My motorcycle holiday, circling the Isle of man

My journey map

I am back from the holiday circling the Isle of Man. It was a scary at first but a incredible journey. Its these type of things which really challenge you and makes you realize you can do so much more.

There is a lot to this journey which I’ll add more to once I sort out pictures, videos, etc. But generally I wanted to start the blog and see what I can add later (any suggestions are welcomed)

To answer my own points…

  • Its right at that place where I’m slightly scared and excited at the same time. Its been a while

the causeway coastal route

it was amazing and although quite scary at points, its made me want to do more traveling by scooter. There were moments when you remember the corners have no barrier especially on the causeway coastal route down from the Causeway to Belfast. Amazing path but also needs to be treated with caution.

Coastal road

In the end I got off the causeway coastal route at Larne only because it was getting dark and actually cold. The path is amazing full of spots to stop and even sit on the beach. With more time I would likely have stopped but the time was moving towards darkness and I certainly didn’t fancy the causeway coastal route in the darkness.

Mourne Mountains path

Going back on myself at Newcastle to ride through the Mourne Mountains was incredible, so quiet and I did consider doing the whole loop around.

Mountain ride

I did go to the giant causeway but it was fully booked, I really should have booked it soon as I knew but I’ll be back

  • I get to visit a new country

Sign for Derry

I have never been to Northern Ireland and always wanted to check it out. Although its part of the UK, its quite different and I found Belfast very different from other cities in the UK. Those motorways felt like something out of Ridge Racer. I will have to go back without the scooter to check out the scene within the city including the many museums.

I did get to Derry and saw some of the incredible wall art but didn’t get a chance to snap any while riding, I generally turn my GoPro off while in most built up areas. I certainly like to do a tour of the wall art next time.

  • I get to drive in Europe at long last

Ok yes Ireland is left hand drive, but technically I did drive in Europe and kind of forgot to take a picture of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland (which if you have been paying attention doesn’t exist for good reason) but I was expecting something saying you have crossed over. On this note I did take my passport and driving license but never once showed it or was asked for it.

  • I do it all without flying, although I do wonder if the scooter’s overall carbon footprint is so great or not

I could work it all out but haven’t tried yet. In total I did 826.4 miles from home to home over 5 days, stopped for fuel 9 times but sometimes to just to top up the tank just in-case. In total I spent about 60 pounds on fuel but the price varied a lot between countries and where I was (motorway vs city)

Here is the full details, after the fold…

Continue readingMy motorcycle holiday, circling the Isle of man

Circling the Isle of man without touching it

Common travel area by scooter map
About 600 miles of traveling

I mentioned traveling the common travel area as a holiday and I decided it needed to happen. Especially since the weather is actually going to be pretty good throughout the whole holiday (even in Northern Ireland)

I decided to do the loop in an anti-clockwise way because I wanted to visit Northern Ireland when the weather was at its best.

My Honda silverwing ready to go

So why…?

  1. Its right at that place where I’m slightly scared and excited at the same time. Its been a while
  2. I get to visit a new country
  3. I get to drive in Europe at long last
  4. I do it all without flying, although I do wonder if the scooter’s overall carbon footprint is so great or not

Good enough reasons for a holiday  I think

Maybe I’ll one day actually ride the scooter around the Isle of Man in my own TT

Traveling the common travel area by scooter?

Common travel area by scooter map
About 600 miles of traveling

Originally I booked a holiday in Portugal as a personal incentive for having the Covid19 vaccine. However during Euro 2021, Portugal was moved from the Green countries to the Amber countries. Although double jabbed, I made a call once I finally understood what I would need to do in regards to tests and finally cancelled the trip (the incentive worked, I could cancel most of it and I am generally trying to fly less).

However I still have the time off and started thinking what I could do with the time which is different from my usual days?

This is when I thought, I have never been to Northern Ireland and wanted to visit the giants causeway. While looking around at ferry’s trying to avoid going into Ireland I found out there is no tests to enter Ireland/Europe as its now part of the common travel area.

Ireland, the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

You do not need to take a COVID-19 test or quarantine on arrival in England if you are travelling within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, (the Common Travel Area), and you have not been outside of the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days.

