My riding gear and on-the-bike stuff

Or given my track record with some things, should that read gear that I have stuffed ... read on:

Garmin Montana 650T

Original entry: January 2012.
Well of those who know me, who would have thought I would end up with a GPS?

What happened is that I suspected that the speedo on the V-Star was inaccurate and I also had to break of the reset button on the tripmeter. Combine this with a need for up-to-date mapping for work and the inconvenience that maps can be when on a bike, I splashed out over Christmas 2011. Glad that I did. The Garmin Montana is a great little thing, easy to use and read.

I still take maps with me, as they help provide the big picture. The Garmin fills in the details, taking some of the worry away and making the ride more enjoyable.

Update: 26 February 2013.
After just over a year's use, the Garmin Montana has been great. Karen and I used it on a driving holiday in December 2011/January 2012 and it worked very well as we crossed over rural NSW. In my car I mount it on the dashboard with bean bag mount bought from Johnny Appleseed in Brisbane. This mounts the proper Garmin automotive bracket and so you get the full turn by turn verbal instructions if you wish. On the motorcycles I use the RAM cradle holder, handlebar mount and longer double-socket arm. This places the Montana higher and sits more easily in my my sightline; easy to see.

Over the year I've also played with the settings and found that these custom settings work best. I found that the defaults work fine for the rest:

Map = Setup Map
 Guidance Text - When navigating
 Dashboard - nuvi. The nuvi dashboard provies good information and colour contrast.
 Map Speed - Normal
 Advanced Setup - Vehcile = Nomad

Backlight - 100%

When navigating to a certain point, I use the "Where to?" and after selcting the destination, I often find that I need to change the "Route Activity" to "Automobile driving" for the Montana to re-calculate and then show the correct instructions.

If using the Trip Computer, I usually set the dashboard to "Small Data Fields" and the set up the boxes to suit me at that time.

Garmin Montana 650
Garmin Montana 650

My New Camera - Panasonic Lumix

Last year the very old camera died. I'm sure it can be fixed, but can not find anyone with the skills. So I finally upgraded to a compact digital camera that so far has survived being dropped and seems to do the job. Its is a Panasonic Lumix that is supposed to be water resistant and comes in a thick silicon case. So far so good.

Update: 26 February 2013.
One chage I did make to the camera is to change the SD Card to a 16 gigabyte class 10 card. I can store images for longer than the 4 gigabyte card would allow but more importantly the camera saves to the SD card much faster.
Panasonic Lumic camera
Panasonic Lumix camera

My Old Camera

The photos have come from a range of cameras but from until 1 Jan 2009 I will be using my 1971 model Fujica ST701 wet film SLR camera.

Why you may ask, particularly as I work in IT? Well the truth is I keep breaking digital cameras. Some things I have found with digital cameras:

1. They don't like falling off trail bikes.

2. They don't like being stored in magnetic tank bags.

3. They are attractive to petty thieves.

So they old ST701 it is. I pulled it out of the cupboard after 12 years, put some film in it and away it goes. It is old, heavy, takes a solid knock and keeps on going.

My Old Camera
Fujica ST701

Toshiba Satellite Pro i3 laptop

Update: 26 February 2013.
Originally purchased for a range of work needs, this laptop has proven to be a real workhouse; I'm very pleased with it. However technology is always on the move, making things better and more compact. Remember my son Benjamin's advice to not take anything I can't afford to lose and in the interests of saving space and weight, next time I'll take an android tablet or Microsoft Surface tablet. There is no real need to manipulate or store images on the device and so this will make things a little bit easier.

Samsung Tab3 8 inch

Update: 3 October 2013.
As mentioned in the post about the Toshiba Satellite, I finally found a tablet that I really liked. Not that I looked hard. Basically just wanted until an Android device came onto the market that I could easily see the screen. It is a big help that it is a Samsung device and thus matches the phone nicely. Tonight I worked out how to print from the Tab3 and so it will do everything I need to do when on the road.  So now my on-the-road IT has shrunk from a smallish laptop bag to a cardboard box slightly larger than an eight inch tablet. To help improve longevity, I've covered the box in "contact" plastic sheeting and put in extra padding inside. If alway store it in the seat bag it should be fine.

So the laptop will now stay at home, the Galaxy Tab will go on the road and the bikes will enjoy a lighter ( by at least two kilograms, possibly more ) and a more flexible load.

Samsung Galaxy Note android telephone

Update: 26 February 2013.

This is my first smart phone as previously I was restricted to a Telstra Blue-Tick phone for the best range and coverage for work purposes. That's not really an issue anymore and I really like the larger screen; much easier to use. Apps such as "Free Camps Australia" mean that I can dump one of the expensive, heavy and space consuming books I had been carrying and the inbuilt GPS works well. Texting is also much easier with the stylus and keypad when compared to small buttons and thick thumbs.


 I've learnt a few things about clothing whilst on the trip with no name. Whilst I have alwyas preferred cotton T-shirts, jean etc, I've learnt that space, weight and also quick-dry and looking presentable really important. Accordingly, I will replace the gear with synthetic, light-weight sports-type clothes that wick away the sweat, squash down to nothing and do not require ironing. I'll be applying the same philosphy to socks and jocks but the actual details come under the "too much information heading" and so I'll leave that topic out of this blog.

New Winter Gloves 

 27 May 2017 

 During the last week I visited my GP to receive good news and bad news. The good news is that the test conducted in the last month came in all perfect. The bad news is that by process of elimination, the problems I have had with my hands any feet, known as peripheral neuropathy, or sticking and glove neuropathy, is  most likely from riding the motorcycles. So faced with a range of options, I decided to at least try to mitigate any further damage by trying some new gloves with vibration absorption properties.

On the way to ride this morning, I dropped into Motobarn and piked up a set of Dririder Speed 2 long cuff gloves.

It was a bit of an experiment. Based on some research they day before, I had developed a list of the properties I was looking for in a set of gloves:

1. Abrasion resistance. This will be dependant on the material and it seems that leather or synthetic leather is the best.

2. Cut resistance. This too will be dependant on the material again but also the design.

3. Gel or appropriate foam padding on the inside, especially where the glove contacts the grips.

4. Knuckle protection.

5. Outside of finger protection.

6. Good stitching

7. Warmth. Although not that important with working heated grips and handguards.

8. Cuff or gauntlet that goes over the outside of the sleeve. That stops the wind from going over wrists and up the inside of jacket sleeves.

9. Easy of removal and putting back on.

10. A way of being sure that the gloves do not come off the hand easily in the case of coming off the bike.

Initial impressions of the Dririder Speed 2 gloves are fairly good. I am not convinced that the foam padding is where it needs to be for vibration absorption, but the palms are very soft and at the end of the ride, there is significantly less buzz in my hands that other rides over the last year. This may also be part of changing the grips as well.

My pair was XL size and the fit is nice. The feel is quite plush and wind does not cut through them. The cuff definately goes over the jacket sleeve nicely and this is very important for keeping warm. At this stage I would say that they are worth the $89.95 but I do need to give it a year to see how they last.