Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Arai Bone Domes

Well 3 days to go now and I am hoping we have got just about everything ready. Our helmets (Neils is black) are sporting some of our sponsors logos'. If any of our sponsors are reading this blog you have 2 days to get some stickers to us, as you can see there is still some room on our helmets to advertise for you.
In about half an hour we will be off over the road to have our going away drink and draw the prizes for our Enduro Africa prize draw.
Hopefully see you there, money is still coming in with £50 through the door today, Rathers sold some more tickets to his shift last night and he also received £100 and another Chimnea from the Farm Goods shop on the A5 at the Redgate today.
Will update the thermometer after tonight with a more or less final total for our efforts.
See you later peeps,

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Meeting with fellow Enduro's

With 6 days left to wait for our departure to the Wild Coast, I set off Saturday lunchtime time to the Navigation Inn at Overseal to meet up with Mike Poxon and Graham Merrick, just two of our fellow enduro's. Unfortuneately Rathers was unable to make it due to working in M01, the northern motorway car on days. I arrived to find Mike waiting in the car park next to his Yamaha TDM, after a brief introduction we went in to partake in a pint of bitter shandy and a chat whilst we awaited Graham who was in this neck of the woods following a funeral.
Mike is a wealth of knowledge on SA, having lived there for two years and still makes regular trips out there in the course of his business. After a while Graham turned up with his family and we sat down for a good chat about luggage allowances, kit, riding skills, expectations and fears.
I wish I had been able to make the dirty weekend in Wales, it not only sounded like a good night, good food and entertainment, but a lot of past experiences were shared by Enduro Africa vetrans.
Thanks both, it was good to meet you before we go, I have now finished work and will be in a frenzy for the next few days, I think you both finish at the office on Weds, happy packing and look forward to seeing you at the airport.
Now then, tomorrow night at the Ambleside club, sometime after 7:30pm we will be drawing our prize tickets out of a hat, if you can make it, please come along for a drink and see us off. Thats Tuesday 29th of September. Hopefully see some or even all of you there, if not the next time you see us will be when we return, hopefully not too battered and bruised!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Coventry Post Office and Bikesafe

Isn't the world a small place? Following another email from the Enduro Africa team I set off this afternoon to West Orchards in Coventry to obtain an International Driving Permit form the PO in WH Smiths. I am a bit of a dinosaur and still have the old paper driving licence, it is a recommendation that old folk like us should also obtain the IDP for SA.
I took my turn in the queue and was duly handed the application form to complete by one lady, once completed the lady on the next till called me accross. During general chit chat, the lady enquired where I was going to be driving, I filled her in with some details and she said, "so you ride a bike anyway?", "Yes" I replied, "What do you ride?"(you know when a question is put that way that you are talking to someone who might know something about bikes) "A police bike" I replied. "Were you on the bikesafe stand at Gaydon a few weeks back at on the Triumph run?"," Yes I was I replied" "I knew I recognised you, my husband was on the ROSPA stand next to you, I was standing around with the dog"
A general chat then ensued on bikes, What a small world full of coincidence!
Anyway I think I have all the documentation I need now, spent £16 on pain killers, foot powder, lip balm(Cherry, nice) nappy rash powder, well you never know do you?, new socks and pants(just in case I end up in hospital, gotta keep appearances up don't we, I think I remember me mam telling me to wear clean skiddies , just in case) Still don't know what's wrong with wearing skiddies for 4 days, turn em back to front, then repeat the process after turning them inside out?
I must start to pack, if only to weigh up how much I will be over the 20KG allowance.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Training Day

Well today me and the big boy got together for a bit of a workout on the XT's but first we had to attend business at Sonic Communications. The incident that occured just before we left the nick is typical of the sense of humour that we share with our Road's policing colleagues.
DB was sat astride his XT660, helmet and gloves on with his bike parked nose in to a low retaining wall, just as he kicked up the side stand and fired the beasty up, Sgt Jeff Love was walking by. Quick as a flash Jeff ducked down behind DB's bike and took up a bracing position, just under the top box and rack, as DB started to back the bike out jeff pushed back, time and time again DB tried to push the bike backwards out of its parking lot, each time met with equal force from behind, he rocked it backwards forwards, blipped the throttle(Don't know why - frustration) but could not get it to move. After about a dozen goes he glanced my way to see me curling up in a ball on the floor and wailing with laughter! DB couldn't see Jeff in his mirrors until he stood up, Bl@@dy hell it was funny, I was still laughing when we arrived at Sonic 10 minutes later.
We collected our helmet Camera, and two radios with kidney pouches from Liam Thornton and were talked through the techie bits by Wayne. Cheers guys, and thank you again to the MD Mr David Bryan for arranging the kit to be made available to us(Same kit as used in Long Way Down so should be some good footage)
After that we made our way out to an undisclosed location that has some excellent tracks, ruts, slopes, woods etc. My thinking was to get DB back in the saddle on a bigger bike than we will be riding out there in SA, increase our confidence in that if we can get these brutes up the inclines we should be able to throw the little CR230's around.
DB, sorry mate I should have warned you about that big mound and not just expected you to follow me over it and down the other side, you did it though and went back the other way, good fun eh?
A second location provided us with a good long rough climb, to simulate the gorge in SA, plus some horrible ruts, the onew we could see were bad enough but the ones where the new grass had hidden them were to be my down fall, one minute I was there, the next I was chewing daisies! Oh how we laughed, flooded the bike enough to have to remove the plug and dry it out.
All in all a good day out and again credit to the Yamaha XT660R, they went everwhere we wanted them to go.
Tomorrow I think we are both shopping for bum cream and stuff the the trip, 11 days to go and I have to work for 5 of them!
More to follow,
Bob and Neil

Friday, 18 September 2009

2 weeks and counting!