I’ve been thinking what if I travel from Manchester, England to Hollyhead, North Wales, get the ferry across to Dublin, Ireland. Travel up to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Then get a ferry across to Cairnryan, Scotland then travel back to Manchester, England! One massive loop. Going to all of the United Kingdom and a part of Europe on my scooter?

My Honda silverwing ready to go

This would knock the long running new years resolution to drive in Europe and also kinda visit a new country.

Its also going to be social distanced if I’m riding my scooter most of the time. Perfect pandemic holiday eh?

Its about 600 miles of travel and two ferries crossings but I think with good weather its possible with a few stops in hotels and with friends.

The BMW C-revolution maxi-scooter reviewed

I have been on the BMW list for the last 3 years to test ride the BMW C Evolution maxi-scooter. My Honda Silverwing 600 is great but I’d like to try a proper sized electric maxi-scooter because the small scooters are just not right for someone my size and I’m not going on the motorway with tiny wheels. The big electric motorbikes are huge and not practical for me (I covered all this previously when talking about Maxi-scooters).

While watching the review, it didn’t sound good. Yes I like the off the line speed (get away from you car drivers, who are too busy looking at your phones). The lack of space was a big deal breaker for me, as I’m consistently packing my scooter with IKEA and shopping stuff.

Charging isn’t such a big deal but then again, I went on a ride to Wakefield via Barsley and Dunford Bridge yesterday all on a tank of petrol. Not sure the E-scooter would survive the journey, not because of mileage but because most of the roads are national speed limit and of course the M1 is 70mph, which would quickly drain the battery. Funny enough the BMW isn’t that much more heavy than my Silverwing

Judging by this and other reviews, I still want to test ride it but won’t be buying it (especially new!). Keeping my eyes open for other electric maxi-scooters but its not looking good on this front.

Wait for generation 2 it seems

My new years resolutions for 2021

Ian Forrester selfie with a mask

Its been quite a year and everybody is looking for a better year in 2021.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2021; which follows on from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Live in another country for a short while
    Regardless of the pandemic, I’m still keen to spend a serious amount of time in Europe. I know we just left Europe (don’t get me started) and its now even harder to do what I had planned last year. Regardless I got to try and apply for the Estonian digital nomad visa.
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    A follow on from the last lot of resolutions, even with Covid19 and Brexit, I’m holding out hope that I can find a way to either the Netherlands or Ireland. I almost went to the Netherlands over the summer but the rules changed meaning I would need to self isolate for 14 days after coming back.
  3. Take better care of my skin.
    face creamsThis is a follow on from last year, my sleep, alertness, etc are great but I for decades have neglected my skin. Since I was young, I would use petroleum jelly on my face and hands. I only really noticed the issue with this while shaving. But I was convinced by my barber to stop doing this and use proper face moisturisers. My family were amazed my skin turned out as well as it did we 30+ years of petroleum jelly. So its time for something new and less harsh?
  4. Step up my gratitudes
    My lovely ex-colleague Nicky told me about a book shes been using, called the 6 minute diary. Last time we talked about my gratitudes. So from new years I’ll give it a go. It will likely the most I have handwritten in a long time. Thanks Nicky again and look forward to seeing what hits the paper.
  5. Host more film nights and dinner parties
    This is a repeat of the last year but even with Covid19, I’m going to put this on the list, as I could do much better. Heck I got enough Chocolate to do a tasting night every month right now.
  6. Spend even more time with the Diabolo
    Diabolo whip
    The pandemic has given me so much time with the Diabolo. Its amazing to see how fast I have improved in the community garden. A while back I wanted to learn the Vertex and now I’m getting confidently doing it but got a long way to go before I start throwing genocide vertex’s. Although I feel I can watch a video on youtube and pick it up within a week or two now. However I still don’t get the infinite suicide, it should be easy but it never works for me.
  7. Send a email out to friends and family once or twice a year
    I’m slightly preparing to spend even less time in Facebook and looking at the alternatives to substack and medium. Most likely I will selfhost it now I’m running yuno host on a raspberry pi4. Either Writefreely or something with Activitypub.
  8. Self host and move to more decentralised/fediverse services.
    Its something I’ve been doing for a while but its time for the big push. As I’m spending more time at home, I got more time to learn and now my main services are running on the NAS. The RaspberryPi is a great platform for self-hosting. While thinking about the previous one, I posted something on Mastodon.
    Someone suggested this Github project and someone suggested Friendica might have what I need.
  9. Find an alternative to the pebble watch
    My Pebble with Sugru

