Friday, 18 June 2021

Watch Tony Bou treat a 500-pound Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L - like a trials bike


Toni Bou is not a normal human being. He's historically unparalleled as a trials rider, undefeated in the last 28 indoor and outdoor FIM Trial World Championships.

Trials riding, for the uninitiated, is a highly technical form of competition in which riders work their way across difficult to impossible-looking terrain without letting their feet touch the ground. These are the guys you see hopping off a tiny stone and somehow ending up on top of a bus, or leaping from the top of one pole to another on the back wheel, or riding up a tree and then rolling back down.

It's magical stuff to watch, relying on a degree of skill, balance, co-ordination and courage that's utterly alien to most road riders. And it's all possible thanks to extremely specialized trials bikes: tiny things, with no seats and just a couple of liters of fuel. These 250-300cc single-cylinder machines are the mountain goats of the motorcycle world, weighing just 145 lb (66 kg) in competition trim and able to go just about anywhere in the right hands.

Honda's Africa Twin, on the other hand, is a vastly different beast. It runs a 1,100cc v-twin engine, it has rather a lot of seat and weighs in at a meaty 498 lb (226 kg) in standard trim. Terrific, I'm led to believe, for cross-country on-road/off-road touring, but not exactly ideal for trials riding.

I've spent a couple of days riding the previous incarnation of this bike (Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L) in 2016 at the fantastic Honda Adventure Centre, Wales. Sadly my skills in dirt are somewhere between non existent & beginner (LOL!), but I had a lot of fun, was physically challenged, learned lots & improved my meagre dirt skills no end. The Honda Africa Twin is a great bike, & very capable in skilled hands. In this video, Tony Bou is running the newer - bigger engined, more power, greater weight version: CRF1100L & riding it like a master! Enjoy!

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Do a small thing (give): and change someone's life - for good!

Breaking the cycle of poverty: Our work is making a lasting change to generations of children. The support they receive at the centre means they can go on to sit the compulsory primary school exams and access education. Hundreds of children like Ebo gain opportunities they would never have received growing up on the streets!

This means that we can break the cycle of poverty and prevent future generations from growing up on the streets. Together we can prevent children growing up on the streets.

£20 could support outreach staff to find hidden mothers and children, like Lumisu and Ebo, who need our support.

£40 could buy a training kit for two young street-connected women in Accra, with everything they need to learn a skill such as hairdressing or tailoring.

All images belong to Chance for Childhood

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Windows 11 leak reveals new UI, Start menu, and more


Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 11 operating system (24th June 2021?) has leaked online today. After screenshots were first published at Chinese site Baidu, the entire Windows 11 OS has appeared online, complete with a new user interface, Start menu, and lots more.

The new Windows 11 user interface and Start menu look very similar to what was originally found in Windows 10X. Microsoft had been simplifying Windows for dual-screen devices, before cancelling this project in favour of Windows 11. Visually, the biggest changes you’ll notice can be found along the taskbar. Microsoft has centred the app icons here, cleaned up the tray area, and included a new Start button and menu.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Brilliant pre-birthday braaap to the New Forest - Sunday 13th June


Great ride yesterday! Met up with a schoolmate of mine - Ricky & 3 of his pals - at BP/Londis Botley. Then rode out through Southampton - past the cruise terminal, A31, A337 to the New Forest. A truly wonderful day for it: stunning weather, lots of horses & donkeys everywhere we went. Felt very blessed to be alive!

Today was my birthday. Yes before you ask: 21... Kim & I spent it with our dear friends Tracy & Bri in Gunwharf Quays, dejeuner at one of my favourite eateries: Cafe Rouge. Try the BEEF BOURGUIGNON BURGER - to die for!

Reading for today: building up our spiritual muscles - the practice of faith


Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off’, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

The first step is to recognise the fact that your moods change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?

By C.S. Lewis

From Mere Christianity

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Final revised date & location for my Plummet for Parkinson's - now 26th June 2021! Sponsor link now fixed!


As we all know - COVID19 has messed up life generally. One way that it has directly affected me is the date & location for my Plummet for Parkinson's

The new date & location has now been confirmed: 

2pm - 26th June 2021
Spinnaker Tower
Gunwharf Quays

I'm raising funds to support Parkinson's research. My darling wife Kim works for Parkinson's UK - helping to support people diagnosed with this neurological condition. Also one of our dear friends has Parkinson's. Please sponsor my Parkinson's Plummet - and raise funds to help develop new treatments, faster.

Together we'll find a cure.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Ready for some fab summer music? Try this: the ultimate party album! The B-52's Time Capsule: Greatest Hits

Taken in one concentrated best-of dose, it becomes evident what a coup the B-52's pulled off when they turned their own concentrated craziness into genuine hits. This is some of the weirdest stuff ever to make the charts, much less be loved by the masses.

It's all here though--the mad surf guitar of Ricky Wilson (and later Keith Strickland), the banshee wails of Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson, and, of course, the, um, well, let's say vocalizing of freaky Fred Schneider. 

"Party out of Bounds" with a "Rock Lobster" on "Planet Claire," or "Roam" over to the "Love Shack" in "Private Idaho." Whatever you do in the B-52's universe will at least be good, clean, perverse fun. Contains two new songs.

I saw the B-52's play Brixton Academy aeons ago - they were truly brilliant: still one of the most fun bands that I've ever seen live! Till then, I'd never been to an indoor gig where the whole audience was dancing! Need a pick-me-up? Try this!