I’ve been extremely slack with blogging of late, that and been up to too many things to sit down and write something down. A while back I traded-in the Vitara in favour of something a little more powerful, well rather one of the most powerful and utey like things I could find. I settled on a Ford Ranger Wildtrak, heres a picture of the new car at Duck Creek Road.


I’ll post some photos of modifications soon.

Sebastian’s Aprila

Today I went for a ride in a group, it was organised by a guy I’ve known for a couple of years but we’d never ridden together. He’d gotten a bunch of people he knew together, but none of us had ever ridden together. The aim was to ride up into the Mountains north of Brisbane and then head out to Kilcoy and back via Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo. It started ok, we picked up another rider in Woodford and chatted for a while. I found out one of the guys behind me pulled a wheelie on his Aprila, when we left the car park at Woodford his mate (the guy we picked up in Woodford) took off with a wheel off the ground. About another 30 minutes of wheelies followed, the road needed work and turned to dirt. Sebastian started messing around in the dirt and riding on the side of the road a little, in between this his wheelies started crossing over into the incoming lane; there was a moment where I thought he’d run out of road and was about to lose the bike in the trees. A little bit later he road on the side of the road down an old road and almost ran the bike off where an old bridge was.

Sebastian was riding a 2006 SXV 550, its a whats called a Motard. Motards are dirt bikes with the tires switched out of slicks and usually the brakes improved a little for the road. While some Motards do look nice the appeal is mostly the sound they make; but the grunty dirt bike doesn’t really convert into the most comfortable or safe road bike. On top of this most need the gearing to be changed to ride well on the road, basically you can dream all you want but a Motard is never going to be as good as a bike designed for the road from scratch nor is it any good off road once things like tires, breaks and suspension have been switched over. I’ve never really liked Motards because of these failings; oh did I mention geometry, thats broken on a Motard too. I’m sure there are people that ride them well but I think the fastest way around road track involves corning not sliding.

Getting close to Kilcoy Sebasian who was ridding beside me left the road and gunned the bike on the dirt/grass, he got a couple of meters and lost the bike. When the bike hit the ground flames covered the tank and the bike tumbled for about 30 meters on fire. This wasn’t on very hard surface but was about 80kms an hour, well thats what I was doing when he was beside me. I pulled over and turned around. By the time I got there the fuel tank was burning and he was trying to pull the bike away from the flames (which where in the grass but coming from the bike); I asked if the fuel tank had blown yet but didn’t get a response. There was fuel everywhere and no chance of putting anything out. It turned out he’d decided to empty the fuel and pull the bike away; a bad idea but I think enough damage was done in the fall destroy the bike in any case. Some of the others thought they saw flames before the bike hit; I kinda think the bike was overheated and maybe the air filter caught and then the fall was enough to pull the fuel line and get the rest of the bike going. I’ve had harder impacts at the same sort of speed on a dirt bike and split fuel and not had the bike go up like that, so I suspect maybe those monos didn’t help with fuel problems. The offroad bullshit on road tires and road suspension also didn’t help, I found where I think he came off, there was a nice ditch that I think the front wheel went into and didn’t adjust well at all.

All the services turned up, the police saw the smoke and where there in minutes, an entire fire extinguisher couldn’t put the fire out, too much fuel. Sebasian didn’t have insurance and now doesn’t have much of any sort of bike even to wreak, it was a 2006 bike but about 8-9000 to replace. I guess we stood and sat around for about an hour and a half before heading off again. Some pictures below…

You’ll notice in one photo the bikes still on fire, we decided to move back to let the front tire explode, it was pretty cool and very loud (only took about a minute); there where a lot of flames and sort of a fire ball during the crash. It wasn’t very sobering for me as he was being a bit of a dick before it all happened so I wasn’t really that sympathetic. I guess because I don’t ride like that it didn’t have much of an impact on me or the rest of the day other than it being pretty interesting. I don’t think I’ll every buy an Aprilia, way too burny.

