Fundraising via Everyday Hero

Everyday Hero

Fundraising is always one of those interesting topics, in particular how to receive donations and make sure everything is hunky-dory for tax purposes.  In a recent update from the Steven Walter Foundation we have been advised they support the use of a site called Everyday Hero.  Now I’m slightly familiar with the site as a colleague at work uses it each year for his City to Surf fundraising. Essentially you create an account, nominate the charity you want the donations to go to, and then start spreading the word.

What makes this site valuable to someone like me is that people can make donations directly to the Steven Walter Foundation without me needing to handle money and issue receipts.  People who donate via the site receive an email with everything they need for tax time, quickly, easily and securely.  It will also allow me to track how much fundraising I have done and how far I need to go.

But there’s more!  They also have a Team Page ability where a person can setup a Team and have other people join.  What this does is allows a Team total to be tracked as well as individual totals.  So with blessings from the Steven Walter Foundation I created a Team page as well as my own page.  We’ll see how this works out over time but it certainly looks like a great way to go.

Edit: the links to EveryDay Hero are no longer working as the ride is over, however I raised in excess of $3,000

Technology Conundrum

What to do, what to take, that’s the question.  So here’s the deal, five weeks on the road will be a long time, and a lot of the days will be looong days.  So I’ll need some music- I’ve got a 2nd generation iPod which has travelled tens of thousands of kilometres with me already, it’s a bit clunky but fits in the vest pocket.  And no doubt I’ll want to take a picture or two along the way – I’ve got an older digital camera that I could have in a pouch off my belt (inconvenient) or in the saddlebags (a hassle to get quickly).  But what I really want to be able to do during this trip is provide updates to this website – even if there is no-one following me it will allow a daily diary of sorts and that would be cool.  Currently I don’t have anything I can do that with.

Does everything, at a cost...

Now what makes the most sense, at the moment, is an iPhone.  It hits every mark in that: it will provide my music, has a built in camera, has email functionality (WordPress allows post via email) and it has internet capability.  Hell, it even has some GPS tech which could come in handy at a pinch, and the 3GS version has a built in compass.  Oh and it’s a phone too… However, with the exception of the music the other features come at a trade-off.  The camera is limited in functionality, the internet plans for iPhones are pretty horrendous ($$), and typing anything for a length of time might be too fiddly for my liking on the very small touchscreen.  But ignoring that, the iPhone will do all the things I want it to do AND fit in my vest pocket taking up less room that my original iPod.

Laptop compared to a netbook
A laptop compared to a netbook

So what about a netbook?  A netbook is a small 10″ laptop, it won’t play music (while I’m riding), doesn’t have a camera and might not survive being rattled around in my saddlebags (unless I upgrade it to a Solid State Drive (SSD)), but I will be able to type much faster on it. Provided I’m not too exhausted at the end of a day’s riding, I would like to write decent commentary about the trip.  Mind you, how many different ways I can wax lyrical about chasing the white line down a black strip of tarmac for 14,000kms remains to be seen…

Well as I type this out the answer to my conundrum is obviously leaning more in favor of an iPhone.  At the end of the day the cost will be much of a muchness – the iPhone will cost about $800 (plus phone plan) and the netbook will cost around the same price with an SSD (and wireless internet plan).  Thankfully there are still seven months until journey start so I have a little while to make my mind up yet.  Decisions, decisions.

Getting the Road Star Ready

Floating Rotor
Shiny new rotor

With the trip only (only?) 10 months away I decided I would put to good use a week off between Christmas and New Years and spend a couple of days doing maintenance to my bike.

Tasks completed:

  • installed new clutch cable
  • replaced the fork oil
  • installed SpeedBleeders in the calipers
  • fresh brake fluid for both front and rear brakes
  • new brake pads
  • new brake rotors
  • new manifold
  • adjusted the jetting in the Mikuni 42mm FlatSlide carb

Casualties (aren’t there always?):

  • stripped the head of a bolt in the front master cylinder (drilled out)
  • stripped the head of a bolt on the rear rotor (angle grinder and tapped out with a centre punch)
  • snapped a bolt off in the top triple tree pinch bars (no action)

All in all pretty happy with how things went.  I’ll have to be careful for the first few rides with both new pads and rotors but I’m sure the old girl has appreciated the attention.

Participation Numbers – Update

Holy cow! We’ve received an updated recently and the final numbers are in – 50 bikes! That’s right, you need to count every one, 50!  Plus some 10 pillions or so!  And that’s not all; it looks like the Steven Walter Foundation is going to have us doing the trip as one group.  That is awesome!  I was hoping we would be able to do the journey together instead of being split into two groups with a day’s lag time between start and finishes. 

This doesn’t mean we’re going to be riding as one big group, that would be a bit unwieldy especially as fatigue will start setting in after a week or two into the ride.  No what it will mean is that we’ll all be setting off on each leg on the same day.  Riders will be free to ride at their own pace so I can be out in front if I get an early start, or somewhere in the middle if I want to linger over breakfast, or maybe bring up the rear if I want a bit of a sleep in.

What I think it will be is a logistical nightmare for the organisers; I mean talk about herding cats when you’re trying to get 50 bikes on the road.  But I’m sure they will be up to the task and remember this is the same group responsible for the Snowy Ride each year so they have a good amount of experience in project management (good luck all the same!).

