Sunday, March 30, 2008

Motorbike trip preparation starts here

On May 3rd, Garan and I set off for a 9 day motorbike trip around Scotland (the original route Britain route was changed so we could fully appreciate Scotland). That's just under 5 weeks away and today was the first time since early January where I've had the time or the weather to get out on the bike. It's either been raining, cold (or both) or I've been doing something else.

But today the sun was shining, it was much warmer than it's been recently (still only 12 degrees Celsius) and I got out for about an hour and it was great. It immediately comes flooding back why motorbiking is such good fun. It also reminded me of a number of little jobs I need to do to prepare the bike for the trip.

Firstly I had my bike professionally dyno'd last year to eliminate a "rough patch" that plagues DL1000's due to lean fuelling. Unfortunately this increased fuel consumption quite a bit so as an experiment I removed the new fuelling map that was installed into my Power Commander to see just how much extra fuel was being used. What I've now got to do is to just put part of the fuelling map back that covers the 3000 rpm mark from 10-80% throttle as that was the only place I was having issues. I have to admit the map did make the bike run smoother across the board but the rising fuel prices mean I should put my sensible hat on.

Being a gadget freak I have a Zumo 550 GPS unit which is also an MP3 player, this pairs to my phone and an Autocom intercom via Bluetooth for hands free phone usage plus an audio cable into the Autocom for the MP3s that are piped straight into my helmet. I'm trying to overcome an audio crackle and whine that is present on the audio cable and I suspect some interference somewhere. So I've got a few cables to try and a selection of audio noise suppressors. I have to admit I'm not too hopeful.

I also have the Autocom unit connected to a PMR466 radio so Garan and I can chat to each other. These are operated by Press To Talk (PTT) buttons on the handlebars. I want to place the radio under the saddle and power it from the bike but this will involve connecting an external aerial so stop the signal degrading (with all the electrical noise!). So I've been scouring eBay for some options to try out. Luckily radio equipment from Hong Kong is very cheap to try a few things.

The bike also got a good wash to clean off all the salt and road muck that had accumulated after the last few winter rides. I was also very good and actually checked my tyre pressures and inflated them accordingly, something I'm never very good at.

We've got the route all planned out now and spent a whole evening using Garmin Mapsource to put the route together and now have to arrange the overnight accommodation at various points around the route. By all accounts the roads in Scotland are fantastic so I'm really looking forward to it.

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