F4240 Hex …….. or 10^6 in old money if you prefer

While some of you may find the following post trivial or questionable and others may think it as anal as colour grading belly button fluff ………. I sincerely and unreservedly, don’t give a flying duck. KarlB March 2016

“Neither the mouse nor the boy was the least bit surprised that each could understand the other. Two creatures who shared a love for motorcycles naturally spoke the same language.”
Beverly Cleary, The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Honda SS50I seem to recall it was back in 2007 that I read a piece in a UK bike magazine, in which the journo waxed lyrical about documenting a riding time-line ….. Laying out your bikes, accidents, countries visited, mileage etc. since you first threw a leg over a bike to the present day.

I admit the idea was intriguing. Our bookshelves held all manner of manuals*, dockets, documents and diaries from every bike I’d owned and company/despatch bike I’d worked. It took about 12 months on and off to go through everything and assemble it onto a spreadsheet. The end result was quite surprising, the only missing information seemed to be loan/courtesy bikes and training school instructor/student bikes I’d ridden when not using my own. So it’s fair to say the number twinkling on the screen was several thousand miles short, this counteracted very nicely with the fact that bike odometers are woefully inaccurate and over-read. Bottom line – I felt the overall mileage displayed reasonably reflected my riding to that date.

Each following year the spreadsheet was updated with the Capo’s mileage and each year it never really looked like it changed much – until this year. In late January I realised I only had a few miles to go, so a reminder was stuck on the Capo dashboard – When the odometer hits 90,898 – you’ve done it fella.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid rider reaches 1,000,000 miles

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid rider hits 1,000,000 milesThat day has finally arrived. On a nondescript little back road the Capo rolled to a halt, I switched off, fumbled for the camera and took a moment to look around and reflect on the years, roads and miles that led me to this point ……………. all 1,000,000 of them.

*Each bike since my first Honda SS50 has had a Haynes, Clymer or genuine workshop manual from day one – not one of them has ever been dealer serviced. Each has the mileage on purchase, mileage at upgrade or repair and final mileage when sold added in the fly-sheet. The Capo is the first bike to be totally digital – manual, parts lists the whole nine yards.

A courier conundrum

Sorry folks I’ve just got to get this off my chest before I explode in apoplectic frustration ….


Have you seen the film ‘2001’? Remember the computer – HAL? Did you know the name was a little in-joke by the director because if you add a letter, H becomes I, A becomes B and L becomes M making IBM the (then) biggest and most memorable of computer companies.

So now I’m going to bemoan a courier company, not a little provincial one, but a global name known to most. Let’s call it CGK (work it out!). Here is a company that can prove a committed and sustained level of incompetence that is truly inspirational, indeed the sheer magnitude of its ineptitude is breathtakingly staggering and that takes some commitment. Why?

Because every time we have been unfortunate enough to have an incoming parcel handled by them, they have delayed, mislaid or attempted to deliver to a completely wrong house – all while having parcels that are clearly marked with our address AND phone number. We invariably get embroiled in numerous (premium rate) phone calls trying to track the damn things down. The first bit of glorious stupidity comes in the form of the tracking number. The number that should tell you where your beloved brown box is at any one time … but stops at the border, changes from 12 digits to a new 10 digit number and is known only to some secret squirrel in a call center!

And so it goes on, more phone calls … ‘the name is wrong on the package, but the address is OK’ …… ‘the courier tried to deliver twice yesterday’ ….. ‘they only deliver on a Tuesday or Thursday’ …. ‘it’s on a canoe heading for Nova Scotia’. OK, I made the last one up, but the others are genuine. Frankly, I give up. If these bunch of clowns were the only postal/courier company in existence, I’d buy some new boots and start walking the package to its destination, it can’t be any slower that’s for sure.

Deep breath …..and release slowly ……. ahhhhhhh, I feel so much better now!

UPDATE: 5 minutes after posting, the phone rang …. it was a courier. In the end I got the parcel an hour later, after a 16km round trip to a local village because he didn’t know the area and frankly didn’t want to. So there we stood in the piazza as I signed his 21st century electronic gizmo, him cutting a dash in his corporate sweatshirt and cap while his 20 year old van wheezed and creaked on its springs in the wind. I don’t think it would have survived our road after all!