Mingles with Mitchell

I was going to have a go at installing my new motorcycle battery last night but by the time I got home I felt pretty exhausted and the weather didn’t really loan itself to motorcycle tinkering so instead I did some baking. And before you ask, no I wasn’t inspired by the great british bake off although Emma does watch it and so by proxy I often watch some of it too but I’m not really a big fan. I made lentil burgers, and broccoli and cheese muffins, for my lunches. I’ve been eating (self made) wraps almost exclusively for lunch at work for the last couple of years. I started off with ham and lettuce, which is nice but you read stories about too much processed meat being bad for you. Then it was cheese and lettuce, and this again is nice and is oftern a combo that I fall back to as we almost always have cheese in the fridge but again cheese everyday… I’m not sure how nourishing cheese and lettuce is for a long term solution. My last combo was sardines and lettuce, this combo was really healthy and cheap. One 40p tin of sardines would easly do two lunches so you’re looking at £1 per week, but the wrap would get soggy by lunchtime and sardines got really boring, really quickly. So this led me to lentil burgers and lettuce which (I think) are equally as good for you and I’ve frozen the bugers so I can just get them out as and when they’re needed (I’ve pre-cooked them) stuff them in a wrap with some lettuce and by the time its midday its defrosted. The idea for the muffins came from Rob, the guy that I sit next to at work. He made some savoury muffins recently that looked really good and I was still feeling hungry after the wrap and piece of fruit that I have for lunch (I’m cycling 7.8 miles each way to work and back at the moment) so I did some googling and broccoli is in at the moment so gave that a go. They turned out really well, as did the burgers so next time I make them I’ll take a bunch of photos and post them along with ingredents and instructions!

On Sunday I did my longest cycle ride to date with the exception of the London to Cambridge cycle ride that I did in my early twenties. Willingham to Saffron Walden 25 miles each way (so 50 miles total) – it took 1 hour 30 minutes there and 1 hour 45 minutes back. When I arrived at Saffron Walden the first thing I did was look for a shop to buy some food and drink to replenish some of my spent calories, I stumbled upon a Subway, they had a £3 meal deal (6 inch sub and drink) – excellent. While I was in Subway a couple of classic cars drove by so I asked the women serving me if there was some sort of event going on. She didn’t know but when I got out of Subway an old couple walked past so I asked them and there was a classic car show on 😀

So I found it, sat down and ate my sub before having a browse. I didn’t take many pictures but here are a few…

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Maiden Voyage

Over the weekend I got the bike taxed and insured, it was exceedingly cheap. Tax was £17 per year and I got insurance via Quidco/Bennetts at a cost of £71.75 – £25 cash back that Quidco should pay me at some point in the future (so £46.75 assuming I receive cashback). I also bought a £30 helmet from Halfords on Sunday. It gets a four star SHARP (safety rating) which is excellent value for money at this price as most cheap helmets only get three stars.

I took the bike out for a burn last night, and it drives really well and sounds good (super easy to drive). However the speedo and rev counter are wildly inaccurate. The speedo was reporting 75 – 80mph when my gps was only reporting 60ish. I maxed the bike out at 62mph according to gps, which assuming the speedo had been working should have read 65mph (as speedo’s always seem to read 5% higher than the actual speed). I’m hopeing that once I’ve completed the weight reduction and given it a service (and possibly changed the the sprocket/gear ratio) that I’ll be able to get 70+ out of it, just in case I ever do go on a dual carriageway it would be nice to be able to keep in front of the lorries. I’m hoping to swap out the speedo and rev counter dials to just a single dial with the speed and warning lights on it in the future so hopefully I’ll be able to resolve the issue with the speedo reading the wrong speed at the same time.

Cone air filters

For the grand price of £15, yesterday I replaced the standard air filter with two ebay special cone filters (the crank case needed a breather filter). It will look even better once I remove the battery and replace it with a battery eliminator (large capacitor).