    My friends have been really good to me, giving up their old pebble smartwatches to me. But as I’m now on my last pebble, its time to move over to something else. I enjoyed not having to pull out my phone to read a message and to even reply directly from the watch. But I can’t buy another one now. I had pinned my hope on the hybrid smartwatches but they don’t seem to have the ability to send a reply. Anyway, no more pebble after this one dies.
  10. Listen to a Audiobook every month.
    Another advantage of being at home is the amount of audiobooks I’m listening to. Right now I’m listening to one every week but 12 is a basic target and should be do able with the sheer amount of podcasts I’ve been listening too. This also fits with Audiable’s monthly subscription.
  11. Take a more political & strategic view on the status quo
    George Floyd 7 months later

    There’s been a number of books and podcasts, which have led me to the fact people around me think things are generally ok. Yes with the pandemic, they changed their minds for this year but I hear again and again – “Next year things will go back to how they were and all will be ok.”
    No I’m 99% sure it won’t and frankly how it was, was not good enough. We need to fight harder for a better future for all. Its also clear to me the right has found a formula which is working but its easily broken by taking a active role in our democracy. May this year made this ever so clear to me.
  12. Finish my dating book
    Yes that book is being worked on between myself and Hannah. The latest draft is looking great. Honestly it reads like a real book! I’m now considering writing a epilogue but unfortunately my relationship ended during this year. Meaning a rewrite and rethink how to end it as such.
    There are other considerations like photography/artwork, formats, checking for consistency, where to publish, how to publish, etc, etc. Any thoughts do get in touch (like to avoid Amazon if I can and it makes sense)Here is a tiny sneaky paragraph from a draft chapter (Hannah is such a great writer and editor, you should hire her!)

    …I studied her face to see what her intention was. Maybe it was a spontaneous comment that didn’t really mean anything. Perhaps she was playing to the cameras that surrounded us?

    The longer I looked, the more smug her expression became. She might have been pretty before but that dirty grin said it all. If she was trying to push my buttons she had found them alright. What happened next was not my finest hour.

    Maybe the combination of divorce, Mr Tango and the button pushing had something to do with what happened next. It felt like I was thinking it but it came out.

    Regardless, I do take responsibility for what happened next…

    Bet you are dying to know what happens next right? Hopefully this year you will know.

So that’s the 12 for 2021 (still no real reason why its 12, it just is). Its a tough one because I wanted to include things like visit a new country but I decided its unlikely this coming year. I was also going to add one about getting the Covid19 vaccine/jabs but I just learned one of the ingredients includes pea protein? So it might be a even longer wait for me to get the vaccine.

Have a good new year all!

5 years imprisonment for damage including to my scooter

Silverwing Scooter

The Criminal justice system have kept me informed about the case involving my scooter break in.

Scooter break in again…

One of the people received 5 years imprisonment, 7 years of driving disqualification and a criminal behaviour order for 10 years.  So it was worth the effort I put into chasing the police and doing a part of their work for them.

Obviously I now have 4 different and separate locks including chains of different thickness. Because I have scooter wheels I purchased the most thick chain and lock which goes through my wheels (not quite 20mm thick but close). On top of this, I use my alarm everyday and still have that gps tracker.

It might be a lot for a second hand Honda Silverwing but its mine and I’m not letting some idiots break my scooter for the 3rd time. I was happy to stand up in court and say what I saw. Ok I didn’t get any pay out for it, I didn’t claim on the insurance but I’m glad some justice was served.

