3,000 miles, six days, one exam and enough fog to last a lifetime ….. Yes, the last run of 2015 to the UK and back is over! The return bought with it oodles of goodies and an unwanted guest, the dreaded UK winter cold that then turns into bronchitis, oh what fun.
After getting back and between snuffling, shivering and coughing up gunk thick enough to glue shelves up with I managed to give the new Capo Rally-Raid frame a damn good de-grease and inspection. It all looks good and other than the usual wear and tear befitting a 12 year old part (in UK weather!) it’ll be a fine starting point for the bikes rebuild. It also gave me the opportunity to look at the differences between the standard and Rally-Raid frames. Does it really justify a new part number just because of a fresh run of serial numbers? Or is the difference more involved?
In fact it turns out the Raid frame is quite different. All the modifications are around the swing-arm pivot points and cross brace/suspension mount. Five reinforcement plates in all …. Making the difference in frame prices work out at roughly £50 per modification! Mind you, that’s chicken feed when compared to the list price – £3,193 (Std) / £3,440 (R-Raid)! 😯
Oh and the exam ….. Well I took the Advanced (full) Amateur Radio Licence – the last of the three levels in the UK. Thankfully the head-cold wasn’t an issue, it would be a further 12hrs before that little puppy made itself known. So six months of preparation and study boiled down to two hours of pen-pushing on a Monday evening. FACT – did you know tummy-rumbling is catching, just like yawning … I know, I was there! 😳 Anyway, did I do all that studying justice? Is it an early Christmas present or a can of Gold Label and a cry behind the bike sheds ……..
…….. well say helloooo to the new full licence callsign:
Unfortunately ‘ETV’ had gone, but to stick with the bike theme I chose my old Kawasaki ZRX1200 Eddie Lawson rep instead! Next stop – let’s see if the Italians will give me a reciprocal licence as well, it would be very kind of them! 😀
The Capo and I touched down back at home a few days ago with the odometer just over 77,750 miles …. a whizz around the block and we might have made a photo-op 77,777 but I was simply too knackered to bother! Capo ran strong and solid as always, so no news on that front. Anakee 3’s are wearing very well (3,050 miles in three weeks) and are certainly a nice change from running around on knobbly tyres …. it’s rumoured I even let (what remains) of my hair down and had a little play while in the UK.
Now We’ve got a few weeks before we do it all over again – time enough for a scrub up and check over, but frankly the way the Capo is running I could load up and leave right now with no worries. Which is great as I need a bit of time to do some revision ……
….. for my next Amateur Radio exam! Yes, while in the UK I went along to a fantastic weekend organised by LEFARS (Loughton and Epping Forrest Amateur Radio Society) where I sat the RCE Foundation Licence exam – and passed! 😀 I have to say a huge thank you to all concerned for their time and dedication and for making the weekend a real enjoyment. So now I have the call-sign of M6FMZ and hopefully, if all goes well I’ll move on up to the Intermediate licence before the end of July (exam booked!) and maybe ….. just maybe mind ….. I might even get the full (Advanced) licence under my belt before Christmas, that would make a fantastic end to the year!
I searched high and low for a course closer to Oxford and unfortunately drew a blank until the back-end of the year, while LEFARS could squeeze me in on their May course – LEFARS it was then! The round trip from Oxford was about 130 miles(ish) and mostly motorways – so pretty quick. In the end I’m so glad I chose them, excellent venue/parking, tuition and most importantly – a good brew and well stocked biscuit tin! 😀 If a personal recommendation means anything, then mine says consider LEFARS if your thinking of taking up amateur radio. I’m damn glad I did.
New toy perhaps? Hmmm……..
I finally got around to renewing my RPMT (Register of Post Test Motorcycle Trainers) membership before it expired, another few weeks and I’d have to start the whole registration process over again – Riding test, Instructional test and Instructor Theory test …. not a very savoury thought, given the time and cost (£390-£540 as of November 2014). By Jimini that snuck up rather quick!
RPMT was set up by the DSA ( Driving Standards Agency – Now the DVSA) back in late 06 or early 07, I forget which. The idea is to bring a level of professionalism and regulation to an otherwise unregulated industry. The simple fact is that unlike pre-test motorcycle training (CBT/DAS), in the UK anyone can set themselves up as an ‘Advanced Instructor’ with no training or qualifications, it’s been done and people have been hurt through unsafe tuition. So if you are looking to take your road-riding skills up a notch, make sure the Instructor/Coach/Observer (whatever!) is suitably qualified – you can’t go far wrong with any of these – IAM, RoSPA (I’m on the last page. 😉 ) , DIA or someone on the RPMT register.