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Bike bits

Found this really good site full of tutorials: http://caferacersunited.com/category/how-to/

Stuff I need to buy to make it look good (mostly cheap, ebay specials)…

Cone Air filter £15

Crank Case breather cone filter £7

Fabric for reupholstering the seat £10

Cafe Racer style handle bars £30

New indicators £15

New tail light £10

Battery eliminator £20

Lots of spray paint

Future bits and bobs

New levers £30

Handle bar control set £40

New Tyres

The Haggard bike build

So while Emma was at work on Saturday I went for a nice cycle to Dom’s house (30ish mile round trip) as part of my training for my four day cycle to Paris. Which my brother has managed to persuade me to do, well it didn’t take too much persuasion as I’m cycling to and from work every day at the moment so feel pretty fit and I’m always up for one of these get from A to B challenges. We’re doing it in four days because I don’t have a great deal of holiday entitlement left and we’re going from London to Paris instead of Cambridge to Paris, to make it fit within the four days that I’ve allocated to the challenge (going from Cambridge would have added an extra day).

While I was on my way home, on the outskirts of Willingham I noticed a motorbike for sale for £300 and it was MOT’ed (till December). I’ve been keeping my eye open for cheap bikes, I really want a classic Vespa but that’ll cost close to £3k and I don’t really have that sort of budget for something that is more of a play thing than something of really use (maybe in the next couple of years). The bike that I was looking at was a made in Korea, classic style 125. I didn’t know it was made in Korea at the time, I thought it was an even more rubbish made in China piece of crap. I believe that Korea made bikes are supposed to be a little bit better than Chinese ones but probably not by much.

The owner of the bike must have seen me looking it over and came out of his house, he seemed to be a nice guy – it was his grandson’s bike. I took it for a test ride down his drive way; it worked and was in pretty good condition for something worth so little. So I thought what the heck, I’ll take a punt and buy it so I did. I didn’t have a lid so I was prepared to walk it home, but the guy kindly offered to lend me a helmet and to follow me home on is own (much, much better) bike so I drove it home (probably close to a mile). I haven’t driven it since as I have had time to buy a helmet yet, so haven’t bothered taxing or insuring it yet either. It fits in my wooden shed too so that’s a bonus.

Here are some phone pics…

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Some pics that Jonny took using his camera…

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I’m not really planning to ride it much when I do eventually get a skid lid. I cycle Monday to Friday (at the moment) and use the Alfa at the weekends, its going to be more of a project/play thing than anything else. I think that watching Haggard Garage has inspired me to do something fun/productive with my spare time. My plan is to convert it into a Cafe Race (Google image) for very little money (less than £200). I’ve already got a ton of ideas, which I’ll list in another post because this one is getting a bit long. One of which is to mod/cut the seat and make it into a single seater (as most Cafe Racers are) but Jonny wants me to take him to Hunstanton on it. Not sure how it’ll perform with the weight of both of us on it, considering its only a 125 (hopefully it’ll still reach 50mph) so we’ll have to do that before I start modifying it too much.

New Blog

So I finally got round to setting up a new WordPress site after 000webhosts randomly deleted my old one without warning. I toyed with the idea of creating a home server now that I’ve got superfast broadband at home but then decided against going down that route, mainly because I don’t have a home server yet, probably won’t get one for a while and when I do have one it’ll probably take me ages to setup a VM that can run WordPress (and configure port forwaring, Dynamic DNS, etc). So I though, lets stick with what you know and sign up for some crappy free space with another website provider.

So this time we’re going with FreeHostia – they seem to appear in a lot of the Top 10 lists when you Google free website hosting. Alongside 000webhosts and others, although not all of them support WordPress so that helpfully reduces the amount of choice. I think the reason that 000webhosts appear in so many Top 10 lists is because they offer you so much free space (1.5GB) and two SQL DB’s etc, where as FreeHostia only offer 250MB of free space and one SQL DB which should be more than enough for me (I like of running a lean web site). And maybe the fact that they offer you less means that they do a better job with what they do give you…and don’t delete your website without warning.