My New Years Resolutions 2020

Profile pic 2019

Its been 12 years since I’ve been blogging my new years resolutions and I’m still going.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2020; which follows on from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

    1. Head further a field with the scooter
      Missed this last year, so its high time for a ride into Europe. I have plans to stay with a friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany for some coasting. However, more importantly if the secondment was to go ahead. I’d highly likely drive my scooter in the Netherlands.
    2. Visit another new country
      Fitting with the previous one. Luckily last year, I finally got to Italy for the first time, but that was pure chance I think. There’s a lot of places I need to go including Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, etc in Europe. One thing I’m doing for sure is South Korea & Japan (again) in April with my partner this time.
    3. Make some changes to the flat
      As mentioned previously, I have bought a few bits for the bedroom including a new desk. I bought a lot of my furniture when I first moved in and its time for a few changes now I’m much more settled in.
    4. Host film nights at mine
      I have my new projector, the surround sound system and even the popcorn machine to go with it, so its time to actively do some film nights. For real this time!
    5. Spend less time in the UK / Live in a new country
      As mentioned previously I’m putting together a strong case to move to Amsterdam for a year. Unlike previously its not just because of Brexit. There is a unique opportunity under the BBC to bring together other public focused organisations for a wider “public service centric network.
      This also fits with my previous resolutions around being a stronger advocate for New forms of Value/Public Service Internet/Team Human; and even more with find the others. Making this a reality is going to be difficult but if it works out its going to be amazing for many reasons I can only imagine right now.
    6. Find the others and connect them
      Directly related to the previous one. I mentioned in my 2019 new year resolutions about . Its not so much team human per-say but a more non-perfect human outlook on the world. There was something which Eric Nehrlich wrote a long while ago. Find the others, its been echoed by Douglas Rushkoff here and here.
    7. Play a new sport somewhat regularly
      I love Volleyball and could play it over and over again, but I know people around me don’t dig it as much. So I’ll try a new sport as long as its not Football, Rugby or Cricket. Mainly to bridge between people around me who may like to play something different. Currently Badminton, Basketball or Netballl are looking most likely. However with moving to the Netherlands,Korfball and Handball (which I played in the past) could be new options?
    8. Drink more fizzy water
      I have fallen love with carbonated water. Maybe its the amount of time I spent in Berlin but regardless its great stuff and much more healthy than most of the stuff I use to drink. I decided to invest in a SodaStream after seeing the amount of plastic water bottles I was recycling. This year I’m going drink a lot more carbonated at work, home, out and about. Its 25% health related and 75% because cold fizzy water is just the best!
    9.  Look after myself better
      I’m going to start walking more, I noticed how many more steps I do when going for coffee with colleagues at work. Parking in the multistory and walking to work actually adds another 1500 steps daily. Manchester is pretty walk-able and public transport is pretty good to be honest. I’m still waiting for the UK transport laws to change to allow things like electric scooters. This also fits with my drink more water one.
    10. Be even more aware of the environment and what I can do to help
      Following the fizzy water one too, I’m far more concerned by our lack of ability to recycle and reuse what we have around us. We recently had compost bins in our flats which were emptied into one large compost for the recycling. However if one person misused the compost, the compost would not be emptied and was left rotting. As you can imagine over 200 apartments, that compost wasn’t emptied for weeks.
      So I’m going to see what else can be done from my end. Maybe theres somewhere else I can drop my compost? Maybe there is something else which could be done? Who knows but its worth explore.
    11. Put my money/resources where my values are, with platforms like Patreon
      Theres a lot of things I like reading and listening to and its about time I started supporting their use and development through systems like Patreon. A few years ago I finally kickstarted the Pebble 2 smartwatch, till that point I never joined Kickstarter. In an ideal world, they would gain support through the public service network but we are a long way from that in certain countries. One example I keep thinking about is the Guardian which have lots of options for payment and will take anything to support journalistic freedom.
    12. Change my email signature with important information
      I’ve been thinking about adding pronouns to my different things for a while. I have already added them to my mastodon profile and will slowly add them to other profile information where I can.
      Theres been a lot of talk about work life balance and self care recently and I agree with lots of it whats been said. But I also would add a level of self awareness can really be useful if possible; to this end I’m going start he-himby publishing a user manual for myself, which will be linked to in my email signature and elsewhere. Outlining all the meta things which can’t fit into a signature.

