Half way through the week these two young Norwegian guys showed up (you can follow their trip on ADVRider here) to begin their full year long trip. It kinda sucked watching them getting ready to go as I was only days away from returning to my real life – work, shitty house, terrible weather etc. They were great guys though and we had a good time all hanging out with the Tuckers. The day before we all were about to go our separate ways the Tuckers took us for a ride up into the mountains behind LA and to a great bar/restaurant called Newcombe's. It was an amazing and fast ride up into the mountains, and we were lucky enough to catch the last ten laps of the Spanish MotoGP there too.
We rode back to LA via a bunch of back roads that I can't remember and visited the San Andreas Fault. This seemed an appropriate way for me to end my trip given that I'm returning to a city that was all but destroyed by an earthquake 4 years ago now. Back in Christchurch things are feeling pretty grim to be honest. It's colder than I'd been expecting, work's stressing me out again already, the house needs soooo much work, and my sister's new dog died while I was away. So I set up a new account and put $600 in it towards the next trip... until then, it'll be back to business as usual around here I guess.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I got up and left Yosemite National Park as soon as I could. Needless to say I guess, if you read my last post you know I wasn't really digging Yosemite. A shame, because it was beautiful, just too many fucking people, cars, buses, and rangers... who're basically cops. I mean I know they're doing their job, a good job, an important job, but... it's kinda killed it. Well for me it has. I was looking forward to getting the fuck away from the masses again, and today I knew exactly where I was going...
Today I was headed south to re-ride a road we'd done as a group about 4 weeks ago now, but in the other direction (north). That ride had been amazing, a highlight of the trip so far, and I was excited about both the ride and the kinda country I knew I was headed back into.
To cover some ground quickly I took main highways/interstates for a bit. I took the 41 to Fresno, got lost for a bit, went to Starbucks again, and found my way onto the 99 south to Visalia. From Visalia I knew I could find the quaint little back road we'd taken a few weeks back by finding the gas station we'd stopped at on the 198 which would take you up to Sequoia National Park.
I found the gas station, and stopped for water and to take my jacket off. This was the hottest days riding so far. I don't know what the temperature was but it was nuts! Way hotter than anything I'd experienced before. It was sorta uncomfortable but whenever I thought about the weather I'd be heading home to (cold!) I felt good and enjoyed the fuck out of it. We never get to ride in t shirts at home!
I found my road – Yokohl Drive. A beautiful little twisty back road that runs along the foothills of the mountains, past golden grass farms and ranches. My photos above start here, on this road. I was in heaven, and the rest of this day was to be certainly one of the best most memorable rides (probably?) of my life.
I was headed for the Pierpoint Springs cafe/diner in the mountains that we'd stopped at with Nick last time. I took Yokohl Drive to Springville, and then hung a left onto the 190 that takes you up into the mountains. This road – the 190 up to Camp Nelson – is motorcycle gold. A winding up-hill road where the bends are super consistent so you kinda get a feel for them and can just start taking them faster and faster. Dangerous probably. But fucking fun! The DR handles like a dream on these kind of roads. I'm really surprised by it's ability to corner. You can just keep tipping it over, and it's also super forgiving. You go in too fast, hit the brakes, and it just sinks into the shocks and absorbs your mistake, popping you out of the corner right side up! Brilliant!
Anyway, after a great ride up to the diner, I ate a big lunch and congratulated myself for how many miles I'd done already that day by downing a couple of pints of some local beer. I reminded myself when I left to take it easy. I was now headed into the wooded mountains that we'd previously camped in with Nick. There are dirt roads leading off in every direction up here. I chose one at random and decided to just see where it went... it went and went and went, and then ended at what I guess was a sort of free campsite by a massive meadow that just appeared out of nowhere from the forest of big trees. I was stunned by this sight and spent time just looking at it. These meadows amaze me, the way the just appear within these massive forests. I always imagine I'll see a bear cavorting in the sun and grass?
Not having seen any signs of anyone for a long while now I decided I risk leaving the dirt road and heading out onto the meadow. Real naughty I know, but fuck it, after Yosemite I just wanted to get as far away from humanity as I could! I rode the length of the meadow and then up into the trees beyond it. It was easy riding up through the trees and I went for quite a while like that, eventually stopping and thinking about setting up camp. I was pretty stoked to be really in the wild now, and I sat around for a while and drank another beer. I started to get paranoid though that if I did get busted by a ranger up here I'd be pretty screwed. I also started thinking about mountain lions and bears. I mucked about for ages, unpacked my bike, procrastinated for a bit, and then repacked the bike. I decided to head back to the dirt road and find an actual campground. Especially since I knew there was no one at the campgrounds in this area, it didn't seem like too bad a compromise.
Riding down the mountains now it was evening but I swear it was getting hotter. I'd been riding in a t shirt all day, and it I was sticky and disgusting, so when I came out next to (what I'm guessing was) the Kern River it was too tempting to get off the bike and go for a swim. Even though it was about 7pm I think. I found a great swimming hole – deep! – and jumped in. Man was this a relief! The sweat and dust of the days riding were gone and the cool mountain water made me wake up again. I felt quite rejuvenated, and then sorta just kept riding... past all the campgrounds... to the pub at Kernville. We'd stopped here, at the pub, on the way up too. The beers were good, the food was good, and the locals had seemed kinda cool. I decided I'd do the same – have some food, some beer, and then ride back up and find a campsite. However once at the bar I started yakking to a local girl and drank too much beer. Needless to say I didn't end up camping but crashed at the motels right next door to the pub!
What a fucking day. I hope I remember this one on my death-bed.