Well 2 weeks to go now, I think we have most of the kit together but still need lots of bits and bobs, you know, Sudocrem, germoline, Gaffa tape(Stop Rathers snoring - bet he has the same idea about me too!) Still not really sinking in that in two weeks we will be a very long way away, doing something we both love and raising money for some great charities at the same time. It's been a couple of years now since I watched Charlie and Ewan do the Long Way Down, I said at one stage to Di(The better half) that I would love to be there, to talk to the locals and take hospitality in one of their homes, no it's real.
One of the highlights will be visiting one of the Schools on the Touch Africa project and giving it a lick of paint. I know that will be a paint job that will remain with me for the rest of my life.
We have had our final instructions for the airport and luggage allowances will be tight, 20kg for the hold and 8kg for hand luggage. It would appear that most of us will be wearing our off road boots at the airport as they weigh a ton, then once on the plane we will take them off and put some flip flops or trainers on. I don't think it will be too difficult to spot our fellow riders in the departure lounge!
I would invite anyone who is still reading this blog to make any comments over the next two weeks, wish us luck, tell us to watch out for mozzies, or anything you wish.
Thanks again for your support, we could not have done this without you.
Come back soon as the Post's will no doubt become more frantic and hopefully funnier.
This weekend I will be on a road bike on "Bikesafe" helping civillian riders improve their skills, a far cry from what is about to come.
One a final note, I have been trying to get the other 100 or so people completing the Enduro challenge on 2nd of Oct to speak to one and other on the Enduro Facebook site, with some success, I think about half a dozen have since come forward and introduced themselves over the last few days.
Enough for now,
Dog wants a beer!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

India Red and Malt Shovel charity cricket match

Just as I was about to engage in another driving lesson with Nikki(eldest daughter) I saw this flash BMW cabriolet pull up on the road outside. It was Ian Gilling from Amblesides cricket section. I have known Ian since school when we were in the same class at George Eliot. Ian told me that there was a charity match on across the road and the £40 fee was for us, in fact they bunged in an extra £20 so he handed me £60. Fantastic I said, thanked him and continued with the driving lesson setting off towards Market Bosworth.
After returning and scoffing a cracking Roast dinner cooked by my lovely wife(don't all throw up at once) my phone went and it was Ian. "Bob, they have had a whipround after the match, can you come over and pick up this money?"
Off I trotted with the pooch, who I later caught having a crafty Guinness!
The whipround totted up to over £123.00! the loose change went in the air ambo box on the bar.
Whilst chatting and thanking the team captains one said, I know you, do you use my resturante, The India Red? Oh yes I certainly do. I thought I knew you I said. It then became clear that the match was between the India Red and the Malt Shovel PH.
I have not been in the Malt Shovel but I know it is very popular and I will make the effort. I have been to the India Red (formally Woody's Free House) in Abbey Steet next to the CO OP carpark and can say what a transformation, for a long time T/C PH's to a very classy Indian Resturante with fresh food cooked by the best of chefs. If you haven't been yet you don't know what you are missing. Very friendly staff, fine food and an ambience which would lead to to believe you are a million miles away from Nuneaton.
A very big thank you to you both and your teams for the money you have donated to our charities.

OMG-Less than 3 weeks to go!

I find myself again first apologising for the lack of updates, I'll blame it on work, annual leave and anyone else I can think of. Really not a lot has been happening of late and we have eased off on the fund raising, to be honest it was a relief when we reached our minimum goal.
We gave ourselves just over 4 months to raise the £9,990 with most people having between 12-18 months to raise tha same funds, at the outset I said to Neil(who shall be refered to from now on as "DB" it's a long story) "we will need to hit the ground running onn this one" That we did and the support we have recieved is enough to restore anyones faith in human nature. Bearing in mind we started this not long after Children in Need 2009, you still gave readily to support those less furtunate than ourselves.
We had a couple of months where we were both a little down due to a problem at work which saw DB lose his driving authorisation for a while. I will state that DB in my and 99.9% of our colleagues eyes had done nothing at all wrong, he was an advanced driver doing his job, something he was trained to do, and do very well. I will not go into any more detail, the matter is done and dusted, DB has been exonerated at the highest level.
Without doubt this did affect our fund raising, we expected to end up closer to 15K rather than 10K, it looks like we will crack 11K before we go.
Enough of that! we have less than 3 weeks to go now before we board the big white bird and head off for what I am sure will be an adventure of a lifetime, an experience that we are told by many will change our lives.
We have been watching the 2008 highlights on Men and Motors and are both fully aware that this will not be a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. We are having a supper meeting tonight to sort out the final preparations, I feel the next 19 days will be a blur.
I went to Sonic last week and met with Liam Thornton who is putting together the Coms/head cams for us and confirmed that we can collect them on 21st Sept.
I have not heard from Long Way Down since Rob the producer passed us on to one of his charity organising staff, I have re emailed him and hope by tomorrow when he returns to his office that we can continue negotiations re a link to our site and the possibility of using some of our footage to encourage others to follow in our steps(we are just doing what Charlie and Ewan did) to raise money for children in SA.
In the days that lead up to our departure, I hope to update this blog daily. One date to remember is Sept 29th when we will be pulling the winning tickets out of a hat for our prize draw in the bar at Ambleside Sports Club. We would love you to join us for a send off so please try and come for an hour or so, I'm sure DB will bring his pipes along again.
If anyone would like to make a last minute contribution via our PayPal button, please do so, every penny is for charity, the more we make the better for the children. For those of you that have already done so, I thank you again.
Please keep on reading, I hope to keep you posted on this site from SA.