Scooter break in again…

My Honda Silvering

Its been a difficult time recently. My scooter was damaged once again in a break in on the car park where I park. I say again because in April 2018 exactly the same thing happened. Less that a year!

In April 2018, the motorbikes were targetted but none were taken, if I remember some other things were broken and taken. However between the chains and locks broken, it was clear they tried to break my steering lock by forcing the handle bars. They slightly twisted but not at the fork level lucky, this still costed about £150 to fix.

This time the motorbikes were targetted and looking at the CCTV images from the different cameras across the site its clear they were only after the motorbikes nothing else.

CCTV in the April 2018 break-in
CCTV cover up in 2018

CCTV in the Jan 2019 break-in
CCTV cover up in 2019


There was some other similarities between the break-ins. The CCTV over looking the motorbikes was covered up in both cases.

They also broke into the car park from the building site next door

Unlike last time however, I spotted 4 men acting very weirdly on the canal side on Monday 14th night/Tuesday 15th morning. They were dressed in black with hoods and scarfs across their mouths and noses. They seemed to be breaking into Islington Wharf Mews by jumping over a wall with a sleeping bag to protect themselves from the spikes on top.

23:49 – Calling the non-emergency number (101) I was put on hold for ages but finally by the time they picked up. The men jumped back over the wall to the canal side, they disappeared from my view.

00:09 – The police took some details and asked where they were now. I happened to catch them breaking into the building site from the road side. Telling the police, they originally said they were going to send someone out. However as I found out later they looked at the public CCTV, which obviously doesn’t point on to the building site plus they were dressed in complete black. Once they looked and saw nothing they closed the logged case

00:45 – Meanwhile I hadn’t noticed but saw later on the garage CCTV a 5th man dressed totally in Black was trying to get into the garage by sneaking in while the roller shutter was coming down after some left or entered the garage. He failed and even got shouted at by residents in a car.

00:48 – I get a short phone call from the police asking if I seen anything else new? I said no.

01:08 – Not long after my original call and 20mins after my call back, some men gain access to the car park via the ground floor car park by breaking the wood slats. I know this for sure because the CCTV confirms the moment they broke through and climbed through.

How they got into the carpark

They headed straight for the motorbikes ignoring all the cars and bicycles. Broke two locks of 2 motorbikes, and damaging my scooter. They are in the car park for 35mins (01:08 – 01:43), All their movements around the carpark are captured on our own CCTV, except the one right above the bikes

01:43 – Finally they leave heading out the car park pedestrian door with 2 motorbikes

Damage to my scooter

0941 – I only found out the next day when I was going to work and saw the damage and the missing motorbikes. This time to tried to get at the scooter ignition instead of trying to break the steering lock. As you can see the damage is pretty bad but the steering is actually fine. I checked all the other locks and chains and they are good.

However 2 other motorbikes are gone and I got lucky. I’ve beefed up my locks and now using my alarm more often now (not just the immobiliser). I also got a crime reference and asked about my early morning call. I’m told the case is on going but police were sent out.

1953 – Later in the evening when I call up again,  I’m told the cases are not connected was closed and the police were not sent out because there was nothing on a CCTV (no idea which one they are referring to)

My problem I see is…

  • The police are not connecting the two cases. Now I understand there is a chance the 4 men dressed head to toe in black on a building site may not be the same 5 people who broke into the garage from the same building site stealing the bikes? Yes it happened with 60 mins of my call but who knows – right? What I don’t understand is why no one was sent out? Even a visit could have prevented a crime. They also lied to me on the phone
  • I don’t get how the building site isn’t partly to blame for it lack of security not just once but twice now. There is a good chance the men stole tools from the building site to break the locks. I certainly didn’t see them carrying anything when getting into Islington Wharf Mews.
  • The police still haven’t looked or requested the CCTV from Islington Wharf, The Mews or the building site next door. Yes they are dressed in black but it could be useful to see where they came from and got to with the stolen motorbikes?
  • Why was I told they will send out a police offer but later told they didn’t? I feel like I was lied to….