Longest journey by motorcycle in a single country

So I was on the Guinness World Records website tonight. Loving motocycles I decided to see what has actually been set as a record relating to bikes. I found something very interesting, so back in November 2011 the record was set for longest trip around a single country. It was 18,000 kms around India; what caught my attention was that by my estimates my last big trip around the country was about 17,000 kms. Whats more I was in a hurry, and cut out some of my trip, this has got me seriously thinking…

According to Wikipedia Australian has a land over twice the size of India, 7,692,024 km2 vs. 3,287,263 km2. Had I known about this record I might have gone for a longer trip, but why not do it now. I’m going to start checking this out tomorrow night. There were a lot of places I’d love to go back to from my last trip, and I really I think I could absolutely smash this record.

Sure you’d need to record your fuel dockets, and mark all the GPS locations, which I mostly did last time anyway. But it sounds like a good sort of challenge, to do it right it might take a couple of months to do it safely and to see a couple of things I missed out on last time.

Bike Trip Gear

I’ve fallen behind on my blogging of bike related goodness, so I thought I’d catch up by giving an update on some of the parts I less than loved on my big trip, parts I need to replace and parts I would swap out.

So before I get into bike parts, first my gear. I took a single set of riding pants and some jeans. I really should have taken another set of riding pants, a more breathable set at that too. Although my waterproof pants were comfy they held in the heat and after 2 weeks started to grow a little. I also found I could have done with a jacket at least one size down, its a great jacket, but too big about the arms, my guns are not that large. But this is what comes from having to buy over the internet and not being able to try it on in person.

So the bike gear, before I set off I knew the pannier locks would be entertaining, at times you need a screwdriver and key to open the lock, this is ok for getting the bike off the frame but a pain when your trying to get your camera out in 38 degree heat. If I was near the bike I’d tend to leave one of the locks open. You can get panniers that take pad locks, the problem with this is you’ll sound like santa all the way home. I’d also hate to have to cut off a lock damaged in a fall. One good thing about the OEM inbuilt locks in the barrel is wide enough to flush out any grit that gets in there, you can’t say this of most locks. I did however get a dust guard snapped off in the lock, after returning home I had to drill out of the lock, it took a while but not more than 30 minutes, so they are not that safe, but people will hear and see it happening before anyone can get at you gear. I’m going to replace my damaged lock barrel and not use any dust covers again, one thing the dust covers do well is hold tight in the locks, this doesn’t help you when they break.

The extra rotopax fuel tanks were practical in the sense that I’d not run out of fuel, but they proved hard to get on and off the bike as well as swelled up in the days sun. By the end of the day I’d have too release the vapours from the fuel cans to return the cans to the correct size. I did need to use the extra fuel a couple of times but the rest of the time they really just looked daggy. Another problem with using the rotopax for that much fuel is that it decreases the amount of weight you can put on the back of the bike. In fairness until I got past Darwin I was carrying way too much extra gear, after Darwin I inherited another set of tires (another problem I’ll talk about soon).

Since getting back I’ve found websites like bike bandit will sell you the OEM BMW tank for the adventure, there are also several good guides on the internet including step by step how to remove and upgrade the fuel tank. Since owning the GS I’ve come to love its largeness, and raw power, it will never handle as good as a track bike, dispite my grinding the foot pegs on the occasional corner. It is however an excellent all rounder, and considering what you get extremely light. I know the KTM is lighter but it is also less of a fancy ride with one set of suspension settings and features for all terrain, rather than an electronically adjustable beastie. Installing the OEM GSA tank would give me the same fuel capacity and is really the only tidy option for more evenly packing the bike by putting more weight over the front tire. I do attribute the occasional fish tailing in the sand to be too heavy on the back.