Cable Repair Kit

You may have read my post where I broke a clutch cable in the middle of Canberra and had to make my way home without a clutch through red lights, RTA blitzes and homicidal Kangaroos.  Well not wanting to be caught in that situation again, and certainly not while I am in the middle of nowhere during the Ride Around Australia, once I got home I started to search for emergency cable repair kits because I don’t need to go through that experience again.  Believe it or not, they aren’t exactly out there in abundance, but I did finally find Venhill in the UK.  They do all kinds of motorcycle and kart cables AND an emergency repair kit.

Venhill Cable Repair Kit
Could have used this in October!

This kit has a cable for the clutch and a cable for the throttle.  I’ve confirmed the kit has enough generic parts to hook up to the Road Star’s clutch and throttle.  The throttle parts work for both the stock 40mm Mikuni and a 42mm Mikuni Flatslide.

For this kit to work you will have to make sure you have in your toolbag some cutters to cut the wire, a set of pliers to crimp the clutch side “trumpet” and a very small flathead screwdriver for the solderless nipple on the throttle.  Of course you will also need appropriate tools to remove your tank if the throttle cable goes and appropriate tools to adjust the clutch cable tension if required (you should already have those on your bike).

In practice you remove the broken cable from the existing cable sleeve, thread the new cable in, fit either the trumpet or solderless nipples as required, make sure the cable is absolutely flush with the barrels and you’re back on the road.

You can source all the parts you need seperatly but I figured I would get the generic kits because I never know when I might have to help out a brother or sister on the road.  If you can’t find a local distributor you can buy direct from Venhill like I did, I bought two kits and including postage to Australia they totalled $23.24 Euro (Around $35USD) and they were here in under two weeks.

They come with a natty little hold bag and as you would expect take up no room in saddlebags and possibly could even be stored under the seat, as long as you make sure you don’t crimp the cables in the process.

Prophetic, No?

I was riding through the city yesterday and was quite literally thinking about the trip (which is now one year away) and the things I would need if running repairs were required.  As I was thinking these thoughts to myself, I could feel a small click as I pulled in the clutch lever with each gear change… 

The click got worse, the lever started to get some slop, and when I stopped at the next traffic lights it was an effort to not stall the bike which was still trying to pull me forward.  On the light change I quickly rode onto the footpath so I could stop and inspect the clutch lever.  Sure enough the cable was badly frayed to the point of breaking.

After waiting for almost an hour for a pickup by a local bike shop I got a call that “someone else has the trailer at the moment and we don’t know where they are, are you able to make it home yourself?”.


Broken Clutch Cable
Well there's the problem!

Luckily, while I’d been sitting and waiting, I had been mapping out possible routes home in my head; thinking of the different traffic lights, whether they were on a slope or not, how far could I see them on approach, etc.  I figured I had at least a couple more pulls of the clutch before the cable snapped through, so I started the bike, brakes hard on, held in the clutch to see what would happen when I tamped it into first, and it stalled immediatly.  Using the clutch is now out. 

To cut the story short and just hit the highlights, pushing a 300kg+ (670lb+) bike to get enough momentum to allow me to jump on – while making sure my leg clears the pillion backrest – with enough speed to be able to put the bike into first without a: stalling it or b: spinning out the back wheel was a very interesting experience.  Had to do that at two sets of lights, ran through a red light which was on an upward slope (would never had got going again), passed a bloody traffic authority road blitz which THANKFULLY they didn’t wave me into, and if that wasn’t enough, encountered two, TWO kangaroos hopping through an intersection near home – I’m not joking!!!

So moral to that story is I will have a couple of cable repair kits in the saddlebags because the last thing I want to do is abuse the clutch plates on a 15,000km trip.

Participation Numbers

Have been advised there are at least 40 riders (plus about 10 pillions) who have signed up for next year’s Ride Around Australia trip.  This is quite a large group so the likely outcome will be two seperate groups of 20 bikes leaving a day apart.  More information should be coming out soon, I know I’m personally very keen to see a draft itinerary!

Deposit is Paid!

All of a sudden the trip has gotten a little more real, but let me back up a little.

In 2008 I went on my first Snowy Ride for the Steven Walter Foundation (SWF) and had a great time.  Early in 2009 I received some information in the mail from SWF talking about expressions of interest for a ride around Australia in 2010.  Certainly sounded interesting but at the time I dismissed it as un-doable.

However despite thinking I had decided not to do the trip, the idea was always in the back of my mind, percolating away.  Seriously, what a great adventure it would be; although getting around this country on a motorbike is usually one of those things on the list to do one day like owning a Ferrari, or catching one of Branson’s space flights…

Then around the middle of 2009 another update appeared and suddenly I find myself considering the trip in earnest: got the bike, got the time off available, got the funds – why the hell not?

So after many discussions with my very understanding wife – and nights of pouring over Google Maps to see what kind of trip it would look like – I bit the bullet this morning and transferred my deposit (registration fee) to SWF.  I still have until the end of November 2009 to back out and get my deposit back, but I don’t think that is going to happen.  I will be riding around Australia.

Yeah, it has gotten a little bit real.