I’m doing what I can but its slow going and not being able to get actual CCTV (for good reasons) its kinda impossible to convince the police to follow up. This is partly why I decided to share my frustrations without too much details.

Updated – Evening of Tuesday 29th Jan 2019

I’ve had an update from a few sources and the timeline includes this..

Tuesday 15 January 2019

00:19 – While I see 4 men getting into Islington Wharf Mews, another man also dressed in black from head to toe is trying to gain entry to the Islington wharf car park by trying to sneak in when someone leaves or enters. Unsuccessfully he returns to his hiding position each time. This also explains why 1 of the 4 men I saw kept looking out from their 1st floor position.

00:45 – They tried to gain entry again but a resident closes the shutter too quickly. 3mins later I get my call from the police, but still no one shows up.
On the building site they break a padlock on a tool box, giving them access to stronger tools

01:08 – They break into the car park via the ground floor through the fence using the builders tool.

01:18 – They send 2 of them for an initial scope out of the carpark and then after all 5 of them go into the car park. Breaking two locks of 2 motorbikes, and damaging my scooter. They are in the car park for 35mins

01:43 – One of the Residents tried to drive in to the car park and when the roller shutter goes up they run away pushing the motorcycles.

Updated – Morning of Wednesday 30th Jan 2019

At 8:30am I received a phone call from the special operations police. They had read my email and were slight shocked at how I’d be treated through this investigation. He massively apologized and agreed based on the research I had done, the cases are linked. Then finally at 1300 they did go and review the footage from the flats and are using it in their ongoing investigation along with other CCTV footage.

Case not closed!

My New Years Resolutions 2019

Ian PORTRAIT at work

Its been 11 years since I’ve been blogging my new years resolutions and I’m still going.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2019; which follows on from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Head further a field with the scooter
    Missed this last year, so its time for a ride into Europe hopefully before the UK leaves Europe! I have plans to stay with a friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany for some coasting.
  2. Ride a roller coaster in yet another country
    Very fitting with the previous one but if not, I like the idea of checking out more theme parks in Europe especially after the huge success of 2018.
  3. Look after myself better
    I generally look after myself but its time to be thoughtful and conscious about this all. I’m getting older and should really spend more time thinking about myself with an eye on the future.
  4. Spend more time in the UK
    Ok the last year I spent a lot of time outside the UK. On rough count I hit about 12 weeks this year outside the North of England alone (but I do go to Bristol and London quite a bit). I can’t believe I took almost 30 different flights this year! Although I love it and take care of myself, I have to admit thats a lot. So I’m going to try staying closer to home for this year.
  5. Enter the bake off at work
    My work place does regular bake off’s and the theme sometimes is something interesting which I could do bake/cook around. So I’ve challenged myself to join one of the bake offs this year
  6. Explore more about the brain using neuroscience
    I do want to explore around this but now I binned off Funzing recently, so need to look a little wider. Maybe setup some search filters, keep an eye on eventbrite and meetups.
  7. Do more with my Estonian e-residency
    As said in my review of last year, I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my Estonian e-residency.
  8. Explore the future of decentralised and distributed systems
    This one is a combination of 2 of my  previous resolutions. Exploring the future of online dating with decentralise more. So more mastodon and more exploring Indie web technologies like Bridgy and Kinds. I’ve been really interested in these things for a long while.
  9. Make some changes to the flat
    Its been a while and although I made some great changes to the living room, its time to focus on the bedrooms. I can’t believe I got a configurable IKEA desk from over 18 years ago, which needs to be replaced as it’s too big and I hardly use it now. I’d like to get the server in a better position and remove some tired furniture.
  10. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    I have a task to sort out my current projector or get a new one (this is looking more likely, any hints on cheap long throw projectors is welcomed). I already have a 130inch projector screen but it needs to go back to IKEA as the mechanism is broken. Once this is all done, then it makes total sense to host film nights.
    On top of this, its been a while since I had a party at mine, so maybe I’m moving from party to dinner parties?
  11. Work on the dating book
    I have been working on a book around my dating experience for a long time and its about time I just got it written. Especially since Hannah offered her copy editing skills to help make it a real book. So far its been great I need to write more
  12. Be a stronger advocate for Team Human
    This is a follow-up to previous years. The podcast I listen to Team Human is a celebration of ourselves as people (messy, diverse, etc) not robots (perfect, tireless, etc). This has importance for the problems we are all facing around diversity and inclusion. It also ties into the mental health epidemic we are seeing too. My recent addition to the inclusive top 100; is perfect timing?