I used a set of tires on the trip and have eaten into another pair, I had intended on swapping my road tires up the coast for some more off road capable tires only to find it was impossible to get a set without ordering them in advance, perhaps I should have planned this better. I did even up purchasing an additional set of road tires, these were nice and heavy to carry, they replaced the weight I had removed from my pack. I had always intended on getting some spoked tires, but cost and availability of a GS with spokes kept me from them. That said I would still change up the tires to spoked rims with off road tires and an inner tub. Carrying extra inner tubs is a lot better than carrying extra tires, extra tires are not avoidable on all trips but lipping back a couple of hundred kms on a patched tire with a new inner tube would be fine.

I’d also fit valves with a right angle, too many service stations have air hoses that cannot find the standard GS alloy rims, it would be easier with spokes but not much. It would also be nice to have the tiny weight reduction from switching to spoked rims, when I stop by the dealer next I plan to organise some spoked rims and tires to be fitted, keeping the original rims and tires. I’ve not found a website that can supply there at a cost much cheaper than the OEM BMW components. I have seen a couple of GSs getting about town with the bobby tires, I expect slightly less grip on the tarmac but am wonder how much as well as the kms I can expect out of a set.

During my last two services, including the service in perth someone nicely rounded off the bolts on the underside of my skid plate, I’m not sure when this happened as I’d not been there since fitting the plate. The plate has done its job a couple of times on dirt rocky tracks and some steep approaches to services I took at speed. Perhaps I applied too much torc as well. I love the bash plate, so after the upcoming service it will be reinstalled. I’ve got to send a nice email to the supplier asking for a set of the bolts which shouldn’t be a problem. I also lost a single bolt while changing the air filter, I do have a box of those so should be able to fit one from the collection; this is the only part of the bike I lost during 17000kms, pretty good really, it was my fault too not something that rattled off, so years of perfecting the model as made a difference, the engine mounts definitely do there job.

The bark busters which I flitted in the place of the zero protection guars that came with the bike really do work; unfortunately tho if you want to locate them to as not to bust a lever on a drop you also have the problem that the bark buster will collect the tank in a nasty fall. I’ve not had big drops but I do have two little indentations on the bike from the bark busters, they did however protect my hands. Bark busters are also a great way to pick up the bike, probably the easiest I’ve found. I did some research and found Touratech make some snazzy looking alloy covers for the out of the box guards. I might switch off to these are well as replace my scratched panel. My much loved map bag also wore a little of the gloss off the same panel, a soft material patch on the underside might help with that, I do love that bag.

Lastly there were a couple of tools I am missing from the kit. First off a spark plug remover, this would have been very handy. I might also look at replacing the spark plug lead remover, the current one I have doesn’t get the best grip. I also found when trying to change tires I really needed a torc wrench, or to at least loosen up the factory torc before the trip. I picked up a torc wrench the other day as its a good to use so as to not stress the bolts. Lastly I also need a rod to hold up the front tire, its nothing to complicated just a bar with a flat plate on the end, you can buy them, unfortunately they don’t look too compact. You can also lodge a pannier under the bash plate to take the weight of the front tire, but that method realises on you panniers not being force locked to you bike.

Configuring a simple NFS Share on CentOS 6.3

1. Install the required packages on the client and server

yum install nfs-utils nfs-utils-lib

In my case yum doesn’t work because my linux box is not connected to the internet, I downloaded the required packages on another system and installed them on my client and server:


rpm -Uvh keyutils-1.4-4.el6.x86_64.rpm
rpm -Uvh libevent-1.4.13-4.el6.x86_64.rpm
rpm -Uvh libgssglue-0.1-11.el6.x86_64.rpm
rpm -Uvh libtirpc-0.2.1-5.el6.x86_64.rpm
rpm -Uvh rpcbind-0.2.0-9.el6.x86_64.rpm
rpm -Uvh --nodeps nfs-utils-1.2.3-26.el6.x86_64.rpm
rpm -Uvh nfs-utils-lib-1.1.5-4.el6.x86_64.rpm

