Daily Archives: 2004/01/18

whinging poms

the aussies are right: the brits love to whinge, complain, carp and gripe.

case in point: at tvam this morning, i was outside, and struck up a conversation with an xt660 owner who was appraising my zook. it was one of those british, embarrassed, stumbling conversations, me seeking traction in the conversation but getting nowhere… until…

i asked him how long he’d been in tvam. suddenly we were off on a 15 minute tirade about his assigned observer, problems getting out on observed rides, changing clubs to the london IAM affiliate, and how that was actually too far for him to travel.

as a problem-solver there were several obvious ways to address his issues – change observers, move to a closer-to-home affiliate, be pragmatic rather than aspirational… but he preferred to soldier manfully on through his woe, and seek the complex option which incurred extra hassle that was obvious up-front.

and to tell everyone about it, of course…

i have a theory about all this, and why this is so:

i think it’s a matter of control, or lack of it.

i suggest that if someone feels powerless, or otherwise unwilling to challenge authority, complaint to third parties provides the illusion of control. in reviewing what harm you feel was done to you, you solicit the sympathy of others, and from their involvement you receive some comfort.

the theory in summary:

british people don’t want solutions – they want to be listened to, because something (class? fear of ridicule or authority?) inhibits them from addressing the matter themselves.

moreover: if you point out an obvious solution, they’ll hate you for it – especially if you’re right.

whaddya say? insightful? too crazy? totally off-balance?

small world, innit, etc, and so forth…

yay – my suzuki is working again. sort of.

yesterday i returned cynthia’s bike trailer to her; i picked it up from simon’s place around 0930, suffering the gauntlet of lady sportscar drivers on driving at me, head-on, on the wrong side of the road; and a plague of white west-highland terriers throwing themselves at my car en-route up the muddy track to simon’s place.

hitching the trailer, i drove reasonably uneventfully to thatcham found cynth’s place, and parked up; she greeted me with a wave and shifted the land-rover – the one that she and her hubby/partner had recently returned from the el-chott tunisian desert rally – so i could park the trailer.

i was introduced to her zook and beemers – including the pakistan-tour bike [cmmbiker.users.btopenworld.com] and over some excellent road-tar freshbrew, maps and rollups i quizzed her for motorcycle touring advice. midway through she suggested a pint, so we absconded to her local – a pleasant farm-store, restaurant and pub next door on an enduro-motorcycle spares dealer. it was a nice place, and i was quickly introduced to thatcham village politics by the ladies with whom we lunched.

following a tip from cynthia, i drove home via the bmw dealership in reading; there i found rental motorbikes at a reasonable price (299pw or higher) which information permitted me to e-mail brad with a firm plan for our european battlefield touring holiday later this year.

still following me? good…

re: the zook.

today was the first time i’ve been out since it returned from service and repair; the first time since early december.

the intermittent loss of midrange revs had been explained by the dealer due to it’s being set very lean, so you could have knocked me over with a feather when it started first time this icy morning.

for a while, anyway.

i had to meddle with the choke and rev it for some considerable time before it was happy to be ridden, and i got about 5 miles away from the house before having it stutter and die on me in much the same manner as it had previously. i dismounted, prodded and poked, and finally it struck me that all the while i’ve been describing the symptoms as being like running out of petrol – and so, lo and behold, when i turned the fuel-tap to the reserve setting, it fired once more into life.

stopping at a petrol station i refilled with super-unleaded, and it’s been fine since. basically now that it is getting 3.5x the amount of fuel going into the carbs than it had before, the bike is totally different in feel, and i am having to learn it anew.

i turned up at the monthly [www.tvam.org.uk] meet, but still feeling a bit unsure about the bike opted to skip the observed ride in favour of 30 minutes drilling in slow-control; i am pretty good already, but after practice and encouragement i was doing figures-of-eight and u-turns inside implausibly small spaces.

the surprise of the day was to encounter rachel gibbs – an ex-aber student, otherwise known as cider woman or sometimes moog’s ex; she’d just passed her advanced test and walked up to the podium for the presentation of same, and it suddenly struck me that i know that face…

evidently she’d cut quite a dash amongst the other bikers for having recently taken-off on her deauville to tour switzerland alone, and this was commented upon (in inspirational terms) by the other female bikers. i congratulated her and had a brief chat; she doesn’t seemed to have changed much from my memory.

leaving the meet, i popped-in on alison and rhun, then went to look at silchester roman town [www.silchester.rdg.ac.uk] went for a blat around the countryside, and stopped in on rachel and christopher for tea and a chat.

it’s been a bike-ridden weekend, but jolly good fun, and informative in many different ways.

goodies, toys and geek things: the black&decker dustbuster — the perfect gift for an obsessive-compulsive biker who has gotten fed-up of the mud that his boots track around the house. point, press, suck. much cleaner.