Google maps you have a speech problem

Google Maps

I love google maps but it has a problem.

I use it as a GPS when travelling around on my scooter, which means I don’t have a screen in front of me. Instead I’m reliant on the audio output to tell me where to go and when. I imagine for most people this sounds kind of crazy because they want to see the map and directions, but when it works it really works well. It says before the turning and then again just at the point of the turn. Pretty much once you get use to it, its just great and I find it weird sitting in peoples cars when they are not listening to the voice.

However there is a bug/problem.

I use to think it was just my Nexus 5X but its happened with my Google Pixel2 making it clear its a google maps issue.

Every once in a while, google maps stops talking and leaves you with silence.  This seems to be solved with a restart, which is hardly great when driving along. I imagine most users tend to have the display and don’t care too much about the voice. But if you are reliant on it, when it suddenly goes quiet you start to wonder. Worst thing about it is Google maps doesn’t say anything when you don’t need to take a turn. Meaning if you are going down a motorway you have to assume everything is fine.

Google maps fail

This is what happened as I drove down the M6 towards London not Bristol on Monday afternoon, wondering when the M5 turn off was coming. Now to be fair I was on the right motorway but when I came across the M6 toll road, I took it and that led me towards London.

M6 toll
Taking the M6 Toll road

M5 from Birmingham
The M5 I should have took

Google maps said nothing, so I just kept going expecting something over the headset when the turning came. To make things even more difficult I had my pixel 2 phone locked in the scooter charging, meaning I couldn’t see the phone unless I pulled over and turned off the engine. Once again not ideal.

Ok this example is quite extreme (but it happened) and you could say I should have been aware but I honestly didn’t see a sign for the M5 south. Its likely I wouldn’t as I took the M6 toll road.

Google maps has a speech problem and I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

Anyone else?

My New years resolutions for 2017

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016
Can’t remember what prompted me to start blogging my new years resolutions but its become a good habit.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2017; which follows on from 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Be taken out of my comfort zone by Kate and take her out of comfort zone
    This still needs to happen and next year seems to be a good time for both of us. So expect to see some distress tweets about being lost in the middle of nowhere with no wifi, no power and only GPRS/Edge support. Well I guess if its warm and dry (not sure this will be the case) I can read some more or practice my circus skills?
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    I was planning a trip to Northern Ireland (a place I’ve never been to) on the scooter but the weather didn’t quite work out with when I was actually around. Its still on the cards and with my possible new scooter even?
  3. Improve my circus skills
    Its getting there, but the vertex is still not quite there. More practice is needed and more days of sunshine in media city will help with this.
  4. Visit a Japanese styled spa at least once every 4 months in the UK
    Since I left Japan, I’ve decided I need to go to a spa more often. I skipped it again this year, although I did go to Liquidrom in Berlin twice. So now its a challenge to myself to find one and go. Looks like the Midland hotel might be the winner on this front.
  5. Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Return from last year. Its got to happen and it will be a shame if I don’t even go on a rollercoaster in 2017. Maybe a trip to Spain for Port Aventura. Plus theres all the other ones including Europa Park, Efteling and I guess Disney world (if I must).
  6. See the Aurora (Northern lights)
    Still haven’t seen them and 2017 I got to at least try. Be it head to Iceland (brian suda has offered many times – thanks!), Sweden or maybe I can combine this with going to Finland or Norway?
  7. Read more
    I bought a android eink tablet late in the year to replace my kindle, giving me access to epubs and better support for the way I like to read. I also switched from Instapaper to Wallabag to take back control of my deeper internet reading. This is the year when I’m expecting much more in-depth reading generally.
  8. Go to a new part of the world
    Its a weird one, as I have been to Portugal and Romania this year, two places I haven’t been. But why stop there? I already have plans for Hong Kong/South Korea in March/April. Then I’m thinking about the other Scandinavian countries Norway and Finland, perfect for seeing the northern lights
  9. Don’t shy away controversy and get more political
    Digging this one out of the past but added the political aspect. With all which is going on right now, its time to be a little more out spoken about the wrongs and rights in our democratic system. I mean how can you say little to Trumps thoughts to improve the USA’s nukes!
  10. Go to more comedy clubs and contemporary theatre plays
    I love comedy and I don’t go to enough comedy clubs. Plus the last few years I haven’t been to nearly enough contemporary theatre plays. Theres been some great ones including one performed in complete darkness called light and the machine. This year is also the year of the Manchester International Festival which will help a lot, but the contact theatre and frog and bucket should be regular haunts. I almost considered standup comedy for a laugh but thought better of it… hence… improvisation
  11. Take a improvisation class
    I like the idea and I think I might actually be pretty good at it, so I’m going to give it ago. Already tracked down a class in the local area I could join, but it clashes with Volleyball and the Dyslexia group I’m in.
  12. Replace my scooter
    Its time to replace my Honda Silverwing scooter which has lasted me many years (think its 13 years!) Its done a lot of miles and although it runs fine, the body work and general wear and tear is costing too much to fix now. Its will make some one a good cheap project but right now its less useful to me and who knows if it will pass its next MOT without some serious changes.