2. Configure the nfs service on the server

chkconfig --levels 235 nfs on

3. Startup the rpcbind and nfs services on the server

service rpcbind start
service nfs start

4. Configure a directory to share on the server

mkdir /var/backups
chown 65534:65534 /var/backups
chmod 755 /var/backups

5. Update /etc/exports to share the /var/backups directory


6. Update the NFS shares

exportfs -a

7. Create the mount point on the client

mkdir -p /mnt/nfs/var/backups

8. Mount the NFS share on the client

mount /mnt/nfs/var/backups

Creating another mount point on centos

In an effort to better record some of the tips I stumble upon and forget later on, heres a post on adding another mount point to linux…

1. In my case I’m using vmware, so I’ve increased the size of my disk, after a restart you can see the new disk sizing and partitions using the fdisk command

# fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sda: 64.4 GB, 64424509440 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 7832 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000546d3

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 39 307200 83 Linux
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda2 39 553 4128768 82 Linux swap / Solaris
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda3 553 2611 16534528 83 Linux

You can also list the devices using ls, this will show all the disks and partitions on each disk

# ls /dev/sd*
/dev/sda /dev/sda1 /dev/sda2 /dev/sda3

2. We’ll be adding a partition to /dev/sda so we fdisk the device as follows

# fdisk /dev/sda

WARNING: DOS-compatible mode is deprecated. It's strongly recommended to
switch off the mode (command 'c') and change display units to
sectors (command 'u').

Command (m for help): c
DOS Compatibility flag is not set

3. We can list the disk partitions using the p option, this gives the same output as before

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sda: 64.4 GB, 64424509440 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 7832 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000546d3

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 39 307200 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 39 553 4128768 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3 553 2611 16534528 83 Linux

4. Select the n option then p to create a new primary partition, following the defaults you can create a partition over the remaining disk space

Command (m for help): n
Command action
e extended
p primary partition (1-4)
Selected partition 4
First cylinder (2611-7832, default 2611):
Using default value 2611
Last cylinder, +cylinders or +size{K,M,G} (2611-7832, default 7832):
Using default value 7832

5. Listing the partitions we can now see the addition partition /dev/sda

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sda: 64.4 GB, 64424509440 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 7832 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000546d3

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 39 307200 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 39 553 4128768 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3 553 2611 16534528 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 2611 7832 41939020 5 Linux

6. Use the w option to save the changes then restart the system so /dev/sda4 becomes usable

Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.

WARNING: Re-reading the partition table failed with error 16: Device or resource busy.
The kernel still uses the old table. The new table will be used at
the next reboot or after you run partprobe(8) or kpartx(8)
Syncing disks.

7. After a restart /dev/sda4 should appear as a device, we can setup the filesystem on the new partition as follows (we use -L to label the filesystem as /data)

# mkfs.ext4 -L /data /dev/sda4
mke2fs 1.41.12 (17-May-2010)
Filesystem label=/data
OS type: Linux
Block size=4096 (log=2)
Fragment size=4096 (log=2)
Stride=0 blocks, Stripe width=0 blocks
2621440 inodes, 10484755 blocks
524237 blocks (5.00%) reserved for the super user
First data block=0
Maximum filesystem blocks=4294967296
320 block groups
32768 blocks per group, 32768 fragments per group
8192 inodes per group
Superblock backups stored on blocks:
32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632, 2654208,
4096000, 7962624

Writing inode tables: done
Creating journal (32768 blocks): done
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done

This filesystem will be automatically checked every 36 mounts or
180 days, whichever comes first. Use tune2fs -c or -i to override.