Whats my options for a new scooter?

my silverwing

I love my Honda Silverwing, its one heck of a scooter at 600cc. But the time has come to think about replacing it with something else. So I thought I’d just see what people recommend. I do want…

  • A scooter, not a motorbike… Yes I know but it suits me better
  • A CC of about 600 or more, I can’t really imagine dropping down now.
  • Lots of storage space and ability to put my Givi box on the back
  • Automantic transmission (although all scooters this size have that)
  • I’d love to have a electric or hybrid scooter of a good road size but there seems to be so little of them.

I guess everytime I go somewhere, I’m on the look for what kind of scooters they have.

Thoughts are welcomed, but don’t just say get a motorbike…

Welcome to Scotland…

https://twitter.com/sarahkatenorman/status/632886878212112384

One of my new years resolutions knocked off again…

Scooter into another country or new area
Last years trip down to Bristol via Snowdonia was amazing and I got to go do it again but go further a field. The issue really is weather but I think early summer in Ireland or up through Scotland could be fun. I’ve also been thinking about how I have never been to East Anglia (except Kings Lynn), so maybe its time on the scooter?

Done!

Grenta Green all the way from Manchester along the M61 and M6. Thanks Kate an d Paul for putting me up. in the Yurt.

The maxi-scooters of Tokyo

Akira
Akira (1988)

Most people know I ride a big scooter and always been a fan of them since a early age. I like to think of the scooters (officially and legally called maxi-scooters) like the crazy machine in the Akira. Its clear Tokyo takes its maxi scooters pretty seriously, they were everywhere. Its was interesting to see the types and how they have been pimped up/out.

Scooters of Tokyo

Its my silverwing but a newer model, wondering what cc? as maybe an upgrade is needed in the near future?

Scooters of Tokyo

What on earth is this? Not fan of the colour but I like shape. Either its heavily customised or something I’ve never seen before? Reminds me of this crazy thing.

Scooters of Tokyo

This is a weird scooter (honda helix) which I thought died out but I saw quite a few of these but also pimped out.

Scooters of Tokyo

I use to have a Yamaha Majesty but it certainly didn’t look like this thing. Check out the trims and attention to detail.

Scooters of Tokyo

Skywave or Silverwing? I couldn’t work out if this was the same beast as mine with a slightly different body or something totally different? They look similar?

Scooters of Tokyo

Another one of those very long honda helix scooters. They appeared to be everywhere in Tokyo. So much so, I stopped taking pictures unless they were very different.

If/when I go back I’ll be hiring a scooter (almost hired one while I was there).