8. Create a new directory where we’ll mount the filesystem

# mkdir /data

9. Mount the filesystem to the /data directory

mount /dev/sda4 /data

10. Verify the filesystem

# df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda3 16G 14G 1.6G 90% /
tmpfs 3.9G 24K 3.9G 1% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1 291M 87M 189M 32% /boot
/dev/sda4 40G 176M 38G 1% /data

10. Update the /etc/fstab file to include mounting the /data filesystem at startup

# vi /etc/fstab

# /etc/fstab
# Created by anaconda on Fri Aug 31 06:56:26 2012
# Accessible filesystems, by reference, are maintained under '/dev/disk'
# See man pages fstab(5), findfs(8), mount(8) and/or blkid(8) for more info
UUID=c7129ee5-dd42-4fdd-86fb-97931e32fbe7 / ext4 defaults 1 1
UUID=0e26a6f0-29b8-486a-8173-31d46a69d0fc /boot ext4 defaults 1 2
UUID=4647cc11-f3ab-40d9-828d-8990d378f45e swap swap defaults 0 0
tmpfs /dev/shm tmpfs defaults 0 0
devpts /dev/pts devpts gid=5,mode=620 0 0
sysfs /sys sysfs defaults 0 0
proc /proc proc defaults 0 0
LABEL=/data /data ext4 defaults 1 2

Day 3, Bike Trip Photos

On the second night I camped at a place called Ellis Beach. After looking at the flat and hard ground a the back of the camp ground I decided to camp in the sand. I gunned the bike into the sand, something that proved a little difficult to sort out in the morning. After rolling the bike back a bit, uploading and creating a massive cloud of sand dust I got the bike back onto the grass. It reminded me how heavy the bike was, deep sand without momentum its no-ones friend; well unless you have super wide tires. The heat probably didn’t help too the sand was like powder.

The first couple of photos are my campsite in Ellis Beach, very nice spot. After packing up I headed up the Captain Cook Highway to Port Douglass for lunch, there are a couple of pictures from lookouts on the way as well as a nice shot from the Port Douglass lookup looking south back to where I’d come from.

After lunch I headed up into the Atherton Tableland, after laughing at a bunch of tourists photographing a terminate mound I spotted some about the size of a car and pulled over. I’d end up photographing terminates all over the country :) The last picture is my night 3 camp, this was in Mount Garnett; nice enough campground, but a shame about my neighbours. The couple next door were fighting for a good part of the night, spot the fancy bike cover I picked up in Cairns. Walking around Cairns in my bike gear was super hot, it was hot like this until I got near Cairns. I kind of got use to it, I missed the heat when I was frozen in WA.

Day 2, Bike Trip Photos

I did a lot of kms on day 2, by the end of the day I was past Cairns and well and truly stuffed. It was about 36 degrees, I decided to have a slow third day. I wasn’t really stopping much or taking it easy, it didn’t feel like a holiday just yet. It was my own fault, I’d wanted to get out of the parts of Queensland I’d seen so many time quickly. At one point I decided to pull over and have a drink in Cardwell, heres some photos of the beach. Last time I’d come to Cardwell it was wiped out by a cyclone a couple of weeks earlier

Day 1, Bike Trip Photos

Its been a couple of months since my trip, and although I’ve been through my pics a couple of times with some friends and family I have been lagging on posting them, well I’ve been dreading uploading all those pictures. I’ve decided to upload a couple of the highlights for each day and maybe post the rest on flickr at some point. So here goes…

I didn’t take as many photos on the first couple of days, but heres some pictures on the bike about 400 kms up the coast, look how nice and clean it looks. I seem to have a knack for finding dirt and puddles as you’ll soon find out…

Look how much stuff I’m carrying, I’d like to get my load a little better evenly distributed next time. Get the extra fuel up the front in a bigger tank and fit everything into the boxes.

Singapore Pokemon

Earlier in the month I had a work stint in Singapore to kick-off the first phase of a new SailPoint project. Here are some pictures of a couple of things I found on the weekends.

The Pokemon looking thing is called a Melion. I’ve been a bit slack lately with updates, I’ll start posting some bike trip photos over the next couple of days.